Get to know your snowblowers (photo credit: gk-6mt/iStock)

What You Need to Know About Buying a Snow Blower

By Matthew Guy

When staring down a metre-high snowbank, investing in a snow blower can suddenly seem like an excellent idea. But before you start shopping, here’s what you need to know.

There are different types of snow blowers: one-, two- and three-stage units. These terms refer to the metal augers that chew up snow and spit it out the long chute. One-stage (or single-stage) blowers are sometimes referred to as snow shovels since they use the same rotating mass to gather up snow and toss it aside.

Two-stage machines have twin auger sets: one to collect the snow and one to blow it out the chute. These are very popular. Big three-stage blowers use two sets of perpendicular augers to pulverize snow, plus a third to send it skyward.

Some single-stage snow blowers are electric powered, while most others are fuelled by gasoline. The latter will have its engine size advertised in cubic centimetres (cc), which is a good indicator of overall power. If you expect to move a lot of snow or have a long driveway, look for one that is 300cc or more.

One final consideration is clearing width, which measures the open area where snow enters the unit. Sizes range from 24 inches to well over 30 inches. If you’re planning to store the blower inside, make sure it can fit through the doors of your garage or shed.

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