​The Best Snow Blowers

​The Best Snow Blowers

Our pick

Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE

Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE

The best snow blower

Two unusual features—a high-capacity auger and a drive system that matches your pace as you walk—make the SnowMaster faster and easier to maneuver than any other snow blower we’ve tested.

Buying Options

Buy from Home Depot

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $880.

The Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE even worked faster—and did a better job—than larger, more expensive competitors, thanks to the distinctive design of its auger and drive control. Unlike the cumbersome manual-shift speed controls of typical blowers, Toro’s intuitive Personal Pace drive system synchronizes the speed of the blower’s wheels with how fast you’re walking. This model also has a convenient electric start and a smooth joystick chute control that lets you easily direct snow where you want it. At a typical price around $850 to $900, this blower is also a couple hundred dollars less than many comparable competitors. It can toss snow to about 40 feet, and it’s the ideal machine for a paved two-car driveway (up to about 80 feet in length) and for snowfalls that are consistently in the range of 6 to 18 inches. It’s not the best pick for unpaved surfaces, though, so if you have a gravel driveway or a large lawn area to clear, the Cub Cadet, an also-great pick, is a better option.

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Runner-up

Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE

Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE

Almost the best snow blower

Like our pick but with a slightly smaller engine, the 724 QXE shares the other unique snow-clearing abilities that make the 824 QXE so effective.

Buying Options

Buy from Home Depot

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $750.

The Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE, a slightly smaller version of the 824 QXE, was our previous top pick. The 724 QXE is a great machine, and the only difference between it and the 824 QXE is that it has a 212 cc engine instead of a 252 cc engine. In our tests it could easily handle up to 12 inches of wet snow with little issue. It can fit the needs of many, and is a great option if our top pick is sold out.

Also great

Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP

Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP

Better for gravel driveways

This traditional two-stage blower, ideal for 6- to 12-inch snowfalls, is heavier and slower than our pick but offers a great combination of features for the price.

Buying Options

$1,000 from Home Depot

If the Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE is not available, or if you have a gravel driveway (up to about 80 feet in length), consider going with the more traditional Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP. It’s not as fast or intuitive as the 824 QXE, but this 26-inch model is a well-done version of a standard two-stage blower, and it stands out for offering nice features at an excellent price. It has power steering—a must for a heavier two-stage blower like this one—a durable metal chute, a convenient electric start, and large, 16-inch tires that help give it good grip in the snow. This combination of features is usually reserved for blowers costing hundreds more.

Also great

Ryobi RYAC803-S

Ryobi RYAC803-S

Better than a shovel

For small, flat paved surfaces with up to 6 inches of snow, this compact, inexpensive Ryobi beats shoveling. It maneuvers like a lawnmower, and its range-limiting cord is a constant obstacle.

Buying Options

$180 from Home Depot

If your typical snowfall is only about 6 inches or less and you need to clear a small, flat paved driveway, patio, or city sidewalk, we recommend the 20-inch Ryobi RYAC803-S. This less-powerful electric single-stage blower can toss snow about 15 feet—less than half the distance of the SnowMaster 824 QXE—and it’s nowhere near as fast. But it’s much less expensive than similar-size gas blowers, it folds up for storage, and it’s light enough to maneuver up a few patio or deck steps. The downside is that you have to plug it into an outlet, and you need a good extension cord that won’t kink in the cold. At times we found that keeping the cord out of the blower’s way was a hassle, but for smaller driveways and lighter snows, we could put up with the inconvenience in exchange for the lower up-front cost and none of the ongoing maintenance a gas engine requires.

Upgrade pick

Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30

Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30

For huge driveways and deep snows

This Troy-Bilt 30-inch blower is for big driveways and deep snows (15-plus inches). It has a large engine, a thumb-operated chute control, and power steering.

Buying Options

$1,700 from Amazon

For larger driveways and deeper snows, we recommend the 30-inch Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30. This larger two-stage machine is ideal for anyone who regularly experiences snows of 15 or more inches, has a driveway (paved or gravel) that’s roughly 70 feet or longer, and wants full confidence that their snow blower will be powerful enough. It has a durable metal chute, heated handles, a massive 357 cc engine, and a handy thumb-operated four-way chute control. Compared with the Cub Cadet, it offers the same durability and reliability but is built to tackle bigger jobs.

We’re currently doing another round of research on the latest cordless snow blowers. In past years, we’ve found that such models make major compromises on power, maneuverability, run time, and price, and we have not yet felt confident enough in any cordless model to make a recommendation. This coming winter, we plan on testing at least two new cordless models, the Toro 21″ Power Clear 60V Battery Snow Blower 39901 and the Snow Joe iON100V-21SB.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE

Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE

The best snow blower

Two unusual features—a high-capacity auger and a drive system that matches your pace as you walk—make the SnowMaster faster and easier to maneuver than any other snow blower we’ve tested.

Buying Options

Buy from Home Depot

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $880.

Runner-up

Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE

Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE

Almost the best snow blower

Like our pick but with a slightly smaller engine, the 724 QXE shares the other unique snow-clearing abilities that make the 824 QXE so effective.

Buying Options

Buy from Home Depot

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $750.

Also great

Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP

Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP

Better for gravel driveways

This traditional two-stage blower, ideal for 6- to 12-inch snowfalls, is heavier and slower than our pick but offers a great combination of features for the price.

Buying Options

$1,000 from Home Depot

Also great

Ryobi RYAC803-S

Ryobi RYAC803-S

Better than a shovel

For small, flat paved surfaces with up to 6 inches of snow, this compact, inexpensive Ryobi beats shoveling. It maneuvers like a lawnmower, and its range-limiting cord is a constant obstacle.

Buying Options

$180 from Home Depot

Upgrade pick

Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30

Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30

For huge driveways and deep snows

This Troy-Bilt 30-inch blower is for big driveways and deep snows (15-plus inches). It has a large engine, a thumb-operated chute control, and power steering.

Buying Options

$1,700 from Amazon

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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