The Best Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways of 2022

These powerful machines throw loads of snow while leaving the rocky material of the driveway below undisturbed.

By Tony Carrick | Published Aug 30, 2022 7:27 AM

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The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option

Photo: homedepot.com

While just about any snow blower can remove snow from a paved driveway or sidewalk, not all are suitable for use on a gravel surface. The wrong snow blower will lift gravel along with snow, throwing it into the yard, and potentially damaging the machine while creating the additional chore of returning that gravel to the driveway once the snow has melted. That doesn’t mean those with gravel driveways must resort to a snow shovel, which probably wouldn’t work much better.

Two- and three-stage snow blowers have augers that are elevated above the ground, allowing them to collect snow while leaving gravel undisturbed. These powerful machines are capable of clearing a swath of snow between 24 and 40 inches wide and launching it as far as 50 feet away, making them a great snow-clearing option for most gravel driveways. This guide digs deep to identify which features to look for when shopping for the best snow blower for gravel driveways while showcasing some of the top models on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Troy-Bilt Storm 2600 Two-Stage Snow Blower
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PowerSmart Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Ariens Two-Stage Self-Propelled Gas Snow Blower
  4. BEST TWO-STAGE: Briggs & Stratton Dual-Stage Medium-Duty Snow Blower
  5. BEST BATTERY-POWERED: Toro 24″ 60V Electric Battery Two-Stage Snow Blower
  6. ALSO CONSIDER: Toro Power Max HD 828 Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways

Photo: homedepot.com

Before You Buy a Snow Blower for a Gravel Driveway

Before purchasing a snow blower for a gravel driveway, it’s important to understand that not all machines will work for this type of surface. Most single-stage snow blowers, for example, have augers that scrape along the ground. While this design is great for clearing snow from smooth pavement and sidewalks, it’s a poor design for gravel driveways. A single-stage model will pick up the gravel along with the snow, propelling it through the air and into the yard. Two-stage and three-stage snow blowers have augers that operate an inch or so above the ground, providing the clearance necessary to prevent the machine from scooping up gravel.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Snow Blower for Gravel Driveways 

Understanding which types of snow blowers are suitable for gravel driveways and which are not is the first step in selecting the right model. Ahead, learn more about the three types of snow blowers as well as other important features, such as power output and intake width.

Type

Homeowners typically purchase a stage-two snow blower to clear a gravel driveway of snow. Here’s why:

Single Stage 

A single-stage snow blower, like all snow blowers, uses an auger that consists of serrated metal blades. For this type of model, the blade scoops snow off the driveway and launches it through the air via the snow blower’s chute. Since the auger on this type of snow blower skims along the ground, it’s an excellent option for smooth pavement but a poor choice for loose gravel. If used on a gravel driveway, a single-stage snow blower will gather and throw rocks along with snow.

Two Stage 

Similar to a single-stage snow blower, a two-stage model uses an auger to pull snow into the chute. However, rather than use the force of the auger to launch the snow, a two-stage snow blower relies on a large impeller fan to propel the snow out of the chute. In addition to being able to throw snow much further than a single-stage model, a two-stage snow blower’s auger does not come into contact with the ground. Instead of resting on the auger, the snow blower glides on two adjustable skid pads—a design that makes a two-stage model ideal for gravel surfaces.

Three Stage

This heavy-duty snow blower uses an auger and impeller fan along with an accelerator: a corkscrew-shaped blade that sits perpendicular to the auger and pulls snow quickly into the machine as it spins. True to its name, an accelerator allows the machine to glide more quickly through snow. These powerful snow blowers can throw snow up to 50 feet away and have intakes that measure up to 40 inches wide. This makes them ideal for covering large driveways. Like a two-stage snow blower, a three-stage model’s auger does not touch the ground, so it’s a good choice for gravel surfaces. Three-stage mowers also come with a hefty price tag. As such, they are typically only needed for regions that see very heavy snowfall.

Power

When selecting a snow blower, consider how much power it has to get the job done. Snow blowers have either a gas engine or, with battery-powered models, an electric motor. A gas snow blower’s power is measured in cc (cubic centimeters). The higher the cc, the better able the snow blower is to move through deeper snow and the further it can launch it. Two-stage snow blowers for gravel driveways have engines that range in size between 200 cc and 250 cc.

Electric snow blowers use two 60-volt (V) batteries with 6.0 amp hours, which is enough juice for about 45 minutes of use. Some electric snow blowers have an additional port that allows for adding a third battery to extend runtime. Although battery-powered snow blowers may not be quite as powerful as gas-powered models, they don’t produce exhaust fumes and operate at a much lower noise level. They also don’t require periodic oil changes, making them easier to maintain. Just keep in mind that lithium-ion batteries typically only last 3 to 6 years before they begin to lose their ability to hold a charge, at which point they need to be replaced. This is a major factor to consider given that these large lithium-ion batteries can cost hundreds of dollars.

Width 

The width of the snow blower refers to the size of its intake and determines how broad a swath of snow the machine can remove with each pass. Single-stage snow blowers are capable of removing snow ranging in width from 11 to 22 inches with each pass, making it suitable for small driveways and walks. Two-stage models have a width of about 30 inches, making them suitable for most driveways. Large three-stage snow blowers have intakes that measure up to 40 inches wide.

Additional Features 

Snow blowers may come equipped with other useful features that make them easier and, in some cases, safer to use.

  • Speed controls allow the user to adjust how quickly the snow blower’s self-propelled wheels turn.
  • Most snow blowers have an automatic safety shutoff that cuts off the auger if the operator’s hands slip off the handle.
  • Headlights allow the operator to use the snow blower in dark and other low-visibility conditions.
  • Electric starters make the snow blower easier to start by eliminating the need to pull a cord.

Our Top Picks

All of the selections listed below are suitable for gravel driveways. Our lineup includes both gas-powered and cordless electric models and covers the gamut from budget-priced options to the top two-stage snow blowers on the market.

Best Overall

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Troy-Bilt Storm 2600 Two-Stage Snow Blower
Photo: homedepot.com

The design of this snow blower from Troy-Bilt makes it a superior choice for clearing a gravel driveway. Two large skid shoes keep the auger elevated above the ground, ensuring it won’t pull in gravel as it goes. Its auger consists of a set of formidable serrated blades that are ideal for cutting through packed, icy snow. With its 26-inch wide intake, the Storm 2600 snow blower is capable of handling snowfall up to a foot deep, making it suitable for small to medium-size driveways.

The Storm 2600 snow blower also boasts several user-friendly features. Its push-button start makes it easy to get the machine up and running, while a pitch control lever allows the operator to change the height and direction of the snow discharge from the cockpit, without having to disengage the auger.

Product Specs

  • Type:2 stage
  • Width: 26 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Intake height can be controlled on the fly
  • Chute can be adjusted from cockpit
  • Easy push-button start

Cons

  • Not as wide as some 2-stage snow blowers

Get the Troy-Bilt snow blower for gravel driveways at The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: PowerSmart Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Photo: amazon.com

With a price tag that’s hundreds of dollars less than many other snow blowers, this two-stage model from PowerSmart is ideal for those looking to clear a gravel driveway without emptying a bank account. As with other two-stage snow blowers, the PowerSmart’s auger hovers above the ground, ensuring it won’t pick up gravel as it goes. Its 24-inch width, though smaller than some other two-stage snow blowers, is adequate for medium-size driveways. The direction of the chute can also be controlled from the handles with one hand, making it easier to make changes after each turn.

The PowerSmart also comes equipped with features not typically found on two-stage snow blowers—even those with a higher price tag. These include a heated grip, push-button start, and LED headlight.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Very affordable price
  • Heated handles
  • LED headlight

Cons

  • Narrower intake than some other snow blowers

Get the PowerSmart snow blower for gravel driveways on Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Ariens Two-Stage Self-Propelled Gas Snow Blower
Photo: lowes.com

With its heavy-duty construction and large engine, this two-stage snow blower from Ariens is well suited for handling larger driveways. Though its 24-inch-wide intake may be narrower than some, the 14-inch serrated impellers and 254 cc engine make it capable of cutting through snow faster than snow blowers with smaller engines. While other snow blowers have a max throw distance of 40 feet, the Ariens Deluxe snow blower can launch snow up to 50 feet, which is ideal when clearing wide driveways.

It also boasts such robust construction assets as alloy-steel gears and a cast-iron gear case. Other notable features include an electric start, large knobby tires for better traction, and an in-dash headlight for nighttime and low-visibility snow blowing.

Product Specs 

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Large 254 cc engine can handle heavier snow
  • Capable of throwing snow up to 50 feet
  • Electronic push-button start

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Ariens snow blower for gravel driveways at Lowe’s.

Best Two-Stage

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Briggs & Stratton Dual-Stage Medium-Duty Snow Blower
Photo: amazon.com

With its broad 27-inch-wide intake, this snow blower from Briggs & Stratton is ideal for clearing larger driveways. A 250 cc engine and specially designed friction-disc transmission help this snow blower move through heavier snow without getting hung up. Two durable steel skid shoes keep the auger above the ground.

Briggs & Stratton’s freehand control allows the operator to drive the snow blower with one hand while controlling the chute direction and its five speeds with the other, eliminating the need to stop and start to make adjustments. A push-button electric start and chute-rotation controls that are located on the dash make it easier to operate.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Width: 27 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Wide intake covers a large swath with each pass
  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • Engine and transmission designed to move through heavier snow

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Briggs & Stratton snow blower for gravel driveways on Amazon.

Best Battery-Powered

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Toro 24"60V Electric Battery Two-Stage Snow Blower
Photo: homedepot.com

Toro equips this two-stage snow blower with two powerful 60V batteries, which gives it enough juice to clear up to 24 car spaces. The six-speed self-propelled snow blower comes with two chargers, allowing the user to recharge both batteries simultaneously, getting the machine back in action faster. There’s also a third port for a 7.5-amp battery that can extend the runtime to add another 15 car spaces.

Its 24-inch-wide intake can handle snow up to 10 inches deep, and it will launch snow up to 40 feet away. And, since it uses a battery-powered motor, it’s much quieter than a gas snow blower. Other features include quick controls for making adjustments to the chute direction and an LED headlight.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage, electric
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 10 inches

Pros

  • Extra port extends runtime
  • Similar intake size to a gas snow blower
  • 2 chargers included

Cons

  • Not as powerful as a gas snow blower

Get the Toro Electric snow blower for gravel driveways at The Home Depot.

Also Consider

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Toro Power Max HD 828 Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Photo: homedepot.com

With its joystick-like controls, wide coverage, and ability to handle deeper snowfall than most snow blowers, Toro’s Power Max HD snow blower is ideal for climates that spend much of the winter covered in snow. The large intake sits above the ground, making it ideal for gravel surfaces. It covers a broad 28-inch swath with each pass and is capable of removing snow up to 21 inches deep. Its formidable ability to tackle deep snow coupled with a long throwing range of 45 feet make the Power Max HD snow blower suitable for wider driveways.

The model also comes equipped with Quick Stick, a joystick-like control that allows for easy one-handed turning, and its knobby 16-inch tires provide ample traction in slick conditions. There’s also an anti-clogging system that manages snow intake to prevent delays and an LED headlight for nighttime snow blowing.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Width: 28 inches
  • Max depth: 21 inches

Pros

  • Cuts a broad swatch with each pass
  • Can handle deep snows
  • Joystick-like controls make turning easy
  • Large 16-inch tires

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Toro Power Max snow blower for gravel driveways at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

A broad 26-inch chute that sits above the ground coupled with features that include easy-to-use chute controls make the Troy-Bilt snow blower for gravel driveways an ideal model for gravel surfaces. Those looking for a more affordable option will want to consider the PowerSmart snow blower for gravel driveways, which costs hundreds of dollars less than other two-stage snow blowers but still boasts a 24-inch wide intake and attractive additional features, including a heated grip.

How We Chose the Best Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways

While there are many great snow blowers on the market, not all are suitable for clearing a gravel driveway. When selecting the picks for our list of the top gravel snow blowers, we stuck with models well suited for this type of terrain. All of these selections are two-stage snow blowers, which, unlike single-stage models, provide enough clearance between the auger and ground to prevent the machine from picking up and throwing gravel. Beyond type, we looked for features that make snow blowers easier to operate, including the ability to change the direction of the chute on the fly, self-propelled wheels, push-button starters, and heated handles.

Tips for Using Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways 

In addition to buying a snow blower that’s rated to work on gravel surfaces, there are other measures users can take to improve performance when clearing snow from this type of surface. First and foremost, make sure the skid shoes—the two metal pieces that raise the snow blower intake and auger above the ground—are properly adjusted. The shoes are adjusted such that the intake is about 1 inch off the ground. This gap will provide enough clearance between the auger and the ground to prevent it from coming into contact with the gravel.

If dealing with snow that’s deeper than the height of the auger, consider raising the skid shoes to their highest setting to get the top layer of snow, then lower it to remove the remaining snow.

In windy conditions, start blowing upwind on the driveway and set the chute to discharge snow downwind.

When done, make sure to clear any remaining snow from the auger to prevent it from freezing and clogging the intake.

  • Adjust the skid shoes so that the intake sits 1 inch off the ground.
  • Start snow blowing on the upwind side of the driveway and set the chute to discharge downwind.
  • For deep snow, first adjust the intake to its highest setting to get the top layer of snow.
  • Clear the intake after use to prevent snow from freezing and clogging the intake

FAQs

Understanding the best strategy for removing snow with a snow blower and how to set it up to avoid throwing rocks is crucial when clearing a gravel driveway. Ahead, learn more about proper use of a snow blower as well as other useful information about these machines.

Q. What is the best way to remove snow from a gravel driveway?

The best way to remove snow from a gravel driveway is to adjust the snow blower’s skid shoes to elevate its intake above the ground. This will prevent the machine from picking up and throwing gravel.

Q. What kind of snow blower can I use on gravel?

The best kind of snow blower to use on gravel is a two-stage model. The auger on a single-stage snow blower makes contact with the ground, so it will pick up gravel and throw it. A two-stage or three-stage snow blower has an intake that is elevated above the ground, allowing it to pick up snow without disturbing the gravel beneath it. Three-stage models work similarly, but they are heavy-duty options generally used by professionals.

Q. What is the difference between a two- and three- stage snow blower?

A two-stage snow blower has an impeller that collects snow and an impeller fan that blows it out of the chute. A three-stage snow blower also has an auger and impeller fan but adds an accelerator that allows it to throw snow a greater distance, making it ideal for clearing wider driveways and parking lots.

Q. How long do snow blowers last?

A snow blower can last 10 years or many more if the machine is properly cared for. Maintenance includes changing the oil (for gas-powered models), lubricating the axel and augers, and periodically checking the shear pins, skid shoes, and belts for wear. Electric snow blowers require battery replacement about every 3 years if used regularly or up to 6 years if used intermittently.

Q. What is the best time of year to buy a snow blower?

The best time to get a good price on a snow blower is in either May or June, when manufacturers are introducing new models and demand for these winter-weather machines is low.