Matching width to horsepower
As most of us are aware, it is always important to match the width of the machine to horsepower.
With more horsepower you be able to purchase a wider machine.
With more horsepower, the ground speed will be faster, and the snow will be thrown further with less struggle.
Then with more horsepower the blower becomes heavier, bigger, bulkier, which some of us don't need. We want to buy the right size machine for our application.
If on occasion we have a deep 24" snow and we do it slower, no big deal. If on occasion we have a town EOD plowing issue and it takes us longer, not a big deal, though that to me is the most frustrating situation.
If you want to extend the width then you need to know the type of snow you are dealing with (wet or dry), the most common depths, are you dealing with plows at the end of the driveway EOD and how often such as being on a State road, how often are you using your machine to clear snow (several times a week or 5 times a year), and how much surface area are you clearing.
I find the most important thing for the EOD is not only horsepower but weight of the machine, both on the wheels and on the front auger housing. With a lightweight machine the wheels will slip as it's trying to push into the hard packed town plowed snow. A heavier machine, or with chains, will have more pushing power. A light front end will climb the EOD forcing the operator to lift the handlebars to keep the front down, a futile effort. Best to back up and go in with a heavier wheel weighted machine slowly.
However if speed is important, you may be able to clear faster with the next size smaller width snowblower as the machine will go through the snow faster with less struggle with more horsepower going to the wheels. More horsepower will also have less clogging issues though clogging issues are varied and can be reduced.
A 5hp 26" may be able to go through a 24" dry snow but not a 12" wet snow.
Even a 5hp 22" snowblower will have trouble with the EOD after it has sat overnight. It seems most times my town plows the neighborhood streets in the middle of the night thus leaving a pile that by morning has HARDEN! There has been many a time even with my narrow 22" 5hp Ariens with a clean carb, the engine running at 3,600 rpms, I had to shovel the EOD to break it up to allow the snowblower to do the cleanup after sitting overnight. I have fun snowblowing, I don't have fun doing that!
Then you have to take into account newer engines versus older engines, loss of compression and now the power the older engines had when new. Also better designed engines will have more power, more torque, which is more important than horsepower. Think of torque as being strength, power, the ability to push through an obstacle, the pushing power.
Below I listed my opinions for an average snowblower. I've never used a Yamaha or a Honda but it seems those snowblowers can do a decent snow with a lower horsepower machine?
If you had to buy one snowblower, you wanted to deal with all types of conditions on a 3-10 times a year usage, what hp would you get to match the width.
5hp 22" is a good match, 24" is a great machine for light snows but not for the EOD or heavy snows, not enough horsepower. It will do the heavier wet snows it but you will have to go slower, creep along. 26" is way too wide for a 5hp unless it's only light snows. You'll be disappointed with heavy snows and clogging issues. I have a 5hp 22" Ariens and a 5hp 24" Noma and just sold a 5hp 24" MTD.
8hp is a good match for a 26" wide machine, NEVER any wider. A great size for a 24" width machine. 8hp is also good for the EOD. I have a 8hp 26" Dynamark and a 8hp 24" MTD.
9hp a great size for a 26" machine, even good for 28"-29", no problem with EOD.
10hp is good for 28"-30", 32" may be pushing it in wet heavy deep snows, no problem with lighter snows and EOD. I have a 10hp 32" real John Deere that is heavy both on the wheels, and it has chains! and it has a very heavy front end. It's a beast and a beast to handle and steer. I also have a 10hp Murray Craftsman with a 29" width. A very well balanced machine and strong but a light front.
With 12hp-15hp, most of us don't have and never will, can do 32"-36" without a problem, even up to 42" with a 15hp and lighter snows. I have a 12hp Gravely Convertible, 25" width, with a cast iron Kohler engine, chains, that weighs about 300 lbs and will blow snow hitting the houses across the street. Nothing stops it, never clogs, will burrow a tunnel into a 12 foot high pile that State plows have pushed at the end of a T intersection at a traffic light.
1986 Ariens ST522, 5hp, 22"
1995 Murray Craftsman 10hp, 29" w. 12" impeller
A 1983 Real John Deere 10hp, 32" w. 12" impeller, 16" auger, 20" high front, cast iron gear box, chains
Noma 9hp, 27" w. 12" impeller
Noma 5hp, 24" w. 12" impeller, 20" high front
Gravely Convertible, 12hp Kohler cast iron, 26" width, 600 lbs of cast iron & steel, 2 speed impeller, 4 ground speeds
Dynamark 8hp, 26", 12" impeller, for sale
Several other 5hp, 8hp, several 2 cycle, all for sale