If you’re like me, with a balky back and a dodgy ticker, you’ll most likely agree with my assertion that removing snow on a below zero day is a task that no-one wants to do… on those really rough, biting winters, it’s a chore that you wouldn’t even wish on your worst enemy. It should also be no mystery that removing snow the old-fashioned, hard-fought way with shovels, scoops, sleighs, and pushers are highly unadvisable for people with heart problems, including myself, and those that fall under the “senior” bracket. Thus, if you live in an area that experiences regular snowfall during winters or experiences snowfall year-round, it is imperative that you invest in a snow blower. Before you get blowing, let’s discuss the things you need to keep in mind before purchasing one.
Single-stage models are built compact and lightweight, roughly the size of a push lawnmower, ideal for use in areas that experience four inches of snowfall or less. This is ideal for driveways, decks, and other level surfaces; using these on gravel though is unadvised, as it can eject it along with snow. These are powered by either batteries or cords, and have modest power, maneuverability, and range capabilities. There are also gas-powered models that offer greater freedom of movement. That being said, these snow blowers run very quietly. Single-stage blowers are called thusly because a plastic auger sucks in the snow and a fan then ejects it via its chute – a one-step process.
These models pack a whole lot more power than single-stage models, and can cover larger swathes of ground; unlike single-stage models, these models are better suited for uneven surfaces, and are not constrained by extension cords or batteries. Due to the fact that these run on straight gasoline and move using engine-powered wheels, it is ideal for people with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease and disabilities, and is thus very easy to use – it makes the arduous task of shoveling snow easier and safer…and for those who actually enjoy it, even better. Three-stage blowers cover even larger swathes of ground, whose main difference is that they perform best when removing snow from gravelly surfaces, because the same auger does not touch the ground. For me, the absolute best two-stage snow blower is the
the Husqvarna ST 230P (see it here at the manufacturer site), which is specially designed to work on all surface types, and all snow conditions. Another good option would be the Husqvarna ST224, which features most of the functionality, at a lesser price to its bigger brother.
Three-stage blowers, which run on gas, are snow blowers that can handle more snow in a lesser amount of time due to the added bonus of an accelerating device, thus enabling to cover more, heavier snowfall than a regular two-stage model. Its speed will be its most attractive factor, but otherwise a two-step blower usually is more than enough for a homeowner’s needs, unless you live in an area that can see over 16 inches of snowfall at a given time.
The choice is clear for people like us with bad backs, bad knees, or bad hearts; two or three-stage snow blowers will make the unenviable task of removing snow from driveways, sidewalks, and pathways much easier…even pleasurable.