How to Buy a Snowblower

Snow removal can be taxing on the body and hugely time consuming. If either is a concern, consider purchasing a snowblower. These powerful snowblowers will quickly and efficiently remove heavy snow from driveways and sidewalks.

Types of Snowblowers

The type of snowblower you choose will depend largely on the application, the average snowfall over time for your area, and the type of surface being cleared, as not all snowblowers are designed to handle unpaved driveways. There are two main types of snowblowers: electric snowblowers and gas snowblowers.    

Electric Snowblowers

Electric Snowblowers

The electric version of this removal solution is perfect for clearing patios, walkways and driveways in areas that receive light to moderate snowfalls.

They are lighter in weight, require little maintenance, are quieter, and emit fewer pollutants than their gas counterparts. Also, electric snowblowers can be either corded or cordless.    

Because corded electric snowblowers require an electrical outlet for power, you are restricted in how far you can use them from the house. Make sure you purchase a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord that matches the power requirements of your model, to ensure safe use.

Electric snowblowers work best on smooth, paved surfaces.

Gas Snowblowers

Gas Snowblowers

Gas snowblowers provide plenty of power and are ideal for clearing walkways. Depending on the model you pick, you will be able to tackle medium to large, paved, unpaved or gravel driveways. They are available in three models: single-stage, two-stage and three-stage.    

Single-stage models feature an auger that breaks up the snow and then lifts and tosses it aside. They are built to handle heavier snow.

Two-stage units have an auger that lifts snow, and an impeller that throws it. The impeller action clears a wide path and the two-stage units provide more power than the single-stage model. They are built to clear heavy snow and ice and come in widths of up to 45" to tackle larger and longer driveways.

Overall, gas snowblowers can be more expensive and require regular maintenance, however they will provide greater range and clearing power than any other snow removal options.

Snowblower Type Snow Type Ideal for Clearing Benefits

Light to moderate

  • Walkways
  • Porches
  • Patios
  • Decks
  • Small driveways
  • Lightweight
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Quiet operation
  • Economical
Gas (Single-Stage)
  • Walkways
  • Small to medium driveways
  • Powerful
  • Clear wide paths
Gas (Two-Stage)
Heavy with ice
  • Walkways
  • Medium to large driveways
  • Powerful
  • Clear wide paths

Snowblower Features

Features Description
Electric Start
Many gas-powered snowblowers now feature electric start mechanisms, which replace pull cords and enable you to get started with the touch of a button.
Power Steering
A feature found on heavier two-stage gas snowblowers that allows for effortless turning and maneuverability.
Heated Grips/Handle Bars
Gloves will protect your hands against the cold, but they may not always keep them warm. Heated grips/handle bars will keep your fingers warm and comfortable no matter how windy or snowy the weather.
Headlights allow for better visibility during heavy snowfalls and on dark nights; they are an effective safety feature for operators, pedestrians and motorists.
Skid Shoes Skid shoes are available on two-stage units and allow the height of the auger to be adjusted. This feature is especially useful on gravel driveways.
Drift Cutters Drift cutters are narrow steel blades on the sides of the auger that knife through hard-packed, icy snow drifts, making it easier to power your way through and clear them more efficiently.
Snowblower Safety Tips
  • Before starting the snowblower, clear the area of any foreign objects (eg. door mats, sticks and rocks) which might be picked up and thrown by the snowblower.
  • Whenever you leave the operating position, stop engine by turning key to off. Remove key from switch if unit will be unattended.
  • Before unclogging the discharge chute, shut engine off and wait for all moving parts to stop. Most units include a cleaning tool to remove obstructions from the discharge chute. Never use your hand to unclog discharge chute.
  • Before adjusting, cleaning, repairing, and inspecting the snowblower, pull wire off spark plug and keep wire away from the plug.
  • Leave all safety features intact. Guards, shields, deflectors, and warning decals are on the machine for your protection and that of others.
  • Before each use, check the auger/impeller to ensure that both parts are not frozen, but free to rotate.
  • Keep children and pets far away from the area when you're operating a snowblower.
  • Wear adequate winter clothing; wear boots for maximum traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Clear snow from slopes by going up and down, never across the face. Never clear snow from steep slopes.
  • Remove key from switch and allow engine to cool before storing snowblower. Never store snowblower in the house.

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