Leaf blowers are helpful power tools from spring-summer as they effectively clear leaves off the yard. However, they can also serve a secondary purpose as snow removal tools during winter. To effectively use a leaf blower to get rid of snow in your outdoor area, ensure the snow is light and dry.
Can I use electric leaf blower for snow removal?
It’s not advisable to use an electric leaf blower to clear snow, as you risk being electrocuted if the snow comes into contact with the power cord or the motor. Snow can also cause your electric leaf blower to malfunction if it gets into the motor.
However, if you’re short on alternatives, you can use the electric leaf blower provided it’s plugged into a GFCI outlet. Doing so will lower the chances of electric shock.
How strong are leaf blowers for snow?
Powerful leaf blowers can effectively clear up to seven-inches of snow. They are also great for removing fresh, dry snow. Most leaf blowers aren’t strong enough to effectively clear dense snow; and are also not designed for use in wet areas.
For light snow, a 400CFM leaf blower will suffice. However, for thicker snow reaching up seven-inches deep, you’ll need a more powerful leaf blower of up to 700CFM.
How to use a leaf blower for snow removal
Wear the Appropriate Protective Gear
Before beginning to operate your snow blower, ensure to put on the necessary protective gear. These include a pair of hand gloves and earmuffs. Gas leaf blowers tend to heat up quickly, hence the need to protect your hands from potential burns using hand gloves.
What’s more, gas leaf blowers are noisy power tools, with some producing up to 100-decibels. When used repeatedly for several months, the user runs the risk of gradual hearing loss. You should, therefore, protect yourself from potential hearing damage by wearing earmuffs when using this tool.
Clear the Snowy Surface
When using a leaf blower to clear snow off your patio, driveway, or deck, blow the snow in the direction of the wind, not against it. Doing so will prevent ice particles from uncomfortably blowing on your face.
Also, ensure to clear the area in front of you first before setting foot on it. Stepping on snow that you haven’t cleared yet causes it to become hard-packed, making it harder to remove with a leaf blower. You can avoid this by starting from the farthest edge of your hardscape and working your way towards the other end.
If there’s still any snow left over the surface, you can run the leaf blower over the whole area once more for better results.
Clear the Snow Frequently
Since leaf blowers work best on light snow, you should use it frequently to prevent snow build-up. Avoid waiting until the snowfall is over, as the snow will have piled up several inches and you’ll have to invest in a snow blower instead.
You can always check with your area meteorological department for forecasts on snow accumulation. This will help you to gauge how often you should clear the snow from your driveway with your leaf blower.
Store the Leaf Blower Indoors
After finishing up, store your leaf blower indoors. If you leave it out in the cold, snow may cause permanent damage to the power tool.
Is a snow blower the same as a leaf blower?
While they can both be used to clear snow from decks and other outdoor areas, a leaf blower and a snow blower aren’t exactly the same kind of tool. Leaf blowers are typically lightweight and easy to maneuver. What’s more, they can be used on both level surfaces and uneven terrain.
By contrast, snow blowers are heavy-duty power tools. Their use is also limited to flat surfaces, making them unsuitable for use on outdoor staircases.
Another notable difference is the type of snow either of these tools can be used to clear. A leaf blower can only remove light snow since it works by simply expelling air. Meanwhile, a snow blower functions by scooping and ejecting chunks of snow, and can thus clear away thick and heavy snow.
Best leaf blowers for snow removal
The Hitachi RB24EAP is a handheld leaf blower that makes snow removal less laborious, as it only weighs 8.6 pounds. This leaf blower boasts high air volume (441 cubic meters) and speed (170 miles per hour).
Meanwhile, this tool’s low noise emmission engine means that it has minimal environmental impact (noise pollution). The Hitachi RB24EAP is gas-powered, with a half-liter engine to allow you to work continuously without the need for multiple refills
Toro 51619 Ultra
The Toro 51619 Ultra is a 410 CFM leaf blower, making it powerful enough to blow away light snow. This leaf blower boasts a concentrator nozzle for easier focus on the snowy area that you need to work on. It’s thus great for removing snow buildup on vehicles as well. This machine features noise cancellation technology, making it environmentally friendly.
Craftsman B215 25cc
The Craftsman B215 25cc incorporates user engagement technology, making snow removal less tiring. Meanwhile, its translucent fuel tank allows you to easily track fuel usage and know when it’s time for a refill. However, this power tool is susceptible to startup failure in extremely cold conditions.
Remington RM2BV Ambush
With a 2-cycle gas engine, the Remington RM2BV Ambush is powerful enough to effectively clear snow buildup of up to four inches. It also features cruise control and quick start technology, making it easier to operate. The Remington RM2BV Ambush has an ergonomic handle, making it comfortable to hold.
Which is the best time of year to buy a snow blower
The best season of the year to purchase a snowblower is from fall to winter when snowfalls are most likely. What’s more, most power tool stores and manufacturers usually offer discounts on snow removal products at this time of the year.
Sources and References
- J.W. Pomeroy and E. Brun: Physical Properties of Snow