Snow Blower Reviews

The best snow blowers effectively clear snow with the least physical exertion from you, but to minimize that exertion it's essential to find a strong machine that can handle your typical snowfall while remaining easy to push and maneuver. Editors analyze expert tests along with hundreds of owner comments to name the snow blowers with the best performance, handling and durability. And if you like doing things the old-fashioned way, we take a look at the best choices among snow shovels, too.
 
Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381
Best Reviewed
Best electric snow blower
Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381

The Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381 is a terrific choice for those who live where snowfall tends to be light. There's more than enough power for moderate accumulations of 8 inches of powder snow, without the muss and fuss that a gas-powered snow blower entails. It's terrific at clearing walkways and driveways almost to the bare surface, and its light weight -- just 25 pounds -- makes it easy to handle.
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Est. $250
Snow Joe iON18SB
Runner Up
Cordless electric snow blower
Snow Joe iON18SB

If you want an electric snow blower without the tether of a heavy extension cord, the Snow Joe iON18SB is a great choice. User feedback on the Snow Joe is strong, though buyers that understand its limitations are the happiest. Energy efficiency is exemplary, but power is low and run times are limited. Still, owners who typically deal with sub-6-inch snowfalls and have a property that can be cleared in 40 minutes or less, absolutely love this cordless electric snow thrower.

Toro Power Clear 721 E 38742
Best Reviewed
Best single-stage gas snow blower
Toro Power Clear 721 E 38742

The Toro Power Clear 721 E 38742 is powerful and efficient, using a four-stroke engine to tear through packed and wet snow without bogging down. Exceptional handling features include a self-propelling drive to pull the blower effortlessly, a variable-speed transmission to precisely control the pace, and user-friendly chute adjustments. Toro has a solid brand reputation and includes a better-than-average warranty.
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Craftsman 88173
Best Reviewed
Best two-stage gas snow blower
Craftsman 88173

The Craftsman 88173 offers a compelling combination of power and value. Though this snow thrower is small in stature compared to some two-stage snow throwers, it makes short work of even heavy snow falls, clearing a 24-inch-wide path and snow up to 21 inches deep in one pass. Its 12-inch serrated steel auger and high-speed impeller tear through packed snow piles without bogging down.
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Ariens Deluxe 30 921032
Runner Up
Large two-stage gas snow blower
Ariens Deluxe 30 921032

While compact two-stage snow blowers are fine for most residential properties, if you have more to clear, the beefy Ariens Deluxe 30 921032 snow blower should be at the top of your list. Its 30-inch intake makes fast work of even the largest driveways. It excels in most snow moving tasks, though it doesn't scrape down as close to the surface as some snow blowers. Handling is first rate thanks to an assisted steering system that lets users effortlessly change directions on a dime.

True Temper Ergonomic Mountain Mover
Runner Up
Best snow shovel
True Temper Ergonomic Mountain Mover

If a snow blower is overkill for your snowfall, property or budget, or if you need a snow shovel to finish off spots where your snow blower won't go, the 18-inch True Temper Ergonomic Mountain Mover is a terrific choice. It hits most of the design points that experts say make for a good all-purpose snow shovel, including an ergonomic shaft with just the right amount of bend. It lacks a lower handle, but add an accessory one, such as the Stout Backsaver (Est. $9), and you have a snow shovel that blew away the competition in one expert hands-on test.

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Stout Backsaver Grip Attachment for Garden Tools, Assorted
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $12.00 $7.75   
Average Customer Review:  

Snow blowers make fast work of clearing snow

A snow blower takes the place of a snow shovel, quickly clearing your porch, sidewalk and driveway in less time and with less effort. Using an auger mounted in front of the machine, a snow blower scoops up snow as you walk and fires it through a chute to collect in your yard (or wherever you aim).

Snowy conditions create enough problems for traction and maneuvering, so you won't want to add to them with a cumbersome snow blower. Experts say buying a machine that's easy to handle, has glove-friendly controls and starts on demand is key to owner satisfaction. It's also important to select the type best suited to your region's winter. If you wind up with a snow blower -- also called snow thrower -- that's not powerful enough to tackle your typical snowstorm, it will bog down -- or even fail -- under the strain. Keep the size and extent of your walkways and driveways in mind as well. A lightweight machine with a narrow intake is fine for a city property, but can mean extra passes for suburban and rural dwellers.

Types of snow throwers

Snow blowers can be powered by an electric motor or gas engine. Electric snow blowers can be corded or cordless, while gas models can be broken down by how they move the snow -- single-stage or two-stage.

Corded electric snow blowers. Most electric snow blowers weigh less than 40 pounds and are compact for uncomplicated maneuvering and storage. Their electric motors are fume-free, quieter than gas engines and don't require regular servicing. The most powerful electric snow blowers can move about 8 inches of powder; half that if the snow is packed or wet. These are the least expensive type of thrower -- expect to pay $100 to $300 -- and don't forget to add in the cost of a separate heavy-duty extension cord that's long enough to reach your entire walkway or driveway from an electrical outlet.

Cordless electric snow blowers. Cordless electric snow throwers cut away the tether of a corded electric snow blower, but offer only limited run time -- 30 minutes to an hour per charge; if you need more than that, consider having a charged spare battery on hand. Cordless electric snow blowers are most suitable for smaller properties and areas where snow falls don't often exceed 8 inches or so. They are also pricey compared to corded models -- $300 and up. But, despite these drawbacks, their convenience makes them a hit with many owners.

Single-stage gas snow blowers. In a single-stage snow blower, the auger scoops up the snow with enough force to blow it out the chute. With no extension cord tethering them, single-stage gas snow blowers can cover more ground than electric models. They are also more powerful, throwing snow farther, clearing heavy snowfall faster, and breaking up packed berms left by the snowplow. Gas engines require more time and money to maintain, but many users say it's worth it for the added power. Most single-stage gas snow blowers weigh between 60 and 90 pounds and cost about $300 to $800. They are generally suitable for cleaning up snowfalls of up to 10 inches

Two-stage gas snow blowers. These are the beasts of the group: bigger, heavier and able to move more snow than single-stage throwers. Two-stage snow blowers add an extra component; after the auger shovels the snow into the chute, a corkscrew-like impeller shoots the snow as far as 40 feet away. Because the augers on two-stage machines don't brush against the ground, this is the best option for clearing snow off gravel or off of a wooden deck without fear of damaging it. Compact versions have a smaller body for easier storage, but are still beefy enough to clear snow up to 20 inches high. Expect to pay at least $600 for a well-built compact two-stage gas snow blower and more than $1,000 for a full-sized one.

Snow shovels. Don't forget the original "manual' snow thrower, the snow shovel. Yes, shoveling snow can be back-breaking work, and is definitely not advised for those in less-than-good physical shape, but if you live where snow is light, and/or on a property with not much sidewalk to shovel, they are a cost effective alternative. Even better, the top choices among modern snow shovels offer improved ergonomics to make the task of clearing snow by hand a lot easier than ever before. A well-designed, well-made snow shovel will run roughly $30 to $50.

Finding the best snow throwers

We use a combination of expert tests and owner feedback to select the top snow blowers. ConsumerReports.org is the only professional source we found that conducts side-by-side comparisons, but its coverage is both comprehensive and detailed, with hands-on testing that looks at performance, handling and more. MovingSnow.com is also helpful. Though site owner Paul Sikkema doesn't cover nearly as many models, and testing isn't always well defined, his expertise provides valuable insights on which snow blowers to buy and which to skip. If it is a snow shovel that you are digging, TheSweetHome.com uses a panel of four testers to find those that get the job done with the least strain on your back; the site has also begun rating snow blowers, but testing was incomplete at the time of this report. Owner reviews at sites such as HomeDepot.com and Amazon.com help fill in the picture, reporting on issues -- such as long-term durability -- that experts can't address in the limited time they have to test products. The results of our intensive research are the snow blowers that are top performers, very durable and handle easily.