Just like other replies said, using a snow thrower is MUCH better than
using a shovel. There is no comparison. I cleaned my 100-ft x 15-ft
drive way with my snow thrower without breaking a swear. I started
swearing like a pig as soon as I picked up a shovel to clean areas
that my snow thrower cannot reach (and I am physically fit). I say
this even though I must admit that my old JD 2-stages snow thrower is
underpowered. I could have cleaned my driveway even faster and easier
if I have a more powerful one.
The 2-stage snow thrower can clean deeper snow than the single-stage
snow thrower (like the electric one that I used to use). I got a good
use of it last year when we had a lot of snow last winter (New
Jersey). The downside is that it doesn't clean as well as the
single-stage one because it will always leave a 1/4 inch snow on the
ground. This is OK because the thin layer of snow will easily be
melted away when the sun comes up. Another good thing is that it is
supposed to work with a driveway that is covered with gravels.
According to Consumer Reports, a single-stage snow throw can kick up
gravels if we use it on gravel-covered surface; obviously, this sounds
dangerous. My driveway is not covered with gravels; therefore, I am
not 100% sure if this is true or not.
If you are looking for a 2-stages snow thrower, you may want to look
for one that has a tall "feeding mouth" (don't know how to call that
thing). The "mouth" in my underpowered snow thrower is not tall
enough. It has problem handling deep snow. Last year, when we had a
lot of snow in our area, I had to clean the driveway _before_ the snow
got accumated too deep (below 1 foot). This means I had to clean the
driveway three-times in one occasion when we got a lot of snow fall.
My neighbor who has one one that has a tall "mouth"; and I saw him
pushing the snow thrower right through deep snow without any problem.
If your driveway is square rather than long, you will need a snow
thrower that is powerful enough to throw the snow in a great distance.
Otherwise, the snow that you throw from one area will simply fall
inside the driveway (instead of throwing to outside the driveway).
This means you will have to throw the same snow twice. This also means
that you will have to deal with much deeper snow in area where the
snow throw has thrown snow onto. In other words, an underpower snow
thrower that cannot throw snow far enough and that has a short
"feeding mouth" will end up facing deep snow that it may have a hard
time handling -- this means it is a "double jeopardy". This means if
your driveway is square rather than long, you need a powerful snow