Officially, the first day of winter is Dec. 21; however, the forecast doesn't care about technicalities.
While the western half of Canada experienced its first snowfall weeks ago, winter weather has finally swept into southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, putting snow removal on everyone's radar.
For the third year in a row, the climatological phenomenon La Niña is expected to materialize, potentially driving more frequent storms to many regions of the country. Combined with the season's usual heavy snow, freezing rain and ice pellets, it's officially time to prep for white-out conditions.
To prepare your snow removal arsenal for the upcoming winter, it may be time to invest in a snow blower or thrower.
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 20 reviewer loved-and-tested snow blowers and throwers under $500, $1,000 and $1,500.
Best Snow Blowers & Snow Throwers under $500
With a powerful 15A motor, this affordable machine moves up to 25 tons/hr. of snow, features a 180° adjustable directional chute and has dual 3W LED headlamps to brighten the way during nights and early mornings.
This single-stage electric snow blower can clear snow up to 12.5 inches without the hassle of gas or oil. It has a manual controlled 180° chute and can throw snow up to 30 feet away. According to one reviewer, the wallet-friendly device "worked well" following a snowstorm.
This budget-friendly electric snowblower features a powerful 13.5A motor that moves up to 650 lbs (295 kg) of snow per minute. It's ideal for quick snow removal on mid-sized driveways and walkways and comes backed by a 4.3-star rating from Canadian Tire shoppers. The "best part is [that it's] zero maintenance," writes one reviewer. "It fits in about the space of a large shovel."
Mastercraft's 20V Single Stage Cordless Snow Shovel is 100 per cent compatible with the existing Mastercraft 20V MAX battery system, meaning you can use the same battery to seamlessly power your yard work. It's "incredible," according to one Canadian Tire shopper. A "fast way to shovel without effort."
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 5,400 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 4.2 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 360 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."
This top-rated two-stage gas snowblower is suitable for 24-inch clearings and features easy-to-adjust speed control with four forward speeds and one reverse speed. It's "easy to start and does an amazing job," raves one Canadian Tire shopper. It's a "little beast."
This "Amazon's Choice" snow blower has earned an average rating of 4.1 stars from more than 480 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 4.4 stars from Lowe's shoppers who call it a "snowstorm champ" and "all I hoped for and more."
This single-stage cordless snowblower features a push-button start, dual 5W LED lights and variable-speed auger control. The unit has a run time of up to 30 minutes, with a battery charge time of 150 minutes.
With an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 2,800 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!"
Backed by more than 110 five-star reviews on The Home Depot, shoppers say this PowerSmart snowblower is "worth the value." The unit has a 212cc engine for powerful snow-clearing action and a 40-foot throwing distance.
Best Snow Blowers & Snow Throwers under $2,000
A trusted pick among Canadian Tire shoppers, this two-stage gas snow blower has been called a "pleasure to operate" and "worth the money." One reviewer says it "starts easy and has more than sufficient power to move the snow. Banks at the end of the driveway were a breeze," and added "this is my third snowblower and I'm kicking myself for not buying this the first time."
This two-stage gas snowblower is heavy-duty and high-performing, working with a clearing width of 27 inches and a 291 cc, 9.6 HP engine. Canadian Tire shoppers call it a "great machine" that "can really throw the snow."
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!"
This reviewer-loved gas snowblower features finger-tip controlled power steering on each handle to improve maneuverability, has a 28-inch clearing width, a 12-inch serrated auger, and best of all: is equipped with heated hand grips.
The Yardworks two-stage snow blower cuts through tough snow and uses a quick-turn chute control with remote tile to aim it in your desired direction. "Outstanding performance," writes one reviewer. "I'm 63 and this machine is easy for me to handle and gets the job done no problem!"
A top-rated pick among Amazon shoppers, this cordless snow thrower comes with a 4.4-star average rating. "All the features are great," according to one reviewer. It "went through eight inches of powdery snow with no problem."
Briggs & Stratton's two-stage gas snowblower is powered by a 250cc engine with an electric start for dependable starting and performance. It has a 12-inch serrated auger and dual-trigger steering for easy maneuverability.