When getting a snow blower, the first thing that you have to consider would be the kind of pathway that you have. Keep in mind that different pathway materials would mean different types of snow blowers.
Snow blowers can generally be classified into two single-stage and two-stage. A single-stage snow blower tends to be lighter in weight compared to a two-stage snow blower. That being the case, they are more suited for smaller jobs.
Single-stage snow blowers are recommended for those who do not experience more than 8 inches of snow. Companies like Cub Cadet recommend this kind of snow blower for those pathways that are paved, flat, and of medium size. It is not recommended for gravel walkways as well as steep walkways.
For short, flat walkways that receive no more than 4 inches of snow, the best option is the single-stage snow blower. Compared to the gas variant, single-stage electric blowers are more silent to operate. With the electric variant, you do not have to worry about mixing gasoline and oil in order to get your blower working. Unfortunately, because it uses electricity, you need to make sure that you have a long power cord. It is also not recommended for gravel walkways.
If you have a steep and wide walkway that is made of gravel, then the two-stage gas snow blower is for you. It is also recommended for areas that receive more than 8 inches of snow on a regular basis. One downside, however, of a two-stage gas is the fact that it can take much storage space compared to single-stage types.
How to Choose
The kind of walkway that you have as well as the amount of snow that your area gets should be your primary considerations. It can be quite tempting to get the best in the market, but if you have the wrong type for your pathway, you would also not be able to make the most of it.
Lastly, do not be concerned too much about the drive speeds especially if you do not have a long driveway. The more important consideration would be the maneuverability of the snow blower. That being the case, make sure you check the controls of the snow blower. It should be easy to use and should be of the correct height. Keep in mind that the controls are what would help you change directions fast as well as ensure that the snow is thrown at the correct height.
(Different types of lawnmower, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2007/11/q-a-which-type-of-snow-blower-should-i-buy/index.htm)