No matter what you do, that pesky snow keeps on falling into your driveway and piling up faster than dirty dishes at a buffet. You’ve tried shoveling but you’re tired of putting your chiropractor’s kid through college in a new Mercedes. Paying someone to keep it cleared out has worked, but now you’re at the mercy of someone else’s schedule and you think the Smith family down the road might be paying him more to come clear them out first.
It’s time to take matter into your own hands with a little more seriousness. But what would work best – a plow or a snowblower? Let’s look at some different things to help you decide. Time for a snowblower vs. snow plow showdown.
When it comes to the money side of things, a snowblower will win if you don’t have the extra cash for a plow system for your truck. And if you don’t have a truck, then you either must buy one, or buy an ATV and plow system. Granted, if you want to buy one then go for it. A snowblower is a great tool, but it can only do one thing – blow snow. A new ATV can do all kinds of things as well as plow snow. If you need to, use this as an argument with your wife as to why you need one. I’m not promising the argument will go your way though…I’m just trying to help.
Late winter is a great time to pick up a new snowblower as retailers mark them down to make way for new models and for showroom floor space. Early fall is also a great time to snap up a new ATV, as the next year’s models are coming out and some retailers want that floor space for the latest and greatest as well as snowmobiles.
Length of your driveway
If you have a relatively short driveway, a snowblower is the obvious choice. A buddy of mine just learned the hard way that his driveway is far too long for a snowblower. By the time he got one end cleared out, the other was drifting back shut. Look at the clearing rates of snowblowers and then take a look at how much space you have to clear and decide wisely.
Whichever machine you decide to go with, get enough machine for the task. If you have a 50-foot driveway and get a lot of snow, don’t buy a single-stage snowblower. You’ll end up frustrated and still needing to find a way to clear your driveway. And vice versa, don’t go out and think you need a brand new ¾-ton Chevy truck with a multi-directional plow if you have a narrow, 20-foot driveway. Unless you want one. I asked my wife if I could have one. She said no.
Type of Snow
I know, you can’t really control the type of snow you get, but some areas get a certain type of snow more often than others, and that can matter in a snowblower vs. snow plow debate. If you’re getting a lot of wet, heavy snow, maybe look at a plow option as this creates some difficulties for snowblowers and can lead to more maintenance work on the machine.
Folks who live around the Great Lakes get a lot of what is called Lake Effect snow, which can be fluffy and lots of it in a short amount of time. This dense snow can be too much for a snowblower, meaning you’ll have to spend more time out in it. In more Western areas, the snow is fine and usually blowing. Snowblowers can work well, but keep in mind that temperatures can be brutal in these areas too. It usually takes more time to use a snowblower, so dress accordingly.
The biggest factor in deciding what is best for you is you. Do you want to walk behind a snowblower? Sounds funny, but some folks just don’t. Don’t forget, if you’ve never used one, even though the machine is self-propelled, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any work. It’s not that easy. But if you’re open to the idea of spending some time out in the fresh, cold air, and don’t mind a little work, a snowblower can be fun.
The same can be said for plowing, especially with an ATV. Let’s face it, any time you’re riding an ATV can and is fun. And if you’re using a truck, well, that’s just kind of cheating.