Difference between snow blower and snow thrower

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When it comes to clearing the white stuff, a lot of people are unable to choose between a snow blower and snow thrower.

This guide explains the difference between snow blower and snow thrower to help you make an informed decision as you prepare to battle those annoying clumps of snow.

Difference between snow blower and snow thrower

Let’s start with the basics:

First, some people think a snow blower is another name for a snow thrower.

But is it surely?

Short answer: Nope!

And the biggest difference between snow blower and snow thrower is in the modus operandi of each equipment as you will learn next.

What’s a snow thrower really?


A snow thrower simply refers to a machine that scoops snow in a single action and throws the snow away from the driveway, roadway, and more in one motion.

To be frank, these machines are actually single-stage ‘snow blowers’ because they clear the snow out the chute in one movement.

Interestingly, the term snow blower is actually a misnomer as there is no ‘snow blowing’ taking place and the machine instead uses an auger to lift and throw snow.

Let’s now contrast this with the true snow blower…

What’s a snow blower?

These are essentially machines that pick and move snow in two stages.

The first stage involves the auger first fetching the snow pile up and conveying it to the central part of the snow removal machine.

In the final step, the impeller fan throws the snowfall up and out via the chute.

Here there’s an impeller fan and hence a blowing action.

Overall, they are considered more robust than snow throwers and will not only throw snow farther but also handle heavy snowfalls better.

Besides, they have a wider clearing path not to mention that they go deeper.

They also tend to pack more features than snow throwers to make removing snow less strenuous, quicker, and cozier.

Advantages of snow throwers

I know you’re thinking ‘hell, then a snow thrower is pretty much weak’…

Well, they do have their strengths.

In fact, they’re quite prominent in the market and command a sizeable market share.

Here is a rundown of their standout advantages:

·         Compact design

These models are quite compact hence easier to maneuver with in tight spaces.

What’s more, snow throwers are generally more lightweight and easier to push than snow blowers and you will love working with them as long as you are not up against massive icy banks.

·         Simpler controls

Another aspect where they get a leg up on conventional snow blowers is on the controls.

They come with unsophisticated, intuitive controls that make clearing driveway or patio a job to enjoy.

As a result, even beginners can use them right of the bat.

·         Quicker in light and moderate snowfalls

Their smaller size and ease of operation make them more rapid and efficient when it comes to light and moderate clearing jobs on small areas such as sidewalks, walkways, and driveways.

Advantages of snow blowers

The configuration difference between snow blower and snow thrower also means that the former has several distinct advantages.

We expound on these below:

·         Best for challenging terrain

Because of advancements such as power-assisted wheels that help snow blowers maneuver tough terrains such as slopes, gravel, dirt surfaces, and the like, you could find them friendlier than snow throwers if you’re tacking snow in such areas.

Again, the auger in snow throwers occasionally scrapes the ground meaning it will scoop up stones or dirt and throw them with the snow.

That could damage the auger in your unit and cause an extra expense too.

·         Better for larger areas

Needless to say, their wider clearing radius means you will finish bigger snow blowing jobs quickly.

And as mentioned earlier on, they are added with a large number of features and you’re sure to enjoy an easier, more comfortable time when battling hard-packed snow in large lawn areas and other expansive places.

Snow blower  vs snow thrower: How to choose

Now that we have laid out the difference between snow blower and snow thrower precisely, how do you choose?

Well, comparing can be a straightforward task if you ask (and answer) the right questions.

Polaris ranger snow plows

Let’s go through the biggest two:

Q1. What type of snowfall do you customarily get and what depth does it usually reach?

Snow throwers are ideal for relatively modest (and powdery) snowfalls, not more than 8 inches for the most part.

But if you live in areas where snow is typically wet and heavy, a snow blower is a safer bet.

These units’ auger and impeller together with the hefty power of their engines get rid of the snow swiftly by chewing it up and then discharging the snow load through the chute.

How to keep snow from sticking to snowblower

Q2. How large is the area that needs cleaning and how is the landscape like? 

The other influential factor is the ground to be cleared.

Generally speaking, you will do well to pick a snow blower if you’re taking on a giant-sized driveway as inventions such as serrated steel surfaces in some models provide unmatched snow clearing and ice chopping power.

We already saw that bigger clearing width means you will finish the job more quickly in larger spaces.

On the other hand, you will be fine with a good quality stone thrower if you’re clearing a small driveway or just a small part of your sidewalk.

Finally, concerning the terrain, you can recall from our discussion above that snow blowers will carry the day on tough terrains.

The major difference between snow blower and snow thrower is that the latter clears snow in one motion while snow blowers will remove snow in 2 stages (the auger combines with the impeller fan).

I should that snow throwers are on the whole cheaper than snow blowers.

Ultimately, the right equipment will come down to your needs and preferences.

Choose wisely.

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