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Best Snow Blowers for Showing That Icy Blizzard Who’s Boss

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Updated February 11, 2024

A few years back, a particularly heavy snow storm hit my area of New Jersey. That night, watching the snow pile up in drifts so high they covered most of my first floor windows, I optimistically went downstairs and charged the battery for my small, electric snow blower. The next morning, I opened the front door, shoved the snow blower out, and watched as it immediately buried itself up to the handle.

I had to get the shovel to dig it out, then spent the next several hours ruining my back as I uncovered the driveway and sidewalk by hand. It was not a coincidence when, a few months later, I made the decision to accept a new job and moved to southern California.

I’m now back on the east coast, and while the snow’s been fairly light so far, I know it’s only a matter of time before something like that happens again. If you’re in the same boat, take a look at my picks for the best snow blowers out there, and save yourself the (literal and metaphorical) pain of shoveling.

What to consider before buying a snow blower

Snowfall and property size

For light snow falls—say, less than a foot—that battery-powered snow blower I mentioned was more than up to the job, handily clearing the driveway in minutes. But if you’re living somewhere that regularly dumps several feet of snow, or have a particularly large area to clear, you’re going to need something more powerful.

Power source

Electric snow blowers are fine for smaller jobs, but if you’re dealing with deep drifts, a more powerful gas blower is better suited for the task.

Weight and ease of use

Most of us get our first snow blower to save our backs, but if the blower you buy is so heavy you injure yourself using it, that obviously defeats the purpose. Aim for that sweet spot where it gets the job done, while still being easily maneuverable.

Features

This is down to personal choice, but many snow blowers come with bells and whistles that might make them more or less appropriate for your needs. “Think about what you need from your snow blower—features like power steering, electric start, headlights, or heated hand grips,” advises Ronit McGuthrie, Vice President of Walk Behind Product Management at Stanley Black & Decker.

Our picks for the best snow blowers

Best budget snow blower: Craftsman SB230

Grab your winter boots and extreme cold jacket, because it’s time to get started. Since snow blowers can be expensive, we’re opening with a more wallet-friendly option: The Craftsman SB230. While there are, admittedly, some slightly cheaper models from the same brand, the SB230’s push-button electric start shoots it to the top of the list of budget models. Effective for light to moderate snow on paved surfaces, it’s certainly cheaper than getting your back fixed.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Single
  • Power type: Gas
  • Weight: 95 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 1
  • Maximum throwing distance: Not listed
  • Price on publish: $549

The bottom line:

An affordable, easy-to-start gas snow blower that lacks the power of high-end models, but gets smaller jobs done easily.

Best budget snow blower
CRAFTSMAN SB230 21-in Single-stage Push with Auger Assistance Gas Snow Blower | CMXGBAM1054539

CRAFTSMAN SB230 21-in Single-stage Push with Auger Assistance Gas Snow Blower | CMXGBAM1054539

Best battery-powered snow blower: DeWalt 60V MAX Single-Stage Snow Blower

For those looking to avoid dealing with a noisy gas engine, battery power is the way to go, provided you’re not expecting to tackle anything too Arctic. This single-stage snowblower is powered by two 4Ah batteries, has three selectable power modes, an intuitive LED dashboard, and two-way electric chute control, allowing you to change chute direction without letting go of the controls.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Single
  • Power type: Battery
  • Weight: 81 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 1
  • Maximum throwing distance: 40 feet
  • Price on publish: $999

The bottom line:

A quiet, convenient battery-powered snow blower for small to medium jobs, at any time of the day.

Best battery-powered snow blower
DEWALT 60-Volt 21 in. Maximum Cordless Electric Single Stage Snow Blower with Two 4.0 Ah FLEXVOLT Batteries and 2 Chargers

DEWALT 60-Volt 21 in. Maximum Cordless Electric Single Stage Snow Blower with Two 4.0 Ah FLEXVOLT Batteries and 2 Chargers

Best gas-powered snow blower: Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 3410 XP Snow Blower

A gas powered blower is going to be more appropriate for your needs if you have a large property, or live in an area with regular heavy snowfall. Troy-Bilt’s Arctic Storm 3410 XP is my pick, featuring a 34-inch clearing width, a durable steel chute, headlights, 14-inch augers and impellers, a large 420cc engine, and an electric four-way chute control joystick.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Two
  • Power type: Gas
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 8 (6 forward, 2 reverse)
  • Maximum throwing distance: 30 feet
  • Price on publish: $2,399

The bottom line:

A beast of a gas-powered snow blower that can handle up to 18 inches of snow.

Best gas-powered snow blower
Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 3410 XP Snow Blower

Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 3410 XP Snow Blower

Best snow blower for heavy snow: Ariens Classic 2-Stage Snow Thrower

It’s one thing to blast fresh powder snow from your driveway, but the wet, heavy stuff is another matter entirely. For a snow blower that can handle that level of slush, try Ariens’ Classic. It’s simple to assemble, self-propelling, and capable of tackling at least a foot of thick, heavy snow. It’s also easy to maneuver and operate.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Two
  • Power type: Gas
  • Weight: 204 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 8 (6 forward, 2 reverse)
  • Maximum throwing distance: 40 feet
  • Price on publish: $1,425.85

The bottom line:

A powerful, sturdy, and reliable gas snow blower for tackling wet, heavy snow.

Best snow blower for heavy snow
Ariens Classic 24-in Two-stage Self-propelled Gas Snow Blower in Orange | 920025

Ariens Classic 24-in Two-stage Self-propelled Gas Snow Blower in Orange | 920025

Best snow blower for long driveways: Toro Power Max HD

While, technically, any powerful snow blower will be able to tackle a long driveway, certain features make it easier, such as being self-propelled and having a large clearing width. These are two aspects comfortably covered by Toro’s Power Max HD, which also boasts auto-turn, a large intake with anti-clog technology, and an LED headlight.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Two
  • Power type: Gas
  • Weight: 310 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 8 (6 forward, 2 reverse)
  • Maximum throwing distance: 45 feet
  • Price on publish: $1,707.29

The bottom line:

An easy-to-push gas snow blower with a 28-inch clearing width, meaning fewer passes at the driveway.

Best snow blower for long driveways
Toro Power Max HD

Toro Power Max HD

Most durable snow blower: Cub Cadet 2X 30” IntelliPOWER EFI Snow Blower

When you’re investing in an expensive piece of equipment, you want it to last, which means picking something with sturdy, reliable parts. Cub Cadet’s IntelliPOWER EFI features a heavy-duty steel auger housing, electronic fuel injection for consistently easier starts, Xtrac tires, and a 30-inch clearing width. On top of this, it has heated hand grips, great maneuverability, power steering, and self-propelled drive, meaning it’s also a joy to use.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Two
  • Power type: Gas
  • Weight: 299 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 8 (6 forward, 2 reverse)
  • Maximum throwing distance: 30 feet
  • Price on publish: $2,199

The bottom line:

A rugged, reliable gas snow blower with a bunch of extra features to make clearing snow easy.

Most durable snow blower
Cub Cadet 2X 30” IntelliPOWER EFI Snow Blower

Cub Cadet 2X 30” IntelliPOWER EFI Snow Blower

Easiest snow blower to maneuver: Ariens Deluxe 28-in Two-Stage Self-Propelled Gas Snow Blower

Since snow blowers are heavy (especially gas blowers, which can easily exceed 300 pounds), maneuverability is a big concern. Ariens’ Deluxe model is on the more expensive side, but it’s worth the investment if you have the cash to spare, being self-propelled, powerful, and with auto-steering so even though it weighs 250 pounds, it never feels even close to that.

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Two
  • Power type: Gas
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Number of speeds: 8 (6 forward, 2 reverse)
  • Maximum throwing distance: 50 feet
  • Price on publish: $1,549

The bottom line:

A highly maneuverable, powerful gas snow blower that’s worth the investment.

Easiest snow blower to maneuver
Ariens Deluxe 28-in Two-stage Self-propelled Gas Snow Blower in Orange | 921046

Ariens Deluxe 28-in Two-stage Self-propelled Gas Snow Blower in Orange | 921046

Best splurge snow blower: John Deere Two-Stage Snow Blower Attachment

If you’re looking to splurge, let’s talk about going big—like, really big. This John Deere model isn’t a standalone blower, but rather a two-stage blower attachment for fixing to the front of a 100 Series tractor, basically, a ride-on mower. Although beyond overkill for the average driveway, those needing to clear a lot of land might want to give it some serious thought. The good news is, it also comes with a set of snow chains for your tractor (the bad news is, it doesn’t include the tractor).

Specifications:

  • Stage type: Two
  • Power type: Tractor
  • Weight: 180 pounds
  • Number of speeds: N/A
  • Maximum throwing distance: 50 feet
  • Price on publish: $2,229

The bottom line:

A sensible option for anyone with a lot of ground to cover, especially if you already have the tractor part covered.

Best splurge snow blower
John Deere 44 in. Two-Stage Snow Blower Attachment Complete Package for 100 Series Tractors with 42 in. or 48 in. Decks

John Deere 44 in. Two-Stage Snow Blower Attachment Complete Package for 100 Series Tractors with 42 in. or 48 in. Decks

Types of snow blowers

There are three types of snow blowers: Single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage. “The various stages of snow blowers signify the steps a snow blower goes through to clear the snow. The more stages, or steps, a machine has, the more powerful and efficient it will be to clear more snow in less time,” says McGuthrie. “Single-stage snow blowers are ideal for up to six inches of snowfall, while two-stage snow blowers are great for up to 12 inches of snowfall and three-stage snow blowers can handle up to 18 inches of snowfall.”

How we selected the best snow blowers

As well as consulting with experts, I also relied on personal experience, as well as diligent research to ensure everything on my list is well reviewed, either professionally or by customers (ideally both), particularly with regard to power, effectiveness, ease of use, and durability.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What month is best to buy a snow blower?

“Typically, the best time to buy a snow blower is before the winter season starts, often in late summer or early fall,” says Jeff Palla, President of Mr. Handyman. “Professionals recommend planning ahead to ensure availability and sometimes catch early-season deals.”

How much should I spend on a snow blower?

“Prices vary, but a decent snow blower can range from $300 to $1,500, depending on features and power,” says Palla.

McGuthrie suggests carefully assessing your space and needs to be sure you’re not spending too much. “Many manufacturers have tools on their website to offer recommendations on what size of unit is appropriate given your average snowfall and area to be cleared,” she says. “These tools can help get you into the ballpark of what capability you probably need. From there you can decide if it’s worth it to you to be able to overcome that hundred-year snowfall with ease, or if saving a few bucks and spending more time clearing after a particularly heavy snowfall is just fine for your needs.”

How do you prepare a snow blower for storage?

McGuthrie advises taking the following steps:

  1. Maintenance preparation

Read the offseason storage section of your unit’s owner’s manual, then check the unit’s maintenance items to see if they need to be replaced.

  1. Order parts

Carefully check your unit’s parts, such as the auger’s rubber paddles or belts, to see if anything needs to be replaced or repaired. If anything does need replacing, order those parts immediately and install them before storing your unit for the winter.

  1. Clean

If your unit has a four-cycle engine, drain the engine’s oil. Next, remove the spark plug and inspect it, cleaning it with a wire brush if necessary. Then, reinstall it unless a replacement is needed. Clean debris from around the engine and muffler, wiping away any dried salt that may have accumulated over winter to prevent rusting.

  1. Add fuel

Finally, add fuel stabilizer to your fuel and fill the unit’s tank. Run the engine for five minutes so that the stabilized fuel is circulated through to the carburetor—this is better than storing the unit empty. While in storage, keep the engine level to avoid a fuel or oil leak. It’s also best practice to cover your snow blower during the offseason to protect it from dust, dirt, and rodents.

Which is better, a 1-stage or 2-stage snow blower?

“It’s not necessarily about what’s better, but what fits your specific needs,” says McGuthrie. “Single-stage snow blowers are ideal for smaller jobs like walkways and short driveways, and they’re light, compact, and easy to handle. But if you get more snow, or have unpaved surfaces with inclines or a longer driveway, you’ll want to consider a 2-stage or 3-stage snow blower that will help clear larger volumes in larger areas.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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