Short answer: Yes, it can! There are certain limits to its effectiveness, but for most people it can be a great alternative to the trusty shovel or a proper snow blower.
Leaf blowers can be used for a lot more than just moving leaves. They can be very effective at clearing away snow as well.
If you live in an area that receives a lot of snowfall each year, a leaf blower is an excellent overall investment to make.
That being said, using your blower to clear snow is a lot different than blowing leaves.
Precautions for blowing snow
There are certain precautions that you need to take before using a leaf blower on snow. Moisture can settle inside the engine, which in turn can cause a lot of damage.
It is crucial that you put the leaf blower in a very dry area after you are done using it so this won’t become a problem.
You should also avoid using your leaf blower on snow for long periods of time. Extremely low temperatures can actually be harmful to the inner components, which could lead to serious damage.
If you begin to notice that your leaf blower doesn’t work as well as it typically does, you should turn it off for a while to give it a rest.
Those who have an electric leaf blower will want to think about getting a gas-powered one as well. Electric models tend to get damaged more easily when being used to clear away snow, so you will need to keep that in mind.
Using a corded electric leaf blower on snow also increases your chances of getting shocked by quite a bit, so I wouldn’t recommend it! Snow and cords just aren’t a good combo.
Keep it safe
While gas-powered leaf blowers are much better for working with snow, they are also extremely loud. You should make a point of wearing some sort of ear protection while using this kind of equipment.
If you don’t already have a hearing protector, I recommend getting this one from Amazon. It’s made by Husqvarna so you know there won’t be any issues with the quality, and it’s quite inexpensive.
Trust me, your ears will thank you for it.
Also, make sure you don’t use your blower late at night or early in the morning because it will most likely upset your neighbors.
Clearing snow is enough of a hassle without dealing with the police too!
How to Clear Away Snow with a Leaf Blower
First of all, you will need a blower that is powerful enough for handling snow. If you don’t have a large area to cover, a simple handheld blower will do. You can find my personal recommendation in this article.
You should use your leaf blower in pretty much the same way as a snow blower when you are clearing away snow. When you are going down your sidewalk, keep the leaf blower pointed down at an angle, gently sweeping from side to side.
There is no need to be aggressive with your movements. Also, watch your step because there can be solid ice stuck on your sidewalk that the blower can no longer move.
Keep in mind that leaf blowers tend not to do very well against wet snow. Some of the more powerful blowers might be able to handle it okay, but it still might be difficult. You should always try to use your leaf blower on fresh snow that isn’t slushy yet.
This method of clearing away snow may require a bit of patience, depending on how much snow you have. If you are dealing with 8 inches of snow, it’s going to take a long time (and probably not worth it, depending on the size of your yard).
Which Kind of Leaf Blower Should You Use?
There are many different kinds of leaf blowers, but you don’t want to try using just any of them on snow. Ideally you want a very powerful leaf blower with a high MPH and CFM.
A backpack leaf blower is really ideal for snow, simply because it can cover a large area and has a high air speed. However, if there isn’t too much snow and it isn’t slushy, a simple handheld blower can do just fine.
You can find some of my top recommendations in this article if you decide to go all out with your spending and/or power.
The more powerful your leaf blower is, the more effective it is going to be at clearing away snow.
That being said, you don’t necessarily need a commercial-grade blower for blowing snow. You can find some of the more affordable models in this article.
As stated above, gas-powered leaf blowers are best for this purpose. There is just too much risk of damage and/or injury with an electric model.
It’s also important that you look for a leaf blower from a reputable brand like Husqvarna or Makita. The brand name of your blower is a good indicator for quality, so it’s not something that you should ignore.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on this kind of equipment, but you also don’t want to go too cheap. You really get what you pay for when it comes to leaf blowers.
Clearing Snow off Your Vehicle
If you want to clear snow off your vehicle as efficiently as possible, there are a few things that you will need to know. You should start at one end of your car, going side to side in sweeping motions with the leaf blower.
Go all the way around your vehicle until all of the snow has been removed.
Don’t forget to clear away the snow on top as well, as it can blow off and onto other vehicles while you are driving.
Using a leaf blower to clear away snow on your car is a much faster and more efficient method than using a standard brush.
Leaf Blower vs. Shovel
There is simply no question that a leaf blower is a much better option than a shovel when it comes to clearing away snow from your sidewalk and driveway.
Using a shovel will take you at least three or four times as long, and it’s incredibly exhausting.
A leaf blower isn’t always as effective as a snow blower, but it definitely beats using a shovel.
You may be able to get away with using a shovel on light snow, but the heavier snowfall calls for something more.
It’s a good idea not to try this with more than 4” of snow, and you should never use a blower if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The last thing you want to do is to damage your leaf blower because you used it when it was too cold outside.
However, some blowers may be more resistant to cold than others, so check your product’s manual just to make sure.
Remember to only use your leaf blower on freshly-fallen snow, as it will make your job much easier.
As you can see, a leaf blower can be a reliable alternative to the trusty shovel or a dedicated snow blower under the right circumstances.
My favorite thing about it is that using it like this makes it a multi-purpose tool: Blowing leaves during spring and autumn, and clearing snow during winter.