Snow Blowers: Ratings of Sources
Editors evaluate nearly 80 models of snow blowers. Most are tested using both real-world and simulated snow piles, though some ratings are based on tests of similar machines. Gas, electric, single- and two-stage machines are included in this comparison. As editors test each machine, they grade how easy it is to steer, how quickly it cuts through the snow and how clean it leaves the pavement. Top performers get a Recommended label, while top values earn a Best Buy designation.
Paul Sikkema lists his top picks here, with a focus on naming which snow blowers are best for certain types of buyers and properties. Not every snow blower gets a hands-on review, but several do, and links lead to those. Elsewhere on the site you can find more in-depth reviews, snow blower comparisons, updates on manufacturer offerings for the current year, and more.
TheSweetHome.com conducts more than 80 hours of research along with hands-on testing of one model to find the top snow blower. While more research is planned, most was conducted in 2015. However, Doug Mahoney adds that after examining new offerings for 2016, he hasn't found one that matches a still available Craftsman model that was previously named the best "in terms of value, features, and overall usability."
There are more than 150 snow blowers listed at HomeDepot.com, many of which have a significant number of user reviews. Most are gas-powered snow blowers, though a few electric models have enough feedback to be helpful. Some listings include reviews from manufacturer web sites.
Robert Valenzano, the in-house snow blower expert at SnowBlowersDirect.com, provides brief reviews on models this site recommends, including electric and single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage gas machines. Many snow blowers also include owner reviews, ratings on a 5-star scale and the occasional video demonstration.
Amazon.com lists lots of snow blowers, and many have enough owner reviews to be helpful. That said, feedback is notably more plentiful for electric snow throwers than for gas models, with some garnering hundreds of reviews.
Husqvarna, Ariens, Snow Joe and Troy-Bilt make up the bulk of the more than 50 gas, electric and cordless electric snow blowers listed at Lowes.com. While other makes get good feedback, too, Ariens gas blowers look to lead the way here based on user satisfaction following a large number of reviews, though some of those reviews originally appeared on the manufacturer's web site.
Sears.com is the best place to get user feedback about Craftsman snow blowers. A couple of Craftsman models get 100 or more reviews and a rating of roughly 4 stars or better.
Though a number of other companies are also represented, many of the snow blowers sold by Walmart.com carry the Yard Machines or Snow Joe brand. Most get good ratings, though not a lot of feedback; one Snow Joe electric model scores highly following more than 250 reviews.
To find the best snow shovels, TheSweethome.com talks to experts, looks at user reviews and tests snow shovels using a panel of four to clear driveways, long walkways, decks and more. One shovel emerges as a crowd favorite -- and has remained so for three winters in a row. Further testing is slated for this winter season, but for now, Doug Mahoney says "we still have full confidence in our current recommendations."
In a free article, Ed Perratore looks at two snow shovels -- an all plastic conventional model and a snow pusher. No recommendations are made, nor are ratings provided, but the article does a good job of discussing the pros, cons and best uses for each shovel.
SnowBlowerForums.com is a user-to-user forum where members can discuss anything snow blower related. In addition to sub-forums dedicated to specific brands, you can find a sub-forum with snow blower reviews. This is also a good destination for general snow blower information, troubleshooting and more.