8 Best Snow Blowers | April 2017
- moves 650 lbs of snow per minute
- easy to start and maneuver
- not self-propelled
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- 20-inch intake height
- 11-and-a-half foot-pounds of torque
- starts rough in very frigid weather
|Brand||Briggs & Stratton|
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- compact and lightweight
- handle folds for storage
- will probably require extension cord
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- can be operated with one hand
- durable x-trac tires
- on the very expensive side
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
- 22-inch clearing width
- 13-inch snow tires
- good size-to-power ratio
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- convenient control dashboard
- led lamp for night blowing
- electric start with recoil backup
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- ergonomic full-bail handle
- cleans down to the surface
- throws snow up to 30 feet
|Brand||Toro 38381 15 Amp|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- rugged aluminum gearbox
- large fuel tank
- 5-year warranty on engine
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
Fighting Back Against Winter's Worst: The Snow Blower
A snow blower is the ultimate tool in the arsenal of the person trying to clear lots of snow in little time. Using a snow blower means you can clear a path with a reliably even width, you won't hurt your back or your shoulders hefting a shovel, and, in many cases, you can let a self-propelled snow blower do all the work for you save for startup and steering.
If you want a decent unit, you should be prepared to spend more than two hundred dollars, with most snow blowers that offer a solid level of clearing power and path size costing in excess of four hundred dollars. And for the extra large property, such as a home set well off of plowed streets or for a business with a parking lot it needs to keep clear, expect to spend well over one thousand dollars for a suitable unit.
You can take heart knowing that extra large, top of the line snow blowers are not irrationally expensive; rather they are pricey because they are powerful, capable machines. Many of the bigger snow blowers have engines measuring more than three hundred cubic centimeters, which is roughly the same size as the engine measurements of many compact motorcycles. What you spend in money on a larger snow blower, you will save in hours of time over the years when a single pass of a given swath of snowy ground is enough to clear it for use.
It's important to note that snow blowers of not feature a set ratio of clearing width to height. In fact, there are some units that can clear a swath of snow as much as twenty four inches wide and twenty inches in height, while others clear a path of almost the same width, at twenty two inches, yet can only handle heights of sixteen inches. So if you live in an area prone to deep snowfall and/or heavy snowdrifts, don't factor in the width of the path a unit clears alone: you can't well walk or park atop those many inches of snow your blower couldn't remove.
Whether you are considering a massive snow blower with an industrial sized engine or a smaller unit suitable for that shorter walkway or narrow driveway, make sure you note the adjustment settings of the chute and its deflector. You need to be able to send snow up and away from the unit in a manner that suits your property, not casting that wintry mess onto a neighbors yard, but enjoying enough clearance to get it all the way off your own driving and walking areas.
Safe And Proper Snow Blower Operation
According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, many gasoline powered snow blowers can have an operating volume that exceeds 100 decibels. That is enough noise to cause acute hearing damage even with a single use of a machine, and more than enough volume to cause chronic hearing problems if you regularly operate a snow blower without sufficient hearing protection. You should always be wearing earplugs or protective earmuffs when using a snow blower, and operators are wise to consider several other pieces of safety gear as well.
As a snow blower throws huge volumes of debris into the air, it's a good idea to wear some form of eye protection as well. While you don't likely need to wear ballistic safety goggles to safely operate a snow blower, if you don't usually wear glasses, a pair of sunglasses or clear protective glasses is a smart move. It only takes one gust of wind to send a chunk of ice or a bit of asphalt or wood flying in another direction, and potentially right toward your face.
Finally, make sure to wear heavy tread boots as you work with your snow blower: a slip while you operate these powerful machines could result in serious injury, costly property damage, or both.
Other Ideas For Dealing With Snow
If you only have a few square feet of area that you need to clear of snow, such as a balcony attached to an apartment or a small walkway leading from a townhouse to the street, then you may be able to handle your snow clearing needs with a basic snow shovel alone. However anyone with a larger property that requires snow clearing, or who doesn't want to deal with the strain and potential injury often caused by shoveling snow, the snow blower is the savvy move. But it's not the end of the story.
As with any effort, be it a battle, a marketing initiative, or the removal of snow from your property, a multi-pronged attack plan is always the best approach. A snow blower is a great way to remove huge amounts of snow from walkways, driveways, patios, and more, but few snow blowers can remove that last packed layer of snow and ice that can in fact lead to the most harm in terms of slips and falls or when a vehicle skids on frigid ground. The best way to finish the job a snow blower starts is to treat the ground with an ice melting salt that can speed the breakdown of snow, slush, and ice.
Keep in mind that the best way to clear snow is to never let it accumulate in the first place. Laying down a tarp that can be pulled aside is a great trick for dealing with lighter snowfall (heavy snows can quickly lay hundreds or even thousands of pounds across a property and will likely be more than you can just slide aside). You can also always spread down a layer of ice melt before the first snowflakes land rather than later applying it over the top of the accumulation.
One more trick to try is to apply a bit of nonstick cooking spray to the chute of your snow blower before you use it each time. This can help prevent the buildup of snow, ice, and slush that reduces the efficacy of a snow blower and leads to more time spent cleaning the unit out than using it to clear snow.