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Shopping Guide for the Best Snow Blowers

The best snow blowers on the market can handle varying amounts of snow, from a light powder dusting to several feet of precipitation. But which is the right machine for you? You'll find all kinds of options out there, and it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. That's where we come in.

At BestReviews, we want to help you pick the perfect pair of rain boots.

We're dedicated to writing the most honest and unbiased reviews out there. We never accept free products from manufacturers. Instead, we buy products off of store shelves, test them in our labs, consult experts, and examine feedback from product owners.

Our ultimate goal: to become your go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations whenever you’re faced with a buying decision.

At the top of this page, you'll find descriptions of our five favorite snow blowers on the market. These highly rated machines all qualify for our top-contender list.

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If you live in an area that gets constant and heavy snowfall, a gas-powered snow blower will be your best bet.

Considerations

Considerations

Snow Clearing Ability

A snow blower’s clearing ability is measured by the efficiency and thoroughness with which it moves snow. Machines come in several forms: single-stage (a simple auger cuts snow and discharges it into a chute), two-stage (an additional impeller fan boosts snow removal), electric (better for lighter work), and gas-powered (better for heavier loads.) The best machines are the ones that get the job done with minimal user effort. The distance that a snow blower is able to throw snow is also critically important because the last thing you want is to have blown snow land so close you have to move it all over again!

Considerations

Ergonomics and Maneuverability

Ergonomics and maneuverability is a snapshot of a machine’s ease of use, especially in cold and hazardous weather conditions. When it's cold outside and slippery underfoot, you want to know that moving your snow blower around isn't going to cause you problems. You're also going to be well wrapped up and wearing gloves, so you need controls that are easy to use.

Richard
EXPERT CONSULTANT

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.


Richard  |  Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru
Considerations

Features

Additional features to consider when purchasing a snow blower include durability over time, the “green” factor of eco-friendliness, and add-ons like heated handles, control panels, and halogen/LED lighting.

Considerations

Price

Snow blower prices run the gamut from $150 electric models to $5,000+ industrial models. Our review focuses on quality snow blowers that are suitable for the average home owner.

EXPERT TIP

Single-stage electric models can handle light, dry snow. Two-stage gas models should be used for heavy, wet snow. Powerful three-stage snow blowers are best for hard-packed snow and ice.


Richard  | Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Snow Clearing Ability

Products we considered

GreenWorks 26032

The GreenWorks 26032 boasts a 20-inch clearing path with a maximum depth of 10 inches. Our research indicates that this smaller model can move an impressive 850 lbs of snow per minute. Throw distance reaches up to 25 feet - an important feature for those who need to clear snow far from their intended path. Greenworks owners are generally satisfied with the snow-clearing ability of this product, but potential buyers should note that this is a corded machine, and corded machines simply do not deliver the same amount of power as their gas-driven counterparts.

Products we considered

Toro 38381

The Toro 38381 offers an 18-inch clearing path with a maximum depth of 12 inches. This model moves up to 750 pounds of snow per minute with a throw distance of 30 feet. As with other electric snow blower models, the Toro’s ability to clear snow varies with weather conditions, but we found the vast majority owners of this machine to be satisfied with its results.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If you suffer from a bad back, you should steer clear of the heavier, gas-powered models. While they move snow faster, they typically weigh over 200 pounds.

Products we considered

Poulan PRO PR270

Unlike our first two electric models, the Poulan Pro PR270 is a gas-powered machine with an electric start. The Poulan delivers an impressive 27 inches of snow clearing width and 23 inches of snow depth, a clear cut above the GreenWorks and Toro in terms of snow-clearing efficiency. According to the manufacturer, it is intended mostly for users who live in regions with light to moderate snowfall. Although we don't have accurate figures for volume moved or distance thrown, the two-stage action is a considerable advantage over the electric models as far as this aspect of the ratings are concerned.

Products we considered

Husqvarna ST224

Husqvarna upholds its reputation as a quality manufacturer with the Husqvarna ST224. This machine carves out a 24-inch clearing at a depth of up to 23 inches and can throw snow up to an astonishing 65 feet. One impressed customer noted that the Husqvarna “goes through snow like a hot knife through butter.” Enough said.

Products we considered

Ariens 921030

The Ariens 921030 Deluxe Track Two-Stage Snow Thrower clears a 28-inch wide path at a maximum depth of 21 inches. Snow throwing distance reaches up to 50 feet and while Ariens doesn’t quote volume figures, we are unable to find any owners who are dissatisfied with it.

EXPERT TIP

While power is clearly important for snow removal, good wheels are also a necessity. Some snow blowers come with powered wheels to make the job even easier.


Richard  | Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Ergonomics and Maneuverability

Products we considered

GreenWorks 26032

At just 37 pounds, the GreenWorks 26032 is easy to maneuver and has a feel that’s similar to mid-sized lawn mower. The handle height adjustment feature adds extra comfort. Our biggest concern with this machine is its lack of powered drive to the wheels; in heavier snow, any extra required force would fall on the shoulders of the user. However, for lighter snowfalls, this machine is your best friend.

Products we considered

Toro 38381

Just like the Greenworks Electric, the Toro Electric lacks powered drive to the wheels. To be fair, neither machine is really designed to be used in snow that's deep enough to make this a problem. At 25 pounds, the feather-light Toro is assisted by Power Curve technology that is designed to clear snow at a faster pace, thereby reducing the amount of physical energy required.

CAUTION

There are approximately 6000 snowblower injuries in the US each year, so always be vigilant when using the machine.

Products we considered

Poulan PRO PR270

There's no doubt that two-stage snow blowers move snow faster and more efficiently than their single-stage counterparts, but there's a considerable weight difference as well. At 240 pounds, the Poulan Pro PR270 Snow Thrower is a substantial piece of equipment. Fortunately, ergonomically designed handles, large wheels, and an efficient drive system that offers six forward speeds, plus reverse, help overcome this.

Products we considered

Husqvarna ST224

At 240 pounds, the Husqvarna outweighs smaller machines like the Toro and Greenworks by a considerable amount. Its overall dimensions are greater, too. We give the Husqvarna a high rating for the superior conveniences it offers, including Hydrostatic powered drive to the 'go anywhere' track, giving excellent control through almost infinitely variable forward speed and reverse. There's no denying its size, but this is a fair trade-off for the machine’s level of snow clearing ability. There's also the option of power steering and owners report that, with practice, it becomes much easier to maneuver than might be expected.

Products we considered

Ariens 921030

Like the Husqvarna, the Ariens 921030 Deluxe is a hefty piece of equipment. At 275 pounds, it offers six forward speeds and two reverse speeds. A two-stage machine, the Ariens operates on tracks instead of wheels, giving it superior handling on difficult surfaces.

EXPERT TIP

If you have a lighter-duty snowblower, don’t wait for the snow to stop to start removal. When about 6 inches have gathered, start up your machine.


Richard  | Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Features

Products we considered

GreenWorks 26032

As an electric machine, the GreenWorks 26032 creates zero emissions - a benefit to those who prefer an eco-friendly snow removal system. It offers an easy-start push button and a cord lock for safety. Most owners who have a lot of area to cover end up buying an extension to compensate for the short cord. One of this machine’s greatest advantages is its light weight; at 37 pounds, it’s a breeze to maneuver.

Products we considered

Toro 38381

The Toro 38381 Electric offers the same zero-emissions benefit as the GreenWorks. It comes with a useful zip deflector to adjust snow throwing height and a handle that allows for easy direction change while the machine is in motion. Toro’s Power Curve system claims to clear more snow in a single pass and reduce clogging, and most of the owners we surveyed found it to be as good as advertised in this department. Like the GreenWorks, an extension cord is recommended for maximum efficiency.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If you run out of gas while snowblowing, wait at least 10 minutes before adding additional gas. The hot engine could burn you

Products we considered

Poulan PRO PR270

A common complaint about gas-powered snow blowers is the tricky pull-start mechanism, but the Poulan Pro overcomes this with optional push-button electric starting. All major functions are easy to access via the control panel mounted between the bars. An adjustable skid plate is useful for handling various surfaces. Unfortunately, the Poulan Pro's 208 cc gas engine, while effective, is not CARB compliant and cannot be sold in California.

Products we considered

Husqvarna ST224

We absolutely love the Husqvarna’s 208cc LCT motor. It's a powerful, durable unit with a tremendous reputation; the only drawback is that it’s not CARB compliant and, like the Poulan Pro, cannot be sold in California. The Husqvarna offers a control panel, electric start option, comfy heated handles, and ultra-convenient LED headlight for early-morning and late-night jobs.

Products we considered

Ariens 921030

Like the Husqvarna, the Ariens 921030 Deluxe sports a reliable Briggs & Stratton engine, albeit a less powerful one with only a 254cc unit. Features include electric starting, a convenient control panel, and a powerful halogen headlight that enables users to clear snow day or night. For the price, we wish the engine had a little more get-up-and-go, especially considering that the Husqvarna offers a more powerful model for considerably less.

Before using your snowblower for the first snow of the season, make sure all parts are primed and ready to go.

Staff
BestReviews

Price

Products we considered

GreenWorks 26032

At a cost of only $179, the GreenWorks is a popular, lightweight machine that easily gets the job done in milder weather. The construction isn't quite as solid as some of the bulkier, higher-priced models, but considering the low cost of this machine, we find it to be an adequate investment for those with minimal snow blowing needs.

Products we considered

Toro 38381

For almost twice the cost of the GreenWorks, the Toro 38381 offers slightly more power than its lower-priced competitor. We rate this model as a “light to medium duty” machine. At $363, it’s a solid investment, but our research suggests that the advantages this model offers over the GreenWorks might not be worth the higher price tag.

EXPERT TIP

After you use your snow blower, let it run for a couple of minutes to clear out the snow.


Richard  | Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru
Products we considered

Poulan PRO PR270

Moving up to gas-powered machines means moving up in price range. At $899, the powerful Poulan Pro is a considerable step up from the Toro and Greenworks machines. If there is a criticism from some owners, it's that this machine falls between two types: it's neither a cheap, light-duty snow blower nor an expensive, heavy-duty one. Rather, this is a middle-of-the-road model with middle-of-the-road quality.

Products we considered

Husqvarna ST224

At a price of $969, the Husqvarna ST224 reflects a huge price increase. You get what you pay for with this machine, however, and we give the Husqvarna top ratings for its powerful and durable motor, phenomenal snow clearing ability, and the special “extras” it offers - like the cozy hand warmers and the LED headlight. If you are expecting a harsh winter, this is the machine you want in your garage.

Products we considered

Ariens 921030

The $1422 Ariens 921030 is an impressive machine at an impressive price. One of this model’s greatest advantages is its go-anywhere tracks. Customers love the fact that this machine comes from the renowned Ariens company, but for a price tag this high some users question the adequacy of this machine’s power output in tougher weather conditions.

Always snowblow with the wind rather than against it, so you don’t undo all your hard work should it blow the snow back into your cleaned out area.
Husqvarna ST224

BEST OF THE BEST

The Husqvarna ST224 stands out as the best of the best. This exceptional machine can clear huge amounts of snow in conditions that would, quite literally, choke many competitors. It has all of the engine power you need for serious snow clearance. It's predecessor was nicknamed “The Snow Beast,” and this one out-performs it. Thanks to its mighty engine power, the Husqvarna’s heavy-duty auger and impeller can churn through snow of all densities like a “hot knife through butter,” as some owners have said. It’s true that the it is heavy, but our research indicates that the machine’s variable gearbox and power steering are invaluable in navigating the bulk. If you need to shift some serious snowfall this winter, the Husqvarna ST224 is a must-have.

The Husqvarna ST224 can clear huge amounts of snow in conditions that would, quite literally, choke many competitors.

Staff
BestReviews
GreenWorks 26032

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

Choosing the best value snow blower from our top five is a bigger challenge because we have machines with distinct capabilities. "Value" for someone living in a state that gets hundreds of inches of snow a year is going to be very different to that for someone who will use a snow blower two or three times all season. In making our decision, we've taken into account what most people need, most of the time.

For just $179, the GreenWorks 26032 wins our award for best value for the money. This machine is quiet, light, and perfect for its intended purpose: light snow clearance. It certainly isn’t a commercial-grade machine, nor is it meant for those living in heavy snow climates with a need for dense snow clearance. Nevertheless, it is adequate for the job for which it was intended. We tip our hats to the GreenWorks 26032 and strongly recommend it to those who live in light snowfall areas and are on a budget.
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