No More Winter Driveway Workouts; The 3 Best Lightweight Electric Snow Blowers
Now, if you want to include a back-breaking shovel workout in your winter fitness program, be my guest:
But my guess is you wouldn’t mind a helping hand.
This is why I want to spend a little time talking about electric snow blowers and throwers. The tech on these things is improving by the year, making them a serious competitor for traditional gas models. While they may not be much use in a blizzard, they’re perfect for more general needs and can really help you get through the winter.
I’ll review the 3 best electric snow blowers and throwers I’ve found. Then we’ll touch on the ‘Gas vs. Electric’ debate, and I’ll also teach you how to choose the best electric snow blower for your home in my Buyer’s Guide.
|Name||Width & Depth of Clearance||Snow per minute||Rating|
|Snow Joe iON18SB Snow Blower Review||21 inch width; 12 inch depth||800 pounds per minute||/5||Check Price|
|Toro 1800 Snow Blower Review||18 inch width; 12 inch depth||700 pounds per minute||/5||Check Price|
Best Budget Thrower
|WEN 5662 Snow Thrower Review||18 inch width; 7.8 inch depth||490 pounds per minute||/5||Check Price|
Choose Your Budget:
My best overall pick is what you’re really looking for in an electric snow thrower. Light and easy to handle, with a bit of kick to it. Take a look at my top pick from Snow Joe.
Toro mostly wins my best quality choice for its Power Curve technology. This is the only blower on my list that has taken some time to reduce user problems. Clogging is an issue for most electric blowers when it comes to wet snow. The Toro Power Curve is the best electric model I’ve found for handling these conditions.
Best Budget Thrower
WEN gets my best budget choice for its 13.5 amp electric snow thrower. One of the major benefits of electric options is that they’re incredibly affordable solutions for mild snow conditions. This is the best electric snow blower for the money.
How To Choose An Electric Snow Blower
The Definitive Buyer’s Guide
How To Choose An Electric Snow Blower Or Thrower
Electric snow blowers are getting better each year. There was a time not so long ago when it was gas or nothing, but now we have options. Maybe too many to choose from.
The key points to keep in mind are:
- How much snow are you getting?
- How much ground are you covering? And
- How much work do you want to be doing?
For the first point, just note: if you’re getting serious snow all winter long, then an electric option will not be for you. For milder winter, or areas that are getting just occasional snowfall, both electric blowers and throwers are great.
I’ll tackle the third point, then come back to the second. If you’re not chock-full-of-energy in the winter months, you might just want something you can rely on. Something that takes the least possible effort. It’s one thing to be a kid running around clearing the snow for a buck. But I understand the pains of clearing a long driveway, time and time again. Electric snow blowers are the way to go if you want to get the job done right, the first time around.
For longer driveways and larger areas, you’ll also want an electric snow blower. Smaller spaces, like your porch and front entryway, can be easily handled by an electric snow thrower. If you’re really covering a lot of ground though, you’ll want a cordless electric snow blower. You can always find a decent extension cord and take the route, also. But let’s face it: we’re here to choose the best electric snow blower for your needs. Why cause yourself the extra hassle!
What’s The Difference: Blowers And Throwers?
I’ve already played it a little fast and loose with the ‘blower’ and ‘thrower’ terms. Let me explain:
To be honest, these terms are mixed up relatively often. Not just by customers or inexperienced users, but by manufacturers. The truth is, strictly speaking, most electric products are in fact snow throwers.
This has to do with how they are built. Technically, snow blowers should refer to two stage models and snow throwers should be single stage.
Single stage: Single stage snow throwers (also sold as snow blowers) do it all in one action. They use a screw conveyor, called an auger, to pick up the snow and project it up into the air through the chute. One augur, one stage: hence the ‘single stage’ snow thrower.
Two stage (double stage, dual stage): This is where you get the real power. Along with an auger to pick up the snow from the ground, these models have a separate impeller. This is basically a fan which can really propel the snow way out there. It gives the model far more power, and it is usually seen on gas snow blowers.
I wanted to clear that up (while keeping it relatively simple) so that you don’t get confused when I mention the terms. That being said, for general understanding, let’s put it like this:
- When we say electric snow blower, we are talking about a stronger machine (it can be either single stage or double stage).
- When we say electric snow thrower, this will typically be a lighter model with less oomph (it will definitely be single stage).
The best Electric snow blowers, on the other hand, can easily deal with up to 12 inches of snowfall. They typically are more powerful, propelling the snow much further than snow throwers and able to handle larger areas. Long driveways, front and back yards will benefit most from an electric snow blower.
Gas Versus Electric
The gas versus electric debate is basically an extension of the ‘blower’ vs. ‘thrower’ debate. Gas-powered snow blowers are even more powerful than electric snow blowers, but they are also chunkier and heavier. Most gas blowers will use a dual-stage engine, meaning that they can handle just about any type of snowfall.
However, beyond weight and size, there is one big reasons that I prefer electric to gas snow blowers. Reliability. Unfortunately, gas snow blowers are a little more complex in their mechanism. They are more likely to break down than electric models—especially when the weather conditions are a rough outside. Poor weather conditions; like snow, rain and wind. All the wonderful reasons that you need a snow blower to begin with!
That being said, when it comes to rain and slushy snow, a gas-powered option is really your only option. Electric snow blowers simply don’t have the power to clear away hard-packed, icy or slushy snow. If you’re experiencing heavy snowfall all winter, with some consistent slush piles–it may be best to just stick it out with the gas-power.
The last point to mention is about maintenance. Gas-powered blowers can be notoriously high-maintenance. Oil changes and engine breakdowns are common for gas blowers. This is another big positive for electric snow blowers. At the risk of oversimplifying, you can just plug them in and they’re ready to go. Their biggest weak spot is being prone to clogging (since they’re not as powerful), but if you use them on the right snow depth you should be fine.
Do I Really Need An Electric Snow Blower Or Thrower?
It depends how much shoveling you want to do. Or how much you would need to do otherwise!
If you’re only getting occasional snowfall, and a couple of inches at that, then no: there’s no real reason to get an electric snow blower. But anything above that and you might want to consider investing. For the average suburban driveway in winter, electric snow blowers and throwers can make your life that much easier.
Also, if your more youthful years are behind you, maybe scraping the snow with a shovel just really isn’t an option. The best electric snow blowers are about the same size as a lawnmower, and are usually quite friendly to push. Even if you’re only getting light snow, depending on your circumstances, it might be worth finding the best electric snow blower for the money this winter.
Is An Electric Snow Blower Better?
Electric snow blowers are better for mild jobs. They’re also better for older folks who don’t want to lug around heavy gas blowers all the time (those things can be upwards of 150lbs!). On the other side of things, gas-powered blowers are definitely better for difficult conditions. Electric blowers can typically handle between 6-12 inches of snow. Anything above that on a regular basis, and you’re better off spending on a gas blower.
How To Fix Electric Snow Blowers?
The good thing about electric snow blowers is that they require little to no maintenance. Unlike gas blowers which require engine maintenance and oil changes, electrics are a ‘plug-in-and-go’ solution. The most common problem with electric blowers is clogging due to wet or slushy snow. The best way to handle this is to avoid it altogether! But if you do have troubles with your electric blower, check to see if your product is still under warranty: many electric blowers come with at least 2 years, so you might be covered.
How Do Electric Snow Blowers Work?
Electric snow blowers usually rely on a single stage mechanism to remove snow. For more on this, read up here. The main thing to know is that they run on battery or need to be plugged in, while gas blowers use a traditional engine to power them.
What Type Of Extension Cord For An Electric Snow Blower?
This will depend on your product and snow blower needs. For longer driveways, you’ll definitely need plenty of slack in your extension, since even the best corded electric snow blowers need to stay plugged in.
Otherwise, you can also find many battery-powered electric snow blowers. The best cordless electric snow blowers typically come with rechargeable batteries.
Do You Need A Different Snow Blower For Different Types Of Snow?
The short answer is yes. For very heavy or wet snow you will prefer a gas blower. For mild winters and medium driveway or deck usage, electric snow blowers are typically easier to handle. Hard, icy snow will be very difficult for electric snow blowers, as will slushy or rain-soaked snow. Some electric snow blower reviews suggest that you don’t use electric models on any snow deeper than a couple of feet.
If you’re looking to save yourself some time and effort this winter, consider an electric snow blower. They have their limitations and won’t save you from snowpocalypse, but they are an affordable advancement on the shovel.
If you like the idea of an electric snow blower, but still want to stay healthy this winter, check out fringpursuits.com for plenty of fitness and health ideas. And if you enjoyed these electric snow blower reviews, feel free to share it with your friends, or leave a comment telling us what you thought.