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The official start of spring may only be a month away, but you wouldn't know it from the brutal winter storms hitting much of southern Ontario and Quebec.
With "dangerous whiteout" conditions expected to last over the weekend, residents are once again lacing up their snow boots and readying themselves for hours spent behind the shovel. However, if that prospect sounds as grim as it is, there's still time to ditch the shovel and take home a snow blower or thrower instead.
Snow Blower vs. Snow Thrower: What's the difference?
While they essentially perform the same task, snow blowers and snow throwers are, in fact, two different things.
A snow thrower is a single-stage machine, meaning it uses a rotating auger to pick up snow and cast it out of the shoot in one continuous motion.
A snow blower, on the other hand, works in two stages. Similar to a snow thrower, it uses a rotating auger to scoop up snow, but rather than immediately shooting it out, it feeds the snow into an impeller (a powerful fan) which blows it out of the chute.
Do I need a Snow Blower or a Snow Thrower?
There are a few factors to consider to determine whether you need a snow blower or a snow thrower.
Snow conditions: If you don't typically get a lot of snow, a snow thrower may be a better option as they're smaller and less powerful than a snow blower, which means they tend to be less expensive. If you're used to seeing heavy snow conditions, you'll be better off with a snow blower as they're larger, more powerful, and equipped to handle heavy snowfall.
Gas-powered vs. electric: Many snow throwers are corded, meaning you can rely on your home's electricity for power. However, that also means you have limitations on how long the cord is and where you can take your machine. On the other hand, snow blowers tend to be fuel-powered, so you have flexibility on where you can take them, but in turn, they require gasoline and more maintenance than their electrical counterparts.
If you're interested in investing in a snow blower or snow thrower this winter season, scroll down to shop 13 reviewer loved-and-tested snow blowers and throwers under $500, $1,000 and $1,500.
Best Snow Blowers & Snow Throwers under $500
This large electric snow blower delivers the power of a gas machine with the convenience of an electric unit. Earning an average rating of 4.5 stars out of more than 220 reviews, Lowe's shoppers say this budget snow blower is "better than expected" and say it handles "over one foot of snow without a problem."
This budget-friendly snow blower features a powerful 15A electric motor that can move up to 25 tons of snow per hour. "As a senior, this snowblower is very convenient and provides exceptional performance for my needs," writes one Canadian Tire shopper.
This user-loved snow thrower features a 180-degree directional chute for manageable snow throwing and an electric start for a hassle-free operation. It has earned an average rating of 4.2 stars from Amazon shoppers who call the design "very lightweight," which is "good for general maneuverability."
With more than 4,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.2 stars, Amazon shoppers say this electric snow thrower is a "time saver" and "much lighter than you realize." The snow thrower boasts a 15-amp motor and can move up to 720 pounds of snow per minute. I "can't believe how good it is," raves one reviewer.
With a solid average rating of four stars, shoppers from The Home Depot say this Performance Plus snowblower is a "good machine" and "has worked well for the massive [Ontario] snowfalls."
Best Snow Blowers & Snow Throwers under $1,000
This user-loved electric snow blower comes with a 6.0 Ah battery and a rapid charger. It has a push-button for a hassle-free start and comes backed by more than 270 five-star reviews from The Home Depot shoppers. "This little snow blower chewed through [the snow] and threw it far," writes one reviewer. "I was actually quite shocked. It even scraped up the hard-packed ruts from where cars had packed it. I couldn't shovel these ruts off my driveway, but this thing picked them right up."
With more than 1,000 reviews behind it, The Home Depot shoppers call this Toro electric cordless snow blower "powerful" and say it easily clears 20cm of wet snow. "It did the job flawlessly," writes one shopper. "I have a five-car driveway and the battery showed 2/4 light bars remaining after I was done."
This "Amazon's Choice" snow blower has earned an average rating of 4.1 stars from more than 200 reviewers. Shoppers say the battery-operated snow blower is "simply the best" and offers a "good bang for your buck!"
This top-rated snow blower comes with an 18-inch clearing width and 12-inch intake height, making it ideal for snow with depths of one to eight inches. The Ariens snow blower has an average rating of 4.6 stars from Lowe's shoppers who call it a "snowstorm champ" and "all I hoped for and more."
This reviewer-loved gas snowblower comes with a push-of-a-button electric start and quickly and easily clears up to 18-inches by 12-inches deep snow. With more than 2,300 reviews, Home Depot shoppers say it's a "fantastic" machine. "I love this little guy. It's light enough to muscle around but still has plenty of power to handle the biggest snowfalls."
With an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 2,300 reviews, Lowe's shoppers say this Ego Power unit is a "great snow blower" with a "great battery life." The cordless snow blower is as powerful as gas and combines the power of any two Lithium-ion batteries to clear heavy, wet snow with ease. "It did our entire driveway, walks, neighbours walks, 50 metres of sidewalk across the street to the mailboxes, and parts of neighbours driveways too — and still showed about 25% charge remaining," said a shopper. "WOW!"
This reviewer-backed snow blower offers up to 30 minutes of continuous runtime on a single 5.0 Ah battery charge. Its maximum auger speed moves up to 16 tons per charge, delivering fast and efficient snow removal. "I bought this battery-powered snow blower this past December, and it hasn't disappointed," writes one shopper. "In fact, it has far exceeded my expectations. Dare I say it, it's better than any gas-powered snow blower I've owned."
This gas-powered snow thrower has a max clearing width of 21 inches and a clearing depth of 12.5 inches. It's capable of throwing snow up to 40-feet and is foldable for storage. It "threw the snow up to the roof," writes one shopper. It took what is normally a "two-hour job" and made it into a "30-minute job."
Best Snow Blowers & Snow Throwers under $1,500
This supersized snow thrower features a 27-inch wide clearing path with a 20-inch intake height, perfect for large driveways and heavy snowfalls. With an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 600 reviews, Amazon shoppers are "so impressed" by the Briggs & Stratton unit, saying it "cuts through chunks and icy snow easily."
This cordless two-stage snow blower delivers the power and performance of gas without the resulting noise, fuss or fumes. With an average customer rating of 4.5 stars, Lowe's shoppers say it offers a "fantastic performance." Storms are "no problem for this snow blower," writes one shopper. "I was actually shocked as my old gas blower didn't have the power to get through the plow drift at the end of the driveway. If you're hesitant or have doubts, forget about them. This snow blower is awesome. Till the next storm!"
The PowerSmart two-stage snow blower cuts through tough snow and keeps it away from the chute to prevent clogging while blasting snow and throwing it up to 40ft. "You cannot beat this snow blower," raves one Amazon shopper, saying it's worth the money, and they "would buy it again."