The fall has passed and winter has arrived. Outside the weather has plummeted and a shovel just won’t be enough to clear that snow fall. There’s only one thing for it; you need a residential snow blower to get the job done.
The best residential snow blower for your individual needs is one that can clear snow fast and effectively and that fits your budget. Obviously, a residential snow blower that fits this criteria for one person may not at all be suitable for someone else. The choice of machine depends on the environment you intend to use it on, the amount of snow you regularly need to clear and the depth of snowfall the machine will have to tackle. Let’s take a look at the key features you need in a good residential snow blower in more detail so you can make a more informed buying choice.
- What to Look For in a Residential Snow Blower
- Best Single-Stage Residential Snow Blowers
What to Look For in a Residential Snow Blower
During the Winter season, it is typical to find snow at unwanted places such as your sidewalk and driveway. While the solution sounds as simple as getting a residential snow blower to do the job, finding the best one is sometimes a daunting task.
With so many different kinds of machines now available on the market from single-stage and two-stage to the newer three-stage models and ones so many different features available which one do you go for?
If you do not know the difference between single-stage, two-stage and three-stage snow blowers we explain it here.
For most residential users a single-stage snow blower will do a good enough job of clearing driveways and sidewalks. However, if you live in an area that gets a lot of heavy and deep snow fall then you really need a machine with more power and functionality.
For very heavy snowfall and very compacted snow you will need either a two-stage or three-stage snow blower.
Different Stage Snow Blowers
Although most residential snow blowers are single-stage machines some home users will require a unit that has more power and can handle heavier snow clearing jobs.
For this reason I give a brief explanation below of each of the different snow blower types and what they can offer you as a home user.
Single-Stage Snow Blowers
By far the most common snow blowers used for residential jobs are single-stage machines. These compact snow blowers can easily handle small areas, light to medium snow fall and snow that is about 6″ deep.
They work with very simple technology.
A single-stage snow blower has one auger that runs at high-speed scraping snow directly from the ground. This snow is then propelled at speed up the snow blower’s chute and blown several feet away.
Most single-stage snow blowers have a chute that is multi-directional so you can change the direction in which the snow is being deposited.
Single-stage snow blowers can be electrically-powered or gas-powered and can clear snow that is at a depth of about 6″ or less.
Good single-stage blowers can break up fairly compacted snow that is not too deep but for snow is deeper than 6″ or that is very compacted you may need to break it up with a shovel first.
Because single-stage snow blowers are designed to be compact and used only for light to medium residential use they are more budget-friendly than their larger brothers.
Unfortunately, if you get a lot of heavy snow fall then a single-stage snow blower will not be suitable for your needs and you will need a more expensive model.
Likewise, as these machines are not self-propelled and you must push them, if you have steep inclines you will struggle using a single-stage blower.
Two-Stage Snow Blowers
Two-stage snow blowers came as a result of a need in the market for a more versatile machine capable of tackling more difficult jobs.
Two-stage snow blowers are a lot more powerful that single-stage machines and also offer a lot more functionality.
Unlike the simple auger used in single-stage snow blowers, two-stage snow blowers use a type of corkscrew auger that turns more slowly but with a lot more power.
This corkscrew auger propels the gathered snow to the central housing unit of the machine where it is then forced up and out of the chute at very high speed.
Two-stage snow blowers are always gas-driven as they require a lot of power to deal with very compacted snow at a depth of up to 12″.
A two-stage snow blower will usually be much wider than single-stage snow blower because the engine and auger can handle greater amounts of snow.
These type of snow blowers are much larger and heavier than their little brothers so the need to be self-propelled as pushing one is just not an option.
They have multiple forward speeds and they almost always have a reverse function.
As I have already mentioned these machines are needed for dealing with steep inclines, large snow fall and very compacted snow. They are also better suited for using on large areas or for clearing multiple areas.
However, even though two-stage snow blowers are fantastic for most snow clearing jobs they still did not offer the full functionality needed by many users. Two-stage machines cannot handle wet snow and for that reason manufacturers designed a new type of snow blower that can do just that.
Three-Stage Snow Blowers
Most of us will rarely need anything with more functionality than a two-stage snow blower in the winter months, when we have to deal with heavy compacted snow, but when the weather starts to change, and the snow begins to slowly turn to slush, a two-stage machine just cannot handle the job.
This is why three-stage snow blowers were deigned – for users who have to deal with heavy compacted snow in the winter and then large amounts of wet snow as the temperature rises.
A three-stage snow blower also uses a slow turning auger, like a two-stage machine, known as an accelerator.
This accelerator type auger gathers up the snow and sends it to the central housing unit where it is propelled at very high-speed up and out of the chute.
Three-stage snow blowers are powerful gas-powered machines that work up to 10 times faster than two-stage machines to clear snow up to 18″ deep.
They are designed to do everything a two-stage machine can do plus they have the ability to shift heavy wet snow.
Three-stage blowers are ultra quick and highly efficient machines.
On average a three-stage snow blower can remove snow approximately 50% faster than a similar sized two-stage machine.
Three-stage snow blowers are the only type of snow blower that can effectively handle wet snow.
Best Single-Stage Residential Snow Blowers
Below are two very good residential snow blowers that should be a great fit for most non-commercial users – unless you live in an area that gets very heavy snow fall, you have steep inclines to clear on your property or have to regularly deal with wet snow.
If you feel that you need a two-stage or a three-stage machine then you should read our two-stage vs three-stage snow blower guide. But, for most residential users a single-stage machine will offer more than enough functionality.
The 2 single-stage snow blowers below have been chosen for their functionality, quality and capacity for clearing snow efficiently and quickly.
I have also chosen one gas-powered machine for those who need power and one electrically-powered machine for those reader who prefer a more eco-friendly option.
Honda HS720AA Single-Stage Snow Blower
This snow blower is very competitively priced despite its great functionality.
Be aware though that, as is the case with every single-stage snow blower, you have to push a single-stage snow blower like you would a manual lawn mower. Single-stage machines are not self-propelled.
Among the many features of the Honda HS720AA are:
Semi-Self Propelled Drive System
Even though I have already stated that single-stage snow blowers are not self-propelled, and you need to push them, this machine is a “slight” exception to the rule.
Controlling this snow blower is a bit easier to do than it is with other competitor’s machines because it has been designed with a semi-self propelled drive.
The paddle on the auger helps to drive the machine forward making it easier for the user to push it.
The difference between this self-propelled motion and using a standard single-stage isn’t huge to be honest but if you are using it over long periods, have very tough snow to move or generally find pushing a snow blower to be hard work then this design feature can help.
Obviously the most important feature on any snow blower is its ability to throw snow.
The of the Honda HS720AA may be a single-stage but it can blow snow that is up to 8″ deep and 20″ wide.
Amazingly it can throw the snow to a distance of 33 feet.
Impressive for a residential single-stage machine!
Easy Start Honda Engineering
The electric-start feature makes sure the engines kicks in regardless of the how low the temperature is.
With the assurance of a Honda engine its doubtful the machine will develop many engine-troubles and it deals with 8″ snow deep easily and comfortably.
Directional Chute & Usability
While it is great to blow unwanted snow off your driveway, you do not want it plastered to your home or deposited in other areas that are used, so it’s important to be able to direct the snow correctly and accurately.
Regardless of the machine you chose you want a product that has the ability to easily direct the snow to land where you want it and for this you need at least 90 degree flexibility.
With the Honda HS720AA you simply make use of its remote chute control to change the direction of the snow discharge.
As already mentioned this snow blower can throw snow up to 33 feet and the deflector makes it is easy to adjust the throwing in any direction that is 204 degrees from left to right.
EJWOX Electric Snow Thrower
For those readers who are concerned about their impact on the environment we have included this fantastic electric snow blower.
Being electrically-powered this EJWOX snow blower is a lot more eco-friendly than the Honda.
Although an electric engine means less power, and thus lower output, it doesn’t always mean less functionality.
Among the many features of the EJWOX Electric Snow Thrower are:
There is no semi-self propelled function on this electric snow blower; its all down to push-power.
However, as the unit only weighs just over 23 lbs you don’t need to worry about the added weight of the machine – just the weight of the snow you need to get through.
The large 5″ wheels makes pushing the machine a little easier.
Even though the EJWOX is electrically driven it is still capable of clearing snow at a depth of up to 6″ deep and can clear a path 16″ wide in a single pass..
It can throw snow up to 20 feet and shift an amazing 700 lbs of snow per minute.
The 9 Amp 120 V / 60 HZ voltage engine has enough output for a no-load speed of 3000 RPM.
The cord length is 13.75″ long so you will probably need an extension cord.
The powerful motor of this product enables it to move a large amount of snow with ease.
Directional Chute & Usability
The throw angle of the chute is adjustable to 90 degrees.
The provision of an adjustable handle for changing the height of the snow thrower is convenient as continual use on any machine where you have to stoop or reach-up can be tiring.
The ability to adjust the snow thrower to fit a user’s height also increases the safety as well as the usability of the machine.
Alth the EJWOX is a great electrically-powdered snow blower the PowerSmart 18″ is also a great electrically-powered alternative to consider.
The above two single-stage snow blowers are among the very best on the market in their price-range and size categories. However, they are only single-stage machines and may not be suitable for every residential user.
The highest rated snow blowers are the kind that can handle all types of snow and they can do it in record time so you may want to consider a more powerful machine if your budget will stretch.