So you’re thinking about buying a snow blower to take on the tough, Canadian winter. But like any big purchase, it’s important to know the must-have features to choose the right snow blower for your needs. If you’ve caught yourself wondering how to make the best choice, read on for the 5 most important features you need to look for.
Clearing width refers to the width of the intake chute and determines how much space you can cover at once. Whether you have a single-car or double-car driveway, the larger the clearing width, the fewer passes you’ll have to make to clear it. On the other hand, if you primarily have to navigate tight walking paths to clear them, then a narrower snow blower might be ideal.
Snow height and clearance
Different sized snow blowers will be appropriate for different amounts of snow. Typically, the smallest snow blowers can clear snow piles of 12” (30 cm), while larger models can clear up to double that. Clearance is another factor to be mindful of. If you have a paved, smooth surface you likely have no need to raise the intake, and can leave the auger at the lowest height. But if you’re clearing snow from gravel or uneven surfaces, the ability to adjust the height of the intake is important to clear as much snow as possible from the surface without picking up and throwing gravel, or rocks onto your lawn or at your home or vehicles.
Engine sizes & Horsepower
From smaller engines that are 200 cc, to midsize 200 to 400 cc engines, to professional-grade 400+ cc engines, engine size determines how much horsepower your snow blower produces and how much snow it can handle.
Larger engines support faster drive systems and can clear larger, and heavier amount of snow – but bigger engines are not always necessary for the average driveway. Generally, small 200 cc engines are ideal for light snow fall under 6”, or for small and smooth driveways. But if you get more snow where you live, you’ll need to move up to a 300 – 400 cc engine.
Of course, with a bigger engine, you will get more horsepower. For a snow blower with an engine ranging from 200 to 400 cc, horsepower outputs can range from six to mid 20s. A stronger engine will also help push through heavier, wetter snow.
Throwing distance refers to how far your snow blower can throw the snow, and ultimately how long you’ll spend clearing your driveway. A shorter throwing distance will work fine for smaller driveways, but if you have a wider driveway, a longer throwing distance will be required to reach the edge.
A shorter throwing distance will mean more passes, more work for your snow blower and more time spent clearing.
Warranty & Support
Getting the right support, parts and customer service is crucial for any ownership experience. Make sure the product you select is in it for the long run. As an example, Cub Cadet snow blowers offer up to a 5-year warranty, easy-to-find certified parts and strong, bilingual Canadian based customer service when you need it.
Nice to have Features:
Now that we’ve covered the basics, there are also some additional features you may want to consider with your snow blower purchase. Things like:
- Push Button Start – So you don’t have to pull a cord on a cold winter day.
- Heated Hand Grips – For more comfort during the toughest clearings
- LED Lights – To light the way for dusk and dawn
Good luck this winter and clear on!