Snow Blower or Shovel: How to Decide Which One Is Best for Your Needs

Snow blower or snow shovel header

It’s winter once again and you have to deal with the snow in your home. What do you need to remove snow? A snow blower or shovel? Both actually have their advantages and disadvantages.

The right tool for you really depends on what you need. Read on to find out how to decide which tool is right for you: a snow blower or shovel?

Snow Blower or Shovel: What Do I Need?

If you aren’t clearing a large area a shovel is perfectly adequate. If you don’t have a big budget, a shovel will do the job. However if you have regular snowfall to clear from a larger area, and you have the budget for it a snow blower will save you time and effort.

What Is a Snow Blower?

A snow blower, sometimes referred to as a snow thrower, is a machine that can clear snow. It is particularly needed in areas that have to be cleared of snow. 

For example, the driveway. 


The driveway needs to be without snow so that it would be easier for you to drive your car out of your area. 

Say you are in a hurry to leave your home for work or for an appointment. 


The night before, you didn’t realize that the snow fell and you now have inches of snow on the driveway. 

Well, the snow blower can clear the snow on your driveway properly. 

The same goes for the following:

  • Walkway 
  • Sidewalk

Aside from your home areas

The snow blower can also be used in the following areas:

  • Runway
  • Road
  • Railroad track
  • Ice rink

How does it work?

The main component of the machine is the auger. It is the part that “processes” the snow. 


In explaining the process of of clearing the snow through the snow blower, it is also important to mention the two major types of the equipment:

  1. Single-stage snow blower
  2. Two-stage snow blower

Let’s get back to the process

So, in the single-stage snow blower, the auger will suck in the snow. It is also the auger that will discharge the snow from the chute. 

The auger is usually visible from the front. 

Poulan single-stage snow blower

On the other hand

The auger will pull the snow into the machine, but it’s the impeller that is responsible for throwing out the snow. 

That’s why it’s called two-stage, referring to the two parts or two stages for snow “processing.”

What happens to the snow?

It will be thrown some feet away. In most cases, the snow will be thrown 20 feet away. 

The snow blower can also work with six to 20 inches of snow–depending on your snow blower model. 

What Is a Snow Shovel?

If not all people know what a snow blower is, it’s quite impossible for them to not know what a snow shovel is. 

Even if people didn’t live in regions with winter, they surely know what a shovel is. 

After all

A shovel is a common tool used to move various ground items. 

People can use a shovel to move rocks, soil and coal, among others. It is a common tool that movies used to bury bodies. 😉

There’s a generic kind of shovel. A snow shovel, though, was created precisely for snow. 

In other words

The snow shovel is designed for snow removal. 

That’s why if you look at some of the snow shovels, they have almost shed their shovel look. 

Although, most still have that typical broad flat blade on one end. However, most flat scoops don’t look like a spade anymore. 

Electric shovel

What makes them different?

For one, the snow shovel is made specially to remove snow. The spade shape won’t easily remove snow, especially if it is inches deep. 

A lot of the modern snow shovels are also made so that users don’t have to lift the tool with the snow anymore. 

This way

It’s going to save a lot of people from back pains. 


A lot of the snow shovels have scoops that do more than just scooping snow; they also break ice.

There are also various materials used in snow shovels that will make you think about what it is that you really need. 

Snow Blower or Shovel?

Since shoveling snow seems like hard work, does this mean that people usually prefer to work with a snow blower?

Not necessarily. 

You’d be surprised!

Not all people will prefer the obvious choice. From the outside, the snow blower seems like a great idea. 

However, there are also many things that work better for the shovel. 

Here are the major differences between the two tools, save of course for the very obvious difference in appearance. 


This is quite obvious: the snow blower is a large snow machine, which means there is a mechanism involved. 

In essence, the snow blower will mostly work to throw the snow away from you!

As for the snow shovel

You will basically be working to throw the snow away from you. The burden of the job lies on you when you use the snow shovel. 

The burden of the job, when it comes to the snow blower, lies mostly on the machine. 

I say mostly because:

You still have to push the machine. 

Don’t worry, it’s not heavy at all because it has its own set of wheels. 

Person clearing snow


You are paying for convenience when you buy the snow blower. 

That is, of course, on top of the obvious expensive manner that the snow blower is manufactured compared to the snow shovel. 

The difference?

The snow blower costs hundreds of dollars more than the snow shovel. 

In fact, between a snow shovel and a two-stage snow blower, the difference in price could even reach $1,000. 


As earlier mentioned, there is a lot of effort exerted when you use a snow shovel. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Let me elaborate

Shoveling is a form of exercise. 

You just need to know the proper way of shoveling snow so that you won’t hurt your back.

But when done properly

You could be hitting two birds with one stone. You could clear your pathway or driveway or sidewalk, while also moving your entire body.

Shoveling will not just work your arms, it will put your entire body to work. 

Of course

If you have a truly large yard with a large driveway and pathway, then it might not be practical anymore. 

Exercise is good but too much physical work could also hurt you. 

Snow shovel in snow


You might think that the snow blower will save you time, right?

Again, not necessarily!

Let me explain

If you just want a quick work like you want to clear the area where you and your family need to walk at, or you need the driveway cleared, the shovel may actually save you the time. 

It takes a few steps to clear the area using a shovel. 

You don’t believe me?

You basically just need to get the snow shovel from its storage area and do some shoveling in the area you needed cleared.

Even explaining that process is so simple. 

But what about the snow blower?

So you take the snow blower out from its storage area, and you push it to the driveway, for example.

Now, if you have cars in the driveway, you have to drive them out of the area because the snow blower is quite large and you can’t maneuver it properly with some hurdles like the car or cars. 


If you are using an electric snow blower, then you have to take out the extension cord and attach one end to the snow blower and another to the outlet. 

Then you have to do the same process in reverse when you are done clearing the area. 

For the gas-powered machine, you would have to pull the trigger to allow it to work.


If you own an electric shovel, then you also need to follow the same steps mentioned above. 

However, the electric shovel is still way lighter than the snow blower, which makes you work way faster. 

Electric snow shovel

Then again

If you really have a large area, then the snow blower will be more convenient for you. It won’t tire you out and the job will take a shorter time to finish. 

The shovel is just more practical for really quick clearing. 


Here’s another positive thing from the shovel that you can’t get from the snow blower: control over where to move the snow. 

With the shovel, you can just throw the snow where you want it. You’ll need strength if you need to throw it far though. 

With the snow blower:

You can choose the direction from where you want to move your snow, however, as to where exactly it will land, you can’t exactly do that. 

Although, you will know how far it will throw the snow. 

There’s also that

Snow blowers can throw your snow 20 feet away!

So, if you have a small area, you might be throwing snow at your neighbor’s house. 

Speaking of…

Throwing distance

If you have a large yard, you would want the snow to be moved farther from you. 

That’s where the clear advantage of the snow blower comes in. 

As mentioned

The snow blower can move snow 20 feet away. 

When you use a snow shovel, movement will depend on your strength. If you want to throw it far away from you, then you need the ability to do that. 

That’s very tiring!

Yes, it is!

With a snow blower, the snow can be as far away from you as you want it to be–okay, depending on the model you choose. 

Sun Joe Snow Blower

But most models have a throwing distance of 20 feet–give or take. 

The larger machines, particularly those used in industries, can even throw snow 40 feet away.


As with anything, in general, there is no perfect product. However, there is a product that is perfect for you!

It’s the same with the snow blower or shovel argument: which one is better? It truly depends on you and your need. For example, if you don’t have a large budget, then the snow shovel will do. If you have a large area, then a snow blower is more practical for you. 

Both the snow blower and snow shovel have their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to choose which one would better fit your needs.

You Might Also Like

Since this was mentioned in the article, you ought to know the many differences between a single-stage snow blower and two-stage snow blower. Which one is right for you?

If you want to know what an electric shovel is, here is an example: Earthwise SN74016.

As for the snow blower, I have a way better example–a list of examples, in fact. Here is my list of the best two-stage snow blowers on the market.

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