Best Snowblowers of 2019

A snowblower clears heavy snow for you without the bending and lifting that can be painful to your back. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best snowblower for you.

Blizzard Warning: Your Guide to the Best Snowblowers

Nor'easter in the forecast? When it comes to heavy snowfall, snowblowers can save valuable time and your aching back. A snowblower makes quick work of clearing deep snow on a large property.

However, a snowblower is a heavy piece of machinery, and finding the right one for you can be tricky. The average snowfall in your area, the type of snow, and your property's terrain are just a few of the factors you need to consider when buying a snowblower.

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If you're ready to purchase a snowblower, scroll up for BestReviews' three favorites. For everything you need to know to find the best snowblower for you, you've come to the right place.

For the best performance, keep your snowblower's discharge chute clear of debris. First, shut off the snowblower, and then use a clearing tool to clean out any ice, mud, or sticks.

Why Buy a Snowblower?

  • You have a large piece of property with a good-size driveway that you need to keep clear.
  • The average snowfall in your area is high enough that you'd use a snowblower more than a few times each winter.
  • You have an angled, sloped, or long driveway that requires a snowblower for effective clearing.
  • Physical limitations prevent you from clearing snow with a shovel. A snowblower allows you to clear your driveway yourself rather than hiring someone to shovel it for you.

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Don't Blow Snow Against the Wind

Use the weather to your advantage. Blow snow with the wind, so that it doesn't land back on the area you just cleared.

Electric vs. Gas: Different Types of Snowblowers

Electric Snowblowers

  • Single-Stage Electric Snowblowers: These simple, lightweight snowblowers use a plastic auger to pull snow through the machine and propel it out a discharge chute. Quieter than their gas-powered counterparts, single-stage electric snowblowers work well on small driveways, porches, and patios. Maintenance of the electric motor isn't complicated, and there's no need to worry about refueling. You will need to be within reach of an outlet. An electric snowblower throws rocks and gravel, so be sure to keep kids and pets at a safe distance. Hilly driveways pose a problem, as single-stage electric snowblowers are not self-propelled.
  • Battery-Powered Snowblowers: Battery-powered snowblowers are the cordless cousins of single-stage electric snowblowers. About the size of a push lawn mower, a battery-powered snowblower is best used on four inches of snow or less. Lightweight, quiet, and easy to maneuver, battery-powered snowblowers are not meant for hills or slopes because they are not self-propelled.

Gas Snowblowers

  • Single-Stage Gas Snowblowers: More powerful than electric snowblowers, single-stage gas snowblowers are built for large, flat, paved driveways as well as porches and patios. Their augers usually work best in nine inches of snow or less. Some single-stage gas snowblowers have electric starts that make getting the motor going in subzero temperatures much easier. Hills and gravel are their weak spots. Most single-stage gas snowblowers aren't self-propelled, and their augers aren't powerful enough to pull up a slope without drifting sideways. Like electric snowblowers, single-stage gas snowblowers throw gravel, making them more effective on paved surfaces.
  • Two-Stage Gas Snowblowers: Two-stage gas snowblowers add an impeller to the auger. The impeller helps move snow through the discharge chute. Snow depths of up to 16 inches are easily handled by two-stage gas snowblowers and their 24- to 30-inch swaths. Self-propulsion lets them take on the hills and slopes that slow down less powerful snow blowers. Skid shoes—adjustable lifts on the bottom of the snowblower—keep the auger away from gravel, making two-stage gas snowblowers less of a hazard on gravel driveways. You'll need more storage space and muscle power to use these heavy machines. But if you have a significant amount of snow to move, a two-stage gas snowblower is a good choice.
  • Three-Stage Gas Snowblowers: Three-stage gas snowblowers pack the most powerful punch. An impeller with an accelerator pushes even more snow through a three-stage gas snowblower. Hills, slopes, and long driveways are all doable with these big machines. Three-stage gas snowblowers have swaths of 30 inches or more and most work in depths of 21 inches-plus. The impressive performance of three-stage gas snowblowers is worth the high price if you live in an area with heavy snow for several months of the year.
Six thousand snowblower injuries are reported each year. Take care and follow all manufacturer instructions to prevent accidents.

Snowblower Features That Make a Difference

Electric Start
An electric start eliminates the need to use the pull cord on gas-powered snowblowers. Simply plug in the snowblower and press the start button. An electric start not only prolongs the life of the pull cord but makes starting much easier in cold temperatures.

Single-Handed Operation
Operating two- or three-stage snowblowers requires controls that engage both the wheels and the auger. With single-handed operation, control of both the wheels and auger are on the same handle, leaving your other hand free to control the discharge chute.

Dead Man Control
When the snowblower's handlebar is released, the dead man control automatically stops the auger and impeller to prevent injury. Any snowblower you consider should have this important safety feature.

Discharge Chute Control
The discharge chute control changes the direction your snowblower is blowing. Many single-stage snowblowers have a long handle that allows you to change the direction of the chute while you're working. Two- and three-stage snowblowers usually have a joystick on the control panel that lets you adjust as you go. The discharge chute control should be easy to reach, so you don't have to stop working.

Speed
Heavy, wet snow can easily clog your snowblower's wheels. For two- and three-stage snowblowers, look for four to six speeds and at least two reverse options.

Turning Radius
Turning in the snow is no easy feat, especially for heavy two- and three-stage snowblowers. Some snowblowers have controls that slow one wheel at a time to help the blower turn in deep snow.

Heated Handles
Heated handles mean no numb fingers. This snowblower extra is a luxury that is worth the splurge for many.

Headlight
When the sun goes down at 5 p.m., you're going to want more than a headlamp to light your way. Headlights let you move snow at any time of day.

Let your snowblower run for a few minutes to clear out any leftover snow before turning it off.

How Much Does a Snowblower Cost?

  • Inexpensive: Electric and battery-powered snowblowers that work on four to six inches of snow are found in the $150 to $300 price range. These lightweight snowblowers are perfect if you have a small, flat area to clear. However, you may need to make more than one pass with more than six inches of snow.
  • Mid-Range: Single-stage gas snowblowers make up the $300 to $800 price point. You can find small two-stage gas snowblowers as well. These snowblowers work in 16 to 18 inches of snow on level, mid-size driveways. A few snowblowers in this range are self-propelled, so they work on slopes and gravel too.
  • Expensive: You'll find powerful two-stage gas snowblowers and smaller three-stage gas snowblowers with chute controls, headlights, and one-hand controls for $800 to $1,500. Heavy snow, gravel, and hills are no problem for these snowblowers.
  • Premium: Three-stage gas snowblowers and large two-stage gas snowblowers can be a major investment, starting at $1,500 and going up. But if you get wet, heavy snow in large accumulations, these powerful snowblowers are what you need. You'll find heated handles, wide swaths, easy-to-reach chute controls, and multiple speeds at this price.

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Keep Fresh Fuel in Your Snowblower

Stale gas can make starting your gas-powered snowblower challenging. Fresh fuel or fuel with stabilizer is the best way to combat difficult starts.

Safety Tips: Using a Snowblower

  • Pre-season maintenance can make winter go smoother. Replace your snowblower's spark plugs, change the oil, and check the belts for cracks and fraying before the first snow.
  • Plastic augers or augers with rubber tips should be used on porches, decks, or finished patios to prevent damage.
  • Keep a few extra parts on hand for regular maintenance or in case your snowblower breaks down, including belts, shear pins, and fuel stabilizer.
  • Don't wait for it to stop snowing before you start blowing. If you wait too long, snow will freeze into hard-packed ice.
  • With a smaller swath, you can throw snow farther with your snowblower.
  • Wet, heavy snow can be a challenge for any snowblower. One way to take on difficult snow is to clear smaller swaths, so the auger isn't overwhelmed.
  • Half-buried newspapers are notorious for getting jammed in snowblowers. Before snow hits, take the time to go over your property to remove hazards such as rocks, cables, and extension cords that could get caught in your snowblower.

  • Pre-season maintenance can make winter go smoother. Replace your snow blower's spark plugs, change the oil, and check the belts for cracks and fraying before the first snow.
  • Plastic augers or augers with rubber tips should be used on porches, decks, or finished patios to prevent damage.
  • Keep a few extra parts on hand for regular maintenance or in case your snow blower breaks down, including belts, shear pins, and fuel stabilizer.
  • Don't wait for it to stop snowing before you start blowing. If you wait too long, snow will freeze into hard-packed ice.
  • With a smaller swath, you can throw snow farther with your snow blower.
  • Wet, heavy snow can be a challenge for any snow blower. One way to take on difficult snow is to clear smaller swaths, so the auger isn't overwhelmed.
  • Half-buried newspapers are notorious for getting jammed in snow blowers. Before snow hits, take the time to go over your property to remove hazards such as rocks, cables, and extension cords that could get caught in your snow blower.
When fueling mid-job, wait for the snowblower's engine to cool before putting in more fuel.

FAQ

Q. I regularly get heavy, wet snow that lasts for most of the winter. What features should I look for in a snowblower to clear snow quickly?
A. An impeller is the feature that's going to add the most speed to your snow removal. Most multi-stage snowblowers have a 12-inch impeller. But for your heavy snow conditions, look for a snowblower with a 14-inch impeller.

Q. Are airless tires better than pneumatic tires on a snowblower?
A. Airless tires are a relatively new feature on snowblowers. They work best on rocks and uneven ground, since they're less likely to be punctured by sharp objects than pneumatic tires. Some older snowblowers can be retrofitted with airless tires.

Synthetic oil resists cold temperatures better than traditional motor oil. It spins faster when you pull the cord, which means you can start a gas-powered snowblower's motor in fewer pulls.

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