For many regions in the United States, winter comes with unrelenting snow and the need for snow removal. In some regions, you can get away with a simple single-stage snow blower like the Snow Joe 48V Max Cordless Snow Blower or the Greenworks 40V 20-inch Cordless Battery Single-Stage Snow Blower. If you get more than occasional snow in your area, you might want a two-stage snow blower.
But for those who live in areas that get pounded by snow, a push snow blower of any kind may not cut it. In these areas, it might be worth it to invest in a snow plow. Snow plows are mounted to the front of your vehicle to remove snow and ice from the ground. Instead of having a snow removal device that is powered by a small engine, you get the snow removal power of your vehicle.
Can you mount a snow plow to any vehicle? Are there different kinds of snow plows for different scenarios? And what are the best snow plow models and brands? Keep reading to discover everything there is to know about snow plows and if it's worth it to invest in one - we even spoke to an expert to help with your decision.
Lisa Schaeffer is the Vice President of marketing and Operations for Levan Machine and Truck Equipment, located in Fleetwood, PA. She oversees sales and marketing initiatives and focuses on new business opportunities and product offerings for their CNC machine services and commercial truck upfit divisions. Lisa is a graduate of Kutztown University and has over 30 years of sales and marketing experience.
Are there different types of snow plows?
Yes. The two main types of snow plow blades you’ll find for a vehicle are straight plows and V plows. V plow blades are more desirable because of their effectiveness in directing snow and the arrowhead point, allowing for the plow to break through and remove hardened snow that has frozen overnight. Straight plow blades are more cost-efficient and are still highly effective in snow removal.
What vehicles can you install a snow plow on?
Unfortunately, you can’t (nor shouldn’t) put a snow plow on your Honda Accord. When discussing the topic of installing snow plows on vehicles, Lisa Shaeffer, VP of Marketing and Operations for Levan Machine and Truck Equipment, said, “Snowplows do vary by the type of truck or SUV, and the year, make, and model will help determine what plow works best. Typically, the bigger the truck, the bigger the plow you can attach. One very important factor is the weight of the plow blade to make sure it works with the truck or SUV.”
You’ll need a truck or an SUV, and preferably at least a half-ton payload. That means it can handle a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds. Of course, if you have a bigger truck, like a three-quarter ton or full ton payload, that will be more than sufficient.
You’ll also want to find out what the Front Gross Axle Weight Rating (FGAWR) is for your truck. This is the maximum allowable amount of weight that can be mounted to the front of your vehicle. “A wider, heavy-duty plow, for example, will not work on most light-duty trucks. Most people want the biggest plow they can get for their truck,” said Schaeffer.
They also make snow plow attachments for ATVs (you can even find some at Amazon). These can be a useful and cheaper alternative (if you already own an ATV) to a plow for your car. The biggest thing here is ensuring that the mounting frame on your ATV is compatible with the mounting equipment for the plow. Seek the requirements of both the ATV and plow manufacturers to ensure compatibility.
How to determine what snow plow blade is right for you?
This comes down to what kind of work you are planning on doing with the plow, as well as personal preference. “If you want a plow purely for home use or even to clear a few driveways during a storm, a 7’ or 7’6” straight blade will be more than sufficient. If you own a UTV or ATV, consider the V and straight blade options for personal use. Be sure to ask if the attachment kit and installation are included with the price you are being quoted by a dealer,” said Schaeffer.
For ATVs, snow plow blades come in anywhere between 3’5” to 6’. If you have an ATV with a smaller 500cc engine, go with a smaller blade, but engines that are 600cc and larger can better support larger blades.
If your plan is to perform commercial snow removal, Schaeffer said, “You should consider a minimum of an 8’ plow to clear snow quickly and efficiently. Many commercial customers choose a V-plow over a straight blade because the multi-position capabilities of a V-plow make snow plowing easier and faster.” A common issue with commercial snow removal is moving snow that was previously plowed. That hardened and frozen snow is more easily broken up and moved with a V blade compared to a straight blade. Also, as mentioned above, you have more control over where you move snow with a V blade.
What material and brands are best?
“When it comes to commercial and municipal plows, the most popular snowplow brands are BOSS Snowplow, Western, and Fisher. All of the well-known brands offer a variety of models, including V-plows and straight plows, and then you have your choice of polyethylene, stainless steel, and mild steel,” said Schaeffer. While steel has been the industry standard forever, poly plow blades are also popular for a handful of reasons. Snow and ice don't stick to poly blades because of the slick coating. Also, poly has more resistance to dents. If having a clean-looking snow plow is important to you, consider a poly blade.
Steel, on the other hand, is incredibly tough and durable. Sure, steel blades may look like they take a beating, but they have been the industry standard for a long time for good reason. They are as reliable as you’ll find.
How much do snow plows cost?
The least expensive route is getting an attachment for your ATV. You can find many options between $300 and $500. Again, be sure to check the mounting compatibility before you make any purchase.
A straight blade for your truck will run you anywhere between $1,300 and $4,000. Of course, you might also need to take it somewhere to have it mounted for you. And in that case, you’ll be adding the cost of labor into that as well. For a V blade, you’ll be looking at between $2,000 and $6,000.
What are the benefits of owning a snow plow and who should consider getting one?
For those who plan on commercial snow removal, a snow plow is a must. When it comes to regional use, Schaeffer said, “Some states like Utah and Washington have lighter snow, whereas parts of the northeast, like Pennsylvania, have wet snow, which not only sticks to everything but is also heavier than drier snow.” Wet, heavy snow is backbreaking work to remove manually. And if your blower isn’t powerful enough, a plow might be your best option. For lighter snow regions, it depends more on the typical amount of snow you receive.
Regardless of the region, Schaeffer states the importance of ensuring the company you buy your plow from can also provide service. “They should also consider the ease of attaching a plow to their truck and future service or repair needs. I highly recommend that when buying a plow, you also buy from a company that also services plows and can provide parts or service during a winter storm, said Schaeffer.”
Overall, a snowplow can make light work from heavy snowfall. It is certainly an investment, and you’ll want to conduct plenty of research about your vehicle, its weight capacities, and its compatibility with any specific snow plows. Schaeffer states the importance of reaching out to a reputable truck and plow dealer to discuss what will work for your truck or ATV before you make any purchase decisions.