When there’s snow on the ground, you want a snow blower nearby and ready to use. But to get to that moment, when should you actually pick one up? Snow Blower Source looks at various times you should go shopping, and what the pros and cons of each are.
When the winter season’s winding to a close, the stock in stores tends to be very, very low. There’s not really any more snow on the ground, so why would shops stock their aisles with machines? Plus, they also have the benefit of having sold snow blowers for years, so they’re able to strategically order machines so they’re left with very little stock once winter’s over.
However, the biggest benefit of shopping at this time is you can score some pretty sweet deals, precisely because stores are so anxious to get rid of their stock. It’s like auto manufacturers: once the new year arrives, they want to focus on that year’s models and will be highly incentivized to clear out last year’s.
Pro: Can get great deals because stores want to make room for new items.
Con: Lack of selection because most people have already been in months before to make their purchases.
This is perhaps the best time to go shopping for a snow blower. Everyone’s focused on lawn mowers during the summer, but manufacturers are also starting to introduce snow blowers at this time (think May and June). Because they’re bringing in new models, you have the advantage of both a nice selection and ordering older models for a lesser price.
Pro: Great selection and option to choose between brand new or (less expensive) older models.
Con: A lot of stores will still be heavily focused on lawn mowers and you may have to dig a bit to find what you want.
Consumer Reports says that August and September tend to be the best times to get a snow blower if it’s purely price you’re looking at. They advise that there always exceptions, but for snow blowers in particular, late summer/early fall is when you can save the most bucks on machines, saying,
“(B)ear in mind that the best time to save money isn’t always when you’ll find the best selection. Sales on some items occur when a season is coming to an end and inventories are thin.
Pro: Probably the best money-saving deals you can find.
Con: Savings might not necessarily equate with selection.
End of Winter
This is, hands-down, the best time you can pick to buy a snow blower. Manufacturers are eager to get rid of their inventory, there’s still a decent selection, and prices tend to be the lowest you’ll find all year. January, specifically, is when you’ll want to walk in and take a look around and see if you can score deals of up to 50% off. The only drawback is that you might have to sacrifice a tiny bit on selection, but unless you’re looking for something super-specific, it’s not worth sweating over.
Pro: Amazing deals because manufacturers want to make room for new items and are desperate to sell.
Con: Because the season’s over, you won’t get to use it until the snow hits again.
Middle of a Warm Winter
Usually, mid-winter is a pretty average time to buy. There’s plenty of selection, sure, but manufacturers have you under their thumbs in terms of prices. However, when the winter has been unusually mild and the snow isn’t falling like it usually does, the advantage shifts back to you. It’s all about supply-and-demand: when demand falls and supply is increased, consumers can dictate the prices a little more.
Pro: Less snow means more snow blowers sitting around, and increased inventory can lead to some deals as stores try and make their sales quotas.
Con: Most winters tend to follow a pattern and banking on a warm one isn’t always the best strategy.
Worst Time to Buy: Right Around a Snowfall
No doubt you’ve had some sort of experience tied to Black Friday and have a story to tell of huge crowds rushing around, trying to empty the shelves and leaving the place looking like a disaster. Or when the weather station forecasts a hurricane or tornado and people madly try and stock up on food. When there’s a sudden shift in events, the laws of supply-and-demand shift back into the sellers’ favor and prices go way up.
Same thing if you try and buy a snow blower right before or after a major snowstorm. Tons of other people have the same idea and you’ll be competing with them to buy snow blowers, and each and every one of you will get price-gouged. Don’t wait for the snow to fall — be smart and plan ahead and keep the ball in your court.