What is the best snow blower? First and foremost, choose a trusted brand to avoid buying low-quality equipment. The most powerful models are those powered by gas. They will really get the job done, irrespective of the amount of snow you are dealing with. However, electric models have the advantage of being more user-friendly, much quieter, and don’t need refueling. Also, they require a lot less maintenance. So it’s up to you to decide! Secondly, we recommend that you should choose a two-stage device as it perfectly handles heavy snow and is more maneuverable. And finally, consider the unit’s clearing width — the wider it is, the fewer passes you will make. We believe that Briggs & Stratton 27" Dual-Stage Snow Blower meet these criteria best.
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Like a popular (and in my opinion overrated) show recently famously said, winter is coming. In many parts of the country, it won’t be that awful long before inches and inches, or even feet of snow start falling from the sky. We’re going to talk about them a little bit today, and you’d be surprised how much more there is to this than you may have initially thought.
If you’ve never owned a snowblower, you probably don’t give this idea much thought, and that’s understandable. But if you live in an area where you get a lot of snowfall, you owe it to yourself to get a snowblower.
Shoveling snow is back-breaking, thankless manual labor, and if you have a sizeable driveway especially, it’s time to take the bite out of this curse with the help of technology. A snowblower removes the back breaking labor aspect, simply blowing the snow away. While they can be a little heavy, the work is far less intense.
What Types of Snowblowers are There?
First, let’s talk about the different types of snowblowers, because there are some differences in a few ways. The most obvious one is going to be their power source, which can either be electrical or gas-powered. Both have their advantages and their disadvantages, and we’ll talk a little about those first.
Electric snow blowers lack some of the power of gas snow blowers, but are much quieter, and don’t need refueling. They also involve a lot less maintenance than gas snow blowers, as internal combustion engines are very complicated.
Depending on how the power is provided, though, cords can be a menace, though we’ll get to that in a moment. Gas snow blowers are much heavier, much more complex and much louder. However, they’re more powerful, and don’t need charging nor to worry about potential cords.
- One-stage, two-stage, and three-stage models
Another difference in the two are the amount of stages, with one, two and three-stage models existing. Now, you may be wondering what these stages are, and that’s understandable, because “stage” is a bit of a misnomer. The way a snow blower works is that there’s a spinning spiral cylinder called an auger which moves the snow straight out of the snowblower immediately.
A single stage snowblower does this and only this, and you have to move it yourself, and shovel angled slopes and stuff into it. With a two-stage snowblower, there are power-assisted wheels which not only help to propel the snowblower (thus eliminating weight problems), but also making the whole affair much faster. These also tend to have additional automation internally which can get at those angles better, thus providing self-propelled, stronger power all-around.
A three-stage snowblower doesn’t add functionality, but really just puts a second-stage into overdrive, throwing the snow further, moving more volume and so on. So, really, these stages are all about raw power and convenience, not so much how they work.
- Corded vs cordless snow blowers
When it comes to electrical, there’s a little bit more choice. Cordless electric snow blowers are a little bit newer, because it’s only in the past few decades that batteries with the capacity to power them for any length of time became small and light-weight enough to be practical.
Cordless snow blowers are convenient, but they’re often less powerful, and they do take a lot of charging to keep them running. However, if you’re in an area where you need to move six or fewer inches of snow on average, at a time, these can be very helpful.
Let me tell you a small tale of the perils of cords on these things. A friend of mine (who is a popular YouTube personality, but I won’t say whom) grew up in New Jersey. It snows a lot there. When he was young, his father had just bought a brand new snow blower, which he was very proud of. He trusted the lad with the thing, and within 30 seconds, he ran it over the cord and effectively destroyed the snow blower.
If you’re a fan of his show, you’ve already figured out who he is, on wager. But yeah, be wary of cords with tools like this.
Read more about battery operated snow blowers in our article.
How Snow Blowers Differ in Power, Efficiency, Usability, and Maintenance
Power. Really, there’s not that much variation in power, productivity and so on across snow blowers, at least not anymore. There are some intrinsic differences brought on by their power supply and the amount of stages.
Energy-efficiency. Obviously, the most power-efficient ones are going to be compact gas-powered single-stage snow blowers. There’s a little more muscle power to these, and internal combustion is still generally more powerful than electric motors because, well, physics.
Maneuverability. For maneuverability, a two-stage or higher gas-powered snowblower is going to be the best for handling. They tend to be a bit heavier, but it’s really a non-issue if it’s at least a two-stage blower.
Maintenance. A corded electric snowblower is your best friend. It’s much simpler, requires much less maintenance, and tends to have less moving parts to break down. They still need oil, but that’s about it, really.
Productivity. It really just depends on you, your driveway and the weather you get. If you have huge amounts of snowfall at a time, as in more than a foot, you’re probably going to be best served by a three-stage snowblower of some sort. Conversely, if you’re only getting a few inches (which can still be enough to get in the way), then you’re probably fine with a one or two-stage.
As far as which is superior by way of power, that’s purely preference. It is worth noting that electric ones aren’t quite so loud, and if you have to do this early in the morning, your neighbors are going to appreciate you not being godawful loud with things like a snowblower. Yes, you can’t help it, you have a job to go do, kids to take to school potentially, a general responsible adult life to lead. Still, people don’t like loud, obnoxious noises at the crack of dawn.
It all really comes down to your specific situation, there’s just no such thing as a “one size fits all” for a snowblower, as is the case with most tools. If you live in an area where you get more than a couple inches of snow at a time, you definitely owe it to yourself to get a snowblower, but which ones are best suited for your needs are entirely dependent on your specific circumstances.
When in doubt, the general rule is to aim for a stage more power than you think you need, better to be overpowered than to be underpowered in all honesty. And, aim for corded electric if you’re not sure which power supply is most ideal. Even if you think you might need the power of a gas snowblower, you can still move higher volumes with a wee bit of patience, electric isn’t that anemic. Beware the cord, though, lest you suffer the same fate as my youtuber friend.
Which Type Of Snow Blowers Is The Best?
This is a redundant section, if we’re being honest with ourselves. I’ve already said that which one works best is dependent mostly on your particular situation and climate. But I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to look at the general situations which different ones are most suited for.
First, let’s sort by the stages.
- Single stage snow blowers are best for fairly short driveways, walkways and sidewalks where less than six inches of snow tend to fall.
- Two-Stage: These are best for heavier snow, between six inches to a couple feet, and where maneuverability is more crucial due to contours, curves or other geographical features.
- Three-Stage: This is for huge volumes or very long driveways/walkways. My grandpa had to use one of these for his 300-foot driveway on his farm just outside Aspen. It’s a ski town, you can imagine the snowfall there.
Now, let’s talk about power supplies.
- Gas: Gas has a disadvantage in that internal combustion motors are harder to get working in the bitter cold. Given this is a device used exclusively in the winter, you can imagine the frustration that can ensue. However, they’re very powerful, which means if you have a lot of wet/sticky snow, or massive snowfalls, this is your best option.
- Cordless Electric: This is for medium or small snowfalls on long pathways where an extension cord is going to be a problem. The trade-off here is in keeping the darn thing charged.
- Corded Electric: This is best served for heavier snowfalls where range isn’t a prerequisite, if you don’t want to use gas. Electric will actually work more efficiently the colder things are, because magnetic fields and conductors are optimized by absence of heat.
Trusted Brands of Snow Blowers
I’m not going to spend much time on this, because it’s kind of a moot point to be completely honest. Nobody makes “the best snowblower”, because snowblowers, as I’ve said umpteen times at this point, are suited for different scenarios. You can judge the snowblower’s quality by the brand’s overall reputation and market demographic.
Snow Joe is a dedicated snow blower brand, so you’ll probably see more new ideas being put into play with these than other brands. PowerSmart, Greenworks and Ego are medium-market brands, so you’ll be getting a mix of build quality, affordability and durability about even across the board.
I’m personally fond of Briggs & Stratton, which is kind of the Cadillac of this kind of equipment, and is commonly used by professional services and maintenance crews. They’re not cheap though!
Briggs & Stratton Dual-Stage Snow Blower
This puppy isn’t cheap, which is possibly a problem for a lot of people. But when I think of snow blowers, I think of environments where enough snow actually falls that you literally can’t pull your car out, even with a little effort.
I always drove over a foot or less of snow, figuring screw it, I wasn’t getting up to shovel that, and I had snow tires after all. If you’re really in a situation where snow is too thick for modern snow tires to handle, you need something with some real power, and this right here? This is power.
Briggs & Stratton build powerful equipment that lasts, so you’ll get decades of winters out of this thing, if you take good care of it.
- Power: Gas (250cc!)
- Stage: Dual.
- Self-propelled: You bet.
- Mechanisms: High-radius auger and high-intensity blower.
- Noise: About like a riding mower.
I’ve seen this model of snow blower in action before, or at least a previous year’s take on it. That thing threw snow out of the way like it was just baking flour. The man using it must’ve been 80 years old, too, and he strolled leisurely, like it was nothing.
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Briggs & Stratton: Check the current price
17 Best-Selling Snow Blowers Comparative Table
Snow Blower Maintenance Rules
These are pretty basic. You need to clean the auger often, to make sure debris and ice buildup aren’t there. The wheels should always be aired up, and tire maintenance given the same care you’d give a mower or other piece of equipment.
For gas, it should be run a few times a year, including for a few minutes around midsummer, to make sure the parts aren’t seized, and the lines all check out. For both electrical and gas, the oil should be changed annually before winter begins.
That’s generally about it, any more complex issues with gas snow blowers should be handled by someone who really knows engines.
What type of snow blower is suitable for cleaning wet snow?
A two or three stage snowblower will generally work pretty well for wet snow, and gas powered snow blowers have more oomph behind them, as wet snow is less cooperative, and often heavier. If you have exceptionally slushy, wet snow, you may consider a push plow or something like that, so to not gum up the works.
What are the most common problems with snow blowers?
With gas, it’s getting them started in frigid climates. For electrical, it’s snags or ice forming around moving parts. With modern designs, none of these are common enough to usually worry about, though.
What is the difference between a snow thrower and a snow blower?
A snow blower uses an actual blower to propel the snow and provide additional suction to pull the snow in, where a snow thrower just uses the auger and possibly a caterpillar track to toss the snow. Snow throwers are considerably quieter, but also significantly weaker. You don’t see snow throwers in use that often, because if snow is deep enough to need to be moved, it’s generally going to need some horsepower behind it to move it at all.
Winter — the Most Romantic Season or a Reason to Buy a Snow Blower?
To some, it’s a charming accent to the more festive and intimate part of the year. But to many, it’s also a time when there’s real insult added to injury thanks to the damn snow. Yeah, it’s pretty, and during Christmas (and Christmas alone), I miss it briefly down here in Florida. Nothing quite says holidays quite like snow-dusted landscapes with Christmas lights adorning houses, chilly weather and hot drinks.
For children, it’s a promise of the occasional extra day of being spared the drudgery of school, and a veritable playground for snowball wars, building forts and snowmen. But for the everyday working adult, that snow is something so much more annoying.
I remember it. I wasn’t raised in a place with snow, but we spent our holidays at my grandpa’s house in Aspen, which is a ski mecca. But I also remember being an adult in the northwest, where it snowed like crazy some years, and how horrible that ordeal could be.
There’s nothing quite so awful as having to get up before dawn to shovel your driveway, just so you can leave your house and do a job you hate. It’s bad enough when you just need to scrape ice off your car, but when you have to perform somewhat heavy manual labor just to clear a path, it’s infuriating.
I actually lost a job over this myself. I just got to a point where I hated that job, and I hated getting up at the crack of dawn, and I hated shoveling snow. So, I first called in, and spent all my sick days. Snow still hadn’t abated. I used my personal days. Still, it snowed. Finally, I just resigned, telling them I wasn’t going through all that for their job.
Well, unfortunately, you can’t make the snow not fall, and we’re a couple decades away from heated driveways being common in most homes, if not a century. The good news is that we can at least take the bite out of having to clear driveways, thanks to snowblowers.
Also read about 24 inch snow blowers.