Snow Blowers


How Much Horsepower Should a Snowblower Have

February 7th, 2018 ernie Posted in Buying Snow Blowers | No Comments »

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how much horsepower should a snowblower haveMost homeowners with a driveway in snow country have to decide if they will hire a company to clear the snow for them or do it themselves. If they decide to clear the snow themselves, will they do it by hand or purchase a snow blower. How much horsepower should a snowblower have is a common question. It goes without saying that the more horsepower you have, the larger the snowblower will be and the faster it will clear snow for you. But there is much more to buying a snowblower than horsepower.

In this post we will list a series of questions that should be considered before any decision are made and depending on the answers, will lead you to a particular type of blower. Of course the more features you want, the more this machine will cost as well.

From a practical perspective, considerations for such things as:

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  • Storage location when not in use?
  • How large an area do you need to clear?
  • How much time do you have or can deal with clearing snow?
  • Is it light snow or heavy snow?
  • Is the area level or does it have a slope?

How Much Horsepower Should a Snowblower Have?

Then there are the features that appeal to each consumer. Some are must haves, while others are nice to have features. It can be almost like purchasing a car. If you need one particular feature, it may be bundled with several other nice to have features that is in a higher price bracket.

Here is a list of features for consideration, split into must have and nice to have from the writers perspective:

Must Have

  • An electric starter allows you to plug into a suitable GFCI three-prong power receptacle to start the engine rather than using a manual recoil-starter.
  • Single-hand operation allows for easy adjustments while operating the blower.
  • Speed controls let you select the pace of the machine in forward or reverse.
  • A remote chute control lets you adjust the direction the blower will discharge the snow.

Nice to Have

  • A more powerful gasoline engine (higher cc or cubic centimeter rating) or electric motor (higher amps rating) translates to more clearing ability.
  • Clearing width and intake height determine how much snow the machine can take in. Greater width and height can reduce chore time, particularly with tall drifts.
  • Power steering gives you superior maneuverability.
  • Large tires offer traction and easier steering. Some models have dual tires on each side for even better grip.
  • Tracks or treads replace wheels on some models for traction on a variety of terrain types.
  • A joystick chute control provides more convenience for directing the snow.
  • An extended chute or deflection extension reduces blow-back of the discharged snow.
  • Drift cutters cut through deep snow and can help move snow into the auger.
  • A headlight improves visibility where you’re working.
  • Heated handgrips make the work more comfortable.

Some of the nice to have features might move into must have if you have hilly terrain, heavy snow or need finger tip controls to steer and direct the snow. Evaluate each depending on your personal situation. If in doubt go for the feature and have as much horsepower as you can. It will make sure work clearing snow and lead to a lot less frustration.

For more posts about buying snow blowers, click here.

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Briggs and Stratton Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 250cc Engine and Electric Start

February 1st, 2018 ernie Posted in 27 " Wide Blowers, Briggs & Stratton | No Comments »

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Briggs & StrattonThe Briggs & Stratton Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 250cc Engine and Electric Start convenience is a great machine for the average homeowner. slightly smaller at 27 inches wide it is easier to store in a garage or out building. It comes with friction disc drive and multiple speeds forward and reverse, remote chute control for one handed control and a powered LED light for safe operation at night. this snow thrower is only available within the US at the time of writing. There were 204 customer reviews with 76% of those rated four or better at the time of writing. Most people loved the machine from the time they received it, while some people had issues with the warranty and customer service. this Briggs & Stratton snow thrower is made in China. One buyer received a defective machine and had a lot of difficulty getting it dealt with.

Briggs & Stratton Description:

Features:

  • Friction disc
  • 27″ clearing width
  • Remote chute control
  • No Steering Control
  • Powered light
  • Electric Starter / Manual Start
  • Carb Compliant

Specifications:

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  • Drive type: Friction disc
  • Engine: 250 cc
  • Stage: Two Stage
  • Max power: 11.5 pounds of torque
  • Rated speed: na
  • Auger: 12 inch stell scroll
  • Impeller: Steel
  • Folding Handles: na
  • Padded Handles: na
  • Heated Handles: na
  • Electric Start: yes
  • Single Hand Direction Control: yes
  • Clearing width: 27 inch
  • Intake Height: 20 inch
  • Weight: 189 pounds
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Light: yes
  • Tires: 14 inch by 4 inch tires

Customer Reviews

There were 204 reviews, with 76% indicating a rating of 4 or better. The vast majority of people were very satisfied with this machine. There were some minor complaints about warranty and customer service issues. They did not indicate if this was an Amazon issue or a supplier issue.

For more reviews of various sized snow throwers, including  Briggs & Stratton snow throwers, check out the various categories for size and type.

 

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Briggs and Stratton Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 306cc Engine and Electric Start

January 25th, 2018 ernie Posted in 29 " Wide Blowers, Briggs & Stratton | No Comments »

The Briggs and Stratton Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 306cc Engine and Electric Start snow thrower is a powerful machine with an 87% approval rating as of the time of writing on Amazon. With a Twenty nine inch clearing width, this machine will make short work of even the largest driveways. Combined with an electric starter and dual trigger, this machine can be handled easily. Just let it do the work and remember to push the buttons and not try to man handle it. It weighs in at over 300 pounds,  so it is heavy and operators need to use the controls to maneuver it. this Briggs and Stratton snow thrower also has a light for night time work and safety.

Briggs and Stratton Description:

Features:

  • Gear drive with dual trigger steering
  • 29″ clearing width
  • Powered electric chute control
  • Large 12 inch wheels provide traction
  • Steering Control Dual trigger
  • Powered light
  • Electric Starter  – push button/ Manual Start
  • Carb Compliant

Specifications:

  • Drive type: Gear drive
  • Engine: 306cc
  • Stage: Two Stage
  • Max power: 14.5 torque
  • Rated speed:  – na
  • Auger: steel notched
  • Impeller: steel
  • Folding Handles: na
  • Padded Handles: na
  • Heated Handles: na
  • Electric Start: yes
  • Single Hand Direction Control: yes
  • Clearing width: 29 inches
  • Intake Height: 19.5 inches
  • Weight: 300 pounds
  • Fuel: gasoline
  • Light: yes

Customer Review Summary

At the time of writing this review there were 16 reviews, 87% were 4 or higher. Most customers were really happy with the machine, one was unhappy because the website did not seem to work well and the other did not really provide a use able comment. a waste of time really. Positive reviews included that it arrived on time, as advertised and cleared snow with no problems. They were more than satisfied with the machine.

For more posts about Briggs and Stratton Snow blowers click on category link for the type and size you are interested in.

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Does Snowthrower Size Matter

January 21st, 2018 ernie Posted in Buying Snow Blowers | No Comments »

Does Snowthrower Size MatterThere are many factors that consumers should consider when they purchase a snowthrower. One of these is whether, does snowthrower size matter. And yes the size does matter for a number of different reasons.Many consumers will opt for a smaller machine in the 24 inch wide variety. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this size of machine. In fact they are much easier to store, taking up less room in an otherwise already cramped garage. The clear snow just fine and will do the job for most consumers dealing with relatively light snowfalls, 2 car width driveways and 2 car length driveways. Clearing snow will take 10 to 15 minutes and unless you are dealing wiht heavy wet snow or really well packed snow, these machines work just fine.

Does Snowthrower Size Matter

If speed is a factor then yes a wider machine will make faster work of clearing snow. Wider machines, 28 inch for example come with larger tires, a more powerful engine and they weigh several hundred pounds more. Traction is better and they have the power to throw the snow further.

Anyone with a long driveway will appreciate using a wider machine simply because it takes less time. Consumers who regular experience heavy snow falls or packed snow at the end of the driveway from the snow plow will also enjoy using a more powerful machine.

From experience of using both machines the writer can tell you that even for a relatively small driveway, clearing snow is much easier with a larger more powerful snowthrower. The big stumbling block of course is the room it takes in the garage, which is at a premium. Still I would rather use this larger machine than fight through heavy snow with one that is lighter and less powerful.

For more thoughts on snow blower features and what you should consider when purchasing a snow blower, click here.

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Does Snowblower Size Matter

January 7th, 2018 ernie Posted in Snow Blower Features | No Comments »

Does Snowblower Size MatterThe answer to the question, does snowblower size matter, is not really for most people. If you have a single car width driveway or even one that is two car widths wide, it really will not take long to clear the snow. Unless you have a really long driveway, then 10 minutes of snow blowing and your done, even with a smaller 24 inch wide machine.  You may need 5 to 10 passes depending on the width of the driveway and your done.

There are a number of other factors that some people may want to consider before making a decision to purchase a 24 inch wide snowblower or a 28 inch or even wider machine. One of the significant issues for many people is where will they store the snowblower. A big machine takes a lot of room in your garage. If you only have a single car garage, you may not even get  your car in the garage with the lawn mower and the snowblower taking up a lot of room,

Other Factors about Does Snowblower Size Matter

Long driveways will take longer to clear with a small snow blower. If time is not a factor for you then no worries about a small machine from this perspective.

Larger snow blowers, 28 inch and larger are heavier and come with more powerful engines. They tend to slip less on the ice and snow and they have the power to chop through snow drifts and blow it further. It might still only take ten minutes, but you struggle a lot less with heavy snow.

Consider the snow that the snow plow dumps in your driveway. This is hard packed and sometimes with chunks of ice mixed in. A stronger more powerful snow blower will deal with this snow much easier than the smaller ones. Power, weight and size do matter in these conditions.

Having operated both a 24 inch and a 28 inch snowblower with a 2 car width driveway that is 2 car lengths long, I can tell you that I am much happier with the larger machine. The extra power that comes with the extra weight makes a huge difference in heavy wet snow conditions.

For more thoughts on snow blower features and what you should consider when purchasing a snow blower, click here.

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Snowthrower Features that Matter

December 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Snow Blower Features | No Comments »

features that matterManufacturers are adding more and more features to snowthrowers to compete and also justify their prices. However, there are some basic features that consumers find are must haves. They will make their job of clearing snow from their driveways just a little bit easier. Everyone places different priorities on these features that matter. These priorities are based on their own likes and dislikes. Prioritize them and go shopping for what makes sense based on where you live. Also take into account the amount of snow you receive every year. For example, tire chains are not included on the list. However if you have a steep slope to clear, tire chains could be very important.  Select the features that make the most sense for your situation. Our research shows that the following snowthrower features that matter are what consumers like the most:

  • Multi Speed
  • Single Hand Operation
  • Chute Control
  • Headlight for Night Time Operation
  • Accelerator
  • Electric Starter
  • Easy Maneuverability
  • Handgrips that are Heated
  • Easy Storage
  • Sufficient Power
  • Easy Maintenance

Snowthrower Features that Matter

Multi Speed – allows you to slow the forward speed down in heavy snow and speed it up for lighter snow conditions as well as transporting from one location to another.

Single Hand Operation – allows you to control the forward speed and engage the auger at the same time while adjusting the direction your blowing snow by adjusting the chute.

Chute Control – the minimum is a crank that allows you to turn the chute in the direction you want to blow the snow. Some controls offer height adjustment as well, although these appear to be more difficult to control.

Headlight for Night Time Operation – in most urban areas there is more than sufficient light to blow snow at night. But a headlight provides safety as well allowing cars to easily see you on the side of the road with the headlight in operation.

Accelerator – adjusts the power levels for whatever conditions you are dealing with.

Electric Starter – makes starting your snow blower very easy. Some can be more difficult to start manually especially when the engine is still cold.

Easy Maneuverability – included on most larger machines, these controls allow you to lock one wheel or the other to turn the machine in the direction you want to go. Turning a snowthrower can be difficult if you are on pavement.

Handgrips that are Heated – this is a nice to have feature especially if you are blowing snow in really cold weather. The first thing to get cold is the finger tips and this feature is much appreciated by many consumers.

Easy Storage – always consider where you will store your snowthrower and whether you have sufficient room

Sufficient Power – more powerful machines will make a faster job of clearing snow and often have more features such as the heated grips and easier maneuverability. Having used both large and small machines, the writer much prefers a 28 inch or larger width snow thrower.

Easy Maintenance – in most cases maintenance consists of changing the oil, lubricating the chute and auger, checking the spark plug and belts. Decide if you are comfortable with these small jobs or will need a maintenance plan.

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SnowBlower Features that Matter

December 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Snow Blower Features | No Comments »

features that matterThousands of snowblowers are purchased every year and consumers have a variety of priorities about the features they feel they need in a snowthrowing machine. Our web site team has completed some research to come up with the popular snowblower features that matter to most consumers. We also provide a description of each and why they feel this feature was important to them. If you are looking for a snowblower, add these items to your check list of features that may be important to you. Obviously price is important but sometimes it does not make sense to forgo these features. You are going to be using this snowblower for many years, so make sure it is what you want and are comfortable operating it.

SnowBlower Features that Matter

  • Airless Tires
  • Easy turn controls
  • Heated Handgrips
  • Electric Starter
  • Engine Speed control
  • Headlight
  • Controls for Chute direction
  • Multi Speed Forward and Reverse
  • Single Hand Operation

Airless Tires – more and more companies are offering this feature. No flat tires to repair and soft tires to fill with air.

Easy turn controls – allows the operator to steer the machine with the press of a button or lever. Wresting a heavy machine can be difficult to do in snow conditions.

Heated Hand grips – keep your fingers warm particularly in extremely cold weather. It is the fingers even in heavy duty gloves that are the first thing to get cold.

Electric Starter – makes it much easier to start the engine, especially when they are cold and sometimes difficult to start with a pull chord.

Engine Speed control – adjusting the engine speed is another way of controlling the ground speed and the snow throwing distance.

Headlight – provides safety at night as well as lights your way along the edge of roads and sidewalks.

Controls for Chute direction – Ensure that the controls for setting the direction the snow is thrown are easy to use and easily available to the operator. Some machines will also have controls to adjust the height of the snow throwing chute as well.

Multi Speed Forward and Reverse – multiple speeds in both directions allow you to adjust the speed to coincide with the ground conditions, the density of the snow etc. High speed for light snow and ground transfer, slow speed for heavy snow clearing makes removing the snow much easier.

Single Hand Operation – is also useful when you need to steer with one hand and adjust the throttle engine speed or adjust the chute direction at the same time, without having to stop forward motion.

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Replacing Belts on Snowblowers

November 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Replacing Belts on SnowblowersReplacing Belts on Snowblowers is not something that operators really want to do very often. In fact the average residential owner should probably never have to replace any belts. This assumes that they are only clearing their own relatively short driveway. It also assumes that they do not engage the forward drive wheels when the wheels are blocked. The same thing applies to the auger as well. You risk burning the belt and breaking it as it heats up. If there is ice or snow blocking the auger, first shut the machine off. Then use a broom handle or a special snow clearing tool to remove the ice and snow from the auger. Never put your hands near the auger.

The auger could turn 90 degrees once the pressure is released. This would be sufficient to slice a finger or even a hand off. Back to replacing belts on Snowblowers.

Replacing Belts on Snowblowers

The first step is to check the condition of the belts. There is a plastic housing that covers the pulleys and belts. It is located between the engine and the chute of the snowblower. Remove two bolts that hold it in place and then remove the plastic housing.

You should see two belts, each on a different set of pulleys.  Make sure the engine is turned off and cannot be started. Examine the condition of the belts. Look for fraying or splitting.

Check your manual for the correct belt size. Replace both if frayed. You might as well replace both even though one of them may appear to be fine.

Depending on the snow blower you may have to temporarily separate the engine from the blower housing. Access the belts by splitting the machine in the middle. Replace the belts and then reassemble the housing with the engine.

Start the engine. Is it assembled properly? You may have to adjust the tension to ensure it engages properly. Always turn the engine off before making any tension adjustments.

A small engine mechanic can complete the repairs. You may have to have it picked up and delivered for repairs to be completed. for more repair related posts, click here.

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Snow Thrower Pre Season Maintenance

October 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Snow Throwers | No Comments »

Snow Thrower Pre Season MaintenanceYour snow thrower pre season maintenance is due. There is no better time to do this work than now before it gets really cold. Pre-season maintenance is easy when it is still warm. No one wants to be dealing with a snow thrower that will not run properly in cold weather. Especially after that first snow fall when it is really cold and there is lots of snow. We have listed a number of steps for consumers to consider. If you are uncomfortable doing this work yourself, at least test start your machine. Make sure that it is running smoothly. If not arrange for a mechanic to tune it up. The following are the steps to consider.

Snow Thrower Pre Season Maintenance Activities

Always refer to your snow throwers service manual for any details and questions. These are the areas you should be review as part of the pre season maintenance activities:

  • Check Spark Plug
  • Assess Belts
  • Measure Tire Pressure
  • Grease Auger
  • Confirm Light is Working
  • Assess for Loose Bolts
  • Test Start with Fresh Gasoline
  • Clean Carburetor if Needed
  • Test all Gears
  • Run Auger and Impeller

More Details

Check Spark Plug – Remove the spark plug and remove any corroded material. You will need to reset the gap of the electrode or install a new plug after setting the gap properly

Assess Belts – All belts need to be at the proper tension. Replace if showing signs of wear.

Measure Tire Pressure – Make sure they are at the proper pressure. Tires seldom need replacement. However if they are showing cracks or losing air frequently, you may want to replace them.

Grease Auger – At the nipples in the auger with a grease gun and always use regular grease for this purpose.

Check Light is Working – Check connections and / or replace as needed

Look for Loose Bolts – Confirm all visible bolts are tight and secure

Test Start with Fresh Gasoline

Start the engine and let it run for 5 to 10 minutes

Clean Carburetor if Needed – If the engine runs rough, you may need to have the carburetor cleaned

Test all Gears – Test all gears in both forward and reverse direction.

Run Auger and Impeller – Make sure the area is clear. Then engage the auger to test that it works properly.

Change the oil – Now that the engine is warm, you can change the engine oil. Place fresh oil in the machine as per the manufacturers instructions.

That is about it for basic level maintenance to get ready for the coming winter. Major repairs may need the services of a small engine mechanic if you are not comfortable doing this yourself.

 

 

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Snow Blower Pre Season Maintenance

October 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Maintenance | No Comments »

It is time to start thinking about doing snow blower pre season maintenance. It is still not that cold and relatively comfortable to work outside on equipment. Much more than after that first snow fall and you are trying to start your snow blower for the first time in the cold weather. A snow blower is pretty basic, however there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that it runs smoothly for you on the first day of winter after a large snow fall. We will list them and then give you a bit more detail on each.

Snow Blower Pre Season Maintenance Activities

Always refer to your service manual for any details and questions. These are the items you should be reviewing as part of the pre season maintenance activities:

  • Check Spark Plug
  • Check Belts
  • Check Tires
  • Grease Auger
  • Check Light is Working
  • Check for Loose Bolts
  • Test Start with Fresh Gasoline
  • Clean Carburetor if Needed
  • Test all Gears
  • Test Auger and Impeller
  • Oil Change

Check Spark Plug – remove the spark plug, clean the electrode and reset the gap. If badly corroded, replace with a new one.

Check Belts – for proper tension. Adjust tension pulleys if needed

Check Tires – for proper air pressure, any cuts or cracks. Replace if needed

Grease Auger – find the grease nipples and apply crease using a grease gun

Check Light is Working – replace bulb if needed and check connections

Check for Loose Bolts – make sure all bolts are tight and secure

Test Start with Fresh Gasoline – add fresh gasoline that has been treated with conditioner. Start your engine and let it run for 5 or 10 minutes to ensure there are no problems with the filter and carb.

Clean Carburetor if Needed – if your engine is difficult to start or runs roughly, then you may need to have the carb cleaned.

Test all Gears – make sure all forward and revers gears engage and work properly with adequate power

Test Auger and Impeller – make sure the auger and impeller are clear and then engage to confirm proper operation.

Oil Change – drain the engine oil into a pan, and reinstall fresh oil in the engine following the manufacturers instructions.

These are the basics of getting your snow blower ready for the coming season. Anything more serious may need the services of a small engine mechanic.

 

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