Buyer’s Guide: The Best Snow Blowers

The first snowfall of the season can be beautiful—but it won’t be long before it buries your driveway and walkway. Don’t wait until you’re stuck in a snowbank to start shopping for a snow blower. To point you in the right direction, we've collected helpful information about some of today's top-rated models, but don't hit the stores until you know what type of snow blower is best for your needs.

One of the most important considerations in shopping for a snow blower is the average snowfall in your area. Light-duty electric snow blowers can handle four to six inches of light snow on flat-paved driveways and sidewalks. They may not, however, perform well in heavier or deeper snowfalls, or on hilly properties.

It's critical to choose a model with the correct size, weight, and power. Heavier snowfall requires a heavier, more powerful snow blower—but if it's too heavy for you to maneuver, it won't do you any good. Look for a unit with multiple speeds and traction control. Lightweight, light-duty snow blowers typically are single-stage electric models and are not only the easiest to handle but also the least expensive. Electric machines are ideal for clearing flat-paved driveways and shorter sidewalks in areas where typical snowfall averages four inches or less. On the downside, they usually require an outside electrical outlet and extension cord.

Single-stage gas-powered snow blowers can handle more snow and clear a wider pathway. These types of blowers have an auger that draws the snow in, chops it up, and then propels it out a discharge chute. These models are suitable for flat, paved surfaces in regions where the typical snowfall is six to eight inches.

The heaviest and most powerful models are two-stage gas-powered snow blowers that can tackle snowfalls in excess of eight inches on hills and longer sidewalks. These larger models can clear pathways from 24 to 32 inches wide and cut easily through deep, packed snow. The wheels on these models can even handle unpaved surfaces, such as gravel driveways and walkways.

Like any high-power tool, snow blowers come with extras and options, including power steering, electric starters, heated handles, headlights, and snap-on, flexible enclosures. Many users may not need all the bells and whistles, but buyers would do well to consider machines with multiple forward and reverse speeds as well as a “dead man’s switch” that stops the auger from spinning if you let go of the handle—an important safety feature.

Read on for some of the top-rated and best-selling snow blowers available today.

Husqvarna 30-inch Electric-Start Track-Drive Snow Thrower, 414cc Engine, Model ST330T

Husqvarna Electric Start Track-Drive Snow Thrower

It's easy to see why consumers have given high ratings to Husqvarna's ST330T snow blower. The dual-stage Husqvarna features a track-drive, making it less likely to get stuck in deep snows. Its ultraefficient auger and high-speed impeller system are capable of clearing a 30-by-23-inch path, making it perfect for heavy snows. Plus, with an electric start, LED headlight, single-hand interlock controls with heated grips, and power steering, it's easy—and safe—to use. Available on Amazon; $2,699.95.

Toro 38381 18-Inch 15-Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower

Toro 3838115 Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower

The Toro 38381 electric snow blower comes highly recommended by Amazon shoppers. This lightweight machine has been designed for quick path clearing—up to 700 pounds of snow per minute. That feat is made possible with patented Power Curve technology, a feature that prevents the chute from clogging and slowing down your work, and a 160-degree adjustable chute that can blow snow up to 30 feet. Available on Amazon; $249.

Snow Joe iON18SB Ion Cordless Single-Stage Brushless Snow Blower with Rechargeable Ecosharp 40-volt Lithium-Ion Battery

Snow Joe iON18SB Ion Cordless Single Stage Brushless Snow Blower with Rechargeable Ecosharp 40-volt Lithium-Ion Battery

This cordless electric snow blower by Snow Joe is popular with Amazon shoppers, who praise the quiet machine for its ability to throw snow up to 20 feet. The unit features a lightweight design that tips the scales at just 32 pounds, making it easy to maneuver. The Ecosharp 40-volt rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 50 minutes of whisper-quiet run time—more than enough to plow the driveway and the walkway. Available on Amazon; $379.99.

Ariens Deluxe 28-inch Two-Stage Electric-Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering

Ariens Deluxe 28-inch Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering

The Ariens two-stage gas snow blower is a hit with Home Depot shoppers, who appreciate its auto-turn power steering, among other features. The auto-turn steering allows for ease of use, and an electric ignition makes for quick starts. The machine has six forward speeds (and two reverse speeds) so the operator can move at a comfortable pace. A 205-degree chute rotation with remote deflector control lets you easily change the height and direction of the discharged snow. Available on Amazon; $1,298.95.

Sno-Tek Two-Stage 24-inch Gas Snow Blower

Sno-Tek 2-Stage 24 inch Gas Snow Blower

The Sno-Tek model 920402 two-stage snow blower gets major props for its ability to handle record snowfalls. The unit features a three-blade impeller for powerful snow removal and a rust-resistant exterior for all-weather durability. The machine clears a 24-by-20 inch path, while the Polar Trac tires maintain traction even in slushy snow and ice. Available from The Home Depot; $649.

Cub Cadet 24-inch 208cc Two-Stage Electric-Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering

Cub Cadet 24 inch 208cc 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering

The Cub Cadet gas snow thrower has been highly rated by Home Depot shoppers as a good buy for a good price. The unit's power steering delivers effortless single-hand turning while the single-hand four-way pitch and chute rotation allows you to quickly change the direction of the thrown snow. Equipped with X-Trac tires, this machine will provide traction even in extreme weather conditions. Available from The Home Depot; $799.

Craftsman 24-inch 208cc Dual-Stage Snow Blower

Craftsman 24-inch 208cc Dual-Stage Snow Blower

The Craftsman 24-inch Dual-Stage snow blower is a favorite with Sears shoppers for its power and ease of use. The plow handle grips make it easy to operate even with gloved hands, and the electric start gets the machine moving with the push of a button. The powerful grip of the X-Trac tires facilitates easy operation under the worst of conditions. Available from Sears; $679.99. via Craftsman

Troy-Bilt Storm 2410 179cc 24-inch Two-Stage Electric-Start Gas Snow Blower

Troy-Bilt Storm 2410 179-cc 24-inch Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower

The Troy-Bilt Storm has a host of features that make it a great value buy. Capable of handling snowfalls up to 12 inches deep, this machine also allows you to adjust the direction of snow discharge without stopping or leaving the operator area. Its serrated steel augers are designed to cut through snow, so clearing takes less work and less time. Available from Lowe's; $599.

Briggs & Stratton 205cc 22-inch Single-Stage Key-Start Gas Snow Blower

Briggs & Stratton 205cc 22-inch Single-Stage Key Start Gas Snow Blower

Designed for tough snow conditions, this blower is both lightweight and easy to start. Its remote chute rotation knob and easily adjusted deflector allow you to change snow throwing direction and distance, while a self-propelled auger system clears right down to the pavement. The compact size provides better maneuverability and easier storage, whether in the off-season or at the height of winter. Available on Amazon; $599.

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