How to Choose a Snowblower
The selection of the proper snowblower is important for your safety as well as the fun of snow removal. The comment that snow removal with the use of a snow blower, could be fun, is somewhat of an oddity for many of you reading this article. However, to have the correct size snowblower during a large snowfall, is an exhilarating powerful feeling, as well as rewarding, once the snow has been removed and the drive and walks are cleared.
What are some of the specific points that should be considered when purchasing a snowblower?
- Gas or electric
The advancement of electric tools has come a long way. There are several very substantial electrically powered snow blowers that are available, that will perform admirably. The principal key to the selection of an electrical machine is the amount of actual power that it will produce, as well as the time duration that the battery will last. If the machine is electrical powered by a cord, then the obvious length of the cord will determine the range of the blower. In general, an electrically powered snowblower will operate sufficiently for smaller quantities of snow and for a limited duration of time.
- Evaluation of performance requirements
How much snow do you actually get during the winter season, and what is the normal amount of each snowfall? These two characteristics of your winter weather, will have a direct effect on your snow blower selection. Obviously the heavier the snowfall, the larger the snowblower that we recommend. In addition, if the snow is very common, then the use of the machine is substantial and operator comfort should be considered. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the machine, the easier it is to remove the snow, and the more comfortable for the operator. However, the strength and size of the operator, in relation to the size of the snowblower must also be a consideration.
- Pitch of the driveway
What is the pitch of the driveway? Is it level, or is it on a hill. Once again, this characteristic speaks for itself, the more the pitch of the driveway the larger the suggested snowblower. In addition, the selection of whether the machine should be on larger wheels or tracks, if the driveway is steep, should also be a consideration.
- Normal size and strength of the operator of the snowblower
Who will be operating the machine? Although the modern day snowblowers are all easily maneuvered, the larger the machine, the more intimidating to a smaller individual. Sometimes, too large a machine could cause injury or difficulty for a smaller individual to operate.
- Storage area for the machine
Where are you going to store the machine during the majority of the year. One of the issues with a large piece of equipment, that is not utilized throughout the year, is where is it stored during the off season. In some parts of the country, the off season for a snow blower, is the majority of the year.
- Maintenance of the machine
Where will you get the machine maintained if there is an issue, and how difficult will it be to transport the machine to the repair shop? If you own a pickup, then this consideration is not as important. Some snowblowers can be placed in the back of an SUV or even small enough to fit into an open trunk. The size in regard to transport should be considered. However, there could be a local equipment dealer that would either pick up the machine, or send a mechanic to the house. Maintenance must be considered during your choice.
- Track or wheel choice
Some snowblowers are based on a rubber track form of motion and others use wheels. The tracks are normally installed on larger snowblowers and their ability to maneuver without wavering in smaller depths of snow should be considered. Too large a track machine may be difficult to operate in smaller amounts of snow due to their inherent use of the deep layer of snow for stability and tracking.
- One stage or two stage blowers
Normally the smaller snowblowers incorporate a single stage mechanism that has rapidly rotating blades at the front of the machine, that directly blows the snow out of the chute. These snowblowers are normally less expensive and associated with smaller machines than the two stage blowers. The two stage blower has a slowly rotating set of blades that feeds a rapidly rotating fan, or set of blades that is located in the back of the blades. The front blades act as an auger into the snow while the rapidly rotating blades will accept the snow that the auger blades feed it, and project it out of the chute. In most instances, the distance that the snow is blown is greater with a two stage machine than a one stage machine.
- Necessity for blowing distance
Depending upon the location of your driveway and the areas adjacent to the driveway, will determine the distance that the snow needs to travel or is blown once the snowblower engages with the snow layer. If the distance required is substantial, than the more horsepower and a two stage blower is recommended.
The selection of the proper snowblower for your circumstance is totally based on your location, the setup of your driveway and walkways, as well as operator preference.
There are several very efficient and effective machines on the market, from fully electric with batteries, to larger gas driven snowblowers that will basically handle any depth of snow.
The most important aspect of properly selecting a snowblower, is to not purchase too small a machine. Having more than the required capability of blowing snow and more power than is necessary, is always the better option.