What to Know Before You Blow Your Snow
It only took one winter of clearing snow with a shovel for me to know that I needed a snow blower. Beyond taking way less time, snow blowing has saved me from my annual tradition of throwing out my back after the first snowstorm of the year. But only after I began shopping for a snow blower did I realize that I knew nothing about snow blowers.
To save you the headache of digging around online and pestering Home Depot employees with questions, here’s everything you need to know about buying a snow blower of your own.
Buy Before the First Snow Hits
You’ll want to begin shopping for a snow blower before the first snow starts to fall. Most stores will see a run on snow removal tools during and after the first large snowstorm of the season, including blowers.
To ensure you have the best selection possible, shop in early fall once stores begin to receive their first stock of snow blowers.
Factor in Your Average Snowfall and Driveway Type
Snow blowers come in myriad sizes and types, with an array of different features. But when you’re trying to figure out which blower is right for you, all that really matters is how much snow you play to blow and what type of driveway you have. Here are the major categories of blowers available:
- Single stage gas blowers – These are the smallest blowers and are perfect for small jobs up to about 2′ of snow. Because they aren’t self-propelled and the blade touches the ground, these aren’t ideal for sloped or gravel driveways.
- Dual-stage blowers – 2-stage blowers are more powerful and self-propelled, making them perfect for steep or bumpy surfaces, including gravel. These blowers can handle jobs of up to 4′ with ease and will save your back if you have a hill to plow. Similarly, 3-stage blowers are even more powerful, throw snow farther, can chop through icy chunks, and can handle just about any job nature can spit out.
- Electric starts – For my flat, 100’x25′ driveway, an electric blower was the perfect solution. Electric snow machines start instantly and don’t require regular maintenance. You will need to buy a heavy-duty extension cord and clear snow in a pattern that accommodates the cord, but otherwise, electric blowers function the same way as gas. The main difference is that electric blowers are usually less powerful than their gas counterparts and can only handle jobs under 2′.
You can also look for features that will make your snow removal easier, including headlights, easy-to-reach chute controls, and even heated handgrips.
Blowing Through the Snow
Gas snow blowers will require regular maintenance if you want yours to start in the winter when snow starts falling. That means draining the gas the end of the season and checking the oil before and after storing it in the spring. But as long as you’re vigilant, a good snow blower can last up to a decade or more.
Whether you’re clearing off a small porch or a long drive, a snow shovel is a torture device. Do your research and invest in a snow blower that can handle the job. If you take care of it, it’ll be the best investment you ever make.