On a fine morning in December 2020, I came out of my house and found my car’s windshield covered in snow. The winter just started and I was in a hurry to get to the hospital to test covid-19. My snowblower was dead last winter and I hadn’t bought a new one yet. That’s when it struck me; why not use my leaf blower to blow the snow off the car windshield?
So I brought my cordless leaf blower and gave it a try. To my surprise, it worked very well.
Later in the day when I was back home and started looking for a new snowblower, I wondered if it is a good idea to keep using the leaf blower instead of a snow blower. Can a leaf blower remove thick snow?
Here is what I found out..
- Type: Handheld Portable Leaf Blower
- Air Volume: High (up to 930 m³/h)
- Engine: 2 cycle with air cooling
- Power: 26CC Gasline Powered
- Weight: 9.7 lbs
- Price: Click Here to See Latest Price
A snow blower is a powerful tool that can remove heavy snow from surfaces. For areas where it snows considerably, a snow blower can save you time and effort in removing the unwanted snow. But what if you only have a light covering of snow. It may seem rather pointless to use a heavy snow blower for an inch or two of snow. But then again, you may not want to stress yourself using a broom or shovel.
Fortunately, there is an alternative if for light amount of snow removal when you use a leaf blower. While the leaf blower might not be the first consideration, it is a tool that might be used assuming you have the right type and size available.
Can You Use a Leaf Blower for Snow?
Yes, you can use a leaf blower to remove a small amount of snow. A leaf blower is especially useful if the snow is dry. The effect of a leaf blower is the same on snow as it is on leaves. It uses the force of a high-powered fan to push the snow away from the surface. A leaf blower is quite effective when the winds are light. Plus, it can save you time, effort, and energy in removing light amounts of snow when a snow blower is impractical.
On driveways, the leaf blower excels at clearing away the smooth surface. You simply aim the leaf blower at an angle to the snow, just like you would for leaves, and press the trigger to start the high-power fan. Use a sweeping motion to clear away the snow and aim in a direction that is with the wind. After all, you do not want to have the snow blow back on the driveway.
Start at one side of the driveway and sweep back and forth until the area in front of you is clear. Then return to the same side and start the process again. Once the layer of snow is removed, you can then clean up by returning to the same side and walking up and down the driveway, gradually moving to the other side and removing the remaining snow.
As good as the leaf blower works on smooth surfaces, does it work on other surfaces as well such as vehicles, boats, and other items?
Snow on Car
You can use the same basic method of blowing a thin layer of snow off your vehicle as you would the driveway. Start on one side of the car and blow the snow off the roof. Then, work your way down to the hood, windshield, lights, and front bumper. Once clear, go to the trunk, back window, taillights, and rear bumper and blow the snow away.
You should probably wipe the snow off the side windows with your hand or a scraper. Once the snow is removed, get in your car and move it away from that spot of the driveway. Then, blow the snow that came off your vehicle from the driveway until it is clear.
Snow on Boat or Trailer
You may not be planning on boating given the temperatures. But if you have covered your boat, trailer, or other large items it pays to at least blow the snow off the cover. The less snow present on the cover, the less weight will be applied. Plus, if there are any openings in the cover, blowing away the snow will keep it from melting and seeping underneath.
The top-down method that you used for your car or vehicle will work with the cover of your boat or trailer as well. Given the relatively smooth surface of the covering, it should only take a few minutes to blow off a light layer of snow.
Blowing Heavy Snow
Can you use a leaf blower on heavy snow, especially if it is wet snow? The answer is probably no. While you might be able to remove the top layer, the moisture and thickness of the snow can resist even the strongest of leaf blowers.
There may be areas of thinner accumulations where a leaf blower might be useful. But the amount of time needed for the blower to remove several inches of snow is simply not worth the effort. Especially when you can use a snowblower and get the job done in a fraction of the time.
Unless there are unusual circumstances, such as exceptionally dry snow, which is not typical when several inches of snowfall, you are better off with a snow blower.
A snow blower is designed to pick up the snow off surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks and blow it a considerable distance away. Snow blowers work differently compared to a leaf blower in that the machine is designed to scoop up the snow first, then eject it from the blower.
Snow blowers come in different sizes, although most that are designed for home use are relatively small. Most snow blowers are gas-powered and waterproof as you might expect. No matter the level of the snow, a snow blower can pick up and remove it from the surface.
The downside to a snow blower is that it is only good for blowing away snow and not much else. It is impractical to use as a leaf blower or to remove other types of debris. That means your snow blower will probably sit in the garage or storage area unused for long periods.
Leaf Blower Vs Snow Blower
The crucial question of when to choose between a leaf blower and a snow blower to remove the snow from your driveway, patio, or sidewalk will come down to two factors, thickness and moisture level.
For the most part, a leaf blower is perfect for removing light, dry snow that is no more than two or three inches thick. While a snow blower can also remove light amounts of snow, it takes longer to employ compared to a leaf blower. You can remove light, dusty snow in a fraction of the time with a good, powerful leaf blower.
However, thick, moist snow will require a snow blower to remove. Any snow over three inches is a candidate for the snow blower. Plus, if you can easily make a snowball, that means there is plenty of moisture in the snow which removes the leaf blower from consideration.
What Size Leaf Blower for Snow Blowing?
The bigger, the better would be the answer. Anything above 400 CFM should be enough to do the job. You could go with a 700 CFM leaf blower, but the difference with a light layer of dry snow may not be worth the extra expense.
A leaf blower is a gardening power tool designed for east lawn and garden care. But when it comes to snow removal, you need a powerful leaf blower because even with light snow, the surface area of each snowflake is tiny compared to a leaf. Consider that leaves are not only light but have a wide surface area which makes it easy for them to be lifted from the ground. The effect of the leaf blower is made easier because of this wide surface area that acts as a sail to push the leaves away.
Dry snow is considerably different as it consists of small particles with tiny surface areas, making it more difficult to lift. Plus, if the snow is wet that may increase the surface area, but the weight is increased as well.
Tip on Using Leaf Blower for Snow Removal
There are a few things to consider when using a leaf blower to remove snow. Be sure to look over your leaf blower to see if it has the power to do the job. Many light leaf blowers lack the oomph needed to lift and blow away light snow. You don’t want to be wasting time trying to get an underpowered leaf blower to work when shoveling or using a broom is faster.
Keep in mind that you should stick to a gas-powered leaf blower. This is because electricity and water do not mix and may lead to serious complications. An electrical leaf blower carries the possibility of shorting out when the moisture from the snow reaches the internal components.
If you are getting a battery-powered cordless version, make sure that it is water-resistant and is suitable to use in wet conditions.
Another consideration is that some leaf blower products will state that they should not be used for blowing snow. Even if the leaf blower is powerful enough to do the job, you should not use it if there is a warning on the device. This may be because the leaf blower has exposed circuitry that makes it vulnerable to moisture.
Keep in mind that a gas-powered leaf blower that generates 400 CFM or more is going to be quite noisy. So, be sure that you only use the leaf blower during the day and in short bursts so as not to disturb the neighbors too much.
In the end, using a leaf blower to remove light, dry snow from your driveway, vehicle, boat, or trailer is simple and effective. For dry snow that is only a few inches thick, a gas-powered leaf blower designed for such uses can save you time, effort, and energy compared to shoveling or using a broom. For times when a snow blower is impractical, a leaf blower makes a good substitute.