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Best Overall: Ariens Deluxe 28 in. Gas Snow Blower at Lowe’s
"This snow blower sends snow as deep as a foot up to 50 feet away with an engine that starts up easily, even in the cold."
Runner Up, Best Overall: Cub Cadet Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower at Home Depot
"The push-button electric start makes this snow blower easy to power up in the winter, and it can throw snow up to 40 feet away."
"This budget-friendly, compact snow blower can throw snow up to 20 feet to get you through winters with moderate amounts of snow."
Best Electric: EGO Single-Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower at Home Depot
"Made from weather-resistant, heavy-duty steel to withstand the elements, this blower runs on lithium-ion batteries instead of gas."
Best Single-Stage: Toro Power ClearSingle-Stage Gas Snow Blower at Home Depot
"This single-stage snow blower can handle up to 9 inches of snow and has a self-propel system to do some of the hard work for you."
Best Two-Stage: Troy-Bilt Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower at Home Depot
"This two-stage blower has six forward speeds and two reverse speeds, and can clear snow up to 18 inches deep up to 30 feet away."
Best for Heavy Snow: Honda Hydrostatic Track Drive Snow Blower at Home Depot
"People say this heavy-duty snow blower is the best they’ve ever used, as it makes quick work of snow up to 21 inches deep."
Best for Large Driveways: Ariens Deluxe 30 in. Gas Snow Blower at Home Depot
"It has a wide range of user-friendly features, including hand warmers, electric start, Auto Turn steering, and remote chute control."
Best Heated Handles: Troy-Bilt 277 cc Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower at Home Depot
"This snow blower has heated handles to keep your fingers warm—along with features for improved steering and maneuverability."
If you live in a region that gets a lot of snow during the winter, a high-quality snowblower is an essential. Cold climates can get snow several times a week, and a snowblower will help clear your driveway and keep it accessible, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. We've done the research and found the best snowblower options, from less expensive model that can handle light snowfall and small driveways to larger, heavy-duty picks that you can trust to dig you out of deep, heavy snow.
Best Overall: Ariens Deluxe 28 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
It’s powerful. It’s durable. It’s easy to use. The Ariens Deluxe 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower is hands-down one of the best snow blowers you can buy if you want to make quick work of a snowy driveway or sidewalk. This gas-powered snow blower will cut a 28-inch wide path through even the heaviest snow, and it has a number of features that make it a breeze to operate.
This two-stage machine is powered by a 254cc engine—roughly equivalent to 17 horsepower—and it has a 21-inch intake height that works well with snow up to a foot deep. It’s self-propelled with six forward speeds and two reverse speeds, and the 120-volt electric push-button start ensures it will roar to life on even the coldest winter days. Additionally, this Arien snow blower has auto-turn steering for smooth operation, and it can send snow up to 50 feet away via its chute, which rotates more than 200 degrees.
Reviewers can’t say enough good things about this snow blower, writing that it's even efficient on heavy, wet snow. Many love its sheer power and the impressive lineup of useful features.
Runner Up, Best Overall: Cub Cadet 2X 26 in. Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Another unbeatable option is the Cub Cadet 2X Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower, which is a little more affordable than our top pick but certainly doesn’t skimp on features. It houses a 243cc engine that can power through tough snow and ice, as well as power steering and single-handed turning.
This snow blower has six forward speeds and two reverse speeds, and it boasts a 26-inch clearing width and a 21-inch intake height. The push-button electric start makes it easy to power up in the winter, and it can throw snow up to 40 feet away. Plus, it’s equipped with LED dual headlights that allow you to operate it safely at night. If you ask buyers, they’ll tell you this machine has no problem moving heavy, wet snow, and many reviewers rave about the convenient steering assist features.
Best Budget: Troy-Bilt Squall 21 in. Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower
For a budget-friendly snow blower that will get you through the winter with minimal shoveling, you should consider this Troy-Bilt Squall Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower. The machine has a 208cc engine and a 21-inch clearing width, and it works best on up to 6 inches of snow. It features manual pitch control that lets you adjust the discharge up to 190 degrees and can throw snow up to 20 feet out of the way.
This snow blower is more compact than your average machine, and it even has an ergonomic folding handle. The dual-LED headlights will help you see what you’re doing during snowstorms, and the push-button start makes it easy to start up on cold days. According to reviewers, this Troy-Bilt Squall Snow Blower is well-built and ideal for small amounts of snow.
Best Electric: EGO 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-ion Single-Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower
Don’t want the hassle of doing maintenance on a gas snow blower? Then you’ll love the EGO Single-Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower. This machine runs on two 7.5 Ah lithium-ion batteries that last for around 45 minutes of use and charge up in just 60 minutes, and it clears a path 21-inches wide on each pass.
This electric snow blower throws snow up to 35 feet, and you can redirect the chute up to 180 degrees. The machine is made from weather-resistant, heavy-duty steel to withstand the elements, and it features LED headlights, a quick-fold handle, and variable-speed auger control that lets you adjust the distance that the snow is thrown.
Best Single-Stage: Toro Power Clear 21 in. Single-Stage Self-Propelled Gas Snow Blower
There are two main types of snow blowers: single-stage and double-stage. In single-stage snowblowers, the blades that move the snow direct the snow straight up into the discharge chute in one step. Because one part is doing two tasks, they are less powerful than two-stage models, so they aren't recommended for heavy or wet snow. However, if you're in an area that doesn't get heavy snow often, the Toro Power Clear Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower will still do a great job clearing your driveway.
This snow blower is powered by a 212cc engine, and it can handle up to 9 inches of snow. It has a 21-inch clearing width, as well as a self-propel system that does most of the pushing for you. The machine can throw snow up to 35 feet away, and it includes an electric push-start button. Reviewers praise its weight-to-power ratio, say it handles large driveways with ease.
Best Two-Stage: Troy-Bilt 30 in. Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
The other common snow blower category is a two-stage snow blower, which also pulls snow in using its blades. The difference is that it then uses a fan to discharge the snow out the chute, and this added mechanism allows the machine to throw snow further and faster.
One of the best two-stage snow blowers, especially for heavy snow, is this model from Troy-Bilt, which is equipped with a commercial-grade 357cc engine and has an impressive 30-inch clearing width. It features Touch N Turn power steering, and one-touch electric chute control that changes both the pitch and direction. This two-stage blower has six forward speeds and two reverse speeds, and it can clear snow up to 18 inches deep, throwing it up to 30 feet out of the way.
Best for Heavy Snow: Honda 28 in. Hydrostatic Track Drive 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower
You need a heavy-duty machine to remove wet, heavy snow from your driveway, and one of the best snow blowers for heavy snow is the Honda 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower. This machine has a fuel-efficient 270cc engine and wide 28-inch clearing path, and it can handle snow up to 21 inches deep, sending it as much as 50 feet away.
This snow blower features an electric joystick chute control, as well as hydrostatic variable speed transmission, which helps you adjust the machine's speed through different snow conditions. Instead of wheels, this machine has rubber tracks that make it ideal for use on different terrains (similar to construction equipment). People say this is the “best snow blower they’ve ever used,” as it makes quick work of even the heaviest snow.
Best for Large Driveways: Ariens Deluxe 30 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
When you have a snow blower with a wider clearing path, you can make quick work of even the largest driveways. The best snow blower for large driveways is the Ariens Deluxe 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower, which features a 306cc engine and a 30-inch clearing width. It has a wide range of user-friendly features, as well, including an electric start, Auto Turn steering, and remote chute control.
This Ariens snow blower is best used on snow up to 12 inches deep, and its two-stage mechanism can shoot snow up to 50 feet away. The chute rotates 205 degrees, and the handles even have built-in hand warmers to keep you comfortable.
Best Heated Handles: Troy-Bilt 28 in. 277 cc Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Even when you’re wearing gloves, your hands might get cold while snow blowing in extreme weather. Luckily, the Troy-Bilt Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower has heated handles to keep your fingers warm—along with a variety of other high-end features. The machine has a 277cc engine, along with a 28-inch clearing width and D-track drive system that gives you more traction than a wheeled option.
In addition to its heated handgrips, this snow blower boasts in-dash remote pitch control, Touch N Turn power steering, one-hand chute adjustment, and three different drive modes that shift the unit’s weight—ideal if you’re working on icy snow or gravel driveways. This snow blower is best used on accumulation up to 12 inches deep.
What’s the difference between a snow blower and a snow thrower?
You’ll often see a snow blower referred to as a snow thrower. In fact, only snow blowers with single-stage engines are technically snow throwers. This is because single-stage snow blowers don’t actually blow the snow—they rely on an auger to scoop and literally “throw” the snow out the chute. More powerful two- and three-stage snow blowers have an impeller to help blow the snow out the chute, but you still might see them advertised as snow throwers.
How do I decide between a single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage snow blower?
A single-stage snow blower works in one motion, utilizing a scoop-like auger that shovels the snow and funnels it out the chute. A two-stage snow blower has an impeller fan in addition to the auger, which helps propel the snow into the intake chute and increases the overall clearing power and throwing distance of the snow. A three-stage snow blower has the most power because it adds an accelerator to the auger and impeller fan, which means much faster snow removal, greater clearing capacity, and longer throwing distances. Ultimately, your decision will come down to how much power you’re looking for, mostly dependent on how much snowfall you need to clear.
How do I store a gas snow blower between seasons?
Properly storing a gas-powered snow blower in the offseason is important because gas can corrode and gunk can build up and cause damage. Most likely, you’ll want to drain the fuel tank before storing it for months at a time. You can also add a fuel stabilizer to the tank to keep the gasoline ready and prevent it from breaking down over time. However, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular machine for best results.
If you live in an area that sees harsh winters with lots of snowfall, a snow blower can make your life considerably easier. This mighty machine will put your shovel to shame as it buzzes a path through snow drifts, saving you considerable effort and time.
Snow blowers are able to clear driveways, sidewalks, decks, and more thanks to their motor-powered auger that scoops up snow and sends it flying. A gas or electric engine supplies power to an auger of wide paddles or metal blades, which funnel snow into the machine and push it upward through the discharge chute. The operator guides the snow blower along, leaving a freshly cleared path in its wake.
When shopping for a snow blower, you’ll need to decide between electric or gas-powered models and single-stage, two-stage, or three-stage versions. Some snow blowers are equipped to handle major blizzards with 18 inches or more of snow, while other versions are for lighter snowfalls of 8 inches or less. Your typical winter weather and budget will determine the type of snow blower that's right for you. Snow blowers start at about $120 for the most basic single-stage electric versions and about $500 for two-stage gas models, though extra features will make the price quickly climb. If you need a more powerful option, three-stage snow blowers start at about $1,000.
Snow blowers are powered by both gas and electric motors, though electric motors are limited to lighter-duty single-stage models. Decide whether you want the convenience of electric operation or if you want the extra power of a gas motor that also needs regular maintenance and fuel.
Pay attention to how much power either type of engine is rated for on any snow blower you’re considering; gas engines are rated in terms of horsepower and electric engines are measured in amps.
Consider how wide a path the snow blower will clear with each pass. Typical clearing widths are anywhere between 20 and 25 inches, but some budget models may clear even less and some more robust models may be able to do up to 30 inches or more.
Narrower clearing widths mean you may need to make more passes to clean the driveway or sidewalk—extending the time you’ll be spending out in the elements. A wider clearing width will help you clear snow faster and get inside sooner.
Wheels vs. Tracks
Pushing a snow blower through heavy snow is tough. To make the task easier, some models are equipped with power-driven wheels that will help propel the machine along.
Less common are snow blowers with tracks instead of wheels—similar to what you’d see on a bulldozer or other piece of heavy equipment. The tracks may provide more stability on uneven terrain or gravel but are probably overkill for your average suburban home.
Many snow blowers work at a single pace, but if you’re looking for a model with a little more get up and go, then shop around for one with variable speed control. Typically found on two-stage and three-stage snow blowers, speed control will let you move faster with a simple adjustment to a lever near the handgrips.
Check to see where the speed control lever is located and if 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.
Make it easier to get started quicker by choosing a snow blower with an electric starter. At the push of a button, the machine will be ready for action without the need for a manual pull-cord start, which can be challenging.
Both electric and gas-powered models are available with an electric start option. If you want to be up and running faster when the snow flurries arrive or you hate struggling with a conventional starter, you should strongly consider an electric starter.
There are a number of other features that you may want to consider when shopping for a snow blower. Many of these aim to make the job quicker and easier or help you stay warm while removing snow.
Some of the most common additional features to keep an eye out for include a headlight, drift cutters, or handgrips with a built-in warmer.
If your typical winter snowstorm is far from a full-fledged blizzard, you may find that a single-stage electric snow blower is sufficient for your snow clearing needs. Equipped with a paddle-like auger that scoops snow and funnels it out the chute for discharge, this snow blower does its job in one swift motion—hence the name "single-stage."
Single-stage snow blowers with an electric motor are typically lighter than their gas counterparts and they also offer the advantage of not requiring fuel to run. However, they are more limited when it comes to clearing power and are typically better suited for snowfalls of 6 inches or less. They also usually have a more narrow clearing path, making them a better choice for sidewalks, decks, or other smaller spots you’d like to clean off.
There are two types of single-stage electric snow blowers on the market: corded and cordless.
Corded single-stage models require that you plug the snow blower into a power source and manage the cord as you work. Extension cords are generally not recommended for use by manufacturers, so make sure you buy one with a cord long enough to reach the areas you plan to clear.
These electric snow blowers offer the advantage of being able to clear snow from anywhere without the hassle or limitations of a cord. The downside, of course, is that your snow blowing session is limited by the life of your battery.
If you don’t mind operating a gas-powered snow blower and experience slightly more snowfall, then a single-stage gas-powered model may make more sense. An auger moves in the same way as other single-stage models to move snow from the ground and up through the chute, but the power is supplied by a gasoline engine.
These snow blowers usually offer a little more clearing width and will typically clear a path about 2 feet wide with each pass. They’re more maneuverable than two-stage or three-stage blowers. However, they are still limited in power and throwing distance, making them best suited for snow accumulations up to 8 inches.
A two-stage snow blower takes snow removal to the next level by adding an impeller fan to help propel snow into the intake chute—increasing clearing power and throwing distance. Two-stage snow blowers are the go-to choice for areas affected by snow accumulations of 8 inches or more.
This type of snow blower is also more likely to have the added features that make clearing snow easier and more efficient, including power-driven wheels, greater intake heights, and wider clearing paths.
One drawback to a two-stage snow blower is the fact that the auger doesn’t come in direct contact with the surface to be cleared. As a result, many of these machines leave behind a thin layer of snow.
When choosing a two-stage gas snow blower, consider how much horsepower a particular model has. The more horsepower the engine has, the greater the power it will be able to generate. This will help the auger get through deeper drifts and provide more power to the wheels as you press on through wet or heavy snow. The greater the demands that will be placed on your snow blower, the more horsepower you will need.
Two-stage snow blowers generally start around $500, but the price will ultimately depend on the features that are important to you. Some models incorporate commercial-grade features like rubber tracks and higher horsepower engines along with variable speed control and joystick chute controls, which can push the price tag well past $2,000.
For the most snow-clearing power, look to a three-stage snow blower. These gas-powered snow moving machines add an accelerator to the auger and impeller fan setup to move snow even faster. These snow blowers are a match for clearing snowfalls totaling anywhere from 1 to 2 feet.
The secret to the three-stage snowblower’s success is the accelerator, which is basically another auger placed in between the two sides of the standard auger. This auger moves in a motion perpendicular to the standard auger and results in a much faster collection of the snow in front of your machine. It would only make sense that the clearing path becomes wider, too. You can expect to clear close to 30 inches with every single pass of the blower.
In addition, most three-stage snow blowers have the bells and whistles that will make snow blowing more comfortable. The majority of popular models include heated handgrips, electric start, power steering, and chutes with greater throwing distances.
All this power doesn’t come cheap, though. Three-stage snow blowers will set you back $1,000 or more—with some models approaching the $3,000 mark. Still, if you face serious winter weather or have a lot of space to clear, it may make sense to invest in the superior power of a three-stage snow blower.
Snow Blower Shovel
Worth a mention if you live somewhere with very light snowfall is the electric shovel. Combining the functionality of a shovel for quick snow removal with the power of a motorized auger results in a handy tool for quickly clearing light snow or small areas.
Power snow shovels, as they’re sometimes called, are available in either corded or cordless models. A few corded models are also equipped to use a battery pack, giving you the option to go cordless if you’d like.
An auger sits inside the mouth of the shovel and churns snow into the shovel’s surface before propelling it forward. As you move the shovel along the ground, it will gradually clear a path, without the work of scooping and throwing the snow yourself.
The shortcomings of snow blower shovels include narrow cleaning paths (usually less than 12 inches) and short battery life or distance limitations because of the cord. Additionally, they aren’t a match for deep snowdrifts. However, they can be a good addition to your snow removal arsenal and make quick work of clearing off the porch or short sidewalks.
Electric snow shovels generally cost between $50 and $150, depending on their power and capabilities.
Cub Cadet is a well-known brand that produces single-, two-, and three-stage snow blowers—one of the few manufacturers to address all three product types. These well-engineered models are offered with many different features and start around $500, but quickly climb past $1,000 or more.
Producing single-, two-, and a select few models of three-stage snow blowers, Troy-Bilt also gives consumers a lot of options to choose from. The entry-level models start at a more affordable price point but lack some of the features that more expensive models incorporate.
Producing single- and two-stage gas-powered snow blowers, Ariens offers a lot of options to homeowners. With nine different series available, there are abundant options for average residential use and more powerful models with traction and high-performance capabilities.
Honda manufacturers single-stage and two-stage gas-powered snowblowers. While the selection of single-stage models is more limited, there are a number of two-stage Honda models to choose from. More basic models offer standard features, while high-end options benefit from Honda’s unique hydrostatic drive and infinitely variable speed transmission.
Focusing on small-scale and entry-level electric blowers and snow removal tools, Snow Joe offers affordable options that are a good match for light-duty use. Snow Joe primarily manufacturers single-stage electric snow blowers and power snow shovels.
Accessories and Warranties
While the snow blower itself will do the majority of the heavy lifting, there are accessories and extras available to make the task easier or more comfortable. Below are some of the most common options to consider.
If the wind is blowing, you can expect to get more than a light dusting of snow as your machine throws snow out of its path. Blowback is an unpleasant part of the snow clearing process, and a snow cab will minimize your exposure by protecting you with a clear, portable windshield of sorts. It can also help to block any icy wind that may be blowing your way.
Slippery conditions often go hand-in-hand with a snowstorm, so your snow blower’s tires may slide and lose traction as you work. Avoid this safety hazard and improve the handling of your machine by adding a set of tire chains to your snow blower’s tires.
If you opt for a gas-powered snow blower, you’ll have to drain out the fuel during the more seasonable months of the year or develop a plan for keeping the fuel stable. Instead of wasting it, adding a fuel stabilizer to the tank can keep the gasoline ready and prevent it from breaking down over time. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, which will likely include filling the gas tank to the brim to avoid condensation and moisture build-up.
When shopping for a snow blower, it’s not uncommon to see warranty coverage that lasts for two or three years. Typically, single-stage snow throwers will have two years of warranty protection, while two-stage and three-stage machines may gain an additional year of coverage.
It’s important to know that most warranties are dramatically reduced if you use the snow blower for commercial purposes. In some cases, the warranty period may be as short as 90 days. But if you just plan to use the machine around your property or to clear the sidewalk in front of your house, you will have several years of warranty coverage to give you peace of mind.