Snow Blower VS Snow Thrower. What’s Different? Which is Better?


Dan and I are from Chicagoland and the snow doesn’t hold back here. OPE to remove snow is pretty much essential for homeowners. However, the lingo for these items can be confusing and make it hard to buy the right equipment, especially the terms “snow blower” and “snow thrower”. Lucky for you, today we’re going snow blower vs snow thrower. We’ll explain the differences between these two items and how to know which one is right for you.


Snow Blower VS Snow Thrower

The key difference between these two OPE is that a “snow thrower” refers to a single-stage blower, and a “snow blower” refers to a two-stage snow blower. However, snow blower appears to be an overarching term for either machine. In fact, each of these products looks and operates very similarly. The part that is different is more internal and refers to how these items eject the snow.

So…then what is the difference between a single- and two-stage snow blower?

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Single-Stage Snow Blowers

A single-stage (or “first”, “one”) snow blower has one mechanism, an auger, that breaks and collects the snow, and then ejects the snow out of the chute, or otherwise “throws” it. This is where the term “snow thrower” comes from. This action refers to the “first stage” of snow removal and is present in both devices.

Single-stage snow blowers work well at removing about half a foot of snow at a time and work better on fresh snow that hasn’t frozen hard yet.

Electric Snow Shovel

Another tool that works similarly to a single-stage snow blower is an electric snow shovel. We recently looked at an electric snow shovel from SKIL. You hold this similarly to a traditional snow shovel, but you just push it to clear a path. 

It’s a lot easier on your shoulders than a traditional shovel, and they are great for clearing snow in smaller and more intricate areas, like steps and sidewalks. You can also easily move them to the back of your house to clear your deck.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers

A two-stage snow blower has a second step for snow removal. A two-stage snow blower has a fan that ejects, or “blows” the snow both farther and more forcefully than a single-stage snow blower. This fan actually helps prevent clogging, which allows this kind of snow blower to tackle deeper piles of snow. Some two-stage snow blowers can handle up to two feet of heavy snow.

Because of the higher performance two-stage snow blowers usually cost twice as much as single-stage snow blowers. The average price of a two-stage snow blower is $800 to $1,600.

Three-Stage Snow Blowers

There are also three-stage snow blowers that are equipped with two augers to break-up snow. They are incredibly powerful and remove snow over 20 in. deep. However, they are expensive, they are higher maintenance, and they are limited. The average price of a three-stage snow blower ranges from $1,600 to $3,700.

Theww-stage snow blowers aren’t common in residential settings. However, they are great for more rural areas prone to heavy snowfalls. So, they are worth mentioning.

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Single-Stage VS Two-Stage

In general, a two-stage snow blower is more powerful than a single-stage. The extra power to get the snow out of the machine allows it work on thicker piles of snow.  A single-stage snow blower is limited to piles around six to eight inches and works better on lighter snow that hasn’t set.

Because of this, during a snowstorm, people with a single-stage snow blower often need to go out every one to two hours as opposed to at the end of a snowstorm. Those with a second-stage snow blower can either go out at the end of smaller storms, or every few hours during bigger storms.

Which is Better for Consumers?

So, snow blower vs snow thrower. As someone from the Chicago area, I say a two-stage snow blower is completely worth it.

Here we experience heavy snowfalls, sometimes one after another. Going out every other hour to clear snow isn’t the worst. However, staying up all night to do it is not fun either. I also want my snow blower to be powerful enough to handle heavy snows or snow that has set and is frozen.

That being said, single-stage snow blowers or “snow throwers” are still a great option. In fact, snow throwers are cheaper and still an effective method of snow removal and will be enough to handle the majority of snowfalls with a single pass.

A snow thrower is perfect for a common residential driveway. Also, if you live in an area that doesn’t regularly experience extreme snowfall then a single-stage is fine.

A two-stage “snow blower” is a better choice for someone with a larger driveway and lives in an extreme snowfall area. However, they cost almost double, with the average price starting around $1,000.

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Snow Blower VS Snow Thrower Wrap-up

I can’t tell you which type of snow thrower or snow blower is best for you. However, hopefully, now that you know the difference between a snow blower and a snow thrower, you will have an easier time making that decision for yourself.

Now, we want to know: do you own a snow blower or snow thrower? If so, tell us what you have and where you live in the country. Let us know if it has been enough for your home and if you would recommend it.

Need help picking out a snow blower? Check out our TIA Snow Blower Reviews.


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