Should I Get A Snow Blower
Every winter you have probably observed your neighbors bringing out their snow blower to remove snow from their driveway or sidewalk during or after a snowstorm. You do not have a snow blower yet and wonder if it would be wise to buy one. This review will provide information all about snow blowers. The topics covered are:
- what are they,
- key features,
- maintenance for them,
- are they beneficial,
- and where to shop.
What is a snow blower?
A snow blower is a machine that clears snow and tosses it away from an area such as a sidewalk or driveway. Snow blowers are powered either by electricity or gas. They are meant to save the owner time and effort in shoveling by hand.
What are their key features?
Basically all snow blower have the same features. There are some variations depending upon type (electric or gas) and stage (single-stage or two-stage models). Read my review of snow blower stages here.
Here are some of the features snow blower have:
Impeller – This feature takes in the snow and pushes it through the machine and blows it out through the chute.
Clearing Width – The clearing width of a snow blower is how wide a path the blower will clear in one pass. Example: a snow blower with a clearing width of 12 inches, clears a path twelve inches wide in one pass.
Intake Height – The intake height is the maximum height in inches the blower will clear in one pass. Example: a blower with a 10 inch intake height can clear snow up to 10 inches deep in one pass.
Starter – All snow blowers have a starter to start the machine. There are two basic types: electric or recoil starters. Electric starters turn on the machine as the cord is plugged into the electric outlet. Recoil starters require manual effort to start the machine. Some snow blowers come with both recoil and electric starters on the same model. The owner determines which one to use to start the blower.
Discharge Directional Control – This feature allows the owner to direct the path of the snow being discharged from the chute in an arc of 180 degrees to 270 degrees depending upon the model.
Wheels – Depending upon the model, the machine is pushed on rubber wheels, tires or tracks.
Auger – An auger is a feature that comes only on two-stage snow blowers. The auger takes in the snow and pushes it to the impeller.
Other Features – Depending upon the model purchased, you can get hand warmers, headlights for night time blowing, and gears that will move the blower forward and in reverse.
Warranty – All models come with standard warranty coverage. Depending upon the make and model purchased, you will find warranties vary from one-year and up to four-years for residential use and 90 days to 2 years for commercial use.
Why are snow blowers beneficial?
Here are just some of the benefits of owning a snow blower. For starters, they make removing snow easier than trying to shovel it. For individuals with back problems, snow blowers do not require lifting. For snow blowers with electric starters, you do have to pull the recoil chord.
How to care for snow blowers?
The maintenance on snow blowers is just as important as the maintenance on your car. There are some things that you should do and some things that you should not. Here are some important maintenance tips for your snow blower:
- Before using your snow blower for the first time, read the owners manual to find the correct type of oil your machine requires and the grade of gasoline if you have a gas model. Be sure the oil gauge in the crank case registers FULL. If is does not add oil.
In the spring,
- Drain out all the unused gasoline in the gas tank or let the machine run until the motor stops.
- Check if any screws need tightening.
- Check for any loose belts and replace any warn ones.
- Check the tires for any wear and inflate to the proper pressure if low.
- Lubricate the drive mechanism, auger, and impeller.
- Check the auger to determine if it needs to be replaced. Use the finger test to determine if the auger needs replacement. If your finger fits between the rubber and the snow blower’s housing, new rubber should be installed for optimized performance.
- Check the scraper bar (the bar that scrapes the snow into the blower) to determine if it needs to be replaced. A worn scraper bar can cause damage to the snow blower chassis.
- Throw away any unused gasoline from the gas can.
In the fall,
- Fill the tank and gas can with fresh gas for the correct octane. Check your owners manual. Fuel in the fall is different than in the Spring. This is due to different climates, and gasoline is formulated for maximum effectiveness for the season.
- Check if any screws or bolts need tightening.
- Drain out the old engine oil and add fresh oil using the type recommended by the manufacturer according to the owners manual. Tip: If the engine is cold, run it for one minute to allow the oil to warm up so it will drain out of the crankcase easier.
- Add methanol to the gasoline to prevent condensation in the gas tank and the icing of the carburetor when storing your unit in cold weather.
- Spray WD-40 or PAM on the chute, auger and impeller to help prevent clogs. (Be sure it dries before using machine.)
- Install a new spark plug every second year to ensure the engine runs smoothly.
Following the tips above will help ensure that your snow blower runs efficiently and will result in less mechanical problems during the winter season.
Where to Shop for Snow Blowers?
Shopping for snow blowers can be a chore. To make you shopping easier, I have compared over 75 models. The results of my research comparison can be found by clicking here.
Here are some questions you need to answer before purchasing your snow blower.
- Determine the type either gas or electric powered.
- Determine the stage. Single or two-stage unit.
- Clearing width.
- Intake height.
- Before ordering online you may want to go to the store and see the actual blower model. It is very convenient to order online because there is no shipping charge and the blower is delivered to your door.
- Ask the salesmen questions about the warranty (what’s included, where to go for repairs, and phone number of customer service etc.) and any other feature you need clarification on.
Manufacturer’s of Snow Blowers
Here is a list of major manufacturer’s of snow blowers:
- Poulan Pro
- Snow Joe
- Yard Machines
Reading this review you should have helped you become more educated on snow blowers and which model is right for you. It is important you select the snow blower that meets your winter weather needs. Do your homework first. Become educated, then make your decision.
You may want to read an associated article on the snow blower stage review.
Go back to Snow Blowers and More home page.