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 snow blowers, 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. It may be too big or too small for your particular driveway/area to be cleared. 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 over the last 10 years, 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. Please assume that if I send you to another website and you purchase a snow blower there that I make a little commission from that sale.
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 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.
Don’t let the advertising hype or dealer sales pitches fool you. A 3-stage is not better than a heavy-duty 2-stage – it’s just different. Remember a dealer is always going to tell you their snow blower is better than the guy’s across the street.
Best Gas Can: No-Spill 1405 2-1/2-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
Best Snow Shovel: Suncast SCH2790 20-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo with Shock Absorbing Spring D-Grip Handle And Wear Strip
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. In other words it will throw normal snow well, heavy wet snow ok, really light snow not as far and slush barely at all. 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 10/10/2017. We are at the start of the snow season so there will be a few changes between today and November 1st. Cub Cadet currently is not on this list but has added a dozen new snow blowers to their 2017 line. I’ll let you know more about them after Oct 25.
Top Twenty Snow Blowers for 2017-2018
Click on the name to read more about the snow blower
- Toro Power Max® 826 OXE (37797) 26 inch, 252 cc engine, automatic steering and Toro’s famous Quick-Stick Chute Control. Picking the number one best choice for a snow blower is the most difficult task I have. Does it throw snow well? Does it clear heavy, wet snow? Is it easy to use? Can most people use it? Is it built well and will last a homeowner many, many years? Does it have a nationwide parts and service network? Will the dealers service it even though you bought it at a Home Improvement Store? This snow blower answers all those questions with a resounding YES!. The only reason the snow blower never made the list before was it had small tires (Model 37781) but for 2017 they installed the larger tires it needed! Home Depot Link: Power Max 826 OXE 26 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower. My Review Link. 2017 Toro Snow Blowers Note: This is not a high-capacity snow blower but it does have auto/power steering, a good engine, handles all types of snow well, great chute control and is very easy to use for most people. It is a very good choice for a 2 car wide driveway 60-100 feet long. It works well for the snow falls you typically get if you live in Minneapolis, Omaha, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh or Long Island. If you live in areas that get 100-200 inches like Boston, Buffalo, Salt Lake and Lake Tahoe please look at the heavy-duty Toro Power Max HD 826 OXE instead.
- Troy-Bilt 2860. See video here. The more I use this snow blower the more I like it. It’s very easy to use and has plenty of power. This is a great “basic” snow blower and one for the best value snow blowers for 2017! It does not have power steering but the airless tires make is very easy to use. This model has just the basics for a reasonable price. 28 inch, 243 cc new quieter engine. It features the new airless tires and very simple and long-lasting chute control. Extended chute, and good hand warmers. No power steering or complicated 4-way chute controls. 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 – even though it does not have power steering. 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. It will fit through the 32 inch side door on your garage. 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. There is also a 24 inch and 26 inch version of this snow blower. Note: This is not a high-capacity snow blower. It is a very good choice if you live in Minneapolis, Omaha, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh or Long Island. If you live in areas that get 100-200 inches like Boston, Buffalo, Salt Lake and Lake Tahoe please look at the heavy-duty machines. Use the dealer locator at TroyBilt.com to find a store near you:
FREE SHIPPING – Troy-Bilt 2-Stage Electric Start Snow Blower with Airless Tires – 26in., 243cc Engine, Model# 31AM56P3766
- Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE 24 inch, 212 cc single stage. Even though I really, really, really like this snow thrower it is for a very specific buyer. Who is it for? It’s really fast to use if you have hard surface, smooth driveway that get lots of snow. It throws snow as well as a $700-$900 2-stage machine. With Toro dropping the price to $699 I feel it is one of the best value snow blowers on the market. It may not be the best for you because it’s so lightweight it will run out of traction trying to clear 10 inches of more of heavy/wet end of driveway snow. You can clear gravel and lawn without damaging the machine but with the Personal Pace controls it’s very hard to do. If you go “offroad” with your snow blower – buy the Ariens Classic, 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. BUY HERE or use the dealer locator at Toro.com to find a store near you: SnowMaster 724 QXE 24 in. Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower
- Husqvarna ST224P 24 inch, 208 cc. For two years in a row now this is 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 little less money: Husqvarna ST224. BUY HERE or use the dealer locator at Husqvarna.com to find a store near you: Husqvarna ST224P
- Ariens Deluxe 24. There are only three heavy-duty 24 inch snow blowers on the market. This is one of them.
- Ariens Deluxe 30 EFI. 30 inch with 15 ft. lb. EZ-Launch EFI Engine. This snow blower engine will not have the starting issues carburetor style snow engines have on today’s fuels. This is one of my favorite large area snow blowers. Auto-Turn makes it simple to use. Dual belt drive and simple chute controls make it dependable and easy to use. Works well for a 2-car by 200 foot driveway. BUY HERE or use the dealer locator at Ariens.com to find a store near you: Ariens Deluxe 30 EFI.
- Ariens Platinum 24 Sno-Thro 24 inch, 369 cc with EZ-Launch EFI Engine. Some of you will feel the price is too high but this heavy-duty 24 inch snow blower 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. This is one of the few snow blowers I recommend for Lake Tahoe and their 200-400 inches of snowfall per year. Please use the dealer locator at Ariens.com to find a store near you:
- Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm XP™ 34 Snow Thrower. 34 inch, 420cc. This machine will redefine large area residential snow blowers because it’s a very heavy-duty, high-capacity machine at a very competitive price. Very easy to use. For any size driveway and any amount/type of snow.Consumer Reports has rated the 30 inch version as their best 2-stage pick. (and I like it and the Craftsman also) UpDate: There is a Craftsman version with better lighting 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 and has a much greater capacity than the Honda Snow Blowers that cost twice as much.
- 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.
- 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.
- Craftsman 88640 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.
- Briggs and Stratton 1696614 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 208cc Engine and Electric Start. Excellent Value Machine. This is one of the more popular 2-stage snow blowers on Amazon. It does not have power steering.
- 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, Track Drive. 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, track drive. 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 is a new Ariens Commercial Single Stage that may replace this snow blower on the list. We’ll have to see…..
- Husqvarna Model ST227P, 27-Inch 27 inch, 254 cc. Good all-around residential snow blower. 60 inch or less average snow per year.
- 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 or Craftsman 88172. 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 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. Cub Cadet has added a dozen new snow blowers to their line. I’ll let you know more about them after Oct 25.
The rest you hear a lot about. Why they are not on the list.
I want a battery operated snow blower! I’ve replaced my trim mower and leaf blower with a cordless electric. I threw away my gas string trimmer because there are now excellent cordless ones to replace it. My cordless hedge trimmer will run for hours on one lithium battery. Ryobi even has a riding mower that works for up to 2 acre lawns. Why is developing a cordless snow blower so hard?
EGO 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Single Stage Electric Snow Blower with (2) 5.0Ah Batteries. I originally had this cordless electric on the top 20 list but research has shown it’s not quite what I thought it was. I’m leaving it off the list permanently. Yes, every other blog and YouTuber is raving about it. So why do I have an issue with it? 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 snow thrower?
This snow thrower has the front rubber paddles like a gas unit 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 corded electric power shovels that you have to push yourself. It is 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, level driveways, sidewalks, and patios. I can’t recommend it for older, rougher driveways, sidewalks and patios with cracks that stick up and catch the front scraper of the snow thrower. I can’t recommend it for sloped driveways. If you are still interested please watch this video before you buy. 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 end-of-driveway snow plow pile freeze this may work for you. This model 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
Here is a typical end-of-year review of the EGO Snow Thrower: ”
“I too love cordless-the only gas equipment I have left is my lawn mower and snow-blower. I was eager to try this. However, the auger not touching the ground is a big problem for me. My single stage 208cc gas does and it helps pull it along. I have a 75ft single driveway and 200 ft of sidewalk (double lot on a corner). It had enough juice to do it, but constantly having to push, push, push to get through the snow-it was a major workout. It throws the snow fine-no problem there. But wow-it was a major pain pushing this thing. We’ve had over 100 inches of snow this winter (so far), so I’m glad I returned it.”
I’m guessing they don’t let the auger touch the ground because it would just use too much battery power…
I also wanted the Snow Joe iON24SB-XR 80V Max to be on this list. But I have some real issues with how slow it travels. (There is a new 2017 model but I have not had a chance to check it out. I’m hoping the 2017 Black versions will have the speed issue fixed.) 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 and very, very quiet. 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 and probably won’t. They are just too expensive for no electric start, (a $200 option), under powered, plugs with wet snow and is using an antique track drive system. Yes, I know they have the Honda engine everyone raves about. 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. or Ariens Deluxe 28 SHO for half the price and have a higher capacity, more heavy-duty snow blower. If you need a tracked machine Ariens, Troy-Bilt, Cub Cadet and Husqvarna all have competitive models.
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.
Thanks for reading this very long post.
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 Facebook state the snow blower has problems it negatively affects sales. Case in point, Two years ago Husqvarna had a good snow blower but there was an apparent problem with the auger belt. This is not a major issue, because it didn’t happen on every machine and only happened under a heavy load, but Husqvarna was not transparent with the belt issue. Because of that the Internet discussion groups caused large numbers of customers not to buy. (Husqvarna still feels the best way to handle it is through one dealer service bulletin which only the service department got.) If I were a company like Husqvarna (or Toro, Honda, Ariens, Cub Cadet) I would get the problem out in the open, state the real cause and blast the info on how to fix it on the company blog, newsletter and Facebook group as quickly as possible.
Faster and easier to use is the wave of the future. The Toro SnowMaster is just the beginning……
Comments are open for this article until December 1st.
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