Snow removal is typically only thought about a few times a year—when the white stuff is dumping, flying and blowing around. However, it’s important for snow and ice management professionals to think about this crucial task before it’s an immediate need, and be ready with the proper equipment to get the job done.
Most dealerships offer numerous types and brands of snow attachments, giving customers great opportunity to choose the right attachment or combination of attachments to suit their unique needs. Here are five of the top snow attachments to consider this winter.
Most brooms are capable of clearing snow up to 2 inches cleanly and down to the pavement, and can be used as soon as snow hits the ground. This makes them an ideal tool for zero-tolerance contractors who maintain busy, high-pedestrian properties. These kinds of customers—hospitals and retail establishments, for example—have the highest expectations of preventing slip and falls. While great for professional snow management, brooms aren’t often used by homeowners. One reason for this is homeowners typically wait until snow accumulates to clear it, so they need more than the general 2-inch limitation a broom can handle. Also, snow can’t be thrown strategically with a broom in the way a snow blower allows, limiting the ability to place it in a designated area.
Another thing to keep in mind when selecting snow attachments is brooms are designed to clear a typical sidewalk, which is 52 inches wide. The width of tires running the unit must fit within that footprint to avoid driving over and compacting unremoved snow, or disrupting lawn on either side of the pavement.
Simple pushing blades are a staple in the snow removal industry, come in all shapes and sizes, and fit almost any machine or application. Smaller blades work well on sidewalks and residential driveways, while large blades can be outfitted on a wheel loader for larger parking lots or roads. Straight blades are typically used in conjunction with other pieces of snow management equipment that move the snow with more precision. For example, blades may windrow or back-drag snow from hard-to-reach areas that then gets pushed into piles by a containment pusher or blown away with a snow blower.
3. Rear Power Take-Off Snow Blowers
There are two common types of rear power take-off (PTO) snow blowers, each operating on a slightly different method for snow removal. Rear-facing snow blowers are similar to common walk-behind snow blowers and are typically used for residential driveways. When used on a tractor and combined with a front blade, the operator can push snow, windrow or back-drag, then also use the rear-facing snow blower to move the snow pile with the same machine. A skid steer, for example, only permits one function at a time, whereas the tractor allows more versatility.
Inverted or drag-style snow blowers operate in a unique way. Featuring an auger that faces the tractor, the operator backs into a driveway, about 12 inches from the garage, for instance, then blows snow as the tractor drives away. This style of clearing driveways has been popular in Canada for years and U.S. contractors are beginning to follow suit. The process, intended for professional use, is especially effective for contractors with very densely populated accounts or several within a neighborhood, as the operator can travel to and from each property on a tractor vs. needing to transport a unit with a truck or trailer.
4. Hydraulic Wing Pushers
The hydraulic wing pusher can operate in three unique ways, making it one of the most versatile and popular options for snow management, and appropriate for both commercial properties and residential driveways. The unit acts as a straight blade when wings face out, a containment plow when wings face forward or a back-drag plow when wings face back. An operator can windrow large areas, contain plow into piles, or back-drag from close areas, entryways, parking stalls or residential driveways.
Similar to a blade, versatility is enhanced when used on a tractor and combined with a rear PTO blower. The operator can essentially move snow anywhere and in any fashion.
5. Box Pushers
As the name implies, box pushers are just that—boxes that push snow. Because of their design, they also contain the snow while pushing it. Especially effective are box pushers with floating cutting edges. Rather than one long section of cutting edge, these small spring-loaded sections break up the pusher’s cutting edge into smaller sections that adjust to changes in terrain. This accommodating design results in better scraping down the pavement for cleaner results faster, and requiring fewer resources like salt and sand. These pushers are ideal for contractors servicing large commercial properties. A unique style of box pusher offered by some dealerships features a design that allows the box to be removed while operating, quickly transitioning to a straight-blade pusher that can angle, windrow or back-drag.
Whether the middle of summer or the first day of winter, it’s never a bad time to start thinking about snow removal. Taking the time to outfit your equipment with the right attachments is the first step in preventing accidents when the snowflakes begin to fly.