24-inch and 26-inch 2-stage snow blowers are good for your typical 1 or 2 car driveway up to 60 feet long. They will also clear snow from gravel, dirt, and turf. Since they are smaller and lighter weight even smaller people can use them. The models with a 14-inch impeller will handle any snow you get including the wet/heavy snowplow drift the city leaves you at the end of your driveway. If you have a bad back buy one with automatic/power steering.
I’m only listing snow blowers here that are proven to work well. There are over 400 snow blowers available today. While there are many good snow blowers offered there are also snow blowers that have poor repair history, a poor service network and a few that are very hard to get parts for. This year the good 2-stage snow blowers with good service networks and good parts availability start around $700.
I’m only listing snow blowers from retailers and dealers that have good service networks. These networks use local servicing dealers to repair your machine under warranty. The models I’ll recommend here will all last you years (with a little preventative maintenance) and you’ll be able to get service and parts locally. I will not recommend retailers and brands that ship your machine off to some faraway location where it may sit for months before the repair is made.
Protection Plans. Protection plans are NOT extended warranties. Extended warranties are offered directly from the manufacturer. Because extended warranties are directly from the manufacturer they are always a good choice. Those warranties are handled by a local servicing dealer. Protection plans, on the other hand, offered by retailers are not always a good choice. If you feel a retailer’s protection plan is a good choice for you be sure you understand what is offered for your gas-powered snowblower and how you go about using the Protection Plan. Many plans will ship your snowblower off to some far away repair center where it can sit for months before it’s even looked at.
I’m going to start with the best available and then work down to the cheapest snow blower I can recommend.
1. Heavy-Duty Snowmageddon:- Will handle areas that get over 100 inches a year.
Ariens Platinum 24 SHO Model 921050 and Ariens Platinum 24 SHO EFI Model 921053. 24 inch, 369cc. Model 921050 and Model 921053 with EZ-Launch EFI Engine. Dealer only: These two snow blowers have over-the-top power and can handle any type of snow and any driveway including gravel and turf. Yet, they are very easy to use. If you have a small driveway but get a lot of snow this is a great choice. It will clear any amount/type of snow. It will not clog on heavy/wet snow. Because it has a larger engine and more capacity than all other 24 inch machines it works well for driveways 2-3 cars wide by 40-80 foot long. It has great traction for sloped driveways. This is one of the few snow blowers I recommend for Lake Tahoe and their 200-400 inches of snowfall per year. It works on pavement, gravel, and turf. It’s also the best choice for smaller driveways in areas that get lake-effect and the North-East U.S. that gets the “Noreasters.” Some of you will feel the price is too high for the EFI model but this heavy-duty 24-inch snow blower with Electronic Fuel Injection will not have the starting issues carbureted engines have on today’s fuels. Either model will last you many years. Please use the dealer locator at Ariens.com to find a store near you:
2. 2-Stage Snow Blowers That Won’t Clog On Heavy/Wet Snow – Good for areas of the country that get 30-100 inches of snow a year!
If the snowplow leaves you a wet mess or a solid rock wall of snow – these snow blowers will power right through it!
Recommended: Ariens Deluxe 24 Model 921045 Buy Here at The Home Depot. The Ariens Deluxe 24 and it’s bigger brother, the Ariens Platinum 24 are unique in the 24-26 inch size. They use a larger, 14-inch impeller and discharge chute so it is very, very hard to clog them on heavy, wet snow. I highly recommend the Deluxe 24 to anyone who struggles with the drift the snowplow truck leaves at the end of the driveway. It’s all-metal and pretty much indestructible. It’s also very easy to use because it has automatic steering (AutoTurn) and basic chute and deflector controls.
Recommended: New Cub Cadet 26 in. 243 cc 2X HPBuy Here at The Home Depot. Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower with Electric Start, Trigger Power Steering and LED Headlights. The large 243cc engine, metal chute and easy to use chute controls make this one of the best snow blowers Cub Cadet has ever made.
Model# 2X 26 HP
Recommended: Toro Power Max® 826 OXE (37799)Buy Here at The Home Depot. Again, this is one of the better small frame snow blowers on the market. It has Toro’s patented ACS (Anti-Clog System) so it does not need a huge impeller and large motor to do the task. It also has automatic steering so both wheels drive the snowblower giving it excellent traction – yet it is easy to turn. No extra levers to pull – it just goes where you point it. I have no problems recommending this for any suburban driveway in the Midwest, Central Atlantic or anywhere that normally gets up to 80 inches a year. If you normally get wet/heavy snow you may want to move up to the Power Max HD models.
Husqvarna ST324? I have not reviewed it at this time but will most likely make this list.
Husqvarna ST 424 Dealer Only: More power than the ST324. 291cc. Onboard electric start. Hydrostatic Transmission. Adjustable handle height. If you are considering the Honda HSS724AWD this snowblower beats the Honda in every way. (my opinion)
3. Dependable, Long Lasting. Good For Most Areas Of The Country That Get 30-60 Inches Of Snow. 2-Stage Snow Blower
Recommended: Cub Cadet 2X 24. 24 inch, 243cc. Buy Here at The Home Depot. I’ve been recommending this snow blower for many years. It’s very easy to use and the handles are short enough so even if you are 5″2″ you can use this snowblower. This updated model includes a larger engine, power steering, and updated dash with LED headlights.
Toro Power Max® 824 OE (37798)Buy Here at The Home Depot. No Power Steering. I normally recommend the Toro Snow Master instead of this model for hard surface driveways. But this snowblower is a better choice if you have a gravel driveway. You can use this snow blower on any surface including gravel, turf, and dirt. This is a very well-built, dependable snowblower.
Ariens Compact 24 Model 920027.Buy Here at The Home Depot. No Power Steering. If you are considering the Ariens Classic this snow blower is a solid step up from it. Larger engine and the same Ariens quality you get with the Deluxe models – just less capacity.
Recommended: Husqvarna ST224P. Buy Here at ACME Tools. One of the most popular 24-inch snow blowers. It has power steering and for 2019 Husqvarna fixed all the little problems you read about it in reviews. Better v-belts, improved hand warmers, etc. This is an excellent snow blower if you live in the suburbs and need to clean rough areas like a spot on the lawn for your dogs. Don’t confuse this model with the Husqvarna ST224 that you normally see on the sales floor at Lowes and your local hardware store. The St224 does not have power steering like this one does.
Recommended: Troy-Bilt Storm 2460 Snow BlowerBuy Here at The Home Depot. 24 inch, 208 cc. For all types of snow, about 60-inch average snowfall a year, and will clear gravel/turf areas. It does not have power steering but uses the new airless tires that give you great traction yet turn easily.
Recommended: Troy-Bilt Storm 2625 XP Snow BlowerBuy Here at The Home Depot.My favorite best value snow blower. A little wider than the 2460 above and has a great 243cc engine. For all types of snow, about 60-inch average snowfall a year, and will clear gravel/turf areas. It does not have power steering but uses the new airless tires that give you great traction yet turn easily.
4. 2-Stage Snow Blower – Cheap But Good.
If you have to buy the cheapest snow blower – buy one of these. (There is no reason to buy a Chinese Import that does not have a good service network.)
Recommended: Ariens Classic 24 Model 920025Buy Here at The Home Depot. No Power Steering but a lot of features making it a best value snowblower. Good engine, hanging chute, all-steel construction.
Cheapest: Briggs & Stratton 24 in. Model 1696610.Buy Here at The Home Depot. No Power Steering. This is the cheapest 2-stage snowblower I recommend. One thing you need to know. After you use this snow blower – before you turn off the engine – let the auger/impeller run for 1-2 minutes to make sure ALL the snow is out of the front. If you don’t the auger/impeller will freeze and you will break the impeller belt the next time you go to use it.
Recommended: Troy-Bilt Storm 24 in. Model# Storm 2460, 208cc with Airless Tires.Buy Here at The Home Depot. No Power Steering. The airless tires make this one of the best 24-inch snowblowers for areas of the country that get 30-60 inches of snow a year. The tires give is more traction and makes the snowblower surprisingly easy to turn. I also like the easy to use hanging chute.
Cheapest: Troy-Bilt Storm 2410Buy Here at The Home Depot. Check out my video on YouTube. If you must have the least expensive snowblower, this is the BEST least expensive snow blower available. There is no need to even consider a Chinese made snowblower anymore. You get a good engine, 6 speeds forward, 2 reverse, good tires, poly skids and a machine that will handle your 30-40 inch Midwest winters. It’s simple, easy to operate and has an excellent review rating. It does not have power steering.
If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I do answer and moderate comments so it may not show up right away.
Poulan Pro/Jonsered.Poulan Pro and Jonsered snow blowers are made by Husqvarna and offer fewer features than the Husqvarna models. Spend the extra $50 and buy the Husqvarna brand. There are very few Poulan Pro and Jonsered dealers and not all Husqvarna dealers will support the equipment.
About Paul Sikkema
Paul Sikkema has been writing about snow blowers, riding mowers and other lawn and garden equipment for over 10 years. Paul does most his writing out in his workshop where he feeds the wildlife and birds in the yard. His goal is to have a red squirrel eating out of his hand.
He spends as much time with his granddaughter as he can.
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