Just a little under a year ago, I posted about smart snow removal methods, giving you a brief rundown of the three most common types of snow removal: shoveling, snow throwers, and radiant heating. But since Mother Nature is threatening some serious snow here in the Midwest, I thought I’d focus on snow throwers (also known as snow blowers) in particular—especially since my parents just invested in their first one.
You have lots of decisions to make when choosing a snow thrower. Does a single-stage or two-stage make more sense for your climate? If you opt for a single-stage, should you go gas or electric? How much do you want to pay? Luckily, choosing the right model isn’t as tricky as you may think:
Single-stage. Here’s the basic gist of how they work: They have a spinning auger that comes in direct contact with the pavement to scoop up snow and propel it out of a discharge shoot. Their clearing path ranges from 11 inches to 24 inches. And like I mentioned above, single-stage snow throwers come in two general models: electric and gas.
If you’ve got a short, flat driveway and typically receive less than 4 inches of snowfall on average, a single-stage electric is the way to go. They’re compact, light, and have a lesser environmental impact than other snow throwers (and they’re generally the least expensive, too, costing you anywhere from $100 to $300, Consumer Reports says.).
But if you’ve got a mid-size driveway and receive 8 inches or less of the fluffy white stuff, you’ll need something with a bit more gusto—a single-stage gas model. Comparable to a lawnmower in size, these snow throwers usually come with electric starting and will run you approximately $300 to $750 on average, according to Consumer Reports.
Two-stage. Have a long, hilly driveway—and a heavy average annual snowfall to boot? You’ll probably want to consider a two-stage snow thrower, which is primed to clear away deep, wet snow. With these powerful machines, more snow is moved at a farther distance because they have a spinning impeller that collects the snow from the auger and propels it at increased speed. (Some models can clear as much as 45 inches, depending on the model!) Two-stage snow throwers are also a good choice if you’ve got a gravel driveway, since the auger doesn’t touch the ground. Because these models are larger and more powerful than their one-stage counterparts, you can expect to shell out more money for ’em (anywhere from $600 to $2,000-plus, according to Consumer Reports).
Quality and cost should both play a big role in your buying decision. So before you head to the store, you’ll definitely want to consult this Lowe’s snow thrower buying guide first. And then hop on over to this super-handy Consumer Reports blog where, in addition to info about the different types of throwers, you’ll find a list of buying considerations and features to look for.
The Home Know-It-All