Which Type Of Snowblower Is Best For Me?


When looking for a new snowblower or snowthrower for home use such as driveways or walkways, its important to understand the options available on the market. There is a multitude of models from several manufacturers that range from small electric models up to medium sized single stage models to large gasoline-powered, self-driven models. I've used examples from each category and have reviewed each category for the attributes and applications of each type.



Electric models offer some benefits that gasoline-powered models do not. They are easy to maintain with no need for gas or oil, they are relatively quiet in operation, and they're environmentally friendly. Electric models are also generally less expensive to purchase, with most models available for around $300. The constraints with these models are power and size. These models cannot match larger gasoline-powered machines in the depth or amount of snow they can handle and the width of these electric models are smaller, generally less than 20 inches. With that said, if you're looking only to clear walkways and small driveways and you don't expect large snowfalls, then this category is an inexpensive option.


Single Stage Gasoline-Powered

Single stage snowblowers are those that rely solely on the large impeller that intakes snow at the front to also force that snow out of the directional chute on the top of the intake area. These models are inexpensive compared to their two stage counterparts, with most models between $300-$800. With these machines taking their power from a gasoline engine, they come with the ability to handle deeper snow and larger amounts of snow then the electric models. These models are also generally wider then their electric cousins, allowing you to clear driveways faster. Overall, these single stage models are probably adequate for most buyers' needs. They allow you to take care of medium sized driveways with snowfalls up to almost 12 inches in depth and are a good all-around choice for most homeowners.


Dual Stage Gasoline-Powered

What makes a dual stage snowblower dual stage is the addition of a second rotating paddle behind the impellers at the front of the machine that throws the snow up and out of the directional discharge chute. This design allows dual stage variants to be larger in size and width. The engines on these machines are also larger to accommodate the increased snow amounts these models can handle. The widths of these models can be as wide as 30 inches and be built to accommodate snow depths upward of 12 inches. The cost for these models also goes up compared to single stage types with most dual stage models between $800-2000. This category is excellent for large driveways, or gravel driveways where there adjustable height can help them avoid picking up pebbles. These models are also commonly self-driven, which is really a necessity due to their weight, and can use wheels or tracks for propulsion. These larger machines are undoubtedly for the most serious homeowners with large driveways, gravel driveways, or those that expect large snowfalls each winter.

Extra Features

When you've decided on what category of machine will work best for you, its important to consider a few other factors before making your purchase.  Manufacturers offer many features that can enhance your machine's performance or ease of use.  When looking at Dual Stage snowblowers for example, the biggest divide is between models that use wheels and those that use tracks.  From personal experience, wheels work just fine for almost any snow job a homeowner would need to tackle, and they offer more maneuverability then tracks.  However, I have run into a few situations before, such as clearing a hard packed wind swept drift or that nice hard-packed ridge that the snowplow leaves at the end of your neatly cleared driveway, where the extra traction that tracks deliver can be nice as you push those high-speed spinning blades into the berm over and over.  Another attractive feature for some consumers is the incorporation of an electric start into some models.  This way you can avoid the possibly strenuous task of starting the engine with the standard pull cord. 

Once you've decided on the exact model to purchase, you should also consider any attachments or accessories that you may want at home such as drift-cutter add-ons that help with those deep drifts, or a cover for your snowblower if you'll be storing it outside.  Other good ideas are extra belts or shear pins so you're not having to run out to the store with your driveway half cleared.  Hopefully, this information is helpful for anyone planning on purchasing a snowblower.