I refurbish a handful of tractors and snow blowers as a hobby and labor of love.  This site reflects the equipment I've completed and the ethical approach I take in selling these machines.  I also perform service and repairs on tractor-mowers, riding mowers, zero-turns, lawnmowers, and snow blowers.

This Library of Articles enables the homeowner to shop for, care for, and improve the ownership experience. 

Article 8: Using a Snow Blade on a Tractor or Rider

To plow snow, you should generally have a front engine tractor with at least 20 hp (V-Twin preferred), a strong transmission (preferably hydrostatic automatic), and a very strong chassis with front mount capability to hold the plow.  This means you need either (1) a large MTD tractor, meaning MTD's premium chassis found on Toro LX, Cub Cadet LTX, and selected Troy-Bilt, White Outdoor, Yard Man, and MTD Gold models, or (2) a big Husqvarna, meaning AYP's premium chassis found on Craftsman Yard Tractors and Lawn Tractors through about 2006, Poulan Pro, McCulloch, and others.

Unlike other Rear Engine Rider (RER) mowers, there is a 36” plow available for certain Snapper models.  However, Snapper rear engine models are no more substantial than others, like those from Honda, John Deere, and Simplicity.  In fact, the latter machines generally weigh more, and weight is a good indicator of strength and capability.  My concern is that this setup will be rather ineffective most of the time.  In fact, you will have little success with a plow on any RER that I can think of, and that includes Simplicity RERs with 13.5 hp), Honda Harmony RERs with 11 hp, and John Deere RX and SX series RERs with 9 or 12.5 hp.  RERs are inherently designed for compactness, convenience, efficiency, and often for precision cutting (e.g., on golf course greens; hence such features as 'Transport Mode').  They rarely weigh more than 400 lbs and are generally about 350 lbs compared to a large, quality front-engine mower that weighs in the vicinity of 500 to 550 lbs with bigger tires and pushing power.

Also, in order to plow, you will need rear wheel weights and/or a rear weight carrier and rear wheel chains to plow using a 42" to 48” blade.  However, you will only succeed in snow up to about 1/2 foot in depth on a level surface with room to push the snow to the sides of the surface.  To top things off, the manual controls for a plow are in themselves fairly difficult to use and require a lot of LEFT arm strength for raising and lowering, moving the plow right and left, and locking it in place.  Now you need to do this while also operating the tractor.  So you have to go forward and back, accelerate, and steer all at the same time as you control the plow, in order to move the snow.  If you are in a confined area (e.g., any kind of obstructions, walls, slopes, etc. on either side of the driveway or area to be plowed), all of this becomes even more challenging and difficult.  If you have any kind of modest slope, e.g., on a driveway, you may not even be able to navigate in even the lightest snow.

From experience, I can tell you that you will have little success doing any kind of driveway length-wise, since a large lawn/yard tractor with plow cannot handle that kind of capacity.  So you have to work from the center out to each side on a driveway that is designed for 1 to 1-1/2 car widths.  Heavy snow is particularly difficult and has to be done periodically (at about 4") during a storm or the plow will simply slide.  My driveway is very close to level throughout and even has space to push the snow.  After only two snow falls, I found that it was so much work and required so much time, it was not worth it.  I tried to plow about 7" of heavy snow and didn't even get the machine out of the garage!  Maneuvering was frustrating and really put a heavy load on the transmission, which could result in premature failure.  All in all, I sold my plow setup and switched to a snow blower, which made life much easier.

I do not recommend using a plow (or a snow blower for that matter) on any typical homeowner tractor.  The above reasons are why you see so many plow blades and snow blower attachments for sale on craigslist.  You're much better off putting the money towards a stand-alone snow blower, which will cut your time in 1/2 even if you can plow.


All article content and images copyright Jay's Power Equipment.  All rights reserved.