It’s time to face facts. It is now December. It is going to snow. And you need to be prepared to dig your way out of whatever icy mayhem this winter offers. Sure, you can toil away in the elements with a shovel, or you can upgrade to a snow blower and handle feet upon feet of snow with ease. This helpful guide will have you tossing snow like a pro in no time.
Electric vs. Gas
The first decision you will make is whether to purchase an electric- or gasoline-powered snow blower. An electric snow blower is the cheapest option, ranging from $100 to $400. These are good for smaller driveways in areas with minimal snowfall. They’re powered by an extension cord, so your range may be limited. The drive is also not powered, so you will be pushing the blower without the assistance of the engine.
If you are looking to move a larger amount of snow from your driveway, gas is the best option. There are two types of gas blowers: single-stage and two-stage. A single-stage snow blower’s wheels are also not driven by the engine, but they offer you unlimited range when compared to an electric blower. These are best for medium-sized driveways. A two-stage snow blower not only lets you blast through snow, but also has engine-driven wheels so you don’t have to exhaust yourself pushing the blower. These are best for long, gravel driveways, as the auger does not make contact with the ground. They can also cut a wider path through snow.
There are a few other things to consider. If you plan on blowing snow in the night, you should purchase a machine with headlights. An electric starter will allow you to start the machine with the flick of a switch, as opposed to a manual recoil starter. Many snow blowers offer a kill switch option, which kills the engine once you let go of the handlebar. This is a great safety feature that allows you to stop the machine easily, or keep it from running away from you if you lose your grip.
When to Buy
Today! The sooner you can get a snow blower in your garage, the better. As soon as the first snowfall hits, everyone and their brother will be scrambling to the local hardware store in search of a solution to the four-foot snow bank in their driveway. Buying ahead of time will ensure that you actually get your hands on one, but will also help you avoid the price gouging that often comes with the chaos of the first snowfall. Another great time to buy (if you don’t mind waiting) is the spring, when stores offer big discounts on the merchandise they need to get rid of from the previous winter.
Do you have any advice for prospective snow blower buyers? If so, share it with us in the comments section!