Winter is packed with conditions that can take a toll on your yard: frigid sub-zero temperatures, extreme wind gusts and intense snowfalls, to list a few. Even though the forecast is uncontrollable, tools like snow blowers can help lessen the weather impact, keeping heavily trafficked areas of your yard - like driveways and paths - clear so you can continue with your day-to-day activities.
If you're in the market for a new snow blower, you should first ask yourself these questions:
- What type of surface will I be clearing?
- What is the shape and length of my driveway?
- What is my average snowfall?
The Snow Blower Selector tool is also a good starting point, as it can help you choose the right model and type of snow blower to best meet your needs. When evaluating the differences between single- and two-stage snow blowers, keep these key functions and features in mind:
Single-Stage Snow Blower
- Best for clearing small to mid-size driveways in areas with light, powdery snowfalls of 3-9 inches.
- Most appropriate for paved surfaces like sidewalks and patios.
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Two-Stage Snow Blower
- Best for clearing large driveways and heavy, wet snowfalls.
- In two-stage models, serrated steel augers break up snow and ice, and pull it into a high-speed impeller.
- Snow is cleared faster and thrown farther than with a single-stage snow blower.
- Comes with easy-to-use chute control options that let you adjust discharge direction without stopping the machine.
Once you have selected your snow blower, be sure to familiarize yourself with these safety tips:
- Always read your owner's manual before operating your snow blower.
- Never put hands or feet near rotating parts, in the auger/impeller housing or chute assembly. Always shut the engine off and use the clean-out tool, not your hands, to clear any clogs in the discharge chute.
- Never operate with a missing or damaged chute assembly. Keep all safety devices in place and working.
- Never direct snow at people, roadways, windows or animals.
- Exercise caution when crossing or operating on gravel surfaces. Adjust the skid shoes (if equipped) to the highest position for more protection.
- Always wear protective eyewear, such as safety goggles, and wear the proper winter gear; avoid wearing any jewelry, scarves or other loose clothing that could get caught in the snow blower.
- Never run an engine indoors or in a poorly ventilated area