Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Troy-Built Squall 208cc at Amazon
"Clear an impressive 21-inch wide path with this electric machine."
Best High-End: Ariens Deluxe Snow Blower at Home Depot
"It's powerful, easy to use, and will last for years."
Runner-Up, Best High-End: Cub Cadet Snow Blower at Home Depot
"This self-propelled snow blower has six forward speeds and two reverse."
Best for Heavy Snow: Troy-Bilt Storm 2660 at Lowe’s
"The powerful accelerator cuts through heavy snow and ice."
Best for Hills: Husqvarna ST 224 Gas Snow Blower at Amazon
"The engine does the work for you on the way up or down."
Best for Wet Snow: Cub Cadet Snow Blower at Home Depot
"Has a powerful 4-cycle OHV engine with an electric start."
Best Battery-Powered: EGO Single Stage Snow Blower at Amazon
"Uses two rechargeable 5.0Ah 56-Volt ARC batteries and a brushless motor."
Best for Driveways: Briggs and Stratton Snow Thrower at Amazon
"A compact and efficient snow thrower that can fit into tight spaces."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Troy-Bilt Squall 208cc Electric Start 21-Inch Single Stage Gas Snow Thrower
What We Like
Easy to start
Lightweight and maneuverable
What We Don't Like
Wheels are small
Throwing distance is limited
The Troy-Bilt Gas Snow Thrower is a reliable machine that users love for its maneuverability and efficiency when it comes to clearing moderate snowfall. The Squall features a 208cc four-cycle overhead valve gas engine with a convenient push-button electric start. It can clear a 21-inch-wide path and cut through an impressive 13 inches of snow at a time. You can also throw your snow with accuracy thanks to the two-way polymer chute that spins 180 degrees to toss displaced snow exactly where you want it. Just keep in mind, it's only a single-stage blower, which means throwing distance is somewhat limited.
Some reviewers complain that the wheels are small and can easily get caked with snow, but for the most part, customers love the power they get at such a reasonable price.
Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our guide to the best snow shovels.
02 of 08
Best High-End: Ariens Deluxe 28 Gas Snow Blower
What We Like
Throws snow up to 50 feet
What We Don't Like
Difficult to maneuver on uneven surfaces
If you're looking to invest in a snowblower that will get you through tough winters year after year, the Ariens Deluxe is an excellent high-end option. Featuring a 254cc two-stage gas engine and a 14-inch steel auger, it tackles snow with ease and boasts an impressive 28-inch wide clearance and 21-inch intake height.
The snow throwing chute—which reviewers say can toss snow as far as 50 feet—is operated with a convenient crank that allows for 200-degree rotation. Users say the electric push-button start, 16-inch traction wheels, and auto-turn steering makes it simple to operate. It also boasts handy features like lights, dual-handle safety features, eight different speeds, and a five-year warranty.
A few reviewers reported some difficulty with steering and handling on uneven surfaces, but for the most part, customers agree that this machine outshines the competition in terms of power and effectiveness.
03 of 08
Runner-Up Best High-End: Cub Cadet 2X 24-inch Snow Blower
What We Like
Effective power steering
Easy to maneuver
What We Don't Like
The Cub Cadet 24-inch 208cc snow blower is another high-end option that has a slightly smaller size, which makes it easy to handle and store. This gas-powered blower features an overhead valve four-cycle two-stage engine with an electric start. Its 24-inch-wide-by-21-inch-high clearance isn't the largest on the market, but reviewers say the engine will definitely get the job done (you can even search online for videos of its power).
This self-propelled machine sports six forward speeds and two reverse speed for precise control and is made with rust-resistant, reversible skid shoes for ultimate traction.
Customers love its small turn radius and power steering, as well as the four-way pitch control snow chute and built-in headlights. While the control options are top-notch, a few users complain about awkward placement and particularly mention the chute joystick being clunky to operate.
04 of 08
Best for Heavy Snow: Troy-Bilt Storm 2660
What We Like
Easy one-handed operation
Eight different speeds
What We Don't Like
Difficult to maintain from year to year
The Troy-Bilt Storm 2660 is an incredibly powerful, 208cc two-stage gas-powered snow blower. Its extended chute design keeps snow from blowing back, and the accelerator spins much faster than the auger to cut through heavy snow and ice. It can work in snow up to 12-inches deep, and the impressive 26-inch-wide clearing path gets the job done quickly.
Reviewers love the easy push-button start, locking handles that allow for one-handed control, and the joystick controller to shift the chute and pitch controls on the go. The self-propelled power steering ensures the machine does all the work. The main issue customers experience involves trouble starting the snow blower after a year—usually due to issues with the fuel—but many say if you follow the manual's care instructions you should be fine.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for Hills: Husqvarna ST 224 Gas Snow Blower
What We Like
Good power and blowing distance
What We Don't Like
Slow in reverse
Auger isn't the most durable
Limited chute rotation
Clearing a hill or a steep driveway in deep snow can be inconvenient and dangerous. To make your job a little easier, invest in a strong, self-propelled snow blower like the Husqvarna ST 224 Gas Snow Blower, a 208cc two-stage gas engine-powered, electric start snow thrower with heated handles and LED headlights. It is a quiet and efficient machine with a 24-inch-by-23-inch clearance. Additionally, the non-marking skids will protect your driveway.
The engine operates the auger as well as the wheels, doing the work for you whether you're going uphill or downhill. It features six different forward speeds for precise control as well as reverse, to prevent downhill skids. However, reviewers complain that the one reverse speed is much too slow.
06 of 08
Best for Wet Snow: Cub Cadet 3X 26-Inch Snow Blower
What We Like
Excellent throwing distance
What We Don't Like
Difficult to turn
Wet snow and ice are no match for the incredibly powerful three-stage 357cc four-cycle OHV engine of the Cub Cadet 3X Three-Stage Snow Blower. In addition to this snow blower’s superior performance, it also has every feature you want to make those tough blizzard nights a little better. In addition to an easy electric push-button start, it sports dual LED headlights, heated handgrips, and heavy-duty tires that won't skid. TRAC drive allows you to traverse even the worst terrain. This snow blower also has a 26-inch wide clearance and a 40-inch high-arching moveable chute that can be controlled easily.
Reviewers rave about how well it tackles heavy snowfall and are impressed with the throwing distance. However, it's on the heavier side, and some say making turns is tricky.
07 of 08
Best Battery-Powered: EGO Single Stage Snow Blower
What We Like
Lightweight and compact
Batteries recharge quickly
Works well in icy, slushy snow
What We Don't Like
Battery life fairly short
If you live in an area where snow is mild or your property is small, you may want to consider an electric snow blower. These machines are a little less powerful and a bit smaller, but they are easier to store and eliminate the hassle of dealing with fuel.
The EGO Single Stage Snow Blower uses two EGO rechargeable 5.0Ah 56-volt ARC lithium batteries and a brushless motor. While the battery life can be somewhat limiting, reviewers were impressed with how quickly they charged. Customers also rave about the power of this little machine and say it has no trouble handling fluffy powder or icy slush. You can control the chute from the handlebars and vary the auger speed. It also features LED headlights and folds up flat for added convenience.
08 of 08
Best for Driveways: Briggs and Stratton 1022ER Single Stage Snow Thrower
What We Like
Easy to adjust controls
Easy to start
What We Don't Like
Slows down in deep, packed snow
Not great on hills
The Briggs and Stratton 1022ER Single Stage Snow Thrower is a compact and efficient snow blower that's ideal for flat surfaces like driveways. This 208cc single-stage gas-powered snow blower works for most snow levels—although it slows down in packed snow, according to a few reviewers. The small size fits into the tight spaces around cars and also makes storage a cinch. Customers love how easy it is to operate with its push-button electric starter and crank-based chute control system. This model also has a rubber-edged auger to keep the water and snow off and the whole machine moving. The quick-adjust deflector lets you change your clearance from the handlebars, making it easy to adjust where you blow the snow.
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.
The Ultimate Snow Blowers Buying Guide
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, easier, and more comfortable.
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.