The Best Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways of 2023

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

By Tony Carrick | Updated Jan 17, 2023 1:51 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

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, 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 hiring a snow plow or using a snow shovel, neither of 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 Snow Blower
  2. RUNNER-UP: Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890 Gas Snow Blower
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PowerSmart Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Ariens Deluxe 24 Two-Stage Self-Propelled Snow Blower
  5. BEST TWO-STAGE: Ego Power+ 24-Inch Two-Stage Battery Snow Blower
  6. BEST BATTERY-POWERED: Toro 60V Electric Battery Two-Stage Snow Blower
  7. 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.

How We Chose the Best Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways

While there are many top-rated snow blowers on the market, not all are the right snow blower for clearing a gravel driveway. When selecting the picks for our list of the top gravel snow throwers, we stuck with models well suited for this type of terrain. All of these selections are two-stage 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.

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 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 adjustable 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 snow blower is capable of handling snowfall up to a foot deep, making it suitable for small to medium-size driveways.

The Storm 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
  • Clearing width: 26 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • 20-inch intake height is designed to handle up to 12 inches of snowfal
  • Chute can be adjusted from cockpit for precise aim
  • Easy push-button start takes the work out of starting the blower

Cons

  • Not as wide as some 2-stage snow blowers

Get the Troy-Bilt Storm 2600 snow blower for gravel driveways at The Home Depot or Troy Bilt.

Runner-Up

The Best Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways Option: Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890 Gas Snow Blower
Photo: homedepot.com

While keeping rocks out of the spinning tines is crucial when snow blowing a gravel driveway, so too is getting traction on this loose material, which is why the Storm Tracker is such an ideal option. The track system creates 50 percent more surface contact with the ground and significantly more traction than a set of wheels.

Like other good snow blowers designed to work on gravel surfaces, the Storm Tracker is equipped with sizable skid shows that keep the spinning tines above loose gravel. The auger consists of large serrated tines that are capable of cutting through up to a foot of dense snow while clearing a 28-inch wide swath. Other notable features include an extended chute that directs snow away from the operator and power steering controls that allow users to change direction with one finger.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Clearing width: 28 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Track-style drive provides better traction on loose surfaces than wheels
  • Cuts a broad 28-inch-wide swatch of snow with each pass
  • Trigger-controlled Touch N’ Turn power steering makes changing directions quick and easy

Cons

  • More expensive than similarly sized snow blowers with wheels

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

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Snow Blower 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 180-degree chute can also be controlled from the handles with one hand, so it’s easier to make changes after each turn.

Unlike some snow blowers for gravel driveways, the PowerSmart comes equipped with features not typically found on two-stage snow blowers—even those with a higher price tag. These include a push-button electric start, an anti-clogging system, a self-propelling design, and 13-inch inflatable tires.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Clearing width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Very affordable price compared to similar snow blowers on the market
  • Can clear driveways that hold 10 parked cars and 6 to 10 inches of snow
  • 180-degree chute allows for clearing snow at a far distance
  • Has easy-to-use push-button electric start, anti-clogging system, and self-propelling design

Cons

  • This snow blower has a narrower intake than some other models
  • May require professional help to assemble properly

Get the PowerSmart snow blower for gravel driveways at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Power Smart USA.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Ariens Deluxe 24 Two-Stage Self-Propelled Snow Blower
Photo: acehardware.com

With its heavy-duty construction and large engine, the Deluxe 24 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 254cc 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 snow blower can launch snow up to 50 feet, which is ideal when clearing wide driveways.

Unlike other snow blowers for gravel 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
  • Clearing width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 12 inches

Pros

  • Large 254cc engine capable of throwing and clearing snow up to 50 feet
  • 21-inch intake height with 24-inch clearing path makes quick work of residential and commercial areas
  • Electronic push-button start takes the work out of starting the blower

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other other snow blowers for gravel driveways
  • Some users say this snow blower tends to stall or fails to start

Get the Ariens snow blower for gravel driveways at Ace HardwareLowe’s, or Ariens.

Best Two-Stage

The Best Snow Blowers for Gravel Driveways Option: Ego Power+ 24-Inch Two-Stage Battery Snow Blower
Photo: amazon.com

Whether the snow piles up on the sidewalk, patio, or even a gravel driveway, this two-stage snow blower can push through. Despite being a battery-powered model, this snow blower has a two-stage system to scoop and blow snow up to 50 feet, as well as self-propelled wheels for easy pushing.

This battery-powered model runs for up to 135 minutes before the batteries need recharging. The drawback to this machine is that it weighs 220 pounds, though if the user takes advantage of the 200-degree adjustable chute and the 50-foot throwing distance, these features can help reduce user fatigue. Also, the onboard headlights add a bit of safety.

This model is much quieter than a gas-powered model and even easier to use (though the throttle and auger controls are reversed from a typical model). It throws snow to great distances and the throttle adjusts the overall output of the machine from “eco” to “turbo.” Do note that when the auger is buried in extremely heavy piles of packed snow too quickly, it may stall—but at low speed, this should rarely happen.

Product Specs

  • Type: 2 stage
  • Clearing width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 20 inches

Pros

  • Powerful yet quiet for user-friendliness
  • Throws snow every bit of 50 feet for ample clearing capabilities
  • Easy to use compared to similar options

Cons

  • Can stall if overloaded too quickly

Get the Ego Power+ snow blower for gravel driveways at Ace Hardware or Lowe’s.

Best Battery-Powered

The Best Snow Blowers For Gravel Driveways Option: Toro 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
  • Clearing width: 24 inches
  • Max depth: 10 inches

Pros

  • Three ports extend runtime for heavy-duty clearing through the toughest snow
  • Similar intake size to a gas snow blower; two chargers included

Cons

  • This snow blower isn’t as powerful as a gas-powered one
  • Some users say this snow blower’s two batteries drain after 30 minutes of runtime

Get the Toro Electric snow blower for gravel driveways at The Home Depot, Ace Hardware, or Tractor Supply Co.

Also Consider

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

With its joysticklike 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 joysticklike control with power steering 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
  • Clearing width: 28 inches
  • Max depth: 21 inches

Pros

  • Cuts a broad swatch with each pass making quick work of clearing
  • With large, 16-inch tires, this snow blower can handle deep snows
  • Joystick-like control lets user manipulate the steel chute’s direction and chute deflector quickly

Cons

  • Some users say parts of this snow blower stopped working shortly after first run

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

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a 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 throwers as well as other important features, such as power output and intake width.

Type

Homeowners typically purchase a two-stage 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 blowers 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 cubic centimeters. The higher the cc, the better able the snow thrower 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 200cc and 250cc.

Electric snow throwers use two 60-volt 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.

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.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.