Pros and cons: The battle between gas and electric snowblowers

You have a choice between using electric- or gas-powered equipment for just about any heavy equipment purchase you make, from a chipper to a snowblower. There are pros and cons for both a gas and an electric snowblower. Reviews will help you in your decision-making, but there's lots of different areas to consider first.

When comparing a gas vs. electric snowblower, ratings are high in favor of electric when it comes to being maneuverable. That's because electric snowblowers are lightweight. Not only will it be easier to get it home from the department store after you buy it, but it will also be easier to move along your driveway and sidewalks compared to a gas model. Because it's a single-stage snowblower, it's one of the most budget-friendly options.

You'll be yanking on the starter cord to get the motor running if you purchase a gas snowblower. Electric start is much easier because of the push-button ignition. It's a great option in areas where temperatures plummet below freezing. Not being able to start a gas blower with a starter cord when it's bitterly cold out is common consumer complaint. Those with physical limitations will also benefit from an electric start.

Good and bad

One pro of an electric snowblower is that it's smaller. That's great if you don't have much storage space. On the flip side, that gives the gas snowblower the advantage when it comes to clearing a heavy snowfall. In general, if it's common for your region to get snowfalls of more than 6 inches, it's best to go with a gas snowblower.

Though not having to go to the gas station to fill up a container or worry about running out of fuel are two big selling points when it comes to electric, if the power goes out, an electric snowblower is of no use to you. In addition, the cord for an electric snowblower only stretches 100 to 150 feet. If you have a long driveway, that could leave you well short of what you need. Because there's a cord, you also have to take extra care not to run over it with the snowblower.

Don't need all that power, but still want a little help clearing paths? There is one other option in electric snow shovels. Think of an electric snow shovel as a combination electric broom and snowblower. You can use it to clear porches, steps and other small areas.

They're designed for light snowfall, not heavy and/or icy storms, and they can only clear small snows, no more than 6 or so inches. When using one, you will be pushing the snow forward, directly in front of the electric snow shovel. But what if you need the snow to be pushed to the side? You'll have to plan your steps accordingly. It starts easily and works well with outdoor extension cords, although they can be heavy and cumbersome to deal with at times.

Before you commit to a snowblower based on price or availability, think about the practical circumstances of your situation. Making a knee-jerk decision can leave you with a tool that doesn't get the job done. Once you know what style you need, then you can find the best deal, but a discount tool that doesn't get the job done isn't a deal at all. 

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