Does A Snow Blower Have An Air Filter? (Revealed)

Close up of air filter

Recently I wrote an article asking if you can run a lawn mower without an air filter.

The piece emphasized how such a tiny and inexpensive piece of kit is so vital to the running of a lawn mower.

So that got me thinking I should address another question that is commonly asked.

Does a snow blower have an air filter?

If you have read my article on lawn mowers and air filters you will probably think snow blowers must have an air filter too.

Well, let’s find out…

Does A Snow Blower Have An Air Filter?

Snow blowers do not have air filters. This is because they are operated in cold conditions, when the dry winter air means there is very little dust or dirt in the air that needs filtering out. Additionally, an air filter would continually freeze over in the cold conditions, or even if it didn’t it would keep the air too cold for the snow blower to perform efficiently.

What Does An Air Filter Do?

Small engines need clean air to run.

When air gets pulled into an engine, it is inevitable it will also pull in some dirt, grit and dust as well.

The air filter is there to prevent those particles from entering the engine.

Without an air filter a small engine is open to a number of things:

  • Damage to vital components of the machine from the dirt/grit/dust.
  • It won’t be able to burn fuel properly as these added particles will unbalance the air-to-fuel ratio for the engine.
  • The machine parts will wear out more quickly.

So surely it stands to reason a snow blower would have an air filter right?


They don’t and there are three main reasons why they don’t.

RELATED ===> Buyers Guide: The Best Snow Blowers on the Market

Reason #1: Snow Blowers Are Operated in Very Clean Conditions

Woman in snow storm

During and after a snowstorm the falling snow removes most of the dust from the air.

In short, dry winter air is nearly always very clean. 

Unlike using a lawn mower, when you use a snow blower you are not stirring any dirt or dust up into the air.

There usually will be some kind of airbox with a cover to prevent snow and large debris from getting into the machine, but there is no air filter because the air is so clean.

Reason #2: The Air Filter Will Clog/Freeze Too Easily

By virtue of their name, snow blowers are operated in cold conditions.

That means if you had an air filter on a snow blower it would be prone to freezing up due to the cold temperatures and the airborne snow it would inhale.

Even if the temperatures weren’t below freezing, then you would have the issue of wet snow saturating the air filter and then probably freezing as the temperatures drop overnight.

Either way, the end result would be the engine choking itself and running rich or not running at all.

RELATED ===> Do Snow Blowers Have Oil Filters?

Reason #3: It Would Increase the Likelihood of Stalling

Man clearing snow in yard

Honda has a reputation for making excellent snow blowers and when their customer support was contacted to ask why they don’t have air filters, they were quite clear in their answer.

They said that an air filter and its enclosure would keep the air too cold and increase the likelihood of the engine stalling in temperatures below freezing.

That is why snow blowers often have a mini ‘stove’ around the muffler. 

It is a small box that pre-heats the air before going into the intake to vaporize any moisture and prevent the carburetor from icing up.

Final Thoughts

Click infographic to enlarge

When you think about it, it is logical why snow blowers don’t have air filters.

Air filters are there to prevent dust and dirt from entering the engine, and snow blowers operate in scenarios where the air is already very clean and there is little to no dirt to filter out.

Additionally, if you added an air filter to a machine that is only used in very cold and wet conditions it would cause more problems than it would be worth.

It would continually freeze up and affect the running of the snow blower detrimentally.

So an air filter is definitely a ‘snow’ go (sorry for the bad pun), when it comes to snow blowers!

Spread the love

Leave a Comment