Sometimes, when faced with a driveway blanketed with thick snow, you know that a snow shovel and elbow grease simply won’t cut it. And when the snow is less of a fine mist and more of a dense slush, manually shoveling is near impossible. Enter the best snow blowers, which are designed to efficiently clear away all quantities of snow from a variety of surfaces. Our top pick is the Toro Power Max 824 OE, a bestselling two-stage model that can make short work of snow-covered surfaces.
Not sure if you should get one of these mighty machines? “If you’re on the fence about purchasing a snow blower, there are two main factors you need to consider: How often it snows and how much area you need to clear,” says Rupa Mehta, a home expert at Angi. “You probably don’t need a snow blower if you only see snow a few times a year, but if you live in an area where it snows frequently and heavily, a snow blower may be one of the most helpful tools you ever buy.” Ahead, to help you select the perfect model for your home, here are the best snow blowers for all households. (And whatever you do, don’t forget your winter boots.)
- Best Snow Blower Overall: Toro Power Max 824 OE
- Best Budget Snow Blower: Greenworks Corded Snow Thrower
- Best Two-Stage Snow Blower: Ariens Classic Two-Stage Snow Blower
- Best Blower For Heavy Snow: Ariens Deluxe Two-Stage Snow Blower
- Best Blower For Light Snow: Toro Power Clear 721 Snow Blower
- Best Battery-Powered Snow Blower: Snow Joe Cordless Snow Blower
- Best Easy-To-Use Snow Blower: PowerSmart 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
Toro Power Max 824 OE
Type: Two-stage | Power: Electric | Cord: No
If you’re looking for a top-rated snow blower with a healthy set of capabilities, the Toro Power Max 824 OE delivers. Its two-stage design ensures it effortlessly clears light and shallow snow, while also possessing the power to carve through much harsher accumulations (including heavy and wet as well as compacted and icy conditions.) It’s a great multi-surface machine, able to tackle snowfall on everything from paved driveways to gravelly garden paths.
While plenty of competitors possess similar versatility and power, the Power Max 824 OE differentiates itself with its premium construction. It includes six self-propelled forward speeds and is operated with single-hand power steering—a handy combo for steep inclines, even if you’re piloting it through a foot of powder. Toss in its impressive 24-inch clearing width, electric start, automatic steering and adjustable chute, and the Power Max practicality makes the dreaded cold weather chore a pleasure. And if the machine’s auger encounter any sort of hard material, the engine will temporarily halt to prevent potential damage.
- Good for all types of surfaces
- Doesn’t have headlights
Greenworks Corded Snow Thrower
Type: Single-stage | Power: Electric | Cord: Yes
Many snow blowers require a significant financial investment. But the Greenworks Corded Snow Thrower is almost impossibly inexpensive. Capable of clearing 20-inch paths—buried beneath 10 inches of snow—the Greenworks can tackle sidewalks, walkways and even small driveways. Best of all, it does all this without burdening you with yearly maintenance or complex bells and whistles. There’s no gas, oil or rechargeable batteries—simply plug in an outdoor extension cord, and you’re good to go with a modest 13-amp motor.
Of course, its practicality doesn’t come at the cost of overall power and user-friendly features. Its electric start and 180-degree directional chute—conveniently adjustable from behind its handle—provide some of the perks of pricier options. Just don’t expect the machine to toss heavy snow very far, and keep in mind that the lightweight plastic construction might not survive rough handling for many winter seasons.
- 180-degree chute
- Not ideal for bigger jobs
- May not last as long as more expensive models
Ariens Classic Two-Stage Snow Blower
Type: Two-stage | Power: Electric | Cord: Yes
Single-stage snow blowers can generally get the job done, easily tackling small to moderate snowfall on hard, flat surfaces. But if you live in a temperamental climate like, say, New England, where a 50-degree Sunday can be followed by a blizzard on Monday, you’ll want to pack more power. Ariens’ Classic Two-Stage includes the features you’d get with a quality single-stage machine, including electric start and remote chute rotation, but it significantly ups the ante with some key additions to aid more substantial jobs. It tackles depths of nearly two feet, carves a wide, 24-inch path and tosses snow 40 feet. And its two-stage design allows for multiple, self-propelled speeds—a godsend when clearing uphill paths—as well as the ability to chew up the chunkier stuff, like those stubborn piles of compacted snow and ice left behind by city plows.
You might not need the Ariens Classic’s power and efficiency every time the sky decides to dump flakes on us, but you’ll be glad its waiting in the garage when a nor’easter unexpectedly appears in the 5-day forecast.
- Handles up to two feet of snow
- Overkill for light snow
- Works best on paved surfaces
Ariens Deluxe Two-Stage Snow Blower
Type: Two-stage | Power: Gas | Cord: No
If your driveway is the size of a small parking lot and you live in a climate that’s regularly clobbered with white stuff, you’ll need a machine that’s more beast than blower. Thankfully, this Ariens Deluxe Two-Stage offering more than fits the bill. Combining a powerful 4-cycle engine with a substantial 28-inch clearing width, this baby carves through deep, thick snow without breaking a sweat. And while this two-stage behemoth is built like a tank, it’s auto-steering feature makes controlling it a breeze. The Arien’s Deluxe high output impeller and 55-foot throwing distance further complement its size and power with speed and efficiency smaller machines just can’t match.
If you’re clearing a few inches of powder from your walk-up path a couple times of year, this one is probably overkill. But if you want to eliminate over a foot of the wettest, heaviest stuff from a sizable driveway—or an entire neighborhood of sizable driveways—the Arien’s Deluxe will quickly become your new best bud.
- Large throwing distance
- Big capacity
- Too large for smaller jobs
Toro Power Clear 721 Snow Blower
Type: Single-stage | Power: Gas | Cord: No
Want to clear your driveway, sidewalk and front path without wasting an entire afternoon? You might want to stand behind the Toro Power Clear—a compact yet efficient snow blower perfect for small to mid-sized jobs that need to be done in a hurry.
This single-stage, gas-powered snow blower isn’t nearly as bulky as its big brothers, but it still sports Toro’s proprietary Power Propel and Power Curve tech, as well as a beefy four-cycle OHV engine. All this boils down to this blower’s ability to throw snow far and fast with minimal effort put on the person pushing it. Its electric starter and mounted chute lever make jobs even easier, ensuring you spend less time messing with complex mechanical features and more indoors admiring your freshly cleared driveway.
- Not powerful enough for larger jobs
Snow Joe Cordless Snow Blower
Type: Single-stage | Power: Battery | Cord: No
Ready to save your back and say goodbye to your snow shovel, but don’t want to deal with gas, oil or electrical cords? The Snow Joe Cordless Snow Blower is the battery-driven future of snow blowers. While battery-powered blowers won’t go as long or hard as their gas-driven brethren, they can still pack a respectable, snow-chucking punch. Case in point: This Snow Joe is capable of clearing an 18-inch wide path in depths up to 10 inches. It’ll even handle heavy and wet stuff, though at shallower depths. And while it can’t whip the waste as far as its gas-powered siblings, its adjustable chute features a respectable 20-foot range.
Its pair of rechargeable batteries—used simultaneously—let you clear a path through the powder for 30 minutes or so. Of course, you can also invest in a back-up set if you’re looking to tackle bigger jobs and need to quick-swap batteries to keep plowing. But even if you need to take a break to recharge, the Snow Joe has built-in headlights. So you could conceivably begin clearing at dawn, fully recharge in the afternoon, then finish at dusk.
- Handles up to 10 inches of snow
- Adjustable chute
- Battery life is too short for larger jobs
- Wet snow can clog the chute
PowerSmart 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower
Type: Two-stage | Power: Gas | Cord: No
The PowerSmart snow blower helps you make short work of clearing pathways. It features a special electric start engine—which will start in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees—that gives you an impressive 40 feet of throwing distance. A chute rotation of 180 degrees allows you to control where all that snowy debris will land.
Enjoy a steel frame and auger system that’s designed to stand up to years of repeat use. You’ll also get a drive system that offers six forward speed variations and two backward speed options, allowing you to really customize your snow blowing experience. Inflatable tires with deep snow treads help you really get a grip, even in slippery conditions. A nice perk? The handle is heated and can be operated one-handed.
- One-handed steering
- Several speed options, forward and back
- Gas tank needs to be regularly filled
- Assembly instructions aren’t the clearest
How We Chose The Best Snow Blowers
To determine the best snow blowers, we started by consulting Rupa Mehta, a home expert at Angi, to understand which qualities to look for in these outdoor machines. We also identified the most popular models from trusted brands like Snow Joe, Toro and Ariens, analyzing each bestseller’s ease of use, capacity, durability and value. Reviews from real owners were considered, too, in order to see how these machines perform under tough conditions.
What To Look For In The Best Snow Blowers
There are a few things to consider before investing in a new snow blower for your home. Mull over these features.
Snow blowers are either electric or gas-powered. “Electric snow blowers come in corded and cordless varieties and tend to be less noisy than their gas counterparts,” Mehta explains. “Gas blowers come in more varieties than electric blowers, so if you’re looking for a specific feature, you’re more likely to find it on a gas blower.”
Many snow blowers have speed settings, and some move faster than others. “Some self-propelling snow blowers come with a fixed speed, while others have multiple options,” Mehta says. “I recommend starting with a slow speed and working your way up until you find the perfect speed for you.”
This tells you how much of a space your snow blower will be able to tackle at once. “Choosing the clearing width of your snow blower can be tricky, but there are no right or wrong answers. It really just depends on the size of the space you’re clearing,” Mehta says. “Sidewalks and walkways require a smaller clearing width, while driveways and other large spaces call for a larger clearing width.”
What’s The Difference Between A Single-Stage, Two-Stage And Three-Stage Snow Blower?
- Single-Stage: Single-stage blowers have one auger, which takes in snow and also tosses it out. These models are ideal for people who deal with light or moderate snowfalls, as they tend to be less powerful than other, higher-stage machines.
- Two-Stage: As the name suggests, these machines have two augers—one for pulling in snow, and one for pushing it out. They’re typically stronger than single-stage blowers, and they can tackle more snow and at deeper heights at once. They’re also typically a better bet in wet conditions. However, they tend to be pricier than single-stage options.
- Three-Stage: A three-stage snow blower uses one additional auger to work its way through ice and frozen snow, for a total of three augers. It’s an ideal option to consider if you live in an area where regular, heavy snowfall is the norm. Of course, these models, too, can get expensive.
What Is The Most Reliable Snow Blower Brand?
There’s not just one snow blower brand that’s reliable (and that’s a good thing). While we’ve narrowed down the market to a few favorite options, you’d likely be able to find dozens of other excellent models. That said, certain brands like Ariens and Toro have built a reputation on creating tough, durable outdoor gear that doesn’t disappoint.
What Time Of The Year Is The Best To Buy A Snow Blower?
If you’re in immediate need of a snow blower, you should definitely buy one at your earliest convenience to save your back (and time). But if you’re not currently snowed in and you’re looking to score a snow blower at a discount, consider shopping over long holiday weekends like President’s Day or Black Friday.