When it comes to clearing your yards and pathways of snow, there can be a bit of confusion regarding which tool to get. The three main snow-eliminating tools to choose from are snow blowers, snow throwers, and snow shovels. Any confusion regarding the differences between these three tools is understandable since homeowners will only need to invest in one of these tools rather than owning two or three.
What is a snow blower?
Most people have difficulty distinguishing between snow blowers and snow throwers. Although many people tend to use the two interchangeably (something we may be guilty of), there are some rather significant differences that we should be aware of.
First of all, a snow blower is a two-stage machine: the machine chomps down on packs of snow with an auger which then throws the intake of snow out through a chute using an impeller. Because of this two-stage process, you can expect a snow blower to move tremendous amounts of snow far away from its place of origin – more than 20 feet away.
Do I need a snow blower?
If you live in an area where snow is measured in feet and not inches, then you will need a heavy-duty snow blower. These two-stage machines are gas-powered and provide more than enough strength to chomp on snow banks as tall as 16 inches. With a snow blower, the only thing you need to worry about is whether your neighbor would mind you moving all of your snow onto his or her yard.
What is a snow thrower?
Snow throwers are the little brother version of snow blowers. In a nutshell, a snow thrower uses an auger to swallow up snow and toss it through the top-facing chute. It does not come with an impeller fan so that the maximum throwing distance can be somewhat limited (around 10 feet or so).
Do I need a snow thrower?
A single-stage (auger-only) snow thrower is best used for picking up and tossing snow of up to a maximum of 8 inches. Basically, a snow thrower comes with a weaker engine to power a smaller auger. Furthermore, snow throwers are designed to work on smooth terrain only, so if you run a snow thrower over a grassy yard, don’t be surprised when the machine picks up and tosses dirt and grass. Snow thrower models can either be gas-powered or corded-electric.
What is an electric snow shovel?
Electric snow shovels are perhaps the most commonly used type of snow-scooping machine by homeowners. They’re compact, lightweight, powered by either a battery or from an electrical outlet, and can clear long paths in no time at all. As you can imagine, an electric snow shovel is practically a traditional shovel but with a motor and auger. Instead of lifting to toss snow away, this tool’s auger pulls snow in and throws it out of sight.
Imagine cutting a snow thrower in half lengthwise and eliminating the wheel. This tool moves around as you drag it along the ground, so there is a bit more manual labor involved in operating an electric snow shovel. However, you’re not going to break a sweat by pushing and pulling this tool since 1) you’re working in the middle of winter, and 2) the tool weighs close to nothing.
Do I need an electric snow shovel?
Those who prefer electric snow shovels over snow blowers and throwers are people who need to clear narrow paved walkways and patios. The weightlessness of the tool really does give it an edge in wiping snow off of your porches and patios. Like a snow thrower, an electric snow shovel is designed to clear smaller mounds of snow at a time (up to 8 inches). Anything taller may cause the unit to choke and sputter.
The great thing about electric snow shovels is that there are cordless models. While you’re slipping and sliding on icy pathways covered in snow, you don’t need to worry about tripping over electrical cords in the process. Some models’ batteries even supply enough power to run the tool for more than 50 minutes per charge.
In conclusion, a snow blower is a two-stage machine: an auger pulls in the snow and pushes it through an impeller fan which blows it out onto your neighbor’s yard. A snow thrower is a single-stage machine that uses a quick-spinning auger to take in snow and throw it away through its top-facing chute.
An electric snow shovel is operationally and functionally similar to a snow thrower, but it has a narrower clearing path. People living in areas with heavy snowfall (more than 12 inches of snow) will need to invest in a two-stage snow blower. Snow throwers and electric snow shovels are best-suited for areas with shallower snowfall – less than a foot in height.