Before purchasing something as expensive as a snow blower it's best to explore all of your options. You first need to determine what type and size of snow blower will do the job for you. The next step should be reading some reviews of snow blowers, ones that are best suited to handle your snow needs.
Snow blowers are similar to lawnmowers, you walk behind them and they do the rest. And just like lawnmowers, snow blowers come in different sizes and prices. The least expensive snow blowers are single-stage units. This is where the auger chops the snow and then throws it out of the chute. These are normally powered by a two stroke engine, like most weed eaters.
A single-stage snow blower will work fine for smaller walks and driveways and is all a lot of us really need. The prices for these units start as low as a few hundred dollars and end at under a thousand. With a single-stage snow blower the auger will be in contact with the ground so it is safer to keep these units on concrete.
If you normally have more than six inches of snow to deal with, or have a gravel driveway to clear, a two-stage snow blower would work better for you. These snow blowers have an impeller that grabs the snow chopped up by the auger and throws it out the chute. They also have wheels that can keep the auger from coming in contact with the ground. The wheels are also powered, so pushing the unit is minimal.
Two-stage snow blowers are much heavier and larger than the single-stage models. They also have much larger engines, usually 4-stroke, meaning they can burn on regular gas, without an oil mixture. These larger engines can also come equipped with electric starters, so cranking them over on those freezing cold mornings is not such a chore.
The next thing you need to decide is how big do you need your snow blower to be. The sizes can range between a twelve inch width to a twenty eight inch width. This will determine how many times you will need to go up and down the driveway to clear off the snow. Consider also the storage space required to keep the unit out of the elements when not in use. Another size consideration will be that of the engine. While the single-stage units may use just a small two cycle engine, the two-stage blowers can hold up to a monster twelve horse power 4 stroke engine. How much power you need will be determined by the size of your unit, the size of the area you want to clear and the depth of the snow you will normally use it on.
One of the least expensive options for removing snow, without actually shoveling it, is the power shovel. These are light weight electric snow blowers that are nice on the pocket book and perfect for small jobs. A good choice for one these is the Toro Power Shovel selling for just over a hundred dollars.
A couple of good choices for a single-stage snow blower are the Toro 1800 Power Curve and the Toro Power Clear 210R38587. These are priced at just over three hundred dollars and just under six hundred.
For a larger two-stage snow blower consider the Craftsman 88957 and the Troy-Bilt Storm. For these you can expect to pay about six hundred and eleven hundred.
An excellent place to review snow blowers is your nearest Home Depot or Lowes store, or their respective web sites. At the stores you can compare the different sizes and ask questions about all the different options. You can them come home and search the web for the best prices. You may decide to order one online or go back the hardware store, but at least you will know you are getting the best snow blower for your needs at the best price.
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