(STL.News) The winter will be here soon, and with it comes to the coldest weather of the year. Many of us live in areas where heavy rainfall, high winds, and low temperatures are expected, as well as often heavy snowfall. We simply have to get on with life, but it can be a chore when you wake up on a morning and find a foot or more of snow covering your drive and paths!
For most people, that means getting the shovel out and clearing the drive so the car can get out, as well the paths on and around your land so that nobody slips and injures themselves. It’s not what you want to do on a cold and wet winter morning!
For others, and they are the sensible among us, it’s a quick job done with a snowblower that takes most of the effort out of a job. What is a snowblower, and why do you need one? Think of a snowblower and a powered shovel. Snow is often difficult to move and is not the simple compound we consider it to be – you can learn more about snow here – so these powerful machines are designed to clear your paths, drive, and yard as quickly as possible. How do they work? Let’s have a closer look!
What is Snowblower?
There is some confusion that we need to clear up as there are two names used for snowblowers – that is one and the other is snow thrower. Essentially, they are the same thing, but there can be differences. For example, you will find a reference to one-stage and two-stage machines, and we’ve got a separate section on those to follow. You’ll also find that there are gas-powered and electric models. But what do they do?
Each model moves the snow by way of an augur, which picks up the snow as it moves along the path, drive, or yard. These machines can pick up far more than a standard shovel and are surprisingly efficient. What they do than throw the snow a distance from the area you are clearing. The two different stage types do this in different ways, and we’ll talk about this later.
So, do you choose electric or gas, and which is more expensive? Gas-powered models are strongly recommended if you live in an area of very high falls and have a large area to cover. They are sometimes heavier to move around than the electric models, which use a rechargeable battery to enable them to have the greatest range.
The choice is up to the individual but suffice to say that the gas models are usually bigger and have a wider reach, and are the type used by commercial and municipal operators for greater delivery and performance. So, now that we have the basics, let’s talk about single and two-stage snowblowers – what is the difference, and why does it matter?
One Stage or Two-Stage?
The best way to explain the difference is this: a one-stage snowblower picks up the snow and throws in one move. It throws it in a set direction, although some can be adjusted to throw in a chosen way. These are simple machines that should be considered for smaller to average size areas and will clear a good deal of snow in a short time. They are also cheaper than two-stage models.
The two-stage snow blower is a more complex beast. It picks up the show with the auger and then delivers it to an impeller, which is akin to a large fan propellor. This then distributes the snow in the direction you require, and they are far more powerful than single-stage machines. For anyone with a larger area to cover, or where snowfall is regularly heavy and thick, the two-stage machine is most certainly the one to consider in terms of ability and power.
If you want to look at some models in detail, you can find everything you need to know at this excellent snowblower review, which looks at some of the best models on the market and highlights the pros and cons of the various types. So, which one is for you? It might be a difficult decision – and that review will help – so here’s some advice on what you need to think about, as well as the prices you can expect to pay.
What to Look for and What to Pay
There are some important factors to consider. The first is the type of power you want. We’ve talked above about the various benefits of both electric and gas-powered models, so this is really a choice based upon the type of snowfall you get and the amount of space you have to clear. Gas-powered is recommended for greater areas.
You also need to consider whether to pay more for a two-stage model, and this can be a touch more expensive. Once again, for larger areas, this is the preferred choice as it will pack more of a punch. Then there’s the clearance width; 24inches is the standard for a two-stage machine but maybe a bit wide for some people. A 20-inch model may be better for such circumstances.
Now we need to talk about price. These are not cheap machines by any means, but they are very useful for the right person and will make life a lot easier in the winter months. Here are a couple of examples:
- Husqvarna ST224p is a two-stage gas model from a top brand with 24inch clearance and considerable power and can be bought for in the region of $960.
- Yardmax 22” is a budget model from a good brand with a smaller gas engine, and will cost around $650 at the time of writing
As the above examples show, there can be quite a variety in prices, so make sure you shop around for the best deal when choosing your preferred snowblower, and you will find some excellent bargains to be had.