The Ultimate Guide to Snow blowers: Types, Features, and Maintenance Tips
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 snow blower.
Types of Snow Blowers
These snow blowers are ideal for small areas with light snowfall (as in, NOT the Maritimes 😂). They typically use a rubber 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 blowers 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 a metal auger to break up the snow and a separate impeller to throw it out of the chute. Two-stage snow blowers are more powerful and can handle wet and heavy snow.
Our most popular 2-stage blower? The Ariens 28" SHO hands down!
These snow blowers are the most powerful and efficient models. They use one auger to break up the snow, a second auger to move it to the center, and an impeller to throw it 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
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 snow blower 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 snow blower will be better suited to handle these conditions.
Driveways with an incline also require special consideration when choosing a snow blower. Once again, two and three-stage snow blowers are better suited for these types of driveways. A self-propelled snow blower 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.
For extra traction, pick a model with tracks like the Ariens Platinum 28 SHO RapidTrak!
Snow blower Features to Consider
When shopping for a snow blower, there are several features to consider:
The clearing width determines how much snow the snow blower can clear in one pass. Two-stage models start at 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 snow blower. A larger engine is better for heavier snowfall and larger areas. Like clearing width, there’s a typical range at each price point and snow blower 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 snow blower 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 snow blowers are more agile and easier to maneuver out of the box. Track snow blowers 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 snow blowers today. But even so, a snow blower with electric start is a nice little quality-of-life feature that helps with those nasty blizzard start-ups. Luckily all the blowers we carry are equipped with an electric start! Just be sure you have a cord at home to power them!
Snow blower Maintenance Tips
Proper maintenance is essential to keep your snow blower running smoothly. Here are some tips to follow:
- Check the oil level regularly and change it as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Keep the snow blower 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 fuel stabilizer in the off-season to keep the fuel fresh and prevent clogging in the carburetor.
When it comes to buying a snow blower, it's important to consider your region, driveway and the features that are most important to you. Choosing a snow blower can be tough, but you can use this handy snow blower page to compare price points and different model features so you get exactly what you need! We have three snow blower collections in stock: Husqvarna, Ariens, and Cub Cadet. Our expert staff are available if you have any questions online or in-store!
Ensuring your snow blower operates smoothly and efficiently requires proper maintenance. While choosing the right snow blower is crucial, you can also perform some light inspection and maintenance tasks at home to keep it in good condition. But for true snow blower 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 snow blowers, snow blower parts, and accessories - or book a snow blower service appointment if you’re in the Moncton area!