These Are the Best Snow Blowers to Handle Heavy Snow

Make sure you're prepared for the next snowstorm

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Ariens Deluxe 28

 The Spruce / Justin Park

If you live somewhere that receives several feet of snow every winter, chances are a snow blower would be a worthwhile investment for your home. Snow blowers typically cost upwards of several hundred dollars, but the right options can save you hours of backbreaking work—moving even the heaviest snow quickly and easily. 

However, there are a variety of snow blowers out there to choose from. You’ll have to decide between gas- and electric-powered models, as well as whether you want a one- or two-stage design. Gas snow blowers tend to be more powerful, but like most gas tools, they also require more maintenance. It's also important to consider factors such as the amount of snow you usually get, how heavy the snow is, and how large of an area you need to clear.

To help you select the best snow blower for your needs, we conducted extensive research on the most popular models currently on the market. We also sent top options to our product testers to evaluate on the basis of design, performance, size, usability, safety, and value. From New England to the Rocky Mountains, they collected valuable, real-world insights that you can use to inform your shopping decisions.

Read on for the best snow blowers available today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Ariens Deluxe 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower

4.7
Snow blower

Ariens

Clearing Width (inches): 28 | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance (feet): 50 | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse

What We Like
  • Metal chute with accessible adjustment

  • Electric push-button start

What We Don't Like
  • Small fuel tank with hard-to-read gauge

  • Auto-turn steering is hard to manage

What do buyers say? 1,300+ Lowes reviewers rated this 5 stars.

For a powerful, reliable tool that can handle deep, heavy snow, you need a model like the Ariens Deluxe Two-Stage Self-Propelled Snow Blower. The self-proclaimed "King of Snow", Ariens is a Wisconsin-based brand that has been manufacturing outdoor equipment since 1933. This high-end gas-powered 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 12 inches of snow. 

At over $1,000, this model is on the more expensive side, but its two-stage operating system and 14-inch steel augers help you move through snow up to 21 inches deep quickly and easily. It’s self-propelled with six forward and two reverse speeds, and has auto-turn steering that allows you to effortlessly guide around your driveway and sidewalks.

Our tester found this self-propelled snow blower to work great on his property in the Rockies, giving it high marks for its horsepower and well-designed auger system. Even after larger storms (12+ inches of snow!), the machine reliably cut through and cleared the snow.

Ariens Deluxe 28

 The Spruce / Justin Park

What Testers Say

"The snow blower is gas-powered, but a 120-volt electric push-button start ensures that the unit quickly starts—no matter how cold it is. After a medium-sized storm, say five inches of new snow, it took us about an hour to fully clear our driveway—and that’s with a lot of attention to detail."Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Compact: Troy-Bilt Squall 21 in. 208 cc Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start

4.5
Snow blower

Troy-Bilt

Clearing Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 20 feet | Number of Speeds: 1 forward, 0 reverse

What We Like
  • 4-cycle engine eliminates need to mix gas and oil

  • Ergonomic handle and design features

  • Dual LED headlights

What We Don't Like
  • Rubber augers are better suited for fresh snow

  • No reverse speed

  • Only for use on paved surfaces

For a powerful, reliable tool that will last you for years, opt for a model 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 six inches of snow.

This snow blower has a manual pitch E-Z Chute control that allows you to adjust the rotation up to 190-degree rotation. It can only throw snow 7-10 feet, but this 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 both visual and practical appeal. Plus, at just 95 pounds, it's easily one of the more lightweight models out there. Our tester found it incredibly easy to maneuver, with a surprising amount of power that powered through her 50 x 10-foot driveway in just 30 minutes.

Troy Bilt Squall

The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

What Testers Say

"Starting the snowblower was a cinch—and probably one of our absolute favorite things about the machine. 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."Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester

Best Electric: Snow Joe 40-Volt 18-in Single-Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower

Snow Joe Single-Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower

Courtesy of Home Depot

Clearing Width: 18 inches | Power Type: Electric | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 20 feet | Number of Speeds: 1 forward, 0 reverse

What We Like
  • Lightweight at just 32 pounds

  • Long battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Chute rotation is limited to 180 degrees

  • Not as effective on wet, heavy snow

Electric snow blowers like this cordless model from Snow Joe offer less power, but they require significantly less maintenance. This particular battery-powered snow blower runs on a 40-volt battery that delivers up to 50 minutes of run-time per charge, and its 18-inch clearing width is ideal for small driveways, paths, and sidewalks. Its 180-degree chute can throw snow up to 20 feet, and the whole unit only weighs 32 pounds, making it easy to handle.

Best Gas: Champion Power Equipment 224cc 24 in. Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start

Champion Power Equipment

Walmart

Clearing Width: 24 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 30 feet | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse

What We Like
  • Reasonable price tag

  • Compact design

  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • No headlights

A gas-powered snow blower is a great choice if you're working on a larger job and need to move heavy loads of snow. Gas snow blowers are generally more powerful and easier to maneuver, limited only by the size of their gas tank.

The Champion Power Equipment Gas Snow Blower is a heavy-duty model that stands out for its incredible power and easy maneuverability. This two-stage model is powered by a 224 cc engine, and it clears a 24-inch path on every pass, using its 12-inch augers to cut through both frozen and wet precipitation. 

This Champion Power Equipment snow blower is also packed to the brim with useful features, including 180-degree remote chute rotation, electric start, power steering, heated grip handles, and more. The is powerful enough to work well in slushy, heavy snow, as well as in large amounts of accumulation.

Best Single-Stage: EGO 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-ion Single-Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower

Snow blower

EGO

Clearing Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Electric | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 35 feet | Number of Speeds: Variable

What We Like
  • Moderate price point

  • Long-lasting battery life

  • Fold-down handle for compact storage

What We Don't Like
  • Plastic scraping edge might need replacing

You’ll often hear the term single-stage when talking about snow blowers, and that simply means that the machine’s corkscrew-shaped auger pulls in snow and throws it out the chute in one step. This style of snow blower is generally less expensive and better for smaller amounts of snow. One of the best single-stage models available today is the EGO Power+ Battery Snow Blower, a cordless option that's easy to use and surprisingly powerful.

This single-stage snow blower is best used on less than 10 inches of snow, and it can throw snow up to 35 feet. With remote chute control and a variable-speed auger, you can easily control when and how far the snow is thrown. The kit comes with two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger.

Best Two-Stage: Cub Cadet Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start

Snow Blower

Club Cadet

Clearing Width: 26 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 40 feet | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse

What We Like
  • Easy to handle

  • Large tires effectively pull through snow

  • Comes with oil

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Two-stage snow blowers have an auger for snow intake, as well as an impeller, which is a fan that helps force snow through the discharge chute. While more expensive, two-stage models like the Cub Cadet Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower are able to throw snow significantly further, making them useful for clearing large areas. 

This two-stage gas snow blower has a 243cc engine and 26-inch clearing width, and its self-propelled drive has six forward and two reverse speeds. It can clear up to 21 inches of snow, and you can easily adjust the chute angle and direction using the single-hand chute control. The serrated steel augers cut through snow and ice for faster clearing, and it's easy to handle and performs well—making it well worth the price. Plus, thanks to the dual LED headlights, you can use this snow blower both day and night.

Best for Light Snow: Toro Power Clear 18 in. 99 cc Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower

Tower Power Clear Single-Stage Snow Blower

Ace Hardware

Clearing Width: 18 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Single-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 25 feet | Number of Speeds: Variable forward, 0 reverse

What We Like
  • Compact size

  • Easy electric start

  • Affordable price

What We Don't Like
  • 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 snow blower has an 18-inch clearing width, and its 99cc engine can move 2-9 inches of snow at a time. 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.

While it may not be the most powerful unit out there, it's easy to use and will be a welcome alternative to manual shoveling.

Best for Large Driveways: Toro Power Max HD 30 in. 302 cc Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start

Toro Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower

Courtesy of Home Depot

Clearing Width: 30 inches | Power Type: Gas | Stage Type: Two-stage | Maximum Throwing Distance: 49 feet | Number of Speeds: 6 forward, 2 reverse

What We Like
  • Triggerless steering

  • Remote chute control

  • Easy to use in tight spaces

What We Don't Like
  • Steep price point

For large driveways, you’re probably going to want to look for two things in a snow blower: first, a larger clearing width to help you cover more ground with each pass, and second, a self-propelled system that helps move the unit around your driveway. Luckily, the Toro Power Max HD Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower has both of these things, as well as several other useful features. 

Powered by a 302cc engine and has a 30-inch clearing path, this snow blower can work its way through snow up to 21 inches deep. Remote chute control allows you to quickly change the chute direction 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.

Final Verdict

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. If you’re looking for a more compact option, go with the Troy-Bilt Squall 208EX Snow Blower, which gets high marks for its lightweight design and user-friendly pull-start.

How We Tested the Snow Blowers

For this article, our testers used some of the top snow blowers on the market. From New England to Colorado, we put the snow blowers to the test on driveways, decks, backyards, and more. Afterseeing how they handled even the most extreme conditions on a day-to-day basis, we rated them on the basis of design, performance, size, usability, safety, and value. We combined their testing results with our writers' and editors' own research to bring you this list.

Troy-Bilt Squall 208EX Snow Blower

The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

What to Look for in a Snow Blower

Motor type

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 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.

Clearing width

Consider how wide of 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.

Speed control

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 will let you move faster with a simple adjustment to a lever near the handgrips. Also, 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.

Electric start

Make it easier to get started 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 for many users. 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.

Ariens Deluxe 28

 The Spruce / Justin Park

FAQ
  • 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 of 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 may build up and cause damage. It's recommended to drain the fuel tank before storing your blower 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. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular machine for the best results.

Standout Features

Snow cab

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.

Tire chains

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.

Fuel stabilizer

If you opt for a gas-powered snow blower, you’ll have to drain the fuel for the warmer 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.

Warranties

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 include 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. If you just plan to use the machine around your property or to clear the sidewalk in front of your house, you will likely have several years of warranty coverage to give you peace of mind with your purchase.

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.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Best Snow Blower Buying Guide. Consumer Reports.

  2. Snow Blower Storage Tip: Should You Drain the Gas? Consumer Reports.