If you've grown tired of shoveling snow during winter, it might be time to invest in a more effective snow removal tool.
Once you decide to do so, you will find yourself choosing between an electric vs gas snow blower.
They are two of the most common power sources for these machines today. Both are quite effective in clearing driveways.
However, they do have a number of key differences, so it is important that you understand each of them so you know which unit would meet your needs.
This way, you do not end up wasting money on a snow blower that you could not use or does not perform optimally.
Table of Contents
- Electric vs Gas Snow Blower
- Other Things To Consider Before Buying a Snow Blower
- Which Snow Blower Is Best for You?
Electric vs Gas Snow Blower
Like any other pieces of equipment or product, each type of snow blower comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
It might be a bit hard to choose between the two if you do not have enough information at hand.
To make your decision-making process easier, we will look at seven points of comparison, namely:
- Square Footage of Clearing Area
- Ease of Use
- Type of Snow
- Maximum Clearing Width and Height
- Cost of Regular Maintenance
When it comes to snow blowers, you generally get what you pay for, the same as most other products.
The more expensive it is, the higher the value that it offers.
Price may vary depending on the brand, the additional features included, the quality of the parts, and other factors.
All things being equal, electric models are generally cheaper than gas-powered models.
So, if cost is a big factor in your decision, you should look at electric snow blowers first.
An electric single-stage snow blower costs around the same as gas-powered single-stage machines.
However, the disparity in price is very high when it comes to two-stage snow blowers.
In fact, gas-powered units in this category can cost twice as much as an equivalent electric unit.
Note that the parts of an electric two-stage machine are expensive and hard to come by.
More often than not, repairing a broken down unit is not worth it.
While this is something you should definitely think about, in the end, electric snowblowers are more cost-effective.
Square Footage of Clearing Area
What gas-powered snow blowers lack in terms of price competitiveness, they make up for in quality and performance.
That is why a gas model is a must-have in your arsenal of snow removal tools, especially if you have a long 18-car driveway.
There are many ways that these types of snowblowers trump electric blowers when it comes to square footage.
First, while the size of their gas tank limits them, you can expect a long uptime from one full load.
It means that you will have covered a lot of ground by the time your gas-powered machine runs out of fuel.
Once it does, simply refill the tank, and you are good to go.
On the other hand, corded snow blowers only go as far as their cables will allow.
You can increase its reach a bit by using an extension cord, but it still won't be enough to take on a long driveway.
Besides, it is not very safe to work around electric cords in such a setting because the snow could hide or cover them.
You could easily trip or damage the wire if you accidentally run over it.
Also, there must be a power socket nearby that you can tap into.
As for battery-powered snow blowers, you need an additional rechargeable battery or two to increase your unit's uptime.
You might be better off investing in a gas machine with a higher capacity.
Ease of Use
Gas snowblowers are generally bigger than an equivalent electric machine, so it is natural for you to worry about their maneuverability.
However, most gas-powered snow blowers are self-propelling, so there is no need for you to push them against the snow manually.
Also, heavier units have the correct weight when it comes to creating solid contact with the ground.
It maximizes the grip of the wheels against the surface, guaranteeing its seamless movement.
In comparison, electric versions of snow blowers are often lighter and more compact.
However, this might actually have a negative effect because there is less contact between the machine and the ground.
What is more, you have to push most electric models physically, so it might require some elbow grease.
Type of Snow
If you have ever tried moving deep snow after rain or when the weather is slightly warmer, then you know how difficult this task is.
That is because some of the snow would melt, making the whole pile much heavier and more compact.
It is nearly impossible to move with a shovel and hard to accomplish with an electric motor snow blower.
However, gas-powered two-stage and three-stage snow blowers can make quick work of wet snow.
That is because a two-stage unit has a separate impeller that ejects snow at a greater clearing distance.
Three-stage snow blowers even come with an extra auger, making it easier to remove even a four-foot depth of snow.
That said, if you only have to deal with light snowfalls in your area, you could get away with using an electric snow blower.
Maximum Clearing Width and Height
Most electric snow blowers have a maximum clearing width of 24 inches and an intake depth of up to 13 inches.
So it might get the job done if you use it to clear a foot of snow, but anything more and it would have much difficulty.
You would have to make multiple passes to clear it completely.
That means you need to invest more energy and spend more time out in the cold, neither of which are appealing scenarios.
Even if you do manage to remove the heavy snow, in some cases, the results won't be that great.
On the other hand, a good-quality gas-powered snowblower has a clearing width that can go as high as 45 inches.
What is more, it has a maximum intake depth of 24 inches, which is twice that of an electric snowblower.
Combine this with the machine's speed and ease of use, and you can take on larger amounts of snow with confidence.
Cost of Regular Maintenance
One advantage that even an affordable corded-electric snow blower has over one with a gas engine is that it does not need oil or fuel.
You also do not have to worry about spark plugs, filters, or other components that need monitoring and replacement from time to time.
Since it does not run on gasoline, it does not create toxic fumes.
That means you do not leave anything harmful to the environment or the machine itself.
As mentioned above, having an electric cordless snow blower fixed or repaired can be expensive, so it is not worth doing sometimes.
That said, as long as you wipe it down regularly and recharge the batteries as needed, you can expect your electric unit to run smoothly.
Things are very different with gas-powered units.
Aside from paying attention to key components, you must wipe it down thoroughly and ensure it is clear of all debris.
Other Things To Consider Before Buying a Snow Blower
Whether you get a corded model, cordless model, or gas-powered unit, there is a lot more that you need to do aside from an electric vs gas snow blower comparison.
Here are some other things you should look at before buying one of these snow removal tools:
One or Two-Stage Snow Blowers
Aside from the power source, one of the most important decisions you have to make when buying a snow blower is whether to get a single-stage or two-stage model.
There are three-stage units, but they are available in gas-powered options only, and this is something that you might consider too.
A one-stage snow thrower has a paddle auger that scoops snow up through an opening at the front and then ejects it through the chute.
It does everything using one continuous motion, hence the term “one-stage.”
The two-stage model also has an auger that gathers snow in front of the machine.
However, instead of ejecting the snow through a chute, the auger feeds it to a separate impeller.
This impeller rotates at a faster speed than the auger and can blow the snow out farther than a one-stage unit.
Your choice will depend on your snow removal needs.
The snow blower’s drive system converts and adjusts the RPM of its engine and uses it to set the appropriate speed of the machine, depending on various conditions.
It comes in two major types: friction disc and hydrostatic.
Friction disc snow blowers use a rubber-edged wheel that presses against a larger pulley at different positions.
In this mechanism, the speed settings are set.
Hydrostatic transmissions convert the flow of hydraulic fluid into a mechanical rotation and have no fixed number of speed settings.
It offers a more seamless snow-clearing experience but can be more expensive.
Tracks vs Wheeled Models
Some models come with tracks, while others have wheels. There are also more expensive units that feature both.
In any case, tracks offer more traction and stability, even on loose surfaces or uneven terrain.
Wheels are simpler and can sometimes slip on sloped or icy surfaces.
As you can imagine, tracks require more parts and are more complex, so they command a higher price tag.
Your choice ultimately depends on your budget or the landscape in your area.
Warranty is technically not a feature, but you should definitely include it in your decision-making process.
It allows you to use the machine without worrying about premature failure.
While most reputable brands are durable and long-lasting, having a warranty would help you sleep more soundly at night.
A snow blower is a significant purchase, and you would not want your money to go to waste.
Additional Snowblower Features
If you have the budget for it, it might be a good idea to spend more on models with extra features.
These added functionalities can help make your life easier while you are outside battling against knee-deep snow.
- Electric Starter
Some gasoline-powered models come with an electric button that you can push to start the machine.
It eliminates the need to pull a starter cord several times, which can be tasking, especially when it is cold outside.
- Variable Engine Speeds
There are snow blowers that provide four variable speed settings in the forward direction and two in reverse.
Others are capable of six different speeds forward and two back.
Either way, these features will allow you to move more quickly with a simple adjustment and finish the task earlier.
It will come in very handy if you have a long driveway or expansive outdoor space.
- One-Hand Operation
Some models let you control both the auger and the wheels with one hand.
That leaves your other hand free to manage the direction of the chute.
This feature is very useful if you are trying to clear snow on a very long driveway or area.
It saves you a lot of time and energy from having to stop from time to time to make adjustments to your machine.
- Heated Ergonomic Handle Grips
Most reputable brands produce snow blowers that come with ergonomic handles. However, not very many of them offer heated handgrips.
Together, these features allow you to use the machine for a longer period and remain comfortable.
Aside from delaying the onset of fatigue, they help prevent chronic injuries.
If your snow blower model that you like does not have heated handgrips, you can purchase them separately.
Which Snow Blower Is Best for You?
Both electric and gas snow blowers are very effective at clearing snow and opening up your driveway.
However, they have a number of differences that you should know about before you decide which one to buy.
We have outlined the most important ones, including cost, capacity, and ease of operation.
Armed with this information, you can choose the right tool that would meet your snow removal needs.