When it comes to tackling hefty snowfalls, a reliable snow blower can make all the difference. The market is flooded with a variety of models, each boasting unique features and specifications, making it a daunting task to select the perfect one. We’ve done the legwork for you and curated a list of the best snow blowers of 2023, diving into their features, benefits, and drawbacks. Let's begin!
Types of Snow Blowers
Single-Stage Snow Blowers
Single-stage snow blowers are the simplest and most affordable type. They are designed for light snowfall (up to 8 inches) and smaller areas like sidewalks, decks, and short driveways. They are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and the auger (the blade system that picks up the snow) comes into direct contact with the surface, helping to clear down to the pavement. However, they are not suitable for gravel surfaces as they may pick up and throw stones.
Two-Stage Snow Blowers
Two-stage snow blowers are more powerful and can handle snowfall up to 16 inches. They are suitable for larger driveways and sidewalks. The first stage involves an auger breaking up the snow, and the second stage involves an impeller throwing the snow out of the chute. Since the auger doesn't touch the ground, it's safe to use on gravel or uneven surfaces.
Three-Stage Snow Blowers
Three-stage snow blowers are the most powerful and can deal with heavy and wet snow up to 18 inches or more. They have an additional accelerator that helps to break down the snow faster than two-stage models. They are great for large areas and deep snow but are more expensive and may be overkill for average home use.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Snow Blower
Snow blowers can be powered by electricity (corded or cordless), or gasoline. Electric models are less powerful but are lightweight, quieter, and require less maintenance. Gas models are more powerful and suitable for heavy and deep snow but are heavier, noisier, and require regular maintenance.
Clearing Width and Depth
The clearing width and depth determine how much snow the blower can handle in one pass. A larger clearing width and depth mean fewer passes and faster snow clearing. However, larger models can be harder to maneuver and store.
Consider the weight and size of the snow blower, especially if you will need to maneuver it around obstacles or up and down inclines. Some models also offer power steering for easier maneuvering.
If you have a gravel driveway, avoid single-stage snow blowers as they can pick up and throw stones. Two- and three-stage models are safe for all surface types.
Look for features that make the snow blower easier and more comfortable to use. These can include heated handles, headlights for early morning or late-night use, electric start for easy startup, and speed control.
Our Top Picks 2023:
1. Husqvarna ST224P
The Husqvarna ST224P is a powerful, high-capacity snow blower designed to handle heavy snowfalls. It's equipped with a 208cc engine that ensures robust performance even in tough winter conditions. With its power steering and 24-inch clearing path, maneuvering around your driveway or yard becomes an effortless task.
The ST224P also features heated handles, making it more comfortable to use in freezing temperatures. The electric start system allows for quick and easy start-ups, while the LED headlights ensure clear visibility, even in the darkest hours. However, the ST224P is on the heavier side, which might be a downside for some users.
2. Briggs & Stratton 1024 Standard Series
The Briggs & Stratton 1024 Standard Series is another top-of-the-line snow blower. It's powered by a 208cc engine, similar to the Husqvarna ST224P, and can clear a path of 24 inches wide. The machine features a friction-disc drive system that allows you to adjust the speed according to your needs.
One of the standout features of the 1024 Standard Series is its Free Hand Control, which lets you drive the snow blower with one hand while adjusting the chute direction with the other. The only major drawback is that it lacks power steering, which might make maneuvering slightly challenging in heavy snow.
3. Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE
Toro's SnowMaster series has always been a favorite among homeowners, and the 824 QXE is no exception. It offers a unique mix of the power of a two-stage snow blower and the maneuverability of a single-stage one. The 252cc engine provides ample power, and the 24-inch clearing width makes it suitable for medium-sized driveways.
The SnowMaster 824 QXE boasts a Personal Pace system that self-propels the machine at your walking speed. Additionally, the Quick Stick chute control allows for easy adjustment of chute and deflector. However, the lack of heated handles might make it uncomfortable to use in extremely cold conditions.
4. Ariens Deluxe 28 SHO
The Ariens Deluxe 28 SHO is a beast of a machine designed to handle the heaviest snowfalls. Powered by a 306cc engine, it features a 28-inch clearing path and a throwing distance of up to 50 feet, making it ideal for large driveways.
The auto-turn steering technology makes maneuvering easy, and the in-dash headlight ensures visibility in low-light conditions. It also features a handwarmer for enhanced comfort. The only potential downside is its size and weight, which may not be suitable for every user.
5. EGO Power+ SNT2102
If you're looking for an eco-friendly option, the EGO Power+ SNT2102 is one of the best electric snow blowers on the market. Powered by a 56-volt lithium-ion battery, it can clear a path of 21 inches wide and throw snow up to 35 feet.
The SNT2102 is lightweight and easy to maneuver, making it a great choice for smaller properties. The push-button start and LED headlights add to its convenience. However, its battery life is limited to about 45 minutes on a single charge, which might not be enough for larger tasks.
6. Snow Joe SJ625E
The Snow Joe SJ625E is another fantastic electric option. It's powered by a 15-amp motor and can clear a 21-inch wide and 12-inch deep path in one pass. The machine also features an adjustable chute that can throw snow up to 20 feet.
The SJ625E is compact, lightweight, and easy to maneuver, making it ideal for small to medium-sized driveways. Moreover, it's relatively quiet compared to gas snow blowers. However, its reliance on a power cord may restrict mobility.
Choosing the right snow blower depends on your specific needs, including the size of your driveway, the amount of snowfall in your area, and your budget. We recommend the Husqvarna ST224P and the Briggs & Stratton 1024 Standard Series for their power and performance. For those preferring electric models, the EGO Power+ SNT2102 and Snow Joe SJ625E are excellent choices.
Remember, while all these models are highly rated, it's crucial to maintain your snow blower regularly to ensure its longevity and efficient performance.