The Best Snow Blowers of 2016

Snow Blower Features To Look For

Power

Snow blowers (or throwers) come in two models: gas-powered or electric. As is common with gas-powered equipment, these snow blowers have more power, but also require maintenance and are not environmentally-friendly. OHV engines counter some of those emissions, because they are more energy-efficient. When you’re looking at gas blowers, bear in mind the power of the engine can be found in the “cc” measurement, which stands for “cubic centimeters.” Many brands no longer put the horsepower on their snow blowers. Anything 200cc and above should be enough power for most snow-clearing jobs. On the other side, corded electric snow blowers are emission-free and can save you lots of money. More compact snow blowers have about 7-7.5 amps and are ideal for sidewalks, steps, and decks. These lower-powered models can clear 300 pounds of snow per minute. Higher-amp electric snow blowers have between 12-15 amps, and can clear 650-850 pounds of snow per minute. There are even some electric snow blowers with as many as 30 amps, though those are quite expensive.

Clearing path and depth

The length and depth of a snow blower’s path determines how much snow you can clear and how fast you can do it. Compact snow blowers meant for lighter residential jobs usually have about a 12-inch wide path and 4-inch depth. Larger snow blowers can handle more snow, and cut between 15-20 inches wide with depths around 9-12 inches. For areas where there’s a lot of snowfall, you can get snow blowers/throwers with 24-inch clearing paths and 21-inch depths.

Durable auger

The auger is the part of the snow blower that cuts the clearing path and depth. They are also sometimes called blades. The auger moves the snow to an impeller and then into the discharge chute. Having a durable auger is crucial, because when it breaks, the snow blower won’t work until you fix it. If it’s weak, it also won’t be able to handle as much snow as it claims it can on the box. Steel is the most popular metal of choice for augers, and they are often tipped in rubber for added durability. Sometimes they have special features, like serrated blades.

Discharge chute

The discharge chute is where the snow blower does its “blowing.” All the snow gathered by the auger goes to the chute and then blows away from the area you’re clearing. In terms of distance, 20 feet is the standard, and as you go up in power, the snow blowers can reach 30 feet. You can also control the direction of the flying snow using features like a directional discharge crank or 180-degree directional chute. Using the handle (or crank), you can rotate the chute to the desired direction, so snow doesn’t end up somewhere where it’s still in the way. Not all snow blowers have adjustable chutes, though most do, so just check to make sure.

Usability

Using a snow blower/thrower should be as easy and convenient as possible, since no one wants to be working out in the cold for very long. Handles with adjustable, rubber grips are important so you can find the perfect bar height, and avoid back pain. Some handles are telescopic, so adjusting the snow blower is especially easy. Most snow blowers with adjustable handles have three different settings. When it comes to controlling the snowblower and discharge, 4-way joystick controls on the handle make using the tool fast and easy. With gas-powered snow blowers, a gear transmission that allows for both forward and reverse movement allow for more movement.

Weight

If weight is a concern for you, there are lots of compact snow blowers that weigh only 12 or 12 ½ pounds. These snow blowers are best for smaller snow jobs like clearing decks, sidewalks, and driveways. Heavier snow blowers are still under 40 pounds, so you can deal with lots of snow without working with a bulky snow blower/thrower.

Wheels

For snow blower/thrower stability, large wheels are important. Most snow blowers have at least 6-inch wheels. Features like pivots and easy-glide make it easy to navigate the snow blower. Good wheels also help keep the weight off your arms.

Best Snow Blower Brands

GreenWorks

GreenWorks is a somewhat mysterious company in that it’s difficult to find any corporate information about it. While many might see this as odd, GreenWorks does have an impressive list of features. They are all electric or powered by GreenWorks new Lithium System, which boasts an 80-volt battery that’s interchangeable with other GreenWorks tools. In addition to snow blowers, GreenWorks makes lawn equipment and power tools.

Snow Joe

Snow Joe (the winter side of Sun Joe) was founded in 2004 when it released an affordable electric snow shovel called the “Snow Joe.” Over time, they expanded into other electric tools like lawn mowers, tillers, and trimmers. In 2013, Snow Joe released the battery-operated iON, which is not only gas-free, but cord-free.

Toro

Founded in 1914, the Toro Motor Company manufactures landscape equipment for both individuals customers and professionals. Since its establishment, the Toro Motor Company has made several purchases, including Wheel Horse and Lawn-Boy. After a shift in the 1990’s, the company focuses on professional customers, like golf courses, arenas, and parks.

Features of Professional & Commercial Snow Blowers

Safety features

There are two main safety features to be on the lookout for: lights and cord locks. Lights, like a 20-watt halogen light, make working in low-light conditions much safer. It gets dark much earlier in the winter, restricting your snowblowing hours, but with a light, you have a lot more flexibility. Cord locks, which prevent an electric snow blower from unplugging itself, keeps your extension cord in place.

Zero maintenance

The big advantage that electric has over gas is that electric requires zero maintenance. There’s no oil, gas, spark plugs, or other gas-engine issues to concern yourself with. This makes purchasing an electric snow blower, which may initially cost more than a gas one, a great investment and cost-saving choice.

Faster snow removal

For extremely fast snow removal, many snowblower brands are using innovative technologies and designs to put themselves ahead. The Power Curve system, which is a Toro technology, consists of an inverted funnel housing and curved rotor, which speeds up the snowblowing process. The design also helps reduce clogging. Another system to consider is the streamlined auger drive system. This is made of a single rotor with two curved blades. Like the Power Curve system, this auger drive moves snow quickly and efficiently.

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