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Snow Blowers vs Leaf Blowers: Clear Snow the Easy Way

Once winter hits, you may find yourself getting creative in order to keep snow cleared from your property. Not everyone is in the market for a snowblower to help keep the worst of the winter precipitation at bay. And if you feel you are limited to what you currently have in your shed, you may be surprised to find that you have more power than what you thought. If shoveling seems like a tedious and physically taxing chore, you may want to turn to your trusted leaf blower depending on the type and amount of snowfall you have received. Many people haven’t considered that the differences between a snow blower and a leaf blower are actually what makes them both effective in clearing out your drive and walkways. If you’re not sure what a snow blower vs leaf blower can do for you, then read on for a brief explanation of how each works.

difference between snow blower and leaf blower

Snow BlowerClear light to heavy snowfalls
Requires maintenance
Need room to store
One season use
Leaf BlowerClears dry, light snowfalls
Requires minimal maintenance
Easy to store
All season use

Snow Blower Pros & Cons


  • Can move large amounts of wet or dry snow quickly
  • Electric vs gas powered
  • Easy to push
  • Easy on your body


  • Requires maintenance
  • Can be loud
  • Requires storage space
  • Added cost of electricity, or gas and oil

Leaf Blower Pros & Cons


  • Great for small spaces
  • Easy on body
  • Electric,cordless, and gas powered options
  • Excellent for decks, porches, and walkways


  • Dry snow only
  • Can’t blow above 32 degrees
  • Limited to smaller jobs
  • Limited to 4 inches of snowfall or less

Snow Blowers: Moving Snow All Season Long

Snow blowers and throwers are efficient machines that can move seriously massive amounts of snow fairly quickly. Electric and gas powered models are both available to help get small to moderate jobs done as well. Often these machines are well loved due to their ability to reduce physical exertion and cut your snow clearing time in half- if not more. Areas that receive regular, consistent snowfall that is variable in weight and texture will definitely benefit from a snowblower. This is especially true if you have larger areas to clear. But if light snow fall is all you regularly receive, then you may want to reconsider such a large investment.

How They Work

Electric snow blowers and single stage, gas powered snow blowers all work following the same premise: they run power to an auger that sucks up and throws snow away from your path through a chute. Gas powered blowers also come in more powerful, dual stage models that have both an auger and impeller to help move large amounts of snow, and throw it further. Electric and single stage gas models typically can clear 12 to 21-inch widths and up to 12 inches of clearance. They are for areas that receive small to moderate amounts of snow. Dual stage gas models can occasionally clear up to 48 inches in width and up to 24 inches in height. These machines are often used in areas that have extreme weather conditions or are used professional for business.


The benefits of having a snow blower are varied depending on the type of model you choose. Finding the perfect size, weight, and ability for your needs are generally easy enough to research- as many are built for specific areas of clearance. Electric starts, heated hand grips, power steering, and adjustable chutes are only a few considerations you will be able to choose from. But the bottom line is these machines are powerful tools to aid in clearing large amounts of snow quickly from driveways, walkways, patios, decks, and even stairs. Most can handle adverse conditions as well, and even when faced with wet, heavy snow, or ice- you will most likely be able to get the job done.


Snow blowers do need to be maintained, no matter which kind you choose to have. Proper storage, keeping associated cords untangled, and checking gas and oil are all a part of the regular maintenance you will need to consider when in use. Plus, overtime your 4-stroke gas powered versions will need to be stored correctly for the warmer months: gas and oil will need to be drained, belts, hoses, spark plugs, and carburetors are all parts that may need cleaning or replacement overtime as well.


As with any machine, there are always some concerns surrounding the use of them that should be considered. You have to take the time to take our machine out, plug it in, or check fluids, prior to getting started. You also need to provide storage, which may be quite large depending on what you own, and you need to consider the additional cost maintenance requires. You also can only really use a snowblower during the winter as it truly has no other purpose than to move snow. Snowblowers can be quite loud as well, and if you know you need to clear snow at night, it may be a nuisance depending on where you live. Plus, you may be restricted by the cord length within the area you need to clear if you have an electric model.

Leaf Blowers: Year Round Convenience?

Leaf blowers are just that, a handheld device powered by a 2-stroke engine, lithium battery, or even an electrical plug to help clear out loose leaves, grass, and other garden debris through forced air. They are also helpful to push trash for easier cleanup. Depending on the type you have helps determine how strong and efficient they are in moving larger, heavier litter. Often used in spring and fall to help move out falling leaves, or material left behind after a snow melt, they also can be very useful in the summer to help keep yards and walkways clear. But if you were told they are also an extremely useful tool through the winter as well, would you believe it? You should, because they are- even though they do have a few limitations in snow moving capabilities.

How They Work

All blowers use the physics of centrifugal force to create forceful air as a fan spins within the housing. This air is then pushed outwards through the tube which you can then use to direct the volume and rate of pressure. Powered by an engine, you can either choose from a powerful 2-stroke engine, a quieter, but relatively powerful electric engine, or a less powerful battery powered model. The heavier the material, the more powerful an engine you will want to use. When moving snow you’ll probably want something more powerful- most likely in the gas or electric range of models. This is simply because you are going to be limited in what kinds of snow you can use it on anyway, and so the best leaf blower for snow might not always be the most powerful, and expensive, model.


The benefits of using a leaf blower to clear snow are pretty self-explanatory. First off, you may be restricted to using your blower only with drier and lighter snowfalls, but you can definitely justify the use of it through the winter if only because you can effectively clear out areas of snow that might usually be inaccessible to a blower, or even a shovel. Plus, they are generally extremely lightweight, meaning even those who have physical restrictions can at least keep their porch and associated walkways and stair clear and free from snow that can melt, refreeze, and cause hazardous conditions. Also- don’t forget they can be used year-round. And best of all, it’s fun! Who doesn’t want to play with forced air? I would even bet that if you have children they would fight over who gets to use it next- letting you observe from your nice, warm, cozy home interior- coffee mug in hand.


Like electric and gas-powered snow blowers, you will need to store your leaf blower (although they do often hang upon the wall well) when not in use. Plus with electric-version you’ll need to keep cords tangle-free. 2 stroke engines also require maintenance, and an oil and fuel blend to lubricate the engine and run correctly. Spark plugs, fuel lines, and air filters should all be regularly maintained as well- especially when your blower sees regular use through the year.


Unfortunately, a leaf blower isn’t going to take down any serious winter squalls. In fact, it isn’t going to do much for snow over 4 inches in depth, wet snow, or even work well in temperatures over 32 degrees as the snow will begin to melt and become too heavy. Plus, as you push snow it will pile up on itself, so clearing large areas isn’t too realistic either. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth a try for smaller areas, such as porches, patios, stairways or even driveways and walkways if the snow is light enough and dry enough.

SNOWBLOWER OR LEAF BLOWER: Your Best Choice Explained

Obviously leaf blowers have the most limitations in how they can be used, but they can be extremely helpful in areas that don’t have much snowfall, or that experiences periods of regular, dry, light snowfalls. They are excellent choices for use in smaller areas, as well as by those who struggle with using a shovel or lifting. Plus, many people often have one in their garage already so it doesn’t require another investment. Snow blowers are best for anyone looking to cut down their snow clearance time, and to aide in lessening the physical exertion it takes. Designed for areas that receive regular snowfall, both light to heavy, there are many models available to meet specific needs. The bottom line- There is no need to invest in a snow blower if you cannot justify its use, but it is the machine you do need in order to move lots of regular snowfall. Whereas a leaf blower can be a handy tool, it isn’t going to ever replace the power of a snowblower, and it cannot to much more than minimal clearing through a winter season. Hopefully, if you’ve been wondering if a snow blower or a leaf blower is the better tool- then this has been more fully explained for your understanding.

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!