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Old 09-05-2019, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Monument,CO
358 posts, read 298,656 times
Reputation: 554

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It's that time of the year in Colorado, when we need to start making winter purchases. I live at 7000 feet and we get 113 inches of snow per year, but it's pretty spread out from October-May. I'm looking for a compact snow blower that won't take up too much garage space, and one that doesn't require a lot of maintenance. I've never owned a snow blower, but my neighbors do and I'm ready to get one.

I have a small 25 feet long driveway and one similarly sized sidewalk to clear. My neighbor has an electric model that seemed to do the job, more or less, last year. I don't know the make/model. I assume that I'll still be shoveling the piles at the end of the driveway where the plows drop everything.

Any suggestions? I've done a lot of reading, but I tend to get lost in research. All the "these are the best snowblower" pages are full of models that generate mediocre reviews and I don't want to buy something I'll regret.

Thanks,

JB
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:01 AM
 
5,566 posts, read 2,546,186 times
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I used a Toro Power Curve electric snow blower for 9 years in Massachusetts. This is the one that looks like a small version of a gas snow blower, NOT the kind that is called "electric broom" or something like that.

It will easily move 12" of reasonably light snow, but you might not take a full width bite after the first pass. It'll reliably throw it the width of a single-width driveway, and the discharge chute can be moved through 180 degrees, so once you plan out your process you can clear a two-car-wide driveway. I was doing a driveway 75 feet long. Heavy wet snow required smaller bites. Especially in a wet snow I would usually have to hand shovel the berm at the end of the drive from the plows.

I never had a lick of trouble with this machine and I would highly recommend it. Zero maintenance - I just brushed the snow off it each time before putting it back in the garage. I think it would cost you around $350 today, plus the cost of heavy gauge extension cords - but those are good for a lot of other things too.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:36 AM
 
436 posts, read 623,018 times
Reputation: 256
Buy zero ethanol gas from Lowes or HD.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Monument,CO
358 posts, read 298,656 times
Reputation: 554
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shet View Post
Buy zero ethanol gas from Lowes or HD.
We can buy that from the pump at Murphy Express here. It's about 30 cents per gallon more expensive. I put it in my lawnmower and trimmer.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:15 PM
 
3,213 posts, read 3,287,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
I used a Toro Power Curve electric snow blower for 9 years in Massachusetts. This is the one that looks like a small version of a gas snow blower, NOT the kind that is called "electric broom" or something like that.

It will easily move 12" of reasonably light snow, but you might not take a full width bite after the first pass. It'll reliably throw it the width of a single-width driveway, and the discharge chute can be moved through 180 degrees, so once you plan out your process you can clear a two-car-wide driveway. I was doing a driveway 75 feet long. Heavy wet snow required smaller bites. Especially in a wet snow I would usually have to hand shovel the berm at the end of the drive from the plows.

I never had a lick of trouble with this machine and I would highly recommend it. Zero maintenance - I just brushed the snow off it each time before putting it back in the garage. I think it would cost you around $350 today, plus the cost of heavy gauge extension cords - but those are good for a lot of other things too.


I will second Toro Power Curve Electric. Yes I'm only in Central MD but I was unboxing mine several years ago when we got 2 30"+ storms in a two week period and another a month later. The only problem was when the snow was higher than the opening of the blower. Then I resorted to one of two methods - Lift the blower and do the top half first (There was a handle on the main body so I could lift while holding onto the main handle and switch and use it like a super shovel) or use a shovel to knock the 'face' of the snow down work the blower forward into it then repeat. That worked best when I was working the full width of the two lane driveway I would do the entire width, knock down another section across the whole face and repeat. It does work best if I only do 10-12" of depth at a time then I can just keep moving forward. My driveway is ~75' long.


Advantages are 1) no keeping cans of gas in the garage (lawntractor and mowers are in the shed in the back yard), 2) some years we don't get much snow and I don't have to worry about prepping it only to have it sit and not be used. 3) It doesn't take much space and can be stored without worrying about leaks.


I did buy a 'special' cord for it. The cord claims to be more flexible in low tempartures. (It does seem to be) and it has a light in the recepticle at the end so I know if the cord somehow gets disconnectted at the wall outlet or the GFCI trips when I am out in the driveway and don't have to guess. The kids have learned that cord is only for the blower and you don't borrow it for anything else (There are several orange ones for that)
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Rochester NY
1,323 posts, read 865,136 times
Reputation: 2090
I bought an Ariens Path Pro 21" gas blower with electric start (see link) from Lowes last year and was pleased with the performance for the size and price. I have a 20' X 40' driveway and it handles that size pretty well. I live in the lake effect snow region of Western NY and we had 3 snow falls of 12" or more and 8-10 smaller snow falls that required using the snow blower and I never had an issue. I didn't even have a problem with the packed in stuff at the end of the driveway but it did take a few passed to fully clear on the heavier snow falls.


I almost went with an electric blower but decided on the gas and very glad I did. 2 of my neighbors have electric blowers and they both regret not going with gas.


Not sure how much snow you're area gets but we typically get 100+ inch per season. If you get less than that maybe you can try an electric?


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Ariens-Path...wer/1000102431
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Monument,CO
358 posts, read 298,656 times
Reputation: 554
Quote:
Originally Posted by gt87 View Post
I bought an Ariens Path Pro 21" gas blower with electric start (see link) from Lowes last year and was pleased with the performance for the size and price. I have a 20' X 40' driveway and it handles that size pretty well. I live in the lake effect snow region of Western NY and we had 3 snow falls of 12" or more and 8-10 smaller snow falls that required using the snow blower and I never had an issue. I didn't even have a problem with the packed in stuff at the end of the driveway but it did take a few passed to fully clear on the heavier snow falls.


I almost went with an electric blower but decided on the gas and very glad I did. 2 of my neighbors have electric blowers and they both regret not going with gas.


Not sure how much snow you're area gets but we typically get 100+ inch per season. If you get less than that maybe you can try an electric?


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Ariens-Path...wer/1000102431
As I wrote, "I live at 7000 feet and we get 113 inches of snow per year"

I went to school in Buffalo, so I'm familiar with both places. The difference is that we can have snow any day from September to June. We had over a foot on May 27th last year. We also usually get dry powdery snow, but our Spring storms drop heavier wet stuff.
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:54 PM
 
2,838 posts, read 1,631,783 times
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I second the vote for electric. They're much lighter so easier to handle, and simpler, which means more reliable. Downside is they're less powerful and need a cord, but the lower power, as others have said, can be offset with a bit more work. And dry, fluffy snow is the easiest to work with.

I have a bigger area to clear, drive and parking area, so I have a gas powered 26" blower, and it's heavy. Without the easy turning option it's a beast to turn around, and refueling is never fun or nice smelling.
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Old 09-05-2019, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,455 posts, read 45,371,128 times
Reputation: 13219
I really like the BCS "walk behind tractor" units, you buy one power unit and can add various mowers, tillers, and snow blowers. That is, if you need/want the mowers and tillers as well as a snow blower. One tends to use the power unit year round so it does not have to be prepped for storage over the off season. They are not cheap, but it seems to me you get what you pay for in these.



Many dedicated snow blowers are shipped with an open, unfiltered intake. I would put a K&N pod-type filter on these, otherwise something will "fod" your engine sooner or later.


You may need to adjust the carburetor to compensate for altitude, sure you know all about that already.
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Old 09-05-2019, 04:26 PM
 
766 posts, read 230,911 times
Reputation: 2775
If the OP lived in Missouri or southern Illinois (which get maybe 15 or 20" of snow per year), then yeah, I'd consider an electric blower. But 110"?? for a 75' long driveway?? An electric isn't going to cut it. It may be OK for 75% of the storms, but when you really need a snowblower, for those other 25%, you're going to be outgunned. Personally, since storage and weight are such important considerations, I would purchase the most powerful, single-stage blower you can get - either Toro or Honda - and don't buy it from Home Depot, buy it from a dealer who does on-site service, and take their advice on gasoline, etc.. Ariens does make good blowers, but I'm only familiar with their two-stage units.

If I lived somewhere that got that much snow, I'd personally own two blowers - a good electric, and also a large two-stage that would probably only get used three or four times per year.
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