When winter approaches and the snowing season hits, you must keep your driveways clear of frost so that you can be safe. While shovels can be used to clear out some amount of snow, they are not very effective and may take time especially if you’re clearing a large area. This is where a snowblower comes in. Not only is a snowblower effective, but it also helps the user to achieve their goals in a short time. Can a snowblower be used on gravel driveways? The short answer to this question is yes; snow blowers can work on gravel driveways. Snowblowers are machines, designed in a way similar to mini-tractors or lawnmowers and can effectively do the heavy lifting, especially when you have a massive snowfall. These machines can clear out your icy driveway skillfully and are an efficient alternative to other tools or methods.
Will A Snow Blower Work On A Gravel Driveway?
The best snow blower for a gravel driveway is a model in which the mouth of the machine can be slightly raised, or adjusted. This means that your machine can move along a path without making direct contact with the ground. As most single-stage blowers make contact with the ground a two-stage or three-stage model that can be raised is more suited.
A snowblower operates in such a way that the snow is moved with the aid of an impeller. They are usually powered either by electric, gasoline, or diesel engines. Using an auger or impeller, the snow is blown away to another area or into a truck and is taken away afterward. Now when choosing a snow blower, you must go for the type that is compatible with the gravel surface, and also the serenity of winter. To enjoy using your snowblower on a gravel driveway, you must first choose the right snowblower. In this case, the suitable option for this will be a two-stage snow blower or a three-stage snowblower. These two are very similar to a normal snow blower, however, the only difference is that you can simply adjust the height of the auger so that it does not make direct contact with the ground. This feature makes them the best option for your gravel driveway. In the rest of this article, you’ll gain more knowledge about this topic, and you’ll get to know which snowblower works best on gravel driveways.
Picking the Right Snow Blower for Gravel Driveways
The first thing you should know is that the best snow blower for this task is a model in which the mouth of the machine can be slightly raised, or adjusted. This means that your machine can move along a path without making direct contact with the ground. This way, you’ll be able to avoid picking up rocks and dirt on your path and blowing them in the wrong places. Regardless of the type of snowblower you choose (a two-stage snow blower or a three-stage snow blower), you’ll be able to get your job done, however, there are certain differences between these two types that you need to be aware of. We will be talking briefly on the two types, and once you’re done reading, we guarantee that you’ll be ready to choose the best snow blower for your gravel driveway.
● Two-Stage Snow Blower
This particular type is usually the most popular choice among homeowners and users generally. It is quite different from the single-stage blowers in several ways. Normally, the single-stage snow blowers are those whose augers, (that spinning spiral part of the snowblower), make contact with the ground. This typically means that it picks up everything on its path and throws it at a high speed, including snow, dirt, rocks, and other objects that you or your kids left outside. On the other hand, a two-stage snow blower, which often comes with one or sometimes two augers, picks up snow, grinds it up, and then sends it to the impeller. Next, the impeller which operates at a high-speed then blows out the snow through the chute up to 50 feet away. The mouth of the two-stage blower sits low to the ground, but the auger doesn’t touch the ground. The height of the opening can also be adjusted at any time so that when it sits higher, it won’t come in contact with the gravel regardless of their size.
There are typically three different settings for the two-stage snow blowers. Although there’s no industry standard for them, most have categories within the range of Normal, Packed Snow, and Transport. Normal is the mid-level for the auger, while Packed Snow means that the auger has to dig deeper to get as much snow as possible. The two-stage blowers come in a variety of sizes, prices, and a few choices of engine power.
● Three-Stage Snow Blowers
The three-stage blower is not very different from the two-stage blower units, but minor differences make a huge difference in clearing snow. The major difference between three and the two-stage units is the accelerator which is responsible for quickening the snow-clearing process. Also, they will make a noticeable impact on your pocket. A three-stage snowblower, as the name suggests, typically consists of three augers, two of which are at the front and a third one which acts as an accelerator. So, as you chug your three-stage snowblower along, and the two augers are pulling in snow, grinding it, and spitting it, the third one is sort of corkscrewing through the snow and helping it all along to the impeller. Just like their two-stage counterparts, the augers of a three-stage snow blower don’t touch the ground, so you won’t be having (too many) issues with gravel and rocks. A three-stage snow blower also has a more powerful engine than the others, which helps to drive all the augers. Sometimes, they might include a hydrostatic drive, which uses a hydraulic system to help push the machine around, allowing the user to handle it better.
What to Consider when Picking these Models
If you’re dealing with heavier snowstorms, then you will need a large snowblower- a three-stage blower will come in handy. For gravel driveways, the best snow blower would be a two-stage machine. This is because the auger and impeller are set high and above the ground of the driveway. Also, it has a motor with a high horsepower, which is very effective when clearing high snow that is above 6 inches.
A single-stage snow blower is usually not the best option for clearing snow from your gravel driveway. This is because the auger and impeller in these machines are set low and can take up gravel, thereby destroying the surfaces on which they are clearing snow. This problem can be solved by adding an extra pair of ‘shoes’ to the skids, and your machine will work just fine. These ‘shoes’ offer additional support under the bar. Here are some things to look out for when choosing skids.
- Longer and wider skids: Look for those that are wider and longer, so that they won’t bend when in contact with frozen rocks. Longer skids, usually over 10 inches and an inch wide, provide the float required on uneven surfaces, hence lifting the snowblower and preventing corrosion.
- Power steering: Choose a model with a power steering feature. They might be expensive, but they will go a long way in helping you propel easily through gravel surfaces, especially areas where turns are sharp, and the blower requires extra effort in handling.
- Safety: Remember to watch out for people and pets to avoid blowing out snow on them. Sometimes, gravel may stick to your auger. When this happens, do not try to reach out for the gravel. Instead, make use of a crowbar and loosen the auger before the gravel reaches the impeller. Also, ensure to handle it carefully as replacing the drill (although quite easy), will cost you some extra money.
Gravel driveways are somewhat tricky especially when it comes to clearing snow. This is why special attention must be paid to it. You wouldn’t want to be purchasing another truckload of gravel during spring to redo what has cleared away along with the snow. So paying attention to the type of snowblower you purchase is vital. Snowblowers for gravel driveway provide a quick and effective snow clearing service, and amongst the various designs, the two-stage is the best for gravel driveways, because of their well-constructed auger.
Finally, while using a snowblower on gravel can be a dangerous task, with constant practice, patience, and the appropriate machines, it can be carried out safely and efficiently. Always remember that there are two major things that your snowblower must have to function properly on gravel. These are the right type of snowblower and adjustable skids. We hope that with this article, your questions have been thoroughly answered, and your decision made easy. Good luck!