The BYB team are from all around the globe, but as it happens, most of us live in areas that get a lot of snow. If you know winter will be a battle against the elements, then getting a snowblower may be on your mind, too. We went on a mission to find the best snowblowers available: those that are easy to use and maintain, lightweight enough to use frequently, powerful enough to clear a driveway or sidewalk faster than shoveling, and the brands that have actual human beings operating the support lines in case the machine goes on the fritz.
What we found is a solid lineup of snowblowers that suit our different needs: the Ariens SS21 208 Single-Stage Snowblower for light, fluffy snowfalls; the standard-bearer (and our favorite of the lot) Husqvarna ST224 Two-Stage Snowblower for clearing deeper snow all winter long; and the no-joke Cub Cadet Three-Stage Gas Snowblower for clearing deep, heavy snow in the coldest climates.
Top 3 Best Snowblowers for Winter 2020-2021
|Ariens Path-Pro 21 in. Single-Stage Snow Blower-208cc||Check The Price!|
|Husqvarna ST224 24-Inch 208cc Two Stage Electric Start Snow Blower||Check The Price!|
|Cub Cadet 3X 26 in. 357cc 3-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower||Check The Price!|
Why You Should Trust Us
Pairing our real-world experiences with countless snow removal tools and in-depth research on the best snowblowers available on the market today, we’ve got some impressive expertise backing up our snow removal guides.
We’ve written guides on almost every snow removal topic, including the differences between three-stage and two-stage snowblowers, the benefits of handheld power brooms, and the best ergonomic snow shovels.
Winter is coming, and Backyard Boss wants to make sure that you’re completely ready for it, so you can spend less time removing snow and more time making memories by a cozy winter fire, with a mug of hot chocolate in hand, and your family around you.
Best Snowblower for Frequent Light Snowfall
This budget-friendly snowblower is the perfect choice for people who experience frequent light snowfalls.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Like all good single-stage snowblowers, it’s extremely easy to use, with an electric starter and an easy-to-maneuver design. You’ll have no trouble pushing this lightweight, compact snowblower around.
It has a 21-inch clearing width, which is fairly wide for a single-stage snowblower. This means you can clear a person-sized path in the snow, although you may have to go over pathways twice to fully clear them.
This powerful snowblower can even clear 57 tons of snow per hour. Of course, its main downside is that it can’t clear nearly as much as snow as two-stage snowblowers, so it’s much more restricted in its use. There have also been numerous complaints about its belt needing adjusting.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for a quality, single-stage snowblower, then this is an excellent option, with the capabilities to handle regular, large snowfalls all winter long.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Perfect for people who experience regular light snowfalls, the Ariens SS21 208 Single-Stage Snowblower is one of the best single-stage snowblowers on the market.
Most Versatile Snowblower for All Winter Weather
WHY WE LIKE IT: For the price, this Husqvarna ST224 Two-Stage Snowblower is a powerhouse. The 208cc engine isn’t as strong as other options out there, but it can still stand up to some big piles of snow. Not to mention, it’s capable of taking on heavy, wet snow and light, fluffy snow, which is great for people who receive both during the winter and need that versatility.
The 24-inch wide clearing width gobbles up snow eagerly and then sends it flying out of this blower’s metal chute, up to a few feet away. With a 23-inch intake height, this snowblower can take on snowbanks up to 2 feet in height.
If this 240-pound monster outweighs you, it may be tough to move around, but the six forward speeds help a bit. The tires are steady but may need chains in heavy snowfall since this snowblower can be difficult to maneuver at times, especially if the machine outweighs the user.
The Husqvarna ST224 Two-Stage Snowblower comes with all sorts of extra features that aren’t typically included on standard blower machines, including headlights, which means you can use it day or night to clear snow, and heated handles, which makes snowblowing a lot more comfortable for your hands.
This snowblower machine can clear stuff down to the ground, so you won’t have to follow it with a shovel, but that also means it’ll likely pick up a few rocks and bits of gravel. Because this snowblower has a metal chute, it can withstand stones and gravel, but the chute may succumb to rusting and paint chipping off.
Unfortunately, with only one year of warranty, you have to keep an eye on this machine, addressing problems as they arise. However, if you need a versatile, affordable snowblower, this is an excellent option for you.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Those who need a versatile, high-performing snowblower for a variety of snowfall conditions. If you live in the Ohio Valley or a similar region that experiences a mix of winter conditions, this is a strong contender to meet your needs—no matter what they happen to be this week.
Best Heavy-Duty Snowblower for Deep, Heavy Snow
This three-stage snowblower balances its powerful snow removal capabilities with convenient features like LED headlights and hand warmers.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Cub Cadet Three-Stage Gas Snowblower easily cuts through ice and snow at a rate that is 50% faster than two-stage snowblowers, leaving them in the dust. This machine is not playing around. It does more heavy-lifting than any others on this list.
It has a High-Speed Induction Accelerator, which powerfully pulls in snow, simultaneously stimulating a forward motion that makes pushing it almost effortless. It’s easy to move, has a wide 26-inch clearing width, and the impressive engine makes this a great snowblower for large areas.
By utilizing the OHV crank on this snowblower, you can have complete control over where you deposit snow, with the capabilities to rotate the chute as much as 200 degrees. You’ll also have full control over this easy to maneuver machine because of its impressive power steering feature.
This snow thrower isn’t just about power though, it also incorporates a lot of convenient features like heated handgrips, LED dual headlights, and cool blue skid shoes so you can glide along snowy surfaces without damaging your driveway.
The only downsides of this snowblower are that some people have complained about its parts being cheaply made or poorly placed, but customer service is largely responsive to those complaints. Overall, this is an incredible machine if you get frequent severe storms.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If you are looking for a high-quality, durable three-stage snowblower, look no further. The Cub Cadet tackles the kind of snow that anyone who lives in an area with severe winter weather knows well: heavy, wet, deep snow that would take an army to shovel and doesn’t even budge for a handheld snowblower.
Best Self-Propelled Snowblower for Heavy Snow
WHY WE LIKE IT: Don’t be fooled. Although this snowblower is advertised as “compact,” it’s actually a total beast, with an impressive intake height of 20 inches and a sizable clearing width of 24 inches. This powerful snowblower is perfect for places that experience frequent, severe snowstorms.
No need to pull on a cord what might feel like an endless amount of times to get this machine going; it features a convenient electric start so you can get to snowblowing in seconds. Once you start it, you can take advantage of its six forward speeds and two reverse speeds, which allow you to adjust this model’s pace based on your preferences. While the reverse is a bit slow, it’s very helpful for moving this weighty model around.
This is the heaviest snowblower on this list, weighing in at 370 pounds. Thankfully, it is self-propelling because if it wasn’t, only bodybuilders could handle it. It also has tracks instead of tires, which makes it easier to move around on uneven terrain. However, the tracks do make it harder to turn.
The headlights on this model are convenient; however, they are notably weak, so they won’t light up the night or dawn sky very well. Otherwise, this powerful, durable machine is perfect for dealing with lots of heavy, wet snow on uneven terrains.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Anyone who sees a lot of dense snow in a year, has a steep incline and high snowbanks, and isn’t a weightlifter by trade will benefit from the easy start and self-propulsion of this powerful machine.
Best Snowblower for Small Areas
WHY WE LIKE IT: This impressive dual-stage snowblower is perfect for dealing with tall snowbanks up to 2 feet in height. In particular, it’s good at handling fluffy snow but also has the capability to munch through wet snow, although it will do so at a slower pace. Its incredibly sharp auger can even work through limited amounts of ice.
With a 24-inch clearance width, this wide snowblower can effectively and efficiently create sizable paths. It’s easy to push, with four variable speeds forward and 2 in reverse. Even if it outweighs you, this small snowblower is easy to push around. At only 184 pounds, it’s fairly lightweight, especially compared to other two-stage snowblowers. If you like to snowblow in the early hours of the morning or at night right after a storm hits, you’ll love this snowblower’s bright LED lights. It also features an electric starter, so you can get it going in seconds.
What won’t take seconds is assembling this machine. It’s somewhat difficult to put together, largely because the instructions that come with it aren’t totally clear. Don’t wait until the day you want to use it to assemble it; set aside at least an hour to put it together.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If you get mostly light snowfalls and don’t mind a bit of assembly up front, this is a good option for tackling smaller areas, low-to-moderate snowbanks, and even a bit of ice.
Alternate Heavy-Duty Snowthrower for Wet Snow
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you live in the Northeast, in a place with severe snowstorm after severe snowstorm, you need a beast of a machine that can plow through wet, heavy snowbanks without stalling or breaking. The Troy-Bilt Storm 2625 Two-Stage Snow Thrower is that machine.
It was specifically designed to make quick work of heavy, wet snow. It’s wide, 26-inch clearing width equips it to take on large driveways or pathways, while its 21-inch intake height allows it to work through banks up to 2 feet in height.
Before you folks with fluffy snow think, “Yes, a machine like that will only take minutes to work through the kind of snow I get, this is perfect!” think again. The Troy-Bilt Storm 2625 is designed for intense snow; it actually doesn’t work very well on fluffy snow. At the most, it’ll just push it around a little bit like a plow.
Not to mention, this model is costly. If you don’t need it, go with a much cheaper two-stage model, a one-stage snow thrower, or even an electric snowblower. If you have frequent, heavy snowfalls, though, this is the perfect machine for you.
This gas snowblower benefits from the convenient features of an electric model. It has an electric start, so you don’t have to waste time pulling on a cord. And it’s even super quiet, which will be music to your neighbors’ ears—especially if you frequently clear your walk at night or in the early morning.
It is a monster of a machine, though. Weighing in at 238 pounds, it’s self-propelled, with six forward speeds that will make quick work of the snow that’s piling up on your driveway. It can even work through icy hunks of snow with impressive efficiency.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Those who need a real powerhouse snowthrower for deep, wet snow, can handle the weight of a larger machine, and don’t mind paying for premium quality.
Alternate Versatile Snowblower Choice
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you are looking for a premium snowblowing experience, then the YARDMAX YB6770 Two-Stage Snowblower is the perfect option for you. It has all of the most comfortable and convenient features included in standard two-stage snowblowers and so much more.
With a fairly standard intake height of 21 inches, this snowblower can take on banks that are up to 2 feet tall. Where it really shines is in its extra-wide 26-inch clearing width, which is great for larger pathways, driveways, and areas in general.
Not only is this snowblower powerful and efficient, but it’s also convenient to use. It has self-propulsion, which makes pushing it much easier, heated handgrips to keep your digits warm while you work, an electric start button, which allows you to start your snowblower in seconds, and a cup holder, to hold a warm beverage like coffee or cocoa.
Its dual headlights enable you to work during the day or night, on all kinds of terrains. This snowblower even comes with a three-year warranty, should anything go wrong because of a defective part or unit. The only downsides of this snowblower are it’s somewhat tedious to assemble and has metal shoes, which means it can damage hard surfaces, but otherwise, this is an incredible snowblower option.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If you’re looking for a machine that can tackle both a fluffy 2-inch fall and a 3-foot snowbank, plus has all the features of a more expensive model, then this is a good choice for you. Heated grips, easy-start, and versatile functionality are all strong selling points. It comes in second to our first Versatile option only because the Yardmax seems incrementally less capable of handling heavier snow.
What Exactly is a Snowblower?
To address a common misconception: one thing a snowblower is not is a winter version of a leaf blower. Using a tool like that on wet, heavy material will only frustrate you because it’s likely to do nothing at all. A snowblower is an electric- or gas-powered machine that picks up fallen snow, munches it up, and then spits it back out to the side or in front of it.
These tools are large, powerful, and can be loud. Typically, blowers are two-stage models. So, they pick up snow, and then the material is moved through an impeller, which then shoots it out the chute and away from the area you’ve just cleared. These machines are wide, tall, and able to clear paths in just a few passes.
How to Know Whether You Need a Snowblower
Maybe you’ve been using the same snowblower for the past several seasons, and it’s time for you to replace the old workhorse. Perhaps you’re new to an area, and all you know is that it snows and most of your neighbors say they own a blower or thrower. Or maybe you hate the tedious task of removing snow from your pathways and driveway with a shovel and want a faster, easier way to clear them.
Whatever your reason is, the way to know if you need a snowblower and what kind of snowblower would work best for you is by considering the snowfalls you typically experience each winter.
If you’re experiencing around 12 inches or more of snow every time a winter storm hits your area, then you definitely need a snowblower that’s a two-stage or three-stage model. If you experience less, a one-stage snowblower or even shovel might be enough to take care of your snow.
However, even if you’re only looking at just six inches of snowfall or so every time it comes down, there’s always the added issue of snowplows piling up giant snowbanks at the end of your driveway. I know it may feel targeted at the time but trust me, the snowplow driver doesn’t have it out for you. It happens to everyone. A blower is powerful enough to chew through that packed snow and ice and get rid of it.
Another reason to consider a two-stage blower instead of a single-stage snowblower is if you have a gravel driveway. The smaller, single-stage machines are likely to spit gravel all over your lawn and maybe any neighbors walking by, along with the fluffy snow it picks up. Two-stage snowblowers sit a bit higher and won’t shovel the gravel up along with snow, which will protect your driveway – and neighbors.
In conclusion, you should consider your snow situation, what kind of problems you encounter following snowfalls, and what kind of terrain you are working with. By considering all these factors, you should be able to determine if you actually need a snowblower and what blower type is right for you.
In the end, if you decide you want a snowblower because you hate nothing more than shoveling, but realize you probably don’t need one based on your situation, consider how much money you are willing to spend on one of these machines. Another option would just be hiring someone to shovel your driveway for you.
The Differences Between Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Three-Stage Snowblowers
The paddle mechanism visible on the front of the blower unit, known as the auger, pulls snow directly into the unit and fires it out of a discharge plastic or metal chute. This style of snowblower will make contact with the ground, so it is not recommended for unpaved surfaces. Single-stage snowblowers can typically only handle less than a foot of snow efficiently.
The auger hauls the snow right into the machine and carefully feeds it into the section, housing a high-speed impeller, which in turn shoots it out of the discharge tube. Two-stage blowers can usually take on deeper snowfall mounds than a single-stage blower due to this process, their stronger engines, and higher intake heights, normally around 21 inches. This style of snowblower will not make direct contact with the ground, making it the top style for unpaved surfaces.
Often these three-stage snowblowers are tractor attachments. They are typically commercial-grade, heavy-duty, and give you that extra push with the addition of an accelerator on top of the two-stage design of impeller and auger. The accelerator is a third auger, perpendicular to the collection augers, which corkscrews into drifts and pushes snow into the discharge impeller.
Finding the Right Snowblower for Your Needs
When determining what type of snowblower would be the best for you and your home, there are some particular factors that you should take into consideration. Below are the most important ones.
The average snowfall expected in your region: For light snowfalls under 6 inches, try electric snowblowers. For snowfalls between 6 – 12 inches, single-stage snowblowers are your best bet. For snowfalls in the 1 – 2 foot range, use a two-stage snowblower. For more intense snowfalls, you’ll need a three-stage snowblower.
The size of your driveway/walkway: A major component to consider when looking at purchasing either an electric blower or a gas-powered unit would be the size of the area you need to remove snow from. Snowblowers have different clearing widths, which will suit different driveways and pathways better.
The layout of the land needing snow removal: Some snowblowers are better for sloped terrains than others. If you have to snowblow uneven areas, like gravel driveways, get at least a two-stage model.
Your environmentally conscious level: If you are environmentally conscious, then consider an electric snowblower to lessen your carbon footprint. They work well on smaller areas that receive light to moderate snowfalls.
Features to Look For In a Great Snowblower
Snowblower technology and designs just keep getting better with each year. Snowblowers have never been more convenient and comfortable to use, which is great considering their whole purpose is to make your life easier. Below are some of the best and most convenient features to consider when purchasing your own snowblower.
The last thing you want to deal with on a freezing winter morning after your home’s just had snow dumped all over its pathways and driveway is a pull-starting blower that requires what feels like an endless amount of pulls to get it going. An electric start eliminates the need to pull-start anything, making starting your snowblower as easy as pie.
If you have large areas that need clearing, you definitely want to purchase a snowblower with a wide clearance so you can do fewer passes on your driveways and pathways, save time, and be inside with a steaming cup of cocoa in no time. Most snowblowers have clearing widths around 18 to 24 inches wide, but you can find some with widths as wide as 26 inches.
While typically things made from metal are better quality, you definitely will want your snowblower’s chute to be made of plastic. Although metal is sturdy and long-lasting, it can chip and rust, and when it does, you’ve got sticky material that might start clogging the chute. Plastic chutes, on the other hand, are much more damaged and stick-resistant. However, a metal chute is going to be better if you have gravel or rocks to deal with.
How We Picked
We picked these snowblowers because they were some of the absolute best that you’ll find on the market. They each excelled in their individual categories—single-stage, two-stage, or three-stage snowblowers; for large or small areas; premium or affordable options—based on our own expertise and a hard look at common customer complaints and praise. We made an effort to balance quality and price; for example, two snowblowers in one category with similar performance were decided by affordability and durability. Similarly, closely priced models with variations in durability or performance were chosen in favor of the better-performing option. If you purchase any of them, you will be satisfied as long as it is the machine that fits your needs.
The Bottom Line
The snowblower that blew all of the others out of the snow is the Husqvarna ST224 24-Inch 208cc Two-Stage Electric Start Snowblower. It works the best in most situations, packing a lot of power, being easy to use and maneuver, including helpful features like headlights and heated handles, and being overall high quality.
HUSQVARNA ST224 TWO-STAGE SNOWBLOWER
Balancing affordability with power, this incredible machine can take on light, fluffy snowfall as well as deep, mucky snowbanks.
Our other top picks, by category:
BEST SNOWBLOWER FOR FREQUENT LIGHT SNOWFALL: Ariens SS21 208 Single-Stage Snowblower
BEST HEAVY-DUTY SNOWBLOWER FOR DEEP, HEAVY SNOW: Cub Cadet Three-Stage Gas Snowblower
BEST SELF-PROPELLED SNOWBLOWER FOR HEAVY SNOW: Ariens Compact Two-Stage Snowblower
BEST SNOWBLOWER FOR SMALL AREAS: Briggs & Stratton 1696614 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower
Of course, what snowblower really works best for you will depend on your situation and preferences. If you chose another one on this list, be sure to let us know in the comments, and if you found this guide helpful, please share it!