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Outdoor power equipment man using snowblower

Published on November 22nd, 2013 | by Jeff Linderman

1

How to find the right snowblower






In the market for a new snowblower (a.k.a. snow thrower)?

(If your snowblower is broken, check out our snowblower troubleshooting and how-to repair help. It may make more sense to repair your equipment, rather than purchase a new one.)

Before you start shopping, think about what you intend to clear – your driveway, sidewalk, deck, patio, walkway…anything else?

Before visiting your local outdoor power equipment dealer or home improvement store, make sure you first know the answers to these questions: How does a snowblower work? What kind of snowblower do I need? What type of snowblower is best?

Types of snowblowers

The basic shovel for snow removal just doesn’t work for most people. Fortunately, there’s a snow-clearing solution that’s just right for you, where you live.

If you live in an area with very minimal snowfall, you might consider a power shovel as an alternative, though there is mixed feedback about its effectiveness compared to a single-stage snowblower. A manufacturer recently launched as snowblower that they’ve dubbed a three stage snowblower, which includes an accelerator that assists the collection auger in chopping the snow and ice.

Single and two stage snowblowers are the two most common types.

Single stage models use an auger to scoop snow and discharge it through a chute. Two-stage (a.k.a. dual stage) models use an auger to collect the snow and a high-speed impeller to discharge it through the chute.

Electric snowblower

Single stage electric snowblower

Ideal for:

  • Light, fluffy snowfall – clearing less than four inches (about 10 centimeters) of snow

Pros:

  • Works well for clearing flat, short walkways, decks, patios, porches and driveways.
  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • Simple push-button, electric start
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Quieter than gas-powered snowblowers
  • Inexpensive – $100 to $300 retail cost

Cons:

  • Not self-propelled and may require more physical effort to operate than a dual-stage model for some people.
  • Requires use of a long, weather-resistant, outdoor extension cord
  • Cannot be used on crushed stones or gravel-covered surfaces because the auger contacts the surface directly
  • Can only be used on flat surfaces (no inclines)

 

man using snowblower

 

Single stage gas snowblower

Ideal for:

  • Light snow totaling less than eight inches (about 20 centimeters)

Pros:

  • Works well for clearing flat, short walkways, decks, patios, porches and driveways
  • Lightweight and easy to store and maneuver
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Affordability:  $100 to $300 retail cost

Cons:

  • Cannot be used on crushed stones or gravel-covered surfaces because the auger contacts the surface directly
  • Can only be used on flat surfaces
  • Noisier than an electric model

 

***

dual stage snowblower

Dual stage gas snowblower 

Ideal for:

  • Medium to heavy snowfall greater than eight inches (approx. 20 centimeters)

Pros:

  • Clears more snow faster than single stage models
  • Variable speed adjustments to accommodate the operator as well as the amount of snowfall
  • Self propelled operation – reduces user effort
  • Picks up heavy, wet and icy snow with ease
  • Can operate on gravel, as the slide shoes (a.k.a. skids) are adjustable

Cons:

  • More expensive – $600-$2,000 retail cost
  • Requires ongoing maintenance

Other features to look for

  • Headlights – if you think you’ll be operating the snowblowers in low-light conditions or in complete darkness, this will be important.
  • Adjustable chutes
  • On-board clean-out shovel
  • Heated handles

 

Snowblower broken?

Whether you have an Ariens, Toro, Honda, Cub Cadet, Poulan or other snowblower, RepairClinic has free troubleshooting and how-to repair help information and replacement parts including slide shoes, scraper blades, spark plugs and more.

 

Related info

11 easy ways to prep a lawn mower for winter storage

Snowblower repair help

Maintenance tips for your snowblower

Outdoor power equipment dangers

How to prep your snowblower for winter

Important snowblower safety tips

 

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Call us at 1-800-269-2609 or chat with us live on RepairClinic.com.

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Since 1999, three and a half million people have purchased replacements parts and accessories from RepairClinic and saved more than $260 million in repair costs by fixing appliances, lawn equipment, power tools, and heating & cooling equipment on their own. From the beginning, RepairClinic has provided free troubleshooting and how-to resources on its website.

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RepairClinic.com stocks more than one million parts and accessories for 160 brands of lawn mowers, small engines, snowblowers, string trimmers, furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, power tools and many other products.

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About the Author

Jeff Linderman is RepairClinic.com’s in-house outdoor power equipment and landscaping expert. For 25 years, Jeff owned and operated a successful commercial and residential landscaping business. He couldn’t afford the extensive downtime that came when he brought his equipment to be repaired at overloaded small engine repair shops. Instead, Jeff learned how to complete the repairs on his own. This interest in outdoor power equipment grew as Jeff completed extensive manufacturer training. Today, Jeff is a Briggs & Stratton® Master Service Technician, Kohler® Engines Expert Technician and a Kawasaki® Service Technician for Engines and Power Products. He has a B.A. in criminal justice from Michigan State University. Jeff worked for 25 years as a sergeant in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department while he operated his landscaping business. He’s an avid fisherman and lives in the metro-Detroit area.



One Response to How to find the right snowblower

  1. Honda generators are the best choice.

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