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Electric vs. Gas Snow Blowers: Which Is Best?

Learn the key differences between gas and electric snow blowers.

Which camp are you a fan of, electric snow blowers or gas snow blowers? They both do the same thing, but there are significant differences in their cost, performance, convenience, and capabilities. So, which is best?

Let’s take a look at electric vs. gas snow blowers to give you the definitive answers to your questions.

Key Takeaways

  • Electric snow blowers are cheaper, quieter, and better suited for light snow clearance in smaller yards with a power supply.
  • Gas snow blowers offer more power, greater capacity, and no restrictions on reach, making them ideal for heavy snow clearance and larger areas.
  • Electric snow blowers require minimal maintenance and have lower running costs compared to gas snow blowers.
  • Gas snow blowers can be noisier, heavier, and require more maintenance, but their increased power and capacity make them suitable for tougher snow clearing tasks.

Electric Vs. Gas Snow Blowers

So, what are the key advantages of each type of snow blower? Let’s look at them in a handy chart to get an at-a-glance guide.

Features Electric Snow Blowers Gas Snow Blowers
Power source Electricity Gasoline
Coverage Small/medium Infinite
No. of Stages 1-stage 1-stage/2-stage
Applications Light snow clearance Heavy snow clearance
Features Brushless motors/ battery-operated Increased power/auger plus impeller
Running cost Minimal Medium to high
Weight Lightweight Heavy
Costs $$ $$$$
Maintenance Minimal High

Electric Snow Blowers

Electric Snow Blower

Electric snow blowers are freely available for sale and extremely useful, even if they seem less popular than gas models. They are the ideal tool if you have a smaller yard or only get a light coating of snow. The obvious downside with an electric snow blower is you need a power outlet.

It also restricts the snow blower’s reach, which is why smaller yards are better suited to electric varieties. Plus, electric snow blowers are not as powerful as their gas-powered cousins, so if you live in Alaska, an electric model might struggle to cope.

Electric snow blowers come in varying sizes and designs but they are all single-stage machines, so they lack an impeller to project the snow out of the exhaust. It’s why they are better suited to lighter duties.

A crucial advantage of an electric blower is they are quieter. This is good news if you have close neighbors and don’t want to disturb them while you work. The other bonus is they are often cheaper to buy and require no additional gasoline. This reduces costs and makes the operation more convenient.

You can also get battery-powered snow blowers that free you from the constraints of an electrical socket and power lead. However, batteries hold a finite charge, so you reduce the runtime of your blower, limiting its range.

How Do They Work?

The first thing to bear in mind is you need a power socket to plug in the lead. If you need to gain extra reach, consider an extension cord. The downside with this method of power is you risk severing the cable as you work outside.

Single-stage motors use an auger that performs double-duties because it has to scoop up the snow and blow it out. In contrast, most gas models are 2-stage, so while the auger collects, the impeller blows the snow out the other end, making it more efficient at clearing significant amounts of snow.

With fewer moving components, less maintenance is needed, making electrical snow blowers a more appealing choice for those with limited mechanical knowledge.


  • Lightweight.
  • More affordable.
  • Easier to use.
  • Easier to maintain.
  • Quieter.


  • Limited reach.
  • Lighter capacity clearance.
  • Single-stage.
  • Requires a power socket.

Gas Snow Blowers

Gas Snow Blowers

While we salute the advantages of electric snow blowers, they cannot match gas models when it comes to sheer volumes of snow clearance. It’s the reason why you are more likely to find gas blowers utilized in extreme locations and in more rural areas, where a power supply is less likely to be available.

Many homes in these environments rely on off-grid power sources like generators, solar and wind power, as well as solid-fuel systems. There simply isn’t the option to plug in the lead and start clearing snow.

Also, people tend to have larger plots in these locations, so an electric snow blower is not an option. With a gas-powered model, you don’t have any restrictions on where you can go.

Thanks to their greater capacity, gas snow blowers come in a wider array of sizes and specifications, giving you a comprehensive range of choices. Smaller gas models compare favorably with top-end electric models, but as you scale up the price range, you can spend significantly more for a gas snow blower.

There are downsides to gas snow blowers that you need to consider. First, they are noisy. Petrol motors generate a higher volume than electric varieties, so if you have close neighbors, you might irritate them with the noise.

Second, they need higher maintenance, so if you are not mechanically-minded, you will need to learn fast or suffer expensive repair bills every time something goes wrong.

And finally, there is the cost of gasoline and motor oil, as well as lubricants to keep your petrol engine purring like a cat. You don’t suffer these costs with electric motors.


  • More powerful.
  • Infinite reach.
  • Faster snow clearance.
  • 2-stage.
  • More common.


  • Expensive.
  • Require higher maintenance.
  • Harder to master.
  • Heavier.
  • Noisier.
  • Increased running costs.

How Do They Work?

You will need a supply of gasoline to top up the fuel reservoir. While this is relatively inexpensive, it still increases your running costs.

The heavier-duty models will be 2-stage snow blowers, meaning that they have an auger to scoop in the snow and an impeller that blows it out the other end. This increases the machine’s capacity, enabling you to clear higher volumes of snow in much less time.

The obvious advantage of gas snow blowers is they can run forever, or at least until you run out of fuel, but it means you can work your way along your extended driveway without too much trouble.

Electric vs. Gas Snow Blowers FAQs

Is It Worth Buying an Electric Snow Blower?

An electric snow blower is worth buying if you have a small yard. Quieter and more compact than a gas snow blower, electric units are great for removing snow from pathways and driveways.

Electric snow blowers are incredibly powerful despite their smaller size. They come with varying degrees of power and are more cost-effective than gas snow blowers in almost every way.

Since electricity is cheaper than gasoline, they cost less to operate. And because they don’t release toxic gas fumes into the air, they are more environmentally friendly than their gas counterparts.

How Long Do Gas Snow Blowers Last?

Gas snow blowers are amongst the most durable ones on the market and, with proper care, can offer up to 20 years of service.

Can I Leave an Electric Snow Blower Outside?

It’s possible to leave electric snow blowers outside but with a few caveats! Electric snow blowers last longer and provide more safety when stored indoors during the off-season because moisture can cause corrosion over time outdoors.

You should also disconnect it from the power outlet so it doesn’t get damaged. But even if you can leave an electric snow blower outside, it’s best if you don’t.

From hail and heavy rain to wind and sudden cold fronts, exposure to extreme weather can damage these machines beyond repair.

Can I Use Year-Old Gas in Snowblower?

Using year-old gas in the snowblower is bad because it can damage the engine. It’s like pulling up to the drive-thru In-N-Out with an 18-wheeler.

Sure, if you’re lucky, things might turn out alright, and you’ll get that toasty burger satisfaction, but more often than not, you’ll end up regretting it.

That’s because year-old gas has a habit of gumming up the engine and leaving a bad taste in your mouth. So, if you can help it, it’s best to get fresh fuel and keep rolling on in the snow this winter.

Can You Use an Electric Snowblower on a Gravel Driveway?

If you have a 1-stage electric snow blower, it’s best not to use it on a gravel driveway. That’s because a 1-stage blower will lift the snow and the gravel off the ground, which is dangerous for the user, amongst other things.

Instead, an electric snowblower will do a much better job when used on a smooth surface, like a concrete driveway.

Which Snow Blower Is Best?

If you have a substantial yard and need the extra capacity, go for a gas snow blower. It frees you from power sockets and enables you to keep working until the yard is cleared without stopping.

If you don’t need the extra power, expense, or capacity, an electric model is a great choice. Plug it in, switch it on and start clearing snow. What could be simpler?

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.