We Know: How to Buy a Snow Blower


What 's a Snow Blower?

Snow blowers (or snow throwers) are machines that remove snow from driveways, walkways, roadways, or runways, among other places. They use electricity or fuel to power an impeller that moves the snow away. They are very effective with light, dry snow, but grow less effective with wetter, heavier, warmer snow.


How Do Snow Blowers Work?

Snow blowers use an engine called a high-speed impeller to move the snow into the machine and force it from the discharge chute, generally located in the center, or to the side and back. You'll find both small snow blowers, which remove only a few inches of snow in a fairly narrow path, to very large snow blowers that can move up to six feet of snow from a ten foot wide path. Snow blowers come in either one stage or two stage types, and each type works slightly differently.

What's a Single-Stage Snow Blower?

A single stage snow blower uses one impeller, which consists of two or more curved plastic paddles that sweep snow toward the center of the machine, where the discharge chute picks up the snow and blows it to the side. If you have deeper snow than your machine is designed to handle, you can use it to go over a path and remove a layer at a time of the snow.

What's a Dual-Stage Snow Blower?

Dual-stage snow blowers have one or more metal augers which break up snow and move it into an impeller. Just as in a single stage snow blower, it goes to the discharge chute from here to be blown out forcefully. Except in the case of the lightest-duty snow blowers, this is the typical type of machine.

Dual-stage snow blowers are generally self-propelled and have only one purpose. A few models have a detachable front end and can be refitted with certain gardening attachments.

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, or if you have large areas that need to be cleared (like long driveways) you should probably look for a good medium-sized dual-stage snow blower. Anything else will probably create more work than it will save.

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