There was a time when many of us looked forward to a good snowstorm. A day off from school, snowball fights, and sled rides with friends. But then we grew up. Now that once-fun snowstorm means shoveling the driveway and sidewalks — backbreaking manual labor instead of fun times.
This is why a snowblower may be the perfect investment. Even if you only get two or three heavy snowstorms per season, you will consider the money well spent if it allows you to finish the job fast and without injury. But before you go shopping, it is important to know which snowblower is best for you.
How big does your blower need to be? Should it run on electricity or gasoline? What is a two-stage snowblower? Let us help you answer these questions and more so your search ends with the perfect snowblower in your garage.
The 8 Best Snowblowers of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews
- Best Small, Cheap Electric: GREENWORKS 13 AMP 2600202
- Best Electric for the Money: RYOBI 13 AMP 20-inch
- Best Electric on the Market: TORO Power Curve 1800
- Best Small, Cheap Gasoline: BRIGGS & STRATTON 205cc 22-Inch
- Best Gasoline for the Money: TORO Snowmaster 824 QXE
- Best Gasoline on the Market: HUSQVARNA 30-inch Model ST330
- Top-Rated Two-Stage: HUSQVARNA ST224P
- Top-Rated Three-Stage: Cub Cadet 3x26HD
|Category||Best Electric for the Money||Best Gasoline for the Money||Best Three-stage|
|Product|| || ||
|Clearing Width||20 inches||24 inches||26 inches|
|Clearing Depth||10 inches||16 inches||23 inches|
|Throw Distance||Up to 25 feet||Up to 40 feet||Not specified by manufacturer|
|Wheel Size||6 inches||11 inches||16 inches|
|Weight||46 lbs||131 lbs||265 lbs|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best Small, Cheap Electric Snowblower: GREENWORKS 13 AMP 2600202
Greenworks is a newcomer in the home care market focusing on eco-friendly designs. They offer a wide range of electric-powered mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, and of course, snowblowers.
Powered by either a battery or cord, these designs offer an environmentally friendly, economical alternative to larger, more expensive gasoline models.
With 13 amps of power, this unit can handle approximately four to six inches of unpacked snow. If the snow is deeper or wet, you will probably need to make more than one pass. This model is ideal for sidewalks or a parking space but not larger driveways.
Seven-inch wheels provide adequate traction, and the chute can be adjusted remotely thanks to the extended crank handle. Most impressive are the dual LED lights that allow use during low-light conditions. No reason to wait until morning to clear the walk.
At only 32 pounds, this snowblower is light enough to manage by anyone and is an ideal choice for those who have trouble managing heavier gasoline units. With a fold-down handle, it can be stored in a corner of the shed or garage when not in use.
If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to shoveling and only have small areas that need to be cleared, the Greenworks 13-amp model is a perfect option.
- Very affordable
- Small, easy-to-manage size
- Dual LED headlights
- Easy to store when not in use
- Limited to less than six inches of snow
- Deep or heavy snow may require multiple passes
- Not available in a battery-operated design
2. Best Electric Snowblower for the Money: RYOBI 13 AMP 20-inch
Ryobi is well known for producing high-quality electric and battery-operated tools, and this snowblower is no exception. With a durable build, higher power, and impressive performance, this is one of the best electric snowblowers in its class.
This snowblower combines a 13-amp motor, 20-inch clearing width, and 10-inch auger for some impressive performance levels. It can easily handle six to eight inches of lighter snow and four to five inches of heavier or packed snow.
The motor is rated for up to 400 pounds of snow per minute, and in the right conditions, it can toss that snow nearly 15 feet. This means fewer passes needed for a perfect job.
This snowblower is well built with a sturdy handle, thick plastic components, and a heavy-duty chute. An extended control handle allows the chute to be controlled remotely, and it can be locked in place during use. It comes fully assembled, except for the handle.
The handle pops on easily and can be folded down for storage when not in use. At 45 pounds, it is heavier than many other models but not so much that it impacts maneuverability.
If you have a small driveway or longer sidewalks but still wish to use an eco-friendly, lower-maintenance electric snowblower, the Ryobi 20-inch, 13 amp may be just what you have been looking for.
- Five-year limited warranty
- Sturdy construction despite being mostly plastic
- The chute can be operated remotely and locked in place
- Throws more snow than expected from an electric model
- A bit heavy for an electric snowblower
- Wet snow easily clogs shut
- Would prefer to have a metal auger
3. Best Electric Snowblower on the Market: TORO Power Curve 1800
Toro is a well-known name in snowblowers, and although they only offer a single electric model, they did it right the first time. This is one of the most powerful, robust models available, and it’s built to tackle more snow than any other.
This snowblower features a 15-amp motor, the most powerful permitted in the United States. Although powerful and well built, it remains incredibly quiet. About as loud as a vacuum cleaner, it will not disturb the neighbors or endanger the user’s hearing.
Power Curve technology pushes snow to the middle of the auger. This allows for a maximum of 700 pounds per minute and prevents clogging. The 12-inch intake allows you to tackle three to eight inches of snow in a single pass and throws that snow an impressive 20 feet.
Many users have reported better results with day-old snow, something that usually shuts down an electric unit. At only 26 pounds, this snowblower is easy to manage and well suited for tight spaces, such as a small ally way or deck. The remote chute control allows the chute to rotate 160 degrees and locks in place.
If you want to move snow quickly and want an electric snowblower that will last for many seasons the Toro Power Curve 1800 is a perfect option.
- Powerful 15-amp motor
- Clears up to 700 pounds of snow per minute
- Lightweight and easy to manage
- Built by a leader in snowblowers and lawn equipment
- Chute control not the most comfortable to operate
- Small wheels will sometimes ride up onto compact snow
4. Best Small, Cheap Gasoline Snowblower: BRIGGS & STRATTON 205cc 22-Inch
Many buyers never consider Briggs & Stratton when shopping for a snowblower. Briggs & Stratton produce many of the small engines used in snowblowers and mowers, but they also produce complete machines as well.
Many of their products are produced under other brand names such as Snapper, Simplicity, or Murray, but they also use their own name as well. A Briggs & Stratton snowblower allows you to purchase the same time-tested engine on a machine built to maximize that engine’s potential.
This model is a standard single-stage snowblower designed for residential use. The 205cc engine produces nine-foot-pounds of torque, enough to clear six to eight inches of snow in a single pass and throw it up to 30 feet.
The metal/rubber serrated auger shreds both packed and ice-covered snow easily and allows areas to be cleared to the pavement. The push-button start and on the chute and deflector controls make it simple to operate for most users.
If you are looking for a dependable, lightweight gasoline snowblower from a trusted manufacturer, it is hard to beat the Briggs & Stratton 205cc 22-inch model. This is the perfect bridge between underpowered electric models and expensive more powerful gasoline designs.
- Snow Shredder design cuts through packed or ice-covered snow
- Remote chute operation and electric start
- Allows for clear, down-to-the-pavement clearance
- Built by the same company that produces many of the most well-known brands
- Small wheels can be hard to maneuverer in heavy snow
- Not suitable for larger areas or deep, heavy snow
- Lighter weight can cause the unit to ride over packed snow
5. Best Gasoline Snowblower for the Money: TORO Snowmaster 824 QXE
Toro has delivered many of the features users are searching for, including a powerful four-cycle engine and two-stage performance in a single-stage, easy-to-use package, making it perfect for the homeowner who needs to move snow quickly.
With its 252cc engine, this is the most powerful single-stage snowblower available. The four-cycle OHV engine requires no oil and fuel mixing and is preset at maximum power, so there is no need to adjust throttle control. This makes the 824 QXE powerful and easy to use.
The 10-inch auger spins fast, nearly 10 times that of a two-stage model, moving snow faster. The specially designed auger also directs snow toward the middle to reduce clogging. This combination provides a massive 2800-pounds-per-minute capacity.
With 24 inches of clearance width and a 16-inch depth, you should be able to move up to a foot of fresh snow easily. Wet, heavy snow will slow you a bit, but eight inches should still be possible in a single pass. With a maximum throwing distance of 40 feet, the snow you do clear will be well out of the way.
The biggest benefit is the Personal Pace self-propelled system. No switching gears required — the Snowmaster responds to the pressure applied to the handlebars. It allows you to set the pace and is especially nice when clearing short paths.
Coupled with the automatic steering, which locks the inside wheel with a change of direction, this machine is much easier to control, even for smaller users.
- Personal Pace self-propelled system
- Automatic steering
- Most powerful single-stage available
- Impressive 2800-pounds-per-minute capacity
- Does not function as well as expected on inclines
- Personal Pace system does have a steep learning curve
- Not suitable for gravel driveways
6. Best Gasoline Snowblower on the Market: HUSQVARNA 30-inch Model ST330
Landowners with big areas to clear need a snowblower that they can depend on. Plus, if you are going to spend extended time using a machine, you want some extra features to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible. The ST330 answers the call.
This is a two-stage snowblower, meaning snow is fed via a serrated auger and then moved through the chute by a second impeller. This allows more snow to be moved quickly and is perfect for handling lots of snow. With a 30-inch-by-23-inch clearance area, this snowblower is one of the largest available.
The self-propelled drive with six forward speeds and one reverse speed makes moving heavy snow or working on an incline effortless. The 14-inch ribbon auger is well suited for both wet snow and ice. A boron steel scraper lets you tackle even hardpack while the cast iron impeller feeds the chute.
Of course, this model comes with many of the standard Husqvarna features, including adjustable handles, heated grips, remote chute controls, rotating deflectors, and loop handles. This model is also equipped with 16-inch-by-4.8-inch tires for increased traction on multiple surfaces.
Those buyers who need to move a lot of snow and do it often will enjoy the strength and durability of a superior machine. The only way to get a better snowblower is to purchase a commercial-grade model.
- Perfect for clearing large areas
- Well suited for wet snow and ice
- Two-stage system for extreme conditions
- Includes many of the features Husqvarna is known for
- Cost — a machine this nice does not come cheap
- Requires more routine maintenance
7. Top-Rated Two-Stage Snowblower: HUSQVARNA ST224P
If you depend on your snowblower to maintain access to your property regularly, you know the benefits of a quality machine. Husqvarna does not produce low-quality products, and the ST224 series has been a top-selling two-stage option for years.
This snowblower is designed to clear large areas with lots of snow. A foot of wet snow or a foot and a half of fresh snow is well within its capacity. It is also self-propelled, so you instead of fighting the machine, it will work for you.
No matter the conditions, this machine is ready to tackle whatever Mother Nature throws at you. Heated grips allow for use in freezing temperatures. Dual LED headlights let you clear when you need, not just when the sun shines. Large knob tires provide the traction needed on rough surfaces or inclines.
Having a big machine doesn’t do you any good if you can control it. Thankfully, the ST224P includes features that allow any member of the household to tackle the snow-clearing duties.
Power steering makes turning a breeze, six forward speeds permit you to move at a pace that is comfortable for you, and the adjustable height handles ensure the controls are at your fingertips.
Although there are more powerful two-stage snowblowers on the market, none are as dependable as the ST224P. Plus, it comes with many features that others either do not offer or consider optional. If you depend on your snowblower, you can depend on Husqvarna
- Backed by many years of success
- Standard features include heated handgrips, adjustable height, loop handles, and dual headlights
- High-quality construction meant to last
- Power steering makes controlling a machine this size much easier
- Higher cost than some bigger machines
- Plastic control cable anchors
- A bigger engine would be nice
8. Top-Rated Three-Stage Snowblower: Cub Cadet 3x26HD
This is an excellent snowblower for heavy-duty snow clearing. With this machine, there are no limitations. Sidewalks, driveways, and even small parking lots are no match for it. It blows away the snow — and the competition.
This is a three-stage snowblower, which makes it perfect for even thick chunks of ice and densely packed snow. Need to clear the end of the driveway where the snowplow always leaves a mess? This machine will do the job.
The all-steel chute and adjustable pitch control also allow you to tackle tough snow & ice without worrying it will damage your equipment or a nearby house or vehicle. The induction acceleration feature also assists in clearing thick, heavy snow, as it will reduce the power needed to keep moving.
Of course, it also includes power steering, a feature that you will welcome when clearing large areas that require turning around frequently.
Heated hand grips, fingertip controls, and skid controls protect you from the elements, allow for easier control, and protect your property from the snowblower as well. These features are perfect for those who find themselves clearing snow in the worst conditions.
Property owners who need to clear large areas frequently will enjoy the dependability, durability, and user-friendly features of the 3x26HD.
- Excellent for clearing large areas or thick snow and ice
- Steel construction meant to last a lifetime
- Easy-to-turn handles
- Chute rarely clogs
- Chute does not throw snow as far as some other models
- Can be a bit too powerful for some users
- May require multiple passes to clear an average sidewalk due to its 26-inch width
Buying Advice: How to Choose a Snowblower
Not sure which snowblower is best for your home? No problem. We have gathered the information you need to make an informed decision and pick the right one.
Type of Snowblowers
The first consideration is which type of snowblower you need. Let’s look at the four types to give you a sense of your options:
These are the smallest and often referred to as snow-throwing machines. They include a rubber-coated auger that allows for use on patios, decks, and other delicate surfaces. The auger also assists in propelling the machine forward, so they are not suitable for gravel areas.
They are well suited for small jobs and areas that do not regularly experience heavy snowfall. They are also smaller and more compact, so storage is easier.
These share many of the same features as the previous electric models but are powered by a gasoline motor. This provides additional power and allows them to tackle slightly larger projects, approximately 8 to 10 inches of snow.
Again, they are not suitable for gravel areas. Although heavier than electric models, they are still easy to store in a small shed or garage corner.
These are larger, more powerful models with the ability to handle regular snowfalls exceeding eight inches. Unlike the previous models, they are self-propelled and include large, more robust tires, making them better suited for rough terrain or deeper snow.
Because the auger does not touch the ground, they are safe for use on a gravel driveway. Storage requires a larger shed or area of the garage.
These are the largest, most powerful snowblowers available. Because of their power, these models are suitable for moving large amounts of snow and will handle ice or packed snow as well.
Although most common in commercial applications, homeowners with large driveways, multiple sidewalks, or small parking lots find them useful. Storage is often a factor, as they require more room and are too heavy to lift off the ground.
Will you be clearing a single flat parking area or a steeper, more expansive drive? Is the area asphalt, concrete, or dirt and gravel? Size and construction are major concerns when selecting a snowblower.
You need one that is big enough to do the job efficiently and, if clearing a dirt or gravel area, one that will limit the chances of sucking up and discharging rocks. If considering an electric model will a power source be nearby, or will you need one operated by rechargeable battery?
Typical Snowfall Amounts and Types
How much snow do you usually experience? It is light and fluffy or wet and heavy? Are you usually clearing ice as well?
Single-stage models perform best with drier snow and amounts less than eight inches. Two-stage models can handle 8 to 10 inches and wetter snow, although they may require more than one pass. A three-stage model will clear more than 12 inches as well as wet snow and ice.
If you are considering a two- or three-stage model, power steering is a must. Although the self-propelled drive will get it moving, it will not help you turn. Without power steering, every turn or change in direction will require sheer muscle power.
Although not an absolute necessity, some features make the job more comfortable, which could be a deal-breaker when comparing similar models.
These accessories include heated handgrips, fingertip controls, remote chute controls, headlights, and the ability to add a wind shelter. Some models even come equipped with automatic transmissions that do not require you to change gears as you speed up.
Best Snowblower Brands
There are many different brands of snowblowers, some of which are manufactured by the same company under different names. Here are some of the most popular.
This Swedish company was founded in 1620, originally producing weapons for the monarchy. Over the years they have produced sewing machines, wood stoves, typewriters, bicycles, and even motorcycles. Since 1918 they have been producing lawnmowers and related outdoor tools, including snowblowers.
They have a strong reputation for building quality and long-lasting products, gaining them a loyal following. Although their products tend to cost more, they are also are top of the line and have become the choice of many professionals.
Since 1961 this company has been producing some of the best lawn and outdoor equipment on the market.
They have also been responsible for several groundbreaking innovations, including the first shaft-driven mower, the first steerable track driven snowblower, the first three-stage snowblower, and even a robotic gold greens mower.
Offering a wide range of residential and commercial products that are all built in the U.S., Cub Cadet has established a reputation for building high-quality machines that last and hold their value.
Most of their products are geared toward homeowners with larger properties and tend to have price tags in the moderate range.
This Bloomington, Minnesota, company was formed in 1914 and now sells products in over 125 countries. Although a common name in home lawn care, their products are primarily geared toward professional contractors and golf businesses, with only 21% of their sales coming from the residential sector.
Those homeowners who do choose a Toro can benefit from the many advances made in the commercial line, which are then transferred to the less-expensive home models.
First opening in Seattle, Washington, in 2017, Greenworks in the new kid on the block when it comes to lawn care equipment. But that does not mean they have not gained a loyal fan base by providing quality, affordable equipment.
Unlike many of the other manufacturers, Greenworks focus on environmentally friendly electric tools powered by both batteries and cord. Operating with two divisions, Greenworks and Greenworks Commercial, this company caters to both the eco-minded professional and DIY homeowners.
Although they have dominated the eco-friendly market, many buyers purchase their products for other reasons, including the reduced noise and the lack of mess associated with traditional fuel sources.
Although their product may cost slightly more than other similar brands, their robust power supplies are known to last longer and can handle larger projects.
How does a snowblower work?
Regardless of the type of snowblower you are considering, they all work by using the same basic principle. First, the engine engages an auger. The auger, which is a horizontal set of blades mounted to the front of the machine, grabs the snow and pulls it into the housing that surrounds it.
As additional snow is pulled in, it forces the snow that is already there to the rear. Eventually, the accumulated snow is pushed out through the chute away from the machine’s path.
Two-stage snowblowers work in the same basic manner but have additional mechanical assistance in place. A two-stage snowblower has an impeller located behind the auger.
As snow is pushed to the rear, the impeller assists the snow discharge through the chute. This increases the rate at which snow can be moved and allows the machine to engage heavier, deeper snow.
Three-stage snowblowers are the most advanced and effective models available. In this design, a second auger pulls snow into the impeller. As with the other designs, the impeller drives the snow into the chute.
However, these machines also include an induction accelerator. This feature breaks down snow and ice and drives it into the impeller, which in turn discharges it through the chute. The design allows for more snow to be cleared in a single pass and propels the snow greater distances when discharged.
When should I buy a snowblower?
There are a few different ideas about when the best time to buy a snowblower is. Each makes sense and depends largely on what is available at your local retailers.
Mid-Summer – Almost no one is buying snowblowers during the height of summer, and few suppliers stock them. The focus is on lawn care equipment. However, if you can find leftover in stock, this is the perfect time to buy it. Retailers are usually happy to get it out of the store and turn their inventory into cash.
Late Summer – The reasons for price drops during this period are the same as in mid-summer — less demand for the leftover inventory.
Early fall – This is when new models start becoming available, and retailers often offer great deals to boost early sales. While it is unlikely prices will be as low as earlier in the spring or summer, they will still include substantial savings.
The one time you never want to buy a snowblower is in the days leading up to a predicted storm. This is when demand will be greatest; thus, prices will increase to take advantage of limited supply.
Is a snowblower worth it?
This depends on how often you will use it, how much you might pay someone to remove your snow for you, and whether you can remove snow the old-fashioned way (i.e., with a shovel).
Most first-time buyers look only at the initial investment; however, it is important to remember there will also be operating costs and yearly maintenance. This will vary depending on which type of snowblower you purchase.
If you get regular snowfalls and lack the time or health necessary to clear even a small area by hand, the investment can certainly be worth it. If you have a larger property or currently pay someone else to remove snow, the return on your investment will be even larger.
Snowblower vs. Snow Thrower: Is There a Difference?
Although the terms are often interchangeable, there is a difference. Snow throwers are typically single-stage machines, either electric or gasoline, that rely on only the auger to grab and discharge the snow.
Snowblowers, which are almost always gasoline-powered, either use a two- or three-stage design. Each relies on an auger to grab the snow and a combination of a second auger, impeller, and induction accelerator to discharge the snow.
Single-stage designs are smaller and less expensive, and are intended for smaller parking spots, driveways, or sidewalks. The two- and three-stage designs are larger, allowing for the movement of much more snow, but they cost more as well.