Weather is pretty unpredictable these days. One winter goes by without any serious snowfall and then the next one hits you like a freight train. If this has been weighing heavily on your snow-shoveling back muscles, it might be time to invest in one of the wonders of the modern world: the snow blower.
The two snow-blowers we’ll be looking at today have dual-stage action. While a single-stage model operates much like a leaf blower, dual-stage snow blowers first break up the snow and ice with an auger before blowing it out of a chute in whatever direction you choose. This is particularly useful for people who live in harsh northern climates where your sidewalk can turn into a knee-high glacier overnight. We’ll look at two sturdy models and discuss the different features that each offer so that you can decide which one will best fit your needs.
Briggs & Stratton 1696610
Even though both of these models have drive gears that make it a breeze to roll along an icy driveway, tires are always an important factor. This model features 13 in x 5 in tires, which means that it will clear frozen obstacles with relative ease. Even though the auger will break up the tougher stuff in front, you still want sturdy tires that can plow through the ice and grit without stalling during your morning time crunch.
The two inches that Husqvarna has on its competitor here may not make a difference in milder regions, but 15-inch tires will always be able to ride a rougher road than the 13-inch rollers that the Briggs & Stratton has to offer. You’ll want to think about your local climate when considering tires; what does your driveway look like after a stormYou’re the only one who knows whether the extra two inches will make a difference.
Verdict: Regardless of where you live, the weather is always unpredictable, and you’d do best to stay prepared. If the 15-inch tires won’t make a bit of difference in your region, you can disregard this category, but we have to recommend the product that is designed for rugged winter mornings. The Husqvarna is the winner in this category.
Briggs & Stratton 1696610
Snow blowers are hefty machines. You’ll want to make sure you have a good place where you can store your favorite new tool. While you’re thinking about that, you’ll likely start to wonder what it’s like to move one of these big boys around. Both models are self-driving and have multiple gears, but if you ever have to deal with this model’s dead weight, you’ll be lifting 175 pounds. That’s a pretty average size for a snow blower, but it’s important to know what you’ll be dealing with.
If you thought the Briggs & Stratton model was on the heavy side, your mouth might drop at the 240 pounds that this model brings to the table. As we’ve mentioned, you won’t be pushing this weight around on your own – both models have a gas-powered motor that assists you in moving it through the stubborn snow. It’s worth mentioning, however, that 240 pounds is a big load.
Verdict: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. When it comes to doing work around your house and neighborhood, the devices that are supposed to make your life easier should be as light as possible. The point of purchasing any power machinery is to save you labor. That’s why the Briggs & Stratton gets points in this category. 65 pounds makes a difference, and that’s what this model has on its competitor.
Briggs & Stratton 1696610
It’s important to have a flexible friction disk drive system that moves you forward, but this model also offers not one but two reverse gears. If you have an irregularly shaped driveway, walkway, or sidewalk, this could be extremely helpful in maneuvering this big machine around tight corners and tough spots.
While this device only provides one reverse gear, it offers a couple exciting additional features, specifically having to do with the handles. If you and your spouse or children have big height differences among you, having adjustable handle-height will go a long way towards preventing back strain. Piloting a heavy machine like this can produce a lot of tension if the handles aren’t positioned for optimal alignment. Additionally, you can say goodbye to icicle fingers: these handles are heated. Keep your digits warm and toasty while you clear the walk on a frigid morning.
Verdict: The additional reverse gear provided by the Briggs & Stratton will be incredibly useful to anyone with an irregular driveway, but the handle features provided by Husqvarna are too hot to pass up. Snow blowers prevent back pain for long-shoveling homeowners; why not get one that can provide it to your whole family, regardless of their heightAnd the heated handles. My fingers are already tingling.
It’s easy to put off getting a snow blower. There are so many reasons to wait until next year. But the fact of the matter is that as soon as one of these machines arrives at your doorstep, you’ll be saving hours of labor within a matter of months, not to mention all those chiropractor bills. Especially if you live in a harsh northern climate, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by handing over the hardship to a rugged machine that’s built for winter.
Either of these models will stand you in good stead for a long winter. We’ve examined the tires, the weight, and a few additional features designed with your convenience in mind. While the Briggs & Stratton model weighs significantly less than its competitor, the Husqvarna has the tires to tackle stubborn sidewalks and handles that will keep your mittens toasty. In the end, comfort is king, and we’d have to recommend the Husqvarna ST224 Snow Blower, if only for its versatility and consideration for your personal use-experience.