Best Snow Blowers 2019 - Gas and Electric Snowblower Reviews
After more than 70 hours of researching and evaluating the best snow blowers, we chose the Troy-Bilt Storm as the best overall model. This machine can intake snow up to 21 inches high. It has a four-cycle engine that moves snow quickly and effectively. This snow blower has a two-stage design, which employs an impeller that helps the machine throw the snow as far as possible. Its 15-inch tires keep the machine grounded during heavy snowfall, even when the ground is wet and slippery. The chute on this snow blower rotates 200 degrees, which provides options for where you want your snow to go.
Troy-Bilt Storm 2665
In terms of raw power, maneuverability and durability, there’s no better model than the Troy-Bilt 2665. Its two-stage design and four-cycle engine clears snow two feet wide and almost two feet high quickly and easily.
This model is a great choice if you’re on a budget. It costs a fraction of the price of our top model. But you trade off some benefits such as a two-stage design and self-propulsion technology.
This two-stage blower is a good choice for clearing uneven surfaces and inclines. Its self-propelling engine allows you to walk behind the machine rather than pushing it up and down hills.
|Power Smart DB765124||View Deal||1/5||2|
|Ryobi RY40811||View Deal||1/5||1.9|
|Ariens Compact 920021||View Deal||5/5||10|
|Craftsman Quiet 88694||View Deal||4/5||7.5|
|Greenworks 2600502||View Deal||2.5/5||5|
|Husqvarna ST227P||View Deal||1.5/5||2.5|
|Snow Joe SJ623E||View Deal||0.5/5||1.3|
|Toro 1800 Power Curve||View Deal||0.5/5||1.1|
|Troy-Bilt Storm 2665||View Deal||0.5/5||1|
|WORX Pathfinder WG650||View Deal||0.5/5||0.9|
The Troy-Bilt Storm 2665 is our best overall pick because its features allow for top performance in every category. Its advanced four-cycle engine has two-stage technology, and it has a wide clearing path and an impressive intake height that quickly clears the way through deep snow.
Its engine displacement is an astounding 243 cubic centimeters, which means in a single pass, you can move snow more than 2 feet wide and 21 inches high. The 200-degree rotation of the snow blower’s chute gives you more control than any other machine we reviewed. It can perform heavy-duty snow removal with its 2-stage components. The 15-inch tires and powerful self-propulsion will keep the machine grounded even over slippery surfaces and uneven terrain, so you won’t have to kill yourself to plow through deep snow. Extra features such as headlights and adjustable skid shoes make it effective at night and over difficult terrain, like gravel, rocks and debris. Additionally, it has six forward speeds and two reverse speeds that allow you to adjust how much power you want to apply to different areas you’re clearing.
This is a great machine for anyone on a budget, or people who don’t need the massive amounts of power generated by our top pick. The snow blowers we reviewed can cost more than a thousand dollars, but this model is less than $150.
As you can imagine, for that price there are some significant trade-offs. For example, it’s not made out of the same durable materials as more expensive models, its engine is much weaker, it lacks a two-stage design and only can take in snow 10 inches high.
At 35 pounds, this is one of the lightest snow blowers we considered for our review. It’s also easy to maneuver and performs well on flat, smooth surfaces. It requires much less maintenance than its more expensive counterparts and is easy to stow away when the snow melts.
Unlike some of the gas-powered models we reviewed, this snow blower features an electric starter switch rather than a recoil cord, making it easier to start. Additionally, because it puts off no emissions, it’s environmentally friendly and saves you from inhaling toxins.
Best for Hilly Areas
The Craftsman 88694 uses advanced two-stage technology that propels the machine forward on its own – all you have to do is walk behind and guide it. This makes it ideal for moving up and down hilly or uneven terrain.
Like our top pick, it has 15-inch tires that keep the machine on the ground, and grips the surface so you won’t scuff up delicate surfaces like wood or tile. Furthermore, it uses electric ignition that reduces the number of start attempts needed to get the machine going.
This snow blower can clear snow piles that are both high and wide quickly. You can move snow piled more than a foot high and 26 inches wide. This isn’t as much as our top pick, but it should suit your needs, unless you live in an area where heavy snowfall is a regular occurrence.
Of all the snow blowers we reviewed, this is the quietest. You won’t wake your kids or neighbors with this machine. But that doesn’t mean it lack power. This snow blower features a formidable four-cycle, 208 cubic centimeter engine.
You can rotate this snow blowers chute 200 degrees. similar to our top pick, you can put your snow nearly anywhere you need, avoiding huge piles of snow on either side of your driveway.
Best for Decks
The WORX Pathfinder WG650 is a solid electric snow blower with a 13-amp motor that is more powerful than most other electric snow blowers we reviewed.
Electric versions will never pack the same punch as gas, but this one has more than enough power to clear snow from a deck, patio sidewalk or driveway in a moderate snowfall area.
This snow blower clears an 18-inch path and has an intake depth of 10 inches. It can discharge a distance of 30 feet, which is impressive given its compact size. It’s not auger propelled, which is generally not a huge complaint since it only weighs 30 pounds. But the deeper the snow, the more you’ll feel this omission. The chute is adjustable up to 180 degrees, so you can easily shoot it in a convenient direction away from areas you’ve already cleared. Its efficiency, engine power and feature package make this easily one of the best electric snow blowers we evaluated.
Best for Nighttime Snow Removal
The Husqvarna ST227P is a solidly built two-stage gas snow blower with plenty of power to plow through all types and depths of snow. It is self-propelled and has a powerful 12-inch auger that will break up hard-packed snow.
It has an impressive 27-inch clearing width, with a snow intake of 23 inches, so it can remove some serious snow. One of the few drawbacks with this model is it lacks a chute adjustment lever, which is a joystick on the control panel that lets you quickly switch directions. Without this feature you simply need to hand-crank the chute.
This blower is also well equipped for night snow removal. It has bright headlights and the handles are heated for extra warmth up top. It is also good at breaking up small chunks of ice that can form when the temperature drops. It has six forward speeds and one reverse speed. The 15-inch tires will help you plow through snow on all types of terrain, including a steep driveway. If you are on gravelly ground you can raise the height so you don’t suck pebbles into the machine.
Why Trust Us?
We carefully researched and selected out of dozens of models the snow blowers we felt best fulfill the needs of the typical consumer. We did extensive online research and contacted manufacturers with questions as they arose. We read dozens of online reviews by both customers and professionals to get an understanding of common issues and to help us find the best snow blowers for our readers. In addition to reading blogs and other online resources, we reached out to professionals and industry insiders to get a more in-depth understanding of the use and maintenance of snow blowers so we can pass on that knowledge to you.
Paul Sikkema is a snow blower expert who has tested all types of snow blowers for MovingSnow.com, an independent site exclusively dedicated to snow blowers. He has written dozens of reviews based on his research and testing of snow blowers.
In one of his blog posts he discusses one serious problem common among people buying new snow blowers. People often complain of using a snow blower once after purchasing it and it works fine, but the next time it won’t start. This struck a chord with me because this happened to me once many years ago after getting a snow blower repaired. While I’m still not sure what was wrong with my machine, since I don’t have it anymore, Sikkema said people who can’t start their snow blowers soon after making this major purchase, sometimes need to buy a new carburetor, and it’s often the result of old or contaminated gas. In the Safety & Maintenance section below, we discuss things you can do to properly maintain your snow blower so you can get many years of use out of it.
How We Chose the Best
One of the primary things we looked at in gas-powered machines was engine displacement. This measures the volume of gas taken in by each piston. The more cubic centimeters of gasoline pumped through the snow blower, the more power the snow thrower produces.
For electric snow blowers, we looked at whether the model uses and extension cord or a battery. With extension cords you constantly have a power supply and you don’t have to worry about running out of gas or battery power. Battery operated blowers are convenient because you’re not tethered to an electrical outlet.
We also considered if a snow blower was a one or two-stage design. Single-stage blowers only use one auger, while dual-stage blowers have an auger and an impeller that breaks up large chunks of snow and ice. This allows the blower to push snow out of the chute smoothly. Single-stage blowers are best for snowfalls under 4 inches, and their dual counterparts are better for heavy jobs.
Safety is a paramount concern for anyone buying a snow blower. We looked for machines that can clear areas with gravel or loose rocks. Things like adjustable skid shoes add height to the snow blower to clear small objects. This helps you avoid jamming the machine or expelling rocks and hard debris out of the snow blower. We also looked for blowers with a safety override features to shut the machine down completely, in the case of a jam or other malfunction.
Gas vs. Electric Snow Blowers
Our list of snow blowers includes gas and electric models, and the price is a good indication of which is which. The gas snow blowers start at nearly $600 and go to over $1,000. In contrast, the electric blowers are priced between $100 and $300. Electric snow blowers cost half as much, but you get decidedly less bang for your buck when it comes to design and functionality. With that said, if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of snowfall, a less powerful electric snow blower may be exactly what you need to keep your walkways free of snow.
In high snow volume areas, a gas snow blower is practically a necessity. Gas blowers are built out of durable steel and they are generally designed to handle huge amounts of snow, even up to 20 to 25 inches deep. Additionally, snow blowers with a two-stage system have a special auger that breaks up snow and ice before blowing it out of the shoot, which makes them especially effective in high snowfall areas. The power disparity between electric and gas is noticeable with most power yard tools, but it’s especially impactful when it comes to snow blowers.
A few suggestions from Paul Sikkema’s blog on MovingSnow.com can help you get the best use out of your snow blower for many years:
- Store your gas in a sealed gas can to avoid contamination.
- Regularly empty out the fuel tank into your car, especially after it snows or rains, and then hang the tank upside down until it dries out before putting fuel back into it.
- If you only use your snow blower a few times a year, try using specially engineered fuel like TruFuel. Ethanol fuel tends to absorb moisture from the air, and moisture can get into the carburetor and prevent the fuel from flowing through it properly.
How Long Do Snow Blowers Last?
How long your snow blower lasts depends on the brand, how much you use it and how well you take care of it. Proper maintenance and preparation for the off season help with longevity, so read more about how to maintain your machine above.
It’s a good idea to take your snow blower in every year or two for a tuneup – if you use it frequently during the winter, we recommend an annual tuneup. It costs between about $60 and $120 to tune up a single-stage snowblower and between $80 and $200 for a two-stage model. A regular tuneup involves cleaning, changing the oil and installing a new spark plug, among other things. If the machine needs major repairs or special parts, it may cost more. Components like belts need to be replaced every five to seven years or so.
Multiple online sources say that snow blowers made between the 1960s and 1980s were better constructed and built from better materials than those manufactured today. Allegedly, many of these old snow blowers are still going strong. Consumer Reports estimates you can expect a snow blower today to last about 10 years, but with proper maintenance, you can double its lifespan or more.
Technology: Three-stage Snow Blowers
Our lineup of snow blowers consists mainly of two types: electric single-stage and gas two-stage snow blowers. If you live in a moderate snowfall area an inexpensive electric single-stage blower might be all you need. If you live in a heavy snowfall area, a powerful two-stage snow blower is almost essential. Some manufacturers have taken it to the next level and released three-stage snow blowers, which can remove snow with even more power and efficiency.
A three-stage snow blower processes snow in three phases: auger, impeller and an added impeller called an accelerator. The added accelerator is designed to increase its capacity for breaking up snow and ice, making it faster and more efficient at removing snow. It can easily remove 18 inches of snow with a single pass, but it can handle even deeper snow with multiple passes. This will also help you power through plow piles, that build-up of snow and ice at the bottom of your driveway. Even some of the best two-stage snow blowers can get bogged down on this section of your driveway, especially in high snow volume areas.
Cub Cadet was the innovator of the three-stage snow blower, and they still manufacturer some of the best on the market. The Cub Cadet 3X 30” HD snow blower is an example of one of their best models. It has all the convenience features most people look for: electric start, headlight, heated handgrips, multiple speeds and freewheel steering for excellent handling. It can power through the toughest snow conditions with its three-stage technology and will plow through deep snow, including plow piles, as quickly and efficiently as any snow blower out there.
Technology: Track Drive Snow Blowers
If you’ve ever seen a snow cat you have some idea what a track drive snow blower is. A snow cat uses tracks in place of wheels to give it constant contact with the ground for maximum control over snow of any depth. A track drive snow blower works on the same principle. Track drive technology is available on either two- or three-stage gas snow blowers and is designed to handle serious snow with maximum traction. You can use track drive blowers on all types of surfaces – steep paved or unpaved surfaces.
One of the disadvantages of track drive snow blowers is that they handle like a tank and are harder to maneuver than a wheeled snow blower. Most of them require you to engage a handle-mounted trigger to turn. Many models also allow you to adjust the speed according to the terrain and depth of the snow. This is a good option for some high snow volume areas, but you should be aware of both its strengths and limitations before buying one.
What’s the Difference Between a Single-Stage & Two-Stage Snow Blower?
Single-stage snow blowers are available in gas and electric models. They are simple snow blowers that have an auger, which is the blade that gathers snow to blow out of the chute. These machines are quite easy to maintain, and they work well for small driveways, sidewalks or decks that have 8 inches of snow or less on them. Electric snow blowers are quieter than gas models and are the easiest to maintain, since gas isn’t involved. However, you have to be careful not to run over the cord.
- Don’t wear loose clothing, like a scarf or baggy pants, that can get sucked into a snow blower and possibly take part of you with it.
- Keep your yard free of objects before it snows. Pay special attention to removing small objects like toys that can get hidden under snow. They can damage your snow blower’s propeller.
- Make sure nobody is in the path of the chute. Even if you pick up objects around the yard, rocks and other debris can get blown out at high velocity.
- Keep children away from the snow blower when in use. Children should not operate it, either.
- Use ear protection, especially with noisy gas snow blowers.
- Turn off the snow blower, disengage the clutch and wait 15 seconds to make sure the propeller has stopped.
- Adjusting skid shoes on the bottom of the auger housing will add just enough height to help prevent jamming or sucking in debris and expelling it out of the snow blower.
- Use a stick or a clearing tool, sometimes included with the snow blower, to clear snow. Don’t ever use your hands to clear snow. Even if the snow blower is off, the blade can snap into action when you remove the snow. You don’t want your hand anywhere near that.
- Working at a brisk pace can minimize clogging. Some people coat the blades with no-stick cooking spray to repel snow.
- Avoid becoming a statistic. With a little caution, preparation and forethought, you can avoid the hazards inherent in using a snow blower.
Are Electric Snow Blowers Any Good?
For some situations an electric snow blower is a great solution. Gas yard tools are almost always more powerful than their electric counterparts and that is especially true of snow blowers. If you live in a high snow volume area and consistently have snowfalls of 2 feet or more, a gas snow blower is essential. But if you live in the valley or in an area where snowfalls of 2 to 6 inches are common, an electric snow blower is ideal. Some people who live in high snow volume areas have both a gas and electric snow blower on hand to use for storms of varying severity.
Electric snow blowers are easier to maneuver than gas snow blowers, so it’s a tool one of your kids can use to clear snow off a deck or a driveway after a less severe storm. Lighter storms typically won’t produce snow that requires a big two- or three-stage snow blower. While shoveling is a good option sometimes, it can get tedious even in an area that consistently experiences moderate snowfalls. It’s nice to have a reliable electric snow blower you can plug in to quickly clear a patch of snow before work.
Do Gas Snow Blowers Need Oil?
Like any gas tool, snow blowers require oil. How you go about putting oil in your machine depends on the type of engine it has. Most snow blowers made after 2006 have four-cycle (also called four-stroke) engines. Four-cycle engines have separate fill ports for gas and oil, so you don’t need to mix fuels. You should change the oil at least annually, preferably before it starts snowing.
If your snow blower has only one fill port, it has a two-cycle (two-stroke) engine, and you need to mix fuel. If you only put gas in a two-cycle engine and fail to mix in oil, it can damage the engine and possibly render the snow blower inoperable. Be sure you’re using the right kind of oil. Also, two-cycle engines have gas/oil ratios of either 50:1 or 40:1, so you need to check that you’re mixing the right amounts.Most fuel caps show the correct ratio, and the owner’s manual should also include all the details you need. If you don’t want to mess with mixing fuel, you can purchase premixed two-cycle fuel.
How the Power Is Generated?
Gas power packs a punch when compared to electric in most power tools, but that is especially true of snow blowers. You can feel this difference in the amount of power transferred to the wheels. This makes gas-powered snow blowers much easier to maneuver and push through snow.
Engine displacement is one way to measure power in a snow blower and other power tools. This measures the volume of gas taken in by each piston in cubic centimeters. As gasoline pumps into the engine, the pistons push ignited gas through the machine. The more cubic centimeters of gasoline pumped through the snow blower, the more power the snow thrower produces.
Gas snow blowers are usually built to clear more snow and cut a wider path than their electric counterparts. Most snow blowers clear a path of roughly 2 feet. Two- and three-stage gas snow blowers are often powerful enough to clear snow from parking lots and tough areas like plow piles at the bottom of a driveway.
How Do I Remove Snow From a Gravel Driveway With a Snow Blower?
Logically a person might shy away from using a snow blower on a gravel driveway. It seems unlikely that you could effectively remove snow without taking a lot of gavel with it, potentially injuring someone or damaging property by flinging rocks through the chute. However, you can safely remove snow on gravel with the right snow blower, properly adjusted. You need a snow blower with plastic skids along the bottom of the auger housing. This keeps the blades off the ground so they don’t stir up gravel and throw it into the auger. Next, you need to set the lock in the highest position, usually called the Transport position, so the auger housing is set at an angle above the gravel. Ideally, you also want a snow blower with tracking wheels instead of regular tires. This allows you to position the snow blower at a continuous upward angle above the gravel. Only two- or three-stage gas snow blowers are equipped to clear snow on gravel terrain. This process will leave a thin layer of snow on the ground, but this should melt after several hours in the sun.
Can You Use a Snow Blower on Wet Snow?
The simple answer to the question is yes, a powerful snow blower will clear away wet snow, but very wet snow can get clogged in the chute, especially in the plow pile area at the bottom of the driveway. This isn’t to say it’s easy, and there is a tendency for this type of snow to get clogged in the chute. This is especially true if you live in a high snow volume area and you’re clearing large amounts of heavy, wet snow.
There are things you can do to help deal with this problem. First, you can spray a non-stick spray along the inside of the chute before you start plowing through the snow. You can also use a stick or a clean-out tool, which is included as an attachment with many snow blowers. You should always use a tool to clean out the chute, however. Using your hands is dangerous, as the release of tension from clearing snow can cause various parts to spring unexpectedly. Sometimes going faster can also help you get through tough snow, but at times this can cause the snow blower to shut off. Sometimes you’ll just have to experiment with different methods to see what works best.
Other Considerations When Choosing a Snow Blower
The best snow blowers have a wide clearing path and discharge distance. An 18-inch clearing path is an average width, and the larger your clearing path is, the fewer passes you need to make to clear your surfaces. Blowers that can throw snow farther than 20 feet are ideal for large, wide driveways.
While most electric snow blowers plug into a wall outlet, there are many battery-operated models available as well. These are optimal for people who dislike a trailing power cord, as well as for owners of long driveways or areas that are hard to access.
Consider how easy each snow blower is to handle. Weight is a big factor when it comes to maneuverability. Generally, the lighter the snow blower, the less effort is required to push it along. Look for a snow blower with self-propulsion tech. This is an essential feature on gas snow blowers because they are so heavy, most people couldn’t push one without self-propulsion. However, it is far less common on electric snow blowers. Since they are lighter, most of them are maneuverable even without this feature.
Most electric single-stage snow blowers are propelled forward with a front paddle that gently slides on the ground. However, some single-stage blowers have front paddles that rest slightly above the ground. With this kind of snow blower you will be doing most of the work of pushing it through the snow, making it much more difficult to maneuver.
The best electric snow blowers have easy-to-use controls that are within reach. Look for a snow blower that has a rotating discharge chute with a crank or lever. If it has manual rotation, you will need to stop pushing and go to the front of your blower each time you need to change the direction of the snow discharge. The best snow blowers also include a safety release handle that stops the auger blades from spinning. Many of the best blowers have headlights to make plowing in the dark easier as well.
You want to have maximum control over whatever terrain you’re dealing with, whether you’re clearing snow on a flat driveway, an entire parking lot, on a hill or a winding path. In high snow volume areas with hilly terrain, you will want a dual- or triple-stage snow blower that can effectively chop up the snow and ice before blowing it out of the chute. A track drive snow blower is a good option for some high snow volume areas. See the above sections on three-stage snow blowers and track drive snow blowers for additional information. These powerful snow blowers almost always have about six forward speeds and two reverse speeds to allow for extra maneuverability over tough terrain. Changing speeds is most important for hills or if you’re dealing with uneven amounts of snow in your path.
Gas and electric snow blowers are, of course, priced very differently, which makes sense. Gas blowers have a lot more internal machinery and are mostly made of steel, being built for durability and power. You can buy small gas snow blowers starting at about $350 up to well over $1,000. If you live on the benches, the mouth of a canyon or other high snow volume areas, you’ll probably want to invest in a big gas two-stage snow blower that clears a path of at least 25 inches and has a snow intake of 20 inches or more. This kind of gas blower will generally cost in the $800 range. In areas with moderate amounts of snow a less expensive gas or electric snow blower may suffice. There are many electric snow blower options well under $200.
Warranty & Support
While electric snow blowers are much easier to maintain than their gas-powered counterparts, you should take into consideration the warranty coverage offered by the manufacturer. Many of the blowers in our lineup have warranties of two years. One exception is the Greenworks 2600502, which comes with a four-year warranty. Many manufacturers have extended warranty options. Ariens, for instance, will let you pay extra to get up to five years of coverage. You can also purchase extended warranties for one or two years from online sellers like Snow Blowers Direct, and they have both replacement and repair plans to choose from. While the decision to shell out even more money for extended coverage isn’t easy, knowing you will get all the repairs you need during the warranty period will provide peace of mind. If at some point you need to replace a part that is not under warranty, some manufacturers, like Toro and Sun Joe, let you purchase parts directly from them and they mail them to you.