At the heart of the snow blower vs snow thrower debate, the primary difference lies in the working mechanism of both machines. A snow thrower is single-stage equipment that picks up the snow and discharges it towards your desired direction – all in one motion.
On the other hand, a snow blower is usually a two-stage or three-stage tool that has dedicated parts to gather, break down and then eliminate it. Since this process happens in more than one stage, such snow blowers are called two-stage snow blowers or three-stage snow blower.
But if you were to dig further, you would find points of differentiation to go on either side of the snow blower vs snow thrower argument.
Main Difference Between Snow Blower and Snow Thrower
It’s common for people to use the terms ‘snow blower’ and ‘snow thrower’ interchangeably. There’s also a shared belief that the terms snow blower and snow thrower have been coined by marketers solely for the purpose of inflating the prices for similar products.
We’re going to help you settle any snow blower vs snow thrower debates you may find yourself in the future!
Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower: Operating Mechanism
As we said above, the primary – and probably the most important – difference is the operating mechanism.
Snow throwers are basically single-stage snow blowers that pull in and discharge the snow in a single continuous movement. These ‘small snow blowers‘ may even include electric snow shovels.
Snow blowers are the bigger, heavier and meaner looking machines. Here, in the first stage, the auger, which looks like a corkscrew, sucks in the snow and feeds it to the impeller. In the second stage, the snow is blown out of the discharge chute. The impeller is like a powerful fan and hence the term, snow blowers’.
Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower: Cleaning Capacity
Single-stage snow blowers have a comparatively smaller clearing width of 18 to 22 inches and a height intake of 12 to 18 inches, depending on the brand. Also, single-stage snow throwers have a limited throwing capacity ranging from 30 to 35 inches.
Though impressive, this is far lesser than snow blowers’ throwing capacity that can go up till 50 inches and more. Snow blowers can also take in more snow. Snow blowers can generally eat through 18 inches high and 24 inches wide, making them suitable for areas that are more prone to snowstorms and snowdrifts.
Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower: Cost
If cost is a factor that influences your buying decision then you should opt for a snow thrower. While snow blowers may boast of fancy features like heated grips, adjustable handle heights, remote chute rotators and deflectors, and more, snow throwers may pride themselves for their electric start and LED lights.
The limited specs combined with the fact that snow throwers often come with plastic parts brings down the cost of snow throwers. This is why snow throwers are recommended for regions with low snowfall and light and fluffy snow.
In contrast, snow blower parts are fitted with top-of-the-line materials since they exist to deal with the wet and heavy kind of snow. Since the machines are heavier, they may also have power steering for easy navigation and X-Trac tires for better grip on slopes.
The inclusion of features that add to your convenience makes two-stage and three-stage snow blowers expensive, sometimes going up to $3000 for higher-end models.
Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower: Maintenance and Storage
Snow throwers are virtually maintenance-free. Since most snow throwers or single-stage snow blowers have electric start, you don’t have to shell out extra money for engine oil or gas.
You also don’t have to worry about cleaning the engine or adding stabilizers to the fuel. At the end of the winter season, you can just wipe it down and store it in one corner of your garage or tool shed and forget it till the next year.
But with snow blowers, you have to be extra careful. Though most two-stage and three-stage snow blowers are covered under manufacturer warranty, the warranties come with their own sets of terms and conditions.
Hence, you would have to store your snow blower carefully to avoid any damage to the equipment. A snow blower would anyway take up considerable space in your storage closet – the fancier the snow blower, the more it weighs.
Snow blower vs snow thrower: Which one to pick?
You wouldn’t want to purchase a snow blower when your city receives light snow only for ten days in a month. A snow thrower or an electric snow shovel would likely suffice. Likewise, you don’t want to be stuck shoveling your driveway for hours when there’s a 20 inch high snow wall.
Carefully consider all the features that a snow thrower or snow blower promises and then decide whether you want to buy a snow thrower or a snow blower!