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Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower-How do They Compare

Modern snow removal machines can clear away snow quickly from sidewalks and driveways. These are real time-savers, and they prevent aches and strains caused by shoveling heavy snow. But there are two terms in regular use that can confuse new and even experienced users: snow blower and snow thrower. When it comes to making a choice, it’s important to understand the snow blower vs snow thrower differences. This will be the focus of our article. We will identify and explore key differences to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

What Is a Snow Blower?

Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower

Snow blowers have two stages, there is a rotating auger to scoop up the snow, and an impeller that blows the snow up to 35 feet away. Some units are even more powerful 3-stage models that have an onboard accelerator to deal with ice and hard snow. A snow blower can be a good option if you need to deal with difficult snow that needs to be moved away from your property. The 2-stage models are more powerful than single-stage snow removal machines. But this makes them more expensive, and they require more maintenance.

When you’re considering a snow thrower vs blower, there are three main characteristics to bear in mind:

1.    The Pass Width of the Snow Blower

A snow blower is more powerful, and this is directed with a wider width for snow removal. The exact width will be determined by the make and model that you choose to purchase. But many 2-stage models can move 26” of snow on average, which is efficient. A 3-stage model may be even more impressive, and a pass width of around 30” is possible.

Interesting Reading: How To Choose Between 2 Stage vs. 3 Stage Snow Blower

2.    Enhanced Power of the Blower

A snow blower machine has a great deal of power that’s hard to match, and even the smaller models can throw snow up to 30 feet. The more powerful machines can blow snow up to 50 feet away, and they can handle ice and packed snow. This makes snow blowers a good choice for people that need to deal with intense snow and ice.

3.    The Snow Blowers Fuel Source

Snow blowers are powerful because they have the 2-stage or 3-stage design, and they are powered by fuel. When gasoline or diesel is utilized as a fuel source, it makes any portable device more powerful. This makes snow clearance easier because multiple passes are not required in many cases. The only real drawback is that fuel is required to keep the snow blower running.

What Is a Snow Thrower?

Snow throwers are single-stage machines that gather the snow and toss it aside with a centrally located chute. The usual power source is a spinning auger in a horizontal orientation that picks up the snow and expels it 15-20 feet away. A snow thrower is an ideal choice for people that need to remove light snow. These are lightweight and affordable machines that can remove light snow accumulation. They are not a good choice for removing heavy packed snow and ice.

When you’re considering a snow blower vs snow thrower, the same three main characteristics to bear in mind are:

1.    The Pass Width of the Snow Thrower

A snow thrower has light power, and this is reflected in a narrower pass width. These single stage models typically have a pass width in the 11-22” range, depending on the specific make and model. This makes multiple passes more likely, and it can take longer to remove the snow.

2.    Light Power

A snow thrower uses a single motion to collect the snow and throw it aside. They are not as powerful as snow blower models, but a powerful snow thrower can move the snow up to 25 feet away. But this is still a shorter distance than an average snow blower which can move the snow 10 feet further.

3.    The Fuel Source of the Snow Thrower

Snow throwers can be gas powered, but there are corded or battery-powered models that use electrical power. These fuel sources make the machines lighter and easy to maneuver under difficult conditions. Corded options will limit this maneuverability because proximity to a power outlet is required, and the cord can be tangled. A battery-powered snow thrower is easy to maintain, there are no filters to change, and no oil is added to the machine. In most cases, a wipe down after use and battery changes are all that is needed to keep the battery-operated snow thrower running well.

Key FeaturesSnow Blower vs Snow Thrower

 Snow BlowerSnow Thrower
Pass WidthUp to 30”11” to 22”
Power (snow distance)Up to 50 feetUp to 25 feet
Fuel SourceGas or dieselGas, electric or battery

Things to Consider Before Making a Purchase

When you’re considering a snow thrower vs blower, there are three questions that you should answer before you make a final decision:

1.    What is Your Snow Type?

What is a Snow Thrower

Snow throwers and blowers have differing power outputs that will determine the type of snow that they can move. If you tend to have light coverings of snow accumulating on the driveway, you can go with the snow thrower. If the snowfall is more frequent or heavier and you tend to get a lot of ice, a snow blower is the better option.

2.    How Frequently is the Snow Mover Used?

The frequency of use can be a determining factor when you’re choosing a snow moving machine. There are areas that only receive snow a few times and other places where snow and ice persist throughout the winter months. A snow blower machine will be more durable, and it will stand up to more frequent use in challenging conditions.

3.    What is the Size of the Area?

The area that you need to cover is an important factor that many people overlook. Snow blowers and throwers have different passing widths, and if the area is smaller, a snow thrower may suffice. If you need to cover a larger area with minimal passes, a snow blower may be the smarter choice. A snow blower costs more, but the area can be covered in less time, and this can make the investment worthwhile.

Pros and Cons: Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower

 Snow BlowersSnow Throwers
ProsSnow blowers are maneuverable because there is no power cord.The passing width is wider than snow throwers.These snow movers can handle ice and hard-packed snow.  A snow thrower is a good choice for light and less frequent snowfall.These machines are light and easy to maintain.The maneuverability is improved if the snow blower is a gas or battery-operated model Snow throwers are very affordable.  
ConsSnow blowers are overkill if you need to move light snow.Fuel must be purchased and stored to use these machines.A snow blower can be expensive.  The narrow pass width may make multiple passes necessary.A snow thrower cannot handle ice and/or hard-packed snow.  

When Should You Use a Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower?

Snow blowers are powerful, and they can move a lot of snow in a short period of time with minimal passes. If you need to move ice and/or hard-packed snow, a snow blower is a logical choice. But people that only get a light and infrequent dusting of snow with a depth of less than 9” can use a snow thrower. These machines lack the power of a snow blower, but they are more affordable, and the maintenance requirements are low.

ConclusionSnow Blower vs Snow Thrower

As you can see, the snow blower vs snow thrower choice is easier because these machines are designed for different snow moving tasks. A single-stage snow thrower is ideal for light snow removal, and a 2-stage or 3-stage snow blower is the best choice for heavy snow and ice. Purchasing the right machine will save time, and this may make a significant investment a smarter choice.