July 31, 2014

Buying a Snowblower?

I know, Spring is almost here – you don’t want to think about heavy snow and getting out of the driveway – but some local stores are trying to sell off their inventory of snowblowers.  This might be your best chance to snag a blower that will make next Winter’s snow removal a breeze.  Well, one can dream, right?

If you’ve been eyeing a deal at your local hardware store and just aren’t sure if it’s the right tool for your needs, read on for some guidelines and tips for buying a snowblower.

Single or Two Stage Blowers:

Single blowers are best for snowfalls of less than eight inches and on level walks or decks. It works by picking up snow and propelling it out of a chute.  They are less costly, but can kick up stones.

Two stage blowers are best for big snowfalls and long, wide driveways.  It will have a stong auger to break up snow and ice which a blower sends through a chute.   These blowers can clear up to a 28″ wide area and had drive wheels to provides traction on hills. The auger does not touch the ground, so it will not throw gravel.  Two stage blowers are heavier than single stage and are bulky making them difficult to handle.  They can also be costly – sometimes moore than $2,000.

Features:

Electric starter – is easier to use than a pull-string, manual start

Horsepower – 5hp to 7hp should do the job unless you are throw wet, heavy snow or throwing snow over a fence.  For that, look for 10hp or more.

Headlights – nice for dark mornings

Snow throwing – your neighbor will appreciate the separate controls that allow you to adjust the angle of the chute and keep the snow off his driveway

Trigger drive release – allows for easier turning

Finally, you’ll need to decide on a gas or electric model.  All two stage and some single stage models are powered by gas.   Gas blowers require having a regular supply of fuel available and regular engine maintenance.  Gas blowers are also very loud.  Electric one stage blowers are quieter, but they are limited by the length of the power cord.