Winter is fast approaching; are you thinking snow yet? |

Winter is fast approaching; are you thinking snow yet?

Becky Garber
Landscape Logic
man using snow blower
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Even though we’re still waiting for the glorious fall color to reach full force, October is almost here, and that means snow is near.

If you’re tired of the back strain of hoisting a shovel, you might be ready to upgrade to a snow-throwing machine.

As with any type of equipment, selecting the right snow-thrower for your needs is number one. Here are some guidelines based on your property size and how much snow you normally deal with in a season.

Three major factors should play into your choice of a snow thrower:

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The size of the area you need to clear.

The type of surface you’ll be clearing. Is it all concrete and asphalt, or do you have a gravel drive, too?

In your area, what’s the typical snow depth you need to clear?

Like most things, snow throwers come in small, medium and large – and the size of machine you select will depend on those three factors above.


You will probably need a small-sized, single-stage snow thrower if your home has a 1- or 2-car driveway and small walks.

This size will be adequate for most storms.

It operates best from half to 9 inches of snow.

It moves about 1,100 pounds of snow per minute.


Consider a medium-size, single-stage snow thrower if your home has a 2-car garage, large driveway and some walks to clear.

This bigger size will be better for your needs than the smaller thrower.

It can handle half to 12 inches of snow.

It moves about 1,800 pound of snow per minute.


If you have a 3-car garage, and a larger driveway and walks, you need the power of a two-stage snow thrower.

The extra power will be welcome if you have a lot of area to clear.

Especially if your property faces north or is on a snow plow route, this more powerful thrower will do better moving through drifts left by snow plows, as well as crusted snow.

It performs best at snow depths of 5 inches and higher.

It moves up to 2,200 pounds of snow per minute.

single-stage vs. two-stage

Small and medium sized single-stage throwers are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Rubber paddles inside the machine self-propel it and throw snow out a shoot. They work best in newly fallen, noncompacted snow.

Large two-stage throwers are heavy duty, are on larger frames, have more power and multiple speeds. The steel auger inside can cut through compacted snow. This machine is well-suited to mountain properties where there is more frequent and often deeper snowfall and/or properties where there is a lot of area to clear.

Upgrades to basic machines

As with vehicles, many snow-moving machines have options that make them more user-friendly. Here are some of the upgrades.

An option similar to power steering makes machines more maneuverable.

A three-sided cab option is available on some large machines to keep the operator out of the weather.

Headlights and hand warmers are also options for some models.

Or hire a professional to take care of the snow for you.

Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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