The Bottom Line
Have a short driveway? Don't get much snow? Consider electric snow throwers (snowblowers), an alternative to gas-powered snow blowers. With electric, you spend more time on snow blowing, but less on maintenance, starting up the equipment, and finding a place to store it away later! You'll also spend less money for electric snow throwers. However, as you'll see below, gas-powered snow blowers have distinct advantages over electric snow throwers.
Note: The following review is a general comparison of machines based on how they are powered (gas vs. electricity). If you're looking for an assessment of a specific product, check out my review of the Toro Power Curve Electric Snowblower.
- No tune-ups, no gas and oil to worry about with these snow blowers.
- Less noisy than gas-powered snow blowers.
- Their light weight makes these snow blowers easy to store, easy to use.
- Suitable only for jobs involving short driveways.
- The cord gets in the way -- which is a hazard!
- Less powerful than gas-powered snow blowers.
- Lightweight and small, making it maneuverable while you're working and easy to store away after.
- No yanking on a starter cord to try to get your snow thrower to start up. Also less money, noise, pollution.
- Never worry about draining gas after the season, or about trips to the service center for tune-ups.
- But you're limited by the reach of your cord, which should be kept to 100'-150'....
- Because after 100'-150', you're too far from the power source to have sufficient juice....
- Thus in most cases these snowblowers will be useless for driveways over 100'-150' in length....
- Electricity and precipitation don't mix! Use common sense. And watch out not to run over the cord!
- The chute clogs if the snow is wet. But this is a problem common to most snow blowers.
- Meant to handle snowfalls of about 6". Not as powerful as gas-powered snow blowers.
- The Yard-Man model is an 8.5 amp electric snow thrower.
Guide Review - Electric Snow Throwers Review
Electric snow throwers offer a tempting alternative -- but only for some folks. If you have a short driveway and live where it doesn't snow much, then I envy you, because electric snow throwers could be right for you. If your driveway is under 100'-150', you don't have to worry about their main limitation: namely, that straying more than 100'-150' from the power source reduces the juice too much. Of course, the cord gets in the way, a drawback gas-powered snow blowers don't have. Also make sure you get an extension cord intended for outdoor use; and even then, use common sense in dealing with electricity.
There are always trade-offs when comparing electric equipment to gas-powered counterparts. Here are a few factors to weigh:
- On the plus side, with no gas or oil to worry about, your electric snow thrower will be maintenance-free.
- Because they're light-weight, anyone can handle an electric snow thrower.
- The small size virtually eliminates storage problems, a major concern for homeowners with limited space (remember, snowblowers take up garage, basement or shed space all 12 months of the year).
- However, being less powerful than gas-powered snowblowers, this equipment is meant for snowfalls only up to 6". Heck, where I live (New England), that's just a dusting! To compensate, you can make multiple passes over snowfalls that exceed 6". Or, if this sounds like too much work (and it does, to me), narrow down your search to gas-powered snowblowers.