Snow Blower Shopping 101: Your Essential Guide for Winter Weather

For a few years after graduating college, I worked at MTD Products, a manufacturing company that produces powered lawn equipment such as snow blowers, lawn mowers, and string trimmers. Working with countless snow blowers, I have become familiar with how they work.  To help you make the most informed buying decision, I’m going to break down all the main differences between snow blowers. There are four main types: single stage, two stage, three stage, and powered shovel. The stage refers to how many augers a model has. Single stage snow blowers are one of the smallest models available and are meant for short driveways or areas that get a few inches of snow. Two stage machines are the most popular choice and are capable of handling almost any length of driveway as well as deep or heavy snow. Three stage snow blowers are powerful, using three augers to break up heavy snow and ice accumulation, capable of throwing snow 50 feet to the side and 20 feet in the air. Powered shovels are small handheld snow blowers great for clearing stoops and communal walkways. Most brands make 24 to 30-inch tub sizes, meant for commercial use or as attachments for riding lawnmowers. Gasoline-powered snow blowers require regular maintenance, while battery-powered snow blowers run cleaner and don’t require gasoline. Track-drive snow blowers have better traction over hard-packed or wet snow, while wheeled snow blowers use pivot-turn controls for better maneuverability. When looking at brands, customer reviews are important to consider when shopping for a snow blower. If you have a snow blower delivered to your home without expert assembly and notice missing hardware or damaged parts, call the brand’s customer service or after-market parts line to get a replacement. If you notice major damage to the engine or augers, then you can return it to the store for a refund, repair, or replacement. Contact the brand’s customer service if you have questions about a snow blower you are interested in.