Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower: Is There a Difference?

Snow Blower or Snow Thrower? Which Tool is Better For Your Driveway

An age-old debate has raged over which is better, the snowblower or the snow thrower. However, the argument centers around how each operates to clear snow.

A snow thrower is a one-stage machine that collects the snow and tosses it in your chosen direction. It does so using just one mechanism.

Snowblowers are generally two or three-stage tools that break the job down into separate actions. As the snow clearing is done in different distinct stages, snow blowers are called two-stage or three-stage.

But it is like the perennial PC versus Mac argument that goes around in circles. Dig a little deeper into the snowblower v snow thrower debate, and you will find several points of difference.

What differences are there between a snow thrower and a snow blower?

Despite people using snow thrower and snow blower interchangeably, this is a mistaken perception. There is also a myth that marketers have only coined the two terms to bump up the price of two very similar products. This, too, is entirely wrong.

However, we are here to settle this long-running snow-related debate once and for all. So, please read on; the info will be handy the next time you get drawn into such a heated winter time debate.

Blowers and throwers – how they operate explained

As mentioned earlier, the crux of the matter is the different operating systems used by snow blowers and snow throwers.

Essentially, snow throwers are one-stage snow blowers. They pull in snow and discharge it in one flowing movement. If we term them as small snowblowers, this will encompass electric-powered snow shovels.

Meanwhile, actual snow blowers are larger and heavier machines that look kind of mean.

With snowblowers, their corkscrew-like auger chews into the snow and feeds it to an impeller. With the first stage complete, the impeller takes over stage two and blows the snow out of the snow chute. In reality, the impeller is a powerful blower fan, hence the name.

How much snow can snow blowers and snow throwers clear?

Blowers and throwers – how much can they clear?

One stage snow blowers have a relatively small cutting path of around 18 inches but can go up 22 inches. The snow height intake is usually about a foot to 18 inches depending on the make and model. You are typically limited to a maximum throwing distance of 30 to 35 feet in perfect conditions with single-stage snow throwers.

Though this sounds impressive enough, it is somewhat short of the 50 feet you can obtain with a high-end snowblower. A snowblower can also deal with more snow. Generally, the cutting path is up to 24 inches wide and a depth of 18 inches. This capacity makes them ideal for areas with high levels of snowfall and frequent snowdrifts.

Blower and throwers: how much do they cost?

If you are on a budget that limits your buying options, you should buy a snow thrower. You won’t get all the fancy snow blower features, but you will get an electric start and LED headlights for working in the dark. You will need to make a judgment call on missing out on heated grips, chute rotators, deflectors, adjustable handle, etc.

Be aware that a limited budget will mean compromising on the snow thrower’s specification. To get down to a price, snow thrower manufacturers use plastic parts instead of metal ones. This cost-cutting and lower spec explain why snow throwers are only recommended for places with light snowfalls. They cannot cope with wet, heavy snow.

Meanwhile, snowblower parts are typically made from range-topping materials so they can tackle heavier and wetter snow. Consequently, they tend to be much heavier but may feature power steering for better maneuverability. They will also be kitted out with X-Trac for improved grip on slopes.

All these convenience features come at a price, though. Two and three-stage snow blowers are expensive. Top-end models, for instance, can reach as high as $3,000.

Blower and thrower: What about storage space and maintenance?

A snow thrower is practically maintenance-free. As most snow throwers and one-stage snow blowers have electric start, you won’t be forking out extra cash on gas and oil.

With a snow thrower, there’s no need to fret over cleaning the engine, and remember to add a fuel stabilizer. When the snow season is over, all you need to do is wipe it down. Then find a suitable space in your shed or garage and leave it alone till the following year.

Snowblowers are a bit more involved. You have to be careful and handle them correctly. While the manufacturer’s warranty covers 2 and 3 stage blowers, these come with precise terms and conditions. And exclusions.

Therefore, it’s wise to store a snowblower carefully to prevent damage to the machine. Plus, a snow blower will occupy a sizable amount of storage space. The more features and power, the bigger and heavier the blower will be, and the bigger footprint it will have in your garage or tool shed.

Blower and thrower – which snow clearer to buy?

Buy the right tool for your particular job. Say you live in a city that only receives light snowfall for around 10 days each winter month. In this case, you would easily get by with a snow thrower or an electric-powered snow shovel. Equally, you don’t want to spend hours shoveling your driveway after a storm has dumped 20 inches of snow.

Weigh up the merits of a snow thrower and snow blower carefully. Look at your circumstances, and it should be clear which way to go in the snow thrower versus snowblower debate.

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