Snowblower Buying Guide

Snow Blower Buying Guide

Living in Ottawa pretty much means you need to own a snowblower or hire a snow removal contractor. When deciding on what model is right for you, determine the amount of area you need to remove snow from. If you have a short single driveway a shovel or electric model might be all you need. Anything bigger and you will be glad you invested in a larger more powerful model in the middle of a blizzard during the polar vortex. Snowblowers range from $150-3000 with lots of sizes and features in between. Here are the key features you should know about when choosing what model is right for you.

Single vs Two Stage

All snow blowers use an auger (the corkscrew) that collects and moves the snow. In a single-stage model, the auger is the only moving part that is throwing the snow. In a 2 stage model, there is a fan at the rear of the augers which discharges the snow faster and farther. Single-stage blowers require the user to propel the unit while 2 stage blowers are usually propelled by the unit itself. There are 3 stage models but for residential use, they are not very common.

Small Single Stage Snowblower

2 Stage Snowblower With Impeller Motor

Gas vs. Electric

Gasoline models far outperform any electric model on the market. The nature of moving lots of heavy dense snow is better suited for a combustion engine. Electric models won’t require maintenance, oil changes or have trouble starting but good luck moving large amounts of snow with an electric engine. Then there is the inconvenience of being tethered to your outlet with a long extension cord. Electric models are best suited for small paths or people who have a neighbour with a gas-powered snow blower who can bail them out for those 2-3 Ottawa blizzards!

Wheels vs. Tracks

Most snow blowers have wheels. They are cheaper easier to fix and meet the needs of the majority of snowblower owners. Tracks provide better traction and but the increased complexity limits them to more expensive higher-end units.

Snowblower with tracks instead of wheels

Other Considerations

When purchasing a new snowblower make sure you try out many different models thoroughly. It needs to be big enough for you to comfortably operate the machine for anywhere from 30-120 minutes! The main controls should be adjustable so you can operate it with large boots and don’t forget to check how accessible the snow shute is. Electric starters are a must-have, in minus 30-degree weather you don’t want to be trying to start a gas engine manually. Trust us and look for a model with an electric starter, you’ll be happy you did. 

Are you going to shred the snow with single-stage, 2-stage or pay the professionals to clear your driveway this year? Let us know on the Garage Perfect Facebook Page and we hope mother nature takes it easy on us this winter season.

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