You’ve just heard the forecast and it is grim. There will be a significant amount of snowfall with no sign of slowing down. You know you need to clear your driveway and walkway for both practical and safety reasons. But what tools are the best for clearing such a high amount of snow? Each and every person you ask will have a different answer based on their personal preference, past snowfall amounts, etc.
While you aren’t scared of physical labor nor do you hate the thought of hard work, you do regret the amount of time you potentially waste shoveling your driveway and walkway. To decrease the amount of time needed to clear the areas desired, a snow blower or even a plow can be a great asset. How do you choose? Let’s take a look at both the positive and negative aspects of a snow blower vs a plow.
Snowblower Pros and Cons
- Efficient snow removal in low to high snowfall amounts
- Lightweight design allows for easy maneuvering
- Large range of models to suit individual needs
- Awkward and large machine will limit storage options
- High purchase price with additional expenses for gasoline or extension cords needed for operation
- Routine or annual maintenance required for both reliability and warranty
Plow Pros and Cons
- Fast and efficient snow removal
- Attaches to a vehicle already owned
- Minimal physical effort needed
- Can handle larger amounts of heavy snow versus another option i.e. snowblower
- Large design can limit storage options
- Rules and regulations regarding vehicle operation
- Large area a must for maneuvering
Snow blowers are wonderful mechanical inventions that clear snowfall quickly and efficiently while being powered by electricity or gas, depending on the model. These machines use a complex system of internal connecting parts to mulch and direct snow from the ground to another location. With the use of a part called the auger, snow is redirected from the ground, through a series of blades, and pulled through the outer tube-shaped part called the chute.
The chute is mobile in the sense that it can be turned at 90° angle to the left or right. The snow will then be thrown to another location via the chute, either higher or further away depending on the horsepower. The chute controls your snow blower possesses. These options will allow for more flexibility in where you can pile the removed snow and keep it from spilling back into your path.
There are multiple size snow blowers you can purchase, from the width of the cut to the power of the engine. Most manufacturers will offer consumers comparable models with both electric and gas powered motors to cater to their individual needs.
Efficient Snow Removal in Low to High Snowfall Amounts
A sturdy reliable snowblower should be both powerful and forceful enough to direct snow even in the highest amounts from your driveway or walkway The amount of time spent clearing the area desired should be drastically reduced with a snowblower. It should have the ability to move even through the heaviest of snow.
Lightweight Design Allows for Easy Maneuvering
The majority of snow blowers on the market today possess powerful engines that when left alone, will move forward without the help or direction of the operator. The snowblower is light enough that a simple grip on both steering bars and an easy gait will remove snow to your desire.
Large Range of Models to Suit Individual Needs
Almost all major and minor snowblower manufacturers offer their consumers the option of gas or electric snow blowers. If you are environmentally conscious, electric models are there. If you prefer an easy task of clearing snow without being restrained by the length of your extension cord, gas models are there. If your driveway and/or walkway is large, you can purchase a snowblower with a wide cut to remove more snow each sweep.
Awkward and Large Machine will Limit Storage Options
As a snowblower owner, space is a must for storage in the off-months. Whether you store your snowblower inside a structure such as a shed or garage, or will be storing your snowblower outside under protective covering; space is a necessity. A snowblower does not have a flat surface and instead is a series of bumps and controls so the space you store it in will have to suffice for just the snowblower alone.
High Purchase Price with Additional Expenses
The cost of a snow shovel is literally a fraction of the cost for a snowblower. Even if you purchase a snowblower through a large department store, the cost can run upwards of $300.00 without the benefit of warranty for maintenance and repair. Gas-powered models will have continued expenses in the winter months with the necessity of gasoline and engine oil in order to operate whereas an electric model will still need maintenance checks and an industrial extension cord (the price increases with the length) to operate.
Routine or Annual Maintenance Required for Both Reliability and Warranty
Snowblowers need regular maintenance to ensure all parts are working correctly. The average person does not have the skill required to remove and replace certain parts that connect to another for max operation. The majority of manufacturers that offer a warranty on any repairs or parts will require annual maintenance checks or the warranty could become invalid. The consumer is generally responsible for delivering and retrieving the snowblower by whichever means necessary to complete the maintenance check.
A plow is a steel or metal blade that is curved in the middle to allow for maximum snow removal. A plow used for snow clearing will attach itself to the front of another machine, such as a quad or vehicle. Plows are favored by those living in areas with high average snowfall and those whose physical limitations hamper their snow removal efforts. With the use of another vehicle to direct and control the plow to clear the snow, the operator can stay seated and still reduce removal time. The blade of the plow must be lowered to the snow when removing and raised into the air when driving to the next section.
Plows are wonderful inventions but they are not without their faults. To successfully and safely operate a plow, one must have a vehicle that can handle the weight of the blade and have sufficient room for not only piling the snow but also for the vehicle to turn around. It can sometimes be an intricate dance to control when it is needed to raise the blade and lower the blade to remove snow.
Fast and Efficient Snow Removal
The use of snow plow for removing snow will drastically reduce the amount of time needed, regardless of the amount of snowfall. Where the plow is a blade made of durable material, it can scrape down to the ground while entirely removing snow without leaving an inch or so behind.
Attaches to a Vehicle Already Owned
If a snowplow is the option you use for snow removal, then you must already own a vehicle that can handle both the weight of the plow and have the horsepower to move the vehicle at a safe speed without effort. Those who use plows generally attach them to an all-terrain vehicle or a 4WD drive vehicle (pick-up truck). The use of already owned vehicles reduces the expense of maintenance checks or additional gas etc.
Minimal Physical Effort Needed
Regardless of the vehicle used in conjunction with the plow, the operator is generally in a seated position. The use of your hands to both lower and raise the plow, and steering is the only effort you need to physically exert to remove the snow.
Can Handle Larger Amounts of Heavy Snow VS Other Options
Where the vehicle used is the driving force behind snow removal, larger amounts of snow can be removed in one sweep without coming over the top of the machine. When properly operated, a plow can take upwards of four feet of snow and move it to another location.
Large Design can Limit Storage Options
The large and bulky design of plow can limit where it can be stored in the months of no use. With its curved and sharp design, it cannot be used to store other items on top and when left outside unprotected, it can rust or warp into an unusable piece of metal.
Rules and Regulations Regarding Vehicle Operation
Before purchasing a plow it is a must to contact your town or city council. Most locations are agreeable with the use of a plow as long as you are not interrupting traffic or creating potential safety hazards with your vehicle. Some locations will not allow a vehicle with an attached plow on the main roadways, so if it is attached to your motor vehicle, it must be removed before leaving your driveway.
Large Area a Must for Maneuvering
Where a plow uses a larger vehicle for operation, it is a must that a large area is available for snow removal. If you find yourself pushing snow out into oncoming traffic or directing snow across the road from your driveway, a smaller option such as a snowblower is probably your best bet.
Snow Blower or Plow: Conclusion
The choice of how you remove your snow relies directly on you; the snow remover! Certain factors can weigh in on your decision, from average snowfall amounts to where you reside and the area size needing snow removal. As with any major purchase, consult experts and even friends. Take notice of what other options people in your area are using in their fight against snow and talk to your neighbors.
Always research warranties, trial periods, and even maintenance checks with any device you purchase and choose the best snow blower from a retailer that has the consumer in mind, not the commission!
No one wants to spend all their time in the snow shoveling, pushing, or plowing when there is fun to be had instead! Take time in the off months and really make the best decision for you.
Please feel free to comment below with your chosen tool and any questions you may have!