What is a Power Snow Shovel?

A.D. Rodriguez

A power snow shovel is an electric- or gas-powered shovel used to remove small amounts of snow from such areas as patios and walkways. As it is being pushed, the shovel pulls in snow and spits it out several feet ahead. Despite having "power" in its name, the power snow shovel still requires a fair amount of manual labor. Whether using a handheld shovel or a power shovel, the operator still does the pushing. The difference between the two types is that the power shovel does the snow-tossing for you. This cuts down on the time and effort it takes to shovel.

Power snow shovels are not ideal for handling steep snow lopes or large snow-covered areas.
Power snow shovels are not ideal for handling steep snow lopes or large snow-covered areas.

Electric power snow shovels are generally more common than gas-powered ones. This is probably because the electric version is typically smaller and more compact as well as less expensive than the gas models. The downside, however, of the electric version is that they are typically less powerful than gas models and limited by their cords. Outdoor extension cords might be needed to allow greater reach.

Power snow shovels are often much cheaper than a snow blower.
Power snow shovels are often much cheaper than a snow blower.

Gas power snow shovels tend to be more powerful, clear a wider path and throw snow farther than its electric cousin. The electric shovel typically can clear a height of 4 to 6 inches (about 10 to 15 cm) of snow. The gas version will generally handle up to some 8 inches (about 20 cm) of snow. To clear wider paths in a single pass, gas-powered shovels are typically the only option because they can clear around 4 to 6 inches (about 10 to 15 cm) more than the eletric snow shovel.

The power snow shovel, which is sometimes referred to as a snow thrower, throws snow about 20 feet (about 6 meters). Some models, including the gas versions, can throw snow a longer distance. Both models of power snow shovels are considered a much cheaper alternative to their pricier, heftier relative, the snow blower. Then again, they are not designed for the same job.

Since the power snow shovel needs to be pushed, it's not ideal for tackling steep slopes or large areas. It's also considered unsafe to use on gravel surfaces. This is because the rotating shaft — known as an auger — that pulls in the snow and guides it out can just as easly pull in and throw gravel, causing injury.

Shoveling can be a strenuous activity, and power shoveling is no different. When shoveling snow, it's important to take breaks, and not overdo it. This is especially true if the operator has any health issues, such as heart, respiratory, or back problems.

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Discussion Comments


I have never heard of a power snow shovel before. What do they usually cost?

I live in an area that does not get a lot of snow but it seems like once every three or four years we get a blizzard and I have to clear out like ten inches of snow from my driveway and sidewalk. Most of the time a regular snow shovel does me just fine but the next time we get dumped with snow it might be nice to have a little power on my side.


I used to have a power snow shovel and let me warn you guys that they are really not worth the money that you will spend on one. They do not do a particularly good job of throwing the snow and they take almost as much work as a manual snow shovel to get them to work properly.

I think that if the job is small enough you should just use and old fashioned snow shovel and if you need to tackle a larger job you should invest in a snow blower. Snow blowers can effectively remove large amounts of snow with a minimal amount of work.

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