5 Reasons Using Your Riding Mower As a Snow Plow Is a Bad Idea

Also: why an actual snow blower makes more sense

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Snow blowing Thomas Shanahan

If you live in a snowy region and you own a lawn tractor or zero-turn-radius riding mower, you may have thought about attaching a plow or snow blower to your mower—especially when the snow falls heavy and deep.

You may think that because you’ve already laid out the cash for the tractor, you’ll save money buying an attachment rather than another piece of pricey power equipment. If only it were that simple.

Here, we delve into why a freestanding snow blower is a tool better suited for this task. You can learn more about these labor-saving machines in our snow blower buying guide and lawn mower buying guide. CR members can also jump right to our snow blower ratings.

Why to Skip the Plow

1. You’ll preserve your tractor’s life. The transmissions of most residential lawn tractors and zero-turn-radius riders are best suited for one use: cutting grass. Pushing or blowing heavy snow is another story. A number of companies, such as Husqvarna, sell sturdy plowing attachments designed for specific models. But unless you have a high-end lawn or garden tractor, you could shorten the life of your tractor by pushing a plow or snow-blower attachment against significant snow.

2. It might cost more than you think. At about $300 to $800, a plow attachment can cost nearly as much as a decent snow blower. For a snow-blower attachment, it’s closer to $1,300 to $1,400. Some of the best snow blowers in our ratings can be had for under $1,000.

More on Snow Blowers

3. Clearing is cumbersome. One plus to a snow blower? You can maneuver it around vehicles and other obstacles in your driveway. But a snow-blower attachment adds at least 2 feet to the front of your tractor, making for clumsier movement. If it’s a plow, passage is restricted by the width. A bigger consideration, though, is that the engine and transmission themselves will limit you to snow accumulations better suited for a compact two-stage snow blower, such as the 24-inch Champion 100434. As for the plow pile at the end of your driveway, forget about it.

4. It’s not hassle-free. Before you install a plow or snow-blower attachment, you have to remove the tractor deck. Each spring, you’ll have to remove the attachment and reinstall and level the deck. Each of these tasks is a headache, requiring at least an hour’s work every time.

5. Storage is tricky. Any attachment, and the mechanism to connect it to the tractor, will need garage or shed space. And as long as the plow or blower is attached, you’ll need space for the tractor’s deck. Each of these will take up more space than the average snow blower.

3 Space-Saving Snow Blowers That Still Pack a Punch

Paul Hope

As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.