I just bought my Dad a new snowblower after reading reviews, shopping, and watching them in action on YouTube. I finally settled on a White by MTD single stage with an American made 5.5 HP Tecumseh Snow King Motor.
There is a disturbing trend with new snowblowers. Now that Tecumseh is no longer making engines, and Briggs is hurting, they are being made with Chinese built "Honda-clone" 4-stroke engines. Some of you may have seen them on go-carts or ATV's. If you have worked with them you know how hard it is to get parts in a pinch.
Be careful what you buy. Most single stage blowers at Lowe's, Sears, Menard's, Ace, ect. from brands like MTD, Craftsman, Troy-bilt, Ariens made "Sno-Tek" models, and even the new low-end Toro 180's have these Chinese engines. A lot of inexpensive two-stage blowers have them too.
You can tell which ones have the knock off engines because they don't say anywhere what brand engine they have, and there is a shiny valve cover that says "OHV" on it.
If you go somewhere that has the Chinese engined blowers ask if they have any of "last years model" left. And check whats in the box before you leave.
Oh, and some Briggs motors sold here are made in China now too.
Not saying you will have trouble, but beware. If you do buy one pay attention to the cleanliness of the oil and quality/age of the gas.
Finally, get a unit with more than enough power, that way if you get a heavy snowfall you are still in good shape.
Electric or 3 - 3.5 HP two-stroke gas single stage units are only good for a few inches of any kind of snow. If you normally get more than 4 inches, "wet" or "dry", in a good snowfall get a unit with 5 or more horsepower, especially if your snow is "wet". If you regularly see 6 or more inches in a good snowfall consider a two stage blower.
For example, I live in Indy where 3 to 6+ inches in not uncommon, and I have a 5 HP single stage unit. That is plenty for my needs. My grandparents live in Michigan, and get lake effect snow, they have a 10+ HP two stage. My single stage would be useless there, and their's would be overkill here.