When Is the Best Time to Buy a Snow Blower?
Spoiler: The best time to buy a snow blower isn't when you need one
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Most people don’t think about upgrading their snow blower until winter rolls in and brings flurries with it. But the best time to buy a snow blower isn’t after the first snowfall. After all, if you wait until the first blizzard, chances are you won’t be able to find one—let alone take advantage of the best deals of the season.
It’s important to remember that there is a best time to buy anything imaginable: a best time to buy a hot tub, best time to buy small appliances and, yes, even a best time to buy a snow blower. And as with most seasonable items, the ideal time of year to shop for a snow blower isn’t when you’re most likely to need one.
Why trust Reader’s Digest with this purchase? To determine the best time to buy a snow blower, we interviewed shopping experts who have direct knowledge of the tools and researched price trends at major retailers. All that ensures you’re getting accurate information and can truly take advantage of the very best deals on snow blowers.
Best times to buy a snow blower
According to experts, shoppers looking for great deals on snow blowers should act now instead of waiting for temps to drop. “The best time to buy a snow blower is before the customer needs to use it,” says Christian Bokano, assistant product manager of snow blowers with RYOBI Tools. “Waiting until snow starts to fall could pose challenges, as snow blowers will be very in demand the closer winter gets. Just like any other major weather events, it is always best to plan ahead.”
Traditionally, you get the best deals on seasonal products at the end of the season. But in the case of snow blowers, there is rarely inventory remaining by March.
“At the end of the season, you may find discounts on whatever’s left, as retailers are eager to offload snow blowers. But expect the selection to be very thin,” says Kristin McGrath, a shopping savings expert with RetailMeNot. “The sweet spot for saving is early in the season.”
For the best savings on a wider selection, shop prior to the season, starting as early as summer, when the new models come out. Another great time to buy, according to Bokano, is the day of deals itself, Black Friday. But that’s true only “on a case-by-case and year-by-year basis,” he says. Your best bet is to check local retailers closer to Black Friday to confirm.
|♦ Best time to buy a snow blower|
|Shop prior to peak snow blower season, starting as early as summer and extending through late fall.|
Worst times to buy a snow blower
According to McGrath, prices are always higher when demand is the highest, regardless of whether you’re shopping for airplane tickets, an RV or a snow blower. So if you can, avoid buying a snow blower when everyone else is in the market for one, generally during the winter. Of course, you probably won’t be able to find one during that time.
“Like every industry, outdoor power equipment faces supply chain challenges,” says Bokano. “Sourcing a unit when a major snowfall is near will be very challenging for any consumers.”
Most snow blower inventory is depleted by January—and possibly sooner, depending on where you live and how much snow you’ve gotten. Unlike lawn mowers, which you can use year round, snow blowers are only useful in the winter months. Most manufacturers limit snow blower supply to fulfill the season’s needs. Once those snow blowers have sold out, they don’t restart production until early summer, focusing on manufacturing lawn mowers in the meantime.
What times of year do snow blowers go on sale?
The best month to buy a snow blower can be as early as May, when you can preorder next season’s model at a discount. But while the widest selection might be available at that time, Bokano notes that you won’t be able to see them in stores.
- May to October
- Black Friday
What to consider before buying a snow blower
You’ve probably thought all about why you want a snow blower. For one thing, it’ll put an end to endless snow shoveling, which can put certain people at risk for a heart attack and—let’s be honest—isn’t the most fun winter activity we can think of. But there are several things to think about when buying a snow blower. If you’re in the market for one, pay attention to the following details.
There are a few ways to power up your snow blower: gas, a power cord or a battery. Gas snow blowers are convenient and powerful, but if you’d rather not spend on gas, you have other options.
When looking at cordless snow blowers, which can be more convenient than those that require an extension cord, you’ll want to consider the battery size and run time. The run time of a battery-powered snow blower will depend on how much snow you’re clearing and the ambient temperature, as well as the size of the battery.
“For optimal performance, we always recommend having extra batteries on hand so users don’t have to wait while batteries recharge to continue clearing,” says Bokano.
Before you choose a machine, consider your city’s climate, average snowfall depth and frequency of snowfall. Think about it: Just as these factors play a role in which car you buy, they’ll affect how (and how often) you use your snow blower.
Bokano points out that those who live in colder climates and areas where snow is deeper and more frequent will need a more powerful snow blower and possibly one that is wider.
“For example, RYOBI offers 40-volt snow shovels that clear a path 12 inches wide, powering through snow six inches deep, and can throw snow 25 feet away. This is great for the customer who just needs to clear a single-car driveway or pathways in front of their residence,” he says, noting that heavier snowfall might require a heavier-duty machine. “The largest snow blower RYOBI has ever built to date clears snow up to 21 inches deep and a 24-foot-wide path. It can throw snow up to 55 feet away.”
Finally, consider the space you’ll need to clear. If you have a big driveway or wide sidewalks, you’ll probably need a wider shovel.
Tips for buying a snow blower
Ready to buy? Follow the experts’ advice below to find the best deals.
- Assembly costs. When buying a snow blower, make sure to take into consideration the cost of assembly and how you will get it home. “Most Home Depot stores will offer to assemble a snow blower unit and load it into your vehicle after purchase,” says Bokano. “Consumers shopping in-store may take advantage of this service to save time and effort in assembly.”
- Shipping. If you have a smaller vehicle without enough space for hauling a snow blower, consider having the machine shipped to your house. “HomeDepot.com offers free shipping on most snow blower purchases and can deliver it directly to your home or business,” Bokano says. “This avoids any hassles with transporting or moving a unit of that size anywhere but from the door to the garage or shed.”
- Refurbished snow blowers. It might be tempting to buy a used or refurbished snow blower—it’ll certainly help you spend less—but if you go this route, make sure it comes with a warranty. Repairing a snow blower can be expensive!
- Open-box purchase. Another way to save? Call around to local stores and see if they have any open boxes of snow blowers on hand. They’ll generally cost less because the box has been opened (say, if a customer returned a purchase). That’s a tactic that works for a lot of items, so try it out when you’re buying a TV, appliances and more.
The best snow blowers you can buy right now
Have more snow blower questions? We’ve got the answers.
Is it cheaper to buy a snow blower in the summer?
It sure is. While you might find a cheaper snow blower at the end of the season, there are rarely models left by mid-winter. Your best bet is to wait until early summer and preorder next season’s snow blower at a discount.
What is the most reliable snow blower brand?
The most reliable snow blower brands are RYOBI, Toro and Greenworks.
Who has the best prices on snow blowers?
Home Depot and Lowe’s generally have the best prices on snow blowers.
How long does a snow blower last?
Snow blowers should last for several years. Most major brands offer warranties, protecting your machine for anywhere from one to five years (or more).
Whether your current snow blower is on the way out or you’re buying your first snow-clearing machine, do your wallet a favor and shop during the summer and early fall. With that in mind, you won’t (snow) blow your chances at great deals.
- Christian Bokano, assistant product manager of snow blowers with RYOBI Tools
- Kristin McGrath, shopping expert with RetailMeNot