Tomorrow it’s going to snow: Let’s choose a snowman
Winter is coming! Check out the weather forecast and consider whether you’re ready to spend half a day waving a shovel and hauling snow around the house. We tell you all about snowmen (aka snow piles) and how to choose the right model.
How the snowman works
A homemade snowman works as follows: A bucket is filled with snow, a rotating knife with screws sends it to a special tube, through which it is thrown to the side – so if you need to put out a large area, this thrown snow during cleaning will have to clean up at the next pass. In inexpensive models, the angle, direction, and area of snow throw are adjusted manually from the control panel.
Budget snow blower with electric motor
Single level or two-stage snow clearing system?
A single-level system is simply an auger that rotates while snow is in the gutter. Snow blowers with this system are slower and less productive than models with a two-stage system, even though the auger rotates very quickly – because it has to remove and eject the snow.
In models with the two-stage system, the auger grabs it and directs it “for recycling and disposal” to the wheel built into the shovel, which grinds the snow thrower, creates a snow and water mixture and directs it into a special chute. The impeller rotates independently of the auger, and the latter does not have to do it very quickly. This arrangement is safer for the snow blower itself: If the auger rotates very quickly, the stone jaw can damage the entire system, so single-stage snow blowers are not recommended for gravel surfaces. Single-stage cleaning systems are mostly used in wheeled models that are not self-propelled: fewer parts – lighter and more maneuverable snowmobile. Models with a two-stage system are good for wet, heavy, thick, dense snow and have a wide range of overlap (up to 15 m), while the individual level snowmobile does not throw snow until now.
Snow blower with a two-stage clearing system throws snow over a long distance
Engine: gasoline or electric
Gasoline engines: manufacturer
Most snow blowers run on gasoline two-stroke engines. Manufacturers of snow blowers work with major engine and car companies: Honda and Hyundai (these produce snow blowers under their brand name), Robin-Subaru, Briggs & Stratton and when buying it is worth asking what a simple engine is worth. A good “brand name engine” increases the cost of the snowmobile, but also increases its reliability and makes it easy to start, even in cold weather. Manufacturers guarantee free repair of the latter if it does not start after two attempts (for example, Robin-Subaru).
Gasoline engines: types of starters
Gasoline engines can be equipped with a manual or electric starter, the device that starts the engine. Most models are equipped with a manual starter, but in severe frost the snow blower can be moody and will not start from the handle, so some models are also equipped with an electric starter: you start it, you start it, the engine warms up and starts. There are models with a battery to start the engine, but there are not many, and with you an additional concern: the battery must be charged (for example, in the summer).
Gasoline sneaker with electric engine start
Gasoline engines: characteristics
The most important characteristic of an engine is its power, which is measured in horsepower. But it can not be considered only in isolation from other qualities. For example, self-propelled units are always much more powerful than non-self-propelled ones, simply because some of the energy is spent moving the unit and rotating working parts. At the same time, you can have roughly the same snow width and similar output. There is a general recommendation: Choose a snow blower capacity of 9-10 hp for an area of 10-15 acres, but it is still worth looking at sets of parameters. The average and quite decent figure – 7 liters. С.
Gasoline engines: two-stroke and four-stroke
It is necessary to say about the engine tact, but not for the love of theory. Two-stroke engines of small capacity, up to 5 hp, are installed on light low-capacity models and have a big disadvantage: you need a special mixture of gasoline and oil for fueling. Four-stroke engines run on pure gasoline, which is more convenient. Four-stroke engines are larger, heavier, but also more powerful – up to 13-15 hp. С.
Gasoline engines: autonomous operation
For gasoline snowmobiles, the volume of the fuel tank is also important – the autonomous operation time depends on it (among other things). A fuel level gauge in the tank is very useful – of course, the snowmobile is mostly used near the house and it can be quickly refueled, but it is still better to learn about this need in advance.
Gasoline engines: Care and maintenance
The gasoline engine must be serviced regularly – clean and change the oil. The first is performed in the service, and the oil you can change yourself.
Electric motors: advantages and disadvantages
Electric motors are typical for very simple light models – non-self-propelled, with a small width of snow, designed only for paving. Such models do not cope with a large amount of fallen snow, snow drifts and icing, but are well suited for prevention and maintenance of normal appearance and continuation of the location, and a person without special physical training can cope with them. Another plus is the low noise level compared to gasoline snow blowers.
An undeniable advantage is the low price: electric models are the cheapest – on average, 7-15 thousand rubles. But there are also disadvantages. In addition to low performance, it is the presence of a cable: first, you can not go far – you need extension cords, and secondly, it interferes and can be damaged by the snail or the wheels of the device. And this can be dangerous in combination with wet snow. When choosing a model with an electric motor, we advise you to pay attention to whether it has protection against moisture and overheating.
Electric motor models are lightweight and environmentally friendly
Self-operated or non-self-operated
Many people think that if the engine is gasoline-powered, the snow blower will always run. This is not true: Gasoline models come in both self-propelled and non-self-propelled, and electric models are simply non-self-propelled. A self-propelled snow blower is always a more powerful engine, the effort of which should not only be enough to turn the auger that binds the snow and the impeller that they throw off, but also to move the unit out of the way. In a non-self-powered snow blower, the engine only does the auger and the cleaning system. The self-propelled snow blower also needs to be steered and held by the handles – just not pushed.
Basically, the No n-Sel f-Propere has nothing to worry about: the user just pushes the snowman in front of him. It is important that the wheels have good coarse deep treads and do not slip, and that the handles have two bars on both sides. If the handle is a staple, which must be pressed in, it is not too comfortable: it must be constantly advanced, using force.
A little comfort
For every snowman, it is desirable to have a headlamp to light the way and heat the handles – this is necessary for more comfortable “steering”. Almost always there is a height adjustment of the handle, but if the height of the user is not standard, you need to pay attention to the “feeling” alive, otherwise it may be uncomfortable to work. It is worth considering the possibility of controlling the snowman with one hand: there should be a block on each handle for this purpose. This is necessary not to control the left link, but to use your free hand to adjust the direction and height of snow missions, for example.
For a self-protected snow thrower, it is important that there be a wheel release system that allows you to easily turn the unit around (if not, the machine is almost impossible for a woman to handle, for example).
Rad snow blower with a two-stage cleaning system
Transmissions in snow blowers: mechanical or automatic
Having a gearbox makes it easy to use: you can, given the thickness and quality of the snow (light, fluffy or wet, dense, bound), choose from two to six gears if you go forward, and one or two if you go backward. The gear is selected from the remote control. When using a staggered gearbox, you have to stop the unit to change gears-it’s not very convenient, but otherwise the mechanism will quickly fall into disrepair. In general, however, the stepped transmission is considered a simple and reliable mechanism. In addition, models with it are much cheaper than snowmobiles with attachable gear.
This is a kind of automatic, but closer not to the automatic transmission in the car, but to the variator – when the engine is controlled by electronics. The gear shifts smoothly, without the friction force as in a stepped transmission, and through the use of hydraulic oil. There is no need to stop the snowmobile when changing gears.
On wheels or tracks
Snow cutters on wheels can be found more often, most of them are domestic models. The larger the diameter of the wheels, the better, a good profile, as mentioned above, is a serious condition for the ease of use of the device. Bicycle drive is an inexpensive solution, but in some models they try to make everything as cheap as possible and install small wheels of shaped rubber. And these are bikes with poor terrain, they slip and turn at the slightest obstacle. A more expensive option is bicycles with pneumatic tubes. You have to pump them up regularly, but they offer better stability, traction and maneuverability.
But the best grip comes from the track system. Expensive, reliable, and used in advanced production models. The tracked snow cutter works great on difficult terrain (a kind of tank), snow drifts, snow drifts, etc. They are not afraid of snow, they can easily overcome and overcome climbs, but are not distinguished by maneuverability – models with all-wheel drive are much more maneuverable.
What counts as performance
This is a question, as manufacturers have not come to a consensus. Some specify the mass of snow in tons per hour; others – how many square meters the device can clean in the same hour. In any case, the productivity increases in proportion to the power of the engine, as well as the width and height of the snow thrower. Snow milling with a two-stage clearing system is more productive than with a single-stage system.
Snow grip width and height
Capture height depends on the diameter of the snail, the width on the width of the spoon. With width it’s simple – the bigger the better. For effective cleaning of large areas the width of at least 55 cm can be considered sufficient (in lightweight models there are values and 36, and 40, and 46 cm). When buying it is very important to assess the quality of the material from which the bucket and snail are made. You can do this only with your own eyes or by reading reviews. Imagine that the width is good, but the metal of the bucket and/or snail is thin. There is little use for such a system – it will quickly break or deform even under average load. By the way, screws are often made of rubber or composite material – do not be afraid, they are strong enough, with steel reinforcement, just have flexibility and do not scratch any surface – such as decorative tile.
Some models also have such a useful thing as a knife for cutting snow. However, here, too, you should look at the quality and at the same time check the availability of this part on sale separately, because such a device is kept one to two seasons, then it will have to change.
On what parameters of the territory depends the choice of snow blower
The complexity of a snow blower design grows in proportion to the area it has to work with, the mood of the area (hill, elevation differences), the snow conditions of the region, and the physical abilities of the user. The regularity of snow removal is also very important: if people live there and clean it promptly, that’s one thing, because even simple models do a good job removing fresh snow. If, however, you come to Dacha once or twice a week and find ice, drifts, sticky snow, that’s another thing: then you need a model with a two-stage cleaner. For gravel, rocks on a construction site, just a two-stage system; for elevation changes and earthen hills, a two-stage cleaning system and a couple of rides. If you only need to sweep the driveway to your house or bathtub and update it regularly, an inexpensive single-stage cleaner with a small snow handle or electric shovel will suffice.
Gasoline vs. electric – a comparison of snowboards for private use
As the saying goes, “prepare the sled in the summer.” This proverb can certainly be applied to snow shovels, especially if you have finally decided to rid yourself of the shovel and clear the area near your home or cabin. Despite the lack of snow in front of the window, it is now quite possible to get acquainted with the range of these units and compare the varieties. And to understand the variety of their technical properties and important features of use, we will be helped by experts from the business of producing garden mechanisms, who are familiar with these problems.
Before continuing to compare the features and differences of various snowplows, it is necessary to at least become familiar with the most important design elements. These include:
- The engine – the most important part, on which directly depends on the possibility of further use;
- Snail – a rotating knife in the front bucket, which is responsible for shredding and throwing the snow mass;
- Roof channel – the pipe through which the ejection takes place;
- Wheels or rails;
- Handle with controls.
Gasoline snow blower
Once you understand the design and the name of its individual parts, you can get a closer look at the first of the two types of snow blowers that exist.
As you understand, the gasoline snow blower is built on the basis of a gasoline engine. What gives such a solution?
The advantages of a gasoline-powered snow blower are
It is gasoline models are the most productive – they cope more effectively with snow drifts, including with a thick layer or weakly packed snow, and allow you to clear the territory faster.
Gasoline models can be self-propelled, which makes the job much easier. The machine drives itself forward, the operator can only conduct it. For electric and especially battery-powered machines, self-propelled machines do not exist.
It should be noted that the gasoline engine is not a guarantee of “self-propelled machines” – in the catalogs of stores and manufacturers it is quite possible to find non-self-propelled gasoline machines. They are a little more difficult to work with – you have to push them forward, which is not very practical for large efforts or ice cream, but for many this disadvantage is quickly compensated for by the lower cost.
The width of the snow cover
It has more and more gasoline models, because they always have a more powerful two-stage shredding and ejection system. In addition to the standard auger, a separate impeller is installed, which is responsible exclusively for throwing the snow mass. All this increases the range of throwing snow up to 10-12 meters.
Availability of tracked models
Gasoline-powered machines can be equipped not only with wheels, but also with tracks. These are the most serious and passable units, which can easily cope with the cleaning of icy territory (such as a roller) and work on sloping surfaces. However, it is worth noting that for domestic use, their power and capabilities will be excessive.
And the last advantage is the independence of the power source. During work, you do not need to follow the cable going to the socket, and if necessary, you can clean even at a considerable distance from residential objects.
Disadvantages of gasoline equipment
From the advantages we move smoothly to the disadvantages inherent in all gasoline-powered machines.
dimensions and weight
The engine affects not only the performance, but also the weight – the more powerful the model, the more difficult it is to manage (especially if it is not self-assembled) and transportation. In addition, self-assembled and, even more so, tracked units are quite bulky, which causes additional difficulties in storing them.
It can also be attributed to the disadvantages, since snowthrowers with a gasoline engine are always much more expensive than electric models. For many, it is this factor that will be decisive in choosing.
Noise and exhaust during operation
This point stands somewhat apart, as only models based on two-stroke engines are truly noisy. Four-stroke engines are much quieter in operation and have more environmentally friendly exhaust, but they are inferior in terms of noise.
Video: Patriot PS 700 gasoline snow blower
Electric snow blowers
The benefits of an electric snow blower are
One of the most important advantages of machines with an electric motor is compactness and low weight. Such units are more cannoneer. It is convenient to transport them even in a passenger car and store them in the warm season. However, do not forget that for the compactness in the duration of the work have to pay for a small width of detection, you have to make more passes to clean the territory.
Another important feature is the auger material. Unlike exclusively metal shredders on gasoline snow blowers, in this case, rubberized or even fully rubber augers can be installed. The main advantage of such a solution is that it is not able to damage the decorative coating of paths and grounds. At the same time, the snow will be shredded no worse.
Simplicity and ease of use
Even people who are far from garden equipment can use an electric snow blower. To start working, it is enough to connect it to the electric network and press a button. Gasoline models need to start with a manual starter, which is not very convenient and comfortable in the cold season.
In addition, the electric motor does not emit exhaust fumes and works much quieter, which makes using the device much more convenient.
In terms of price Electric models are the undisputed leaders – their cost is several times lower than the gasoline ones.
Speaking of disadvantages, it is always worth considering the significant difference in price between gasoline and electric models and the initial orientation of the latter for not very difficult domestic work.
performance and features
Devices with an electric motor lose out in power in head-to-head comparisons – at best they reach 3 hp versus 13 hp for the most powerful gasoline models. However, this is quite enough to clean an area of up to 500 square meters, that is, for normal work in the garden of your home or cottage.
Another disadvantage is the maintenance of the mains cord. First, you need to have access to a socket, and secondly, make sure that the cord does not get caught in the snail while working. Electric models that run on batteries do not have this problem. This is very convenient, but in this case we can not talk about cheapness and availability.
And finally, to move away a little from the pros and cons, we would like to draw attention to the existence of a whole subspecies of electric snow shovels – electric shovels. They have an even simpler design – there is no chute, which allows you to adjust the direction and height of the throw, and the snow is thrown directly in the direction of travel. For “serious” work, electric excavators are not very suitable, but for domestic needs, such as clearing paths or the driveway to the garage, their power is quite enough.
Video: Electric snow blower GreenWorks W50 in action
Concluding the comparison of gasoline and electric snow blowers, it is worth noting another important fact that will determine their use and the relevance of the purchase for you – the possibility of timely cleaning.
The fact is that because of the small power and design features, electric models are designed exclusively for cleaning freshly fallen snow. If you can clean the yard only occasionally, say at the weekend or at best a few times a week, then the gasoline snow blower is the only option for you. But do not forget that the heavy, wet, snowy mass is an impossible task even for them. In general, if you are willing to spend 15-20 minutes to clean the paths immediately after the snowfall, then the electric snowblower will be a very good purchase for you.