In Brief: Battery or Gas Snow Blower – Which Is Better?
Battery snow blowers will be better for you if you have a small, paved driveway and light to moderate snowfall. They are cheaper, easier to maintain, and produce less pollution. Gas snow blowers will be better for you if you need their extra power, clearing width, and clearing depth for moderate to heavy snowfall.
The decision is not as straightforward as you might have thought, as each type has its advantages and disadvantages compared to the other.
This guide will take you through the main differences between battery and gas snow blowers so that you can make an informed buying decision.
Key Differences Between Battery and Gas Snow Blowers
This table serves as a quick comparison between battery and gas snow blowers. In the following section, we will discuss each point in more detail.
Now, let’s take a look at each of these points in more detail.
|Feature||Battery Snow Blower||Gas Snow Blower|
|Design||Mostly single-stage.||Single-, two-, and three-stage.|
|Power||Less power, measured in amps.||More power, measured in cc or hp.|
|Clearing Width||Up to 24 inches.||Up to 45 inches.|
|Clearing Depth||Up to 13 inches.||Up to 23.5 inches.|
|Maintenance||Very little maintenance.||Regular engine maintenance.|
|Ease of Use||Simple to operate.||Has extra comfort features.|
|Noise & Pollution||Quiet and no direct pollution.||Loud and produces pollution.|
|Running Costs||Infrequently requires a new battery.||Account for fuel, oil, and engine maintenance.|
|Price||Narrow range, up to $850.||Wide range, up to $3000.|
How It Works
Battery snow blowers are almost all single-stage. Single-stage snow blowers use a rubber auger to collect snow and propel it through the chute.
Gas snow blowers can be single-stage, but many are two-stage and three-stage. Two-stage machines add an impeller and switch the rubber auger for steel, which means greater snow-clearing power. Three-stage machines add an accelerator to the mix, which helps to clear tough snow quicker.
Battery snow blowers run off rechargeable batteries that power an electric motor.
Gas snow blowers use 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines powered by gasoline. They require fuels that do not contain ethanol.
Gas snow blowers are uniformly more powerful than their battery-powered counterparts.
Gas engines produce more power than electric motors when they are similar sizes. Although the gap has closed somewhat in recent years, for raw power you still want a gas engine.
When shopping for snowblowers, gas engines will be rated in cc (cubic centimeters) or hp (horsepower).
You can convert horsepower to CC by multiplying it by 16.
Electric motors are rated in amperes (amps). It is not so straightforward to convert between amps and CC/HP, but you can use online calculators to get a rough estimate.
The power differences between gas engines and electric motors have a direct effect on their relative clearing widths.
Gas snow blowers can have better clearing widths due to their relatively high power output. Wider augers require more power, so they tend to be found on gas models.
Gas snow blowers also come in two-stage and three-stage models, which have larger clearing widths than the single-stage models that can use battery power.
The maximum clearing width of a battery snow blower is around 24 inches. Gas models can have a maximum clearing width of around 45 inches.
A similar comparison can be made with clearing depth. Gas snow blowers can have significantly deeper snow intakes than their battery-powered counterparts.
However, clearing depth could be less of a factor for you than clearing width. Where a greater clearing width will always help you clear an area faster, the same cannot be said of clearing depth.
If you never experience snow over a foot deep, then a battery-powered snow blower will be just as effective in terms of clearing depth as a gas-powered model.
However, if you live somewhere that gets deep snow then the maximum 23.5-inch intake on a gas model will be required.
One of the most significant considerations you must make when deciding between a battery or gas snow blower is the amount of maintenance required.
Battery snow blowers require very little maintenance beyond proper storage and cleaning.
As long as you keep the battery and snow blower clean and dry when not in use, you will have very little maintenance work to perform.
Gas snow blowers have all the maintenance needs associated with gas engines.
Not only do you need to store and prepare fuel, but you will also need to familiarise yourself with the carburetor, spark plugs, and other engine parts that require regular maintenance.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, there is no straightforward winner between battery and gas snow blowers.
Battery snow blowers all have electric start, are usually lightweight and therefore more maneuverable, and do not require choke or priming procedures.
Gas snow blowers, on the other hand, tend to come with more bells and whistles. For instance, heated handles, joystick-controlled chutes, and self-propulsion are all far more common on the bigger gas models.
For a casual, occasional user, battery snow blowers are generally easier to operate. For experienced or commercial users, the extra features common on gas models make them the easier of the two.
Noise & Pollution
One of the major drawbacks of gas snowblowers is their effect on the environment.
Gas engines are loud and give off harmful pollution. You will need ear protection and would ideally have breathing protection too.
If you need to clear your driveway early in the morning, your neighbors may object to the noise of a gas snowblower.
Battery snow blowers, on the other hand, are much quieter.
The engine barely makes any noise at all, so your neighbors will struggle to find a reason why you should not be clearing snow before the sun comes up.
Battery models do not directly produce any air pollution.
However, electricity generation does produce air pollution somewhere down the line, so the only carbon-neutral option is to shovel it by hand.
Battery snow blowers have few running costs. After several years, you may have to replace the batteries.
Batteries are quite expensive and you do not want to opt for a cheaper, less reliable brand. However, these are occasional costs.
Gas snow blowers, as mentioned, require a decent amount of maintenance.
You will have to buy materials for those maintenance procedures, though the main cost of maintenance will usually be in time spent.
Gas models do, of course, require fuel. Fuel is a considerable running cost that you should factor in when thinking about purchasing a gas snow blower.
Battery snow blowers can cost anywhere up to about $850, whereas some of the biggest gas snow blowers can cost over $3000.
However, you can pick up a small, single-stage gas snowblower for as little as a couple of hundred dollars.
At the low end, while gas snow blowers are still slightly more expensive, the prices are comparable.
The wide price range for gas snow blowers indicates the variety of options available to you. The battery-powered snow blowers that are available on the market number much fewer.
Who Should Use A Battery Snow Blower and When?
Battery snow blowers are perfect for people with little snow blowing experience who need to clear light to moderate snow only a few times a year. They are especially well-adapted for use on small driveways, patios, and decks.
In these circumstances, battery snow blowers are more affordable and less hassle while still being good enough for the job.
As battery snow blowers are nearly all single-stage, they are not usually suitable for gravel or crushed stone driveways.
Who Should Use A Gas Snow Blower and When?
Gas snow blowers are the tool of choice for people who have experience clearing moderate to heavy snow from large driveways. If you have large amounts of heavy, compacted snow then you will need the additional power of a gas snow blower.
The big gas snow blowers are most suitable for commercial users or people with a significant amount of land.
However, the small, single-stage gas snow blowers on the market will suit residential users just as well.
We hope this guide has helped you to understand the differences between battery and gas snow blowers.
Now that you know the key advantages and limitations of these two types of snow blowers, you can make a more informed decision on which one to buy.
If you have any questions or comments about this guide or battery and gas snow blowers in general, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.