Lawn Tractor Snow Blower vs Walk Behind: Which Is Best?

Are you tired of spending hours shoveling snow every winter? Imagine effortlessly clearing your driveway in half the time. Did you know that the average snowfall in the U.S. is 28 inches per year? This daunting task can become a breeze with the right equipment.

In this post, I’ll help you navigate the choice between a lawn tractor snow blower and a walk-behind model. You’ll discover the advantages of each and find the perfect solution to keep your winter woes at bay. Say goodbye to back-breaking labor and hello to efficient snow removal!

Keynote: Lawn Tractor Snow Blower vs Walk Behind

Lawn tractor snow blowers offer power and efficiency and are ideal for large areas and heavy snowfall. Walk-behind models are better for smaller spaces, providing manoeuvrability and ease of storage.

Types of Snow Blowers

Lawn Tractor Snow Blower

A lawn tractor snow blower is an attachment designed to convert a riding lawn tractor into a powerful snow-clearing machine. It attaches to the front of the tractor, allowing the user to sit and operate the blower as they would when mowing the lawn. This type of snow blower is ideal for large properties where covering a significant area quickly is essential. It’s particularly useful for regions with heavy snowfall, as it can handle substantial snow volumes without much physical exertion.

Typical Features:

  1. Size and Weight: Lawn tractor snow blowers are larger and heavier compared to walk-behind models. They can weigh over 200 pounds, making them suitable for handling heavy, deep snow.
  2. Power: These snow blowers are typically powered by the tractor’s engine, providing robust power to tackle thick snow. Models like those from Cub Cadet can weigh around 277 pounds and handle large volumes of snow efficiently.
  3. Attachments: Additional attachments such as tire chains, weather enclosures, and weights can enhance the performance and safety of the tractor snow blower. Tire chains improve traction, while weather enclosures protect the operator from harsh winter conditions.
  4. Speed and Efficiency: Due to their size and power, lawn tractor snow blowers can clear snow faster than walk-behind models, making them suitable for larger driveways and expansive areas.

Walk-Behind Snow Blower

A walk-behind snow blower is a standalone machine designed for clearing snow while the operator walks behind it, guiding its path. These snow blowers are commonly used for residential driveways and sidewalks. They are ideal for smaller areas and lighter snowfalls, providing a balance between power and maneuverability.

Typical Features:

  1. Size and Weight: Walk-behind snow blowers are smaller and lighter, usually weighing between 80 to 100 pounds. This makes them easier to handle and store.
  2. Maneuverability: These snow blowers offer excellent maneuverability, allowing users to navigate around obstacles and tight spaces easily. Their compact size makes them suitable for detailed work where precision is required.
  3. Ease of Storage: Due to their smaller size, walk-behind snow blowers are easier to store in a garage or shed. They do not require as much space as their tractor-mounted counterparts.
  4. Usage Scenarios: Walk-behind snow blowers are perfect for clearing smaller driveways, sidewalks, and pathways. They are also easier to operate for those who prefer not to handle heavier machinery.

Performance Comparison

a. Speed

Lawn tractor snow blowers are known for their speed and efficiency in clearing large areas quickly. Since they are motorized and driven like a vehicle, they can cover extensive driveways and large properties in a fraction of the time it takes a walk-behind model. The ability to attach a powerful snow blower to a tractor’s front ensures that even heavy snowfall is managed swiftly, making them ideal for areas with frequent and substantial snow​.

Walk-behind snow blowers operate at a slower pace because they require manual operation. While this means they may take more time to clear large areas, they offer the advantage of precision. This is particularly useful for smaller spaces where detailed work is needed. They are more effective in maneuvering around obstacles and reaching areas that a larger tractor-mounted blower cannot easily access​.

b. Maneuverability

Due to their larger size and weight, lawn tractor snow blowers are less maneuverable compared to walk-behind models. They are better suited for open, expansive areas where their size and speed can be fully utilized. Navigating tight corners or small spaces can be challenging, making them less ideal for properties with intricate layouts​.

Walk-behind snow blowers excel in maneuverability. Their smaller size and lighter weight allow for easy handling, making them perfect for clearing pathways, sidewalks, and other areas with limited space. The ability to navigate around tight corners and obstacles makes them highly versatile for residential use where precision is paramount​.

Practical Considerations

a. Terrain and Area Size

Lawn tractor snow blowers are ideal for large, flat driveways and extensive areas. Their powerful engines and large size enable them to clear significant amounts of snow quickly and efficiently. They are best suited for properties with ample open space and minimal obstacles.

If your property includes a long, wide driveway or a large parking area, a lawn tractor snow blower can save you considerable time and effort.

Walk-behind snow blowers are more suitable for smaller, uneven terrains and areas with numerous obstacles. Their compact design and lightweight nature allow them to navigate tight spaces and handle various surface conditions more effectively.

If your property has a lot of intricate pathways, steps, or uneven ground, a walk-behind snow blower offers the maneuverability needed to tackle these challenges without much hassle.

b. Storage and Space Requirements

Due to their larger size, lawn tractor snow blowers require more storage space. They typically need a garage or a large shed to be stored properly.

If you choose a lawn tractor snow blower, ensure you have enough space not only for the tractor itself but also for any additional attachments such as tire chains and weather enclosures. Adequate storage is crucial to maintaining the equipment in good condition.

Walk-behind snow blowers are more compact and easier to store. They can fit into smaller spaces such as garden sheds or even a corner of your garage. Their reduced size and weight make them more convenient for homeowners with limited storage space.

If you are concerned about space, a walk-behind snow blower is a practical choice that won’t take up too much room while still being readily accessible when needed.

Cost and Maintenance

a. Initial Investment

Lawn tractor snow blowers generally require a higher initial investment. This is due to the need for both the tractor and the snow blower attachment. Additional costs can include accessories like tire chains and weather enclosures.

These attachments enhance performance but also increase the overall expense. If you don’t already own a lawn tractor, the upfront cost can be quite significant, encompassing both the tractor and the snow blower unit.

Walk-behind snow blowers typically come with a lower initial cost. These units are standalone machines that do not require the purchase of additional equipment. While high-end models can still be pricey, they generally remain more affordable than the combination of a tractor and its snow blower attachment.

This makes walk-behind snow blowers a more budget-friendly option for homeowners looking to manage snow removal costs effectively.

b. Maintenance

Maintenance for lawn tractor snow blowers is more complex and potentially more costly. This is because the snow blower is integrated with the tractor, necessitating regular upkeep of both the tractor and the attachment.

Tasks can include checking and replacing belts, maintaining the tractor engine, and ensuring the blower mechanism is free of obstructions. Additionally, because the unit is larger and more mechanically complex, servicing it can require more specialized knowledge and time.

Walk-behind snow blowers are generally easier and less costly to maintain. Their simpler design means fewer components require attention. Routine maintenance tasks include checking the oil, tightening bolts, and ensuring the auger and impeller are functioning correctly.

These tasks can often be performed by the homeowner, reducing the need for professional service. The less frequent and simpler maintenance needs make walk-behind snow blowers a practical choice for those seeking convenience and lower upkeep costs.

Environmental and User Comfort

a. Environmental Impact

Lawn tractor snow blowers generally have higher fuel consumption due to their larger engines and the additional power required to operate the snow blower attachment. This can lead to increased emissions compared to smaller, more fuel-efficient machines.

Additionally, the larger size of lawn tractor snow blowers often means they use more resources in their production and operation, which can contribute to a higher environmental footprint.

Walk-behind snow blowers typically consume less fuel, making them a more environmentally friendly option. Many walk-behind models are available in electric versions, which further reduce emissions and environmental impact.

These electric models eliminate the need for gasoline and oil, offering a cleaner, quieter operation that is better for both the environment and the user.

b. User Comfort

Lawn tractor snow blowers offer a high level of comfort for the user, particularly for long periods of use. Sitting on the tractor reduces physical strain, making it easier to manage large areas without fatigue.

Features like heated seats and weather enclosures can further enhance comfort, protecting the user from cold and wind during operation. This makes lawn tractor snow blowers a preferred choice for those who need to clear snow frequently and over extended periods.

Walk-behind snow blowers can be more physically demanding, as they require the user to walk behind and guide the machine. This can be tiring, especially in deep snow or over large areas. However, for many users, this physical activity provides good exercise and can be an enjoyable task for shorter snow removal jobs.

Additionally, the maneuverbility of walk-behind models allows users to navigate tight spaces and clear snow more precisely, which can be a satisfying experience for those who prefer a hands-on approach.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a lawn tractor snow blower and a walk-behind model ultimately depends on your specific needs, property size, and personal preferences. While the lawn tractor offers speed and comfort for large areas, the walk-behind provides maneuverability and lower maintenance for smaller spaces. Each type has its unique advantages, and understanding these can lead to a more satisfying snow removal experience.

Consider your long-term goals and the frequency of use. Do you prefer the ease of sitting and covering large areas quickly, or the hands-on precision and exercise of walking behind? Reflecting on these aspects will ensure you make an informed decision that best suits your lifestyle and environmental values.

Snow Blower vs Walk Behind Lawn Tractor (FAQs)

Are tractor snow blowers worth it?

Yes, tractor snow blowers are worth it for large properties with heavy snowfall. They save time and effort in clearing extensive areas efficiently. However, they require a significant initial investment and adequate storage space.

Is a lawn tractor good for snow removal?

A lawn tractor is good for snow removal, especially for large driveways and open areas. With proper attachments, it can handle heavy snow and make the task less physically demanding. Ensure you have a suitable tractor and the necessary attachments for optimal performance.

Can you use a riding lawn mower as a snow blower?

Yes, you can use a riding lawn mower as a snow blower with the right attachments. Many riding mowers have compatible snow blower attachments that allow you to convert them for winter use. This versatility makes them a practical option for year-round utility.

Does John Deere still make walk-behind snow blowers?

John Deere no longer manufactures walk-behind snow blowers. They have shifted focus to other types of equipment. However, used John Deere walk-behind snow blowers can still be found in the market.

What is the best snow blower made in the U.S.?

One of the best snow blowers made in the U.S. is the Ariens Deluxe Series. It is known for its durability, powerful performance, and reliable customer service. These snow blowers are highly regarded for their efficiency and ability to handle tough snow conditions.

Which is more cost-effective in the long run: a lawn tractor snow blower or a walk-behind snow blower?

A walk-behind snow blower is generally more cost-effective in the long run. It has a lower initial cost and requires less maintenance. Lawn tractor snow blowers have higher upfront costs and more complex maintenance needs, making them costlier over time.

How does a tractor mount snowblower compare to a mower deck for snow removal?

A tractor mount snowblower is more efficient for heavy snow removal than a mower deck converted for snow use. It provides better power and snow-clearing capabilities, ideal for large areas.

Is a 20 hp Toro snowblower suitable for last year’s heavy snowfall?

Yes, a 20 hp Toro snowblower can handle heavy snowfall effectively. Its high power ensures efficient snow removal, even in challenging conditions experienced last year.

Can a plow be used instead of a tractor mount snowblower for large areas?

Yes, a plow can be used, but a tractor mount snowblower is often more efficient. Snowblowers throw snow farther, preventing large snow piles that can obstruct driveways and paths.

What are the benefits of using a Toro tractor mount snowblower over a regular mower deck?

A Toro tractor mount snowblower offers superior snow removal performance. It handles heavy snow better and provides more power and efficiency compared to a mower deck used for snow clearing.

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