If you live in an area that sees very little snowfall, a simple snow shovel should suffice. But if you wake up to snow that’s a couple of feet deep every morning, it’s time to pull out the heavy machinery.
Shoveling snow all winter long without any power tools takes quite a bit of time and effort. Not to mention how hard it is on your back. A less time-consuming and easier option is the use of gas or electric snow blowers that can get the job done with much less hassle.
And although there isn’t any universally correct recommendation as to which among the two is the right choice, it does depend a lot on specific models, price points and the kind of usage it will see.
This comparison though will help you gain a better understanding of both these tools so that you can make an informed decision should you be looking to buy one.
Pros and Cons of Electric Snow Blowers
Electric snow blowers consume standard house current which in the US is 120V, 60H to power the machine. There also are battery powered variants such as the Greenworks 80 volt cordless model, which can run for up to an hour after a 7-hour charge. Most of these types of blowers such as the Snow Joe SJ623E snowblower need a cord therefore there are limitations to moving it around.
A few models even have clamps or hooks installed on the machine to keep the electrical cord from getting in the way. You can read some of these details on our pages of snow blower reviews.
It does take some getting used to initially (the cord keeps getting tangled and it takes some patience and practice), but once you get the hang of it, manoeuvring the blower without any obstruction is an easy task.
Another big pro of an electric blower is that these machines are lighter in weight and also less noisy than other blowers. They are also cheaper on the pocket.
They have a push to start button which is much preferred to pull cords. Pricewise, there are products available than are priced lower than gas snow blowers.
Maintaining these types of blowers is also less involved. The length of the cord may limit its movements therefore these blowers are most suitable for short to medium size driveways. Being light in weight like the Black and Decker cordless model here, they can be stored and maneuvered around easily.
One major drawback with the electric snow blower is that you cannot clear snow during a power outage, which could be a concern for some buyers. On the other hand, electric blowers do not require any gasoline or engine oil, and battery operated models can work anytime.
Cordless Snow Blowers
There are many cordless models now appearing on the market. Some of these are quite powerful and make use of a brushless motor. This makes them far more efficient and also extends runtime. Snow Joe also make cordless models of different sizes, for example this ION PRO model.
On the power front, however, these blowers are not as powerful as the gas blowers. Ideally, they work best for small amounts of snow at a time, (depending on the power specifications these types of snow blowers are built to handle 2-3 inches of snow). They also tend to overheat much quicker which requires the user to pay attention to the motor when plowing for a longer period.
If there is water around the driveway, there is always the potential of electrocution which the user must be aware of before operating the machine.
Pros and Cons of a Gas Snow Blower
Powered by gasoline, the gas snow blower runs on a 2-cycle (stroke) engine using a gasoline-oil mixture as described by the snow blower manufacturer, or a 4-cycle (stroke) engine. However, let it be said that whether it is a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine, these are powerful machines… definitely more powerful than the electric version.
That being said, the two stroke engine also does cause a lot more pollution as compared to the four-stroke (or the electric for that matter) as plenty of unburned fuel leaves the exhaust. Also, 4-cycle engines tend to last longer than 2-stroke engines.
In most cases, gas-powered models also produce more power than electric models, which is ideal when the lawn or driveway is covered in large amounts of wet or icy snow. Heavier to move, electric snow blowers prove to be sadly inefficient in these situations. Gas snow blowers, on the other hand, are perfect for this task and are able to move heavy chunks of snow without struggling for power or thrust.
And since there is no power cord (these machines are cordless), they are easy to maneuver and move around. Gas snow blowers also tend to be much louder than electric snow blowers. They require the use of a pull to start cord which does prove difficult for some users with.
When it comes to size, gas snow blowers are much larger and bulkier. They are also known to be more durable. Although powerful, these engines require timely change of engine-oil and fuel filters to enable them to function without any breakdowns.
One consideration could be the noise factor.
Most gas blowers, especially a 2 stroke model are going to be somewhat on the noisy side. If you’re going to be clearing snow early in the morning, it could become a nuisance for your close neighbors.
The Bottom Line
• Before deciding on the type of blower to purchase, you must consider the amount of snowfall in your region and the frequency at which you would have to use the machine. You can check the average snowfall for your state here.
• Electric snow blowers are ideal when it comes to low to moderate snowfall. Gas snow blowers can cope with heavy plowing as these snow blowers tend to dig deeper and wider quickly.
• Electric snow blowers are low on noise and low on maintenance. Gas blowers are the exact opposite.
• Consider the storage space available for the snow blower. Gas snow blowers are large and bulky and hence take up a lot more space than electric.
• Once you are aware of the functionality of each blower and the pros and cons that go with each, it is time to look at how much you are willing to spend on the machine. Both are offered in a variety of specifications which also have an implication on the price point.
• On making a purchase, take time to read the user’s manual so as to understand the snow blowers specifications and limitations which will enable you to get the best out of your blower.