Can You Use a Snowblower on 1 Inch of Snow? (Solved!)

Using a snowblower is usually a good idea to remove mountains that pile up from snowfall or the plow that regularly comes by. But, if that snow accumulation is less than two inches, save the gas and the wear-and-tear on the snowblower. You can use other things depending on how dense and heavy the snow is.

What Should You Use Instead of a Snowblower for One Inch of Snow?

When you have one inch of snow you want to remove, it’s better to use something other than your blower. You could use a shop vac set on the reverse position, a leaf blower or go the old fashioned route with a trusty shovel.

Will You Destroy a Snowblower if You Use It on One Inch of Snow?

If you choose to use a snowblower on one inch of snow, it won’t destroy, ruin or break the machine. In fact, it may be better to use one if you have a large property or a massive driveway to clear. But, if you have a small driveway or just want to clear the snow away from a sidewalk, use the aforementioned items.

That said, if you have a single-stage snowblower, you may have to be careful with it on places like your yard or the pavement you’re using it on. Single-stage blowers can hack into substrate and create unsightly patches, especially in terms of grass.

Why Shouldn’t You Use a Snowblower for One Inch of Snow?

Now, there’s nothing saying you can’t use a snowblower when you have one inch of snow. However, you have to weigh the costs versus the benefits in doing so. For the amount of gas or electricity you’ll use in addition to the wear on the machine, it’s a little pointless to use a snowblower for such a scant amount of snow.

Also take into consideration that an inch of snow won’t shoot very far away. For the blower to toss snow a reasonable distance away, speed and volume will affect this.

This means the speed of the blower has to be fast enough to shoot it away from the machine. Likewise, the force behind the volume of snow removed will affect how far away it will land. If you’re looking to chuck the snow at a considerable distance, using a snowblower for one inch of snow may not give the results you’re looking for.

Are There Any Exceptions Where It’s Sensible to Use a Snowblower for One Inch of Snow?

There are a few exceptions to using a snowblower when you only have one inch of snow. First, if the one inch of snow is also mixed with ice and it’s heavy, you may want to reach for the snowblower instead of using something like a leaf blower or a shovel.

Another exception would be due to having physical ailments or other illnesses that prevent your ability to use things like a shovel. Also, if you don’t have a shop vac or a leaf blower, it will also be better to use the snowblower.

How Many Inches of Snow Is Ideal for Using a Snowblower?

You should have at least two inches of snow on the ground to use your snowblower. The size and type of blower you have will determine the maximum number of inches with which you can use your snow blower. Of course, you should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for this.

However, the following limits are a generally accepted guideline:

  • Single Stage: up to eight inches of snow
  • Two Stage: up to 12 inches of snow
  • Three Stage: up to 20 inches of snow

Are There Any Alternatives to Using a Snowblower for One Inch of Snow?

There are a few other things you can do instead of using a snowblower for one inch of snow. Note that the following suggestions will also help if you want to avoid using a leaf blower, shop vac or shovel:

  • Tarp: If you have a small patch of pavement, you could put a tarp over it. But, in order for this to be effective, you have to lay it down and secure it before the first snow. You’ll also have to check it on occasion to ensure it stays down and that your securing mechanism is holding.
  • Deicing Agent: Before it snows and between each snowfall event, you can scatter some sand, rock salt or other commercial deicing substance. Salt works great because as the snow falls, it melts upon contact with the salt. This means accumulation has no chance of staying around.
  • Lukewarm Water: Pouring lukewarm water can help deice driveways, cars, sidewalks, vehicle locks and other things in winter. The caveat here is that the temperature should be above freezing for it to work and stick. If not, it will refreeze and create more issues. Also, avoid hot water because it can cause things to crack like glass and concrete.

Which Alternative Is Best for Removing One Inch of Snow?

Of the three options above, the most effective one is using a deicing agent. Not only does it help to clear snow, it also keeps it malleable enough to shovel or blow away later on. Plus, you can use it as a preventative measure. For the purpose of prevention, though, rock salt is best.

However, rock salt does tend to demineralize soil, create cracks in concrete and develops rust on metal. This is why some people choose sand instead. But, this will also cause problems with grass and other plants. Regardless, preventative measures are very effective.

To illustrate, the state of Wisconsin will pre-salt major roads, highways and other heavily trafficked throughways when a snowstorm is on its way in. This has been an invaluable method for preventing multiple vehicle pileups on interstate roads. There are additional benefits too. The deicer attaches to car tires, so when people drive to and from home, it helps keep neighborhood roads free and clear.