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Snow Blowers

Buying Guide: Snow Blowers - Models & Features at The Home Depot
 
Spend less time shoveling snow and more time inside where it's warm with the help of a snow blower. If you live in an area that receives moderate to heavy snowfall, you'll want one of these snow throwers to help you quickly clear walkways, driveways and more. Whether it's an electric snow blower or gas snow blower, there is a power tool available with an array of features to choose from. As you look at different models, keep the following questions in mind to help you narrow down your choices:
 
          • How much snow do you receive annually? How frequently does it fall?
          • How large are the areas you need to clear?
          • Do you need a powered shovel or a snow blower?
          • Do you prefer a gas or electric model?
          • What special features are you interested in?
 

Types, Applications and Features


Depending on where you live and what kind of snowfall you expect each year, a powered shovel may provide adequate snow removal. If you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall, an electric or gas-powered snow blower will get the job done. Because snowfall varies from year to year, it's important to look at not only the previous year's totals but averages over time as well. In addition to considering the amount of snow you are likely to get, think about the type of snow. Is it light and fluffy or wet and heavy? Some blowers are more effective than others under certain conditions. You'll also want to take into account what type of surface you're clearing, as not every snow remover is designed to handle unpaved driveways.
 
Powered Shovels: If you live in an area that receives light snowfall and you have only a walkway, porch or patio to clean off, consider a powered shovel. These lightweight electric units are pushed along the ground and automatically clear snow out of your path, eliminating the need for any heavy lifting. Powered shovels tend to work best with lighter snow, though some models can shoot snow up to 30" to ensure it is moved far away from the area you're clearing.
 
          • Designed for use in areas with lower levels of snowfall and lighter flakes
          • Some models convert to power brooms for outdoor use during warmer weather
          • Work best on flat, smooth surfaces, such as decks, patios and walkways
 
Electric Snow Blowers: Electric snow blowers are perfect for clearing patios, porches, walkways and small-to-medium sized driveways. They handle light to moderate snow well and work best when used on smooth, paved surfaces. Electric models are generally more economical and weigh less than their gas-powered counterparts, making them easy to maneuver. Because you'll need to plug them in, these blowers tend to work best in areas closer to your home. When using your electric snow blower, be sure to purchase a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord that matches the power requirements of your model. Also, purchase only the size you need to avoid unnecessary power loss.
 
         • Electric snow blowers tend to deliver quieter operation
         • Perfect for areas with low to medium average snowfall
         • Require little maintenance and produce fewer pollutants
         • Extension cords should not exceed 100' to avoid power loss
 
Gas Snow Blowers: Gas snow blowers provide plenty of power and are available in both single-stage and two-stage models. Single-stage blowers feature an auger that breaks up snow and then lifts and tosses it aside. Two-stage units have an auger that lifts snow and an impeller that blows it, allowing them to clear a wider path with more power. Overall, gas units are somewhat heavier and require a larger up-front investment, but they are ideal for clearing large amounts of heavy snow from big driveways. Though they require regular maintenance and burn fuel, they'll give you greater range and clearing power than other snow-clearing devices. Use single-stage units to clear smooth, small-to-medium driveways, walkways, porches, patios and decks of light to moderate snow. Two-stage units, which can come in widths of up to 45", not only tackle larger and longer driveways, they can also handle unpaved or gravel driveways as well. They are ideal for clearing heavy loads of wet snow from lengthy, wide driveways.
 
         • Ideal for clearing heavy snow and ice buildup at the end of the driveway
         • Available in a range of widths to accommodate various pathways
         • 2-cycle engines require a gas and oil mixture but don't require oil changes
         • 4-cycle engines don't require a mixture but do require periodic oil changes
         • Two-stage models can help remove ice as well as snow
 

Blower Type

Snow Type and Amount

Ideal for Clearing

Benefits to consider

Electric • Light
• Fluffy
• Under 6"
• Walkways
• Porches
• Decks
• Patios
• Small driveways
• Lightweight
• Environmentally friendly
• Quiet operation
• Economical
Gas (Single-Stage) • Light to moderate
• Up to 12"
• Walkways
• Small to medium
  driveways
• Powerful
• Clear wide paths
• Handle heavier snow
Gas (Two-Stage) • Moderate to heavy
• Over 6"
 
• Walkways
• Medium to large
  driveways
• Powerful 
• Clear widest paths
• Handle heavy snow and
  ice
Powered Shovel • Light
• Fluffy
• Under 6"
• Walkways
• Porches
• Patios
• Lightweight 
• No lifting required
• May convert to broom
• Economical

Features


Hand Warmers: Though gloves will protect your hands against the cold, they don't always keep them warm. Look for blowers that feature hand warmers to keep your fingers comfortable no matter how windy and snowy it gets.
 
Headlights: Blowers with headlights make it easy to see where you're going when darkness sets in early on those short winter days.
 
Electric Start: Many gas-powered blowers now feature electric start mechanisms, which replace pull cords and enable you to get started with the touch of a button.
 
Drift Cutters: Drift cutters are narrow steel bands on the sides of the auger that knife through hard-packed, icy snow drifts, making it easier to power your way through and clear them more efficiently.
 
Speed Control: Units with this feature include multiple speeds in both forward and reverse to ensure comfortable use.