Snow Blower or Plow: What's Better?

A snow plow in operation.

Freshly fallen snow looks beautiful as white crystals blanket everything in sight. Unfortunately, that includes your sidewalks and driveway, where snow removal is necessary to provide a clear, safe pathway. There are a number of snow removal options to choose from, and which works best for you and your property is a personal decision that only you can make. Before you head out to purchase a snow blower or plow, do some research to make the most of your investment, and for the best results

Considering we’ve cleared our share of sidewalks and driveways during Canadian winters of the past, we thought we’d weigh in on the topic. So let’s dig in, or should we say dig out which is better: a snow blower or a snow plow?

Table of Contents:

What Is a Snow Blower?

Snow blower on top of snow.

A snow blower doesn’t actually blow snow, but it is one of the best snow removal tools you can have in Canada. Snow blowers move snow with an auger or impeller. There are three main types of snow blowers —single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage. All three types help clear snow, but they differ in how much snow they can remove.

  • Single-stage snow blower: Ideal for removing light, powdery snow. A good choice for clearing the snow off solid pavement.
  • Two-stage snow blowers: These are a step up from single-stage snow blowers. They can handle removing deep, heavy, and wet snow from a variety of surfaces.
  • Three-stage snow blowers: We can get some brutal winter snow in Canada. Fortunately, a three-stage snow blower can take it on. These types of snow blowers are designed to clear the wettest and heaviest snow Mother Nature can drop.

What Is a Snow Plow?

Snow plow removing snow

Snow plows are mounted on vehicles and are great at scooping and pushing snow. They come in many shapes and sizes and are often used to clear large areas, like a road.

The following are the most common types of snowplows:

  • Front-end mounted plows: The most common type.
  • Tow plows: Mounts on the rear of the vehicle.
  • Rotary plows: Are similar to snow blowers and are usually used to blow snow from the side of the road.
  • Wing plows: Are side-mounted and usually attached to the side of a front-end mounted plow.
  • Underbody plow: These are fixed underneath vehicles and are a good choice for scraping packed snow from roads.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Snow Blower and Plow

Driveway cleared of snow in the winter.

You’ll want to consider certain factors when choosing between a snow blower vs plow. They’re both excellent snow removal tools, but how you plan to use them plays a significant role in selecting the right one for you. It’s also important to factor in average snowfall amounts where you live and the size of the area you need to clear. Are you looking for the best snow removal for long driveways? Do you need to clear heavy snow from roads in anticipation of an upcoming snowstorm? Read on as we break down the pros and cons of each snow removal type below.

Snow Plow vs. Snow Blower

Shoveling snow is back-breaking work, and only practical in areas of the country that experience snow once or twice a season. For the rest of the country, a snow blower or plow is the perfect solution for safe snow removal, but which one is right for you?

Snow Plow

Snow plow connected to an ATV.

A snow plow is an accessory that is affixed to the front of a commercial vehicle, ATV, or UTV and used to effectively scoop and displace snow with a curved, angled blade. If you're wondering if a snow plow is the best option for your needs, consider the following:

Snow Plow Pros:

  • Speed - With the right vehicle behind it, a snow plow can quickly and effortlessly clear large volumes of snow.
  • Capacity - A snow plow is a great solution for larger applications such as long driveways, roads, and parking lots.
  • Reliability - There is little that can go wrong with the snow plow itself, and if it is attached to a dependable vehicle, it can provide years of reliable service.

Snow Plow Cons:

  • Cost - Purchasing a heavy-duty snow plow is a big investment, in addition to the cost of vehicle purchase and operation.
  • Visibility - Visibility is reduced at the ground level, with an increased chance of an accident or damage to the vehicle or property.
  • Space Restrictions - Do you have a dedicated space to store your snow plow during the winter and/or off-season? In addition to storing the plow itself, the nature of the equipment means there are limitations on where it can place the resulting piles of snow.
  • Damage - Increased speed, limited visibility, and a powerful motor can result in damage to your vehicle, property, structural components, and surfaces such as brick or loose stone.
  • Limitations - The size and power of a snow plow render it ineffective for clearing areas such as a deck or patio, sidewalks or paths, and short to medium-sized driveways.

Snow Blower

Snow blower on a driveway.

A snow blower is an independent unit that is guided by the user from behind. While there are many different makes, models, and features to choose from, the basic mechanics are the same: snow is removed from a designated surface using a rotating, spiral blade that picks it up and propels it out the side.

Snow Blower Pros:

  • Size - Their compact size makes a snowblower much easier to store and maneuver in tight spaces.
  • Visibility - Ground-level access means you can see everything in front of and around you.
  • Safety - Built-in safety features and hands-on control are safer for the user and their property.
  • Efficiency - Make quick work of smaller driveways and walkways

Snow Blower Cons:

  • Exposure - During the process of clearing your property, you will be exposed to the elements, including freezing temperatures, falling snow, or cold wind.
  • Time - It can take much longer to clear a large area using a snow blower in comparison to a snow plow.
  • Capacity - Smaller, single-stage snow blowers work extremely well with light and fluffy snow. Snow that is heavy and has a lot of moisture in it makes using this machine more difficult due to its design and lack of power. Two-stage or three-stage snow blowers are designed for heavier snow.
  • Depth – Single-stage snow blowers are best suited for snowfall up to 15 centimeters. Deeper snowfall requires investing in a more expensive machine like a two-stage or three-stage snow blower.

Which Snow Removal Option Is Right for You?

House in the winter with driveway cleared of snow.

Canadians know that removing the snow quickly and efficiently is the key to keeping pathways and driveways accessible, clear, and safe. If you’re still using a snow shovel to clear snow, it’s time to consider another alternative. While a snow blower or plow will be an upgrade, making the right choice between a snow blower vs. a snow plow is sometimes just a matter of personal preference. Before you make a final decision, consider the pros and cons of each.

Get Prepared for Winter with the Right Snow Removal Equipment

Whether you’re leaning towards a snow blower or snow plow there are some inherent risks and dangers that come with using any snow removal tools. If you’d rather not take any risks when it comes to snow removal, contact The Grounds Guys®.

Don’t let winter snow leave you stuck in the driveway or keep customers from getting into your business. We have the experience and the right snow removal tools to clear heavy snow from your home or business so you can get back to life and business.

To learn more about the snow removal services we offer, contact The Grounds Guys nearest you for snow removal services in your area. Rest assured that all our work is backed by the Neighbourly Done Right Promise™, which guarantees your satisfaction. Contact us to get a free estimate today!