Uncovering the Difference: Gas vs. Electric Snow Blowers

The most eco-friendly way to clear your driveway or sidewalk after a snowstorm remains the trusty shovel. But anyone who has thrown out their back while uncovering their driveway in subzero temperatures has probably considered the luxury of a snow blower. Fortunately, the gas-guzzling snow blowers that have long dominated the market are no longer your only option.

Battery-powered, cordless snow blowers are getting better every year as lithium-ion technology improves along with them. Some brands are even designing their batteries to be interchangeable with other power equipment, so your snowblower battery can power your lawn mower, leaf blower, or chainsaw, too. Check out the Kickstarter video for this Yarbo model as one especially versatile example.

Despite the advancements, electric snow blowers still have their limitations. Deciding which piece of equipment is right for you will largely depend on the size of your space and the type of snowfall in your region.

The Size of the Storm

The first variable you’ll want to consider when choosing your ideal snow blower is the average snowfall you face. That’s because even electric snow blowers have a maximum clearing width of 24”, with a maximum clearing height of 13”. If you live in an area that often gets hit with more than a foot of snow, you’re going to want to stick with a gas-powered snow blower. Gas-powered blowers have a maximum clearing height of 24”, so they can handle nearly twice as much snow as electric models.

Ease of Maintenance

One big advantage electric snow blowers have over gas is their relatively low maintenance. Electric snow blowers don’t need oil changes. You’ll never have to replace a spark plug. The only real maintenance you’ll have to keep up with is keeping them clean and recharging your battery, if you go with a cordless model. This cuts down on ownership costs over time. Gas blowers require regular oil and filter changes, the occasional spark plug replacement, and the ongoing cost of gasoline.

More Maneuverability

It would be fair to assume that the lighter, smaller design of the electric snow blowers would make them easier to move around. But you’d be wrong. When it comes to snow blowers, additional weight actually allows you to better grip the surface you’re trying to clear. The heavier weight of gas-powered snow blowers works in their favor by having solid contact with the ground and grip on the wheels. Track-drive two-stage and three-stage snow blowers have the most traction, because they move more like a tank.

At the end of the day, choosing the right snow blower requires a bit of research. Like any other appliance or major purchase, you should consider what’s most important to you, and start developing your pros and cons list.