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Snowblower vs Leaf Blower — Which is Best For Clearing Snow

Using a leaf blower to clear snow is possible, but is it always the best choice? After all, a leaf blower is designed to blow light debris, including grass cuttings, wet and dry leaves, and light garden debris. But if you get heavy snowfall, you may realize that a leaf blower — no matter how powerful — may not clear driveways from snow effectively. So, you have a dilemma — snowblower vs leaf blower — switch to using a snow blower for snow removal or stick with the leaf blower.

The advantage of a leaf blower is that it’s an all-season garden power tool. It’s useful in the fall for blowing loose leaves into large piles. Then in spring and summer, you can use the blower tool to clear dust and dirt from patios, decks, and your lawn. But what about using a leaf blower in winter to clear light snowfall?

Snowblower vs leaf Blower-Leaf blower blowing snow

Of course, a snow blower is ideal for winter. However, depending on the amount of snow you get, its use may be limited. Therefore, it would be best to have an alternative plan if your snow blower does not work.

We examine which garden power tool is best for clearing snow — a leaf blower or a snowblower. At the end of the article, you will be able to make an informed decision on which essential tools you need to maintain a yard through winter.

Leaf Blower vs Snow Blower — What’s the Difference?

The main difference between a leaf blower and a snow blower is that one is a handheld unit, and the other is a large machine, like a lawnmower. You can operate a leaf blower in one hand, whereas you must push a snow blower along the ground. 

Most leaf blowers are relatively small, light, and easy to use. You can use a handheld blower to clear garden debris from any surface. Therefore a leaf blower is useful for cleaning light snow, leaves, and small twigs from grass, gravel, flower beds, stairs, patios, sidewalks, and driveways.

On the other hand, snow blowers can only be used on flat surfaces. The machine has two wheels, an auger, and a motor to lift the snow and throw it great distances. Therefore, you can only use a snow blower to clear snow from driveways, sidewalks, and other flat, hard surfaces. 

Do you need to clear light snowfall from stairs, patios, vehicles, lawns, and entrance ways? If so, you can use a high-powered leaf blower. However, you should use a snow blower to clear heavy snowfall and wet snow from driveways, paths, and sidewalks.

Snow Blower vs Leaf Blower — Common Traits

There is little in common between leaf blowers and snow blowers. Both garden tools have different uses, even when removing snow from a yard. However, both types of machines have their own advantages and disadvantages regarding snow removal. 

For example, a handheld leaf blower uses an electric or gas motor to force air through a large tube. The air speed (MPH) and volume flow (CFM) shift garden debris. Usually, the user uses a sweeping motion to blow wet leaves into piles. A powerful blower will also deal with dry, powdery snow.

On the other hand, a snow blower has an auger, sometimes an impeller, wheels, and a displacement chute. The auger spins, lifting snow from surfaces, and throws it via the chute. The user pushes the snow blower forward, like mowing the grass.  

There is nothing in common in how the two machines clear snow. Leaf blowers use a blowing action. However, the term “snow blower” is a misnomer because it doesn’t blow snow. Instead, it physically churns snow up and throws it out the chute using the auger and impeller. Therefore, it should be termed a “snow thrower.”  

How to Use a Leaf Blower to Clear Snow From a Driveway

Do you need an actual snow blower to get rid of the white stuff Old Man Winter delivers? Not always.

It is possible to use a leaf blower on snow to clear a driveway if you must deal with dry snow. The amount of snow you can clear depends on the power of the blower, the length of the extension cord (electric models), or the size of the fuel tank (gas models). 

To clear snow from a driveway with a leaf blower, ensure the snow is light and powdery. This type of snow occurs when the temperature is below freezing and flakes are low-density. Then, point the blower’s nozzle at a 45-degree angle toward the ground and blow the powdery snow away.

Tips to remember when using a leaf blower to clear snow from a drive: 

·        Wet snow is much harder to deal with, so you are best using a snow shovel or snow blower. 

·        Do not use the handheld blower to blow snow from a driveway in the direction of the wind.

·        Avoid walking on snow before your use the leaf blower to clear it.

·        Start from your garage door and work away from your house for the best results.

Advantages of Using a Snowblower Instead of a Leaf Blower to Remove Snow

A snow blower can be more efficient than a leaf blower because it deals with most amounts of snow. If you buy a gas-powered model, you will be able to clear snow from large areas in almost no time.

What are the advantages of using a snow blower instead of a leaf blower for snow removal? Here are a few. 

Using a snowblower instead of a leaf blower to remove snow

A snowblower deals with several layers of snow. First, snow blowers are designed to clear large amounts of snow, whether the snow is light, fluffy, or wet and compacted. 

It’s easier to clear snow with a snowblower. Snow blowers are specifically designed for use in freezing winter weather. Therefore, many models have heated grips, LED lights, and wheels with extra traction to grip surfaces in icy conditions.

Snow blowers clear snow faster and easier. Another advantage of snow blowers over leaf blowers is the volume of snow they can shift. In addition, snow blowers often have power steering, adjustable chutes, and electric starts.

Additionally, they can clear several inches of snow in one pass. Here is a rough guide: 

·     Snow blowers with gas engines: 18 to 36 inches per pass.

·     Electric corded snow blowers: 15 to 22 inches per pass. 

·     Snow shovels: 10 to 12 inches per pass.

·     Electric leaf blowers: Less than one inch of light, fluffy snow per pass.

Advantages of Using a Leaf Blowers Instead of a Snowblower for Snow Removal

Even though leaf blowers are not designed specifically for snow removal, their blowing function can help eliminate some types of snow. In fact, there are times when using a leaf blower for snow is better than a snow blower. 

Here are a few advantages of blowing snow using leaf-blowing equipment:

Leaf blowers are easier to operate. A handheld blower is lighter, smaller, and easier to use than a large, bulky, noisy snow blower. 

Clear snow from several types of surfaces. A leaf blower is more versatile if there is only dry snow on the ground. For example, blowing dry snow from stairs, decking areas, patios, grass, and gravel pathways is easy. However, a snowblower cannot deal with snow removal in compact spaces.

Easy to store. Without a doubt, a battery or corded leaf blower takes up less room than a bulky snow-blowing machine. 

Better for small yards. Even the cheapest single-stage snow blowers are more expensive than the best cordless leaf blowers. Therefore, if you have a small yard, a leaf blower and a shovel may be the most effective way to keep your yard free from snow. 

It’s good to remember that its effectiveness for clearing snow depends on the leaf blower ratings. 

The Disadvantages of Using a Leaf Blower or a Snowblower

As with all electric power tools, leaf blowers and snowblowers have their disadvantages. Sometimes, it makes sense to use a leaf blower to remove snow. However, a snowblower will tackle tough jobs in the yards that even the most powerful leaf blower cannot handle.  

Here are some reasons and circumstances when these tools are not useful for ridding your yard of snow. 

Disadvantages of a leaf blower for removing snow

·        Operating temperature: Leaf blowers are not designed for use in freezing temperatures. Therefore, they may struggle to start, and a gas leaf blower may not start at all.

·        Snow volume: Even an efficient leaf blower will not shift wet snow, chunks of snow, or clear melting snow. In addition, the blower will never clear several inches of snow that isn’t finely crystallized. 

·   Safety: Most homeowners have an electrical leaf blower that is corded or battery-powered. This can increase the risk of electrical shock when using the blower in wet conditions. 

One thing to remember about using a leaf blower is that a handheld model will struggle to clear several inches of snow. And manufacturers do not recommend using blowers for an extended period of time.

Disadvantages of a snow blower for removing snow

·        Size: Snow blowers take up a lot of room. Therefore, storage space is a major consideration when choosing equipment for removing snow. 

·        Cost: A snow blower may not be a cost-effective solution unless you have a medium to large yard with a large driveway to clear. 

·        Maneuverability: It is difficult to use a snow blower to remove snow from tight spaces.

It is also good to remember that snow blowers are not great at clearing snow from grassy areas. The best kind for this job is a two-stage snow blower. However, these machines are expensive, and their noise level may not be suitable for residential areas. 

How Much Snow Can a Leaf Blower Clear Safely?

All kinds of leaf blowers — gas, cordless, and electric — can only shift light layers of snow. However, depending on the power and type of your machine, you should be able to blow away snow up to one inch deep easily. Also, remember that you cannot use the blower to clear wet snow, no matter how shallow the snowfall is.

When Do I Need to Purchase a Snow Blower?

The best time to buy a snow blower is before you need to use it. Experts advise you to start shopping for a snowblower in August, September, and early October. This is when you can find the best deals. 

However, how do you know if you need to purchase a snow blower? Here are a few tips:

·        Your area regularly gets several inches of snowfall every winter. 

·        Depends on how much snow you have from a large driveway, pathway, or sidewalk.

·        You have mobility issues that limit the amount of physical activity you can do, like clearing snow by hand.

·        Do You have enough room in your garage to store the snowblower. 

Can I Use a Leaf Blower as a Snow Blower?

A leaf blower can be used as a snow blower only if there is dry snow on the ground. In that case, you can use the blower as you would to clear wet or dry leaves in the fall. In addition, you can also use the leaf blower to blow snow from vehicles, stairs, patios, and uneven surfaces. 

However, it’s good to remember that a corded leaf blower is only suitable for use as a snow blower in dry conditions. You should never use corded garden tools in wet conditions. 

Snowblower vs Leaf Blower — In Conclusion

In conclusion, snowblowers and leaf blowers have pros and cons regarding snow removal from residential yards. You can use a leaf blower on snow in dry conditions when the snow is light, fluffy, and dry. However, a one- or two-stage snow blower is the best choice when clearing any type of snow from large areas. It will also deal with several inches of snow at once.