Snow Thrower Safety Tips and Buying Advice

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 conditions.

  • 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 contact with the ground, gravel can get picked up and thrown while you clear 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 snow thrower, 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 intake to clear efficiently. Most two-stage snow throwers are wider and can clear more snow 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 thrower.
  • Snowfall: If your average snowfall is less than six inches per day, you should be able to clear snow without a problem with a single-stage snow thrower. However, areas with higher daily snowfall averages will need a machine with more power. Snow type can also impact the performance of your snow thrower. Two-stage snow throwers are better equipped to handle wet, heavy snow and slush.

Perform proper snow thrower maintenance and take safety precautions

Get in a routine of checking your snow thrower parts for maintenance before and after each use. Vibrations of the machine can loosen nuts and bolts, which if not tightened can lead to problems. And, the sooner you identify parts that need replacement - like a dirty spark plug or worn belt - the less likely it will be that your machine experiences down time.


MTD Genuine Parts offers snow thrower accessories like snow cabs and chute cleaners to make clearing snow safer and easier. And, 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 become familiar with controls and proper operation. Know how to stop and disengage moving parts quickly.

  • Ensure responsible operation: Never allow children to operate a snow thrower. Operators should read and understand the instructions and safe use as described in your operator's manual.

  • Plan a clearing pattern: Thrown objects can cause personal injury. Plan your snow throwing pattern to avoid discharging snow towards roads, bystanders and other objects that can be damaged. Bystanders should be 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 snow thrower is going to be used. Remove doormats, newspapers, boards, wires and other objects which could be tripped over or pulled into 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 during operation and while performing an adjustment or repair.
  • Stop the machine before performing maintenance: Never attempt to make any adjustments while the engine is running, except where specified 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.

    Fix equipment issues quickly

    When you need parts for your snow thrower, 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 tasks, 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.


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