Used Snowblower Snowthrower Buyer's Guide


Old 12-13-07, 12:32 PM
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Used Snowblower Snowthrower Buyer's Guide

Most people know NOTHING about shopping for a snowblower. They end up getting dumped on by a HUGE storm and just buy something so they don't have to shovel. Don't fall into that category - READ ON!

There are plenty of machines to choose from, so be choosy. Most that you will find are homeowner used machines. Some aren't - ask the seller if they were used commercially. Commercial machines log a LOT of usage hours & usually are subjected to severe usage. Commercial machines usually have non-factory numbers or letters (stencilled) on them so the owner can differentiate between machines in his fleet. Again, choose carefully.

The MOST IMPORTANT things to consider when choosing a snowblower are: How much area do you have to clear? Is the pavement paved (smooth) or gravel? How much snow do you get during the winter, and how deep can the snow get when you get a "bad one"? Do you require electric start for effortless starting? DO you need a headlight? Keep this in mind while continuing below.

There are 2 kinds of machines - single stage & two stage. Here's the differences between the two:

Single stage's have an auger (the cork-screw thing at the front) that turns at a high RPM. The auger does double duty by breaking up the snow AND throwing it out the chute. They clear right down to the pavement - not a good choice if you have a stone driveway as the stones can be catapaulted out the chute & WILL do damage or cause injury. However - some older single stage machines have adjustable "skids" that allow you to raise the auger AWAY from the pavement - these can be used on a stone driveway. Singles also provide some semi-self propelled motion in forward only (however some older single stage machines can be self propelled), as the auger has rubber strips on it (or is made completely of rubber) that drags on the pavement & moves the machine forward when the operator handle is lifted to a slightly UPWARD position. They must be pulled back manually. The rubber sections do wear out, and will require replacing during some point of the machine's life. Auger rubber is usually screwed/bolted/rivited to the auger shafts & is a fairly simple job to replace. However, some rubber parts can be pricey ($60+) so be prepared. Engines are usually two cycles that require mixing gas with oil. This is not a bad thing, as it simplifies maintenance by eliminating oil changes, but the exhaust can be a tad smokey & there is a slight odor. Many now are being offered with 4 cycle engines - this eliminates the gas & oil mixture.

Last edited by cheese; 12-14-07 at 01:07 AM. Reason: removal of off-site advertising link
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Old 12-15-07, 10:39 AM
indypower500's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: new hampshire
Posts: 118
I just wanted to add to this post. The small suitcase size snowblowers are good for decks, porches, patios, and short walkways. However, if you are clearing your driveway, you really need a full sized snowblower. Keeping in mind how big an area you are clearing and how much snow do you get, what kind of snow(light fluffy or heavy wet) and how often does it usually snow. Here is what to look for:
1) self-propelled. You don't want to be pushing it thru 12" of heavy wet snow. Let the machine do as much work for you as possible.
2) Headlight. When do you do snowblowing? A headlight is needed if you snowblow at night to clear your driveway so you can get to work in the morning.
3) 2 stage. 2 stage blowers are the best. The auger pulls in the snow and the impeller throws the snow.
4) clearing width. How wide a path do you want to clear and how much room do you have in the garage for storage?
I recomend 22-26" width. Anything wider is just overkill. Wider is heavier and harder to manuver. Smaller than 22" means making more passes.
5) Horsepower. Don't be fooled into believing more is better. Higher horsepower engine use more gas. Go with 5-8 horsepower. A 13 hp won't blow snow any further than a 5 hp. Why? Gear reduction. A 13 hp engine runs at the RPM as a 5 hp. A smaller pulley is used on a 5 hp than a 13 hp. So your auger & impeller turn at the same RPM on a 5 hp as a 13 hp. So save your money. An 8 hp, 26" cut will throw just as much snow as a 13 hp 32" cut and will save you about $500.
6) Intake height. The height of the hood over the auger is important. If you are in a heavy snow(6" or more per storm) area, you want an intake height of 20" or more. This allows you to cut thru snowbank that the snowplow leaves at the end of your driveway. Smaller snowblowers have intake heights as low as 10". If you blow thru 12" of snow, you end up "tunneling" and the extra 2" of snow falls over the top of the blower on the ground.
Do you have heavy wet snow? Does the snow get clogged in the chute? 1). adjust the shoes so your cutting blade is 1/8" (the thickness of 2 quarters stacked). This keeps the water on the ground. Water is the cause of chute clogging.
2) spray the chute & lower part of the chute with WD40. Snow won't stick where WD40 is sprayed.
Just my thoughts.

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