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Choosing the right snowblower

The right machine makes snow removal a lot more tolerable

We have a walk-behind single-stage snowblower that is put to good use every winter. It’s not a big and powerful two-stage unit like my neighbors’ machine, but it’s better than shoveling.
 
Paul Sikkema is the owner of a website called movingsnow.com and analyzes all things snowblower. He says most snowblowers do a good job, but choosing between a single-stage or two-stage machine generally depends on how much snow you get.

"Single-stage basically has just a paddle out front that grabs the snow and then throws it off to the side. Most of those work for 1”-6” snows very well. Two-stage machines are really designed for the heavier snows," says Sikkema. "They have a front auger that grabs the snow and chews it up, and then that throws it into an impeller that throws the snow a long distance."

The majority of snowblowers are gas-powered. However there are electric and cordless single-stage units that are perfect for clearing small spaces, or for areas that only get a couple inches of snow.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve bought one, Sikkema says snowblowers come with many more features than they used to.

"The majority of the ones today have what’s called ‘power steering’, a trigger on the bottom of the handle that you just pull and it turns the machine for you. The controls up on top that control the chute and the deflector, most of those today you can access right from the dash," says Sikkema. "They call them 2-way and 4-way chute controls."

Snowblowers do require upkeep, so Sikkema stresses buying from a dealer that can provide parts and maintenance.

Find more tips for choosing the right snowblower for you

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