For anyone who lives in a snowy climate, it’s no secret that snowblowers are a godsend. But even if you only experience the occasional snowstorm, snowblowers are well worth the initial expense. They can save you hours of manual labor and drastically reduce the chance of injury from lifting piles of heavy snow.
For those who have well paved driveways (and entryways) and are accustomed to more than a few inches, snowblowers are a no-brainer. But what about those who have gravel driveways to consider?
Removing snow from gravel surfaces is not easy with a shovel, not just because of the weight, but also because you need to take care not to toss the gravel along with the snow.
Loose gravel may seem equally impossible for a snowblower but winter warriors, take heart. There are several excellent snowblowers on the market that will remove snow of all manner of snow and ice from a gravel surface.
We’ll walk you through what to look for in a snowblower for gravel driveways and highlight some of the best on the market today.
Understanding Snowblower Stages
There are three types of snowblowers that differ according to the number and type of augers used. The auger is the part that sucks up the snow and forces it out a shoot. Stage one snowblowers have one auger that touches the ground. Therefore, these stage one snowblowers cannot be used on gravel surfaces.
Stage two and stage three snowblowers, on the other hand, have more than one auger to help break up ice and allow users to adjust how close to the ground the augers are set.
Stage two snowblowers have an auger at the front of the machine that rotates and additional impeller rotor for more power. Stage three snowblowers have the front auger, the impeller rotor, as well as one or two more augers meant to help break up ice even further.
Stage three snowblowers run on gas exclusively while stage one and two snowblowers run on either gas or electricity or some combination of both.
Other Important Features to Look For
Size and Power
The size and power of your snowblower will depend on the size of your driveway and the amount of snow you typically get in a season. Both the length and the width of your driveway factor into how long the job will take.
A smaller, less powerful snowblower will still clear your driveway, you’ll just be out in the bitter cold longer.
If you can get several feet of heavy snow, you’ll want a larger snowblower with good power.
When determining if you need the option of power steering, consider both your budget and the layout of the area you want to clear. Are there tight turns? If so, splurge for power steering.
When the wind is howling and temperatures are dropping, you won’t be disappointed you opted for power steering on your snowblower so if you have room in your budget, go for it.
The width of snowblowers varies. Wider snowblowers will shift more snow on each pass however, they will also take more space to store.
Wider blowers are also heavier and will take more power to move. Ask yourself: how much of a winter workout are you looking for? Be sure to the engine is large enough to match the size and weight of the snowblower.
Three of the Best Options on the Market
This stage two blower is a great option for anyone who regularly finds a blanket of snow on the ground in winter. The Yardmax YB6770 can easily clear snow in excess of one foot or more.
The solid steel design makes this snowblower one of the most durable. However, it’s also easy to maneuver, even for those who are snowblowing novices. It boasts a 26” snow clearing width and is built for long-lasting performance. It has self-propelled drive with 8 speeds to make clearing snow quick and easy.
In addition to serrated steel augers that can slice through hard packed snow and ice, the Yardmax YB6770 has convenient features such as an easy-to-use dashboard with headlight for dark winter days. It also has heated hand grips and a handy cup holder so you can sip your favorite warm beverage while you blast away snow.
The Yardmax YB6770 has an electric starter with a 208cc gas engine.
The PowerSmart PSS2240-x stage two snowblower is perfect for gravel driveways and won’t break the bank. But just because it’s more affordable than others on the market doesn’t mean it’s any less effective at clearing multiple inches of snow.
It features an electric start and 212cc engine with a 24” snow clearing width. It can handle snow up to 20 inches deep —great for northern regions that see lots of winter snow storms.
The six forward and two reverse speeds mean you can maneuver easily even in the toughest of conditions. The adjustable skid shoes let you change the clearing height, so you never have to worry about destroying your gravel surfaces.
With a discharge chute that rotates 180 degrees, the PowerSmart PSS2240 is especially helpful in blowing snow exactly where you want it.
Although it has a slightly smaller engine than some of its competitors, this means it’s not only affordable but also lightweight and compact. If storage space is an issue for you, the PowerSmart PSS2240 can’t be beat.
Cub Cadet 357cc
If you’re looking for shear power and monster snowblowing capability, you want the stage three Cub Cadet 357cc snowblower.
There are no conditions this beast of a machine can’t handle. It has your standard auger and impeller plus additional grinding augers to break up the toughest ice and wettest, packed snow. For those who live in climates that take a beating in winter, the Cub Cadet is your snowblower.
It has a steel crank-operated discharge chute as well as power steering with convenient fingertip controls. The skid shoes provide excellent durability, no matter the terrain. The Cub Cadet has a 26” snow clearing width.
Like the Yardmax, it also features useful headlights and heated hand warmers. While it is large and heavy, it works up to 50% faster than most stage two snowblowers.
The Cub Cadet is great for gravel driveways with its stage three adjustability. An investment in the Cub Cadet is one that will pay dividends in years to come. It’s built to impress and last season after tough winter season.
Gravel driveways used to be a major inconvenience for those who live in snowy climates. But thanks to ever evolving and improving technology, snowblowers are no longer a luxury only for the paved. Stage two and three snowblowers are well equipped to help you clear snow, without blasting gravel all over your (or your neighbors’) lawns.