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Snow blowers (or snow throwers) provide rapid and efficient snow removal. If you live in snow country, one of these machines can be a time-saving and labor-saving alternative to shoveling snow. Use this guide to get familiar with snow blower types and features and to find the machine that's best for your snow-clearing needs.
The three main types of snow blowers are single-stage electric, single-stage gas and two-stage gas. Since more than one of these types may be able to handle your typical snow-clearing job, it’s important to consider the advantages of each.
Single-stage snow blowers are lighter and easier to handle than two-stage models. These blowers are best for clearing mid-sized areas with a snowfall of eight inches or less. An auger directs the snow through a discharge chute. Although the wheels aren't engine-driven, the auger contacts the surface, providing limited forward-drive action. Since the auger does make contact with the surface, single-stage blowers are best for use on paved surfaces where they won't pick up rocks or gravel.
Two-stage snow blowers are gas models capable of handling snowfalls in excess of eight inches. These powerful blowers are the best for clearing large areas and have engine-driven wheels to better handle uneven terrain and reduce operator fatigue. An auger first collects the snow and an impeller fan then discharges the snow through a chute. This two-stage process moves snow faster and farther than single-stage blowers. Skid shoes on a two-stage model elevate the auger slightly. You can find a greater range of features on two-stage blowers.
Ask these questions to ensure you get the snow blower that's best for your needs.
In addition to narrowing down your choices with the questions above, you can also look for a snow blower based on features. Keep in mind that two-stage snow blowers will typically have the most features.
Always follow the device manufacturer's operating, maintenance and safety instructions, including instructions on safety gear.