How to choose a snow thrower

If you’ve come to the conclusion that shoveling snow just isn’t your thing, it may be time to invest in a winter power tool. With as much snow as some parts of Canada can see during the winter months, there is absolutely nothing wrong with enlisting the help of technology. In fact, certain models may be worth your consideration even if you don’t get that much snow, or if your property isn’t particularly large. For some people, opting to hang up the shovel is a matter of health, and for others it’s simply about saving time.

No matter why you’re looking to pack some power behind your snow clearing, you’ll find that there is a snow thrower, snow blower, or electric snow shovel for every circumstance. Here’s a look at how to choose the best model for your needs.

If you’ve never looked into snow throwers before, the first you will notice is that there is a lot of variety. So, we thought we would take a look at some of these terms, to help you understand exactly what they mean and why you might need a snow thrower with those specifications.

Gas Powered Snow Throwers and Blowers

This is the classic snow thrower or blower that most people are used to seeing. You maintain it much in the same way you would maintain a gas mower. Gas must be added, oil must be changed and the engine will need annual servicing. However, you will find that gas snow throwers and snow blowers are the most powerful options on the market. If you have a large property or typically need to clear a lot of snow every season, this is probably going to be your best bet.

Electric Snow Throwers

There are two types of electric snow throwers: corded and cordless. These models do not require fuel, oil or annual engine service. They start out anywhere from 8amps in an electric show shovel(more on these later), to 15 amps for a proper thrower and upwards. Most cordless varieties are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Snow Blower vs. Snow Thrower

While you may hear most people using these two terms interchangeably, according to industry experts, the difference between a snow blower and a snow thrower comes down to power. The consensus seems to be that a snow thrower is a single-stage machine that picks the snow up and throws out through the chute.

By contrast, a snow blower is typically a two-stage machine that scoops and feeds snow to an impeller (or fan), which then blows the snow out of the chute.

Single-Stage, Two-Stage, Three-Stage

Whether you’re buying gas or electric you may come upon different available “stages”. These different stages refer to the power behind the machine.

A Single-Stage Snow thrower is your best bet for smaller jobs. If you only need to clear a small driveway or your snowfall isn’t typically that heavy, then this may be all the power you need. If you don’t need to tackle more than 20 centimeters of snow, a single-stage should work out well.

A Two-Stage Snow blower will have power going to the wheels in order to facilitate snow removal from larger properties. A fan also helps to send the snow out through the shoot. This model can also be used on surface other than pavement.

Three-Stage Snow blowers are the most powerful.

Electric Snow Shovels

An electric shovel is the smallest option available. This type of snow thrower is not wheel-assisted, which means you still have to carry it around. However, they only way about 14 pounds and come equipped with a powerful paddle auger that can throw snow up to 25 ft. This makes them great for clearing walkways, decks and steps.

Choosing Your Snow thrower

When choosing your snow thrower, the two most important things to consider are: the amount of snow you typically need to move, plus the size and composition of the area that needs to be cleared. This means that if you need to clear a single-car driveway and a walkway in an area that receives fewer than 20 centimeters of snow, a single-stage model should suffice.

Other factors to consider are whether you would prefer gas or electric, the size of the machine (and your ability to store it), and of course, maneuverability and the price.

Prior to heading out to your local home improvement store, take time to do some research into the different models. Look online and read reviews of the different products. This will help you feel confident and informed when making your final choice in-store.