While it’s best to keep active over the winter months, you can really overdo it tackling large shoveling jobs. If you want to save that energy for other, more entertaining winter activities, it’s worth considering investing in a snow blower. When picking the perfect snow blower, it’s important to consider the ground beneath the snow. For example, single-stage snow blowers can be dangerous if used on gravel terrain, and electric models can help avoid damage when used on softer surfaces like a wooden deck. While area size should also be taken into account, here’s a brief guide to help you choose the best snow blower for your driveway!
When removing snow on a gravel driveway, the goal is to clear as much as possible without throwing any gravel along with it. Two or three-stage snow blowers (the latter are only available from a few manufacturers) are ideal for gravel, as they allow you to adjust the clearing height. By contrast, single-stage snow blowers clear right to the ground which means the clearing height cannot be adjusted—ending up with gravel being thrown with the snow.
When choosing a snow blower for stamped concrete, make sure its rotating blades do not touch the surface as this can cause cracks and damage. Just like gravel surfaces, a two-stage or a three-stage model are ideal because they let you adjust the clearing height to your preference, so you can avoid touching the ground directly. If you already have a snow blower that makes contact with the ground, make sure its rotating blades are not sharp.
Steep Slopes and Terrain
Steep slopes and terrain are some of the hardest surfaces to clear, so make sure you’re being cautious. Lightweight, engine-driven snow blowers can help take off most of the load while maintaining strong traction, which will help you avoid a slippery fall. If you already own a snow blower that is a little bit heavy, consider adding tire chains to support traction.
Ice and Compacted Snow
There’s nothing like a big pile of thick snow and ice at the end of your driveway to put your snow blower to the test. Single-stage and even some two-stage snow blowers may not have the necessary power to clear it, but three-stage snow blowers will. An additional auger helps ensure that snow and ice is broken up effectively and propelled out the chute without clogging up the works. With that said, make sure you tackle these jobs patiently to give the snow blower time to do its job while avoiding clogs.
While not likely a part of a typical driveway, decks are worth covering as another type of surface that requires special consideration. An important feature to consider when choosing a snow blower for a wooden deck is maneuverability. Electric models are a great option, as they are lightweight and easy to move—making them perfect for those hard-to-reach areas on the deck. An electric model is also ideal because they tend to have plastic paddles instead of metal ones which helps prevent damage on wooden surfaces.
There you have it! Whether you have a gravel, wood or stamped concrete surface, this brief guide will help you make the right choice for your needs. There are lots of detailed guides covering various facets of snow blower purchasing, snow blower use, and snow blower maintenance if you need more info. Look for a manufacturer with a reputable local support network and strong warranty for when you need your snow blower professionally serviced. Check out these other tips for prepping for a major winter storm that go beyond clearing snow.
Oh I would love to own one. Maybe one day.
I definitely learned a number of things through this article. I was wondering about how to clear snow from gravel and learned it is possible to buy a snow blower to help. Great information! Thanks.
You are welcome!
This was a very helpful read, currently my neighbor clears my driveway, this may not always be the case. But for now I’m very lucky.
Also to note, you get what you pay for; cheaper prices snow blowers are useless and especially in Calgary which gets all kinds of snow fall (including heavy, wet snow).
We have a super long driveway so we use a plow on our ATV then use the snow blower to help widen it. Be lost without mine.