Are track snow blowers vs wheel versions better? I cover the key differences, along with which model may be best for you.
Although very few people will actually need a tracked snowblower model, they certainly have their place in snow removal tasks.
Here I will explain the most important differences and the type of conditions that each excels in.
What Is A Track Drive Snow Blower?
As you will have probably guessed, a track snow blower has tracks instead of wheels, just as a tank does. This provides them with not only maximum traction but good stability.
You may naturally think they are designed for deep snow, especially if it is densely packed snow. Yes, they are good for that, however, this is not using the true potential of a track snowblower.
Tracked snow blowers are actually best designed for use on uneven terrain and difficult slopes. By swapping to using tracks you will avoid many of the limitations of wheeled snow blowers. With far less risk of uncontrolled turns or slipping, when using in slippery & icy conditions or on steeper slopes.
However, there is a downside as they are not quite as good with sharp turns or as easy to maneuver as the wheeled two-stage snowblowers. You really can’t beat wheeled machines for use on flat surfaces.
Snow Blowers With Tracks Vs. Wheels: Key Differences
When investing in a snowblower you should always choose one that will do the job. Therefore, unless you are faced with the conditions that a tracked snow blower is designed for you do not need one.
When making a price comparison between track vs wheel options, you’ll soon realize that a tracked snow blower is the more expensive option. This is for good reason, they are high-end, two-stage, or three-stage snowblowers and made for tough tasks.
With that said, you may be able to pick up a second-hand one locally if you know what to look for. If you go down this route, be sure to check out the used snowblower price guide to help you understand what you should be paying.
There is no debating when it comes to the best to traction. The track-driven snow blower is a clear winner. But are you sure you really need all that extra traction?
Now that you know what the tracked snowblower is designed for think about the areas that you will be clearing. As I have mentioned before when you compare track vs wheels, for maneuverability wheeled is definitely the winner.
Tracked machines are generally the slower option out of the two models. But, having said that, slow is best when it comes to snow removal on rough ground or steep driveways etc. Safety is much more important to me and in the end, the job gets done.
Although a wheeled blower does have less traction, it also has less friction. Making the wheeled snowblower faster overall on flat and even surfaces such as driveways.
Flat Vs. Rough Terrain
Use track snowblowers for slopes or uneven areas and a wheel snowblower for flat areas, such as pathways and driveways.
The increased traction given by the tracks keeps them stable on steep slopes and uneven areas. Even when clearing both wet snow or generally heavy snow.
Remember, you must never attempt to clear snow from a steep slope or incline with wheel snowblowers, even when fitted with tire chains. They will slip and slide, making it an accident waiting to happen.
How Modern Technology Is Bridging The Gap
Technology never stands still and, things are looking up for people wanting more from their tracked snowblower. I bring you the RapidTrak from Ariens, with speed, maneuverability, and clearing power like no other.
What makes the RapidTrak so different is the track and wheel system that allows the operator to switch between the two on the go. With 3 different settings, the operator is able to adjust the back wheel of the track into the ideal position for different situations.
The settings are as follows:
- Track Mode: This is great for everyday regular snow clearing.
- Wheel Mode: Ideal for when turning and maneuverability are the important factors.
- Dig-in mode: which tilts the housing to clear hard compacted snow whilst giving the greatest traction.
Wheeled Snow Blower vs Tracked Snow Blower: Which One Should I Buy?
In short, are track models better? They are undoubtedly more powerful and stable, but they are only better in the toughest of clearing conditions. The size of snow blower you need really does depend on a few different factors.
When to consider a track-driven snow blower:
- You have steep inclines to clear
- If you have rough and uneven areas to deal with
- When you want stability and need to know that your machine won’t slip and slide
A tracked snow blower offers great stability as well as the best traction you could ask for. Therefore, if you have any of the difficult scenarios mentioned above, this is the machine for you.
When to consider a wheeled snow blower:
- When you are dealing with regular, flat even surfaces
- If speed and maneuverability are important (as long as it’s not slopes of course)
- When the budget counts and your snow removal tasks are straightforward
Wheeled snow blowers are available in many different types and sizes, there is truly something for everyone. These machines are definitely the go-to option for those of you clearing relatively flat and even areas.
Frequently Asked Questions (People Also Ask)
I hope you have enjoyed this article and that you have found all the information you were looking for. But, if you are still unsure, maybe these commonly asked questions will provide you better clarity.
Can you use a snowblower on a dirt driveway?
You can use either a two-stage or three-stage snowblower on a dirt driveway. Unlike the single-stage blower, the larger models, the auger does not touch the ground, making it the better option.
What is better a 2 stage or 3 stage snow blower?
3-stage snow blowers are more powerful than 2-stage models, so which is better depends on how much power you need. Generally, 3-stage designs are only necessary for commercial or heavy-duty snow clearing.
What is the best month to buy a snowblower?
The best time to buy a snowblower is in the off-season, this is because demand is low. With manufacturers and retailers maintaining lower prices.