Snow blowers come in a bewildering array of types, models, and designs. Choosing the right one for you depends on your situation and your budget.
Generally, there are electric snow blowers, two-stage snow blowers and track-drive snow blowers.
Electric snow blowers are the basic snow blower option for someone with a small property or relatively light snow conditions. Cordless models are now available that make an unpleasant task easier than ever. There is no dangerous fuel to mix or store and they are push-button start. Options, like an LED light for night work and a rubber scraper bar to protect your deck, are great ideas. These models allow you to clear about a 20” path and blow snow about 20 feet away. Models like this will cost between $200–400, depending on the features.
A two-stage snow blower uses a powerful auger to break up ice and wet snow and then it propels the snow through a chute and away. Solid models will cost about $1,000. Features like electric start, power steering and a rotating chute are great options and will save frustration on cold days. Many models will not require fuel mixing, but these are definitely gas-powered, so expect noise and fumes in keeping with gas motors. For heavy snow areas, look for a blower with more than 200 cc, and closer to 300, if you can.
A track-drive snow blower offers all the options of a two-stage, with the addition of a self-propelling engine that moves at about 5 km/h. Priced at well over $3,000, these machines aren’t for the dusting of snow or occasional dump, but for the steady, heavy snowfalls of Ontario’s snowbelt. They can handle snowplow debris and wet, heavy snow and ice.
Research well and wear appropriate gear. No scarves!