Most people wait to rush to retail outlets until the first snowflake drops. Their hopes are usually of getting a good deal for the machine of their choice. This pavlovian response to weather is seen all over the country, with people waiting for a snowstorm to come their way before making the mad rush. But is waiting until the last minute the best time to buy a snowblower?
What is the best time to buy a snowblower?
All experts agree that it’s ridiculous to wait until you see the first signs of winter or a snowstorm before making your move. Acting on the weather has more disadvantages than benefits. For instance, you are not the only one waiting last minute. Sadly, half the population thinks along the same lines.
That will make it all the more difficult to get the best deal or even the best snowblower. One salesman remarks that the mad run for snowblowers, salt, and roof rakes leaves many disappointed. One minute the shelves are full of them, and the next, there isn’t even a single snowblower left. That’s because retail stores can hardly keep up with the demand at that time.
Besides, most retail inventories are kept small. That is strategic in ensuring that retailers have an excess supply late in the season when demand is low. During the end season, most people are looking for lawn mowers instead of snowblowers.
Does that mean you should consider shopping in summer since the demand is low then? Or is spring preferable since you’re more likely to get the best deal on the sale? Well, the above options are appealing but certainly not the best.
For starters, most retail stores only bring out their stock when winter is near. And by the end of the season, most stores hardly have any stock left. And in most cases, only a single model can be in stock.
The best selection of snowblowers and great deals are available just before the snow season begins—that why it’s essential to keep an eye on your calendar so as you miss it. For most parts of the country, the months to look out for are August, September, and the beginning of October.
Additionally, you should note that the manufacturing happens within the three months before retail stores get them. Depending on where you are, the products are likely to come out early or late.
When do snowblowers go on sale?
By the first of October, most retailers have their snow blowers on preseason sale. You can effortlessly get a 15 percent discount off at this time. However, that doesn’t last long, and you may miss out if you are late to shop. The bets are usually off by the time the first significant snowfall hits. Additionally, even if you shop later than that, the chances of getting a good machine are considerably low.
Most of the best and most popular machines are the first to go, and restocking takes weeks. Moreover, you may end up spending a lot on a device that isn’t worth it, extremely small for your driveway or walks. The best time to start your shopping is as early as late September through early October. That way, you have the best chance of getting a suitable machine at an affordable price.
Additionally, you can take advantage of clearance sales during the end-season sales. You get a reduced price on some of the best products on sale. Most retail companies negotiate with manufacturers about models on closeout. Plus, these sales start as early as January in Lowe’s stores or in February for Home Depot. They run until April.
The main problem is most stores move the snowblowers off the floor during the off-season, and you may not have a variety to choose from at the time. But that’s not the only issue with off-season sales. Usually, by January, all the good stuff is out of stock, especially if it was one of those overly snowy winters. And if you’re lucky enough to get something, it may not be worth the price or the time.
Moreover, most people fail to understand the implications of the product warranty. For instance, your warranty may expire way before the snow season begins. And when you get a mechanical issue, you may be forced to use your funds on repairs.
The best way to go about this is by confirming the warranty terms even before you leave the store. It’s crucial to ensure you are protected. The good news is most warranties are no less than two years – that’s two snow seasons covered. Avoid the one that only covers you for half a year.
How to take advantage of backordering for a great deal on snowblowers
When shopping for a snowblower offseason, it’s almost impossible to get the machine of your choice in mortar and brick retail stores. The most probable machine on display at the time will be a lawnmower. So how do you get the best deal for a machine that isn’t even available in the store?
Simple, your back-order. Backordering entails buying something that the retail stores usually sell but is out of stock at the moment. The store can then get in touch with a manufacturer and order the machine for you.
Since it’s the offseason, you can be sure to get a great deal. Plus, you get a new model rather than a second or a third hand one. Additionally, when back-ordering, remember that you can get models from the previous years as well. These are often cheaper but still as good.
Backordering is a great option when you prefer in-store shopping rather than online shopping. But don’t rely on only one choice while shopping. It’s always good to get a variety of deals before settling for one. And if all else fails, remember you can still get an excellent second-hand machine for a fair price.
Why selection is important when shopping for a snowblower
The issue with off-season sales is that you won’t get a variety of models to choose from. Only the products on closeouts will be on sale. The same goes for late hoppers. Waiting until the snow hits before you get a snowblower can prove to be an issue as the best models are usually out of stock. The remaining ones are few and mostly not as good. That’s why you must get your machine early.
Besides, selection matters during sales since snowblowers come in various types. Each type has a unique need to meet hence features special features. You must understand what you need from your snowblower and the differences between each model. Although cost matters, it’s only logical that you get the suitable machine at the right price.
Here are common types of snowblowers:
Single-stage machine (gas-powered)
These snowblowers have only one high-speed auger for scraping the snow and propelling it through the chute for discharging. They can only handle average depths of snowfall not more than six in. Additionally, if you have a driveway that’s bigger than the width of two vehicles or more than two cars long, then this snowblower isn’t for you.
These machines have way smaller engines, therefore perfect for clearing small areas of snow. If you live in regions that experience light snowfall, then this snowblower is a good deal for you. Also, note that they work best in breaking up unfrozen snow left by snowblowers.
Ensure you do this as early as possible and use a shovel to chop down the more significantly covered areas. Additionally, these types of blowers don’t work well in steep grade walkways or drives. However, they are cheaper and can cost anywhere between $300 and $900.
Single-stage machines (electric)
They are typically the same as the gas-powered ones, except they are electrically powered. The electric engine is plucked into a socket when in use. These snow blowers are less noisy but also less potent than their counterparts.
You can use it to clear regions that receive much lighter snow or small areas like decks or walkways. Besides, there are the cheapest of many snowblowers cost ranging between $100 and $300.
These are battery-powered snow blowers. They are only as good and powerful as the battery they use. However, the batteries can prove to be quite costly, and it’s best to choose a brand that you use on other cordless products.
Even so, it works best in regions with moderate or light snowfalls. Additionally, they are lightweight, convenient, and noiseless. Besides, unlike gas-powered machines, you do not require any oil changes or any maintenance, for that matter.
These snow blowers can handle much higher depths (at least 12) than the former stage blower. It uses a slow-turning corkscrew-like augur for scooping the snow. Afterward, it pushes the snow at the center of the housing into an impeller at high speed. That helps it chute out easily.
You can readily find one that self-propels with multiple forward speeds. Plus, you don’t have to worry about compacted ice as it features a much bigger engine and auger. That means faster, easier and more snow chewing for your snowblower in record time.
If you live in areas that experience much heavier or deeper snowfalls, this machine will suffice. However, they can also be quite costly, going up for more than $600 up and sometimes up to $1200.
They share the same qualities as the two-stage blower with slight differences. For instance, it features a second-stage auger. That way, it can propel the snow into the impeller faster than the other blowers. Therefore, it can move more snow than others and do it way quicker by almost 50 percent, even if they are of the same size.
Plus, these machines can handle the much deeper depth of no less than 18 in. on driveways twice as long as the one used with a single-stage blower and three cars wide. Like the two-stage blower, it also features several drive belts.
What to look for in a snowblower
Regardless of the price, shopping for the perfect snowblower can be quite a hassle. There’s so much to consider apart from the best time for you to buy it or the brand. How do you know which model is perfect for your needs? Is it the price? Here are common factors you can look at before settling for a snowblower.
Type of driveway or walkway you have
Is your walkway covered in gravel, or is it paved? It’s easier to shop for a paved walkway since any stage snowblower will do the trick. All you need to consider will be your preferences. That includes the speed and power of the engine to the overall performance.
But with driveways covered in gravel, you may have a bit of a pickle. For instance, a single-stage machine won’t work well with gravel. The rubber paddles need to come into contact with the surface, and the result can be a lot of flying rocks or loose objects on the surface. These can hurt you, bystanders, and even damage your property. That makes a multiple-stage blower a much better alternative.
The size of your driveway
As mentioned before, this is an essential factor. Single-stage machines can only work best in two cars long and two cars wide, while two-stage machines work best in two cars wide and three cars long paths. This difference is vital in ensuring that you get the job done with ease.
For instance, a single-stage blower can clear snow from tight spaces and maneuver with ease, while that’s impossible for the other snow blowers. Plus, the performance of multiple-stage blowers is better than that of the single-stage one.
How noisy your snowblower is can affect which model you choose, especially if you live in quiet residential areas. If it’s too loud, the neighbors can file a noise complaint against you. However, you can choose more silent machines like electric-powered ones for a noise-free task ahead.
Ease of maneuvering
Lightweight machines are easier to handle than heavier ones. Single-stage ones are lighter and smaller and can propel forward with ease. But they do not self-propel, and once the rubber paddles wear out, they will not pull forward without your help. Moreover, most large multiple-stage machines have self-propelling mechanisms making them easy to handle. You do not have to push them for them to work.
The depth, type, and amount of snow
In some regions, the snowfall can be more profound than 18 inches deep. That makes it impossible to clear it with a single-stage machine as it isn’t powerful enough. However, it will do for any snow less than six in. deep. Also, lighter and powdery snow only requires a single-stage machine.
You can go for much more prominent and multiple stages machines if you experience heavy snowstorms or snow covering larger areas. That’s because these more prominent machines have not only more power but also more resilience when dealing with more serious, wet, and high mounds of snow. Besides, they can accomplish the task faster.
Should you shop in-store retail or online?
Here is another area that shoppers get themselves in a pickle. Shopping online or in the store has different points on convenience. Even so, online shopping has massive popularity, and that may not change soon.
The founder of Snow Blowers Direct reasons that his online retailer company usually has a relatively large selection by the beginning of the season. He adds that other benefits they offer include free shipping and no tax on sales. That makes it more convenient to shop online than it is going to a physical store.
Online shopping on Amazon, eBay, and CraigsList ensure you get better deals. You can get discounts on used snowblowers for sale in Toronto or any other place. You also get a good selection and a chance to compare prices and shipping rates at the comfort of your home. But that comes with others.
However, that doesn’t mean that in-store shopping has no benefits. For instance, you can conduct your research online before visiting a physical store. There, employees will be more than happy to answer the remaining questions you may have.
That can help you save on shipping charges, according to Lowe’s spokesperson. Besides, using Lowe’s return policy snow blower, you can return the product within 30 days of purchase if you don’t like it. However, it needs to be in its original condition and unused.
The idea of waiting till a snowstorm hits before rushing to the store for a snowblower is simply impractical. For starts, you are probably not the only last-minute rusher to have that idea.
Almost everyone else seems to run off the same Pavlovian response to the weather.
The earlier you start shopping, the better the selection variety you will get and the more attractive the deal. However, let it not be too early. It’s best to wait till retailers have their stock out for you to get a better selection.