Winter is around the corner and that means snowball fights, cozying up by the fire and drinking all the hot chocolate! Unfortunately, it also means far less enjoyable activities like shoveling snow off the drive – unless you get the best snowblower.
The best snowblower can have your paths and driveway clear in a fraction of the time, so you don’t have to work up a sweat.
Here’s our complete buyer’s guide to snow blowers for 2020, including tips on how to find the right snow blower, how to maintain and store it, and much more.
Why Invest in a Snow Blower?
Here’s why having the best snowblower beats shoveling snow by hand:
- It’s safer – Clearing snow manually requires a lot of exertion in very low temperatures. This can be dangerous for anyone who suffers from health conditions that put them at risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.
You can very easily fall and injure yourself or wrench your back and shoulders, especially if you are not very athletic or you’re getting older.
- It’s more efficient – Even the fittest, most dedicated individual can’t move snow faster than a snowblower. This is important when you have a busy lifestyle, need to get to work, get the kids to school and run errands.
Your snow blower makes a time-consuming physical task fast and easy.
- It can handle heavy snow falls - Shoveling a light snowfall is easy, but if you live in an area with deep, frequent snowfalls, you are going to find it incredibly difficult to cope with just a shovel.
A snow blower can shift heavy snowfall quickly, clearing paths, sidewalks, decks and driveways to make life much easier in the winter months.
The Best Snow Blower for 2020
Our pick for the best snowblower for 2020 is the Snow Joe SJ621 Electric Snow Blower.
Snow Joe is a household name for snow blowers due to the quality, affordability and effectiveness of the products they offer, and this electric snow blower is a great example.
With good build quality and a powerful yet eco-friendly electric motor, this machine is built to last, efficient, quiet and ideally suited to most homeowners with average snow clearing needs in light to moderate snowfall areas.
It has a hard-working 13.5 amp motor that throws up to 650lbs of snow per minute up to 20 feet away, and the 10-inch snow clearing depth and 18-inch clearing width. This makes even the toughest jobs quick and easy. It has a 2-year full warranty and is ETL-approved.
You can read our full review below.
What to Look for in the Best Snow Blowers
There are a lot of different types of snow blowers on the market. Here are some key features to look for when searching for the right machine for your yard.
- Fuel Type – Snow blowers can be gas powered or electric, with electric models coming in corded and battery-powered varieties.
Gas powered blowers are usually more powerful, heavy-duty machines suited to tougher jobs, while electric models tend to be better-suited to light to moderate snowfalls.
- Maintenance – Gas snow blowers will require a bit more maintenance including an annual service and oil change to keep the machine in good shape. Electric snow blowers are maintenance-free.
- Single-stage – Single-stage snow blowers only throw the snow once, using an auger that collects the snow and shoots it out the chute.
They are usually the lightest, most compact and most maneuverable of the snow blowers, and are best suited to moderate snowfalls.
These are not self-propelled, so it’s up to you to push the machine. The auger tends to make contact with the surface below the machine, so they are not recommended for gravel surfaces.
- Two-stage – Two stage snow blowers are the more heavy-duty machines, suited to snowfall of 18 inches and deeper, with a heavier, more durable design.
They blow the snow twice – a metal auger scoops the snow up, then a high-speed impeller continually throws the snow out the shoot.
This keeps the snow moving through the machine, preventing clogging. They are self-propelled, which makes it easy to get through the snow. They don’t touch the ground, so they are safe to use on almost all surfaces.
- Three-stage – These are the most powerful snow blowers on the market, and are suited for areas with exceptionally heavy, regular snowfall of over 20 inches and where snow becomes compacted.
They work in three-stages where two augers scoop the snow into the unit, an accelerator chops the snow and ice up, and then it is pushed out by an impeller that launches it about 50 feet away.
Despite the slower turning of the auger, a three-stage snow blower are self-propelled and powerful enough to move snow at twice the rate of the same size two stage blower.
- Power steering – If you are looking at a heavier two or three-stage snow blower, look for a model with power steering.
This saves your back and makes the job easier, allowing you to make tight turns with little effort.
- Chute rotation and pitch control – These features can be manual or automatic, allowing you to direct the snow as it is thrown, usually as the wind changes or as you change direction.
If ease-of-use is your priority, look for automatic controls that make the job faster.
- Plastic chutes – Chutes made of plastic are better than those made of steel, as they do not rust and cause snow to stick or jam, and don’t crack in the cold.
- Headlights – When you are working in low light of morning or early evening, headlights are a must-have feature, helping you see obstacles before you run into them and jam up your machine.
- Tires – The best tires are low profile and airless with deep treads, ensuring your blower doesn’t suffer punctures, stays stable over slippery surfaces and doesn’t slip on inclines.
Single-stage, Two Stage or Three-stage?
Generally, most suburban homes can manage just fine with a single-stage snow blower, as these can handle up to 10 inches of snow with ease.
If you have more area to clear or live in a heavier snowfall area, a two stage blower is a better choice.
Three-stage snow blowers are much more powerful and are more suited to areas where snowfall is very heavy – over 20 inches – and where you have a lot of ground to clear and compacted snow to deal with.
Gas or Electric Snow Blower?
Electric snow blowers are virtually maintenance-free, are lightweight, emit no fumes, don’t require fuel mixing or oil changes, and are very efficient.
They are a great option for people who want to reduce their carbon footprint if you live in an area with moderate to light snow falls.
Corded units require no charging, but you are limited by the length of the cord, while battery units need to be regularly charged.
Gas snow blowers are the more traditional choice and are generally more powerful than electric units, handling heavy snowfall and slushy snow more easily.
However, they are noisy to operate, emit fumes while running, and require regular maintenance. They are also much heavier than electric units, which can make them more challenging to use if you aren’t particularly strong.
Choosing a Snow Blower Based on Driveway Type
One very important factor to consider when you’re looking for the best snowblower on the market is the surfaces you want to clear, as different snow blowers work on different surfaces.
- Flat concrete or asphalt – A single-stage snow blower will work well here as it makes contact with the surface, scraping it clean of snow.
- Steep slopes, gravel or dirt driveways – This is better-suited to a two or three-stage machine, as this will wear out the auger in a single-stage blower and throw gravel and dirt everywhere.
Single-stage snow blowers tend to slip on steep slopes, while a two or three-stage model will be self-propelled, making clearing snow much easier and faster.
How to Use a Snowblower?
- Before you start – Fill, charge or connect your snob blower according to its fuel type. If you have stored your snow blower with gas in it over the summer, remove this gas and replace it.
Prep your driveway by removing branches, newspapers and other objects that can damage the machine.
- Plot your path – Decide where you want the snow to land before you start, so you don’t end up making your job harder.
If you want it to all be on the one side of your driveway, start at the opposite side. If you want it to be spread either side, start in the middle.
Each time you arrive at the end of the driveway and start to turn, adjust your chute 180 degrees to keep the right snow direction.
- Plow piles – Snow plows leave deep piles of snow at the end of your driveway that can melt and refreeze into compact, rock-hard ice, so they need to be dealt with quickly.
To clear them, work slowly at a low speed, pushing the machine at a downwards angle so the auger can get a good grip into the snow and clearing a few feet at a time.
Snow Blower Safety Tips
- Avoid loose clothing – These can get tangled in the machine’s moving parts.
- Wear sturdy shoes – Make sure you have good traction to avoid slipping and falling.
- Wear ear protection – Ear plugs and ear muffs will keep your ears warm and protect you from hearing loss. This is especially important when using a gas powered snow blower.
- Start your snow blower outside – Not in your garage or shed.
- Watch your direction – Don’t blow snow towards people, traffic, neighboring paths or where it could damage property.
- Keep pets and children inside while working
- Keep hands and feet away from moving parts
- Switch the machine off when dealing with a clog – Use a clearing tool or stick, and make sure the blades have stopped rotating.
- Keep all shields in place.
How to Maintain Your Snow Blower
Electric snow blowers are the best snowblowers if you want a machine that is almost maintenance free! All you have to do is clean your machine, check the condition of your auger and store it somewhere dry.
For gas snow blowers, you should:
- Check the sparkplug – Replace your sparkplug if it is cracked or you find deposits on it.
- Shear pins – Shear pins can break if the auger or gear case becomes overloaded, so it’s a good idea to check these regularly to make sure everything is in working order.
- Engine maintenance – Refuel with the proper mix of fuel (if required), drain the tank fully after snow season has ended, replace oil as recommended by the manufacturer, and have it serviced once a year before snow season.
You can also use a fuel preservative to make your fuel last longer.
- Storage – After cleaning your snob blower, store it in a dry space like a shed or garage, or use a high-quality tarp if it is stored outdoors.
The 7 Best Snowblowers of 2020
The Best Snowblower Will Help Make Winter Frustration-Free!
A snow blower is a must-have item for any home where snowfall is a regular winter occurrence, helping to save your back and make a frustrating task easy and quick.
If you have light to moderate snowfall, a single-stage or two-stage snowblower will easily handle the job, while three-stage blowers are ideal for very heavy work.
If you are eco-conscious, then a powerful electric snowblower will get the job done nice and quietly, but if you need a lot of power, a gas snow blower will be a better choice.
Remember to stick to the safety tips and look for the best snowblower on the market if you want great results for many winters to come!