The top rated snow blowers by review sites are not the best snow blowers for most people.
“Best” means different things to different people. Some of you look at Amazon’s best-selling snowblowers, while others read every word of Consumer Reports Recommended Snow Blowers list. Please remember, the best snow blower as rated by a review site, online review or even by MovingSnow.com is not the always the best snow blower for you. There are many factors that you should consider including the area you want to clear, the surface you want to clear and how much snow you usually get. MovingSnow’s goal is to help you find the best snow thrower for you. You can read this article to help: Buying A New Snow Blower FAQS
This top 20 list is based on my hands-on reviews, plus discussions, interest, intent to buy and sales of residential snow blowers on MovingSnow.com. This list is not reflective of actual sales by the manufactures or retailers. Other websites and forums will have a different viewpoint than MovingSnow.com.
One more paragraph about “the best” or “top rated” or Recommended.” All of these “best buy” lists including mine only cover residential snow blowers. Specifically, economy, homeowner and a few heavy-duty models. No list that I am aware of covers all the snow blowers currently for sale. For example, there are a dozen or so heavy-duty snow blowers that are never covered in reviews. In addition there are other commercial grade and industrial grade snow blowers that Consumer Reports and I don’t cover. In general you can’t buy these extreme snow blowers at your local Sears, Home Depot or Lowes. If you need to make money with a snow blower. If you have miles of sidewalks to clear. If you pay someone to operate your snow blowers for hours at a time feel free to ask and I can point you to snow blowers that will last for you.
One more thing. If you have used a snow blower before you know that how far a snow blower throws the snow is very dependent on the type of snow. Most snow blowers will only throw snow at the “listed” distance when everything is perfect. Most snow blowers are pretty average. In other words it will throw normal snow well, heavy wet snow ok, really light snow not as far and slush barely at all. Like 95% of the snow blowers on the market, if you step into a pile of snow and it splashes – most snow blowers are not going to throw that slop and will most likely plug. If the snow is that wet you can always use it as a plow to push the slush off to the side.
Note: This list was updated 01/31/2016. We are at the end of the snow season so I don’t expect to change this list until September 1st.
Top Twenty Snow Blowers for 2016
Click on the name to read more about the snow blower
- Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE 24 inch, 212 cc single stage. This is my recommended machine if you have hard surface, smooth driveways that get lots of snow. With Toro dropping the price to $699 I feel it is the best value snow blower on the market. If you have gravel and lawn to also clear don’t buy this snow blower – buy the Craftsman Model 88173 or Husqvarna ST224P instead. The SnowMaster will clear 2 inches to 14 inches well. There a another model, Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE 24 inch, 254 cc single stage – with a larger engine it’s my pick for areas that get 2-18 inches of snow at a time.
- Husqvarna ST224P 24 inch, 208 cc. This is currently the highest rated gas snow blower on Amazon. 4.7 out of 5 Stars! Works well for a 2-car by 80 foot driveway. This model has power steering and can handle any type of driveway including gravel and turf. It will clear any amount/type of snow. There is also a model without power steering for a litle less money: Husqvarna ST224
- Ariens Platinum 24 Sno-Thro 24 inch, 369 cc with EZ-Launch EFI Engine. Model# 921053 inch. Heavy-Duty. This new 2016 model with Electric Fuel Injection will not have the starting issues carbureted engines have on today’s fuels. Plus, this one has over-the-top power and can handle any type of driveway including gravel and turf. It will clear any amount/type of snow. Because it has a larger engine and more capacity than most 24 inch machines it works well for 2-3 car wide by 80-120 foot driveways.
- Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm XP™ 34 Snow Thrower. 34 inch, 420cc. New, but will redefine large area residential snowblowers because it’s a very heavy duty machine at a very competitive price. Very easy to use. For any size driveway and any amount/type of snow. UpDate: Consumer Reports has rated the 30 inch version as their best 2-stage pick. There is a Craftsman version with a better headlamp and without the electric chute control Craftsman Pro Series 30.
- Ariens Deluxe 28 and Deluxe 28 SHO. 28 inch 254/306 cc. This is the standard heavy-duty snow blower that everyone else is trying to beat. For driveways up to 150 feet and 100 inches of snow a year. The Deluxe SHO is one of the farthest throwing snow blowers on the market.
- Troy-Bilt 2860. See video here. 28 inch, 243 cc new quieter engine. It features the new airless tires and very simple and long lasting chute control. Extended chute, good hand warmers and no power steering. Of course it has electric start. This is a nice size snow blower for most driveways that is surprisingly easy to use with the new airless tires.I consider this a great snow blower for most areas of the country that get 40-70 inches of snow a year. It can easily be adjusted for cement, blacktop, gravel driveways. With the long wearing poly skid shoes you can also use it on your stained concrete or nice patio. You can even adjust it for clearing a section of the lawn for your dogs. The more we use this snow blower the more we like it. It’s very easy to use and has plenty of power.
- Craftsman Model 88394 28 inch, 243 cc quiet engine. Full featured, including power steering, but average power. If you want a gas powered snow blower that won’t wake the new born this is the quietest. Great machine for midwest and east coast areas that get 40-60 inches of snow a year. Will clear gravel and turf areas.
- Toro PowerMax 826 OXE 26 inch, 254 cc. Automatic Steering. One of the best chute controls in the industry. Some people have complained that the chute is too easy to use.
- Craftsman Model 88173 24 inch, 208 cc. Still one of the best value snow blowers. For all types of snow, about 60 inch average and will clear gravel and turf areas. It does not have power steering.
- Briggs and Stratton 1696614 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 208cc Engine and Electric Start. Excellent Value Machine – no power steering. This is one of the more popular 2-stage snow blowers on Amazon. It does not have power steering.
- Cub Cadet 524 SWE 24 inch, 208 cc. Like the Craftsman 88173 but also has power steering and a headlight. Anyone who can walk and use their hands can operate this snow blower.
- Ariens Deluxe 24. There are only three heavy duty 24 inch snow blowers on the market. This is one of them.
- Toro PowerMax HD 1028 OHXE 28 inch, 302 cc. Toro’s large area homeowner snow blower that is good enough to also be their commercial machine. Throws snow a long, long way and does not clog. Very easy to use.
- Husqvarna Model# ST327T 27in. 369cc Engine. The ST327T will fit through a 32 inch door, the ST330T a 36 inch door. These are the best for any terrain. Driveways, turf, hills, ditches – Pulling your car out of the ditch. (Am I kidding?) also Husqvarna Model# ST330T, 30 inch, 414 cc engine. The ST327T will fit through a 32 inch door, the ST330T a 36 inch door. These are the best for any terrain. Driveways, turf, hills, ditches – The ST330T is one of the highest power, largest capacity snow blowers on the market and will go where no other walk-behind snow blower will go. It has more under chassis clearance and more capacity than the Honda HSS928ATD or Honda HSS1332ATD
- Toro PowerClear 721 E 21 inch, 212 cc. There are only 3 single stage snow throwers good enough for this list. The Toro SnowMasters and this one.
- Husqvarna Model ST227P, 27-Inch 27 inch, 254 cc. Good all-around residential snow blower. 60 inch or less snow.
- Troy-Bilt Storm 3090 357cc 4-cycle Electric Start Two-Stage Snow Thrower. Also 3090 XP and Craftsman 88396. 30 inch, 357 cc These are all basically the same snow thrower – just different paint and repair support.
- Briggs and Stratton Model 1696619 27 inch, 250cc. Just a good value machine. It does not have power steering.
- Troy-Bilt 2410 If you must have the least expensive snow blower, this is the BEST least expensive snow blower available. There is no need to even consider a Chinese made snow blower anymore. For $549-599 you get a good 208cc engine, 6 speeds forward, 2 reverse, good tires, poly skids and a machine that will handle your 40-60 inch Midwest winters. It’s simple, easy to operate and has an excellent review rating at Lowes. It does not have power steering. (The Craftsman 88173 at #8 is similar but has a better chute, single hand control and a better service network)
- Undecided. What do you think of the new Cub Cadet HD models with hydrostatic drive?
EGO 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Single Stage Electric Snow Blower with (2) 5.0Ah Batteries. I originally had this cordless electric higher on my list but research has shown it’s not quite what I thought it was. I’m leaving it in the last position not because it’s a good machine but because every other blog and YouTuber is raving about it. So why have I changed my mind? It looked like a great machine at GIE-EXPO but I didn’t ask the obvious question – how is it different from a gas single-stage snowthrower. This snow thrower has the front rubber paddles but they don’t contact the ground and pull the unit forward like the gas powered single stage snow throwers do. It’s like the other power shovels that you have to push yourself. It will be hard to use on old snow and driveways that are not perfect. Since you have to push it through the snow I would be scared of trying to push it up a driveway for fear that I would slip and fall. So I am only going to recommend it for smooth driveways, sidewalks, and patios. I can’t recommend it for older, rougher driveways, sidewalks and patios with cracks and other parts that stick up and catch the snow thrower. I can’t recommend it for sloped driveways. If you are still interested please watch this video. The owner doesn’t push it up-hill and it leaves a little snow like a 2-stage machine. EGO 56 volt snow blower. Here is another practical video. Watch the sections where he is trying to clear the end-of-driveway snow. EGO 56Volt snow blower,,, I’m not saying “don’t buy” I am saying that this is not like the snow blower you now own. If you can always get out and clear your snow right away, don’t drive over it with your car, and don’t let the snow plow pile freeze this may work for you. This one has enough battery capacity to easily clear a 2 car, 50 foot paved driveway. There is a second model with larger batteries here. EGO 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Single Stage Snow Blower with (2) 7.5 Ah Batteries
Snow Joe iON24SB-XR 80V Max is a definate for this list. I have spent some time with it clearing cement, blacktop, gravel and an old, rough patio. It throws snow really, really well. It’s a very unique snow blower so I have some thinking to do before I place it on this list. Here is a video: Snow Joe iON 80V 2-stage tested in snow – Is it for you?
Honda HSS928ATD, Honda HSS724ATD, and Honda HSS1332ATD. Yes, the Honda 2-stage machines did not make the list this year because of the transmission problem they had last year. I’ve also read the impeller/housing clearance is too tight and although it throws snow well, gravel is tearing up the housing. Just so you know, the models Home Depot is carrying this year do not have electric start. You can actually buy the Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm XP™ 34 Snow Thrower. for half the price and have a higher capacity, more heavy duty snow blower.
Poulan Pro Snow Blowers have dropped off the list. The snow blowers continue to be good machines but you can now buy a Husqvarna with better dealer service for the same price. Husqvarna and Poulan Pro are made in the same factory and Husqvarna’s have more features.
Snow Shovel: Suncast SCH2790 20-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo with Shock Absorbing Spring D-Grip Handle And Wear Strip
The consumer is now in charge.
Today’s buyer doesn’t go to the dealer first. Instead they do all their research online and only go to the dealer if they can’t get the product online or at a local retailer. Today’s buyer wants the online interaction of the manufacture, dealer, and retailer. It’s no longer what a report or article says is best. The consumer can now do the research and make the decision without ever looking at the info hidden behind a subscription or walking into a dealer. Today’s consumer talks not only to his neighbor but also his peers, family and friends. And they are all just a keystroke away.
People are reading and listening to what others like themselves say on the internet. Top ten reviews and ratings from review organizations don’t have as much influence as before. Five years ago a magazine could tell you an item was great and they sold thousands. Today if 5 people on a forum state the snow blower has problems it negatively affects sales. Case in point, Last year Husqvarna had a good snow blower but there was an apparent problem with the auger belt. This is not a major issue, because it doesn’t happen on every machine and only happens under a heavy load, but Husqvarna is not being transparent with the belt issue and the internet discussion groups are causing large numbers of customers not to buy. Husqvarna still feels the best way to handle it is through one dealer service bulletin. If I were a company like Husqvarna (or Toro, Honda, Ariens, Cub Cadet) I would have the problem, the real cause and the info to fix it on the company blog, newsletter and Facebook group as quickly as possible. What was so interesting that even though the forums said don’t buy, people took movingsnow’s advice and did anyway. That snowblower, the Husqvarna ST224 and it twin the Husqvarna ST224P have become the highest rated gas snow blowers on Amazon.
Video killed the radio star. Faster and easier to use is the wave of the future. The Toro SnowMaster is just the beginning……
Top Twenty Snow Blowers for 2016 – The top rated snow blowers are not the snow blowers most people buy.
Comments are open for this article until December 1st.
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