From snow shovels to modern instruments like electric snow shovels and snow throwers, there are many tools at your disposal when it comes to clearing away snow. However, when you’re dealing with serious snow accumulation, none of these options beat the power or simplicity of a snow blower.
Why buy a snow blower?
When you wake up to find over a foot of snow on the ground, moving it with a snow shovel is daunting, to say the least. Even high-powered electric snow shovels struggle to move more than 6 to 8 inches at a time. However, a high-quality snow blower can make quick work of serious snow accumulation and save your body from a lot of strain in the process. They are also much better for easily managing the trajectory of cleared snow than other snow removal methods. A heavy-duty snow blower might not be necessary for those who live in warm regions that rarely see snow. But, for those who are used to being “snowed in” due to heavy snow accumulation, a snow blower could become a trusted ally.
What should you look for in a snow blower?
- Size: Considering how you plan on using your snow blower will be helpful for determining the size that’s right for you. If you’ll be using your new snow blower to clear small walkways and footpaths, you won’t need the largest, heaviest model around. However, if you have a wide, long driveway, a larger model can help you get the job done quicker and more efficiently. Keep in mind, you will also need to store your snow blower when it’s not in use, so available storage space is another important factor to think about in advance.
- Power & Capacity: The amount of snow you expect on clearing is also an important consideration to make. For locations that receive heavy snowfalls that will leave you clearing over a foot of snow in a single pass, it’s wise to invest in a snow blower with both the power and clearance capacity to handle heavy snow accumulation. However, if you rarely see 6 to 8 inches of snow where you live, you might be much happier with a less powerful (and much more affordable) model.
- Maneuverability: When operating a snow blower, maneuverability is key. You certainly don’t want your snow blower losing traction and getting trapped in a ditch—or worse. Seek out a multi-speed, self-propelling model that makes trudging through the snow a piece of cake. Also, the steering should be responsive and simple to ensure you can avoid obstacles in your path. Power steering is still somewhat of a luxury in the world of snow blowers but definitely a worthwhile investment for those with strength or mobility limitations.
What is the difference between a snow blower and a snow thrower?
When shopping online for a new snow blower, you’ll likely see some products marketed as “snow throwers” included in the results. While these serve the same primary function as snow blowers, they are very different pieces of machinery.
Unlike snow blowers, which feature a two-stage design at minimum, snow throwers are single-stage machines that scoop up and throw snow in a single motion. While they can be quite handy for smaller snow removal jobs, they lack the heavy-duty effectiveness of a high-quality snow blower. In addition to this, snow throwers tend to be smaller and less powerful than the average snow blower. Thus, they aren’t as suitable for areas that get extreme snow accumulation or for large properties.
Many snow throwers are marketed as single-stage snow blowers, so do your research and be diligent when shopping for the true multi-stage snow blower that’s right for you.
Pros: Husqvarna is a company that has long been known for the reliability of its power tools, and the Husqvarna ST224 is no exception. While this isn’t the most budget-friendly snow blower on the market, it features more than enough power to be amazingly effective even in deep, wet snow. It also sports an overall build quality that surpasses budget snow blowers, which can save you time and money down the line when it comes to maintenance and repairs.
Cons: While this isn’t a difficult snow blower to maneuver by any means, it’s definitely heavier than comparable models and could give lighter users a bit of trouble. Thankfully, the large 15-inch tires maintain traction well and somewhat alleviate maneuverability concerns even in deeper snow. Regardless, operating this unit effectively will take a bit of muscle.
Bottom Line: This snow blower has the potential to be a game-changer for those who routinely contend with heavy snowfall. However, it’s a heavy (as well as heavy-duty) model, so those who don’t get a lot of snow and aren’t thrilled to throw their weight around might benefit from a more modest unit.
PowerSmart PSSAM24 Snow Blower
This snow blower might cost less than others, but it surpasses expectations in terms of power and maneuverability.
Pros: Shopping for a two-stage snow blower on a budget isn’t easy, but this product from PowerSmart provides enough in terms of power to make it a great investment. It’s also quite compact and lightweight, which ensures that it’s easy to maneuver and store when out of season. Despite its low price tag, this machine is a beast in the snow. While it’s not our top pick for snow accumulation of over a foot, it makes efficient work of anything less than that, making it a steal at its current price.
Cons: This is a budget-friendly snow blower, so perhaps it’s not surprising that it doesn’t feature luxury additions such as hand warmers and LED headlights. What could irk users more than this is the chute’s propensity to move while expelling snow. While this is realistically an easy fix (and a common issue amongst snow blowers), it does point to potential design limitations.
Bottom Line: Ultimately, this is the best snow blower out there that can be found at this price point. It’s not exactly a slouch when the going gets tough and the snow gets wet and heavy. While it’s not a heavy-duty option that should be relied upon during a record-breaking blizzard, it should definitely exceed the needs of most people.
EGO Power+ SNT2400 Snow Blower
If you're looking for a battery-powered snow blower that can get the job done, this model is for you.
Pros: There are very few cordless electric two-stage snow blowers on the market, making the EGO Power+ SNT2400 even more impressive. Despite its quiet operating volume and battery-powered design, it offers surprisingly efficient snow removal while getting the most out of its 7.5-Ah batteries (which aren’t included). If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option with comparable performance to budget-friendly gas snow blowers, this product is an amazing choice.
Cons: Seeing as how this snow blower isn’t as rugged or powerful as most gas-powered models in its price range, some will conclude that it’s a bit expensive for what it offers. This is especially true when you consider the added cost of purchasing batteries and chargers. Speaking of which, large, demanding jobs will require quite a few batteries and a good amount of time spent recharging them.
Bottom Line: While this product lacks the power and intake capacity of premium gas snow blowers, it also avoids some of the routine maintenance and pitfalls of popular gas-powered models. Though it’s a little pricey for what it offers, it’s still sure to please those with limited areas to clear and moderate seasonal snowfall.
Briggs & Stratton 1696619
Featuring impressive clearance dimensions, a powerful engine, and excellent build quality, this snow blower is as durable as it is effective.
Pros: This heavy-duty snow blower from Briggs & Stratton features a powerful engine with plenty of torque, making it a great choice for tricky applications such as working in deep, wet snow. It also doesn’t leave anything to be desired in terms of construction, with plenty of durable steel components and an aluminum case protecting the gearbox. This snow blower also scores points for being fairly easy to maneuver despite its weight and size and for an impressive clearance height and width that is sure to speed up grueling snow removal jobs.
Cons: Assembling your snow blower isn’t quite as easy as fooling around with Legos, but this build can take a couple of hours to complete. Additionally, you’ll need your own tools for the job. Since this is a larger snow blower (but not necessarily the largest in its class), it’s also a good idea to make sure that you have storage space for it before making your purchase.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a behemoth of a snow blower that can tackle well over a foot of snow accumulation without skipping a beat, this model has your name written all over it. Many snow blowers this size that lack power steering can be difficult to control, but this one keeps things fairly simple. If you’ve got space to store it and lots of snow you plan to move, this is a snow blower worth the investment.
When shopping for a snow blower, it might be enticing to go for the most powerful, heavy-duty model you can find. While this might not leave you disappointed in terms of performance, it may not be the most cost-effective way to go about your search. Instead, closely consider your area’s climate and snow accumulation, as well as the size of the areas you plan on using your snow blower. Finding a model that’s tailored to your unique needs will give you the best bang for your buck, as well as performance that can be relied upon when the snow starts pouring down.