What To Know Before Buying A Commercial Snow Blower For Your Residential Property

When tackling the daunting task of snow removal, you might wonder if a commercial snow blower is a suitable investment for your very non-commercial property. But this decision isn't just about buying a machine; it's about choosing a winter companion that can make those harsh, cold, snowy mornings just a bit more bearable.

Before you decide on a commercial snow blower for your home, it's crucial to evaluate whether or not a residential model meets your needs, and several factors can influence this decision. Fundamentally, residential snow blowers typically meet the needs of most homeowners, providing a balanced combination of convenience, size, and power. However, a commercial model becomes necessary if you're dealing with larger areas and more frequent or heavier snowfall, as they're simply more efficient. Commercial snow blowers are built for daily, heavy-duty use, which is why they seem more rugged.

If a commercial snow blower seems like the right choice, it's time to plow ahead with a clear financial plan. Commercial snow blowers come with significant price tags (up to a few thousand dollars), so establishing a realistic budget is essential. Usually, the price is dictated by things like the ease of use, control systems, plow material, and size of the machine. But it's not just the initial purchase price that matters. Consider long-term expenses such as maintenance and fuel costs for snow blowers. In many cases, investing more money up front may lead to savings in the long run due to lower maintenance costs and greater durability.

Finding the right fit: models and features

It might sound cliché, but selecting a snow blower is quite similar to choosing the right pair of shoes. Both require finding the perfect fit for your specific needs and conditions.

There are primarily two types of snow blowers: single-stage and two-stage (although three-stage models exist as well). While single-stage blowers are easier to handle, they falter in the face of heavy snow. On the other hand, two-stage models are the heavy lifters of snow removal — great for more extensive, snowier areas but more complex to maneuver. Most commercial models are two-stage snow blowers. Such a snow blower is usually the better choice for most residential properties with heavy snowfall (at least a foot of snow).

Ultimately, the choice depends on the size and power you need to match your property's scale. Bigger isn't necessarily better, as a heavy-duty model like the Snow Beast 45" may plow through the snow like a champ, but it also needs a place in your garage. The last thing you want to do is wrestle with a bulky machine half-asleep on a snowy morning. 

The rest is personal preference, as some features on snow blowers can be game-changers for different people. Power steering can save you from a 200-pound workout, heated hand grips can feel like a blessing on freezing mornings, and electric starts can be a back-saver. It's these little things that can transform snow removal from a chore to a more manageable task.

Final thoughts and recommendations

Safety is the one feature you should never compromise on. Commercial snow blowers are big machines that require an even bigger responsibility. Did you know the Consumer Product Safety Commission (via SafetyNow ILT) estimates an average of 5,740 emergency room visits each year related to injuries from snow blower use? Now you do, so look for features like automatic shut-offs and clear safety instructions. Remember, the safest machine is the one you know how to use correctly.

Also, instead of buying online, visit a local retailer that sells snow blowers and ask for a test run. Think of it like a car; when you take one for a test drive, you want to know how it feels and if it's the right fit for you. A snow blower should be treated the same way.

Lastly, you'll want to find an option with warranty and servicing; yes, it may be more money upfront, but it's also your safety net. This will ensure that your investment is protected and that help is available. If not, always check the proximity of authorized service centers — it's a detail that's easy to overlook but crucial when it matters, especially because these machines are usually needed during inclement weather.

Choosing a commercial snow blower is more than a simple household purchase; it's about investing in a reliable solution for the coldest season of the year. Here's to finding the perfect snow-clearing companion and making those winter mornings a little easier to handle!