Today’s snow removal machines make quick work of clearing the white stuff from driveways and sidewalks—saving your back from the strain of shoveling and tossing aside heavy snow. Yet while the terms “snow blower” and “snow thrower” are often used interchangeably (even by manufacturers at times), the two machines are actually quite dissimilar in terms of power, functionality, and price. We’ve put these two side by side—snow blower vs. snow thrower—to identify six notable differences. Keep reading to find out which snow removal machine is best suited to your climate, property, and budget.
A snow blower is more powerful than a snow thrower.
A Snow Thrower is single-stage machine, meaning it gathers snow and tosses it out a chute in a single motion. The power generated by a horizontal spinning auger picks up the snow while also creating the force that expels snow out of a discharge chute, usually to a distance of 15 to 25 feet away.
A snow blower works in two stages; like a snow thrower, it has a rotating auger to scoop up snow, but the snow is then fed into an impeller, which is akin to a powerful fan that launches the snow up to 35 feet away, or farther. At the even more powerful end of the Snow Blower spectrum are three-stage blowers that feature accelerators that chew through hard-packed snow and even ice, crushing it and feeding it into a mighty impeller that can launch snow up to 50 feet away.
Snow blowers remove a wider swath in a single pass.
Single-stage snow throwers are on the smaller side, and they remove snow in swath widths between 11 inches and 22 inches, depending on the individual machine. Two-stage snow blowers can clear up to a 26-inch swath of snow, while three-stage ATV Snow Blowers can remove as much as 30 inches of snow in a single swath. In areas that get frequent snows, a snow blower that removes a wider swath will significantly reduce the amount of time spent clearing away snow.
Snow throwers work better with light snow accumulations.
Because they’re smaller and less powerful than snow blowers, ATV Snow Throwers are better suited to removing light snow accumulations of about eight to nine inches, maximum. The top of the front intake chute on a snow blower is higher than it is on a snow thrower, so snow blowers can tackle deeper drifts and accumulations of 15 inches or more. In addition, small snow throwers are often not self-propelled, which also makes it more difficult for the operator to physically push them in thicker snow accumulations. The majority of snow blowers on the market today are self-propelled.