As the long, languid days of summer fade, cooler weather slowly creeps over the land. Seasoned homeowners know that it’s time to begin preparing for the cold weather and snow that is to follow.
Make no joke – heavy snow can pose a serious hazard.
Ice can can coat railings and cause painful falls. Snow-blocked driveways can set you back a half-hour as you head off to head to work. Let’s just hope you don’t have to pick up any medications, or get your children to school on time.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, I feel strongly that a snowblower is an essential tool any homeowner’s arsenal. The best designs chew right through the snow, letting you get on with your life – at least until the next snow storm hits.
Our 11 Top Rated Snow Blowers
|Rank||The Thrower||Best For||Our Rating|
|1||Ariens Compact 2-Stage|
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|Strength and Power||10.0|
|2||Briggs and Stratton Dual-Stage|
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|Large Clearing Height||9.7|
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|Standard Powerful Engine||9.4|
|4||Ariens Sno-Tek 2-Stage Electric Start|
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|5||Honda Power Equipment Single-Stage|
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|Accessible Snow Chute||9.0|
|6||Ariens Path-Pro Single-Stage|
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|7||Briggs & Stratton Single Stage|
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|Big Clearing Area||8.7|
|8||Troy-Bilt Squall Electric Start Single Stage|
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|Moving Large Quantities of Snow||8.6|
|9||Snow Joe Ultra Electric|
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|Light and Maneuverable||8.4|
|10||Poulan Pro Two-Stage Electric Start|
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How To Choose The Right Snow Blower
For anyone who has never purchased a snow blower before or anyone who is seeking to purchase a replacement for an existing snow blower, there are five factors to keep in mind:
1. The Land
Evaluate the size and shape of the property where the snow blower will used. A homeowner with several hilly acres will obviously have different needs than someone who has a smaller, much flatter parcel of land. Compact machines that can be easily maneuvered are more useful for a small patch of land typical to more urban regions. Mid-sized models are particularly useful for a house in the suburbs with a large driveway. Those who make their homes in an area that sees a near constant stream of snow all winter long will need a machine that can keep up from October to April. Careful attention to detail is crucial. Think about how much power you will need as well as your available storage spaces.
2. Types of Snow Blowers
In general, snow blowers come in one of four specific types. These are: single-stage electric, single-stage gas, two-stage gas and three-stage gas.
Single-stage electric snow blowers are perhaps the most portable and easy to use designs on the market today. A typical single-stage thrower is about the size of a standard walk-behind lawn mower and has much in common with it. They are lighter and generally quieter than the other we’ll discuss. Users will find that this design has an auger that lifts snow from the ground but also trails along the ground at the same time. The snow is thrown in the direction desired as the user drives. Keep in mind that some of these models have cords while others do not.
While the auger is generally small, it can pick up unwanted objects from the ground. This includes items such as gravel and even larger rocks. These objects can removed from the ground and may wind up hitting pedestrians and any pets nearby. It’s a good idea to keep pets and small children a firm distance away from the blower when it is in operation. The modest range also limits the area that can be cleared. Multiple passes may necessary in order to fully remove all of the snow from the property. Users may find that electric models offer less help along slopes, and that they are not the best for use on gravel driveways.
Is electric the way to go for you? Check out our electric snow blower review page for a more in-depth look.
Another option on the market today is what is known as a single-stage gas blower. The single-stage gas snow blower is similar in shape and size to the electric alternatives. However, there are a few crucial differences that users should keep in mind as they examine them. These models, unlike the single-stage blowers, do not need a cord to get them started or use as they move across the snow. This gives the user more range when they bring it across any kind of surface. Like the single-stage electric models, they’re also relatively light and easy to maneuver. They are comparable in size to a standard size mower and take up about as much space in any area. In general, these throwers are a good choice for mid-sized driveways and homes with a fairly standard backyard. They can handle up to about nine inches of snow in any given use. These types of throwers are also ideal for areas that get lots of quick, light snowfalls each winter.
There are a few minor drawbacks to these models. Like the electric versions, they can also spew gravel and rock along with snow. This is why pets and small children should be kept far away when they are in use. Keep in mind that they will tend to move sideways if used on any particularly steep slopes on the property so it may be hard for use in areas that lots of hills.
If you’re interested in this type of snow blower, you may want to check out our single stage snow blower reviews.
Two-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
Homeowners who live in areas that get quite a bit of snow in any given time should consider snow blowers with more power. More power means that the snow blower can handle hills and remove more snow in any given time frame. Those who have long, wide driveways should consider the two-stage gas snow blower. These models can work with up to thirty inches at a single go.
There’s a fan-shaped impeller that is located behind the standard auger. This impeller provides an extra layer of power. That’s why this is also a good choice for those who have hillier areas on their property. Keep in mind that these blowers are heavier than the single-stage blowers. They also require more storage space. They usually cost more than other types of throwers. However, for those who have larger properties, they are a useful tool that makes coping with heavy snowfall much easier. Read our two-stage snow thrower reviews if you are interested in knowing more about this design.
One of the latest breeds of snow blowers is the three-stage gas thrower. This design offers more power than other throwers. Homeowners who frequently find themselves confronting heavy, thick, rain filled snow may find these a must for their backyard and front yard. The primary difference between this kind of snow blower and other types of snow blowers is the addition of an accelerator. The accelerator makes snow clearing fast by pushing up more snow across the auger. This is a heavy duty model that uses the latest in technology to remove unwanted snow and ice and remove it as quickly as possible.
These models are ideal for those who live in northern climates where snow is common for much of the year. They can be more expensive than standard snow blowers. They also tend to take up more storage space. They can also be quite heavy to use, meaning that the user must exert more power to push them. At the same time, they do offer the power necessary to clear a driveway and other paths in a trice.
3. Before Choosing a Model
Before doing anything else, it’s a good idea to see how much storage space you have on hand. Many blowers can be easily stored a garage or basement. Allow at least two square feet for the blower. It’s also a good idea to think about who will be operating the thrower. A snow blower may weigh more than two hundred pounds. The handle should fit nicely and allow you to maintain a comfortable speed as they cross the driveway. Think about all areas of the property as well. Some homeowners may want to have more than one snow blower. The heavier models can be used when during blizzards while a lighter model is kept on hand for use during a quick bout of snow.
4. Common Features
Each snow blower is different. For example, the Ariens Sno-Tek 24 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower has features that include a push button electric start and 205-degree, fast-turn chute as well as a highly efficient ergonomic handle. This model allows for quick clearing of any snow. An electric starter is useful for those who don’t want to do so manually, and can also come in quite handy if you don’t store your snow blower properly over the summer. The high width and intake height also make it easier than ever to clear large drifts even in the middle of a storm. The large tires also work well in varied terrain, making it possible to use the thrower on many types of surfaces.
Most people will want to have certain features in any snow blower they buy, including but not limited to multiple speeds, chute controls, a headlight, an electric start, easy-turn capacity, and heated handgrips. Varied speeds allow for more specific control when using the blower. Should conditions suddenly change, the operator can switch to a lower or higher speed. A “dead-man” control is an additional, crucial safety feature. This feature stops the machine’s auger and impeller when the user releases the handlebar grip. This means the machine is not operating when the user doesn’t want it to move.
5. Additional Features
Many blowers have all sorts of useful features. These features allow the user to take full advantage of the power of the blower and maneuver it to the precise location they want. Motors with more power are good for areas that get a lot of snow. What is known as single-hand operation means that the user can make easy adjustments as they work without the need to spend time and effort changing the blower’s path too much. Speed controls can make it possible to bring the thrower both backwards and forwards. This allows the user to bring the blower back and forth as needed across any surface quickly and easily. A remote control for the chute is another feature that makes it easy to control the direction of the flow of the snow as the user operates it. No need to worry that too much snow is accumulating in any one part of the owner’s path. Another option for control of the chute is the joystick control. This also lets the user direct the sow in the path that is best for their needs as they continue to clear the path of snow and ice.
6. Other Considerations
A blower is a must use tool for many homeowners. The greatest possible blowers are those that fully meet any buyers’s personal specifications. Any buyer needs to have a close look at the blowers they are considering. Each one should be ideal for the local climate and the amount of snow that is common in their part of the world. They should also be easily stored in a convenient area when not in use. When you are informed and know the models available for your needs, you will find it truly easy to purchase the one they like best.
Snow Blower Reviews
1. Ariens Compact 24 in. 2-Stage Snow Blower-208cc
For those that live in the coldest climates of the country, having access to a quality snow blower is a practical necessity. When shopping for a new snow blower, one great option to consider is the Ariens Compact 24-inch 2-stage Snow Blower, which provides its users with a wide variety of features that makes it very functional and useful during the worst snowstorms of the year (read all of our Ariens snow throw reviews here).
One of the main advantages of the Ariens snow blower is its strength and power. It comes standard with the Ariens AX engine brand, which is a gas-powered engine that provides enough power to cut through some of the deepest snow conditions. The 20-inch inlet height allows you to quickly cut through nearly two feet of snow and the powerful thrower can toss the snow return nearly 40 feet away from your location.
Another advantage of the Ariens Compact snow blower is that it works very well in the coldest of conditions. It comes standard with a freeze-resistant triple blade and is built with a cast-iron case, which helps to ensure that the motor will always start during the coldest weather conditions.
While it is a large 225-pound snow blower, it is still easy for anyone to operate. It comes with six drive gears, including two different reverse gears. Further, the chute can be turned more than 200 degrees, which gives you the ultimate amount of control when you are looking to maneuver the snow blower through the bigger snowstorms of the year.
2. Briggs and Stratton 1696563 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower
For several decades Briggs and Stratton has continued to be a leader in the field of snow blower production and manufacturing. For those that are looking for one that provides enough power and force to get through heavy snowstorms, the Briggs and Stratton 1696563 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower is a great option as it provides a number of features that are unmatched by the competition.
One of the main advantages of this Briggs and Stratton snow thrower is that it has one of the largest clearing heights available on the market today. The snow thrower has a 29-inch clearing path and an intake that is nearly 20 inches high. This is then coupled with the 306cc engine, which produces more than 14.5 pound-feet or torque.
The snow thrower is also very easy for anyone to operate. It has a very simple to use electric starting button, which allows it to start cleanly during even the coldest days of the year. Once it is on, the snow thrower users will enjoy the dual trigger steering, which makes it easy to maneuver through up to two feet of snow. There are also six different forward and two reverse speed options for you to choose from.
Another advantage of the snow thrower is that it is truly built to last. The machine comes built with a steel frame and chute that are designed to last for years while continuing to provide the same quality as it did the day it came off of the production line.
3. Troy-Bilt Vortex 2490
The Troy-Bilt Vortex 290 snow thrower is a very popular snow blower and thrower that is used by people in some of the snowiest climates in the country. The snow thrower is built with a variety of different features that allows people to conveniently remove up to two feet of snow at a time with ease (read all of our Troy-Bilt snow thrower reviews).
One of the main features of the Troy-Bilt Vortex 290 is that it comes with a standard powerful engine. This includes a 277cc engine that is powerful enough to push through some very deep and heavy snowfalls. Furthermore, there is a 12-inc accelerator that actually works to break down heavy wet snow, which makes the unit much easier to operate.
To add additional control when you are operating the Troy-Bilt Vortex 290, the machine comes standard with a 15 x 5-inch treaded tires that are ideal for those that are pushing through a bigger pile of snow. Once you are pushing through the snow, there is also a 200-degree turning ability for the chute, which can then throw the snow nearly 40 feet away from your driveway or walkway.
Once you have purchased the Troy-Bilt Vortex 290, you can be assured that it will work well for years to come. It is built with a very heavy steel casing that is extremely durable. The company also is confident in the durability of the snow thrower as it comes standard with a free two-year extended warranty, which will cover the majority of any necessary repairs.
4. Ariens Sno-Tek 24 in. 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower
If you live in an area of the country that is used to getting a lot of snow, you know that you need to have a quality and reliable snow blower that can handle big piles of snow accumulation. One snow blower that can ensure that you are able to clear your driveway and walkways is the Ariens Sno-Tek 24-inch two-stage snow blower. This snow blower has a variety of features that makes it ideal for those that need to clear large snow accumulations.
One of the main advantages of this snow blower is that it can handle very deep snow. The 24-inch basket is able to clear snow that is up to 16-inches deep. Once it has been collected by the snow blower, it can then be tossed up to 40 feet, which makes it easy to always remove snow from your driveway.
The Sno-Tek snow blower is a very strong and durable snow blower that is made with quality aluminum on the chute and full casing. The rust-resistant exterior is ideal for long-term use and can work well in all weather conditions. While it weighs more than 200 pounds, it is still very easy for anyone to operate. There are a total of six different forward speeds and two different reverse speeds, which gives you an ultimate amount of control when it comes to adjusting for certain driving conditions. There are also polar track lines and augers built into the wheels, which helps to give more control during slippery situations.
5. Honda Power Equipment 187cc Single-Stage Snow Blower
Anyone that lives in a cold climate that is susceptible to big snowstorms knows the importance of having a quality snow blower. When shopping for a snow blower, one great option to consider is the Honda Power Equipment HS720AA. This snow blower has several different features that can help anyone to quickly and safely move large accumulations of snow (read all of our Honda reviews).
The Honda Power Equipment comes with Honda’s 190CC OHC engine that is considered powerful enough to move large piles of heavy snow. It has the ability to clear snow that is as deep as 20 inches, which is ideal for people that live in areas that experience large and quick accumulations of snow.
The snow blower also has a very accessible snow chute, which can be turned up to 204 degrees, which gives you ultimate control of where to throw the snow. The powerful motor also has the ability to throw the snow up to 33 feet, which makes it easy to clear it off of your sidewalk or driveway and into a more convenient location.
An added benefit of the Honda Power Equipment HS720AA is that it is very easy to start. The gas-powered snow blower has an easy-start button that makes it very easy for anyone to get going, even during the coldest times of the year when other snow blowers may struggle to get going. This can give any user the comfort that their snow blower will work well when they need it to the most.
6. Ariens Path-Pro 21 in. Single-Stage Snow Blower
One company that provides many great products is Ariens and their Ariens Path-Pro SS21 is no exception. This snow blower has a number of different features that can make it ideal for your situation.
One of the advantages of the Ariens Path-Pro SS21 is that it has a larger intake compared to other options. The intake is 21 inches by 12 inches, which allows you to clear your entire driveway or walkway in fewer passes than you would with some other options. It has a single-stage operation, which can be ideal for use on some smaller and trickier areas to cover, such as patios and smaller driveways.
Unlike some other snow blowers, the Ariens Path-Pro SS21 also works to clear the entire area underneath the intake. It uses a system of reinforced rubber paddles and a scrape bar that will ensure that all snow on the ground is removed. This goes a very long way when it comes to preventing ice.
Once you are operating the Ariens Path-Pro SS21, it also does a great job or removing the snow from the immediate area. It has a very powerful 208cc engine and a discharge chute that can throw the snow up to 35 feet away. Furthermore, the chute can be turned up to 210 degrees in either direction, which gives you the ultimate amount of control of where to send the snow.
7. Briggs & Stratton Single Stage Snow Thrower with 208cc Engine
One company that has continued to build a reputation for developing quality and reliable snow blowers and throwers is Briggs and Stratton. One snow thrower that you should consider getting is the Briggs & Stratton Single Stage Snow Thrower with 208cc Engine, which has a number of features that can make it a great option for you.
One of the main advantages of this snow thrower is that it has a very big clearing area. The intake of it has a 22 inch width, which is a bit larger than most that you will find in the market today. Furthermore, it has a clearing height of nearly 13 inches, which means you can easily clear nearly one feet of snow.
This Briggs and Stratton snow thrower is also built to get through some of the hardest to manage snow piles. It has a tough 208cc engine, which produces more than 9.5 pound feet of torque and the wheels are built with a very thick tread and augers, which helps it to get through some of deeper piles of wet snow. Once you are operating the snow thrower, you will enjoy the manual chute that has a nearly 200 degree rotation radius and throwing power of more than 30 feet, which is more than adequate for most users. Finally, when you purchase it, you will bet the Briggs and Stratton standard three-year warranty for free.
8. Troy-Bilt Squall 208cc 21-Inch Single Stage Gas Snow Thrower
One snow blower that you should consider getting is the Troy-Bilt Squall 208cc 21-Inch Single Stage Gas Snow Thrower. This snow blower has a variety of features that can make it a great option for you.
One of the advantages of this snow blower is that it has several features that allow you to move large quantities of snow. The snow blower has a 21-inch hatch, which allows is to handle upwards of one foot of direct snow at a time. Furthermore, it also has a blower in front of it, which will blow away some of the lighter snow before you even approach it.
Once the snow blower is on top of the snow that you want removed, it will be able to work well to have it efficiently removed from your driveway or walkway. There is a two-way chute, which can be turned up to 190 degrees. Furthermore, there is very little risk associated with getting stuck. The wheels come standard with a very thick and durable thread, which allows is to move through some of the heaviest and wettest snow.
Finally, it is very reliable, even during the coldest times of the year. There is an electric button switch, which works very well at all times and will allow you to get the snow blower moving even when the temperature is well below zero.
9. Snow Joe Ultra 18-Inch 15-Amp Electric Snow Thrower
This Snow Joe model offers a variety of different amenities that can make it a great option for you, even if you live in an area that gets rather large accumulations of snow that need to be moved quickly.
This Snow Joe snow blower is a very light and maneuverable snow blower that comes with an 18-inch hatch, which allows you to easily dig out and move more than one foot of snow. Another advantage of this is that it comes with a built in scraper blade that easily clears away almost all of the remnants of the snow that are left over after you run over your driveway or walkway.
One concern that many people have with using a snow blower is that they can be hard to use at night, especially if it is very dark out and you have limited natural light or streetlights in the area. However, this Snow Joe snow blower comes standard with an onboard halogen light that will give you the visibility that you need to safely use your snow blower at night. This can help to ensure that you are not caught off-guard by any significant snow accumulations that can take place overnight.
The electric snow blower is also very easy to start. It has an easy start button and will work well at any time of the year. This is even true if you are experiencing temperatures outside that are well below zero degrees.
10. Poulan Pro 24-Inch 208cc Two Stage Snowthrower
One of the fastest growing manufacturers of snow throwers in the market today is Poulan Pro. One of the most popular models that the company produces today is the Poulan Pro 24-Inch 208cc Two Stage Snowthrower, which can provide anyone with a variety of helpful features (for noteworthy alternatives to the Poulan Pro, check out our Husqvarna blower reviews).
One of the main features that consumers enjoy when they purchase this snow thrower is the huge intake that it has. The snow thrower comes standard with a 24-inch wide intake, which allows you to cover a lot of driveway and walkway space with each movement. Also, it has an intake heigh of nearly 23 inches, which allows you to comfortable snow throw nearly two feet of snow. This is ideal for anyone that is in a location that sees very heavy snowfalls.
The Poulan Pro snow thrower is also very easy to move. It has four speed motor engine and treaded tires, which give you a lot of control when trying to maneuver the machine. There is also a manual chute that has over 200 degrees of turning radius.
Finally, once you have purchased the Poulan Pro snow thrower, you can be assured that it will last well for years to come. The steel and aluminum casing and chute are very durable and something that the company will always stand behind. The company will provide you with a two-year limited warranty and a four-year engine warranty, which will cover a wide variety of repairs and ensure your snow thrower will continue to work well for years to come.
11. YARDMAX Two-Stage Snow Blower
Yardmax has a long history of producing some quality snow blowers and this model is no exception. This snow blower is ideal for people that live in a climate that experiences heavier snowfalls. The higher and wider intake allows you to collect and blow more than two feet of snow in one push. This is very helpful when you are looking to clear larger areas with a large accumulation of snow.
Another advantage of the Yardmax Two-Stage Snow Blower is that it has a strong engine. It has a 6.5 horsepower engine that produces nearly 10 pound feet of torque. Furthermore, it also has five different forward speed and two different backwards speeds, which gives you a lot of control when looking to maneuver it around your driveway. The snow blower also has a customizable chute and a faster speed propeller, which makes it much easier to throw large accumulations of snow a greater distance.
The Yardmax snow blower is also very durable and built to last. It comes standard with an aluminum and steel casing and chute. This is a rust-resistant material that can work well for years to come. Furthermore, two-stage gas powered engine is very easy for anyone to start in any climate, even when the temperature outside dips well below zero. This gives you the assurance that it will work well when you need it the most.