Electric vs Gas Snow Blower : What are the differences? How do you choose one type over another. Each type has their own advantages and disadvantages, which you should be aware of before making your purchase. There’s no point in buying a snow blower that won’t handle the type of snow and depth of snow you’re likely to receive.
If you’re considering a new snow blower, deciding between an electric or gas-powered machine is likely to be the starting point. Though it’s no longer a simple decision of an electric vs gas snow blower. Now that cordless tools have the power and battery time to compete with both corded electric and, to some extent, gas-powered equivalents, a cordless snow blower could end up offering the best solution.
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Overview : Snow Blower Power
Electric vs Gas Snow Blower
When choosing a snow blower, your first step is to look at the size of your yard and the amount of snowfall in your area. This will determine what size is going to be the most convenient, along with the ever important question of power. Obviously, a large yard with heavy snow to clear will require a larger, more powerful snow blower. Though these machines will be heavy and difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. So, you also need to consider steps and walkways, as well as your available storage space.
These factors will play an important role and may ultimately clarify the decision regarding an electric vs gas snow blower. The capabilities of the snow blower that you choose will be defined mostly by the amount of stages the machine utilizes.
A single stage snow blower is going to be cheaper but will not be able to cut as deeply into the snow or throw the snow as far from the chute.
A single stage snow blower uses the auger to lift the snow and the action of the auger throws the snow from the chute, rather than actually blowing it. This is what limits a single stage machine.
Two stage snow blowers have augers that can work in much deeper snow and are the most effective way to deal with wet, heavy snow. This is because the auger is only used to dislodge snow and ice. A separate impeller (blower) then blasts the snow away from the auger and out the chute. Since most 2-stage snow blowers are gas-powered, this could affect your choice. However, there are some very competent corded and cordless electric 2-stage snow blowers.
If you’re looking for the most powerful option, a 3-stage snow blower, your choice will be limited only to gas. Electric snow blowers simply don’t have the power for a 3-stage action. Since 3-stage snow blowers are usually used for commercial applications, I’m not going to cover this topic. For domestic users, we’ll be looking primarily at single and two stage machines, these can be either gas or electric.
Gas-Powered Snow Blowers
— Overview —
Gas-Powered Snow Blower
This Briggs & Stratton is a good example of a self-propelled heavy-duty 2-stage snow blower, engineered to clear heavy deep snow.
Advantages / Disadvantages
Gas snow blowers are the mammoths of snowy landscapes, capable of clearing deep wet snow with ease, assuming you buy the right model. They come in three types : single-stage, two-stage & three-stage.
As much as I love the convenience of cordless, gas power is still the best choice for regions with heavy snowfalls.
There can be no denying that gas engines are always the most powerful when it comes to snow blowers. So, if you need a larger auger, for deep snow and a wider clearing path, gas would be an obvious first choice. You have an unlimited working range, as well as faster, longer working times with a gas snow blower.
Though this power advantage is not without its drawbacks. A large machine with a gas engine is going to be heavy. This makes it nearly impossible to lift or carry over and around obstacles, like stairs. A wider clearing path is advantageous when clearing large expanses in the shortest time, but it makes the snow blower difficult when moving between flower beds and other small spaces.
Materials : Gas vs Electric Snow Joe 40V (iON15SB-LT)
Gas engines are noisy, and this can be a source of contempt when it comes to friendly relations with your neighbors. Not to mention, the peace and quiet in your own home. It can sometimes be a hassle starting a gas snow blower in extremely cold weather. But most reputable manufacturers have done a lot to make this easier. Cold start technology has come a long way in recent times. You will, however, have to store gas, which comes with its own safety concerns and the fumes aren’t all that pleasant. In addition to this, 2-stroke gas engines require a mixture of gas and oil, which can be a bit of a hassle.
Gas snow blowers are not the best budget option. They are generally more expensive than electric machines and require regular maintenance. Keeping a gas engine in good working order is not only an extra expense, but it takes up your time. Transporting a large gas snow blower to a dealership is not a simple task.
When it comes down to it, gas snow blowers are expensive and require more effort to use and maintain. While it is the only viable option for a large area, you could be better off buying an electric machine for a smaller yard.
Electric Snow Blowers
It’s important to distinguish between corded and cordless electric snow blowers, as there are pros and cons to both options. In times gone by, battery-powered equipment was often seen as second best. They tended to be underpowered and working time was severely restricted by battery charge. For the most part, this is no longer the case. Brushless DC electric motors are now more efficient than their AC (corded) counterparts. Electronic power management and vastly improved battery technology has also extended the capabilities of cordless power equipment, providing much longer working times.
For these reasons, I’m going to cover corded and cordless electric snow blowers independently.
Corded-Electric Snow Blowers
— Overview —
Corded-Electric Snow Blower
This Snow Joe model is a good example of an affordable corded-electric snow blower.
Advantages / Disadvantages
Corded Electric models have a few advantages and many drawbacks. These snow blowers are ideal for efficient light-duty snow clearing under 8-inches.
If you live in an area with light snowfall, then an electric is all you need. But if you live in Buffalo, you’ll need a gas model. Buy what you need, not what you want.
Because this will always be the cheapest option, corded electric snow blowers are very popular. They don’t have the power to match gas alternatives but can be sufficient for most home users. While most electric snow blowers have an auger width of 13 – 18 inches, you can get models with augers up to 22-inches wide. If this doesn’t cut it for you, you’ll need to look at gas machines.
You may also be limited in thick heavy snow and ice, as there aren’t too many 2-stage electric snow blowers available. Another limitation would be the electric cord. You can only work as far as your extension cord will allow and trailing a cord behind can be annoying. You need to be constantly aware of the cord, it can snag on plants, rocks, and garden furniture. You also run the risk of damaging the cord, which can be dangerous. Exposed copper wire in wet weather is no joke.
It’s not all bad news though, especially when it comes to cost and convenience. Apart from being cheaper to buy, electric snow blowers require very little maintenance. This is less hassle and saves money. They start without any effort and are not affected by cold weather. Electric snow blowers may not be completely silent, but they are considerably quieter than the roar of a gas engine. You also don’t have to contend with exhaust fumes and the hassle (and risk) of storing gas in your shed or garage.
Electric snow blowers are lighter and less bulky. This makes them easier to use in a yard with obstacles and they don’t require as much storage space.
Cordless — Battery-Powered Snow Blowers
— Overview —
Battery-Powered Snow Blower
This Snow Joe model is a good example of the rapid rate of battery innovation. The first 100V snow blower. (Read our review)
Advantages / Disadvantages
Battery (or cordless) snow blowers are the ultimate in convenience and with the increasing rate of battery power they are beginning to rival gas-powered models.
Battery snow blowers offer homeowners a flexible system that reduces the effort it takes to clear snow, meaning, they are easy to use. All you have to do is ensure you always have a fully charged battery on hand.
Battery-powered snow blowers share most of the advantages that you get with corded models. They are relatively quiet. They also share the lightweight, less bulky design. Cordless snow blowers are just as easy to start and require as little maintenance as their corded counterparts.
You have the added advantage of freedom of movement, without the hassle of an electric cord. The safety concerns of using a cord are also eliminated. Battery-power cannot electrocute you. Because brushless DC motors are so much more efficient that conventional electric motors, used in corded electric snow blowers, battery-powered models use a lot less electricity to do the same job.
There is only one real disadvantage when comparing corded and cordless electric snow blowers – the price. Even though battery-powered tools aren’t quite as expensive as they used to be, they still cost quite a bit more than corded models.
2-stage Battery Snow Blower is a reality : Snow Joe ION8024-XR
A secondary concern may be that of battery-life. In some cases, a battery may only give you around 15-minutes before it needs to be recharged. Though this is usually much longer, depending on the battery AH. Regardless of how much time you get from a battery, you always have the option of buying several batteries. Sure, this is going to be an extra cost, but you can work for any length of time, with only the minor inconvenience of changing batteries as they run low. Most of the better brands offer rapid chargers, and some can charge more than one battery at a time. So you really need experience no noticeable downtime when using a cordless electric snow blower, provided you have enough batteries.
Tip — Battery Snow Blower
To overcome the drawback of limited battery life, consider buying a second battery so you can be working while charging the second battery — which means you have unlimited running time. Consider it.