Before you buy, you should consider the following things:
Size of area and snow conditions
The first thing to take into account when buying a snow thrower is the size of the area that you need to clear. Large gardens, pathways and driveways naturally require a bit more power than smaller outdoor spaces.
You should also consider the amount of snow and the typical snow conditions in your region. A snow thrower with a powerful engine and wide working width will save you time if the area is covered in deep, heavy snow, whereas smaller areas covered in dry snow require less power.
Single stage or dual stage
There are two different types of snow throwers: single stage and dual stage. The Dual stage snow thrower is a larger more powerful tool. Dual stage models are most effective for deep, heavy and packed snow removal, while the single stage is best suited for smaller areas covered in dry, powder snow. The auger of the single stage snow thrower actually comes in contact with the ground and it should not be used on gravel surfaces. Lastly, the single stage is much smaller, takes up less space and is lighter than the dual stage snow throwers.
“Many people underestimate the qualities of the single stager. It’s a really good worker and suitable for most homeowners and snow conditions – except those who have a large area to clear and need the extra power of the dual stager”, says Tomas Welin, Product Manager for Snow throwers at Husqvarna.
Start, Steer and Storage
A snow thrower with power steering is easier to manoeuvre than other models. Choose a model with power steering if you need to make lots of turns while you are plowing; either while clearing large open areas or when removing snow from winding pathways. It is a good idea to bring a pair of gloves with you when you test the snow thrower, to make sure the controls are easy to reach and operate even with gloves on. For a trouble-free starting on colder days a model with electric start is the best choice if you have easy access to electrical outlets in your storage space. You can store your snow thrower in your garage or outdoor shed. However, if you have limited space to store your snow thrower, make sure to buy a cover to protect the machine if it’s stored outside.
Snow throwers are powerful machines. Always look carefully for safety labels and ensure to read the instructions for proper operation. Generally, snow throwers are quite loud so it’s a good idea to wear hearing protection. Winter tends to be a darker season, make sure your snow thrower is equipped with headlights so you can easily see in the evening and inclement weather .
Wheels and chutes
The size of the wheels determines the grip you will get; if you live in a region where there is a lot of snow or if you have an irregular terrain, you might want to consider buying a snow thrower with a track drive for better traction.
The type of chute on your snow thrower will determine how far the snow will be thrown and in what direction. Single stage models throw as far as 10 meters (32’), while dual stage models can throw as far as 14 meters (46’) depending on the snow and other conditions.
Final Tip: For a warmer and more comfortable operation, you may want to consider investing in a snow thrower with heated handles :)