The snowblower is a basic machine and each model has the same types of components. Understanding snowblower components can help you determine the quality of any machine you are considering. It can also help you understand how you can get the most out of your machine.
The frame of your snowblower is what holds all of your other components. It is most often made of metal, but may have plastic components as well. A good snowblower should have a quality frame and minimal plastic components. However, as long as the plastic is of high quality a snowblower with some plastic components can be fine. Beware of thin metal or brittle plastic as this will wear out quickly and cause you headaches down road.
The auger is the spinning metal corkscrew on the front of a two-stage snowblower which breaks up the snow and sends it back to the impeller which then fires it out the chute. A good snowblower auger should be solid metal and fit snugly against the side of the collection area, usually with the help of rubber seals. Having a two-stage snowblower with a good auger is imperative if you are going to be clearing large snowfalls or heavy snow. A single-stage snowblower will not be able to keep up with heavy demand.
The job of a carburetor is to mix gasoline with oxygen in order to make an optimum material for combustion. If the mix is too lean (not enough oxygen) or too rich (too much oxygen) it can lead to poor performance or even cause damage to the unit. A good carburetor should be made from quality components and should be easy to access so you can make adjustments when necessary. Usually you can ascertain the quality of a snowblower carburetor by reading reviews and talking to owners of previous models from the same manufacturer as they will usually use the same components across most models.
The engine is one of the most important components of a snowblower, as it ensures that you have the power you need you get through the worst snowfalls. You have the option of choosing a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine, and in almost all cases a 4-stroke is more efficient and a better choice for your snowblower. For areas that receive heavy snow or large snowfalls it is wise to choose a variable speed engine, as it will increase power when you hit a heavy patch instead of stalling out like standard engines.
The chute ensures that the snow coming out of the machine is directed where you want it to go, and should be easy to maneuver. Many new machines now come with a joystick so you can turn the chute without having to stop clearing snow. The chute should also be easy to clear, and not clog easily or else it will slow you down.
A quality snowblower should be easy to maintain, so you when you are checking out models look for ones that have easy access to the oil reservoir and spark plugs, so you can conduct annual maintenance quickly to keep your snowblower in top condition for years to come.