Snow Thrower Safety Tips and Buying Advice

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Choose the right snow thrower, parts and accessories for your drive this winter


How do you choose between a two-stage and single-stage snow thrower? Our snow thrower expert from MTD Products Inc reviews popular snow thrower options to help you decide which one is right for your snow clearing needs. He will also discuss some very important snow thrower safety tips to help keep you and your family safe this winter.

Choosing a single-stage or two-stage snow thrower

There are four things to consider when choosing a snow thrower: surface, size, slope and snowfall. Check out the differences below to see which would work best for your driveway.

  • Surface: If you have a paved surface, a single-stage snow thrower will work just fine. However, since the augers on these machines have direct content with the ground, gravel can get picked up and thrown while you blow snow. Two-stage machines keep the auger blades elevated so they work on both paved and unpaved surfaces.
  • Size: Single-stage snow throwers have a smaller auger than a two-stage mower, but can easily handle a driveway that is less than 40 feet long. Anything beyond that, or a driveway that is particularly wide, will need a machine with a wider berth to clear efficiently. Most two-stage snow throwers are wider to clear more in one pass.
  • Slope: Single-stage snow throwers don't have the gears and power steering needed to clear snow safely on an uphill slope. If you have a steep driveway, it's probably best to go with a two-stage snow blower.
  • Snowfall: If your average snowfall is less than six inches in a day, you should be able to charge through without a problem when you have a single-stage snow thrower. However, anything greater will need a little more power behind it. Likewise, snow quality can impact what you choose. Two-stage snow throwers are more equipped to handle the wet, heavy slush and snow, and churn through the plow's deposits at the end of your driveway.

Perform proper snow thrower maintenance and take safety precautions

Get in a routine of checking your snow thrower parts for maintenance before or after each use. the vibrations of the machine can loosen nuts and bolts, which if not tightened can cause larger problems. Plus, the sooner you catch a problem, like a damaged spark plug or old oil filter, the less likely you will  be to get caught unaware with the next storm.


For either type of machine, there are snow blower accessories like snow cabs and chute cleaners available to make your job safe and easier. Just look up the parts number for your model using our Part Finder. No matter which snow thrower you purchase, it's important to follow proper safety instructions.


Snow thrower Safety Tips

  • Get to know your machine: Read your owner's manual and be familiar with all controls and their proper operation. Know how to stop the machine and disengage snow blower parts quickly.

  • Ensure responsible operation: Never allow children under 14 years of age to operate a snow thrower. Children 14 and over should read and understand the instructions and safe operation practices that are described in your operator's manual.

  • Plan your clearing pattern: Thrown objects can cause serious personal injury. Plan your snow throwing pattern to avoid discharge of material towards roads, bystanders and the like. Keep bystanders, pets and children at least 75 feet from the machine while it is in operation. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area.

  • Look for possible hazards: Thoroughly inspect the area where the equipment is to be used. Remove all doormats, newspapers, sleds, boards, wires and other foreign objects, which could be tripped over or thrown by the auger/impeller.

  • Avoid injury: Exercise caution to avoid slipping or falling, especially when operating the machine in reverse.
  • Protect yourself from projectiles: Always wear safety glasses or eye shields during operation and while performing an adjustment or repair to protect your eyes. Thrown objects which ricochet can cause serious injury to the eyes.
  • Stop the machine before performing maintenance: Never attempt to make any adjustments while engine is running, except where specifically recommended in the operator's manual.
  • Use the chute clean-out tool: Never use your hands to clear a clogged chute assembly. Shut off the engine and remain behind the handles until all moving parts have stopped before unclogging. The chute clean-out tool is conveniently fasted to the rear of the auger housing with a mounting clip.

    Fix equipment issues quickly

    When you need parts for your snow thrower or other equipment, you can use the MTD Genuine Parts Part Finder to find the correct one. Common parts include:

    Shop equipment and parts

    Resolving outdoor power equipment problems as soon as they arise will prolong the life of your machine. Troubleshoot equipment problems using our symptom guide.

    The MTD Genuine Parts Knowledge Center provides do-it-yourself instructions for performing many basic maintenance items, including replacing spark plugs, drive and auger belts, and engine oil. If you find your machine has a bigger problem, use our service locator to find a qualified MTD service provider in your area.

    Part Finder

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    You can use the Part Finder to help find your model and the right part for your machine.

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