The Ultimate Guide to Snow blowers: Types, Features, and Maintenance Tips - UPDATED FOR 2024
Missy McCabe·October 17, 2023
A SNOWdown happens on countless driveways many a winter morning across Atlantic Canada - do you have the right equipment for the job? Snow removal can be a daunting task, but with the right snowblower, it goes a lot faster, is MUCH easier on your back, and saves you money in the long run if you’d normally pay for snow removal. In this guide, we'll discuss everything you need to know so you can become an expert on exactly what you need in a good snowblower.
The Evolution of Snowblowers
Over the years, snowblowers have seen significant advancements in technology and design. From improved engine efficiency to ergonomic designs that prioritize user comfort, the snowblowers of 2024 are a far cry from their predecessors. Manufacturers have been keen on reducing the carbon footprint, leading to more eco-friendly models in the market. With modern design advancements and clever use of technology, newer models are among the most agile and easiest-to-control snowblowers on the market, offering convenience like never before.
Types of Snow Blowers
These snowblowers are ideal for small areas with light snowfall (as in, NOT the Maritimes 😂). They use an auger to scoop up snow and throw it out of the chute. Single-stage can only handle a minimal volume of snow on relatively flat, even surfaces. They’re great for clearing small pathways and light work around the house… but generally don’t pack enough punch for the depths of our winter blowouts.
These snowblowers are built for larger areas with heavier snowfall - the most common type you will find in East Coast garages and mostly what we stock here at Atlantic Outdoor. They use an auger to break up the snow and a separate impeller to throw it out of the chute. Two-stage snowblowers are more powerful and can handle wet and heavy snow.
These snowblowers are the most powerful and efficient models. They use an auger to break up the snow, a second auger to move it to the center, and an impeller to throw snow out of the chute with extra acceleration. If you need to tackle a larger area that receives heavy snowfall or often deal with icy, packed snow, the extra power of a three-stage blower will make quick work of anything you throw at it.
3-stage blowers are currently only available from Cub Cadet - Check out all the Cub Cadet blowers HERE
More Eco-Friendly Snowblowers: The New Trend
With the world moving towards sustainable solutions, snowblower manufacturers haven't been left behind. The latest models are designed to be more fuel-efficient, reducing emissions and being kinder to the environment. For the most part, you’re getting the same power you’ve come to expect from a quality snowblower with less fuel and quieter operation.
How your driveway could affect the type of snow blower you choose
If your driveway is made of gravel, rock, or has an uneven surface, you will need a snowblower that can handle the terrain without causing damage. Single-stage blowers are not ideal for these surfaces because the auger contacts the ground. Instead, a two or three-stage snowblower will be better suited to handle these conditions.
Inclined driveways also require special consideration when choosing a snowblower. Once again, two and three-stage snowblowers are better suited for these types of driveways. A self-propelled snowblower can be a HUGE help for steeper inclines since they are easier to control on hills and do a ton of the legwork for you, literally. As you may have guessed, single-stage snowblowers can’t cut it on hills due to the auger’s contact with the ground.
When shopping for a snow blower, there are several features to consider:
The clearing width determines how much snow the snowblower can clear in one pass. Many two-stage models have a clearing width of 24” - a good starting point for winter on the East Coast. For more heavy-duty applications and larger areas, 28” and 30” clearing widths on beefier models will clear even more snow per pass.
The engine size determines the power of the snowblower. A larger engine is better for heavier snowfall and larger areas. Like clearing width, there’s a typical range at each price point and snowblower type. 200-250cc is the engine size you’ll see with many two-stage blowers, with some three-stage engines getting up over 400cc.
Chute control allows you to adjust the direction and angle of the snowblower chute. Some models have manual chute control, while others have electric or joystick control that gives you a smoother and easier way to make adjustments on the fly.
Wheels or tracks
Wheeled snowblowers are more agile and easier to manoeuvre out of the box. Track snowblowers have come a long way with modern technologies to help with turning (turn-sensing) and speed (RapidTrak). Generally, track models are heavier and sit closer to the ground - so they have an easier time with snow and ice that’s hard and packed down.
Pulling a cord to start the engine, even in the dead of winter, is a much more reliable experience with modern snowblowers today. But even so, a snowblower with an electric start is a nice little quality-of-life feature that helps with those nasty blizzard start-ups.
Advanced Features in 2024 Models
The snowblowers of today come equipped with advanced features that make snow removal a breeze. Some of the latest models offer heated hand grips, ensuring your hands stay warm even in the coldest conditions. Additionally, LED lights have become a standard feature, allowing for better visibility during early morning or late evening snow clearing. Some premium models even offer Bluetooth connectivity, enabling users to track maintenance schedules and performance metrics via a dedicated app.
Snow blower Maintenance Tips
Proper maintenance is essential to keep your snowblower running smoothly. Here are some tips to follow:
Check the oil level regularly and change it as recommended by the manufacturer.
Keep the snowblower clean and free of debris.
Check the spark plug and replace it if necessary.
Inspect the belts and replace them if they are worn or damaged.
Use a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh and prevent clogging in the carburetor.
The Importance of Using the Right Fuel
Using the correct type of fuel is crucial for the longevity and performance of your snowblower. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines when filling up. Some newer models are designed to run on ethanol-free gas, which burns cleaner and ensures the engine runs smoothly. It's also worth noting that storing fuel for extended periods can lead to degradation, so it's always a good idea to use fresh fuel and add a stabilizer if you plan to store it.
When it comes to buying a snowblower, it's important to consider your region, driveway, and the features that are most important to you. Choosing a snowblower can be tough, but you can use this guide to get a sense of what features are important to you and shop snowblowers to compare model features. We are SO proud to carry best-in-class snow machines from Ariens, Cub Cadet, and Husqvarna.
Ensuring your snowblower operates smoothly and efficiently requires proper maintenance. You can perform some light inspection and maintenance tasks at home to keep things in good condition. But for true snowblower service and repair, you’ll need an experienced technician for the job! We service EVERYTHING we sell - so you can rest assured you’ll get the most out of your purchase.
That about covers it! There was a lot to go over so you’ve got all the information you need in your search, but that’s what we’re here for! Visit our showroom today online or in-store to shop snowblowers, snowblower parts, and accessories - or book a snowblower service appointment if you’re in the Moncton area!
That about covers it! There was a lot to go over so you’ve got all the information you need in your search, but that’s what we’re here for! Visit our showroom today online or in-store to shop snow blowers, snow blower parts, and accessories - or book a snow blower service appointment if you’re in the Moncton area!