Can You Use A Snowblower On A Gravel Driveway? (Find Out Now!)

Jennifer Eggerton
by Jennifer Eggerton

For those of us who live in colder climates, winter means one thing – plenty of snow for outdoor activities. Snow also means clearing sidewalks, steps, and driveways. As you get ready for the season, you may be wondering – can you use a snowblower on a gravel driveway?

You can use a snowblower on a gravel driveway. Use one that has an adjustable height. Raising the snowblower keeps a space between the machine and gravel. Two-stage and three-stage models have adjustable heights. Single-stage snowblowers touch the ground, so you need to use skid shoes on a gravel driveway.

Gravel driveways are challenging in the winter because you want to remove the snow and not the gravel. Let’s discuss some options for clearing snow from gravel, and how to use a snowblower on a gravel driveway.

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Snow Removal Equipment for a Gravel Driveway

You use the same tools for removing snow from a gravel driveway as you would for a concrete or asphalt driveway. The only difference is in the technique.

Shoveling Snow on a Gravel Driveway

Before you start clearing large areas of snow with your shovel, decide how deep to go without hitting the gravel. Push the shovel into the snow until you touch the gravel of your driveway. Pull the shovel towards you. You can now see how deep to shovel. Hold the shovel at a constant angle as you remove the snow. Avoid digging into the snow.

Snow Blower vs. Plow for Gravel Driveway

Two tools that simplify snow removal are snowblowers and plows. Both can be used on a gravel driveway. The technique is the same as a shovel. Maintain a depth that removes the snow and not the gravel.

A snowblower is the best option for deep snow on a gravel driveway. Plows tend to get bogged down in deep snow as it piles up in front of the shovelhead.

What is a Snowblower?

So, let’s take a closer look at snowblowers and how to use them on gravel driveways. A snowblower is a machine that you walk behind to remove snow. The snow is ejected from the machine to the right of left of your path.

How Does Snowblower Work?

The front of a single-stage snowblower has a set of rotating blades that pull snow into a compartment. The snow moves to a chute and is dumped on the side of the cleared path. Two-stage and three-stage snowblowers have some extra features. One feature is a blower that ejects the snow at a high speed to move it away from the cleared path.

Do Snowblowers Throw Rocks?

What goes into a snowblower comes out of the snowblower. Similar to a lawnmower, if you pick up a rock with a snowblower, the rock is ejected through the chute.

How to Use a Snowblower on a Gravel Driveway

Snowblowers can be used on gravel driveways, but the rotating blades cannot come in contact with the gravel. If the blades do dig into the gravel, expect a lot of high-speed projectiles going in every direction. There are two ways to safely operate a snowblower on a gravel driveway – skid shoes and adjusting the height.

Snow Blower Skid Shoes for Gravel Driveways

Snow blower skid shoes are recommended for single-stage snowblowers that don’t have adjustable heights. Skid shoes are made of plastic or metal and fit on the underside of the machine. They are just thick enough to slightly lift the rotating blades. The skid shoes have screws on either side for you to dial in the height adjustment.

How to Adjust a Snow Blower for Gravel Driveway

Snowblower height can only be adjusted on two-stage and three-stage models. Check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for instructions on height adjustment. You will need to experiment a bit to find the right height for any given depth of snow.

Snow Blower Height for Gravel Driveway

The best approach is to start with a high setting and gradually lower the snowblower. Keep lowering it until you remove all but a thin layer of snow from the gravel driveway.

Follow this process each time it snows. Even a 1/4” difference in snow depth can mean the difference between safe operation and spewing gravel everywhere.

Safety Tips for Snowblowers

Here are some general safety tips to keep in mind when you are using a snowblower on your driveway and sidewalks.

  • Wear warm, fitted clothing and shoes with good traction
  • Avoid distractions, including cell phones
  • Use ear and eye protection
  • Keep your family and pets indoors while you are using the snowblower
  • Keep the chute aimed away from any vehicles, windows, and other property, including your neighbors
  • Work slowly and take rest breaks indoors to warm up

Related Questions

Can a snowblower damage a driveway?

Although it is rare, driveway damage from a snowblower can happen. The rotating blades may dig into the material is there is only a light layer of snow. If there is only a thin layer of snow on the driveway, use a shovel.

What is the best gravel driveway for snow?

Gravel is actually a better surface for driveways in colder climates than concrete or asphalt. Because water drains through the gravel, so there is less icing. The best gravel driveway for snow is one that has good drainage.

Do You Need Snow Removal Services?

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What Did We Learn?

You can safely use a snowblower on a gravel driveway. If you have a single-stage model, attach skid shoes to the underside. Use the screws on each side of the skid shoes to adjust the height of the snowblower. Two-stage and three-stage models have built-in features for adjusting the height. Check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for instructions.

When you are adjusting your snowblower for a gravel driveway, set the height so the machine removes all but a thin layer of snow. Start at the highest setting and gradually lower the snowblower blades.

If there is only a thin layer of snow on your gravel driveway, the best option is to use a shovel.

Jennifer Eggerton
Jennifer Eggerton

Jennifer L. Eggerton loves being hands-on, whether it's with a home DIY project, making repairs, re-decorating a room, or keeping life organized. She enjoys helping people by sharing her knowledge, insights, and experiences, as well as her lessons learned. In addition to her work as a writer, Jennifer is a Jeep® overlander, self-published author, and nature photographer who loves being outdoors.

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