There’s nothing prettier than a fresh layer of white snow blanketing the neighborhood. But, the charm wears off quickly when you can’t get the car out of the driveway and you’re stuck shoveling snow. Enter the snow blower, an indispensable tool that makes the seasonal chore of clearing snow, a lot less daunting. Whether you’re facing a light dusting or a blizzard, our comprehensive guide to the best snow blowers will help you find the best machine that may turn snow removal into an enjoyable winter activity.
A snow blower can be a valuable investment for anyone living in an area with heavy snowfall. It can save you time and effort, and it can help you keep your property safe and accessible. But with so many different models on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
Here, we will help you understand the different types of snow blowers, the features you should consider, and the factors that will affect your decision.
Types of Snow Blowers
- Single-Stage Electric: Ideal for light snow and small areas. They are lightweight and easy to use.
- Single-Stage Gas: These are the most affordable and compact snow blowers. They use an auger to scoop up snow and throw it out of a discharge chute. They are best for small driveways and walkways with light to moderate snowfall.
- Two-Stage Gas: These are more powerful and versatile than single-stage snow blowers. They use a separate auger and impeller to break up and throw snow. They are a good option for larger driveways and areas with heavier snowfall
- Three-Stage Gas: These are the most powerful snow blowers on the market. They use a three-stage process to break up, pulverize, and throw snow. They are ideal for large areas with very heavy snowfall.
Features to Consider:
- Power source: Snow blowers can be powered by electric, gas, or battery. Electric models are the quietest and easiest to use, but they are limited by the length of their cords. Gas models are more powerful and versatile,but they are louder and require more maintenance. Battery models are a good compromise between electric and gas models, but they can be expensive and their batteries may not last long enough to clear large areas.
- Clearing width: This is the width of the path that the snow blower can clear in one pass. The clearing width should be larger than the widest part of your driveway or walkway.
- Auger diameter: This is the diameter of the auger that scoops up the snow. A larger auger diameter is better for handling heavy snowfall.
- Impeller size: This is the size of the impeller that throws the snow. A larger impeller can throw snow farther.
- Discharge direction: The discharge direction controls where the snow is thrown. Some models allow you to adjust the discharge direction, while others have a fixed discharge direction.
- Self-propelled: Self-propelled models have a drive system that helps you push the snow blower forward. This is a valuable feature if you have a large area to clear.
- Heated handles: This feature can be helpful in cold weather, as it prevents your hands from getting cold.
- Headlights: Headlights allow you to clear snow at night or in low-light conditions.
Factors to Consider:
- Budget: Snow blowers range in price from around $200 to $5,000.
- Size of your property: The size of your property will determine the size and power of the snow blower you need.
- Snowfall: The amount of snowfall in your area will also affect the size and power of the snow blower you need.
- Physical limitations: If you have any physical limitations, you may want to consider a lighter snow blower or one with self-propulsion.
Whether you need a basic model or one with all the bells and whistles, we have curated a list of the best snow blowers to keep your driveway clear. To create our list, we looked for the five most frequently recommended snow blowers across 10 expert websites. Did we miss one you love? Let us know in the comments below.
The List: Best Snow Blowers, According to Expert Reviews
The Spruce calls this the “Best Overall” snow blower. “We found it incredibly easy to assemble and use—even for first-time snow blower users—and an excellent value for its power and maneuverability. While it is a two-stage snow blower and might be more than you would need for a small driveway, we think it’s a great solution if you tend to get deep snow fairly often and require a powerful snow blower.” The website went on to say, “This gas-powered snow blower offers both a manual, recoil start and an electric, push-button start (a must-have on cold days!). And thanks to the self-propelled feature, we found that this blower tackled even deep, wet snow (over a foot deep) at the end of our driveway with ease.”
Better Homes & Gardens agrees saying, “With the strength of a gas-powered model and the ease of an electric push-start, it’s truly the best of both worlds. While this mid-priced model doesn’t have all the bells and whistles included in higher-priced snow blowers, we found the effortless maneuverability and powerful throwing well worth its value.”
“We like that this snow blower has a quick-turn chute with a 205-degree rotation, which gives full control over where you send the snow” according to Real Simple. “It also features a one-handed operation, thanks to its interlocking levers that prevent you from having to hold down the auger control as you work. In terms of safety, it comes with a grip-activated auger that turns off when you let go and tools to clean out the chute should it get clogged.”
This is a single-stage snow blower, so it’s best for those who live in areas with only light snowfall. Better Homes & Gardens says, “It’s affordable, lightweight, and includes extra features often found on more expensive models. Plus, its compact size makes it easy to store.”
The Spruce writes, “Even for a first-time snow blower user, this model was easy to set up (it only took us 10 minutes), easy to start (thanks to the electric, push-button start), and easy to operate with intuitive controls. It’s a single-stage electric model, so it’s less powerful than the two-stage options on this list or some gas-powered models. Since it is not self-propelled, it had trouble with some turns and deeper snow. However, this is the best choice if you don’t need to clear feet of snow often and don’t have the space to store a big bulky snow blower.”
According to Real Simple, “At just over 50 pounds, it’s the lightest option on our list, and its cordless design saves you the frustration of being tethered to an outlet. But this is also the only single-stage snow blower on our list, so it’s not suitable for consistent, heavy snowfall. However, we were still impressed with how well it could tackle dense snow given its size: We only needed to make one pass to get all the way to the ground, except for in some areas where the snow had piled up.”
The Spruce was impressed with the bells and whistles on this two-stage machine, calling it the “Best Splurge.” The website says, “While testing this gas-powered, self-propelled, two-stage model, we were impressed with its ability to easily turn around corners and power through many snow storms, including those with deep, heavy, wet snow. It cleared our three-car driveway, sidewalks, and walkways easily. The snow chute also stood out for being incredibly easy to operate, allowing us to direct where the snow was thrown, which was especially welcome on a windy day. We also appreciate the included ice scraper—although the chute hasn’t gotten clogged yet, the scraper will be handy in clearing out ice and snow from the chute (once the machine is turned off). We also tested the LED headlights and found them very useful at night or with dim light.”
Better Homes & Gardens agrees stating, “At over 250 pounds and with a 28-inch clearing width, this gas-powered, two-stage snow blower is a powerful pick for large driveways and heavy snowfall. Despite its size, we found that this was one of the best snow blowers to maneuver, thanks to its self-propelled transmission and auto-turn steering that ‘made turning this huge machine almost feel light,’ according to one tester.”
According to Real Simple, “This powerful snow blower makes quick work of dense snow accumulation on large driveways, thanks to its 28-inch clearing path and powerful gas engine. It cleared the dense, icy snow left by the snow plow at the end of a driveway. Although this is the heaviest unit on our list, it has a self-propelled transmission and auto-turn steering, which allowed us to complete tight turns with minimal effort.”
The Spruce loves “the seven drive speeds—six forward and one reverse—on the self-propelled snow blower allowed us to plow through any snow thickness without trouble, and the steering assists allowed the machine to turn on a dime with almost zero effort.” The website adds, “We could propel the machine without engaging the augur, a welcome touch; letting go of the handles stops the machine. (The machine also has a “kill” key that turns the whole thing off when pulled out, which is very nice for peace of mind.)”
Better Homes & Gardens calls this “a heavy-duty workhorse that comes with tons of features and is extremely easy to maneuver.”
According to Real Simple, “The 2X is designed to tackle up to 12 inches of snow and comes with trigger-controlled power steering, which we found allows the user to turn on a dime with zero effort. We found the controls to be comfortable and easy to use, including those for the speed control and chute angle, which can be rotated with the turn of a crank. The variety of drive speeds helped us to plow through any amount of snowfall, and the tires had plenty of grip on ice, slush, and snow.”
*Editors note: If you need a 3-stage snow blower, reviewers also loved the 3X version of this snow blower.
Better Homes & Gardens calls this the “Best Cordless” snow blower. “Overall, this is one of the best snow blowers for those who need a powerful, two-stage machine but want the convenience of an electric model (no dealing with messy gas or manual starts!). While it’s on the more expensive side, we think it’s worth its value.”
Real Simple writes, “This cordless snow blower rivals gas models but without the noise or fumes. Not only do they save you from having to use gasoline or perform routine oil changes, but electric snow blowers are also much quieter and better for the environment. This model is definitely on the higher end of the price range for an electric snow blower, but we’d still consider it a good value for an eco-friendly snow blower that is easy to assemble, easy to operate, quiet, and effective (albeit with some trial-and-error adjustments).”
According to The Spruce, “This self-propelled, 24-inch model stood out for its random variable-speed control and ease of assembly. Plus, we appreciated the included dual-battery charger for the two 7.5Ah batteries that give the machine a long operating span. We tested this self-propelled, 24-inch machine on a short driveway and about 60 yards of smooth and bumpy sidewalk, some of which had a 30-degree slope. After 45 minutes, we still had half power left in both batteries.”
According to the New York Times, “The Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE even worked faster—and did a better job—than larger, more expensive competitors, thanks to the distinctive design of its auger and drive control. Unlike the cumbersome manual-shift speed controls of typical blowers, Toro’s intuitive Personal Pace drive system synchronizes the speed of the blower’s wheels with how fast you’re walking. This model also has a convenient electric start and a smooth joystick chute control that lets you easily direct snow where you want it unusual features—a high-capacity auger and a drive system that matches your pace as you walk—make the SnowMaster faster and easier to maneuver than any other snow blower we’ve tested.”
Insider writes, “If you know you’ll be tackling large amounts of snow and want to be prepared to move it safely and effectively, we’re confident that this model is a great choice. However, it is very expensive, and if you have a smaller area to work with or don’t get a lot of snow, you might want to consider a more compact option.”
According to Protool Reviews, “This model has 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds with zero-turn capability, plus handle warmers to help you maintain some comfort while you’re working. It’s not cheap, but it’s strong, and able to make quick work of clearing long driveways.”
7. PowerSmart 24-Inch 2-Stage Snow Blower
Priced at under $500, this is Protool Reviews’ best pick as “the best gas snow blower for the money.” The website says, “The PowerSmart has a 24-inch self-propelled 2-stage model with electric start and heated handles. Its 212cc engine can clear snow up to 12 inches deep and throw it up to 40 feet.”
Autoblog writes, “This PowerSmart Gas Powered Snow Blower has a 212cc 4-stroke OHV engine and uses a recoil starter. It’s able to throw snow up to 35 feet and has a 180-degree chute so it will land wherever you want it to. Hopefully, you don’t aim the chute at your neighbor’s yard. A 2-year warranty is included with your purchase.”
“If you have a small paved area to clear, this blower quickly clears up to a foot of snow,” writes Lawn Love. “It has a plowing capacity of 750 lb. per minute and an extra-long 150-foot extension cord.”
You might also be interested in:
- Popular Mechanics
- Popular Science
- Bob Vila
- The Spruce
- Gardener’s Path
- Life in Minnesota
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