It’s still summer, but it’s never too early to start planning for the upcoming winter season. To ensure you get the performance you need once the snow begins to fall, it’s important to choose the right snow plow for the job.
Not sure where to begin? No problem. Just follow the steps below or use our EZ-Match tool today.
Step 1: Match the Plow to the Vehicle
This is the biggest consideration to make when selecting a new snow plow. Buy a plow that’s too big and you can do some damage to your vehicle. Conversely, if you buy a plow that's too small for your vehicle, you’ll damage the plow. Either way, you’ll end up spending more money and pushing less snow.
Equally as important is the understanding of how the plow is going to be used. If you’re a contractor or municipal worker who clears parking lots and roads for hours at a time, you’ll need a different plow than someone who just wants to clean his or her driveway.
Step 2: Understand the Different Types of Snow Plows
There are three types of snow plows on the market today. Again, the application should factor heavily into the purchase decision.
- Straight plows – ideal for clearing large, open spaces
- V-Plows – the most versatile plow, with options to change the moldboard to V, straight, or scoop shape. This versatility enables plow operators to clear snow in a variety of settings.
- Box / Push Plows – ideal for clearing large areas. Most commonly used on vehicles like skid steers or compact tractors.
Step 3: Get to Know the Moldboard
Most moldboards (aka the blade) are made of steel or polyethylene, and the material from which the moldboard is constructed will have an impact on your purchasing decision.
Steel is the tried-and-true construction material for moldboards. Contrary to popular belief, steel moldboards tend to cost less and weigh less than their polyethylene counterparts, but they are susceptible to rust over time.
Polyethylene moldboards, while heavier and pricier, are more resistant to abuse and will never rust. They are also more durable than steel moldboards and can withstand temperatures as low as 100 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit).
Aside from the moldboard material, it’s also important to understand whether you want a blade that has full or bottom-tripping action.
Full-trip plows have moldboards that flip completely forward when a hidden object (such as a manhole cover) is struck. This action limits any potential damage to the plow, vehicle or driver.
Unlike full-trip plows, only the lower portion of the moldboard on a bottom-trip plow gives way when a hidden object is struck, meaning that you can keep hold of the snow being pushed by the plow. Bottom-trip plows tend to be heavier and cost more than full-trip plows.
Lastly, consider how tall the moldboard is, what its attack angle is, and how much it is curved. Generally, the taller the moldboard, the higher the attack angle, and the more curve the blade has, the better it will scrape the surface. It will also discharge the snow farther.
Step 4: Remember the Mount and Operating Systems
Nowadays, plows come with easily detachable mounting systems and multiple operating system options.
If you are going to be taking the plow on and off the vehicle frequently, make sure you understand, and, if possible, demo the on/off process. Once you are familiar with the process, a good system shouldn't take much more than a minute to attach or detach.
Finally, all commercial-grade plows come with operating systems that enable you to move the blade from the comfort of your vehicle’s cab. The handheld controller is focal point of an operating system. The main controller considerations are comfort and ease-of-use. Make sure the controller is comfortable to hold and operate over long periods of time. The buttons should be easy to understand and activate.
There’s a lot to consider when buying a plow. Do you have any additional buying tips? If so, let us know in the comments below!