Gas vs. Electric Snowblowers – Which is right for me?

Your property is full of snow, and you have the job of clearing it. When it comes to snowblowers, there are many to choose from, and they can be split into two categories, gasoline-powered snowblowers and electric snowblowers. But which one is right for you?

There are major differences between the two, and you have consider many factors before making your final choice. Keep reading, and you’ll have your answer.

When thinking about what type of snowblower to purchase, there are significant factors as well as job-specific factors you should consider. Later we will delve into more job-specific factors to think about that personally relate to your specific job, but first let’s make a direct comparison between gasoline-powered snowblowers and electric snowblowers using these five major factors:

 reliability, maneuverability, maintainance, storage, and cost.

Overview Of Gasoline-powered Snowblowers

Gasoline-powered snowblowers have been around for a while, and when most people think about snowblowers, they have the gas-powered type in their mind. You could compare a gas-powered snowblower to a gas-powered lawnmower, in which it has many moving parts including a motor, you have to fill it with gas and oil, you have to keep it maintained or else it won’t work, and you might think of a gas-powered snowblower as a large, loud machine.

Although the gas-powered snowblower might have been the first thought on your mind, let’s take a look at the five factors mentioned above as they relate to the gasoline-powered snowblower.

Reliability of Gas Powered Snowblowers

These snowblowers have many moving parts, all of which could fail in an instance. They require gasoline and oil, and extra maintenance is required with these machines. If you know how to keep them maintained and are good with fixing issues that will arise from time to time, they can be reasonably reliable. However, if you don’t like the idea of having to maintain your snow blower and check on it before and after every use, then this snowblower might not be for you.

Maneuverability of Gas Powered Snowblowers

Gas-powered snow blowers are commonly 150 or more pounds, many times much larger, and this massiveness is what makes these more difficult to move. When you need to get around obstacles and maybe even up and down stairs, the gas-powered snowblower will have a tough time unless you have extra hands to help you with the job.

Maintenance of Gas Powered Snowblowers

These snowblowers require mixing and adding gasoline, changing the oil, cleaning the carburetor, and in some cases fixing the starter engine. If you’re not great with fixing machines like lawnmowers or cars, a gas-powered snowblower shouldn’t be your first choice. These machines require a lot of maintenance, which causes you to spend extra time, money, and effort to keep them running for a long time.

Storage of Gas Powered Snowblowers

Because of the usual massiveness of these machines, you will need a large area of a garage or shed to store these snowblowers. It’s also important to mention that because of the fumes from the gas and oil, you should never store a gas-powered snowblower inside your home.

Cost of Gas Powered Snowblowers

The starting price of a gasoline-powered snowblower is around $500. From this price point, they can get quite expensive quickly with the addition of just a few add-ons, and that’s not even considering the required maintenance, fixes, and additional costs of gasoline and oil you have to continue to purchase. Gas-powered snow blowers are expensive, and the ongoing cost makes them the most pricey choice.

Overview Of Electric Snowblowers

When electric snowblowers were first introduced to the marketplace, they were a much weaker style of snowblowers that just couldn’t do the bigger jobs that gas-powered snowblowers could do. However, as technology became greater and manufacturers spent more time with the development of electric-powered snow blowers, many of these machines can do just as good of a job as their gas-powered predecessor.

Like before, let’s take a look at the five major factors to consider with snowblowers as they relate directly to electric snowblowers.

Reliability of Electric Snowblowers

​With less moving parts, no gasoline, and no maintenance required, electric snowblowers are the most reliable snow blowers on the market today. It is literally plug-and-play. And when you go from an electric snowblower that requires a cord to be plugged into a battery-powered cordless snowblower, all it takes is snapping in a powerful battery to your unit, and then pushing a button to start clearing the snow. The advancements in technology have truly allowed snowblowers to become “push-button simple.”

Maneuverability of Electric Snowblowers

Compared to 150 or more pounds, you can find electric snowblowers as little as 35 pounds, making these extremely easy to move, lift, get up and down stairs, through tight spaces, and around obstacles with ease. And a lot of the time, you don’t need any extra hands besides your own to do it.

Maintenance of Electric Snowblowers

No maintenance is required besides charging the battery. If you have a pure electric snowblower, all you have to do is plug in a long extension cord to get started. However, it’s highly likely you don’t want to have to pull around a cord dragging behind you, which is why we love battery powered cordless snow blowers so much. Maintain the battery by putting it in the charger until it tells you it’s charged. Then snap the charged battery into your snowblower, push a button, and clear that snow.

Storage of Electric Snowblowers

With no gasoline fumes and a smaller unit, it is completely safe to store your electric snow blower in a closet in your home. For larger electric snowblowers, it’s just fine storing this in your attached garage without worrying about any fumes getting inside your home. Many electric snowblowers also come with folding handles and other features that make storing away your snowblower simple.

Cost of Electric Snowblowers

The best part? These electric cordless snowblowers start as low as $200! And your maintenance costs? Zero. With lower upfront costs and absolutely no maintenance costs to keep your snowblower running, the electric cordless snowblower should be your obvious choice.

Job-Specific Factors To Consider When Choosing Gas or Electric Snowblower

Now that you’ve learned about the technological advancements of electric battery-powered cordless snowblowers and the major benefits of making the choice to use this type of blower, let’s dive right into the job-specific factors to consider. These factors will help you determine the size of your cordless snow blower.

Urban or Rural? - Living in a more rural area with a larger area to work with could allow you to go with a larger sized electric snow blower, while living in a more urban environment might make more sense to go with a smaller light-weight snowblower. There are different sized electric snowblowers for different sized jobs.

Cover Area / Driveway Length - How many square feet of snow are you planning to clear? How long is your driveway? These are all essential factors to consider when choosing a size for your snowblower. Getting a snowblower with a wider clearing coverage per pass could be more useful for larger areas.

Run Time - Each cordless snowblower’s battery has its limits, and in some cases, it can be as little as 20 minutes. If it takes you an hour to clear the snow, you might consider purchasing a snowblower with a more powerful battery or purchase additional batteries to keep charged and ready to go so you can always continue the job when one battery runs out.

Amount Of Snow You Get - How deep does the snow go? How many inches of snow do you commonly get? If you’re getting 20 inches of snow and your snowblower can only reach 10 inches deep, you’ll need to make two passes in order to complete the job fully. Take this into consideration when figuring out how long the job will take.

Climate Zone (Where You Live) - Some climates receive very powdery snow while others get much harder ice-like snow. The smallest and cheapest snowblower might not be able to handle an icy cleanup, so consider going with a larger cordless snowblower if this is the case.

Ground Protection Needed - Do you want to slice through icy snow with no care for the ground beneath it? Or do you need to protect the ground because of a paved walkway or wood deck beneath? Some snow blowers use steel blades and propellers to literally slice through the snow, but if you need to protect the surface beneath the snow, you might consider going for a snowblower with hard plastic blades instead.

The Best Choices Of Snowblowers

As you have found out, a lot of factors come into play when choosing the best choice of snow blower. Luckily, battery-powered cordless snowblowers have advanced enough to be able to handle just about any snow clearing job. Here are your three best options of electric cordless snowblowers, and what sorts of jobs they can handle.

Best for Small Jobs 

For smaller jobs or snow clearing jobs where you need to protect the surface beneath the snow like a wood deck, brick patio, or expensive paved walkway, this cordless snow blower is the perfect choice. They technically call this a “snow shovel,” but don’t be fooled - this “shovel” is a 24-volt battery-powered machine that safely breaks up and throws snow up to 20 feet ahead of you.

This snow blower weighs less than 10 pounds and will clear snow up to 11-inches wide and 7-inches deep per pass. For over 7-inches of snow cover, this will require multiple passes, but the maneuverability and ultra-lightweight makes this snowblower the easiest to handle and can be lifted upstairs and moved around obstacles with ease. The best part about this snowblower is that it can be stored easily anywhere, including a corner of an in-home closet.

The Snow Joe SS11-XR has a 27-minute battery runtime which is usually more than enough time for a small area like a patio or deck. However, if you need more runtime than that, you can always purchase additional batteries to continue clearing snow for as long as you need.

Best for Medium Jobs 

The best part about the Greenworks PRO cordless snowblower is that it can handle small jobs AND big jobs. This snow blower comes with an 80-volt battery for a more powerful machine, and you can get up to 45 minutes of run-time per battery. As stated before, you can always purchase additional batteries to keep the job moving until the very end. This snow blower comes with a rapid charger to keep your batteries charging fast. The Greenworks PRO can clear snow up to 20-inches wide and 10-inches deep on each pass which makes this the perfect snowblower for any sized job. Like the Snow Joe, this snowblower is also safe for decks because of the hard plastic blades that won’t damage the surface beneath the snow.

What makes this machine different than the previous snow shovel is that this is technically a “snow thrower,” in which you can rotate the output shaft 180 degrees to blow the snow 20 feet in any direction, making it very useful for larger jobs where you want the snow to be blown in a specific direction or area. Working with no sunlight? It’s no problem with the Greenworks PRO snowblower because of the dual LED lights allowing you to clear snow before the sun rises and into the night.

With a more substantial unit like this, the storage factor gets thought of a lot. It’s still no problem here because this snowblower comes with folding handles making it easy to store in the garage, shed, and in some cases a medium-sized closet. Whether your job is big or small, this is a machine you can rely on.

Best for Large Jobs 

For many jobs, this will be overkill. But if you took a look at the previous two options and still think you need a snowblower that will pack a bigger punch, you should highly consider a snowblower like the Snow Joe ION8024-XR. This snowblower is not safe for decks or for surfaces you don’t want to scratch, but on the other hand is highly recommended for extremely hard and icy snow, because this snowblower is equipped with serrated steel blades for slicing through the toughest snow with an output chute that throws the snow up to a massive 32 feet away in any direction.

This Snow Joe clears snow up to 24 inches wide and 13 inches deep, making this able to clear large surface areas and deep snow cover fast. This snowblower also comes with a digital control panel and two extra bright LED lights that allow you to clear snow at all times of the day and night. Whereas the previous two snow blowers use a single-battery for running, this snowblower uses dual battery power that allows up to 50 minutes of runtime! And as always, if you need more time for extra-large jobs, simply purchase additional batteries and can keep clearing snow as long as you need.

This cordless snowblower won’t fit in your normal-sized closet but can be safely stored in a garage or shed, and won’t take up as much room as you might think.

Summary

With how far the technology of the snow blower has advanced, it makes perfect sense to choose a battery-powered cordless snowblower for any sized snow clearing job. Take all of the factors mentioned into consideration before you purchase your snowblower, and feel confident that you will be able to tackle anything nature throws your way.

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