Although humans have been removing snow from unwanted areas since the dawn of time, the modern snow blower wasn’t invented until the late 1920s. But which one is better in the competition of electric vs. gas snow blowers? This first design, created by engineer Arthur Sicard, was driven around and could eliminate ice and snow by forcing it out of the way. The blower itself was rudimentary and basic, and required a vehicle to function.
Contemporary snow blowers provide the user with many more options when it comes to durability and function. You can now choose between one, two, and three stage models and get to decide which fuel type you prefer: electric or gas.
This quick guide will walk you through the ins and outs of both electric and gas snow blowers so you can see the pros, cons, and practicality of each model.
How a Snow Blower Works
Electric and gas are the two types of fuels most commonly used to power these powerful devices, and that is the main difference between the two machines. Both still follow the same basic system to effectively move snow and ice out of the way.
Snow blowers consist of augers, a chute, a track drive, and a wheel drive. The auger paddles are the large pieces towards the front that pull offending ice and snow into the primary chute, which launches it away from the machine. A two or three-stage snow blower will have more than one auger to accelerate the process and throw snow further to handle large quantities. These more complex builds also have an item called an impeller that facilitates the entire process.
The auger and the impeller do the brunt of the work. Besides these pieces, the majority of the labor will be done by you as you push the machine to eliminate ice and snow in your area. Some snow blowers will have wheels while others will rely on rubber tracks to move the machine around. Both have their pros and cons, so check to see which steering system you are more comfortable with before purchase. Both gas and electric can have either type of mechanism.
Electric vs. Gas Start
In terms of function, having an electric or gas machine matters when it comes to starting the snow blower. Many people enjoy using electric models because there is often a push-button start which allows for quick access and the ability to plow with ease.
When you use a gas model, you will often need to use a recoil start.
The Electric Snow Blower
Electric snow blowers are a recent invention and change the entire game. These devices tend to be lightweight and easier to maneuver than their powerful gas cousins. In general, an electric machine will have a narrower path and a weaker engine designed for light to medium use. These are recommended for individuals who live in regions with a moderate climate and snowfall.
The electric model possesses numerous advantages despite its perceived weakness. These machines are smaller, lighter, and more compact than a traditional gas snow blower, which means they are great for small driveways, tight spots, and someone who doesn’t want to handle the responsibility of a larger blower.
Another benefit is the low maintenance of the machine. When someone uses a gas model, it comes with the regular difficulty of needing to maintain a combustion engine, drain out the gasoline at the end of the season, and also mix the proper amount of oil to keep the snow blower functional. For someone without much experience, this can become a major issue fast.
Finally, there is flexibility and a lower cost. While corded electric snow blowers can be a pain, choosing to buy one of those models will ensure you spend the least money and not have to worry about regularly refueling your machine. Even the standard battery-powered electric model is cheaper than a gas blower.
In short, the pros are:
- Easy to Use
- Low maintenance
Because they use electricity, these snow blowers will be naturally smaller and weaker than their gas counterparts. Many of them also have a short battery life, requiring frequent charging if they do not need to be plugged in at all times.
- Short battery life/Need to be plugged in
The Gas Snow Blower
This is the most traditional snow blower and also the one used the most for heavy-duty work. A gas-powered snow blower requires gasoline as its primary fuel source and is available as a one, two, or three-stage machine with extra augers, an impeller, and increased power. When in doubt, this is the machine you want to have your back during the toughest winters.
The primary benefit of using a gas-powered snow blower is the extra power and flexibility. There is a gas-powered model capable of wreaking havoc on any amount of ice and snow in your driveway or on your sidewalk.
Because these devices are the standard, they come in many shapes and sizes and often have large intake areas and massive chutes to throw snow up to 50 ft. This snow blower will do more work in less time, ensuring you don’t have to spend all day out in the cold.
Finally, you do not need to be near an electrical outlet to keep a gas-powered blower running. Instead, you just need to have the right mixture of gasoline and oil to ensure the engine remains properly lubricated and powered. If you live in a region prone to winter blackouts, you’re going to want to have one of these by your side.
The pros of this type of snow blower are:
- Wide intake area
- Can have more augers
- Portable fuel source
Just like the electric snow blower, gas machines have their own set of negative features. In general, a gas snow blower can be unwieldy, difficult to maintain, and expensive. Three-stage models, in particular, will require professional maintenance and can cost an arm and a leg because of the complexity of the equipment.
- Difficult to maintain
So, how do these two machines compare to one another? In many ways, they are two sides of the same coin. While the electric model combines low costs with greater flexibility, it sacrifices on power. A gas option, on the other hand, is extremely powerful but will be expensive and require more maintenance on a regular basis.
We created the following chart so you can see just how these models stack up when compared to one another.
|Power||Low to Moderate||Moderate to High|
|Mobility||High||Low to Moderate|
Ultimately, the pros of one machine are the cons of the other. If you live in a temperate zone, then you can most likely get away with either one of these snow blowers. However, if you live somewhere extremely cold and known for its ice and snowfall, then go gas.
The snow blower is one of the most important tools an individual can have when they live in a cold environment or a location with harsh winters. It is responsible for eliminating snow and ice and can mean the difference between getting to work safely and being stranded at home.
When it comes to electric vs. gas snow blowers, it is easy to see how these different blowers have opposing strengths and weaknesses. While electric is compact, light, and inexpensive, it is also weak. A gas blower, on the other hand, is heavy and powerful. But, it is difficult to maintain and will be expensive to purchase.
Ultimately, the blower you prefer will depend on your home environment and how much you are willing to invest in the equipment.