Skip to Content

The REAL Difference Between a Snowblower and a Snow Thrower

What is the difference between a snowblower and a snow thrower? If you need one of the best snow removal tools this winter, then which snow-removing equipment should you choose? 

Snowblowers and snow throwers are different. The main difference is that a snow blower is more powerful and therefore provides more functionality when compared to a snow thrower. 

When deciding if a snowblower is worth the money or whether you need to buy a snow thrower, keep in mind the minimum depth required for snowblower use, as well.

Depending on the average amount of snowfall where you live, one machine may be enough. However, you may want to own both machines to use as and when required.

SnowblowerSnow Thrower
PriceA snow blower is likely to cost more money than a snow thrower. However, you can often find them on sale or purchase them second hand. snow thrower is cheaper than a snowblower and retails for between $100 and $400. 
Clearance CapacityA snowblower can clear more snow than a snow thrower. This is both in depth and in width. A snow thrower can move snow up to around 2 inches deep. 

Any more than this and it will have to be broken down before being removed. 

The capacity of removal can also be impacted if the machine is battery powered. 
Repairs & MaintenanceSnowblowers require more maintenance than snow throwers. 

You’ll need to change the oil and any repairs are likely to cost more due to the heavy-duty parts involved. 
A snow thrower requires little, or no maintenance and repairs should be relatively affordable given the basic components of the machine. 
Power SourceThe majority of snowblowers are gas powered. Most snow throwers are powered using large rechargeable batteries or from a mains cord. 
WeightA snowblower is heavier than a snow thrower. 

Take into consideration the snowblower stage if you’re concerned about the weight. 

A single stage snowblower is going to weigh less than a two or three stage snowblower.
A snow thrower is much lighter and easier to maneuver than a snow blower given the fact it’s not as powerful. 

Be sure to get a wireless one (that runs on batteries) if you’re concerned about your mobility when using the tool.
Final ThoughtsIf you get a large amount of snow each year, then I’d recommend purchasing a snow blower. 

They cost more than a snow thrower and require a small amount of maintenance however they’ll help you quickly and easily remove snow from your property.
If you struggle to lift heavy objects or only get a small amount of snow each year, then you may only need to spend between $100 and $400 on a snow thrower.

While the power and therefore capacity of snowblowers and snow throwers are different, there are some other differences which you should consider prior to making the decision as to which machine is right for you. 

If choosing a snowblower, see our comparison guide to determine whether you need a one-stage, two-stage or three-stage snowblower.


Cost is one of the factors that differentiate a snowblower from a snow thrower. If you are looking for an affordable machine to clear a small amount of snow during the winter season, then I would recommend a snow thrower. 

As a snowblower is more powerful and therefore offers additional functionality, you should expect to spend more money on it (anything from $150 through to $4,000). However, if you choose the best time to buy a snowblower, you can enjoy considerable savings.

On the other hand, a snow thrower is much more affordable at between $100 and $400. 

While the price is one factor to consider when deciding whether to purchase a snow blower or a snow thrower, I don’t believe it should be the primary one.

If you need a snowblower capacity machine, then you will probably find buying a more affordable second hand one, at a place where someone has donated a snowblower, to be a better option and its price point to be more in line with a snow thrower.

However, if you have a leaf blower then you may not need to invest in a snow thrower at all because leaf blowers can move up to 2 inches of snow without a shovel.

Clearance Capacity

Many snow blowers are approximately 2 feet wide. This clearance width makes it possible for you to clear your driveway faster when compared to a snow thrower. Snowblowers are one of the best ways to remove snow from a gravel driveway.

On the other hand, a snow thrower has a lesser clearance capacity as most machines are just 6 – 12 inches wide.

Related Post: How to Prevent Clogging a Snowblower

Due to the compact size of the machine, you will be required to complete additional laps of your driveway (or other clearance area) when compared to a snow blower. 

Sadly, this may not always be possible in one go as many snow throwers are powered by electricity and in some cases require large re-chargeable batteries. Not all these batteries will have the capacity to clear an entire drive from one charge.

This is likely going to depend on the size of the area you would like to clear, as well as the settings of your snow thrower at the time.

A snow blower also has the capacity to deal with deeper snow with many machines able to move 10 – 12-inch-deep snow.

On the flip side, you will find that you will probably need to break down the snow into smaller chunks using a snow shovel prior to using a snowblower. 

Being able to clear your drive quickly and easily is what motivates most people to decide if snowblowers are worth the money and to purchase a snow blower instead of a snow thrower. 

Repairs and Maintenance: Snowblowers vs. Snow Throwers

As with all machines, some require more maintenance than others. This often comes at an additional monetary and time cost (and in some cases provides added frustration). Snow blowers and snow throwers are no different.

Being the bigger more heavy-duty machine, you will find that snowblower maintenance is essential. With many snow blowers being gas-powered, you will be required to change their oil on a regular basis at a minimum. 

Related Post: How to Fix a Flat Tire on a Snowblower

You will also find that purchasing repair plans or repairs in general cost more for a snow blower than they do a snow thrower due to the complex nature of the machine and the heavy-duty parts used in assembly. Without this basic regular maintenance, you will find that your machine breaks quicker. 

Not what you want from a large investment.

On the flip side if you take care of your machine, such as cleaning the snowblower carburetor regularly, you will find that less repairs are needed over time which should save you money and ensure your machine lasts longer.

Most snow throwers are powered either by electricity or batteries. This is a great advantage to homeowners who don’t like the constant need for maintaining gas and oil as well as pulling cords to run their machines.

Related Post: Guide to Heated Hand Grips for Snowblowers

Power Source

Many snow blowers are gas powered and not electric. Therefore, they are not dependent on any wires and can run continuously without the need for recharging. Much like the machines capacity this is great if you have a large property or regularly see a large amount of snow fall.

On the other hand, snow throwers are often powered by electricity. This can either be with pre-charged batteries or via a main cable. Both cause a limited capacity.

With pre-charged batteries you may find that you are unable to complete the removal of snow without re-charging the battery. Alternatively, you may find that you have forgot to charge the battery all together.

While snow throwers powered by a main power cord will not stop midway like battery-powered throwers they can be frustrating. After all, who wants to be followed around with a wire in the snow? 

Many of my friends and family members who have owned snow throwers and snowblowers which are powered in this way have run over the cable accidentally as it got lost in the snow and have broken the machine as a result.

In the dangerous conditions that snow can sometimes bring, the wire also poses as a trip hazard.

This was the major reason why I first decided to go for a gas-powered snow blower instead of any electrical snow removal tools prior to gaining any knowledge or experience with the equipment.

Related Post: What To Do If You Lose Your Snowblower Keys


Depending on your age and physical ability, you may want to consider the weight of the machine you are using to remove snow from your property.

A snow blower is often much heavier than a snow thrower due to the power and capacity of the machine. 

The amount of work that it can do is equivalent to its size. That is why it can tackle heavy snow effectively. This is not the same for a snow thrower. A snow thrower is small and lightweight. The fact that it is lightweight means that it only clears lighter snowbanks compared to a snowblower.

The advantage of a snow thrower with respect to its size is that it is easier to carry and store.

Final Thoughts

Essentially, both a snowblower and a snow thrower are valuable machines during the winter season. Though there are significant differences between the two, both serve a purpose during the snowy months. Ultimately your choice of equipment is going to depend on the volume of snow you are clearing.