Guide To Choosing The Best Snow Blowers For You – Mippin

When a storm covers your driveway with a foot of snow, a snow blower can quickly become your best friend. These machines save lives (literally!) by removing snow safely and efficiently.

Choosing the right snow blower can be a daunting task. Dealers will push you toward the latest and greatest gadgets that you probably don’t need. Cheaper models may not provide the power for your area and end up being an expensive eye-sore in the garage. Your goal should be to find the right type at the best price.

choose a type

The most important decision you will have to make is choosing the right type of snow blower for your needs. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

electric snow blowers – These machines need to be plugged in to work and have motors that range from 8 amps to 15 amps. Unfortunately, that’s not a lot of power. Therefore, electric snow blowers are best for areas that receive light annual snowfall totals. You will want to avoid regions like the east coast where the snow is heavier. And buying an outdoor extension cord is a must.

On the plus side, electric models are incredibly cheap. Brands like Greenworks and Snow Joe offer models for around $100. Its lightweight construction makes it easy for anyone to operate. This makes them ideal for removing a few inches of snow from wood decks, sidewalks, and individual driveways. An excellent choice for people who live in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Kansas where snowfall totals rarely exceed 20 inches per season. Plus, they fold up nicely for easy storage during the summer.

cordless snow blowers – The hottest trend in the industry is powered by lithium-ion batteries. They typically use between 40V and 80V and provide enough power to remove up to 6 inches of snow at a time. Its best asset is maintenance free maintenance. There’s no oil to change, gas to buy, or spark plugs to replace. Just connect the battery and go. Brands like Ryobi will even allow you to use the batteries from their power tools in their cordless snow blowers. They are lightweight, easy to carry, and portable, so you can use them anywhere, anytime. That’s why we recommend cordless snow blowers over other models for most people. If you’re in the market, I recommend reading some comparisons to see which make and model are a better fit for you.

On the downside, cordless snow blowers are more expensive than their electric counterparts. This is largely due to the cost of the battery. You are limited by how long your battery holds a charge, which is typically less than 30 minutes. Still, if you have a smaller driveway in an area that receives light to moderate snow totals, these can be great options.

Single Stage Gas Snow Blowers – This is where we increase the power and start removing large amounts of snow. Single stage machines have a rubber auger that will pick up the snow and throw it through the discharge chute in one motion. The blades touch the ground, helping to clear up to the surface. Power varies based on engine size, but they are designed for areas that receive moderate levels of snow each season.

Many new features are beginning to appear on single stage blowers. Most notable are the auger-powered transmission systems. When the auger makes contact with the ground it will propel the machine forward allowing you to steer rather than push. The more expensive Toro and Ariens models also get power steering. These snow blowers start at $400 and can go as high as $900. They are a great choice for people throughout the Midwest and others outside of the snow belt region.

Two Stage Gas Snow Blowers – Sometimes referred to as two-stage, these snow throwers are the cream of the crop. They work similarly to single stage models picking up snow with the auger. The difference is in that second stage that involves an impeller that throws the snow out of the discharge chute. This allows for some impressive casting distances of up to 45 feet.

These powerful units are made for snow of all kinds. Heavy snow, sleet and even ice can be removed with ease. That pesky pile left by the snowplow at the end of the driveway is no match for a two-stage. Since the blades do not make contact with the surface, they can also be used safely on gravel paths.

With power comes price, and two-stage snow blowers top the charts. Good models can fetch $1200 or more in this field. But there are also plenty of great values ​​for under $1000.

Snow Blower Features

Now that you’ve determined which type of snow blower suits your needs, it’s time to look at the features. These range from necessities to luxuries.

self propelled – This is essentially an automatic transmission that moves according to the speed you set. Many models give you up to 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds. This allows you to choose what is best for your pace and the conditions in which you are working. Going up a slope? Speed ​​up. Go down and you have to be careful? Scroll down. This works in a similar way to how lawn mowers have done for decades.

Power steering – The heavier the snowplow, the more necessary it is. Power steering works by locking the inside tire when turning. This allows the rear end to glide effortlessly. Some companies like Toro and Ariens will automatically lock the steering wheel based on a sensor. Others require squeezing a handle. The community is divided as to which option works best, so be sure to try it out before making a purchase.

channel controls – Controlling the discharge chute can be one of the most important functions in operating a snow blower. You want them to not only turn smoothly, but also to be able to shift without having to slow down. Many models are powered by a crank that allows you to turn from left to right. But newer models use joysticks and mechanical controls to make this task easier. As the complexity increases here, so does the price.

Electrical start – This feature is more or less standard on newer models. What it does is allow you to plug your gas powered snow blower into an electrical outlet and turn it on via an extension cord. This is important when the weather drops too low and your traditional recoil starts to struggle. Or if you have a weak shoulder and don’t want to push yourself.

headlights – While most see them as a luxury, they become essential depending on where and when you plan to use your snow blower. If you plan to operate at night near oncoming traffic, it can become a much-needed safety device to alert cars to your presence. Remember that when the snow blows, visibility is limited. These lights can come in traditional halogen or LED bulbs.

hand warmers – Operating levers and cranks with icy hands can be difficult. And donning some ultra-thick winter gloves makes the task just as difficult. Heated handlebars keep your hands warm and allow you to wear thinner gloves. Many newer models come with this standard, while others can be added through aftermarket parts.

Other tips for buying snow blowers

  • The pieces break. It is an unfortunate consequence of any mechanical device. Make sure the snow blower you choose has replacement parts available to order online. Most major brands will have this area covered. Problems arise when discontinued or older used models are purchased.
  • Check the warranty. Not just the number of years it’s covered for, but what happens when it breaks. Do they require you to pay to send it back? Or maybe just take it to an authorized service center? If it’s the latter, make sure you have one nearby.
  • Don’t worry too much about name brands. Sure you may have a personal favorite. But most small engines are made abroad by a handful of manufacturers. In fact, many brands of snow throwers use the exact same motors. While there are subtle differences, it’s not worth spending hundreds of dollars more for a machine of similar power just because of the brand name.

read reviews

There are countless resources online to help you compare snow throwers. Consumer Reports recently tested dozens of models and rated them on important factors. Review sites like will tell you what they think are the best snow blowers on the market. And of course, read customer reviews on sites like Amazon and Home Depot to see what problems people have encountered.


There is no one best snow blower for everyone. Just for you. To get to that point, figure out the type that fits your region, the features you need, and then which model can provide them at the lowest price. Then you’ll be ready to face the next blizzard with confidence.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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