Before you set out to buy a snow blower, there are several things you may benefit from considering, such as how much snow needs to be displaced, whether the snow blower is electric or gas powered, and how many stages the blower has. Stages refer to how many times the snow is moved before being ejected, and you typically buy a snow blower with either one or two stages. Electric snow blowers can be convenient for ease of maintenance but have limited mobility compared to gas blowers. Also consider safety before you decide which snow blower to buy, and be sure to follow any recommendations for the specific unit and to wear the proper protective gear.
An electric snow blower can be useful for maintenance purposes as it does not require oil changes or gas. This type of snow blower, however, may only be useful within a relatively limited area as it must be plugged in to function. The generally smaller size of an electric snow blower can make it especially useful for porches or steps, where a gas powered blower might be too large to be used properly. If you buy a snow blower of this type, note that only extension cords that are safe for outdoors should be used with it. Gas powered snow blowers generally require more maintenance than electric blowers but can be far more mobile.
Before you decide to buy a snow blower, be aware of how many stages the snow blower has and of the best use of each kind. Single stage snow blowers use a spinning auger to pick up the snow and expel it out of a chute. The height of most of these snow blowers is generally lower than that of two stage blowers, and they are generally best used for snow that is less than 12 inches (30.5 cm) deep. A two stage snow blower uses an auger to collect snow, after which, an impeller sends the show through a chute. Two stage snow blowers generally offer a higher bucket or collection area, making them useful for snow drifts that are too large for a single stage blower to handle.
After you have decided to buy a snow blower, be sure to follow the proper safety guidelines. The displaced snow being thrown out of the chute can be damaging, not only to people in the way, but to any objects in its path, including windows, if you are near a house. You should also be aware that rocks and other hard objects, such as ice, can be ejected from the chute. Goggles are useful to protect the your eyes, as is heavy clothing, which can protect you, not only from the cold, but from any errant snow or ice.