For a while I have wanted to get a snow blower. I know that the ideal snow blower would be a two-stage model, where there is a separate mechanism to lift of the snow, and another to blow it up and away. However, this is outside my budget. I also do not want a gasoline powered blower, as there is significant issue with maintenance with any fuel powered tool. If you fail to do the proper maintenance, you can destroy an expensive tool. There’s also environmental and safety issue with gasoline. I don’t want to store extra gasoline, and keep track of how old it is. So, I decided I would go electric.
A two-stage electric would cost around $2,500. I purchased the single-stage Greenworks 40V 20-Inch Brushless Snow Thrower for $253.89 from Amazon without batteries. I already had the required Greenworks 40V batteries from a prior purchase of a lawn mower and trimmer. A single battery can cost over $160, so you typically spend as much on the battery as the tool, since you want spare batteries. When I evaluate the model I got, I consider the super low price, compared to any 2-stage model (electric or gas).
I went into this with limited expectations. It has 20-inch clearance width, and 10-inch depth. I would recommend this for people on a tight budget. If you can afford a 2-stage model, then you should definitely get a 2-stage model. Gasoline powered 2-stage models seem to be $1,500+ and battery electric are around $2,500+ (with batteries).
My first snow fall was quite mild, and it worked ok. I find if there’s very little snow, it doesn’t really do anything, as it doesn’t “blow” the snow. It needs to have enough snow picked up to actually “blow” it any distance. But, if there’s an inch or more, it seems to do “blow” it. It’s performance can vary a lot depending on the conditions. If the snow is to hard, or to wet. It will constantly stop working, and have to be restarted. It advertises that it shoots snow 20-feet. This is a wild exaggeration. It rarely gets half that distance, often dumping snow right back on the unit. But, if you keep the output chute straight (not curved) it will go (mainly) several feet, and be productive. You’ll have to go over the same area twice often, if you want to move all the snow, which is widely dispersed. It works best when the snow is just short of the maximum depth. The more it picks up, the further it throws it. Also, it works best when it’s windy.
If the snow fall is to great, or the snow mounds you are throwing are to high, this will pretty much fail. Overall, it’s been very useful to me, but for many it won’t. I’m in Northwest Ontario, and have had good use of it on a driveway for a 2-car garage. It works well, but I have to accept that sometimes I’ll have to use a shovel. If you can afford it, you should get a more powerful 2-stage unit, with a much deeper clearing depth, that can throw the snow farther/higher. But, if you’re on a budget, the comparison isn’t to expensive units, it’s to using just a shovel.
So, I think it’s worth having. You do need to be sure to clear new snow while it’s loose, and not to deep. It’s also good to use while there’s windy. You should plan to have at least two high capacity batteries (4 or 5 AmpHours). They will last 15-30 minutes. I might barely get by with one battery to clear a driveway for a 2-car garage and sidewalk, but generally use 2 batteries after a serious snow fall.