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Shopping for my first snow blower for my first home. I was given a wedding gift that can only be used on a snowblower.

My driveway is very steep but its not terribly big. I got the level out and took some measurements. At the worst parts its about a 25% grade. On average its around a 20% grade.

The drive is S shaped about 50ft in length before it stops at the 2 car garage, with a 1 car width that continues along the side of the garage (mostly flat here). It is asphalt paved, but in disrepair. Very bumpy in some spots.

No plow will touch my driveway. It goes against physics. In one of the big snowstorms a few years back my neighbor with a small bobcat tried to give me a plow but couldn't get up the grade.

That leaves manual shoveling and snowblowing. As much as I enjoy the workout, there are times I'm not around leaving my wife to fend for herself. I'd like to have the snowblower option for those times and when I'm not feeling up for the workout.

I'm located in the south west nub of Connecticut, so we get some decent storms from time to time, but more often we get icy mix.

I have read that tracked snow blowers are the best for hills, but they are also expensive and I think would be overkill for my smallish drive.

Electric is an option since the drive is small, a 100ft cord would reach everything.
 

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Maybe a good single stage? Obviously, it would suck for going up the driveway, but you could blow while walking down the driveway and then pull it up behind you in the cleared area while just blowing on the downhill passes. Seems like that could be more workable than trying to maneuver a larger more clumsy unit. They're not that heavy and they're very easy to pull on the wheels like pulling a rolling suitcase behind you in an airport.
 

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I take it this is a follow-up to your earlier post.

I don't see any advantage to a single stage for your situation. Pulling a single stage snow blower up a steep driveway sounds unnecessarily difficult to me. You'd be far better served with a 24", 208cc 2-stage (self propelled) snow blower. These are considered entry level for the 2-stage category which should be fine for your purpose. There are several on the market and some are similar because they're made by the same company. You may still need chains at times for going uphill.
 

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If it's as steep and icy as you say, nothing but a track will work. If you're concerned about size and weight, craftsman made [1990ish] a 4/20 that's very small and light. Not bad quality and can add electric start.
 

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Rough pavement can be a problem. Humps and hollows are not too bad, loose pieces are not good. Tracked blowers are costly but will work very well on your drive.Wheeled dual stage with chains will do it but are lighter in the front and tend to want to lift up in front on uphill cut. The harder the snow is the more they want to ride up on it. weighting the front will help some, But a tracked blower will work best.
I have one drive I do similar to yours. 35 degree slope, only it has 4 ft retaining walls each side. Even a small snow with wind will put 4 ft drifts most of the way across. Ive done it with both tracks and wheeled blowers. They dont even compare in this type situation. Tracked just eases under it and the top falls back over. back up a few times to get the first cut thru then make small cuts to finish. Tracks will do it at least twice as fast with a lot less effort.
 

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Tracks would be your only option IMO.
I'd look for a Honda HS624/724TAS, IMHO is your best choice.
If you are handy with repairs you can also look for less expensive tracked Honda HS50/55/70/80 or a tracked Yamaha YS624 or YS240(Ricky). All of those if in good condition will serve you well, but they lack of a hydrostatic transmission(except the Ricky) and some parts are NLA.
 

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Growing up, my father had a ariens 24" wheeled blower which i used for years on our crazy steep driveway. I found myself only blowing on the way down, until chains were added. I was then able to blow on the way up too but it was no picnic.

I bought my father a 28" mtd gold in 2008-9 to replace the old ariens. The heavy weight and directional snow tires were very effective and i was able to blow snow up and down surprisingly well. But still no picnic, and icy patches would send the machine swinging requiring a lot of effort to control.

Now i've brought my honda Track machine to my parents house a few times for big snow clean ups. Its clear, tracks are the right tool for the job. Its nice having a machine that will do all the work.

Buying new: Troybilt has an affordable track machine, and so is the ariens compact track.
 

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Wedding present that can only be used towards a snowblower? Sounds like a highly specialized card, possibly limited to a specific store? If this is the case then your options are only limited to the equipment that particular establishment carries. Without knowing which business your credit applies, it is difficult to provide useful feedback (as far as brands & models).

But based on your severe driveway grade, it would be foolish to buy anything but a track-based snowblower. Yes, these cost a bit more but they are worth it to those who need it. Buying the improper equipment for the purpose of saving money will just cost you more money in the long run. First you'll waste more money trying to adapt it before realizing you bought the improper unit. In the end, you'll wind up owning 2 snowblowers... the one you was within your budget and the one you needed. Getting the proper tool for the proper job is the only real way to save money.
 

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I agree on the track model. I am just thinking - a 25% grade is huge. You must have strong calves. Plus, with a driveway like that, you would certainly want to get down to bare pavement so your cars don't slide, and a track machine will me very helpful. I suppose putting chains on a wheeled model with a 20 lb. weight kit added to the auger housing might also be a viable option.
 

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Tracks would be your only option IMO.
I'd look for a Honda HS624/724TAS, IMHO is your best choice.
If you are handy with repairs you can also look for less expensive tracked Honda HS50/55/70/80 or a tracked Yamaha YS624 or YS240(Ricky). All of those if in good condition will serve you well, but they lack of a hydrostatic transmission(except the Ricky) and some parts are NLA.
you beat me to it. second your suggestions. this is the best way to go.
 

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Another vote for Honda 724 track machine. Tracks are really the only viable solution when facing a steep grade driveway. If you're there for the long haul ...get a track and don't look back
 

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I concur: SB with tracks. I do not have much of a sloped driveway, but I do live at the bottom of a hill and cars seems to like my front ditch... My Honda HS624 loves coming to the rescue and get a good pat...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey folks, It's that time of year again.

I took all your comments into consideration and ended up buying a cheap electric blower against your advice. For $180, it was a reasonable gamble. Having never used a blower before this was a good learning experience. Here is what I learned

-The electric does not "bite" into the snow especially heavier or wetter snow.
-As it was a "push" electric, I was getting an incredible workout trying to jam this thing into the snow and maneuver it.
-As I approach the steeper parts, i could not stand my ground. I attached cleats to my boots, which helped but not much.
-I tried blowing side to side as someone else had suggested in a different thread. That didn't work either as both myself and the blower were sliding down the hill. My side to side started to go up and down.
-Pulling the blower back up the hill was equally difficult.

In short, I can shovel more efficiently than trying to use this blower. I was obliterated, physically, when using the blower. Whereas shoveling, took me slightly longer, but I could function afterwards.

After 3 uses with this blower, I will never use it again. At-least not on this driveway. On a flat driveway it would be fine in sub 10" storms.

So where does that leave me? I should have heeded your advice and get a tracked blower.

Now here's the other issue, my driveway is in disrepair. It's got loose chunks of asphalt. Big cracks and bumps. Not something I want to run a brand new $$$$ tracked blower over sucking up chunks of asphalt.
I think i need get the driveway repaved before investing in the blower. Do you folks have opinions on asphalt vs concrete or other driveway materials? I've also been reading about heated driveways, but they don't look too promising. Repaving, maintaining and tracked blowing seem the best route.

Here's some pics from the last major snow storm. I gave up early with the blower. It wouldn't bite even on flat ground at the top. I shoveled by hand and only about a 1/3rd of the driveway is shoveled in the picture. It is 2 cars wide in the middle and flares out to 3 cars wide at the top and bottom in an S shape to accommodate the hill.

https://i.imgur.com/daQV2Rx.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/iBWrwLB.jpg
 
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