How To Choose A Snow Blower

Written by: Erica Spangler

Choose the Snow Blower Grade

Use the following factors to determine the snow blower capabilities you need for snow removal.

Large Area or Professional Use

  • Larger gas tanks
  • Bigger motor
  • Taller and wider auger housing
  • Power steering
  • Power chute
  • Cast iron gear case
  • Pounds of snow per minute = 1 ton+
  • Moves wet heavy snow
  • Generally only two-stage
  • Greater than 28" auger width (crossover 28-30")

Light Snow or Smaller Areas

  • Most do not have power steering
  • Most have aluminum gear case
  • Most have a manual chute
  • Pounds of snow per minute = 1000 - 1800 lbs
  • Single and two-stage available
  • Less than 28" auger width (crossover 28 - 30")

Choose Your Snow Blower Type

Check out the pros and cons for each snow blower type, so that you find the one that fits your needs.

Two Stage

Pros

  • Great for large areas
  • Can push large amounts of snow
  • Very powerful
  • Throws snow further

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Requires regular maintenance due to more features
  • Large to maneuver and store
Picks up the snow and uses a fan-like impeller above the auger to throw the snow out.
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Single Stage

Pros

  • Great for small areas
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Electric are lower maintenance
  • Gas are more powerful

Cons

  • Can only push a small area at once
  • Paved surface only
  • Electric power cord limits mobility
  • Gas require regular maintenance
The auger is controlled by the forward motion of the machine to pick up the snow and throw it.
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Power Brush

Pros

  • Easy to use to remove debris year round – snow, leaves, grass, etc.
  • Great for small amounts of snow

Cons

  • Only good for very small jobs
  • Does not work very well on wet, heavy snow
Power brush snow blowers work well for moving snow up to 6 inches deep and great for brush removal. This style works best on fluffy powder.
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Snow Blower Configurations

Make sure to consider the following configurations when choosing your snow blower.

Auger Size

Auger size can be one of the most important factors because the width directly correlates to the amount of snow that can be thrown per minute. Take into the account the intake size and clearance size.
  • The size helps determine the amount of snow thrown
  • Use to see approximately the number of passes through you would need for your snowed-in space

Engine Configuration

Make sure to consider the amount of power the snow blower will support for your snow removal needs and the type of system it offers.

Engine Power

  • Measured in cubic centimeters (CC)
  • Indicates the amount of power the snow blower puts out
  • The higher the CC determines the greater potential power. (Not all brands' CCs are equivalent. Check snow per minute.)

Starting System

  • Determines the type of ignition system
  • Small snow blowers will require the use of either a manufacturer's electrical cord or a standard 12-gauge extension cord to start
  • Larger snow blowers come with an on-board starting system

Gear Housing Construction

Choose the construction based on the potential power you need to be transferred to the auger to pick up more snow.

Aluminum

  • Lighter weight
  • Offers less power
  • Typically more affordable
  • Operates faster

Cast Iron

  • More heavy duty
  • Offers more power
  • Higher torque available
  • More expensive
  • Typically has better warranties

Chute Rotation

Consider your needs when maneuvering the snow blower. Some turn more easily that others.

Basic and 2.5x Crank

  • Requires you to pull a crank from left to right to determine the chute direction
  • Typically requires the operator to walk in front to change the direction

Quick-turn

  • Makes turning the direction of the snow blower easier
  • Allows you to turn the chute without walking in front of the snow blower to change it

Tire Configuration

Choose the tire size and tread based on if your terrain is paved or unpaved and if your terrain is hilly or flat.

Tire Size

  • Larger tires better for unpaved ares
  • Larger tires better for more stability

Directional Snow Trac Tire

  • Works well on flat areas
  • Better for paved areas
  • Similar to a typical car tire

Directional Snow Tread Tire

  • Provides additional traction for steeper hills
  • Better for unpaved areas
  • Handles rougher terrain due to the larger tread
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