I think I know what alot of the guys here are going to say is to go buy some expensive JD or Toro, and I have done that. We went out and bought the biggest most expensive JD you can buy,what a pile of garbage it is constantly falling apart.I thought at twice the price it should be twice as good,learned my lesson. So my recomendation is buy a good cheaper one that you can usually find at your local building store,we have had just as much luck with these. Most of the time they even have the same motors.So if you feel you need to spend big money buy two, so atleast then you'll have a back up. One last thing don't buy a tracked one they are to slow and can be a pain to handle we really don't like ours.
I've got a 21" Snapper blower that is a little workhorse for sidewalk stuff. Two-stroke engine, rubber edged auger blades. You lift the handles slightly and the spinning auger pulls the machine along. In 3-4 inches of material you can travel at walking speed and it will keep up. No need for ramps or anything, just pick it up and set it in the truck. Damn shame is that Snapper quit making it a couple years ago. I needed a second one so I picked up a slightly used White (made by MTD, MTD= Made To Disintegrate) which is absolute junk.
If you have less than 12" of snow a two stage blower is a collosal waste of time and man power.
We used to use teo stroke blowers from husky and deere, and they were horrible. they never started and would bog down in 2" of powder.
We switched to Honda 621 four stroke single stage blowers. They are light and powerfull, and we have gone through 12" of heavy wet goo and they never bogged down. Our walks never get more than that on them, if they do we use a plow.
They are also great for getting between cars and around dumpstres and mailboxes. they run about 800.00 and start 1st pull everytime, and are quiet. I highly recommend them.