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Electric Snow Shovel Vs Snow Blower: Which One To Choose?

Can’t decide if you should buy a full-on snowblower or if an electric snow shovel is enough? I am here to help you figure out which is better – an electric snow shovel vs snow blower

A snow blower is the best solution for people who get a lot of snow in the winter. Two stage snow blowers are especially great at removing heavy snowfall.

But, if you get light snow in the area you live, you can get away with using an electric snow shovel. Spending hundreds of dollars on a heavy-duty machine you will hardly ever use is not worth it! 

Keep on reading if you want to know more! I’ll explain in detail which option is best for you!

Electric Snow Shovel Vs Snow Blower: Up Close

Electric Snow Shovels: A Review

Removing some snow with an electric snow shovel

An electric snow shovel doesn’t look a whole lot like a regular shovel. It operates differently, as well. An electric snow shovel picks up snow and throws it to the side for you, unlike a manual snow shovel. It is, in many ways, more similar to a snow thrower

Is a snow thrower similar to a snow blower? What’s the difference? Find out here! 

Back to the topic! Let’s see what an electric snow shovel is and how it compares to a snowblower.

How Does An Electric Snow Shovel Work?

A man operating an electric snow shovel

An electric snow shovel operates simply and doesn’t take rocket science to understand. So, how do they work? An electric snow shovel works like a single-stage snow blower, only on a smaller scale. 

An electric snow shovel features a single or double blade auger that picks up snow and throws it through a discharge chute. The whole process is done in a single motion. The rotating paddle auger is responsible for scooping up the snow and throwing it away

All electric snow shovels have the same basic operation. There aren’t single, two, or three-stage snow shovels. You won’t find a gas-powered snow shovel on the market either. You can, however, buy a:

  • Electric corded snow shovel
  • Electric cordless snow shovel

Corded snow shovels are very reliable and have a quick start. They need to be plugged into an outlet to work. They offer more run time than cordless units but are, unfortunately, limited by the length of your extension cord

Cordless snow shovels are powered by a rechargeable battery that gives roughly an hour of run time, depending on the model. This should be enough time to clear smaller areas around your house before the machine dies on you. 

Cordless snow shovels are very eco-friendly. They, however, are not as powerful as corded models and have a limited run time

Benefits Of An Electric Snow Shovel

An adult man clearing some snow with an electric snow shovel
Image credit:

An electric snow shovel is a lighter and smaller version of a snowblower. It is easier and safer to operate. This tool won’t strip you of your energy when pushing it forward, despite not having a self-propelled feature

Based on these advantages alone, I can say that an electric snow shovel is an ideal snow removal tool for the elderly and those who don’t have the body strength to operate big machines.  

Since an electric snow shovel is compact, it’s easy to store and take in and out of storage. You can hang it on the garage wall or simply place it in a corner. 

Its small size makes it perfect for getting into nooks and crannies where a snowblower can’t reach. Electric snow shovels can clear 10 to 16 inches wide – just enough to create a footpath in a single pass. 

Best of all, electric snow shovels require less maintenance than snow blowers. They are also more affordable. An electric snow shovel won’t break your bank to buy and maintain. 

Some Drawbacks

A pathway cleared with snow

The biggest drawback of an electric snow shovel is that it can’t stand up against heavy and deep snow. These small machines can handle light snowfall and light clearing jobs. 

If you use an electric snow shovel on snow that is more than a foot tall, you will spend more time removing the jams and you may even break the machine. So, if you get a couple of feet of snow at a time, consider buying a snow blower or continue using a manual snow shovel. Check out this comparison between a snow blower vs snow shovel

I also have to mention that electric snow shovels have a discharge chute that only faces forward. This may be a design flaw. It is kind of counterproductive to shoot snow that you are trying to clear in front of you. 


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Ideal for light clearing jobs
  • Can reach tight and narrow spaces
  • Easy to store
  • Require less maintenance
  • Different sizes available
  • Affordable


  • Less powerful than a snowblower
  • Can’t remove heavy and deep snow 
  • Can’t throw snow as far 
  • No gas models are available
  • Throws snow in front of you 

Snow Blower: A Review

A red snow blower on stand-by outdoors
Image credit:

A snow blower is a powered machine designed to pick up snow from the ground and throw it to the side. Snowblowers are used for clearing snow from paved and unpaved surfaces, such as driveways, sidewalks, and pathways. 

Let’s see how snow blowers work and what they offer!

How Does A Snow Blower Work?

Snow blower discharging cleared snow

All snow blowers have the same basic operation. They scoop up the snow from the ground with an auger and discharge it through a chute. They basically relocate snow from one area to another.

The working mechanism of a snowblower can be as simple as this, or it can have multiple stages. That’s why snow blowers are divided into these categories:

  • Single-stage snow blowers
  • Two-stage snow blowers
  • Three-stage snow blowers

Single-stage snow blowers remove snow in a single step. The auger is responsible for picking up the snow and also throwing it to the side. 

Two and three-stage snow blowers both have an impeller that takes on the role of blowing the snow through the discharge chute. Three-stage snow blowers also have an accelerator, which speeds up the snow removal.

A single-stage snowblower, aka snow thrower, performs best on light and dry snow, just like an electric snow shovel. Two and three-stage snow blowers can handle heavy and wet snow. They are equipped and prepared for more demanding cleanup jobs. 

Snow blowers can be also grouped based on the power source. You can buy a:

  • Gas-powered snow blower
  • Electric corded snow blower
  • Electric cordless snow blower 

Every one of these snow blowers has its advantages and disadvantages. Gas-powered units are the most powerful, but they are also the loudest and require regular maintenance. 

Electric corded snow blowers are easier to start, but they are limited by the length of the cord. Battery-powered models are quiet and eco-friendly, but they are less powerful and don’t last long on a single charge. 

This video explains how a snow blower works: 

Benefits Of A Snow Blower

An old man operating a 3-step snow blower

A snowblower is even a bigger upgrade from a manual snow shovel than an electric snow shovel. A snowblower makes snow removal a whole lot easier! 

When it comes to snowblowers, your biggest job is operating the machine. You don’t even have to push it forward if the snowblower is self-propelled. Two and three-stage snow blowers are all self-propelled, unlike single-stage snow throwers and electric snow shovels.

A snow blower clears snow faster compared to an electric snow shovel. That’s because they have a wider and higher intake. They can process more snow at a time. 

Single-stage snow blowers clear 12 to 21 inches wide. Two-stage models clear 21 to 30 inches wide. Three-stage machines clear 30 inches wide and above. The clearance of your snowblower will depend on the model.

Find more differences between single stage vs two-stage snow blowers here. You may want to know more about two-stage vs three-stage snow blowers, as well! 

Some Drawbacks

Starting a snow blower engine

A snow blower is more difficult to start and use than an electric snow shovel, especially if you are dealing with a gas-powered unit. You first need to gas up the machine and warm it up if kept in an unheated garage. Even then, your snowblower may not start on the first try

People most often have trouble starting their machines at the beginning of each winter. The number one reason why snow blowers fail to start after summer is stale fuel blocking the system.

This brings me to maintenance! All gas-powered snowblowers require regular maintenance. Their oil, air filter, spark plug, and carburetor need to be changed every so often. 

It is pretty obvious that snowblowers are heavier and bulkier than electric snow shovels. They are more difficult to store and take out of the storage. Their size makes them cumbersome, so they often can’t reach tight corners or go in between narrow passages. An electric snow shovel will clear your stairs and deck much better. 

Last but not least, snowblowers are more expensive than electric snow shovels. They are bigger machines with more features. It makes perfect sense why they cost more. 


  • Efficient way of removing snow
  • Clears more snow at a time than an electric snow shovel 
  • Blows snow further away than an electric snow shovel
  • Bigger models can remove heavy and wet snow
  • Self-propelled types available
  • Gas, electric, and battery units are available


  • Requires more maintenance than an electric snow shovel
  • Can be difficult to store
  • More costly than an electric snow shovel
  • They don’t always start immediately

Electric Snow Shovel Vs Snow Blower: Features Face To Face


2 men clearing snow in the streets with a snow blower
Image credit:

If you live in a particularly snowy area, it is in your best interest to get a snow removal tool that’s as efficient as possible. With improper equipment, you won’t be able to keep up with the snowfall, and you will get overwhelmed. 

Between a snowblower and an electric snow shovel, it is pretty clear which machine wins the race. A snowblower is much more efficient at removing high amounts of snow than an electric shovel. That’s because snow blowers have a wider and taller intake housing and can process more snow at a time.

Single-stage snow throwers are the closest to electric snow shovels. They clear 12 to 21 inches wide while electric snow shovels max out at 16-inches wide

For instance, the Earthwise SN70016 electric corded snow shovel can clear 430 lbs of snow per minute. For comparison, the Snow Joe SJ625E single-stage snow blower removes 800 lbs of snow per minute. That’s almost twice as much. Now imagine what two and three-stage blowers can do!

The clear winner of this battle is the snow blower. It clears snow faster and more efficiently.

Winner: Snowblower


Electric Snow Shovel Vs Snow Blower: Which One To Choose?

Generally speaking, snow blowers require more maintenance than electric snow shovels. That’s because they are bigger machines and have more parts to the system that need regular care. 

Now we can’t throw all the snow blowers in the same basket. Electric corded and cordless snow blowers are more forgiving than gas-powered models. They require a similar amount of maintenance as electric snow shovels. The most important thing is to keep your electric and battery-powered machines in a heated garage during winter.

Gas-powered snow blowers are a whole other story. They need regular gas refills and oil changes. You will also need to replace the air filter, clean the carburetor, change the spark plug, and much more. 

A gas-powered snow blower needs a lot more upkeep than an electric snow shovel. The clear winner of this versus battle is the electric snow shovel. It requires very little maintenance. 

Winner: Electric snow shovel


A snow blower is an investment. You can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to over $3,000 on a snow blower, depending on the size, features, and brand. 

Many people forget that there are hidden expenses to owning a snowblower. You will have to pay for the gas, oil, and electricity that the machine uses. 

There is also maintenance. A new carburetor, spark plug, air filter, and fuel stabilizer are not free. These are just minor repairs. To fix bigger defects, you will have to spend a lot more.

Electric snow shovels are generally cheaper than snow blowers. They cost from $60 to $250. It is rare to come across a snow thrower that costs less than an electric snow shovel. Best of all, electric snow shovels require less maintenance. They run on electricity and don’t need gasoline, motor oil, or engine tune-ups.

The clear winner of this comparison is the electric snow shovel. It is more affordable.

Winner: Electric snow shovel


Is there an electric snow shovel?

There is an electric snow shovel – a powered snow removal tool that picks up snow with a rotating paddle auger and tosses it away. It is a great upgrade to the manual snow shovel. You can buy an electric snow shovel in your local home improvement store. 

Is a snow blower better than a shovel?

A snow blower is better than a shovel in terms of efficiency. A snow blower clears snow much faster than a shovel. It requires little physical labor to operate. It is an ideal investment for those who are no longer able to do the work manually.

Are electric snow shovels effective?

Electric snow shovels are effective on light and shallow snow. They can clear snow 10 to 16 inches wide and up to a foot tall. They can’t clear heavy snowfall like snow blowers can. They are more suited for clearing steps, decks, and other near-house areas.

Deciding Between Electric Snow Shovel Vs Snow Blower: The Final Word

You can now see that both a snowblower and an electric snow shovel have their pros and cons. The best way to decide between the two is to look at the amount of snow you get in your area and how big of a space you plan on clearing. 

If you still can’t decide between an electric snow shovel vs snow blower, follow these last guidelines:

Buy an electric snow shovel if:

  • You plan on clearing smaller areas near the house. 
  • It doesn’t snow a lot in your area. 
  • You don’t like maintenance.  
  • You have limited storage.
  • You are on a budget.

Buy a snow blower if:

  • You have a lot of ground to clear.
  • You live in a snowy area.
  • You want to clear snow fast.
  • You don’t mind the maintenance.
  • You have enough storage space.

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