When shopping for a snowblower, you may notice that different models feature metal or plastic discharge chutes. The best choice may seem obvious at first, but both materials actually have several pros and cons.
A plastic chute has a comparatively slick surface that may boost your snowblower’s reliability. This material can prevent snow from becoming stuck as it tries to pass through the opening.
Plastics generally cost less to manufacture. This material reduces the initial cost of the machine as well as any replacement chutes that you need to order in the future.
If your snowblower has a plastic discharge chute, the machine will weigh somewhat less than equivalent models with steel units. This advantage makes the equipment slightly easier to maneuver, transport, and service.
Unlike metal, plastics never rust or corrode. This decreases the likelihood that a chute will develop holes and eventually fall apart. A lack of rust also stops snow from sticking to your chute’s inner surfaces.
Some snow-removal gurus contend that plastic’s inherent flexibility prevents discharge chutes from cracking when people use them at particularly cold temperatures. However, it’s difficult to verify the truth of this claim.
The biggest advantage of a steel chute is that it won’t break as easily. Metal can withstand strong impacts from sticks, stones, and ice. It’s also less likely to suffer damage if a snowblower falls over.
Although steel may rust, owners say that it can last for many decades when they take the time to paint and otherwise maintain their equipment. Snowblower users tend to report more problems with plastic units.
Most metals resist heat with greater success than plastics. They’re less prone to melting when exposed to high temperatures or flames. This advantage minimizes the risk that a small fire will destroy your equipment.
No snowblower lasts forever. After your machine stops working, steel parts are more likely to be recycled than other components. This reduces your environmental impact and may also decrease the disposal cost.
The bottom line is that plastic reduces your snowblower’s weight, cost, and susceptibility to rust or jamming. On the other hand, steel provides a tougher and longer-lasting alternative. Keep in mind that the thickness of either material also holds importance.