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How well do 36" and 48" snow blowers work?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by 32vld, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    My son and I have been doing residential driveways for years now. 24" and a 28" two stage.

    A little back ground.

    This year I was asked to do a commercial property that is an old residential house turned into a professional office space. I was referred to them. Soon as I heard commercial I made it clear that I had stayed away from those properties because I don't plow but have two blowers. They said they use to do it themselves using a snow blower but due to age they no longer want to do it themselves and have used plower's but were unhappy with the results and property damage. They want it cleaned even if there is only an 1" of snow.

    So I went and saw the place gave an estimate. Got the job. An average driveway is about 1,200 sf, this place is 3,808 sf. Single lane drive along side house to a 50' x 50' parking area behind the house.

    This got me thinking.

    I'm not ready to move up to buying a plow this year but the thought of time equals money made me think how much faster I would be if we had a 48" blower.

    I have never used a blower that large or seen one in use to see how effective they are and if there are any disadvantages.

    Also JD makes a 44" and a 45" blower that will go on the front of my lawn tractor.

    Again to those that have used a lawn tractor blower are they better then a walk behind 48" blower? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

    Last year we had a customer that had the state plow trucks close up her driveway with a 5' high plow row. With the walk behind after the initial push in and couldn't go any more we were able to push down on the handles to raise the front so the blower could take higher bites out of the mound. Thus letting us get in deeper into the bottom of the mound again.

    I don't see a tractor blower getting through that high of a plow row.
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow casters


    A small lawn tractor will get through a five foot plow windrow (been there, done that)but it takes time to do this as you must go very very slow to avoid spitting the V belts.

    The weight of the lawn tractor and the 2 stage snow caster will stay on the ground much easier as it is more massive.in both size and weight.

    You need weights and rear chains in order to be more effective.

    If you can remove the snow before it warms up all the better.

    If you have one of the gear driven snow casters from BCS they are completely gear driven and have NO belts, I repeat NO belts.

    The BCS and Grillo 2 wheel tractors and the Gear driven BCS snow caster attachment are heavy and will will dig in and stay down as long as you go slowly.

    The 2 Berta 2 stage snow casters offered for the BCS and Grillo two wheel tractors are very aggressive and throw snow a long distance.

    If you can obtain a snow caster for the lawn tractor this late in the year be sure to get drift cutters and rear chains.
  3. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    I have a 48" Bercomac brand blower on my Husqvarna lawn tractor.

    Leon paints a very positive picture overall but with respect, I think some more space needs to be given to the cons, mainly regarding a tractor-mounted blower, and here they are:

    -- Maybe other brand blowers are lighter, but the Bercomac is 300 lbs. You need a lot of weights hung off the back, chains are absolutely 100 percent necessary, and you may even want to get the tires filled or also use wheel weights. You NEED a lot of weight, unless you like to spin your wheels.

    -- They burn through gas really fast, 1 gallon per hour has been my experience, perhaps longer. Yes you're moving more snow, but this is still a consideration. It's a lot more than snowblowers. These things don't sip, they chug

    -- Tight spaces. Very hard to maneuver in tight spaces. With a typical blower attached to your lawn mower you're talking 9 feet long or so. Doesn't sound like this is an issue for the job you describe but FYI.

    -- To that end, how are you going to get the machine there, a trailer I presume? Is it long enough, i.e. longer than 8 feet?

    Now the pros as I see it:

    Tons of power. I have mine on a 23 horsepower tractor, I doubt it's really using anywhere near that amount and I know that people put them on 12 and 13 horse ones with no issues. I can throw the snow 75-80 feet if its fairly powdery.

    Yes you can blast through 5 feet, you can get the first 3.5 feet by raising the blower and then the stuff above falls, and you eat that. no problem. I blew out about 50 feet of road that had 3-5-foot drifts on the entire thing, and it took about an hour.

    Yes you will move snow very quickly, but the maneuvering is what's tough especially on your first pass down the drive or into the lot, you need to be careful to back up some and widen it out for yourself so you don't get stuck, espc. if its deep.

    I'm starting to ramble so one quick last thought: Don't bother buying a new one if you go with a tractor attachment. They're super-expensive and if I did it over again I'd go used. These things are simple machines, steel and pulleys and a belt. The Bercomac in particular is bomb-proof (although I got the electric lift and the winch is already dead. Go with manual lift)
  4. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    I not buying anything at this point because getting this one commercial customer is no guarantee I'll be getting more. And I don't have the money to lay out hoping I'll get more customers like that one.

    However this is a nice market niche. To big for the illegals and students with shovels and tight for trucks.

    And I would not hesitate to take on more jobs as this one. Then I would get me 48" blower.

    Thing is we have used my son's Colorado pick which can only hold our current two blowers. Or my jeep to pull my 4 x 8 trailer.

    Thing is being you pointed out the length of a blower lawn tractor combo. It will not leave enough room for a second blower on my trailer.

    However a 48" walk behind blower I can fit that one and my other two blowers as well on my trailer.

    So I may go for the 48" WB if the work increases.
  5. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    Add up what your spending on snowblowers you could buy a used plow for your jeep
  6. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    I already have a 24" and a 28". Only looking into adding one more a 48".

    Though I've seen wranglers with a plow on the front and a ebling pull plow on the rear. I could knock out a lot of driveways with that set up.

    But money is not there to buy a used plow or a new blower. And that used plow may not be that cheap because I may have to pay to someone install the plow because I'm not sure if I could do it myself. Then no warranty and I have have never worked on a plow. One thing to play all summer to get a plow to work. Another to have the plow go down during a snow storm in February.

    So getting a plow or 48" blower is out of my reach for now.

    Getting this commercial account just has me planning on what if.
    So I will have a plan in place if business takes off.

    Last year first big storm we had more work then we could get to. Then added second blower we handled all the work that came our way for the rest of the big storms that came our way.
  7. eric02038

    eric02038 Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 247

    I had a John Deere 44" blower attachment on my L110 and it worked great. My driveway is 400' long and it could handle a full pass with 6" on the ground. Would go down, up and down again and would be done. No problems clearing the snow bank from the town plows. The blower throws the snow futher than any walk behind you could imagine. I do own a plow now, hell of alot more fun as i'm not sitting on a tractor while it's snowing and blowing out!
  8. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    How did you find traction?
  9. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    You run weights and chains
  10. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    I've read that chains will leave marks on peoples driveways. Hence customer complaints.
  11. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I am running a 49 blower on my John Deere 312 and I love it. I used to run chains on it with wheel weight but now I am running V bar tires with only wheel weights. The only time I have trouble is if I find a patch of ice but I am building a weight box so I should not have that problem this winter.

    Here it is with the old tires and chains.


    Here is the tractor with the blade on it with the new tires and wheel weights.

  12. flatlander42

    flatlander42 Senior Member
    Messages: 421

    Check the links in my Signature. I run/ran chains and as long as you don't sit and I have not left marks worth complaining about. All on concrete tho....no blacktop or anything.
  13. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    If you can find one for a decent price, I'd highly recommend a blower for your tractor anyway. Why? Simple--fatigue. When you get a major event, a walk behind blower will tire you out faster than a rider, not to mention the larger swath most riders cut. My personal setup is very low-budget, but I don't need fancy JD stuff for my small "estate", LOL. I have a 42"/16.5HP belt-drive Murray tractor with a 42" 2-stage blower. I got the tractor on clearance (read: September) for $500, brand new. The blower was a lucky find on Ebay with a few scratches/dents and some missing hardware for $300 to my door. I finally out chains on it, but weights? I weigh plenty...LOL

    We got 21" on the ground overnight last February, and I was "ready". I booted the wife out of the garage to make room for the tractor (which had been sitting under a cover behind the garage, as I use my small blower more often than not) and blower.

    This is what I awoke to...



    So, I brought out the heavy artillery...and got cranking.



  14. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    After a few pit stops with the neighbors (pictured)...note the "cooler" for Thee Captain (cupholder, 1 more reason for a rider)


    I got busy on the street (muni plow came by 9 hours later)


    Final product--almost black & wet, with only a lawn tractor. LOL!


    The only "con" IMHO is indeed turning around. It takes a lot of little swipes to make enough room, but it's pretty much a one-time thing. I did all of this in big single passes, low gear, flat out. Didn't even break a sweat, and belts were fine (especially considering their age, and the "budget" tractor) One neighbor has a small JD tractor with a bucket, and he can stack...but couldn't move snow to save his life. He was blown away at how easily I could clear it (as was I, lol). It made very easy work out of snow that the muni plow trucks were practically helpless against, and small plowers could barely drive through, let alone clear. It took him two hours to get one full pass down the neighboring street. I was "curb to curb" on the entire 3/8 mile long street in about 8 hours, plus the curve and the access street that leads out to the main (and already cleared) road. SO, we could leave and go somewhere, while the other streets' residents were stranded at home.

    It would look a bit goofy, but I would not hesitate to use this rig to do commercial walks in a major event. It worked that well. Might swap the chains for rubber chains, though. Might not even need them--it only struggles backing up hills...

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  15. bobsquarepants

    bobsquarepants Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I used to clear a fairly large parking lot with a JD 2305, 60" rear blade and a 48" blower, angle the blade create rows and then blow it into the green spaces they have. Went to a skid steer this year as I want to stay warm ...but the tractor and blower was fast and did a great job of hiding all the snow around the property
  16. JimACM

    JimACM Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Here is a video of my simplicity landlord dlx 20 hp tractor with a 42 " single stage blower.
    I have bar/ag tires with tubes and chloride and wheel weights .It also has a diff lock .I do a lot of driveways in my neighborhood and have been very happy with it. I would have no problem doing a lot like you are asking about