Deciding what kind of snow removal equipment you should get is a tough and time consuming job, considering the large investment you will likely to make. For example, are you interested in the best two stage snow blowers? Or a small electric shovel would do? The right tool will probably serve you for years, therefore making an informed decision is a must have and we are here to help.
|Best Two Stage Snow Blowers||Clearing Width (inches)||Engine (cc)||Gardenlife Rating|
|Husqvarna ST224P Two Stage Snow Blower||24||208||Learn more|
|Briggs and Stratton 1696619 Snow Thrower||24||250||Learn more|
|Snow Joe iON24SB-XR 80V Cordless Two-Stage Snow Blower||24||Cordless Electric||Learn more|
|Ariens Sno-Tek Gas Snow Blower||24||208||Learn more|
|Cub Cadet 3X Snow Blower Thrower||26||357||Learn more|
Depending on the size of your yard, driveway or who knows, your private football field, as well as depending on the average snowfall in the region (check by city here) and surface type you need to clear, you may need to buy a snow thrower in addition to your good old shovel.
The budget necessary for a snowblower could reach from $150 to thousands of dollars.
This means, a snow blower might be a huge investment that may not even be necessary. Do you live in a region where the average snowfall is below 5 inches or have only a tiny driveway, yard or sidewalk to clean up? Are you’re physically fit? Then you may as well just stick to your shovel or sleigh, or alternatively, consider an electric shovel. Otherwise read on, you will probably need a snow blower!
A direct comparison between gas, electric or even battery operated snow blowers is not particularly straightforward. In fact, snow blowers vary not just by power source but in size, clearing methods. As a matter of fact, some don’t even have wheels.
Gas snow blowers are best for handling heavy snowfall, difficult terrain, even slopes, and most importantly, for larger areas. There are singe-stage, two-stage and even three-stage snow blowers and they differ in how they pick up and handle snow. We talk about these in the next chapter.
On a contrary, electric snow blowers are ideal for flat and mostly paved areas, together with light weather conditions. A point often overlooked when choosing the best snow blower is the fact that electric snowblowers are very easy to start, operate and maintain. Equally important is that they are better for the environment.
Although electric snowblowers are usually light and easy to maneuver, the electric cord often gets in the way or limits the working radius where you can comfortably use it. Plugging these into a wall socket is often the greatest disadvantage.
This is where cordless, battery operated snow blowers come into play. They are the newest kids on the block and they mostly run with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. These cordless tools are single stage only and can handle snow up to 6 to 8 inches with a single pass. If you own a number of battery operated outdoor power tools, you may consider buying the same brand to utilize the interchangeable battery systems that most well known brands offer.
Snow blowers can generally be divided into two classes: single-stage and two-stage.
On a single-stage snow blower, the auger (the paddle mechanism visible from the front) pulls snow into the machine and directs it out of a discharge chute. The auger contacts the ground, making single-stage snow blowers unsuitable for use on unpaved surfaces (source).
A auger is designed to hit the surface, which has a clear consequence of throwing rocks and debris out the chute On the other hand as the paddle mechanism hits the ground, it propels the whole machine forward. This means the wheels need no need to be engine driven, making these power tools more cost effective to manufacture and easier to repair.
Single stage blowers are cheaper, nonetheless they are less powerful and have some limitations, see the capability around unpaved surfaces.
On a 2 stage snow blower, the auger pulls snow into the machine and feeds it into a high-speed impeller, which in turn directs it out of a discharge chute. Two-stage snow blowers can generally handle deeper snow depths than single-stage ones, and because their augers don’t touch the ground, they can be used on unpaved surfaces (source).
On most dual stage snow blowers you would able to control how deeply the auger and the scoop bite into the snow. Changing the height of the auger and scoop by adjusting the skid plates on the sides of the blower, you can avoid picking up gravel, stones and other debris from an uneven or unpaved surface. On these blowers the second stage is actually the impeller, a device that’s throws the snow out of the chute.
Setting the auger up high could lead to insufficient and ineffective snow removal from the surface, leaving a layer of snow, while lowering it too much, it would throw out debris and stones from the ground. Despite the fact that getting the right settings demand patience, this is clearly a key feature that single stage snow blowers simply don’t have.
A general advice is that when using a snow blower on loose terrain, expect some bits of debris and stones to be thrown. Therefore always think about the direction of the chute to limit potential damage it can cause.
Two stage snow blowers have engine driven wheels that can roam through uneven surfaces and move the machine with greater confidence in deep snow. Thanks to this the job of clearing big areas is less demanding compared to electric shovels and single stage snow blowers.
Two stage blowers are mostly gas operated (one exception is the Snow Joe iON24SB-XR 80V but with limited success). They usually have a clearing path of 24 inches and up, that are ideal for clearing snow with depth between 6 to 12 inches. Bigger snow blowers, with clearing widths of 28 to 30 inches and over, tend to easily deal with snow of 12 to 20 inches and cover large areas with speed.
Compared to two stage snow blowers, these are adding a third auger called an accelerator, which is helping the machine to propel itself faster. It cuts through snow, ice and slush much easier than dual or single stage snow blowers, but of course, tend to be more expensive.
When it comes to two stage snow blowers there are a few features to look out for, things that can either contribute to power and speed or the equally important comfort level of yours, especially in cold, miserable, blizzard conditions.
Clearing Width is a useful indicator when it comes to describe the effectiveness, size and potential weight of a snow blower. For smaller yards and sidewalks a 24 inch clearing width i more than enough, while larger gardens, fields or areas with regular heavy snowfalls might demand a 30 inch big boy.
Engine Size comes hand in hand with power and performance, usually smaller engines do the job for most cases but some believes power is never enough. We have considered snow blowers from around 200cc to 420cc engines, most being 2-stroke while the brand new HD Cub Cadet is a modern and pleasant 4 stroke that operates with the same gas you put in your car.
Weight is important when it comes to handling. With this in mind, more weight provides more confident passage in deep snow, and considering these blowers have driven wheels, this makes weight probably a small concern.
Comfort and handling features to keep in mind when shopping around are one hand steering, heated hand grips, electric start, single lever chute adjustment and headlights to help with early morning and late afternoon tasks on those short winter days.
The Husqvarna ST 224P is a high performance snow thrower, designed for homeowners who want to clear large driveways and yards. It works best in various snow conditions but most ideal for 6 to 18 inches of snow. It offers 24 inches of clearing width a 23 inches intake height.
This popular model generates 6.3 HP from its 208 cc gas engine with easy electric start, providing power and reliability even in harsh conditions. Compared to the similar ST224 model, this one has power steering, and as a result, it is easier to handle even on steep slopes. Furthermore, with its adjustable skid shoes, it can be used on most surface types.
In the light of having 6 forward speeds and 1 reverse speed the ST224 gives control and flexibility in tough terrain and snow conditions. Equally helpful can be the bright LED headlight in early and late hours in the day, not to mention the heated, adjustable handle that could lift your mood in the cold.
Husqvarna offers 3 year limited warranty and 5 year engine warranty, an other key point to raise confidence in the quality and longevity in this 2 stage snow blower.
The Briggs & Stratton 1696619 snow blower is part of the popular 1150 Snow Series with 250cc electric start engine. It’s a moderate-duty 27 inch two-stage snow thrower which is great for clearing moderate to heavy, even wet snow on good sized driveways and pathways.
This particular 2 stage electric start snow blower features a 27 inch wide clearing path and 20 inch high intake, hence ideal for clearing 16 inches of snow on either gravel or paved surfaces. This model includes 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds, sustained power through friction disc transmission and steel reversible skid shoes, significantly improving maneuverability in most conditions.
Dash mounted chute rotation, big 14 inch tires and LED headlights, not to mention the one hand control operation, all provide more control and comfort for this snowblower.
Briggs and Stratton provides 3 year limited warranty for both the equipment and the engine.
Alternatively, Briggs & Stratton manufactures a smaller, cheaper unit with a 208cc engine and without a remote deflectior under the name Briggs and Stratton 1696610.