What Size Snow Blower Do I Need?
Snow blowers are some of the most feature-laden machines out there. If you are done shoveling snow out of the driveway and want to give your back a much-needed break, you need to invest in a snow blower. And we are using the term “invest” literally because some of these machines can cost thousands of dollars.
So how do you select the best snow blower for your needs that would also fit in your budget? An excellent way to start is to find the perfect snow blower size and look at those products.
Snow Blower Types – All You Need To Know
Before we tell you about the size of snow blowers, you need to know the different types of snow blowers. Why? Because the size varies considerably based on the type of blower.
Snow Blowers can be divided into five broad categories:
- Single-Stage Electric
- Single-Stage Gas
- Dual-Stage Gas
- Triple-Stage Gas
You would’ve noticed that the fundamental difference lies on two grounds – power source and stage. Let’s see how each of these factors affects the size.
Battery-powered blowers feature the most compact and lightweight designs. Although the market for battery-powered snow blowers is growing, these machines aren’t as conventional as electric, and gas blowers are today. They are capable of clearing low amounts of snow cover and come as single-stage blowers only.
Electric blowers can be slightly bigger than their battery-powered counterparts. Although they pack in a more powerful punch (owing to a higher and more consistent power source), they also come as single-stage blowers only due to limited snow removal capacity.
Gas blowers are the biggest and most powerful of them all. The machine needs to house a fuel tank, so expect its size to be bigger than the other two.
Size Related to Stage?
Now let’s talk about the stages and see how they affect the size. But first, you need to know how one-stage, two-stage, and three-stage snow blowers are different. It is all about how the snow is fed into the machine and thrown out of it.
If there is only one part (auger) doing that job, it is a single-stage blower. If there are two parts – auger for feeding snow into the machine and impeller for throwing it out of the chute – it is a two-stage blower. If there are three parts, wherein an accelerator is added to the auger and the impeller, it is a three-stage blower.
It is not rocket science that more the parts of a machine, the larger its size will be. So single-stage blowers are the smallest and three-stage blowers are the biggest of the lot.
How Much Snow?
To answer, “What size snow blower do you need?” you first need to ask, “How much and what kind of snow do you need to remove?” Small-sized (single-stage) snow blowers will not be capable enough to clear more than six-to-ten inches of light and dry snow. If you live in an area that does not have frequent snowfall, your snow removal projects could be completed using a small machine.
Medium-sized (two-stage) snow blowers are capable of clearing 10 to 18 inches of snow cover. Most of these machines can remove moderate amounts of wet, heavy snow as well.
Large-sized (three-stage) snow blowers can quickly clear more than 20 inches of snow. These machines are designed to tackle the most challenging snow removal tasks. If you experience heavy snowfall, this is the right choice.
Area to Be Covered
The next factor that determines the optimal size of snow blowers is the area you need to cover. If you are looking to remove snow from a single-car driveway and a couple of sidewalks, a small-sized blower will get the job done. If you’re going to remove snow from a large multi-car driveway or deck, you would have to obtain a medium-sized blower.
It is rare for a homeowner to need a large-sized snow blower. The only time it would serve as the best option in terms of area coverage would be if you had to clear snow from an area that is hundreds of feet wide.
Perhaps the most critical aspect to consider when you try finding the perfect size of snow blower for your needs is the inlet size. Rather than finding the ideal overall size, we recommend you to find the perfect inlet size.
The inlet height decides the depth of snow that can be taken in at once by the machine. Be aware that the actual intake height is often close to only 75% of the inlet height. So, if you want your snow blower to be able to clear eight inches deep snow cover, go for a machine that has an inlet height of 12 inches.
The inlet width determines the number of passes to be made to cover an area. It is not as crucial as the inlet height. It is basic math here. If you want to clear a 10 feet wide driveway with a blower that has a clearing width of 24 inches, it will take you five passes. If the width were 12 inches, it would take you ten passes.
The efficiency and time taken for snow removal are very much dependent on the inlet size.
The final factor that affects the size of a snow blower is its engine. Single-stage gas blowers come with a 200cc engine or less. Two-stage blowers come equipped with 300cc engines on average, while the engines for three-stage blowers can have more than 400cc of horsepower.
The more powerful the engine, the larger would be the snow blower size. Also, more powerful engines often consume more fuel, which means a larger fuel tank.
Summing It Up
While it will not harm to think about the size of a snow blower before buying one, we recommend you focus more on the features and the overall performance. It can be a good starting point when eliminating unsuitable options out of hundreds of snow blowers in the market. But the final decision should not be based solely on the size.