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6 Best Snow Blower for Your Home Driveway: 2017 Reviews & Buying Guide

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The winter season can evoke many different images: houses and landscapes transformed by crisp white snow into magical fairylands; children engaging in snowball fights, and mulled wine enjoyed by a blazing log fire.

But one image can strike fear into the hearts of many people: insurmountable piles of snow and ice that can trap you inside your home. If this fits your winter experience and you are attempting to manually shovel away tons of snow, then put down that shovel.

A snow blower or thrower is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of clearing your property from unwanted snowdrifts.

Our pick

THE BEST SNOW BLOWER

Briggs and Stratton 1696614 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start

It is a well-built machine that offers you an exceedingly high snow clearing performance. This snow monster is designed with everything you need for removing thick snow and it even excels at wet, slushy snow that can be notoriously difficult to remove. There are a host of handy operator features that will make your snow day clean-up chores so much easier.

How to Choose the Best Snow Blower for Your Home

The first thing you need to know about choosing the right snow blower is the type. There are 6 different types of snow blowers:

1. Snow Blower and Snow Throwers

There are three types of snow blowers available: single-stage, two-stage and three-stage.

Snow blowers also come in different sizes. The size refers to the blower’s clearing capacity or swath, similar to a string trimmer. Snow blowers or throwers can range in size from 18 inches up to 32 inches, depending on whether it is an electric or gas-powered model. Snow blowers are also determined by how many inches of snow they can cut through from 6 inches of light snow up to 12 inches of heavy snow.

2. Single-stage Snow Throwers

Single-stage snow blowers are usually referred to as snow throwers and the term single-stage refers to their snow collection process that can be completed in one single action. The plastic auger spins and chops up the snow and then throws it out via a discharge chute. Single-stage snow throwers can be powered by electricity or gas, while two or three- stage snow blowers are only powered by gas. Although there are lithium battery operated models available, electric or gas are the most common and effective power sources.

3. Electric Single-stage Snow Throwers

Electric single-stage snow throwers are available from 18 to 20 inches, so they are ideal for clearing away light to moderate up to 6 inches of snowfall from sidewalks, pathways, and driveways and they can blow or throw the snow up to 25 feet.

They are compact and lightweight and more maneuverable, but they are not ideal for removing heavy snow as they can get bogged down in the snow. Although they require you to stay close to a power source or to use a heavy-duty cold weather extension cord, they are relatively lightweight, they do not emit any fumes, and they are very affordable.

Electric models can make light work of light to medium snowfalls, but if you need to clear away thick snow, you may have to engage in multiple passes, and they are not recommended for steep slopes.

Most electric models have to be propelled forward by the operator, but there are some electric models that can be started with just a push of a button and when you touch the handle the unit is propelled forward.

4. Single-stage Gas-powered Snow Throwers

Single-stage gas-powered snow throwers are a good choice for level surfaces like paved driveways and walkways with moderate snow falls up to 9 inches. They can cut a larger swath of snow from 20 to 22 inches, but they can veer sideways on steep slopes.

5. Two-stage Gas-powered snow blower

A two-stage gas powered snow blower is recommended for light to moderate snowfalls. It gets it name from its dual modus operandi. The first stage is where the steel auger chops up the snow, and the second stage is where the snow is fed into the impeller which then blows the snow out of the chute.

As the blower part of the machine works like a powerful fan, a two-stage snow blower is ideal for clearing and removing heavier snowdrifts up to 12 inches deep. If you have a large home with a wide driveway up to 80 feet long, uneven terrain, gravel-covered surfaces, and some steeper inclines, than a two-stage snow blower that has a clearing capacity from 24 to 26 inches is a great choice.

6. Three-Stage Gas-powered Snow Blower

A three-stage snow blower is designed primarily for commercial use, but its powerful engine, heavy duty construction, three blade impeller and a serrated steel auger, makes this tough snow clearing machine a great choice for those homeowners who have large rural properties.

Three-stage snow blowers can range from 26 to over 30 inches. They have oversized tires that provide extra traction for rough and uneven terrain and an extra large chute for collecting heavy snow. Although they are more expensive and may require a barn or large garage for storage, they can clear large swathes of snow very quickly.

Extra Operator and Safety Features

As you will be using your new snow thrower or blower in seriously cold temperatures and difficult working conditions, there are some innovative operator features that will make using the machine a little easier.

Adjustable chute rotation

An adjustable chute rotation is a good feature to look for as it gives you more control over the redistribution of the snow. Some snow blowers have chutes that can be adjusted to swing up to 200 degrees and some gas-powered models allow you to eject the snow up to 50 feet away.

Electric start

Many gas-powered models have a pull-cord start just like a lawn mower, but they also feature an electric start button, which is great if you find yourself struggling to start the machine with the cord in extremely cold temperatures.

Power Steering

Power steering is not just a handy mechanical feature that is synonymous with cars and recreational vehicles. Some gas-powered snow blowers like the Husqvarna 961930122 Two-stage 24 Inch Snow Blower has power steering that helps you to maneuver the blower over uneven terrain and when you have to work in tight spots.

Foldable Handle

A snow blower that has a foldable handle is such a great idea for when you need to store the blower in the garage, especially for those more bulky gas-powered models.

Heated Hand Grips

Clearing away snow is a tough job and working in icy conditions can make your snow day chores that much harder, even with weather resistant gloves or mittens, but heated hand grips can give you that extra warmth when you need it.

LED Headlights

If you need to quickly clear away snow in the early morning hours before the sun is scheduled to rise or in the late evening, LED headlights give you that extra illumination.

Safety Features

Some snow blowers have extra safety features. Electric snow blowers may provide you with a safety cord lock that conveniently holds an extension cord securely in place. Or a gas-powered snow blower may have a engine automatic shut off feature when you remove your hands from the controls.

6 Best Snow Blowers — Product Reviews

Electric Snow Throwers

1. Snow Joe Ultra SJ623E 18-Inch 15-Amp Electric Single-stage Snow Thrower

If you are tired of the back-breaking work of shoveling away snow from your driveway or sidewalk, then it is time to buy yourself a Snow Joe Ultra Snow Thrower.

There is a lot to love about this electrically powered snow thrower. It is quite lightweight, but it is a tough machine that gives you loads of power. It is powered by a 15 amp motor that can allow you to move up to 720 lbs of snow per minute and the scraper blade is specifically positioned so that you can scrape away snow up to 8 inches from the ground.

The Snow Joe has 4 thick rubber blades, and unlike other electric models that have a plastic auger, it has a durable steel auger that has a snow clearing capacity of 18 inches, and the 180-degree discharge chute allows you to direct the snow up to 25 feet away.

The snow thrower works exceptionally well with removing light to moderate snow, but if you need to use it for higher and thicker snow drifts, you will need to do several passes to be able to clear away the snow.

If you need to work in low light conditions, the Snow Joe has an onboard 20-watt halogen light, and the easy-glide wheels make the blower easy to maneuver in tight spots.

The snow thrower is easy to start with a press button ignition and it has an auger safety lever that you can press on that propels the machine forward, which is great if you need to push the unit up a slight slope. There is a safety switch that is activated when you release the handle, which protects you if you accidently start the machine, and the unit comes with a handy clean-out tool for when the chute gets blocked.

As the machine is powered by electricity, it is recommended that if you need to use an extension cord, it is best to use a 100-foot cold weather extension cord.

What we like:

  • Good quality
  • Good value for money
  • Easy to start
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Ideal for snow up to 8 inches thick
  • Halogen light

What we don't like:

  • Not ideal for heavy snow
  • Slow
  • Snow can spill out from the chute
  • Cannot adjust the handle height
  • Cord keeps popping out

2. GreenWorks 2600502 13 Amp 20-Inch Single-stage Corded Snow Thrower

The compact GreenWorks Snow Thrower is the ideal choice for those who need to clear away light to moderate snow drifts.

The snow thrower is easy to use and with a 12 amp motor it gives you enough power to effectively clear a path through 10 inches of snow, and with a 20 inch clearing width and 180 degree directional chute, you can remove up to 850 pounds of snow up to 25 feet away.

The six inch wheels provide greater maneuverability, and the adjustable handle can be set to three different heights, which gives a more comfortable operator experience. The snow thrower’s handle also folds down for easy storage.

One of the highlights of this economical unit is the safety feature: the safety cord lock that conveniently holds an extension cord securely in place. If you need to use an extension cord, you will need to use a 100 foot heavy duty cold weather extension cord.

What we like:

  • Ideal for light snow up to 10 inches
  • Good value for money
  • Lightweight
  • Fast

What we don't like:

  • Not ideal for large properties or heavy snow falls
  • Snow discharge is not very strong
  • Chute can get clogged with snow

Gas-Powered Snow Throwers and Blowers

3. Troy-Bilt Squall 2100 208cc 21 Inch 4-cycle Single-Stage Snow Thrower

The Troy-Bilt Squall Single-Stage Snow Thrower has a strong 208cc 4-cycle OHV engine, which can give you the power you need to cut through snow up to 10 inches thick. It has a clearing swath of 21 inches, so it is ideal for clearing away thick snow from pathways, pavement, and driveways, and it especially excels at removing wet, slushy snow.

Most gas-powered snow blowers have a pull cord start, but the Troy-Bilt snow thrower also has an electric push button start if you need it, but as it is quite easy to start with the cord, you may not have to use the button.

The auger-assisted drive makes it easier for you to maneuver the machine over uneven terrain, and the 190 degrees fully rotating chute with a 2-way remote chute control helps you to remove thick built-up snow.

Troy-Bilt has designed this snow thrower with some great operator features. As the snow thrower has a 4-cycle engine, there is no need for you to mix the oil, and the fuel viewing window shows you when you are low on fuel. The ergonomic gull wing handle grips give you that extra comfort while you are using the machine, and the handle can fold away, which makes the snow thrower easy to store. Troy-Bilt also offers a generous 2 year limited warranty.

What we like:

  • Easy to start
  • Can cut through light snow up to 10 inches
  • Ideal for clearing away wet, slushy snow
  • Easy to operate
  • Foldable handle
  • Two year limited warranty

What we don't like:

  • Not ideal for heavy snow
  • Machine vibrates a lot

4. Husqvarna 961930122 24 Inch Two-Stage Gas-Powered Snow Blower

The Husqvarna two-stage snow blower is another example of this reputable company's dedication to high quality and well-designed home and gardening products.

The snow blower is powered by a strong 120v 208cc engine with a gross torque of 9.5 ft-lbs and the machine is made form a solid construction. The ribbon auger gives you an efficient clearing capacity as it mixes air into the snow, which allows the machine to handle the snow a lot easier.

There are host of operator controls that can help you to easily clear your property free of snow drifts. The snow blower is easy to start in extreme temperatures with a 120V electric start ignition. The friction disc transmission has six speeds to choose from and one reverse, the 15 inch tires give you that much needed traction in icy conditions, and the power steering helps you maneuver the blower over uneven terrain and when you have to work in tight spots.

The snow blower has heated hand grips, an adjustable handle that gives you three positions to choose from, a bright LED headlight for when you need to work in low light conditions. You can change the position of the 180 degree chute to direct the snow wherever you need it to go right from the dashboard.

There is a generous clearing width of 24 inches and the machine can throw snow up to 35 feet, and the 12 inch serrated augers can cut through the toughest buildup of snow, while the standard non-marring skid shoes will help to stop damage to your driveway or pavement.

Husqvarna also offer a 3 year limited warranty and a 5 year engine warranty.

What we like:

  • Ideal for thick snow up to 12 Inches
  • 24 inch clearing capacity
  • Easy to start
  • Very good snow blower
  • Power steering
  • Six speed transmission
  • LED light
  • Adjustable handle
  • Extended engine warranty up to 5 years

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • Machine is slow in reverse
  • Heated hand grips not very effective

5. Briggs & Stratton 950 Snow Series 208cc Two-stage Snow Blower

The Briggs and Stratton Two-stage Snow Blower is a high quality snow chewing monster of a machine, which will make light work of clearing away moderate amounts of snow that may have accumulated on the curb in front of your house or on your driveway.

Whether the snow is densely packed or wet and slushy, the Briggs and Stratton snow blower is very powerful, so be very careful when you are maneuvering it around garden ornaments or in-ground solar lights. And if you are clearing densely packed snow, it is recommended that you use one of the higher transmission speeds.

The snow blower's housing is made from durable steel and the notched steel auger gives you a wide clearance of 24 inches. The strong Briggs & Stratton 208cc engine has loads of torque and combined with the friction disk drive and solid axle, the snow blower has the mechanical power you need to remove the thickest snow and ice up to 12 inches.

As the blower is designed with a self-propelled feature, the Briggs & Stratton moves with just a touch of the handle, and as the chute rotation control is conveniently located on the operator's dashboard, you can easily adjust the chute from left to right depending on where you want the snow to be deposited.

The transmission has a selection of six forward speeds and two reverse speeds to choose from, and the free-hand control gives you the choice of being able to maneuver the blower with one hand, while using your other hand to adjust the position of the chute or your speed.

Briggs and Stratton have designed this blower with the operator in mind as they know it can be difficult to use the control panel while you are wearing heavy mittens, so the blower's control panel has over-sized controls so that you can easily use them. Working in low light conditions is made super easy with a bright LED head light.

What we like:

  • Great value for money
  • High quality
  • Easy to start
  • Very powerful
  • Ideal for thick snow and works well with wet snow
  • Easy to access operator controls
  • LED headlight
  • Three year limited warranty

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • Complex assembly
  • Manual's instructions are not very clear

6. Ariens 926039 420cc Three-stage 32 Inch Snow Blower

The Ariens Snow Blower offers you a professional grade machine that can tackle the heaviest snow on a residential property, so if you experience a lot of heavy snow falls during the winter, this blower is the right choice for you.

Although it is one of the more expensive snow blowers on the market, the Ariens Snow Blower is well worth the money as it is one tough machine that has a lot of commercial features. It is a good fit for people with a medium to large sized property.

The snow blower springs to life at just the touch of a button and there are six speeds and two reverse gears to choose from, and the machine can start even in very low temperatures down to -20 degrees.

The blower's height measures at 23.5 inches so it can cut through up to two feet of snow. It has a cast iron gear case, a 14 inch three blade impeller, and the serrated steel augers and the blower's extra wide clearing capacity of 32 inches will have you powering through the heaviest snow drifts very quickly.

Another major highlight of the Ariens snow blower is the adjustable quick turn chute that can throw the snow up to 50 feet away. Once you use this machine you will wonder how you have ever managed to survive a winter without it.

Even though it is a beast of a machine, the Ariens snow blower is so easy to maneuver over uneven terrain due to the power steering facility and the automatic traction control allows you to easily guide the snow blower even in the iciest of conditions.

Working with heavy machinery can cause a lot of uncomfortable vibrations, but you do not need to worry about that with the Ariens snow blower as has a crankshaft balancer that can help to reduce any serious vibrations.

Another very handy operating feature is the dual handle interlock system that gives you the option to use one hand to adjust the chute, while you use your other hand to adjust your speed.

The hand warming feature gives you that extra warmth in freezing temperatures, and the super bright in-dash halogen headlight allows you to safely work in low light conditions.

Besides the snow blower’s high quality performance, Ariens has built in a great operator safety feature: the engine shuts off automatically when you remove your hands from the controls.

Ariens also offers a 3 year limited consumer warranty and a 1 year limited commercial warranty.

What we like:

  • High quality
  • Very powerful
  • Ideal for rural properties
  • Ideal for heavy snow conditions
  • Fast
  • Power steering
  • Quick turn chute
  • Automatic shut-off system
  • Heated handles

What we don't like:

  • Expensive

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best snow blower is the Briggs and Stratton 950 Snow Series Snow Blower. 

Our pick

THE BEST SNOW BLOWER

Briggs and Stratton 1696614 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start

It is a well-built machine that offers you an exceedingly high snow clearing performance. This snow monster is designed with everything you need for removing thick snow and it even excels at wet, slushy snow that can be notoriously difficult to remove. There are a host of handy operator features that will make your snow day clean-up chores so much easier.

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