Electric Snow Blowers vs. Gas Snow Blowers
Differences Between Gas & Electric Snow Blowers
Electric snow blowers and gas snow blowers both have their strengths and weaknesses. Both are capable of moving a great deal of snow, but knowing how they differ can help you determine which style is right for your snow removal needs.
Choosing a snow blower based on the size of your driveway, sidewalks, or other surfaces that need clearing is a great first step to finding the right snow blower for the job. However, there are many other important considerations to mull over, too.
Most Important Deciding Factors - At a GlanceThese are the most important considerations when deciding if gas or electric power will suit your needs better.
- Price Point
- Square Footage of Clearing Area
- Maneuverability & Age
- Wet/Heavy Snow
- Clearing Width & Intake Height
- Upkeep Ability & Cost
- Accessories & Features
Let's face it; at the end of the day, price matters with anything you purchase, and the same is true with snow blowers. To a certain degree, you'll get what you pay for in terms of overall quality and value. After that point, you start paying for the brand name, quality of parts, accessories, features, or specific augmentations like self-propelling motors or track-drive grip. All of those things are worth paying for, but you'll mostly only get them with gas-powered units, and not as much with electric models.
Snow Blower Cost
However, when you move into two or three-stage professional equipment, you'll see electric snow blower prices cap out around $2,000 for top-of-the-line units, and in the gas category, the prices range as high as $4,000 for a top-tier professional gas unit.
Gas-powered snow blowers have a much wider price range as the result of the many different styles, sizes, and feature options you find only in gas-powered models. Some can be as small as an electric model, or very large, heavy machines. Generally, you have many more options to customize the type of blower you want.
Bigger isn't always better though, and cheaper isn't always easier. Take price into account as the deciding factor at the end, once you've decided about your other non-negotiable features/needs.
Square Footage of Clearing Area
If your driveway is over 50 feet long, you'll likely have trouble clearing it with an electric model. Using an electric snow blower in excess of 50 feet from the power source will require a 12-gauge extension cord to avoid electrical hazards. However, if you properly size and gauge your extension cord, overheating shouldn't be a real concern.
More recently, battery-powered technology has been improving, leading to longer use times and heavier applications. However, even with fewer limitations each new season, gas snow blowers have unique benefits that can't be matched by any electric or cordless snow blowers.
Gas snow blowers are ideal for longer driveways and bigger jobs. They're limited only by the size of their gas tank. If you're clearing a long driveway, clearing sidewalks, or working anywhere that doesn't have access to an available electric outlet, then a gas snow blower is a great choice.
Ease of Maneuverability & Age
A common misconception about snow blowers is that the smaller models are easier to move around. Though single-stage and electric snow blowers are small and lightweight, they're not always easier to maneuver because some models are too light to grip the pavement the way they should.
The heavier weights of two-stage and three-stage snow blowers actually work in their favor by always having solid contact with the ground and grip on the wheels. These snow blowers are typically self-propelled, and many can even be found with power steering. These snowblower features mean you can easily move and steer your snowblower by simply operating some levers. So don't let the snow blower's weight scare you off before reading about their maneuverability features.
Track-drive 2-stage and 3-stage snow blowers will have the most traction because they move like a tank but usually will come at the cost of having less maneuverability than wheeled models. However, some track-drive snowblowers allow you to switch from tracks to wheels, making them more versatile and safer than wheeled models.
Snow Blowers for Senior Citizens
Are you concerned about an older, independent loved one shoveling snow or using a snowblower on their own? There are special concerns for senior citizens moving snow in the winter on their own, for health and safety reasons. Because of this, features like self-propelled snow blowers with turn-assist, or electric button push-to-start can be exactly what they need. On the other hand, choosing the best snow removal tools for seniors can be as simple as choosing a lightweight electric unit that can be easily maneuvered. That's why we compiled a list of options we think would serve older people the best.
Moving Wet & Heavy Snow
Ever try moving snow in slightly warmer weather or after freezing rain? It's miserable, not to mention dangerously heavy to move with a shovel. Moving heavy loads requires more power, and that's something you find in gas models.
Gas-powered snow blowers pack some serious power for moving some serious snow. City plow piles at the ends of driveways are going to be too much for an electric model, but a cakewalk for a three-stage snowblower.
Two-stage snow blowers have an impeller that helps eject the snow faster, but three-stage snow blowers have that and an extra auger that's specially designed to speed the flow of snow even faster, making it possible to cut through a 4-foot mountain of snow like a hot knife through butter.
Clearing Width & Intake Height
Electric snow blowers have a maximum clearing width of 24 inches, with a maximum intake height of 13 inches. If you're trying to clear more than a foot of snow, it's going to be difficult to do, and the results won't be great.
Gas-powered snow blowers have a maximum clearing width of 45 inches, with a maximum intake of 24", so they're able to clear an area nearly twice as fast as the widest electric model, and can handle snow up to 45 inches deep, including the iced-over snowbanks at the end of the driveway.
You might be thinking "When will I ever need to clear over a foot of snow?" and the simple answer is, you won't until the day you do, then you'll wish you had the clearing height you need to make take on a major snowstorm with ease. Snow can pile up quickly, and if you're using an electric snowblower, you'll need to keep up with the snowfall in order to not overwhelm your unit. With a gas snowblower, you can wait a few days until all the snow has fallen, clear your driveway once, and be done with it in half the time.
Ease of Upkeep & Costs
While gas models have many perks, electric units have some of their own. Electric snow blowers don't need oil changes, they don't need new spark plugs, and they don't require gasoline. The only real maintenance they require is wiping down any part that gets especially dirty or salty and recharging the batteries for dc models. However, with all types of snowblowers, you may also need to occasionally replace the paddles, skid shoes, and scraper bar.
Gas snowblower maintenance requires oil changes, fresh, stabilized gasoline, occasional spark plug replacement, filter changes or cleaning, and a thorough wipe down to keep salt and other debris cleaned off to prevent rust and maintain performance.
Accessories & Features
Options are fantastic, and gas-powered models offer many conveniences to make blowing snow easier and even fun.
Everything from a button to push-to-start, self-propelled motors, hand warmers, turn-assist, headlights, the list goes on. Snowblower features are numerous and very helpful.
What's important to realize is that with gas-powered units you have many more options to choose from, so it's worth reading more about the available features to help you choose the snow blower you truly want and not just the one you think you need.
Accessories are equally important with snow blowers, as they help make your experience better and more convenient because they have the customer in mind. Everything from snow cabs, cover, mats, cords, and more, learning about snowblower accessories might help you make a decision, too.
The Best Snow Blowers of All Types
At the end of the day, choosing the right snow blower takes work, but you'll be happy you spent the time researching to find the best one for your needs. If you're looking for additional support and recommendations, check out our recommendations for each type of snow blower by clicking on the link below. And as always, if you're still unsure, give us a call. We're here to help.