By Justin Balkos
Yamaha Motor Canada
Yamaha Motor Canada
Every year, more and more Canadians are throwing away their shovels and replacing them with snowblowers. From clearing tight areas and throwing snow a considerable distance to not throwing out your back or risking a slip and fall, there are countless benefits to making the switch from human power to horsepower. Even so, we all have at least one neighbour who cashed in on the department store special and struggles to clear the driveway after a snowfall – or maybe even start the snowblower at all.
Don’t get caught under prepared! Make sure you’re getting the best snowblower to suit your needs by considering these five things when purchasing your next snowblower.
1. Single- vs. Dual-stage Auger
One of the most important factors to consider on a snowblower is its auger system. As the name would suggest, a single-stage auger has one auger that breaks up, lifts and throws snow. So, what does this mean? This type of snowblower does not perform well in large amounts of snow or on gravel as the blades typically contact the ground.
Snowblowers equipped with a dual-stage auger have an auger that collects the snow and a secondary impeller fan that discharges the snow through a chute. This process moves snow quicker and farther than a single-stage auger and is less likely to jam when operated in snow over a foot.
Don’t let the price point of a single-stage snowblower lure you if it’s not going to get the work done!
2. Snowblower Width
When choosing your snowblower, it is crucial to consider where you’ll be clearing snow and find an appropriate auger housing width. For example, you’ll need a smaller width if you have to clear tight walkways or hard-to-access areas. If you’re operating on your driveway and large walkways, a wider snowblower gets the job done faster!
3. Engine Size
What’s under your snowblower hood makes a substantial difference. Gas-powered snowblowers typically range from 6HP to 13HP+ output. Depending on the type and amount of snow you are operating in, the size of your engine will determine the longevity and success of your clearing efforts. Smaller engines are fuel efficient and typically work well in light snow conditions and where snow does not need to be thrown very far. However, smaller engines struggle in large amounts of snow – or heavy and/or wet snow – and could potentially fail to push it out of the chute. Snowblowers with larger engines are much more capable of handling snow under these conditions.
4. Drive System
Snowblowers are typically propelled by wheels or a track. With a track-drive system, you don’t have to worry about flat tires and, more importantly, they offer better traction and stairclimbing capabilities than any tire system.
Beyond the essentials, there are some features you may also want to factor in when shopping for your snowblower.
Start off on the right foot with electric start. This feature allows for more effortless operation of your snowblower, but not all electric-start snowblowers are the same. Some rely on an extension cord system that plugs into your snowblower, whereas every Yamaha comes standard with an on-board battery for no-hassle turnkey starting.
Nothing is more frustrating than throwing snow in the wrong direction. Easy-to-use chute controls with maximum adjustability help you avoid windows, vehicles and even the neighbour’s property. For example, Yamaha’s electronic chute controls and hydraulic-assist auger housing tilt system allows you to adjust the auger height to suit conditions and even increase “bite” into the snow or set it to skim the pavement and even raise it in the event of loose gravel or an uneven interlock driveway.
Snow falls at any time and with no regard for your schedule. A snowblower equipped with a headlight not only helps you see hazards, markers and driveway edges, but helps plow operators and drivers see you at the end of your driveway. This is a significant safety benefit – something to seriously consider for your next snowblower!
Purchasing a snowblower can be confusing. Follow these easy tips to ensure you are getting a model that best suits your needs!