If you live somewhere where snow falls often, particularly if your home has a lot of driveway or sidewalk, you may have decided that it's time to chuck that shovel and turn to a snow blower or snow thrower. The right choice can save you hours of backbreaking work—moving even the heaviest snow quickly and easily.
To help you select the best snow blower for your needs, we extensively researched the most popular models, evaluating them for their design, performance, size, usability, safety, and value. Our top choice is the Ariens 921046 Deluxe 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower for its ease of operation, easy setup, and reliable electric starter.
Read on for the best snow blowers available today.
Ariens Deluxe 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
Electric push-button start
Efficient on heavy snowfalls
Eight speeds, including two reverse
Numerous switches, shutoffs
Auto-turn steering hard to manage
Ariens is a Wisconsin-based brand that has been manufacturing outdoor equipment since 1933. This gas-powered, self-propelled snow blower has all the features you could ever want or need, including a powerful 254 cc engine and a 28-inch clearing width to tackle up to a recommended 12 inches of snow. Setup is fast, in as little as 15 minutes, and mostly involves attaching the handles.
We especially appreciate that despite being gasoline-powered, a 120-volt electric pushbutton ensures that the unit quickly starts—no matter how cold it is. And it's efficient, according to our at-home tester, who used it on his property in Colorado's Rockies. "After a medium-sized storm, say 5 inches of new snow, it took us about an hour to fully clear our driveway," he reported, "and that’s with a lot of attention to detail." Even after larger storms (12-plus inches), the machine reliably cut through and cleared the snow, he reported.
Its two-stage operating system and 14-inch steel augers help you move through snow, quickly and easily. It’s self-propelled with six forward and two reverse speeds and has auto-turn steering, allowing you to effortlessly guide around your driveway and sidewalks. The chute rotates 200 degrees, which should allow you to deposit the snow where you want it—up to 55 feet, according to the manufacturer—without having to stop and reset the machine or turn it around. And we like the interlocking dual handles, which allow you to change various settings while still maintaining a safe grip. (If you need better gripping handles, you can purchase those from the manufacturer.)
Price at time of publish: $1,549
Clearing Width: 28 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 55 feet | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse
Troy-Bilt Storm 24 in. 208 cc Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start Self Propelled Model 2420
Many convenience features
Adjustable skid shoes
Mitten-grip pull cord
Narrow clearing width
We like the Troy-Bilt Storm 2420 for its power and efficiency, as befits a made-in-USA two-stage snow blower, with its 208 cc (14 hp) engine. The unit's self-propelled capability, with six forward and two reverse speeds, more than make up for the fact that its 12-inch augers and similar-size impeller aren't the largest in this class. Adjustable skid shoes scoop up snow nearly down to the pavement, allowing the sun to do its work of getting the remainder off before it can re-freeze.
Convenience begins with its corded electric start, and continues with the wide mitten grips. Directing the 200-degree-possible snow discharge takes just two and a half turns of the crank on its center-mounted chute. The extended chute is designed to minimize blowback. (You also can purchase a snow cab, sold separately.) The manufacturer has a limited three-year warranty on most components, and a limited lifetime warranty on the chute.
Price at time of publish: $1,199
Clearing Width: 24 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 30 feet | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse
EGO Power+ Auger-Propelled Snow Blower
Moderate price point
Long-lasting battery life
Fold-down handle for compact storage
Plastic scraping edge wears quickly
Over the last few years, EGO has emerged as a high-quality manufacturer of cordless electric outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers and weed whackers. We are pleased that its Power+ Battery Snow Blower lives up to that reputation.
Generally, single-stage snow blowers cost less and are best suited for removing smaller amounts of snow. We like the Power+ Battery Snow Blower because it can be used on falls up to 10 inches and can throw snow up to 35 feet. You can swivel the discharge chute 180 degrees, and the variable-speed auger allows you to easily control when and how far the snow is thrown. We note that as with most single-stage snow blowers, heavy, wet snow can clog the unit.
The kit comes with two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger to power the 21-inch-blade unit, with brushless motor, so you can charge one battery while you use the other. (The manufacturer claims that a single charge can clear 8 inches of snow off a 10-car driveway.) Two LED headlights enable visibility in low light. As with EGO's lawn mowers, the Power+ Battery Snow Blower has a foldable handle, making it easier to stow in your garage. Finally, EGO warranties this product for five years.
Price at time of publish: $699
Clearing Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Electric | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 35 feet | Number of Speeds: Variable
EGO Power+ SNT2100 21-Inch 56-Volt Cordless Snow Blower
No triggers or levels
Can use any size battery
Machine only; no charger or battery
If you mostly have to deal with light snowfalls, this battery-operated one-stage snow blower from EGO can do the job at well under a thousand dollars. The manufacturer has designed this product with the same overall features that characterize its lawn mowers: a graduated speed control rather than separate speeds and a collapsible, fold-down handle, so you can compactly store this in a small space. The manufacturer claims this product can discharge snow a maximum of 35 feet away, via the adjustable chute.
It should be noted that this 51-pound model is not self-propelled, which means you have to push it, as well as pull it out of drifts. The manufacturer also keeps the price down by omitting batteries and a charger from the package; that can easily add another $150 to your cost. Even then, however, we believe it's a reasonable price to pay for a snow blower that can get light use, from a reputable manufacturer.
Price at time of publish: $450
Clearing Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Battery | Stage Type: One-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 35 feet | Number of Speeds: Variable
Best for Long Driveway
Toro Power Max HD 30 in. 302 cc Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start
Remote chute control
Easy to use in tight spaces
Steep price point
Long driveways require a snow blower with a large clearing width to help you cover more ground with each pass. It also helps if the unit is self-propelled, so you don't have to continuously push a machine that can easily weigh hundreds of pounds. The Toro Power Max HD Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower satisfies both of these needs, and contains several other useful features.
Powered by a 302 cc (20 hp) engine, with its 14-inch-diameter augers and 30-inch clearing path, this gas-powered snow blower can work its way through snow up to 21 inches deep on surfaces that are paved or gravel, sloped or uneven, according to the manufacturer. An electric start eases firing up the CARB-compliant machine, which has six engine speeds. Remote chute control allows you to quickly turn the chute direction up to 200 degrees to throw snow up to 49 feet out of your way.
As with most Toro snow blowers, this machine also comes with hand warmers and an LED light for lower-visibility conditions.
Price at time of publish: $1,999
Clearing Width: 30 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 49 feet | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse
Best for Short Driveway
Toro Power Clear 18 in. 99 cc Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Easy electric start
Limited clearing width
Struggles with densely packed snow
If you have a small space to clear or are working on a modest budget, the Toro Power Clear Gas Snow Blower is a great option. This single-stage gasoline-powered snow blower has a 7-inch auger diameter and an 18-inch clearing width, and its 99 cc engine can move 2 to 9 inches of snow. The manufacturer says the machine is ideal for small driveways.
With a locking deflector, the mounted chute lever allows you to aim the snow exactly where you want, blowing it up to 25 feet away. This helps you quickly and easily clear sidewalks, paths, and other small areas. We also appreciate its electric starter, which avoids pulling a cord perhaps several times to fire it up. Unlike many gas-powered snow blowers, you do not mix oil with gas to fuel this machine.
Price at time of publish: $599
Clearing Width: 18 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 25 feet | Number of Speeds: Variable forward, 0 reverse
Troy-Bilt Squall 21 in. 208 cc Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start
No need to mix gas and oil
Ergonomic handle, design features
Dual LED headlights
Rubber augers leave snow behind
No reverse speed
For a powerful, reliable tool that should last you for years, we like the Troy-Bilt Squall 21-inch Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower. At just 103 pounds, this gas-powered snow blower is lightweight and easy to maneuver. Its 208 cc engine and 21-inch clearing can tackle up to 6 inches of snow. At just 95 pounds, it's easily one of the more lightweight models. Our at-home tester found it incredibly easy to maneuver, with a surprising amount of power that cleared her 50-foot-by-10-foot driveway in just 30 minutes.
The unit lacks an electric starter, but it didn't take extra effort to fire it up. "Starting the snow blower was a cinch—and probably one of our absolute favorite things about the machine," our at-home tester remarked. To get it going, the manufacturer guides you to insert the key, open the choke, press the primer three times, and then yank the pull-start to get the blower revved up. "We were surprised that after just two pulls, the engine was running and we were off," our tester said.
This snow blower has a manual pitch E-Z Chute control that allows you to adjust the rotation up to 190 degrees. It can only throw snow 7 to 10 feet, but that should be enough for smaller properties. Because it's a single-stage model, it's quieter and overall more comfortable to use than options with multiple gears. This appealed to our tester, who said the low levels of vibration greatly reduced arm fatigue and made the blower easier to use.
But perhaps the biggest appeal of this snow blower is its design: The ergonomic handle folds down for easy storage, and the contrasting colors add visual and practical appeal.
Clearing Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 20 feet | Number of Speeds: 1 forward, 0 reverse
Our best overall pick is the Ariens Deluxe 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower, a powerful and reliable gas-powered snow blower that can tackle almost anything. For under $500 (batteries and charger sold separately), the EGO Power+ SNT2100 21-Inch 56-Volt Cordless Snow Blower gives you a reliable single-stage machine.
What to Look for in a Snow Blower
Snow blower/snow thrower
You may see these terms used interchangeably, but the key to remember is that a snow thrower is not as powerful or efficient a snow remover as a snow blower.
Snow throwers, whether powered by gasoline or electricity, are single-stage machines (see Stage, below) that typically are designed for lighter snowfalls. They have lower-rated engines, snow-scooping augers made of rubber instead of metal, and, most important, scoop up and discharge the snow in a single operation.
Snow blowers invariably are two-stage or three-stage machines. They have engines rated at higher horsepower and augers made of metal, and use separate operations to collect the snow and discharge it.
You can find snow throwers and snow blowers powered by gasoline or electricity (corded and rechargeable battery). Electric models are lighter and quieter than gas-powered products but generally are better suited for lighter snowfalls and for clearing narrower spaces. Electric snow blower engines are rated in amps; a larger number means more power.
Gas-powered models generally are more powerful but emit fumes. Also, as gas-powered lawn mowers, they require engine oil, which must be mixed with the gasoline. Gasoline-powered snow blower engines are rated either in horsepower or cubic centimeters (cc); here again, a larger number means more power. If you prefer to know the horsepower of a product rated in cc, divide by 15. For example, a unit rated at 300 cc equals about 20 horsepower, a medium-size machine.
Snow blowers, whether gasoline or electric powered, are designed as single-stage machines (sometimes known as "snow throwers; see above), two-stage, or three-stage machines. "Stage" refers to the number of operations the machine performs:
Single-stage snow blowers are the least powerful and are designed for areas that experience light to moderate snowfalls, generally under 12 inches. These machines have rubber augers that collect the snow and blow it out their discharge chutes in a single motion. You can find single-stage snow blowers in gas-powered and electric-powered models.
Two-stage snow blowers are designed for heavier snowfalls, up to about 18 inches. These machines, equipped with augers generally made of serrated steel or other metal, scoop up the snow and channel it into components called impellers, which shoot the snow out the discharge chute. The advantage of this type of snow blower is the intake duct can be kept clearer, assisting more-efficient snow removal. Two-stage machines come in gas- and electric-powered models. Another facet to note about two-stage snow blowers is that unlike single-stage models, you can adjust the height of the machine's skid plates. This can get the scraper bar low enough, even at surface level, to scoop off as much snow as possible.
Three-stage snow blowers add another element to the operation: instead of moving collected snow into an impeller, these models add a halfway component called an "induction accelerator," which chops the snow up and then moves it into the impeller. These machines are designed to collect more snow than other models, potentially getting surfaces to a stage where the sun can melt what's left before it re-freezes, making the surface slick. Three-stage snow blowers only come in gas-powered models.
Consider how wide a path the snow blower clears with each pass. Typical clearing widths range from 18 to 22 inches, but some budget models may clear even less, and some more robust models may be able to clear 30 inches or more. Narrower clearing widths mean you may need to make more passes to clean the driveway or sidewalk. But they also have smaller footprints and can be stored in smaller spaces. A wider clearing width helps you clear snow faster and get inside sooner but requires a larger space in which to put it away.
Manufacturers commonly warrant residential-use snow blowers for two years for single-stage machines, or three years for two-stage and three-stage machines. Most warranties are dramatically reduced if you use the snow blower for commercial purposes.
Increasingly, gasoline-powered snow blowers come with a one-button starter that avoids the need to pull the starter cord repeatedly. Generally, this is enabled by plugging the cord into a standard outlet, which supplies the power. Electric snow blowers generally come with this function, or start with a combination of pushbutton and lever an easily depressed lever.
Most snow blowers are equipped with wheels. Products equipped with tank-like tracks provide the most traction on paved and unpaved surfaces.
Many snow blowers work at a single pace; if you’re looking for a model with a little more kick, then shop around for one with variable-speed control. Typically found on two-stage and three-stage snow blowers, speed control lets you move more quickly with a simple adjustment to a lever near the handgrips. Higher-end models also may have more than one speed for reverse. Check to see where the speed control lever is located and whether it’s in a comfortable position for you to adjust. If it’s out of reach or hard to use, you won’t enjoy the convenience offered by this feature nearly as much.
This feature allows you to use one hand to control both the auger and the wheels, so your other hand can direct the discharge chute.
These provide added comfort so you can use the machine for longer periods. (You might be able to purchase them separately.)
How do I decide among a single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage snow blower?
Ultimately, your decision comes down to how much snowfall you typically need to clear. If your area is prone to light snowfalls of 12 inches or less, and your home faces a narrow sidewalk or lacks a driveway, a single-stage snow blower may be sufficient. Two-stage snow blowers also can handle snowfalls of a foot or less. Opt for one of those if you wish to purchase an electric model, since three-stage snow blowers are only gas-powered. We recommend spending the money for such a product if you wish to scoop as much snow off of surfaces as possible, since two-stage models have adjustable skid plate heights.
How wide of a blade do you need on a snow blower?
That depends on the width of the surface to be cleared and how much time you wish to spend doing the chore. We recommend blade widths of 20 to 38 inches, which are typically found on two-stage snow blowers, if you have a fairly wide or long driveway or wide sidewalk.
Do you need to mix oil and gasoline in a snow blower engine?
All internal combustion engines, including those driving snow blowers, require lubrication to keep the engine from overheating. Whether you need to mix oil with gasoline depends on whether the engine is a two-cycle or four-cycle design. (The "cycles" refer to how many piston strokes, two or four, it takes to initiate engine operation: intake air and fuel, compress the air and fuel, initiate combustion, and exhaust the fumes.) Most older snow blowers have two-cycle engines, while most products manufactured within the last five years or so have four-cycle engines.
Generally, a two-cycle engine has just a single tank, requiring oil to be mixed with the gas in carefully prepared ratios, depending on the product's make and model. Four-cycle engines have separate tanks for gas oil and oil, so mixing the two isn't necessary.
In any case, it is important to add the correct weight of oil to your snow blower to make sure it can start in cold weather. Read the owner's manual for the recommended oil weight, such as SAE 5W-30.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer who has written for The Spruce since 2017. A lifelong New Englander, she is no stranger to blizzards and knows the value of a high-quality snow blower, which can help make snow removal a much easier task. To make this list, she consulted dozens of customer and third-party reviews, along with insights from our testers.
Senior Editor Ira Lacher, based in what used to be a snowy Des Moines, Iowa, added insight and product research, looking into the newest products rated highly for how much snow they can handle, how well they remove snow from sidewalks, and additional features to make these machines easier to handle. He also thoroughly learned the ins and outs of snow blowers, including how different types function and what makes them go, and especially how easy or difficult each would be for a novice user. Ira's several-years-old Toro 5 hp, 20-inch, gas-powered snow blower, bequeathed by a neighbor who moved to California, waits patiently in Ira's garage for a snowfall heavy enough to be of use.