As the popularity of snow blowers has been growing, so has the list of “must-have” accessories. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
- Covers. These are a must if you store your snow blower outdoors, and it is also nice to have when storing indoors, to keep off the summers dust and whatnot. The cost for one of these covers runs between $ 20 and $ 50, depending on quality.
- Floor Mats. Snow and slush thatathers on your machine while using it can make a terrible mess in your garage, so if you store your unit in the garage, this is great thing to place your snow machine on. It can hold a couple quarts of water and costs about $ 50 for a good quality one.
- Semi-attached Mitts. These are designed to fasten onto your handle grips with Velcro type fasteners, so they stay with the machine. But they do a great job of keeping your hands warm and the snow from going up your sleeves. They sell for around $ 30.
- Snow Thrower Cabs. I think everyone has experienced snow being blown back in our faces when using our snow machines, and it the wind is blowing hard it can be downright miserable. However, many manufacturers make attachable “cabs” that enclose the operator from the front and sides. The manufacturer's models are a little expensive, running from $ 150 to $ 250, but I have seen a universal model for most machines that sells for around $ 50. If you need a cab for your garden tractor, they are more expensive.
- Drift Cutters. If you ever have to attack snowdrifts higher than the opening on your snow thrower, you will come to appreciate the value of Drift Cutters. They mount on the sides of your opening, near the front and cut through the drift ahead of your machine and feed the snow back into the auger. Most manufacturers offer them for their brand of machine, but they are simple devices (a good handyman can build one at home) and you can buy a third-party brand for around $ 25.
- Tire Chains. Larger model snow machines require chains on the drive wheels for Traction. There is no sense trying to maneuver a heavy machine around on ice and snow while the drive wheels are spinning and doing little good. These cost between $ 50 and $ 100, depending on size of wheel and style of chain. Garden tractors require larger sizes and generally cost more.
- Wheel Weights. If you use your tractor tractor to clear snow, you really should have wheel weights to help with traction. These normally run around $ 125 to $ 150 per set of two wheels. In the event you need to handle “serious” snow, you should also have external weights to help hold your machine in place and not ride up on hard packed snow. You will need to buy these, with mounting brackets, from your dealer.
- Electric Starter. Many manufacturers offer factory installed electric starters on their larger snow blowers. In my opinion this is a must – I just hate yanking on a starter cord, trying to start a reactor gas engine in zero weather with the wind howling around me. Fortunately, there are aftermarket electric starter kits available in both 120-volt, and 6-volt systems. I would not mess with a 6-volt system in cold weather, but I would definitely add on a 120-volt starter before the snow flies. These add-ons generally cost between $ 95 and $ 150 depending on engine model. Make sure you get a complete kit, as some of the cheaper ones are not all-inclusive.
- Track Kits. These are kits to convert your drive wheels to a powered track (like a tank or bulldozer). Several manufacturers offer track drive models from the factory, but there are also after-market kits. If you are working steep terrain, this is a handy attachment to have. I have been told that the Ariens kit is fairly easy to install for the completed do-it-yourselfer. Kits run around $ 500. Track kits are also available for your ATV when using a snow blower, but now you are getting into some serious retrofitting.
Well, there you have some of the most popular accessories for snow blowers. There are additional features, such as heated hand grips, pivoting wheels, one-hand operation, etc., but these are manufacturers features, not after-market accessories. As I run across more items, I will add them to this list.