What You Need to Know Before Buying a Craftsman Snowblower
As winter sets in and snow starts to accumulate, you may be looking for an efficient way to remove all that snow from your driveway or yard or simply to clear a path around your house. If there is just a small amount of snow to clear, shoveling it yourself will get the job done. But if you have a substantial amount of snow to get rid of and want to avoid the hours of backbreaking work that shoveling can entail, consider investing in a snowblower - especially one with the durability and performance that Craftsman is known for.
Snow Blower or Snow Thrower?A snowblower typically consists of a wheeled machine with two stages - the first to collect the snow and the second to expel (or blow) it a distance away from the snowblower. The first stage is known as an auger and scoops the snow up as the snowblower advances forward. The second stage is usually a high-speed impeller that sucks the snow in and blows out out the machine.
It’s important not to confuse a snowblower with a snow thrower, as there are some important differences between the two. While a snowblower generally incorporates the two stages mentioned above, a snowthrower just has one stage - a single high-speed impeller that both sucks snow into the machine and expels it out through the discharge chute.
Snow throwers tend not to be as effective at clearing snow due to their single stage action, and so are better suited for snow depths of nine inches or less. Dual-stage snowblowers are almost always the machine of choice for serious snow removal.
What Type of Snowblower Is Best for You?Snowblowers can take a variety of forms, so you will want to consider which type best meets your needs. They are usually self-propelled, like most lawn mowers, and can be either pushed from behind or ridden. In general, for home use, self-propelled walk-behind snowblowers will suffice. However, if you need to clear a large area or or one with especially deep snow, a ride-on snowblower will save you a lot of time and energy. That said, the riding snowblowers are also quite a bit more expensive.
Craftsman snowblowers can be either electric, gas powered, or both. Although the gas powered variety is currently more popular (and powerful), the electric snowblowers often feature push-button starting, run more quietly and their battery can be recharged as needed. This will take longer than refilling the gas tank, but costs less and often is just as efficient if you have a spare fully charged battery on hand. You will want to weigh these tradeoffs when deciding which type to get (or alternatively, just get a “hybrid” snowblower!).
Deciding between push, self-propelled, and ride-on and between gas and electric are just two of the choices you’ll need to make in determining the right snowblower for you. Fortunately, the Sears (manufacturer of Craftsman) website includes a snowblower finder that allows you to filter according to your driveway size, surface type (paved, gravel, or both), and average snowfall.
Larger driveway sizes mean you should choose a wider snowblower to scoop up a wider path of snow. Rougher and more uneven surfaces are suited better to two-stage snowblowers rather than single-stage snow throwers. And, the more snow deposited by the average snowfall where you live, the larger (i.e. greater auger capacity) you will want your snowblower to
Optional Snowblower Features to ConsiderOnce you have given some thought to the conditions in which you’ll primarily be using your snowblower, and therefore the size and power that makes sense, you should know that there are a variety of other nice-to-have features on Craftsman snowblowers that can make the snowblowing process easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. Consider purchasing a snowblower with one or more of the following features if you think they would be of benefit to you.
Single Hand Operation: Usually, snowblowers require both hands on the throttle for operation. However, the single hand operation feature allows you to keep one hand free, which is handy for manual adjustment of the discharge chute (or other activities) as needed.
EZ Steer Power Steering: If precise control and the ability to make sharp turns is important to you, you’ll love this feature. Turning triggers on both the left and right handle make it possible.
Manual Chute Control: This feature is especially handy when combined with single hand operation. It allows the operator to adjust the orientation of the discharge chute within a 190 degree range by means of a handle. This can be desirable in order to channel discharged snow to exactly where you want it to go.
In addition to simple manual chute control, Craftsman snowblowers can allow enhanced control of the chute rotation and/or pitch with a few additional features. Options include controlling the chute remotely by means of a crank, four-way 190 degree rotation by means of a joystick, and extremely precise chute rotation and pitch control without needing to stop the snowblower or release the handle.
Wrap-UpCraftsman snowblowers can range in price from anywhere around $100 to several hundred dollars and even more than a thousand dollars for the large, heavy duty models. So, regardless of your needs, there is a Craftsman model appropriate for you. Even better, most replacement parts cost only a fraction of these amounts, so proper maintenance should not be an issue.
Once you have a good idea of the amount of snow you need to clear and the conditions you’ll be working in, be sure to check out the Sears or Craftsman website to research the different options, or stop into a Sears store to see some models up close and chat with a knowledgeable professional. Above all, have fun shopping for (and especially using) your new snowblower!