The Ultimate Snow Blower Buying and Maintenance Guide

So, you’re ready to hang up the shovel and experience the ease and convenience of a snow blower, but picking the right snow blower for you might seem like another snow pile to move. There is a lot to consider and many decisions to be made.

If you’re wondering what you need to know in order to make the best decision, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate snow blower buying and maintenance guide to help you make the right choice this winter. 


  1. Why choose a snow blower?
  2. What should I consider before purchasing a new snow blower?
  3. When is the best time to buy a snow blower?
  4. What is the difference between a single-stage snow blower, two-stage snow blower and three-stage snow blower?
  5. What specifications should I consider when buying a snow blower?
  6. What features should I consider when buying a snow blower?
  7. Why choose a Cub Cadet snow blower?
  8. What snow blower is ideal for?
  9. What are recommended snow blower operation tips and practices?
  10. How do I operate a snow blower safely?
  11. What are the basic snow blower maintenance tasks?
  12. What snow blower replacement parts do I need?
  13. How do I store my snow blower in the off-season?


1. Why choose a snow blower? 

Shovelling snow is a tough job that can become a regular part of your daily routine if you live in a place where snowfall is heavy and frequent. Demanding heavy lifting and repetitive strain, there are legitimate reasons to ditch your shovel in favour of a snow blower. If you’re looking to justify a snow blower purchase, consider the following: 

Save your energy 
Shovelling includes heavy lifting, throwing, and unnatural twisting and turning, each presenting potential hazards for injuries without even considering icy conditions. Those risks may be reduced with a Cub Cadet® snow blower, helping to avoid strenuous motions and keeping you upright and stable. 

Save time
You clear your driveway because you have places to be. A two-hour job for a manual shovel can become a quick job with a snow blower, which means you can spend less time sweating in your driveway and more time where you need to be. 

Make snow clearing fun

It can be satisfying to move an entire driveway's worth of heavy snow in a swift and easy motion to create a clear, snow-free path. Cub Cadet® snow blowers can help turn hard work into satisfying and enjoyable work.

Be a neighbourhood hero
Efficient snow clearing can mean having the time and energy to lend a favour to a neighbour. If you don’t purchase a snow blower to help save your energy, save time or to make snow clearing fun, buy one to do more friendly favours for neighbours. 

2. What should I consider before purchasing a new snow blower? 

Purchasing a snow blower can feel overwhelming; from machine type to the features and accessories there is a lot to think about, but it really comes down to the job at hand. To find the right one for the job, here are four things you should consider when buying a snow blower.
How large is the area that you’ll need to clear?
Certain Cub Cadet® snow blowers are more conducive to clearing snow from larger spaces simply because they can throw snow farther. Cub Cadet® single-stage snow blowers are designed to handle small to midsize driveways between 6–8 parking spaces, Cub Cadet® two-stage machines are engineered for large areas between 8–15 spaces, and Cub Cadet® three-stage snow blowers are built to clear area with 15+ spaces.
What type of terrain are you clearing snow from?
Even if you are looking to clear a small to midsize area that would usually be best suited for a single-stage model, uneven terrain can make a two-stage or three-stage snow blower a better choice. So, what’s below the snow: a solid and even paved surface (consider an auger-assisted or push-propelled machine) or is it a rough or sloped surface (consider an engine-driven model)?
How much snowfall do you typically get?Up to eight inches of typically powdery snow can be considered “light,” while up to 16 inches of wet snow can be considered “heavy.” Single-stage snow blowers are designed to clear light snow, while two-stage and three-stage blowers are designed to plow through deep snow and have serrated augers that can break through packed snow or even ice.

What do you need from your snow blower?
Once you’ve determined your basic snow-clearing needs, think about your needs as the operator to help identify any features or accessories that would be beneficial. For example, if the spaces you intend to clear are poorly lit, look for a model with bright headlights, like the Cub Cadet® 2X® 24" snow blower. If you have perpetually cold hands, find a Cub Cadet® snow blower with heated grips.  

3. When is the best time to buy a snow blower? 

As with every one of your snow necessities, from your parka to your boots to your snow blower, it’s best to think about buying before you’re snowed in and in desperate need. Shopping for a snow blower before the official snow season (in September or October) doesn’t just mean that you may be prepared for an imminent blizzard though; you might even be able to snag a pre-season sale.

4. Where is the best place to buy a Cub Cadet snow blower? 

Where you should buy your snowblower depends on a range of factors, including where you live and how much help you need finding the right machine. Generally, you have three options:

Independent Dealer — Independent dealers are mainly geared toward residents of rural areas. You can use our Cub Cadet® Service Locator to find an independent Cub Cadet® dealer near you.

Cub Cadet® boasts a nationwide network of neighbourhood service dealers across Canada who offer special deals for snow blowers, expert support and advice, and parts and warranty service. Our independent dealers are your one-stop shop for Cub Cadet® snow blowers.

The Cub Cadet® dealer advantage also means you can order your new snow blower online and your local dealer will prepare your machine for customer pick-up or delivery.

Mass Retailers – Big-box stores like Lowe’s, Rona and The Home Depot are mostly located in towns and cities and may be easily accessible. Cub Cadet® snow blowers, including models with Intellipower™ engine technology, are available for purchase at these retailers. 

Online – If you’ve already decided on a snow blower, shopping online (through a manufacturer’s website, like Cub Cadet®, or a retailer website) might be your best option. It’s likely the most convenient, assuming the model of machine you need is in stock. 

5. What is the difference between a single-stage snow blower, two-stage snow blower and three-stage snow blower? 

The various stages of Cub Cadet® snow blowers signify a snow blower’s steps to clear the snow. The more stages or phases a machine has, the more powerful and efficient it will be to clear snow.

Single-Stage Snow Blowers
A single-stage snow blower like the Cub Cadet® 1X® has one auger designed to break, scoop and throw snow, so are an ideal choice for smaller jobs like walkways and short driveways.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers
A two-stage snow blower, such as the Cub Cadet® 2X® 26" HD INTELLIPOWER™, has an auger and an impeller. The auger is engineered to break and scoop up wet and heavy snow, then the impeller is designed to throw snow out and away from the path. This division of labour means more power and a farther throwing distance compared to a single-stage. 

Three-Stage Snow Blowers
A three-stage snow blower, like the 3X® 30" TRAC INTELLIPOWER™, is engineered for the ultimate in power and performance. Two augers and one impeller are designed to work in unison to pull snow, ice and slush through the system — built for busting through chunks of snow at the end of your driveway during the hard winter months. Cub Cadet® three-stage snow blowers are built to help you get the job done quickly.

The more stages a snow blower has, the more powerful and efficient it is designed to be to clear snow. Single-stage snow blowers are light, compact and easy to handle. But if you have more snow, unpaved surfaces with inclines or a long driveway, you’ll want to consider a two- or three-stage snow blower that will help clear larger volumes in larger areas. 

Here is a summary of the different type of snow blowers and the work they are best suited for: 








Snow Height

Up to 12”

Up to 18”

Up to 23.5”

Up to 23”

Up to 23.5”

Snow Type






Clearing Width

12 - 18”

18 - 22”

20 - 38”

24 - 30”

24 - 32”








Level Surfaces

Slight Incline

Mid-Steep Incline

Mid-Steep Incline

Steep-Icy Incline

Throw Snow

Up to 30’

Up to 35’

Up to 60’

Up to 50’

Up to 60’

6. What specifications should I consider when buying a snow blower? 

Finding the right Cub Cadet® snow blower for you is based entirely on your personal needs and preferences. Here is a guide to some key snow blower specifications and why they are important to consider:

Clearing width
Clearing width refers to the amount of space you can cover at once. Whether you have a single-car or double-car driveway, the larger the clearing width, the fewer passes you’ll have to make to clear it. 

Clearing height
Whereas Cub Cadet® single-stage snow blowers have auger paddles that come in direct contact with the ground, Cub Cadet® two-stage snow blowers are designed with the ability to adjust the height of the auger housing depending on the type of surface you are clearing snow from. For paved surfaces, you can leave the auger at the lowest height, but if you’re clearing snow from a gravel surface, the ability to adjust height is important to clear as much snow as possible from the surface without picking up and throwing gravel onto your lawn. 

Engine sizes
From consumer-grade snow blower engines that are 200 cc, to midsize 200 to 400 cc engines, to professional-grade 400+ cc engines, engine size is an important factor to consider since it determines how much horsepower your snow blower produces and how much gas it consumes.  

Horse power
Horsepower is used to measure the power output or work done by an engine or machine. For a snow blower with an engine ranging from 200 to 400 cc, horsepower outputs can range from six to mid 20s.  

7. What features should I consider when buying a snow blower? 

Cub Cadet® snow blowers are built to make snow clearing easy and efficient all winter long, and having the right features can help make the process even better. Here is a quick guide to snow blower features:

Electric start
Replacing pull cords, Cub Cadet® snow blowers now give you power that starts with the push of a button.

Trigger control power steering 
With just a finger, trigger control power steering helps give you the ability to turn heavier, two- and three-stage Cub Cadet® snow blowers on a dime at the end of your driveway. 

Heated grips/handlebars
The solution for perpetually cold hands, heated grips or handlebars help keep your hands warm for easy control and help make snow clearing more enjoyable.

LED headlights will help illuminate your clearing path to give you visibility in poorly-lit areas.  

Skid shoes
Skid shoes are engineered to make handling and maneuvering easy by gliding over surfaces and helps prevent rust on garage floors, driveways, and sidewalks.

Drift cutters
For deep drifting conditions where snow depth exceeds intake height, drift cutters will help prevent snow from falling onto the machine. 

IntelliPower™ Engine Technology
Available on select Cub Cadet® 2X® and 3X® snow blowers, IntelliPower™ engine technology is designed to deliver efficient and optimal performance. IntelliPower™ engine technology offers up to 13% more available power, resulting in less bogging down when clearing heavy, wet and deep snow.*

*When compared to the same engine without IntelliPower™ technology. Improvements vary depending on engine models and specific operating conditions.
Electronic Fuel-Injected Engines

When winter is at its worst, you need to trust your snow blower will deliver. Cub Cadet® electronic fuel-injected (EFI) engines are engineered to provide reliable starting in most winter conditions. Cub Cadet® EFI engines are available with IntelliPower ™ technology on select 2X® snow blowers to help you take on heavy, deep and wet snow conditions.

8. Why choose a Cub Cadet snow blower? 

Cub Cadet® is the standard for Canadians who want snow blowers that are carefully, thoughtfully, and purposefully designed. When you buy Cub Cadet®, you’re backed by our Canadian Commitment, which includes snow blowers that are designed for Canadians, bilingual customer support, and a nationwide network of local service dealers.

There are more than 400 local Cub Cadet® service dealers across Canada ready to help you find the snow blower that fits your needs. The Cub Cadet® dealer advantage means you can get access to a wide selection of snow blowers, special offers and a place you trust when you need parts and warranty service.
Find your neighbourhood Cub Cadet® dealer using our service locator.

9. What snow blower is best for...

When choosing a Cub Cadet® snow blower, it’s important to consider the ground beneath the snow. Uneven terrain or gravel can impact the type of snow blower best suited for the job. While area size should also be taken into account, here is a quick guide:

Ideal snow blower for gravel 
It is important to find a model that allows you to adjust clearing height, so a Cub Cadet® two- or three-stage snow blower should be used on gravel. Cub Cadet® single-stage snow blowers clear right to the ground, which means gravel will be thrown in addition to snow. 

Ideal snow blower for stamped concrete
As with gravel driveways, it’s also important on stamped concrete to choose a two- or three-stage Cub Cadet® snow blower that allows you to adjust clearing height to help prevent the rotating blades from touching and damaging the concrete surface. If you do have a snow blower that makes contact with the ground, make sure they’re not sharp to help avoid scratching the surface. 

Ideal snow blower for a wooden deck
For wooden decks, it’s typically best to look for a lightweight and maneuverable single-stage snow blower like the Cub Cadet® 1X® LHP that has a rubber auger that is designed to help prevent damage to the deck surface.

Ideal snow blower for steep slopes or terrain
Lessening the physical effort required of the operator and maintaining strong traction are the two biggest considerations when it comes to clearing snow from steep slopes. Look for a lightweight, engine-driven Cub Cadet® snow blower as opposed to a push-propelled model, and consider the addition of tire chains to help maintain traction.

Ideal for ice chunk at the end of the driveway
The ice chunk, the plow pile, the snow windrow, whatever you want to call it, the wall of winter at the end of your driveway is a formidable foe when you have somewhere to go. A Cub Cadet® three-stage snow blower like the 3X® 28 HD INTELLIPOWER™ is engineered to give you the power you need to clear winter away.

10. What are the best snow blower operation tips and practices?

You know how to operate a snow blower, but do you know the ideal way to operate a snow blower? Follow these tips for efficient operation: 

Remember pre-season maintenance
Get your Cub Cadet® snow blower ready for action by installing a new spark plug, changing the oil and checking the condition of the belts. Replace the belts if you see cracks, fraying or glazing or notice that chunks are missing. Replacing the spark plug? Consider an iridium spark plug.

Use fresh fuel
While it’s tempting to use fuel that’s been left over from previous seasons, stale fuel can often be the reason for hard-to-start snow blowers. Start the season off strong by pouring from a fresh can. Add fuel stabilizer to help keep the fuel from deteriorating over time. 

Don’t wait for the snow to stop
Waiting for the snow to stop will mean more effort required of your machine. Less snow means an easier time throwing it far, and throwing it far means you won’t have to pass over the same piles a second or third time. 

Slow and steady avoids clogs
After a heavy snowfall, avoid the temptation to plow quickly through large piles, which can clog the chute or break your drive belt. Take smaller bites, up to half the width of your machine. 

Prepare your property before it snows
Remove anything that could obstruct snow clearing or damage your machine – everything from rocks to extension cords to hoses. Use stakes to mark your driveway, walkways and gardens to clear what needs to be cleared without causing any damage to anything below. 

Throw your snow with the wind
Help avoid snow drifting over a path you’ve already cleared by throwing your snow in the same direction as the wind. 

Use the Zamboni method
An efficient way to clear your driveway includes reducing how often you have to adjust your chute. Clearing your driveway in a standard back and forth motion means adjusting your chute whenever you change directions. Try the Zamboni® method. A Zamboni® starts in the middle and works its way out in a circular motion. This circular motion will keep your chute pointing toward the lawn — no adjustment necessary.

11. What are the basic snow blower maintenance tasks?

Keeping up with regular maintenance tasks for your Cub Cadet® snow blower can help ensure your equipment is ready when the snow begins to fall. 

After 5 hours of snow blower use:

  • Replace engine oil after the first 5 hours of use 
  • Check the engine oil
  • Clean the exhaust area

After 25 hours of snow blower use:

  • Check the spark plug 
  • Lubricate the gear shaft 
  • Inspect impeller and shear pins and tighten regularly

After every season

  • Replace engine oil (technically after every 50 hours of use)
  • Replace the spark plug (technically after every 100 hours of use)
  • Replace fraying or torn belts

Our biggest tip: Condensation in the gas tank caused by fuel separation can be a major cause of engine troubles. You can help prevent this by using new engine fuel at the beginning of each season and using fuel stabilizer. 

Get your own summarized chart.

12. What snow blower replacement parts do I need?

There's a chance you will need a part during or right after a snowstorm (after all, that's when you're most likely to use your Cub Cadet® snow blower). But in wintry conditions, it isn't always convenient to go out and buy parts and the part you need may not be readily available. Be prepared for this type of emergency situation by having the following spare parts on hand:

  • Drive Belt(s)
  • Spark plug
  • Oil and fresh fuel
  • Skid shoes
  • Key
  • Shear pins
  • Shave plate

Consult your Operator's Manual and/or Illustrated Parts List for exact part numbers and/or location of these components on specific units. Find your Cub Cadet® machine operator’s manuals here. 

Cub Cadet® genuine parts are available at your local authorized Cub Cadet® dealer and online.

13. How do I store my snow blower in the off-season? 

These instructions will help you prepare your Cub Cadet® snow blower for off-season storage. Some of these steps differ between single-, two- and three-stage snow blowers and, depending on your model, the instructions below may also vary slightly.

Step one: 
Check out your operator’s manual. Whether you have a single-, two- or three-stage snow blower, reference the "Off- Season Storage," "Maintenance & Adjustments" and "Service" section and the "Service" sections of your operator's manual before performing steps for Off-Season Storage.
Step two: 
Always make sure your snow blower is on a level surface and disconnect the spark plug wire to avoid accidental movement or starting.
Single-Stage Snow Blower Storage Maintenance

Step three:
Position the snow blower for maintenance. Carefully tilt the snow blower back so it rests on the handle. This will help you to access various components.

Step four: 
Check the shave plate. The shave plate can wear out over time. The shave plate on your snow blower has two wearing edges; simply reverse it to maximize the life of the plate. If it's already been reversed, replace it with genuine, original equipment parts from Cub Cadet®.

Step five:
Check the auger. The auger's rubber paddles become worn with use. They should be replaced if any excessive wear is present.

Step six: 
Inspect the belt. Remove the belt cover on the side of the snow blower. Check the belt for signs of wear, cracks, fraying, etc., and replace if necessary.

Step seven: 
Order replacement parts. If any of the above-mentioned items need replacing at the end of the season, it's a good time to order and install them before you put your snow blower into storage.

Two-Stage and Three-Stage Snow Blower Storage Maintenance

Step three:
Check the shave plate and skid shoes for damage and wear. The shave plate and skid shoes help protect the housing from damage. Replace these items with genuine, original equipment parts from Cub Cadet.

Step four: 
Prepare the fuel tank. Drain any fuel left in the tank using the siphon pump. A siphon pump can be purchased on or other places mower parts are sold. With the help of another person, carefully pivot the snow blower up and forward so it rests on the auger housing. This will help you to access the parts of the snow blower that require maintenance.

Step five: 
Lubricate the gear shaft. Remove the lower frame cover from the underside of the unit. Apply a light coating of oil to the hex shaft. Be careful not to get any oil on the aluminum drive plate or the rubber friction disc. Check the rubber friction disc for wear or cracking.

Step six: 
Return the snow blower to its wheels and skid shoes. Before checking the snow blower belt, put the lower frame cover back in place. With the help of an additional person, carefully pivot the snow blower back and down so it rests on the wheels and skid shoes.

Step seven: 
Inspect the belt. Remove the belt cover on the front of the engine and inspect the belts for wear, cracks and fraying. If the belts are worn, they should be replaced immediately. Worn belts can break when you least expect it so make sure you replace your snow blower belt as soon as you see signs of wear. Put the plastic belt cover back in place or order a new one if needed.

Single-Stage, Two-Stage and Three-Stage Snow Blower Storage Maintenance

Step eight:
Change the oil. Drain and refill the engine oil before storing your snow blower. Refer to your engine's Operator's Manual for the correct viscosity and oil capacity. Always dispose of the used oil in an environmentally responsible manner.

Step nine:
Check the spark plug. Remove and inspect it for signs of corrosion or residue build-up. Clean it with a wire brush if necessary. If you are unsure if the spark plug is good or not, it is recommended that you replace it. Reinstall the spark plug and reconnect the spark plug ignition wire.

Step ten:
Clean the snow blower. Clean debris from around the engine and muffler. Apply a light film of oil on any areas that are susceptible to rust. Wipe away any dried salt that may have accumulated to help prevent your unit from rusting over the winter.

Step eleven:
Prepare the fuel tank. Finally, fill your engine's fuel tank with fresh gasoline and add a fuel stabilizer.

This is better than storing it empty because an empty fuel system exposes any bare metal parts within it to air and moisture — which can lead to rust and also allows gaskets and O-rings to dry out, crack and shrink, potentially causing eventual leaks.

Following these steps for proper snow blower storage will help ensure you have a well-functioning machine next winter. Remember to complete each of the steps outlined above — skipping a snow blower storage maintenance procedure can result in expensive repairs down the road. For more snow blower maintenance tips, check out our helpful Cub Cadet® how-to articles.