Your Guide to Buying a Snow Blower

A man blowing snow in his neighborhood.

Depending on where you live in Canada, some areas can see more than 300 centimeters of precipitation on average per winter. As a result, many people rely on snow blowers to help dig themselves out. But with several types on the market (gasoline, electric, battery-powered, single, double, triple, wheeled, tracked, etc.) how do you know which to choose from?

The Allstate Good Hands Advice team offers the following tips:

Types of Snow Blowers

When comparing your options for a snow blower and finding one that’s right for your needs, first consider how it’s powered.

Electric with cable. Perfect for clearing patios, walkways and areas that receive light to moderate snowfall. These models are usually lighter, have little maintenance requirements, are quiet and won’t emit pollutants like their gasoline-powered counterparts. However, they do need to be plugged-in to run. Purchase a quality extension cord specifically designed for outdoor use, meets the requirements of the model you’re considering and is long enough for the task.

Battery powered. Battery powered snow blowers are also suitable for light to moderate snowfall. No fuel, oil or fumes and they run quietly. They are lighter, usually take up less space and require less maintenance than gasoline-powered models.

Gas powered. Gasoline-powered snow blowers feature a lot of power and some models will clear accumulation from a heavy snowfall. They are suitable for medium to large, paved, unpaved or gravel driveways. Gas-powered snow blowers can be more expensive and demand regular maintenance, but they offer greater range and more snow-clearing power.


Wheels or Tracks?

The majority of snow blowers are wheeled. Some models are powered by the motor, which makes them better suited for large areas. Others have tracks instead of wheels, similar to what you might see on a tank. Tracked snow blowers perform better on slopes and steep fairways because they offer more traction, but they are sometimes more difficult to turn on level ground.

Options and Features

Certain models include features that can help make the job of clearing snow a little easier, and comfortable.

Start button. A button that replaces the pull cords on gasoline-models and lets you start the motor with the touch of a finger.

Power steering. A very practical feature, especially for heavier snow blowers, that can make turning and handling the machine easier.

Heated grips. An option that will keep your fingers warm and comfortable, as you’re out in the cold, wind and snow.

Skates. These allow you to adjust the height of the spinning blades that gather the snow. This feature is particularly useful for gravel driveways.


Snow blowers are complex machines that require proper maintenance and storage. Gasoline models will require an oil change and a spark plug change. It is also recommended to lubricate the parts of your snow blower to prevent corrosion.

When the weather turns warmer, take care to store the snow blower well. Make sure it rests on blocks to promote air circulation.

Safety Tips

  1. Before starting the snow blower, clear the area of any objects that may be picked up and thrown.
  2. If you must leave the unit unattended, stop the engine by turning the key to OFF and remove the key.
  3. Before adjusting, cleaning, repairing and inspecting the snow blower, disconnect the spark plug wire on gasoline models or remove the power source for electric models.
  4. Leave all safety components intact. Guards, shields, deflectors and warning decals are on the machine for your protection and the protection of others.
  5. Before each use, check the auger/impeller to make sure that parts are not frozen.
  6. Keep children and pets away from the work area.
  7. Wear proper winter clothing, including boots for maximum traction on slippery surfaces.
  8. Never clear snow from steep slopes with a snow blower.
  9. Remove the key from the switch and allow the engine to cool before storing.
  10. Never store the snow blower in the house, use a garage, shed or backyard.

Buying a snow blower can save you time and make clearing snow easier. Set a budget and take the time to carefully consider what you’re looking for in a model. This will help make sure you get the snow blower you need. Happy shopping!

Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing specific legal or insurance advice.