To keep this winter’s snow tamed and out of the way of your home, your car and your family, a snow blower is an essential tool. Used in conjunction with a snow shovel and ice melt, snow blowers can clear even the most monumental accumulation with a little forethought and elbow grease – from removing that snow plow ridge at the foot of the driveway to keeping the front stoop free of falling precipitation.
It’s All About the White Stuff
Knowing what type of snow your area typically gets (and how much of it) helps to determine which snow blower is right for your snow removal job.
Snow blowers are available in all sizes, depending on the typical conditions you face on a snow removal job. For short driveways and moderate amounts of snow, look for a smaller, easier-handling model. To tackle the occasional heavy storm, choose a mid-sized model. Long, hilly driveways probably require a larger snow blower with power-driven wheels.
However, engine size is not the only consideration. Maneuverability is just as important, especially if you have smaller areas that need clearing. Snow blowers can be powered by gas or electricity. Gas-powered models may be loud and require ear plugs. For electric models, use an outdoor extension cord. Also, consider the kind of storage space you can devote to a snow blower when not in use.
Types of Snow Blowers
A good snow blower is one that performs the easiest clean-up for the type of snow you’re removing.
1. Single-stage electric models: small units that pull in snow and throw it out the chute in one step.
- Best in 4 inches or less of snow
- Best for short, level driveways, decks and walks
- Lightest, smallest, quietest and easiest to handle
- No need to fuel
- Less engine maintenance
- Requires multiple passes for complete removal
- Not effective on steep slopes
- Power cord limits range
2. Single-stage gas models: small-to-midsize units that pick up and throw snow using a rubber-tipped auger to help propel the machine.
- Best in 8 inches or less of snow
- Best for level, midsized paved driveways and walks
- More powerful than electric units; still light and easy to handle
- Clear more snow in one pass
- Four-cycle gas engines are fueled with straight gasoline with electric starts
- Poor choice for gravel driveways and steep slopes
- Require regular engine maintenance
3. Two-stage gas models: pick up using an impeller behind the auger to help throw snow out the chute.
- Best in 8 inches or higher snow
- Best for long, wide driveways
- Larger, more powerful, propelled by engine-driven wheels
- Can handle steeper inclines
- Best on gravel
- Relatively heavy
- Requires regular engine maintenance
More Tips on Renting or Buying
- Be comfortable with handle height and chute adjustment
- Look for a “dead-man control,” a safety feature that stops the spinning auger and impeller when the handlebar grip is released
- Check for a handle or joystick that controls the height and direction of snow throwing with ease
- Ask about plug-in electric starting for gas-powered models, which is easier that using a pull cord
- Consider a model with a headlight, if you need to work in the dark
- Typically included with a snow blower is a clearing tool – a plastic stick used for safely clearing clogs
- Ask about the choice of speeds, which can help prevent clogs through heavy snow
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any snow removal project. Runyon Rental is a proud dealer of Honda snow blowers. Find all of our snow blowers for rent here or buy one here. For more information on snow blowers and snow removal, read our two blogs, “Be Sure You Have a Snow Blower this Winter – a True Must-Have Item” and “4 Cold Weather Basics: Your Guide to Snow Removal (Part 1)”.