This is a good time of the season to get a deal on the purchase of any left-over snow blowers that the stores will be looking to clear out of their inventory (if there are any left after this winter). So let’s talk about the different types of snow blowers. There are four cycle engines, two cycle engines, single stage, and two stage.
These small snow blowers don’t have driven wheels. Instead, the rubber-tipped auger picks up the snow and throws it and also helps propel the snow blower. They are best for level driveways and walks with lower levels of snow. They are about the size of a walk-behind mower. Single-stage electrics are also light, small, quiet, easy to handle, and their electric motor frees you from fuel and engine maintenance. However, their rubber-edged auger can pick up and throw gravel, and their narrow, 11-to 18-inch swaths typically mean clearing requires multiple passes. They also do not work well on steep slopes, and the power cord limits your range.
These small-to-midsized models are more powerful than electric models and are a good choice for level, midsized paved driveways and walks and can handle more snow than the electric models. They’re light and easy to handle and take up about as much storage space as a mower, and free you from an electric cord. They also can clear a larger, 20-to 22-inch path and some models offer electric start. But like the electrics, they’re a poor choice for gravel driveways. Their auger provides only modest pulling power on steep slopes. In addition, their gas engines are often two-cycle (which need oil to mix with the gasoline) and will require maintenance.
Two-stage gas, like single-stage gas snow blowers, two-stage models begin by using the auger to pick up and throw the snow. For the second stage, they have a fan-like impeller above the auger to help throw the snow out the chute. They are larger and more powerful and are the best for inclines, long, wide driveways and heavier snows. They will also clear wider paths, and their wheels are driven, which makes them easier to use and they can handle steeper inclines. Two-stage snow blowers are also a must on gravel, since the auger doesn’t touch the ground. They still can pick up stones or other objects. Caution should be used where the discharge shoot is being aimed. They are heavier, bigger, and more expensive than the other models and can take up much more storage space. Their gas engine also requires routine maintenance.
I have a long flat driveway, and I have owned both the single stage and two stage models. I found that the two stage self-propelled models are the easiest to use. Even though they are larger, they can throw the snow farther and will also move the heavier snows and being self-propelled they require less effort to use. Remember to always use caution when using a snow blower; you should first check your driveway for any objects that might be in the path of the blower like newspapers, sticks, driveway lights, etc. Also remember that with any snow blower if the discharge shoot should become clogged, shut off the machine before any attempt is made to clear the discharge shoot; never stick your hand in the chute while the engine is running.
Spring is right around the corner and hopefully we will not have to use our blowers any more this winter.
Be safe and happy motoring.
This article is sponsored by a generous donation from M&S of Pawling. http://www.mandsofpawling.com/