Cordless Electric Snow Blowers
Cordless electric snow throwers cut away the tether of a corded electric snow blower and do away with the muss and fuss of dealing with a gas-powered tool. Up until recently, these offered only limited run time, but some new lithium-ion battery-powered tools can provide enough snow clearing ability to handle most suburban properties. But these higher-powered snow blowers can be pricy -- $600 or more, including batteries. Less expensive, and less powerful, cordless snow blowers are available, too, but these are most suitable for smaller properties and areas where snow falls don't often exceed 8 inches or so. They are still pretty expensive -- figure $250 and up with batteries -- but their convenience makes them a hit with many owners.Corded Electric Snow Blowers
Most corded electric snow blowers weigh less than 40 pounds and are compact for uncomplicated maneuvering and storage. Like cordless models, their electric motors are fume-free, quieter than gas engines and don't require regular servicing. The most powerful corded electric snow blowers can move about 8 inches of powder; half that if the snow is packed or wet. These are the least expensive type of thrower -- expect to pay $100 to $300 -- but don't forget to add in the cost of a separate heavy-duty extension cord that's long enough to reach your entire walkway or driveway from an electrical outlet.Single-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
In a single-stage snow blower, the auger scoops up the snow with enough force to blow it out the chute. With no extension cord tethering them, or batteries to limit their run time, single-stage gas snow blowers can cover more ground than electric models. They are also more powerful, throwing snow farther, clearing heavy snowfall faster, and breaking up packed berms left by the snowplow. Gas engines require more time and money to maintain, but many users say it's worth it for the added power. Most single-stage gas snow blowers weigh between 60 and 90 pounds and cost about $300 to $800. They are generally suitable for cleaning up snowfalls of up to 10 inches.Two-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
These are bigger, heavier and able to move more snow than single-stage throwers.
Two-stage snow blowers add an extra component; after the auger shovels the snow
into the chute, a corkscrew-like impeller shoots the snow as far as 40 feet
away. Because the augers on two-stage machines don't brush against the ground,
this is the best option for clearing snow off gravel or off of a wooden deck
without fear of damaging it. Compact versions have a smaller body for easier
storage, but are still beefy enough to clear snow up to 20 inches high. Expect
to pay at least $600 for a well-built compact two-stage gas snow blower and
more than $1,000 for a full-sized one. Three-stage snow blowers are also available; these use a design that can increase snow-clearing speed compared to a manufacturer's two-stage models, but cost more ($1,000 and up) and are can be a pain to stow. As these are best suited to commercial use or for the largest residential properties, we do not cover any three-stage snow blowers in this report.Snow Shovels
Don't forget the original "manual' snow thrower, the snow shovel. Yes, shoveling snow can be back-breaking work, and is definitely not advised for those in less-than-good physical shape, but if you live where snow is light, and/or on a property with not much sidewalk to shovel, they are a cost effective alternative. Even better, the top choices among modern snow shovels offer improved ergonomics to make the task of clearing snow by hand a lot easier than ever before. A well-designed, well-made snow shovel will run roughly $30 to $50.