Is a Snowblower or a Snowplow the Right Choice for You?


It is that time of year again in Canada, where properties, construction sites and more are already covered with snow. Whether it is clearing a driveway, a path, or a commercial parking lot, there are a few “do it yourself” options to clear a property, the most popular of which are using a snowplow or snowblower. There are advantages to using either, but your choice will depend on your situation and the landscape you are operating on.

Blowers or Blades?
As you know, a snowblower uses a rotating auger and impeller to shoot the snow and propel it in any direction, meaning operators have good visibility while operating the equipment and are much less likely to mistakenly damage property land or hardscape. Snowblowers come in a variety of sizes and are the usual go-to for smaller projects – like sidewalks and driveways – where an operator can distribute the snow at a distance or to a place it in the near proximity. A blower’s ease-of-use makes it easier to distribute the snow more evenly across the property landscape when the banks build up with large piles of snow.

Composition-wise, a snowblower has a more complex mechanical function than that of a snowplow, meaning that the former typically requires frequent maintenance and inspections. Finally, as many of us have learned growing up, operators will typically have to take multiple passes with a blower to clear an area, especially surfaces that are not completely flat.

In comparison, a snowplow is affixed to the front of the compact track loader, skid steer or wheel loader and pushes snow out of your way using a simplified mechanical process. Larger residential and commercial property owners tend to steer towards this type of equipment – instead of a snowblower – because of how fast a blade can clear a large area.
Mechanically, snowplows have the option of trip edge blades that allow operators to go over small manholes without losing the load, ensuring proper clearance. Blades also typically have hydraulic angles – in addition to different width and length options – so that operators can clear the snow to one side, rather than straight ahead.

From a practicality standpoint, snowplows give limited visibility of area being cleared, and that issue can become even more pronounced when the snow is falling as the snow blade is in operation. If used improperly, the size and weight of blade attachment can cause significant structural damage to parking lots, barriers, lawns and property hardscapes, which is why it is always recommended that the machine is being used by an experienced operator. Lastly, precise clearing can be more difficult to achieve due to large size of the snow blade.

Whatever equipment you have on hand, it is important to annually winterize it to ensure that the blower or blade is ready when it needs to be. Taking the time to prepare your equipment for winter conditions is one of the most important pieces of regular maintenance to do on compact equipment, especially if it needs to perform in the cold and harsh conditions of a Canadian winter.

For those in the process of making a purchase, the choice of equipment will ultimately come down to preference and property. It is important that operators take time to research the kind of snow they typically get as well as the frequency and length of the snow season. Those factors should be front and center when it is time to make a purchase decision.

Finally, once the snow hits the ground, it is worth gauging what is hiding beneath all of that snow, from small rocks to concrete barriers. Accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence when it comes to snow maintenance, meaning it iss important to have familiarity with the area that is being tended to so that you can get the job done.

Source: Yannick Diamani, Construction, Commercial & Residential Product Specialist,
Kubota Canada

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