Helpful Tools for Snow Shoveling: Snowblowers

One of the most helpful tools for snow shoveling are snowblowers. Single-stage models are best for clearing sidewalks and driveways on smaller properties, while heavy duty two-stage snowblowers work well for larger plots of land.

| December 2003/January 2004

Face the winter season with helpful tools for snow shoveling: snowblowers.

Face the winter season with helpful tools for snow shoveling: snowblowers.

Illustration by Brian Orr

Learn about this helpful tool for snow shoveling. Snowblowers can help eliminate the heavy work of moving snow around your property.

Helpful Tools for Snow Shoveling: Snowblowers

Up to your ears in fluff?
Dig your way out with these handy tools.

For many of us, the season for snow shoveling has arrived. Although shoveling the white stuff by hand is always the greener choice, it may not be practical for people with large spaces to clear. Similarly, folks who are older or who have physical limitations also may need some help clearing their sidewalks and driveways safely. If you're a homeowner for whom a snowblower makes sense, keep the following points in mind when you buy.

Snowblowers 101

Most snowblowers are powered with a gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine. As you begin shopping, you'll find two engine options: single stage and two stage.

Single-stage models are ideal for homeowners with limited spaces to clear. They are smaller, lighter and less expensive than two-stage blowers. Single-stage models have an auger that makes contact with the ground as it rotates, pitching snow up and out through a rear chute. Single-stage blowers can be partly self-propelled, but you may have to lift the handle to tilt the machine (so the auger touches the ground) to help draw the blower forward and scrape snow off the ground. Single-stage blowers work well at clearing snowfalls up to about a foot deep.

Two-stage snowblowers also have augers that move snow to a discharge chute, but they are more heavy-duty and generally have full transmissions with multiple speeds and reverse. Two-stage units are better for breaking up hardened ice and snow than single-stage machines. In addition, two-stage models include a highspeed rotary fan that increases the machine's snow-throwing power. The auger in a two-stage blower doesn't come in contact with the ground, so a scraper bar on the bottom pushes the snow up into the auger. For this reason, single-stage units generally clean a smooth surface such as pavement better, but two-stage blowers are more effective on uneven surfaces such as gravel.

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