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Buying the Right Snow Blower

by Debra Karplus

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According to, Syracuse, New York is America's snowiest city, averaging 115.6 inches of the white stuff each year. Boulder, Colorado is fair game for a snowfall in just about any month except July; it has been known to snow in Boulder on Mother's Day! You possibly live in an area that gets at least a little snow each season, unless you live someplace like Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, or Hawaii.

A snow shovel is an easy way to remove snow and costs between about $15 to $40, depending on its strength, style, and durability. But as you get older, keeping the driveway and walkways free of snow may become too challenging. You have several options. You can pay a neighbor teen to shovel the snow or you can hire a professional to plow the driveway for about $35 to $50 each time, depending upon the extent of the job, but that certainly adds up quickly. Perhaps it is time to invest in a snow blower. Late autumn and early spring are often the times when you are most likely to find the best deals on a new snow blower.

Buying a snow blower is not unlike buying a lawn mower.

Electric and gas are the two main types of snow blowers that you can buy. First, assess how you will be using your new snow blower. Make a rough measurement of the driveway length and width and the sidewalk and any other areas that you will be removing snow from; corner lots tend to have more sidewalk to shovel. Remember to do some research online. Then head to your nearby hardware store, discount shop, or home improvement center and talk to someone there who is knowledgeable about snow blowers. They should tell you about some of the advantages and disadvantages of both electric and gas snow blowers.

Electric snow blowers are relatively easy to use but have some limitations.

Electric snow blowers are relatively inexpensive, about $140 to $200, and require neither gas nor oil. They are lightweight and reasonably quiet while in use. Electric blowers are typically easy to start, also.

Electric snow blowers are usually twelve to fourteen inches in width and can handle up to about two inches of snow. So for larger snow removal jobs, long driveways or deep snow, an electric snow blower may not be adequate and could possibly even overheat or even burn out. And, the electric snow blower needs a long electric cord to operate it. Getting the machine or yourself entangled in this cord is a real possibility, and there is a risk of electrocution if you are blowing snow near standing water.

Gas snow blowers can handle bigger snow removal jobs but have some disadvantages as well.

For about $500 to $600, a new gas snow blower may be more of what you need if you live in an area with heavy snowfalls. They are more durable, and unlike electric blowers, they do not need an electric cord. But you will need to frequently add gasoline and oil to keep your gas machine running.

Gas snow blowers are more durable than electric and are larger than electric, making them the blower of choice for big jobs. Many are self-propelled, but they tend to be heavy and are much louder than electric snow blower when in use.

You can buy a snow blower attachment for your vehicle for very large snow removal jobs.

If you own a pick-up truck and live in an area with very heavy snowfalls or have a very large area to plow after each snowfall, you can purchase a removal snow plow attachment for the front of your vehicle for several thousand dollars. This is a major piece of heavy equipment and a big investment. And you must really know what you are doing to go this route for snow removal on your property.

There are often used snow blowers for sale in your area. Remember that you get what you pay for, and if the machine does not work properly, you are stuck with it and still in need of some reasonable way to remove snow.

As with any major purchase, talk to neighbors and friends and read online customer reviews to narrow your choices when it comes to affordable snow removal options. Don't be impulsive or in a hurry to make this purchase, and always watch for sales, discounts, coupons, and rebates when purchasing any kind of snow blower.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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