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Is a Battery Operated Snowblower Up to Real World Use?

Power, Run Time, Reliability

IMG_20160826_111746540Battery operated tools have taken over a market that was filled with corded only options.  We now have commercial power battery operated string trimmers and lawn mowers and this year seems to be a push for many to break into the snow thrower or snow blower market.  This market is dominated by gas options that provide the torque and RPMs to deal with the unpredictable snow falls that many of us get.  Early in the year, our wet snow can be a disaster to deal with and stress even large tractor powered snow blowers.  Mid-Winter, the light powder creates a mess as it blows around and drifts.  Late year we deal with more ice and piled up snow as we have cleaned the driveway all year long.  These challenges are a lot for a small gas powered snow blower to deal with, let alone a battery operated unit.

In August, yes the hottest month of the year, we set out to give you all the information needed to decide if these new battery operated snow blowers were right for you.  Because of the season, it was a difficult task, but trust us, we nailed it.

Testing for Real World Conditions

IMG_20160824_204515495_HDROur goal in testing was to show people exactly what to expect once they purchased the EGO 21″ 56 volt, the Troy-Built 210 Squall, or the Greenworks 80 volt 20″ snow blower.  We did not want to leave anything to the imagination, but we had to start off with some unconventional materials.

Our first round of testing was with pine animal beading.  While this was cost effective, we went through many bags of it trying to get it very wet, sort of wet or just dry.  Our attempts to make a test that simulated real world were worth the test, but overall a fail.  The wood is a material with friction and the dampness could not be recreated.  Also, each unit seemed to perform better with a different degree of water in the bedding, so nothing seemed to be consistent.

IMG_20160824_200849281We moved on to ice to try to find a more realistic approach.  After buying all the 20 pounds bags of ice within a 10 mile radius of my home, we found the ice not to be cost effective, but very consistent.  There was the same amount of ice in a 4″ deep row, the ice was hard and we were fast enough that we did not allow it to melt.  The two rubber paddle throwers we had worked great in it, but each over performed the stated specifications, so we knew that this test was simply too good to be true.  Again, this is a great test, but not real world.

After some searching and a little convincing that we were not joking, we were able to rent out our local ice arena and use the Zamboni shavings.  These shavings looked exactly like snow, even better, a bit of a wet snow.  So this is more of a real world worst case scenario.  The ice arena was cold, so we were able to let each unit cool and perform just as it will in the winter.  Beyond that, we were able to test long term runtimes of the snow blowers to let you know if you could complete your driveway and sidewalks with one charge.  This was not a cheap test, but it gave us a real world test to show you exactly what these units will do.

Findings

Troy-Built 210 Squall 123cc Snow Blower – This is our gas unit base.  We feel this unit is the mid-grade single stage snow blower that many people would own in an area that gets a decent amount of snow, but they have a smaller city driveway.  The unit did not perform as well with animal bedding or ice, but did well in actual snow.  That shows that this unit was designed and tested with real snow and works well as many people own it.  This unit weighs 95 pounds.

IMG_20160826_111753735EGO Power+ 21″ 56 Volt Snow Blower – This is our high end battery model that has claims to have gas torque and performance.  The EGO performed by far the best out of all the units in animal bedding and ice, but also performed equivalent to the gas powered unit and in some cases slightly better in snow.  The performance and longevity was amazing.  We were able to throw snow the advertised 35 feet, ice well over 40 feet and the longevity allowed us to complete all of our tests and clear a 40′ by 60′ rectangle on the ice before the two 56 volt batteries gave in. The intake is 8 gauge steel and comparable to the gas model in build quality, but with some extra bells and whistles.  This unit removes the maintenance and pull starting of the gas unit with the same performance in the real world.  This unit weighed under 58 pounds with 2 batteries.

Greenworks 80 Volt 20″ Snow Blower – This was out low end snow blower in cost and while it was the highest volt unit, it also carried a very light 2Ah battery.  There are no rubble paddles an everything is plastic.  It did not give us confidence in the unit to complete the ice test as we wanted the unit to work in the ice arena.  If we broke it before hand, our testing would not be complete.  In animal bedding, it did not hold up to its claims.  The unit looked as disappointing as the build quality.  Once we got to the arena, the unit seemed to come alive and was fairly impressive.  It was able to live up to the claims that it would throw snow 20 feet.  Unfortunately, the battery life is so short, we were unable to get into much more than a few test lines.  In the real world, this unit might work well to clear 75 feet of sidewalk on a single charge.  This unit weighed in at 35 pounds.

Overall

We feel that we reliably proved that battery powered units can keep up with gas if you buy a good model with good amp hour batteries.  We will continue to dive deeper into these battery models on a one on one basis to give you more info on them and their features.  As always, our video gives a lot of information and we suggest you watch it to see the performance.  Good luck with your search and we hope we help with your pre-winter purchase!

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2 Responses to “Is a Battery Operated Snowblower Up to Real World Use?”

  1. Nik #

    Hi,

    Very educational video! I am in the market for the first time for snow blowers. I love the concept of battery operated blowers. I live in the Boston area, my driveway is about 50 by 20 ft. Considering that 12 in or more of snow is not uncommon, what do you think of the Snow Joe 2-stage model? My last resort is of course a 2-stage gas one, but I want to stay away from this as much as possible. Your advice is appreciated.

    Thank you in advance

    December 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm Reply
    • For 12″ of snow, possibly heavy snow, you need to stay gas powered at this time.

      December 10, 2017 at 7:54 am Reply

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