What’s The Difference Between a Snow Thrower & Snow Blower?

snow thrower vs snow blower

If you’ve been on the hunt for a mega snow moving machine like a snow thrower or snow blower, some people use the terms interchangeably. But, there is actually a difference. The main difference lies in the ways they blow the snow. Before you get started, here’s a list of five items for the cold in your endeavors.

There’s not much difference when it comes down to the comparison between electric snow blower models because they typically work in single stages only. Once the gas blowers start coming out, you’ll notice that many more options become available.

If you’re just in a rush and want to read ahead, use the quick links:

What are the Types of Snow Blowers Available?

In addition to the single-stage electric motors, you will also see some of the other types available:

  • single-stage electric
  • single-stage gas
  • two-stage gas
  • three-stage gas

The important thing to remember is that you’ll need to think about what you’ll be using the snow blower (or thrower) for. Are you going to be clearing a driveway, a sidewalk, or a back patio? Also, is the snow that you’re working with 2-6″ or something like 10-14″? These are important to think about because you’ll need to know the right type to purchase when it’s time.

Single Stage Snow Blowers

These are best for clearing smaller to mid size areas with around 8″ of snow or less. The reason they are called a single-stage is because they only work with one motion — the snow goes through the front by the auger and out the shoot. It’s one motion and nothing happens before the snow gets thrown to one side of the area.

An advantage for the single stage snow throwers is that they are designed to be easy to move and more portable. They are generally more lightweight and provide the opportunity to move the equipment around.

To get the best out of a single stage, make sure the area that you are trying to clear is paved and the equipment is not likely to pick up any gravel, rocks, or debris. Sometimes they don’t have as much power as say a gas snow thrower or blower, but will move lighter snowfall.

To break down the single stage equipment even more, you can find them in both electric and gas. For the electric types, there are corded and even cordless! Yep, that means that you can push a snow thrower around without having to worry about tripping over the cord.

Corded Electric Single Stage

These are started with the push of the button and require a heavy-duty extension cable that can handle the cold weather. The cable needs to be flexible and able to manuever correctly with colder temperatures.

Cordless Electric

Even more compact than the typical electric snow blower are the cordless models. Manufacturers like Greenworks have an 80V cordless blower that will control how much power you can expect.

Gas Single Stage

For the most part, with a gas model, you can expect to get a more capable machine that will clear stubborn snow. Since gas motors provide more power, it can force the snow out of the chute quicker to allow better movement.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers and Throwers Benefits and Features

green snow blower clearing drivewayIf you recall, the single stage systems simply pull the snow into the blower and right through the chute into one motion. There’s nothing involved on the way there, just straight out of that hatch. Well, this is where the two-stage snow blowers are different.green snow blower clearing driveway

Note: it is more common to find a two-stage gas blower than electric. Although most of the gas models have an electric start, they are powered by a gas motor.

You’ll be able to handle more snow with the a two-stage (over 8 inches) and the wheels are powered by an engine to help with uneven pavement or other terrain. This also moves you into a new category — mid to large areas.

The snow moves its way into the blower via an auger and fan. It is then propelled through the chute and out of your way. With the dual stage process, snow is moved faster and allows for a cleaner area. If you’re lucky, your model will even have a special type of snow shoe to give the blower a slight lift off of the ground. That helps with going over bumpy areas.

A Three-Stage Snow Blower (for Beast Mode)

The three-stage equipment works very similar to a two-stage model, but it comes with a fancy term part called an accelerator. This allows the snow to be rapidly moved through the auger and out of the chute. You’ll be clearing snow out of the way in no time!

Comparing a Snow Blower vs. a Snow Thrower

For the most part, you can assume that a snow thrower is a more lightweight machine that’s going to give you good results for an average or normal job. Let’s say it snows about 6 to 8 inches on the ground and you need to clear your driveway. You’ll be able to get by with a snow thrower. If, however, there’s more heavier snow involved or you may have to clear your snow area more than a couple times a day, a snow blower is going to be a better choice.

Keep in mind that by using a two-stage snow blower or above, you’ll be able to clear your area faster with less paths. This could definitely be helpful if you need to go back outside multiple times a day and be sure to follow these outside safety tips. Just a thought to consider.

What Type of Snow Blower or Thrower Should I Buy?

I should probably mention that I’m a big advocate to using electric equipment when it comes to your home needs. I think there’s a big movement with electric tools coming in our future. If you’re trying to decide on certain models of snow blowers, take a peek at this article about the best electric snow blowers in 2016 (the time of this article).

A lot of the features previously mentioned will help you consider your next option. Remember to think about how big the area is where you’ll be using it, if you get a relative amount or a ton of snow in your area, and also what type of snow will it be? Is it a light and fluffy snow or more of a wet, dense, and solid snow?

Lastly, consider how much maintenance you plan to put into it. Would you rather have a low maintenance piece of equipment, but something with less power? Or, are you okay doing things like changing the oil and gas in a snow blower?

All the best!


–Nick the Lawnaholic

Nick (The Researcher)

An average guy trying to deliver relevant ways on how to make your home better with great equipment, reviews, and forced humor.

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