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Snowblowers vs Snow throwers

Posted by Crystal Carr on 2/4/2019 to Guides
Snowblowers vs Snow throwers
Up here in New England, we've had piles of snow on the ground since well before Thanksgiving. That means our trusty snowblowers have been working hard for months already, and odds are they'll be needing a nice tune-up pretty soon. Those of us who get a lot of snow know we've got to take care of or snow throwers, else we'll be up at the crack of dawn with nothing but a shovel and our own aching bodies to clear a driveway that seems to get longer the more we clear.

First things first, you may have noticed that on this blog and throughout our site, we use the terms snowblower and snow thrower interchangeably. As it turns out, that may not be strictly accurate.

What is the difference between a snowblower and a snow thrower?

This wasn't supposed to be an article at all, but sadly, the topic is not as clear-cut as you would expect, especially when it's about machines designed specifically to clear snow in clean, straight cuts. Really, is there anything more satisfying than the crisp edges of snow on a smooth, cleared driveway?


Basically, there are two major arguments to be made on the nomenclature of auger-based snow removal devices.

Option # 1: Snowblowers have two or more stages, snow throwers are single-stage only
What kind of "stages" the snow-removal process could possibly have, apart from maybe denial, anger, and bargaining?

Once you've worked through your grief about living in a winter wonderland, you just need to know that a "stage" means a step or a process. Snow throwers have a spinning auger that forces snow into a chute and out the end, without any other components - snow throwers, then, will be best for areas that usually experience less than 6" of snow in a single storm.

Snowblowers on the other hand, have two steps in their snow removal process: First, the auger will churn and cut up the heavy snow, then (second stage) a spinning fan (called an impeller) forces the snow to shoot farther out of the chute than with an auger alone.
They also provide power to the wheels so that it's not just your own brute force propelling the machine forward. Considering these beasties are designed around how many feet of snow they can handle rather than inches, this is a fantastic feature.

Option # 2: There is no difference.
...wait... huh? How can that be? The two paragraphs above go into very specific differing features! Words are supposed to matter, how can there be no difference when there specifically IS a difference as mentioned above?

Well, there are lots of different manufacturers of these machines. Some manufacturers are very careful to name their single-stage machines "snowthrowers" and their two-stage machines "snowblowers." We applaud their precise use of language, but there have been spoiled by several other manufacturers who do not choose to use this distinction, and... worst of all, we have some who refer to all their products as snowblowers regardless of the process, and some who call even their two-stage machines snow throwers.

When this happens, you end up with what's called a "distinction without a difference." Because not everyone is careful about these terms, it means that none of us need to be too concerned either. My recommendation is that you call them whatever you prefer. If you want something with oomph, you should make sure to say "two-stage", and if you don't want that, you probably don't live in the north!


I hope this is all clear as the driven snow now! Thank you for reading. For 10% off your next order, use code THROWER at checkout! If you are filled with auger at this topic, we impel you to let us know in the comments!


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