What’s The Difference Between A Snow Blower And A Snow Plow Attachment?

Imagine waking up to a winter wonderland, the ground covered in a thick blanket of snow. As you peer outside, thoughts of clearing your driveway and walkways fill your mind. But which tool should you reach for? Is a snow blower the solution, or is a snow plow attachment the better choice? Both are designed to tackle the same task, but they each have unique features and methods of snow removal. In this article, we will explore the key differences between a snow blower and a snow plow attachment, helping you make an informed decision for your winter snow removal needs.

Snow Blower

Definition and Purpose

A snow blower is a powerful machine designed to remove snow from various surfaces, such as driveways, sidewalks, or parking lots. Its primary purpose is to efficiently clear snow and create safe pathways even in harsh winter conditions. Unlike manual methods like shoveling, a snow blower can quickly and effortlessly move large amounts of snow, making it an essential tool for those living in snowy regions.

Types of Snow Blowers

Snow blowers come in different types to suit various needs and conditions. One common type is the single-stage snow blower, which is ideal for light to moderate snowfall. It features an auger that helps scoop up the snow and direct it through the discharge chute. Another type is the two-stage snow blower, which is more suitable for heavy snowfall. In addition to an auger, it utilizes an impeller to blow the snow out of the chute at a greater distance. There are also three-stage snow blowers available, which offer even more power and efficiency for dealing with heavy, wet snow.

How Snow Blowers Work

Snow blowers typically rely on an engine, either powered by electricity or gasoline, to drive their impeller and auger systems. The auger is the primary component responsible for gathering the snow, while the impeller blows it out of the chute. When in operation, the auger spins rapidly and collects the snow, which is then passed to the impeller. The impeller propels the snow through the chute, throwing it away from the clearing area. Some snow blowers may also come equipped with additional features such as adjustable speed settings or heated handles for added comfort during operation.

Pros of Using a Snow Blower

Using a snow blower offers several advantages. Firstly, it saves a significant amount of time and effort compared to manual snow removal methods. With its powerful engine and efficient mechanics, a snow blower can clear a large area in a fraction of the time it would take to shovel by hand. Additionally, snow blowers are designed to handle various snow conditions, from light powder to heavy, wet snow, making them versatile tools for all types of winter weather. They are also less physically demanding, which reduces strain and the risk of injury for the user.

Cons of Using a Snow Blower

While snow blowers are highly effective, there are some drawbacks to consider. One aspect is their cost, as snow blowers can be a significant investment, especially for higher-end models. The maintenance and potential repairs required for snow blowers can also add to the overall cost of ownership. Additionally, snow blowers may not be ideal for all types of terrain. Uneven surfaces or gravel driveways can pose challenges for certain snow blowers, potentially causing damage to the machine or limiting their effectiveness. Finally, snow blowers can produce noise, which may be a concern for those in noise-sensitive areas.

Snow Plow Attachment

Definition and Purpose

A snow plow attachment is a device that can be added to a vehicle, such as a truck or tractor, to clear snow from roads, parking lots, or other large areas. Its main purpose is to efficiently and quickly move significant amounts of snow, making it highly suitable for commercial or heavy-duty snow removal applications. Snow plow attachments are commonly used by municipalities, landscaping companies, and those with larger personal properties.

Types of Snow Plow Attachments

Snow plow attachments come in various types, each with its own specific features and capabilities. One common type is the straight blade plow, which has a flat, straight edge for pushing snow in a single direction. Another type is the V-plow, which has a V-shaped design that allows for better snow distribution and maneuverability. There are also expandable wing plows that can extend their width, allowing for more efficient clearing of larger areas. Additionally, some snow plow attachments may have additional features such as adjustable angles or hydraulics for enhanced control and versatility.

How Snow Plow Attachments Work

Snow plow attachments are attached to a vehicle’s front end or hitch system and utilize hydraulic or mechanical systems for lifting, lowering, angling, and retracting the blade. When in operation, the plow is lowered to the ground, and the vehicle moves forward, pushing the snow out of the way. The adjustable angle feature allows the operator to direct the snow to a desired location. The size and design of the plow attachment determine its efficiency in clearing snow and its ability to handle varying snow conditions.

Pros of Using a Snow Plow Attachment

Using a snow plow attachment offers several advantages, especially for larger-scale snow removal tasks. Firstly, snow plow attachments are highly efficient, capable of clearing large amounts of snow in a relatively short period. Their attachment to vehicles allows for increased mobility and access to different areas, making them suitable for clearing parking lots, roadways, and other expansive spaces. Snow plow attachments are also versatile, as they can be used for pushing not just snow but also debris and other materials. Moreover, they provide excellent control and maneuverability, allowing operators to easily navigate around obstacles.

Cons of Using a Snow Plow Attachment

While snow plow attachments have numerous benefits, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. One limitation is the requirement of a compatible vehicle to attach the snow plow. This means that there may be additional costs involved in purchasing or modifying a vehicle to accommodate the attachment. Snow plow attachments are also typically more suitable for larger areas and may not be as effective for smaller spaces or areas with limited accessibility. Additionally, using a snow plow attachment requires some skill and practice to ensure safe and efficient operation, potentially necessitating training or hiring experienced operators.

Power Source

Snow Blower Power Source

Snow blowers can be powered by either electricity or gasoline. Electric snow blowers are typically corded or battery-powered, offering the advantage of being more environmentally friendly and quieter compared to gas-powered counterparts. They are also typically lighter and require less maintenance, making them more user-friendly. However, electric snow blowers may have limitations in terms of power and clearing capacity, especially when dealing with heavy, compacted snow. Gas-powered snow blowers, on the other hand, provide greater power and are better suited for heavy-duty snow clearing. They offer superior clearing capacity and are more suitable for larger areas or regions with frequent heavy snowfall.

Snow Plow Attachment Power Source

The power source for snow plow attachments is reliant on the vehicle they are attached to. In most cases, snow plow attachments are powered by the engine of the vehicle itself. This means that the vehicle’s fuel, whether gasoline or diesel, powers both the movement of the attachment and any hydraulic mechanisms used to control the blade. The advantage of this arrangement is that there is no additional power source required, as the attachment taps into the vehicle’s existing power system. However, it is important to ensure that the vehicle’s engine is capable of handling the additional load imposed by the snow plow attachment.

Equipment Size

Snow Blower Sizes

Snow blowers come in various sizes, ranging from compact models suitable for smaller spaces to larger, heavy-duty models for professional or commercial use. The size of a snow blower typically correlates with its clearing capacity and power. Compact snow blowers are designed for residential use and are generally lighter, more portable, and easier to maneuver. They are suitable for clearing driveways, walkways, and smaller areas with lighter snow accumulation. Larger snow blowers, capable of handling heavier snowfall and larger areas, may feature wider augers, more robust engines, and additional features for enhanced snow removal efficiency.

Snow Plow Attachment Sizes

The size of a snow plow attachment is primarily determined by the size of the vehicle it is attached to. Snow plow attachments are available in various widths to accommodate different vehicle sizes and snow clearing needs. Smaller attachments may be suitable for compact trucks or SUVs, while larger attachments are commonly used with full-size pickup trucks or heavy-duty vehicles. It is crucial to select the appropriate size for both the vehicle and the desired clearing capacity. Choosing an attachment that is too small for the vehicle can result in decreased efficiency and potential damage, while an oversized attachment may be difficult to maneuver or place excessive strain on the vehicle’s suspension and powertrain.

Snow Clearing Capacity

Snow Blower Clearing Capacity

The snow clearing capacity of a snow blower refers to the amount of snow it can handle and move in a given timeframe. This capacity is primarily determined by the width and depth of the snow blower’s auger and impeller system. Smaller, residential snow blowers typically have clearing capacities between 18 to 24 inches in width and can handle snow depths up to 12 inches or more. These sizes are suitable for most residential or light commercial applications. Larger snow blowers, designed for heavy-duty use, may have wider augers and impellers, allowing them to clear paths up to 36 inches wide and handle deeper snow accumulation more effectively.

Snow Plow Attachment Clearing Capacity

The clearing capacity of a snow plow attachment is influenced by both the size of the blade and the vehicle it is attached to. The width of the blade determines the snow clearing width in a single pass. Snow plow attachments can range from widths of 6 to 10 feet or more, depending on the specific type and intended use. Along with blade width, the blade curvature or shape also affects the clearing capacity. The depth of snow a snow plow attachment can handle is influenced by factors such as the weight and power of the vehicle, the angle of the blade, and the type of snow being cleared. It is important to select a snow plow attachment with an appropriate clearing capacity to match the requirements of the job.

Terrain and Accessibility

Snow Blower Terrain Suitability

Snow blowers are generally suitable for flat or gently sloped terrain, such as driveways, walkways, and parking lots. They work best on even surfaces, as irregularities or rough terrain can impede their clearing effectiveness. However, some snow blowers are equipped with features to improve traction and maneuverability in challenging terrain, such as adjustable skid shoes or tracks instead of wheels. It is essential to consider the terrain and surface conditions where the snow blower will be used to ensure optimal performance and minimize any potential damage caused by uneven surfaces.

Snow Plow Attachment Terrain Suitability

Snow plow attachments are designed to handle a wide range of terrains, including flat surfaces, sloped areas, and rough terrain. They excel in clearing larger areas, such as roads or parking lots, where their wider blades and vehicle attachment provide efficient and comprehensive snow removal. The terrain suitability for snow plow attachments is primarily dependent on the vehicle’s capabilities and adaptability to different surfaces. Four-wheel-drive vehicles, for example, offer increased traction and maneuverability, making them more suitable for challenging or uneven terrain. It is crucial to assess the terrain and surface conditions to determine the most appropriate snow plow attachment and vehicle combination to ensure effective snow removal.

Control and Maneuverability

Snow Blower Control and Maneuverability

Snow blowers typically offer good control and maneuverability, allowing users to navigate around obstacles and clear snow in tight spaces effectively. Many models feature adjustable chute directions and throwing distances, enabling precise snow placement. Additionally, some snow blowers incorporate steering mechanisms or power-assisted wheels, enhancing maneuverability and ease of use. The user can control the speed and direction of the snow blower, adapting to the specific conditions and requirements of the clearing area. However, the maneuverability of a snow blower can be affected by the weight and size of the machine, as larger models may be more challenging to turn or handle in confined spaces.

Snow Plow Attachment Control and Maneuverability

Snow plow attachments offer excellent control and maneuverability, allowing operators to efficiently maneuver around obstacles and direct the snow according to their needs. The operator can control various aspects of the attachment, such as blade angling, lifting, and lowering, through hydraulic or mechanical systems. This level of control enables precise snow placement and minimizes the need for manual intervention. The maneuverability of a snow plow attachment depends not only on the attachment itself but also on the vehicle’s handling capabilities. Vehicles with power steering and adaptive suspension systems provide superior control, making them ideal for maneuvering with a snow plow attachment in different conditions.

Usage Efficiency

Snow Blower Usage Efficiency

Snow blowers are generally highly efficient in terms of snow clearing speed and capacity. Their powerful engines and mechanical design allow for the rapid removal of snow, reducing the time and effort required compared to manual methods. Snow blowers can cover large areas in a relatively short period, making them ideal for residential or commercial applications where time is a crucial factor. Moreover, snow blowers provide consistent results, ensuring thorough snow removal and creating clear pathways. By efficiently removing snow, they also contribute to safety by reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Snow Plow Attachment Usage Efficiency

Snow plow attachments are renowned for their high usage efficiency, particularly when it comes to clearing large areas or long stretches of road. Due to their attachment to vehicles and wide blades, snow plow attachments can cover substantial swaths of snow in a single pass. This allows for quick and efficient snow clearing, even in demanding commercial or municipal settings. Snow plow attachments feature efficient hydraulics or mechanical systems for blade angling and lifting, enabling precise control and streamlined operation. The ability to clear a significant amount of snow efficiently makes snow plow attachments a popular choice for those needing to clear extensive areas within tight timeframes.


Snow Blower Cost

The cost of a snow blower can vary depending on various factors, including the type, size, features, and brand. Compact electric snow blowers are generally more affordable, with prices ranging from $100 to $500. Gas-powered snow blowers, particularly heavy-duty models, can range from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on their clearing capacity and additional features. Factors such as engine power, clearing width, and build quality can contribute to the overall cost. Additionally, the brand and warranty associated with the snow blower can affect the price. It is essential to consider the specific snow clearing needs, budget, and long-term reliability when evaluating the cost of a snow blower.

Snow Plow Attachment Cost

The cost of a snow plow attachment varies depending on the size, style, and features of the attachment, as well as the compatibility with the specific vehicle. Snow plow attachments for smaller vehicles or lighter-duty applications typically range from $1,000 to $3,000, while attachments for larger vehicles or heavy-duty use can range from $3,000 to $10,000 or more. The complexity of the hydraulic or mechanical systems, additional features such as adjustable angles or power lifts, and blade material can also influence the cost. As with snow blowers, the reputation and warranty offered by the manufacturer should be considered when assessing the cost of a snow plow attachment.


Snow Blower Applications

Snow blowers are versatile tools suitable for various residential, commercial, and industrial applications. In residential settings, snow blowers are commonly used to clear driveways, sidewalks, and walkways. They can also be effective in clearing snow from decks or patios. In commercial or institutional settings, snow blowers are employed for clearing parking lots, business entrances, and other high-traffic areas. Additionally, snow blowers find application in industrial environments where snow removal is essential for maintaining effective operations. Snow blowers with larger clearing capacities and more powerful engines are often used for professional snow removal, such as those undertaken by landscaping companies or snow removal contractors.

Snow Plow Attachment Applications

Snow plow attachments are primarily designed for larger-scale snow removal applications, particularly in commercial, municipal, and industrial settings. These attachments excel in clearing parking lots, roadways, and other large areas with minimal effort and time. Municipalities frequently employ snow plow attachments to clear roads and maintain accessibility during heavy snowfall and winter storms. Landscaping companies may utilize snow plow attachments for clearing parking lots, shopping centers, or residential complexes. Industries that depend on unobstructed surfaces, such as airports or distribution centers, also rely on snow plow attachments for effective snow removal. In some cases, snow plow attachments can be utilized for other purposes, such as pushing debris or loose materials.