It’s time to upgrade your snow blower, but what should you get: gas or electric? This is the common debate when buying new outdoor power equipment (OPE) today. Electric, specifically battery-powered, OPE technology has evolved to give us more power than we ever thought possible. But does it beat gas-powered snow blowers? Today we’re doing electric vs gas snow blowers. We’re sharing the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you decide which type of snow blower is best for you.
- History of Snow Blowers
- Pros & Cons of Gas
- Pros & Cons of Electric
- Electric VS Gas
- TIA’s Top Snow Blowers
Brief History of Snow Blowers
Snow blowers and overall snow removal machines have been around for a while, but the “Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower” invented by Arthur Sicard in 1925 was a breakthrough for modern snow blowers. It was a lot bigger than the average snow blowers of today. It was pretty much a glorified four-wheel drive truck with a snow scooper and two chutes, and it reportedly could throw snow up to 90 ft. But it was a beast. It wasn’t practical for clearing the suburban driveways of today.
In 1935 Henry Ariens, founder of The Ariens Company, managed to shrink down Sicard’s snow blower when he invented the first push snow blower. However, it would be about 20 years before Ariens would put a consumer snow blower on the market. Toro beat Ariens to market by almost 10 years with the 1952 Toro Snow Hound (check out this original ad).
The Toro Snow Hound played a big role in popularizing snow blowers among everyday homeowners. It was available to buyers for $159.95 (so that’s around $1,800 in today’s dollars) and it inspired more brands to develop their own consumer snow blowers. These first models ran on gas and could last a really long time with regular maintenance.
Don’t believe me? Watch this 1969 Toro Snow Hound 20 in. Snow Blower go to work in this video by Mowers N Blowers.
From here consumer snow blowers continued to develop. Today consumers can readily choose between first-, second- and third-stage snow blowers. Snow blowers have grown in regards to both power and clearing paths, and consumers now have a wide variety of electric snow blower options available.
Gas Snow Blowers
To compare electric vs gas snow blowers you really need to take a closer look at each type of snow blower. We’ll start with gas. Of course each type has their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the benefits of gas-powered snow blower.
Pros of Gas-powered Snow Blowers
- Generally cheaper, at least up front.
- More gas models are currently available for 2-stage snow blowers and the only current option for 3-stage snow blowers.
- Can run as long as you have fuel. No waiting during recharge.
- Gas is long-standing and reliable technology. With regular maintenance, a lot of these machines have proven to last a long time.
- Dominant power source for your large second- and third-stage snow blowers.
While these are great reasons to choose a gas-powered snow blower there are some definite disadvantages.
Cons of Gas-powered Snow Blowers
- Heavy machines that can be more difficult to handle.
- Requires regular maintenance.
- Emits fumes that aren’t good to breathe and are harmful to the environment.
- Louder than electric alternatives. This could be considered annoying to the user or people nearby such as neighbors. It can also make the user less aware of their surroundings while using the snow blower.
Electric Snow Blowers
When it comes to electric vs gas snow blowers, gas always reigned supreme. However, there has been a steady rise in electric snow blowers over the past 15 years, and each one redefining what electric snow blowers are capable of. Here’s a look at the benefits.
Pros of Electric Snow Blowers
- Choice of corded and cordless (battery) power source, which also gives you either a endless or reusable power source.
- No gas or fumes, and less maintenance than gas-powered machines.
- Generally lighter and easier to move than gas-powered snow blowers.
- Battery-powered technology and machines are constantly evolving and there has been a steady rise of powerful electric snow blowers available on the market.
- Wide variety of available electric first-stage snow blowers.
Again, no design is perfect. Here is a look at the drawbacks of electric snow blowers.
Cons of Electric Snow Blowers
- Performance is limited to the extent of your cord or your battery’s run time, and there is additional waiting during charge time.
- Generally costs more, at least upfront.
- Newer technology, newer design. We just don’t know yet how well electric snow blowers will hold up over time.
- Batteries should be stored away from extreme temps to avoid loss of life from exposure.
- For snow blowers there are limited electric second-stage snow blowers and no electric third-stage snow blowers currently available.
Electric VS Gas Snow Blowers
It’s difficult to say point blank which type of snow blower is better for any individual. However, we have a few guidelines for each type that can make your decision easier.
Reasons to Buy an Electric vs Gas Snow Blower
- You have a small to average sized driveway (or a really long cord).
- You live somewhere with mild to moderate winters, or experience only a few severe snowstorms a year.
- You’re mainly interested in a first-stage snow blower.
- You want electric, or prefer to not deal with gas, fumes or engine maintenance.
Reasons to Buy a Gas vs Electric Snow Blower
- You have a large driveway or multiple surfaces that you need to clear, and you don’t have an easily accessible outdoor power source.
- You live somewhere with severe winters and regular snow falls of five inches or more.
- You need a second- or third-stage snow blower.
- You’re dealing with a small budget upfront, but can afford gas and maintenance long-term.
Our Picks: Electric VS Gas Snow Blowers
We thought we’d pull together a few of our favorite gas and electric snow blowers on the market.
First-stage Snow Blower Picks
- Electric: SKIL 40V Electric Snow Blower
- Gas: Toro Power Clear 721 E 21 in. 212cc 1-stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
Second-stage Snow Blower
- Electric: EGO Peak Power+ 28 in. 2-stage Snow Blower
- Gas: CRAFTSMAN Select 26 243cc Electric Start 2-stage Gas Snow Blower
Best Snow Blowers for…
- Best Value: CRAFTSMAN 21 in. 123cc 1-stage Gas Snow Blower
- Small Driveways, Patios & Walkways: SKIL 40V Electric Snow Shovel
- Third-stage Snow Blowers: Cub Cadet 28 in. 357cc 3-stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
We hope you learned a bit about electric vs gas snow blowers today. If you’re in the market leave us a comment about what kind of snow blower you’re leaning towards, or ask us any questions you may have.