How to buy a snow blower?
Snow may be beautiful to watch from indoors while sipping hot cocoa, but when it blankets the driveway, it’s not so pretty. A snow blower can help make the chore of clearing the driveway and sidewalks easier. To find the right snow blower machine for your needs, consider four basic factors.
Snow blower or snow thrower?
A snow thrower is a single-stage machine. This means it scoops the snow in a singular movement, pushing it out the chute. A snow blower is a two-stage or dual-stage machine. A snow blower has an auger to scoop the snow in the first stage. The auger sends the scooped snow to the impeller, which then blows the snow out the chute to complete the second stage. Depending on its size, a snow blower can remove heavy or even icy snow from the largest driveways.
Snow throwers typically are smaller and do not throw the snow as far. In addition, a snow thrower may lack the power to tackle the heaviest, wettest snowfalls. However, if your area only experiences lighter snowfalls, snow throwers usually are less expensive and may be the ideal choice.
How large is the area you need to clear? Do you have long stretches of walkways? If you don’t have a driveway but need to clear walkways only, consider a Sears snow blower such as the Craftsman single-stage electric start snow thrower with a 21-inch clearing width.
For homes with driveways, consider its size. A smaller driveway fits about four average-sized cars, while an extra large driveway can comfortable accommodate about 12. For medium to extra large driveways, consider snow blowers with at least a clearing width of 24 inches. The wider the clearing width, the fewer passes you need to make—less time spent out in the cold!
Electric or gas
Electric snow throwers work great for clearing light snow from sidewalks, porches, small driveways and patios. Because these machines usually weigh less, they also work great clearing lighter snow from decks or stairs. The electric models are quiet, but if your snow accumulation is moderate to heavy, consider a gas snow blower. Gas snow removal machines are available in single (snow thrower) or dual-stage models as well as varying widths. A 2-cycle gas engine uses a gas/oil mixture, while a 4-cycle engine does not require a mixture. The 4-cycle engine does need regular oil changes.
When shopping for snow blowers, look for safety features such as a deadman switch or safety override. This shuts the machine off when the starter handle is released. LED headlights help light the way, enabling you to clear only snow and not rocks or other debris. Craftsman offers an EZ Steer feature to navigate sharp turns and relieve some of the fatigue clearing snow can cause.
Begin your snow blower search at Sears.com. Try the step-by-step snow blower finder guide. Simply select your driveway size and type, plus the amount and type of snow received. The guide will offer several snow blower suggestions to fit your individual needs. Need snow blower parts? Click on the tab Parts and Accessories for everything from auger belts to engine keys and spark plugs.