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Garden tractor vs Walk behind Snowthrower

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 15th, 2017 5:56 pm
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2007
2897 posts
787 upvotes
Paris
LucifersGhost wrote:
Oct 31st, 2017 9:49 pm
Im not sure 'need' is accurate.
You are right... I grew up with 2ish acres of grass to cut and it fell to my brother and I. Took around 3.5 hours with trimming etc. There is a cost vs speed calculation to be done here. I also grew up in an era where before my brother and I could mow, my Mom was home full time so my overworked executive Dad only had to mow a few times per season. Depending on OP's situation (kid age, wife ability with a mower) 2-3 hours a week in cutting lawn is a big commitment. With my young kids right now, I would be looking for the fastest mow ability I could find. If they were a little older, it would be a different discusssion for sure.

We went the ATV and plow route at home (in addition to our CUT) and later at the cottage and it was great... until the snow gets high (which in Muskoka was 10 mins into the snow season). We had a fully paved driveway at home so it would be very clean.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 19, 2007
145 posts
18 upvotes
Guelph
Bedpan wrote:
Nov 2nd, 2017 9:12 am
Went through the same thing last August.. Moved to 3/4 acre with a decent sloped gravel drive. I had a walk behind thrower.... I bought a used ride on for the lawn and saved $1000 compared to new. For the drive I bought a used ATV and blade. $3500 for the setup. I can plow the drive in no time at all. I did end up with lots of gravel in the grass though. I will try setting the blade a little higher this year.

And I got an ATV to play with :-) I have done a couple group rides with it now.. Pile of fun. Super handy around the yard to, Use it to move big stuff around. Dragged a 23' beam into place last weekend for a deck I am building. Used it for moving top soil and gravel around the yard for some drainage issues.

If I had more money I would buy a small utility tractor to do it all. Something I can run a blade on for driveway, furrow for my gardens, and maybe a few other power takeoff devices (Auger for post holes for the deck, fence etc, backhoe for some drainage).
Hi,

What size ATV did you use? I have read conflicting reports stating that a 300cc can do the job, others say it has to be at least 500cc.
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2007
2897 posts
787 upvotes
Paris
Ben311 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2017 2:02 pm
Hi,

What size ATV did you use? I have read conflicting reports stating that a 300cc can do the job, others say it has to be at least 500cc.
We had a 1985 Honda Big Red which was a 2 wheel drive 200 or 250 and it pushed snow at home and the cottage until it got too high. And it was a stunning amount of fun as a teenager. A 300 cc 4 wheel drive would do it without issue.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 19, 2007
145 posts
18 upvotes
Guelph
Jerico wrote:
Nov 6th, 2017 2:03 pm
We had a 1985 Honda Big Red which was a 2 wheel drive 200 or 250 and it pushed snow at home and the cottage until it got too high. And it was a stunning amount of fun as a teenager. A 300 cc 4 wheel drive would do it without issue.
Thanks. Do you recall what size plow was used? I found a good used 300CC ATV for sale, and also a good 52 inch plow for sale, but suspect that size plow is too large to push with a 300.
Sr. Member
Jun 8, 2007
678 posts
119 upvotes
Oshawa
Not an expert on the topic... I talk from my experience now and as a kid riding..

I would push to a 400 minimum with 4wd. I bought a 2007 Polaris Sportsman X2 500 EFI.. Without the 4x4 I would have been stuck a few times. plowing the drive.

Plow size. mine is a 52" I believe.
Ben311 wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 8:40 am
Thanks. Do you recall what size plow was used? I found a good used 300CC ATV for sale, and also a good 52 inch plow for sale, but suspect that size plow is too large to push with a 300.
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2007
2897 posts
787 upvotes
Paris
Ben311 wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 8:40 am
Thanks. Do you recall what size plow was used? I found a good used 300CC ATV for sale, and also a good 52 inch plow for sale, but suspect that size plow is too large to push with a 300.
Wasn't much wider than the ATV (but it was a BIG ATV compared to most today). Sorry I dont recall dimensions. I would go 4x4 for sure though.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
Sr. Member
Jul 19, 2014
999 posts
190 upvotes
Snow Road Station, O…
cliff wrote:
Nov 1st, 2017 1:27 pm
No love for an old 4x4 truck? I'd think it would be pretty cheap to grab one that runs but isn't worth putting on the road and use that for plowing duties.
Ya a heated cab makes clearing a long driveway tolerable on a blizzardy day .
Member
Feb 25, 2015
228 posts
42 upvotes
ON
Op invest in a decent tractor and you won't regret it. Compact series might be overkill unless you plan to have ground engaging attachments. Personally I'd get an X-series JD or similar with a blower. Forget about big box store deals. If you plan to live there long term it's more than worth it.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 18, 2005
10406 posts
1885 upvotes
Kingston
I have a 600 foot gravel driveway, single lane but double wide at top and bottom plus a turnaround area. Takes about 45-60 minutes to blow with a 28" walk behind Blower. I'm a bit rural and all my experienced neighbours say to blow not plow. If you have much snow accumulation you can quickly build up walls and run out of places to push the snow to with a plow.

I've thought about adding a Blower to my JD lawn tractor but we have a fair slope and I expect traction would be an issue for me (only one rear wheel is really driven).

OP suggest you try a walk behind Blower first. It will give you the most flexibility with minimal investment and easy resale if you decide to get something else.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 19, 2007
145 posts
18 upvotes
Guelph
JWL wrote:
Nov 11th, 2017 1:55 pm
I have a 600 foot gravel driveway, single lane but double wide at top and bottom plus a turnaround area. Takes about 45-60 minutes to blow with a 28" walk behind Blower. I'm a bit rural and all my experienced neighbours say to blow not plow. If you have much snow accumulation you can quickly build up walls and run out of places to push the snow to with a plow.

I've thought about adding a Blower to my JD lawn tractor but we have a fair slope and I expect traction would be an issue for me (only one rear wheel is really driven).

OP suggest you try a walk behind Blower first. It will give you the most flexibility with minimal investment and easy resale if you decide to get something else.
Thanks, will wait for a deal on a large snowblower, at least for this season!
Newbie
May 15, 2015
38 posts
3 upvotes
I bought a beater truck with an 8' plow. It's really quick to do my ~300' driveway 3-5 wide. I use my 42" blower on the garden tractor to move the piles around later when I have more time if I have to make room.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd buy a zero turn for the summer, beater truck/plow and a regular walk behind snowblower for tidying up.
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Oct 9, 2010
1671 posts
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Windsor
wanna_be wrote:
Oct 31st, 2017 9:19 am
I will add my 2 cents.

We live on a 2.2 acre property and our house is placed almost in the centre of the property. The house is higher than the roadway and we have a long paved drive with a large area up near the house that can hold at least 10 large vehicles. The house came with a riding mower and 10 attachments, one of those attachments being a snow blower for the John Deere lawn tractor and also chains for the drive wheels.

I found that the tractor wheels slipped whenever I tried to come back up the driveway, because of light snow, not just ice and if the snow was heavy and I was on level driveway it would also slip at times if the snow was over 8 inches deep (drifting). The JD tractor is not 4 wheel drive and is not one of the real small series that you get at HD or Lowes, it is a 300 series. I was frustrated and went out and bought a new Honda single stage 21 inch snow thrower which I love. It takes a while to do the drive now but it is a lot less frustrating and I can also now do all my walkways as they were too narrow and curvy for to use the tractor on.

If I was starting from scratch with this information I would go one of two ways
  • Investigate buying a 4 wheel drive lawn tractor and snow attachment and find out if people thought the 4 wheel drive would stop my slipping
  • buy an ATV with blade, one larger than a 500 probably and 800 or larger
I would still have my smaller Honda snow thrower
Did your tractor come with wheel weights? They're essential for the operation in the snow when you have anything attached to the front. My father has a ~1970 JD 300 tractor, and with the snowblower on the front, and the wheel weights installed, he still has some cement blocks on the "hitch" (made a little shelf for them, last I saw) to weigh down the rear. With some weight on the back, it moves through the snow real nice.

Another option is to leave some random implement you have attached to the rear; with our old Massey, we would leave the rototiller on the back ... looked awesome.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Jr. Member
Feb 27, 2007
134 posts
23 upvotes
I'm going to second getting a small tractor, personally I have one of the John Deere 1 series with the 60d mower deck and a 54" front mounted blower but everyone makes something similar, I've used the Kubota bx series before and they're great too.

If you've never used a 'real' tractor before the front mount hydraulic controlled blower is worth its weight in gold.

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