Electric snowblowers: Do they really work as well as gas?
There is an electric revolution underway. We once thought gasoline was essential to power our cars. We still assume natural gas should be piped into our homes to heat our homes. But new technologies are letting millions of Americans skip the gas station and cut the home gas line forever. Our cars, heaters, stoves, and dryers have traditionally run on fossil fuels. The latest generation of all of these products, from the electric car to electric heat pump clothes dryers, are higher performing, more efficient, more durable, quieter, safer, require less maintenance, and don't stink from gas.
In the past couple years electric snow blowers have become part of the popular pack of electric products to challenge gas power. The advantages of an electric snow blower are many. There is no gas or oil to mix and no vomit-inducing smell. There's no oil to change. There's no spark plugs to mess with. Moreover, electric snow blowers are lighter, quieter, safer, easier to use, and way, way more efficient.
But the big question is about performance. Can they throw snow like big boy gas blowers?
Toro, SnowJoe, GreenWorks, Yard Man, Worx, and Troy-Bilt all make single-stage corded electric snow blowers. None of them will remove snow at the speed of a $1,000+ two-speed gas powered snow blower. However, none of the under $750 models, gas or electric, can either.
But, when you compare like-to-like gas vs. electric snow blowers, in Consumer Reports testing, the gas-free electric blowers performed surface cleaning (the ability to leave little or no snow on the surface) as well as the $1500 two-stage blowers.
Here's a video of someone in Michigan using the SnowJoe in 1 foot of snow. VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yNR1R7QGFo
There are some disadvantages to some of the electric blowers. The less expensive versions still require a cord. While this means that you never need to fill it with gas or charge a battery, it also means you have to set up and lug around the cord. This is easy to get used to for many folks. Nevertheless, new battery technologies are bringing down the cost of long lasting, powerful cordless snow blowers.
SnowJoe sent me a trial version of one of their cordless electric snow blowers. When I assembled it, a few things impressed me right out of the box. First, it was incredibly light weight - a meager 29 lbs. You can lift it by the center handle using only one hand. Second, it was exceptionally quiet for a snow blower. The handle also folds over for easy storage. Since it is all electric with zero emissions or toxic fumes, I was able to start it up in my living room. It was about as loud as vacuum cleaner and many decibels quieter than a gas engine snow blower. I wondered, 'Are there other benefits to being able to start a snow blower inside the house?' Maybe I'll see how this works on cleaning up the kids toys!! As they say on TV, don't try this at home.
I haven't had a chance to use the SnowJoe yet. Since it arrived we haven't had any snow (like umbrellas - when you have them it doesn't rain). But I'll be sure to post a full review on my blog at HappyHome.HOW.
On Twitter @mattgrocoff