Gas snow blowers are energy guzzling equipment. Only two-stage gas snow blowers with four-stroke and overhead-valve engines are reasonably energy-efficient. But they are very expensive machines.
Before buying a gas snow blower ask yourself if you do really need a snow-blower. What seems a handy machine may turn out to be a costly mistake.
Do not forget the alternatives: traditional shoveling and snow removal services…
If your snow clearing needs are beyond your physical capacity, why not ask or pay someone to do the clearing for you? Snow clearing services can be much cheaper than buying and maintaining an expensive and polluting machine.
Electric snow-Blowers are a poor alternative
Electric powered snow blowers are less polluting than gas blowers, and also cheaper and easier to maintain and to use. But they are a poor choice for gravel driveways, of for wet snow, or for hilly grounds. They only perform reasonable for small snowfalls, say, up to 4 inches. They have a small horsepower, and that limits their use.
Gas snow blowers are a lot more expensive, noisier and heavier than electric snow blowers, but they are the only effective way of clearing average and large snowfalls.
Be careful when using gas snow blowers. They are a cause of thousands of injuries (finger injuries, but also many amputations). See: Consumer Product Safety Commission…
Bottom line: power output is crucial for effectiveness; though cheaper and easier to use and maintain, electric snow blowers can be rather useless. They only are effective for tackling small snow loads, in flat and non-gravel drives, where they can easily be replaced by snow shoveling.
Single-Stage gas snow blowers are energy-inefficient and mostly useless
Manufacturers are offering two basic types of gas snow blowers: single-stage and two-stage snow blowers. Single-stage snow blowers are little better than electric units, and are very inefficient.
Only two-stage gas snow blowers (propelled by engine-driven wheels) are powerful enough for large snow clearing. Most of these units have four-stroke engines, which is crucial for energy efficiency. New two-stage models also come with overhead-valve engines, for a cleaner burning. If you do need a snow blower, they are the best choice.
Obviously, they're heavy, expensive (typically above $1,000) and high-maintenance…