Best Snow Blowers:
Ever tried shoveling off a snow covered driveway or sidewalk in the dead of winter? Your hands freeze up, the snow shovel wobbles under the strain of the heavy snow, and it takes hours to get through even a 10 x 10 snow covered driveway. It's a good thing that snow blowers, often referred to as snow throwers, were invented so that people can have clean driveways and get to work. Cities like Buffalo and Chicago are notorious for having some severe storms in the winter and people need snow blowers in order to function and get out of their homes after a heavy snowstorm has dumped inches or even feet of new snow. Snow plows are great for clearing the roads, but consumers need snow throwers to help clean pathways around their homes. Which models or brands are the best for you? What should you look for when buying a snow blower? Keep reading below to find out.
Sears has always supplied quality tools for yard work and the Craftsman 88790 ($900) sold at their stores really comes through for homeowners. Reviews are very positive on this two-stage thrower that features a 9 HP gas powered engine, power-driven wheels, 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds, electric and recoil starts, headlight, and a joystick controlled chute. The clearing path is ample at 28 inches and it works great on 'hard packed' snow. You can see more details at Sears.com. An even cheaper model is the Ariens 5524E Compact ($780) which gets surprisingly good reviews for a two-stage snow thrower. RECOMMENDED - we suggest checking out Amazon.com for their Poulan 2-stage snow throwers - the two models worth considering are the Poulan PP11530ES Pro and the Poulan PR8527ES Pro.
Electric Snow Blower - Before you pick any snow thrower and buy it, you need to first think about the size of the area that needs to be cleared after a snowstorm hits. There are 2 main types of snow throwers - single stage and two-stage. Single-stage snow throwers are the best answer for homeowners who regularly get fresh snow from 3 to 7 inches. These blowers use an auger system that chips the snow and ice into a discharge chute that eventually "throws" the snow up to 35 feet. The auger will actually touch the surface it's cleaning and propel the machine forward. For this reason, it should only be used on smooth surfaces like pavement so that it doesn't take rocks or other debris and fling them through the chute (which could be dangerous). The single-stage throwers are able to clear a path that is roughly 12 to 22 inches wide, best suited for walkways. If you have a small driveway, then the single-stage snow blowers will take several passes but they can do the job. They are either gas or electric powered. Two-stage snow throwers are definitely designed for clearing larger areas in a quicker amount of time. The spinning impeller collects the snow and ice and forces it out of the discharge chute. The larger 2-stage models can throw snow up to 45' and the clearing width can go up to 36" which makes the work go much faster. The auger on these units doesn't touch the surface it's cleaning so it gets propelled by the wheels which are engine driven. The clearing height is adjustable depending on the area you are cleaning out. They come in multiple speeds with reversible transmissions. The common 4-cycle winterized engines on two-stage throwers allow them to run in the most severly cold temperatures. Starting these machines is made easier with freeze-resistant starters. Look for models with heated handgrips, variable speed transmissions, headlamps for using them in the dark, drift cutters, and quality safety features. The one caveat that we heard from all salespeople in regards to using a snow thrower is that you read the instruction manual first before any operation of the machine starts. The top brands in snow throwers are Craftsman, Honda, Toro, Stihl, Ariens, John Deere, Snapper, and MTD. You can find a quality two-stage snow blower for $1000 or less and gas single-stage throwers are about $600 with electric models running closer to $300. We found some excellent snow blower reviews online at About.com in their landscaping section, in magazines like Consumer Reports and Money Magazine. Popular Mechanics has detailed feedback on snow throwers and the forums on Gardenweb.com include some informative consumer reviews on snow blowers and which models stand up to the test of harsh winter climates. Amazon.com carries all the best selling snow blowers.
Photos of Snow Blowers:
Key Features to Look For:
- Easy start
- Wide clearing path
- Strong, durable engine
- Adjustable chute
Article Sources - Best Gas Snow Thrower