6 Best Residential Track Snow Blowers For 2018-2019
Tracked snow blowers can be a huge advantage. This article will discuss why you may need a tracked machine and the 6 best on the market this fall. Note: Some of the snow blowers on this list are only available through your local dealer.
Why You May Want a Tracked Snow Blower:
- If you have a sloped driveway. If your driveway slopes enough that a wheeled unit has a hard time going up the hill a tracked snow blower offers a lot more traction.
- If you have packed down snow and/or ice under the snow. Tracks offer a lot more traction for icy conditions and the front of the auger housing on most track drives can also be locked down to scrape driven on snow off cement and blacktop better than wheeled units.
- If you have sidewalks that get plowed full by the city snow plow. The extra traction of the tracks will help you push through that heavy snow.
- If you have uneven terrain to clear. If you have grass or dirt trails or paths to clear. Track drives have the extra traction you need to clear turf and soft ground.
- If you get a lot of drifts where the snow packs so hard you can walk on it. Again, the extra traction of the tracks will help you push through that heavy snow.
Three Types Of Track Drives:
Two-Point. Original Design. Found on Chinese and Honda Snow Blowers. This design has been around for at least 30 years. The rubber track is driven by a lugged wheel and another wheel the same size keeps the track tight and on the ground. Originally the drive wheels were metal but today most are plastic. Because they are generally very slow most 2-point track systems will let you lock the front of the snow blower 1-2 inches off the ground for transport.
Three-Point. Newer design. Found on Troy-Bilt, Cub Cadet, Ariens, Husqvarna and optional on the new Toro Power Max HD. 3-Point tracks give you more clearance under the snow blower’s transmission so you won’t get stuck as often in deep snow. They also have a larger main drive wheel than the 2-point systems so they are faster and they will allow you to get your area cleared faster.
RapidTrack. Latest design. This system is unique to Ariens snow blowers. It gives you the speed and maneuverability of a wheeled unit but the traction of tracks when you need it. I’ll discuss how it works below.
1. Ariens Platinum 28 SHO RapidTrak: 28 inch 369cc $2399
The Ariens Platinum RapidTrak is the best value tracked snow blower for any homeowner who wants to clear snow fast, have the best traction when you need it and all the features you can get on a high-end residential snow blower.
First, the Ariens Platinum is a top-end residential blower. It includes heated handgrips, Super High Output (SHO) impeller, Auto-Turn Steering Technology and a premium Ariens engine. The tall 21” housing height eats up the drifts. The 14” SHO auger and impeller blow snow up to 55 feet and will clear up to 75 tons/hour. In my opinion, the Ariens Platinum SHO handles regular snow, heavy snow, wet snow and even slush better than any other residential snow blower on the U.S. market.
Second, tracks are unrivaled when it comes to traction, but you can’t beat a wheeled snow blower for maneuvering around objects. The Rapidtrak system is exclusive to Ariens and allows you to switch between a wheeled or tracked machine with just a single lever mounted on the right handle.
Preset adjustments on the RapidTrak system allow you to change between three different positions. Track Mode (position 1) is for typical snow removal, tracks are flat on the ground, providing significantly more traction than a wheeled snow blower. Wheel Mode (position 2) turning and traversing around objects. In this position, the rear of the tracks lift off the ground, leaving the snow blower with just the tracks around the big wheels contacting the ground. The snow blower acts just like a wheeled unit. In fact, in this position, the snow blower is well balanced and very easy to turn. Finally, Dig-In Mode (position 3) delivers extra traction for those extreme snow conditions. Opposite of Wheel Mode, in this setting, the rear of the tracks push down and lock. This not only gives the tracks maximum traction, but the sight downward angle of the tracks pitch the auger at a steeper angle into the snow bank allowing you to clean hard packed snow.
In my opinion, the Ariens RapidTrak is the second most significant technology improvement in walk-behind snow blowers in the last 15 years. (Overhead valve engines (OHV) engines with electronic fuel injection (EFI) being the most significant)
After you look at all the advantages the Ariens Platinum RapidTrak is the best value tracked snow blower for anyone who wants to clear snow fast, have the best traction and have all the features you can get on a high-end residential snow blower.
This is a dealer only snow blower so here is a link to the Ariens website where you can read more and find your local Ariens dealer. Ariens Platinum 28 SHO RapidTrak.
2. Ariens RapidTrak 28 in. 2-Stage Electric Start 420cc Gas Snow Blower Model# 926060 $3099
If you have a long driveway or a huge area to clear and get a lot of snow, I’m including two commercial snow blowers in this list. The Ariens RapidTrak 28 and RapidTrak 32 are heavier duty commercial tracked snow blowers that arguably are the best-tracked snow blowers on the market this year. They have the largest engines and the highest capacity of any other snow blower on this list. I used the 28-inch hydro version all last winter and in my 40 years of experience, it is the best and one of the easiest snow blowers I have ever used. (watch my videos on YouTube) If you have a large area to clear, live in an area that gets 100 inches of snow or more a year or use a 2-stage snow blower to make money with, it is hands down, the model you should buy. The Ariens RapidTrak 28 in. 2-Stage Electric Start 420cc Gas Snow Blower Model# 926060 $3099 and the Ariens RapidTrak 32 in. 2-Stage Electric Start 420 cc Gas Snow Blower Model# 926069 $3399 (Home Depot Links)
3. Cub Cadet 3X™ 30″ TRAC 30 inch 3-Stage 420cc Cub Cadet engine Model No. 31AH7EVZ710 $1999
Cub Cadet claims that this 3X auger/impeller system will handle twice as much snow as their 2-stage snow blowers. That is true – but understand that claim does not mean it will handle more snow than a high output 2-stage system like the ones found on the Toro Power Max HD and Ariens Platinum snow blowers. It’s not better – just different. That said,
First, The Cub Cadet 3X TRAC is also a high-end residential snow blower. It has heated hand grips, remote chute/deflector controls, steel chute, and three high output LED lights. It also features a huge 420cc engine so it will power through just about any type of snow. Cub Cadet’s 12″ Induction Accelerator quickly pulls snow, ice and slush through the machine twice as fast as their 2-stage units.
Second, The 3-point track provides a lot of traction and the larger top drive wheel makes it considerably faster than the old 2-wheel tracked systems. Triggers under the handles let you steer the snow blower with just your fingertips. Cub Cadet’s (MTD) trigger power steering is dependable and the easiest of the two and three-point track systems to use.
You can purchase the Cub Cadet 3X™ 30″ TRAC through your local Cub Cadet dealer or The Home Depot here: Cub Cadet 3X™ 30″ TRAC (Home Depot link)
For smaller driveways, there is also the 26 inch 357cc 3X™ 26″ TRAC. $1599 (Home Depot link)
Like Ariens and Toro – Cub Cadet also has a higher capacity PRO series but they do not offer a track drive Pro model.
4. Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2890 Snow Blower Model 28 inch 277cc Troy-Bilt engine No. 31AH7FP4766 $1299
The Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2890 is a great value, residential snow blower. Heated hand grips, easy to use remote chute/deflector, unbreakable high arc poly chute, 3-point track drive, headlight and even reflective stripes on the auger housing to help keep you safe at night.
The 3-point track provides a lot of traction and the larger top drive wheel makes it considerably faster than the old 2-wheel tracked systems. Triggers under the handles let you steer the snow blower with just your fingertips. Troy-Bilt’s (MTD) trigger power steering is dependable and the easiest of the two and three-point track systems to use.
In my opinion the Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2890 is a great value snow blower and will be a good choice for medium driveways that average 40-80 inches a year. It’s not the fastest snow blower on this list but it is dependable and will last you a long time.
You can purchase the Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2890 through your local Troy-Bilt dealer or The Home Depot here: Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2890 Snow Blower (Home Depot link)
5. Honda 28 inch 270 cc HSS928AT / HSS928ATD $2709 $2909
Honda snow blowers throw the snow a long way and the previous HS models have a rabid fan base. But, compared to the other tracked snow blowers available today the HSS series with it’s small 2-point tracks and mediocre power are outdated. They are much slower than the Ariens, Cub Cadet or Troy-Bilt models listed above.
Yes, the Honda AX engine has a long, well-deserved reputation but today’s OHV engines on the other snow blowers are just as good. The HSS series does not have a lot of clearance under the snow blower so they get stuck in deep snow more often and I repeat – even with a hydro transmission – they are slow. The #1 Ariens also has about 30% more capacity than this Honda (77 tons per hour for the Ariens verses 57 tons for the Honda) The electric chute control is slow and it takes forever for it to move all the way from one side to the other. The models sold in the retail stores do not have electric start – you have to find a Honda Powersports dealer to purchase one with 12-volt battery start ($200 more).
My opinion: To be clear, this is a good, well-built snow blower – it’s just not as fast and just does not have the capacity of the other machines. Worst of all -it’s just way over-priced for what it offers.
Buy Here: Honda 28 inch 270 cc HSS928AT (Home Depot Link)
There is also a 32-inch version Honda 32 inch 389cc HSS1332AT (Home Depot) $3189
6. Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2690 XP Snow Blower 26 inch, 208cc Model No. 31AM7BR3766. $1199
Before you buy this snow blower based on the price please read the entire description below.
This snow blower is the least expensive tracked unit on the market! What’s more, it has all the ease-of-use features and a larger engine than the Honda 24 inch 198cc HSS724AT which costs twice as much!
The Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2690 XP has all the high-end bells and whistles that make it a very easy to use snow blower. Heated hand grips, bulletproof and quick electric remote chute/deflector, unbreakable high arc poly chute, 3-point track drive, headlight and even reflective stripes on the auger housing to help keep you safe at night. The only thing lacking about this snow blower is the size of the engine. I can only recommend this snow blower to the few people who don’t get a lot of snow but have a steep driveway to clear. Don’t buy this snow blower because you just want a tracked unit because it is underpowered for most applications. It will handle 2-8 inch snowfalls well but it will be VERY slow on 12 or more inches of snow.
My opinion: If you have a steep driveway or off road area to clear AND you live in an area of the country that gets 40-60 inches of snow on average this may be a great choice for you. In fact, if you are currently are happy with the power of your 24-26 inch 208cc snow blower or your 28-inch 243cc snow blower this tracked model is a good choice for you. (This 208cc engine has more power than your old 5 HP Tecumseh or Briggs)
Buy Here: Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker™ 2690 XP Snow Blower (Home Depot Link)
Husqvarna ST330T 30 inch 414cc $2499.
I’ve had a Husqvarna ST330T around here since 2014 and it throws snow a long way. But even with the huge 414cc engine it just has average capacity compared to the newer Ariens and Cub Cadet models. In other words, it’s a good dependable snow blower – but outdated. Because of the high price it has not been a good seller so most of the retailers no longer carry it though Husqvarna Snow Equipment Dealers will be able to easily get one for you. (watch my videos on YouTube)
2019 Toro Power Max HD with optional tracks.
At this time I don’t have enough information about this new high capacity, heavy-duty snow blower to offer an opinion. I’ll add it in the appropriate position on the list when I know more.
Honda 24 inch 198cc HSS724AT / HSS724ATD ( ACME Tool Link)
For a whopping $2349 you get a recoil start, underpowered 198cc engine, old style 2-point track, and mediocre capacity tracked snow blower. This snow blower has the smallest engine on any 2-stage snow blower – but the highest price for any 24-26 inch 2-stage snow blower. So unless you are “that guy” who just has to have a snow blower with a Honda engine on it I suggest staying far away from this one!
Ariens Compact Track 24: 24 inch 252 cc $1399
This Ariens Compact Track has plenty of power and average capacity but it has a locked-solid axle. You have to slide the large 3-point tracks on the pavement manually to turn this snow blower. That makes it very hard to use.
Ariens Platinum SHO Track 28: 28 inch 369cc $2099
As a wheeled snow blower the Ariens Platinum SHO is a great snow blower. It’s a high capacity, dependable machine. The Auto-Turn steering makes it very easy to use. But with the 3-point tracks installed it’s a whole different monster. The tracks have too much “rubber-on-the-ground” and it makes the snow blower very hard to maneuver.
Any Chinese Snow blower.
The current crop of Chinese tracked snow blowers are mainly 2-point drive and lack a nationwide parts/repair network. For the same money, you are much better off buying the Troy-Bilt snow blowers on this list.
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