Winter is fast approaching, and with it will come the snow. If you are dreading the thought of shovelling snow day after day, week after week then perhaps you should go out and buy a snowblower to ease the burden. First though, read the following pointers for choosing the right snowblower for you, your property, and the conditions you experience:

Tip 1: More Snow = Bigger Blower

Basic snowblowers have a single stage motor with an auger to grab snow and toss it out of the way. This is fine if the area where you live gets small accumulations (ie: a few inches at a time) and if the snow is light and fluffy. If you tend to get large snowfalls or if your snow is heavy then you will need a dual-stage motor. These blowers have an auger to break up the snow and impellers to throw the snow, so they can handle bigger loads better. It’s a good idea to find out what the people around you are using, and check your area’s historical snowfall records if you are new to the area.

Tip 2: Wider Blowers = Less Work

Smaller, single-stage blowers usually have around a 22-inch wide intake, meaning you will be clearing about 2 feet on each pass. So, if you are merely clearing a walkway this size should be fine, but if you have an 8 or 10 foot wide driveway it is going to take you a while to clear it. In this case you may want to consider a wider model so you spend less time clearing.

Tip 3: Bigger Jobs Need Gas

Electric blowers are quieter, and generally less expensive than their gas-powered counterparts. However, when it comes to heavy snow a gas model has more power to get through the job. Keep in mind that a gas snowblower is also louder – so take your neighbor’s comfort into account when choosing your model.

Tip 4: Snowblowers = Physical Effort

Sure, using a snowblower is much easier on the back than shovelling, but it still takes a fair amount of physical effort to operate one. Dual-stage snowblowers can top 300 lbs., and even though they usually come with driving wheels you’ll still need to use some muscle to get it in and out of tight spots. It’s a good idea to only choose as large of a snowblower as you need; otherwise you may find snowblowing to be a less than comfortable experience.

Tip 5: Look for Bonus Features

While you shouldn’t pay more for a snowblower with features you won’t use, there are some extra features that you may find handy. If you will be clearing an incline then you will definitely want a blower with powered wheels – otherwise you will dread pushing a hundred or more pounds of machine up your driveway over the winter.