If you experience difficult winters every year, investing in a gas snow blower or thrower could make your life so much easier. They’re designed to break through difficult ice and wet snow patches and allow you to get on with your life.
Gas snow blowers offer lots of power, cutting down on the time you spend going over the same patch of driveway. Some of them can clear snow up to 15-inches deep and provide adjustable chutes to ensure you don’t get snow all over your car (or your neighbor’s). No matter what kind of winter you have to deal with every year, there’s a model on this list for you.
Digital Trends researched and checked reviews to bring you this list of the best gas snow blowers. Our top pick, the Troybilt 208, has heated handles, and our heavy-duty option can break through snow and ice up to 15-inches deep and 30-inches wide. Stop worrying about whether you’ll be able to get out of your driveway or be up all night working on clearing snow and move on to enjoying winter with one of these models.
At A Glance
- Best overall: Troybilt 24 in 208
- Budget pick: Toro Power Clear 721 E
- Best for gravel: Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP
- Best splurge: Husqvarna ST224P
- Best for deep snow or large driveways: Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30XP 357cc
Troybilt’s 24-inch gas snow thrower offers a well-rated, reliable gas option with six forward speeds and two reverse speeds to accommodate clearing your drive throughout winter’s different stages. It features a two-stage cleaning system with augers to break up difficult ice and a high-speed impeller to handle clearing snow.
The headlight is automatic and airless tires ensure a low-maintenance winter along with excellent traction. The clutch lock operates with just one hand, and the touch and turn handles are easy to maneuver even with gloves. Plus, heated grips help keep your fingers limber no matter how long it takes to clear your drive. You can even adjust the chute on the fly.
The Toro Power Clear features an easy electric, push-button start with a single-stage system. It uses a self propel system to move snow quickly out of the way using curved paddles for fewer clogs. The scraper keeps the paddle in constant contact with the ground, giving you a more efficient way to clear without leaving behind snow to freeze over.
The locking deflector allows you to adjust the location of the throw, and a compact frame is easier for you to store when not in use. It’s ideal for medium-sized driveways with less than nine inches of snow, and the wheels are well treaded and low maintenance. It comes in at a more affordable price than some of the larger, dual-stage blowers, but be careful of ice during operation.
The Cub Cadet is a two-stage blower with a push-button electric start and trigger-control power steering for maneuverability even with heavy gloves. It offers a durable metal chute and 16-inch tires for gliding over snow and gravel both without getting bogged down. A cast-iron auger ensures that it can hold up even in the worst weather while skidding shoes help it glide over icy surfaces without damaging driveways.
Dual LED lights and a zero-turn capability with six forward gears and two reverse help you maneuver this heavy model even in the worst weather. It’s adjustable for all winter stages and throws snow up to 40 feet with a completely adjustable, four-way chute control. All parts of the operation are one-handed and built for simplicity.
Husqvarna is known for its heavy-duty, higher-end machinery, and its gas blower is no different. This one features a heavy-duty auger that throws not just powdery snow, but blasts through both wet snow and ice. It features an electric start with no worries about your battery in the cold. Simply plug the machine in and start it. The gas engine takes over — no more jumping a dead battery.
Heated handle grips and trigger control steering allow you to work even in the coldest conditions without losing your grip. Plus, headlights offer a clear path while a cleated, track-drive system with separate wheel controls allow you maximum maneuverability for both difficult driveways and heavy, packed in snow. If your winters are long and complicated, this splurge option will keep your drive clear.
If you have an extra-long driveway or extra deep snow every year, the Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm is an excellent option. It offers an electric start, 357 cc gas motor designed to cut right through deep snow and ice through a two-stage system. Four-way chute control allows you to change the pitch of the chute without stopping, making it easier to adjust for complex drives.
It can clear up to 15 inches of deep snow with a 30-inch path. Polymer skid shoes and heated handgrips make it straightforward to maneuver while the serrated steel augers efficiently break up ice, wet snow, and debris. Touch-and-turn steering allows you to maneuver without breaking your stride, helping clear larger, longer driveways more quickly with fewer passes.
What are the stages of snow blowers?
Snowblowers typically come in one or two stages, and with gas models, sometimes three stages. Electric blowers are usually a single stage with some budget gas models in that category as well. Single-stage blowers pick up powdery snow with a blade or fan attachment and feed it into the chute to move it quickly out of the way.
Two-stage blowers have an auger attachment that grinds up ice and wet snow before feeding it into the chute. These models can handle deeper snow and denser ice with more extensive areas. Three-stage blowers have an accelerator to help move snow more quickly.
Do I need a two-stage blower?
If you live in an area with regular snow and ice, it might be best to invest in a two-stage blower. These models can handle deeper snow — between eight and 15 inches or so — while single-stage blowers are only useful if you’ve got light, powdery snow that’s less than eight-inches deep.
The auger attachment and extra power steering help you move through difficult, deep patches of snow and ice that might take your single-stage gas blower hours. They’re a valuable investment for those of you with larger driveways.
If you have gravel, you’ll definitely want a two-stage blower because the auger will move through snow and ice without scraping the ground. The more efficient your blower is at cleaning, the faster you’ll be able to get back to your life in the winter, and the less often you’ll have to get out to handle the driveway.
What features do I need in a snow blower?
Snowblowers do come in basic, single-stage models, but extra features will help the job go faster and more efficiently. The last thing you need is to spend hours trying to plow through snow that isn’t budging.
Some common features are:
- Power steering — This feature helps you maneuver heavier machinery. When you invest in a tough, dual-stage snow thrower, it’s going to get heavy. Pushing through snow might be hard enough without having to maneuver the weight of the machine itself.
- Push-button electric start — Trying to crank a machine in the dead of winter is a bummer. A push-button start allows you to get the engine going without much fuss. Some even allow you to plug in to get started, so you never have to worry about a frozen battery.
- Adjustable chute — Most chutes are adjustable. Some of the best models have fully adjustable chutes that you can change without having to stop the machine, allowing you to position castoff snow in just the right spot.
- Heated handles — Machines with heated handles offer comfort. While this isn’t necessary for operation and doesn’t move snow any faster, it’s a lot nice to have toasty hands when the weather is terrible out. Plus, it keeps your fingers limber enough to maneuver without having aches and pains later.
- Large, treaded tires — Larger tires make it easier to roll over snow and gravel without getting bogged down in a mess. Most tires aren’t air-filled, so you don’t worry about maintenance or accidental damage from things you can’t see under the snow in your driveway.
- Headlights — Are you always going to get to your driveway when the sun is out? Not necessarily. If you need to run out and clear through freshly fallen snow during the evening, headlights can make the job a whole lot easier for you to handle.
How long do snowblowers last?
The investment in a gas snow blower can seem daunting at first, but there’s good news. With many of the models, the engineering is designed to last around 10 years and upward of 15 years with proper maintenance. These aren’t like the cheap garden tools you have to replace every year.
It’s best to store your snow blower in a covered area, so it doesn’t get iced over every night or subject to rain and other elements. Ensuring you’ve kept the parts cleaned and performed routine maintenance to provide the best performance can also help prolong your snow blower’s life.
How do I store my snowblower at the end of winter?
It’s dangerous to store fuel in your gas blower even if it’s stabilized. To avoid any issues, run the snowblower one last time before putting it in storage to allow the gas to run out and avoid having any left in the tank over the summer.
Put your snowblower into storage in a covered area to ensure that rain and sun don’t damage the metal pieces. Wipe it down to remove any salt or debris that can cause damage if allowed to sit and check any of the replaceable parts like the spark plugs.
Consider getting a mat to keep your snowblower on and wrap it tightly with a tarp or a cover. It’s best to keep it away from moisture and ensure that it’s protected from dust. Never store anything on top of your snowblower.
I don’t have a garage. How do I store my snowblower?
Care for your snowblower in much the same way as your car. One of the best options for those of you with no garage storage is a small shed just for your snowblower. You can build one yourself or invest in one; as long as it has a floor and a roof, you’re fine.
If that isn’t an option, invest in a good mat to put under your snowblower and a cover or tarp that wraps tightly around the frame, leaving no exposed pieces or parts. That way, you can protect your blower from moisture and the elements. Storing it near a side of the house that stays pretty protected also helps.
What’s the difference between a snowblower and a snow thrower?
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but in reality, there’s a slight difference. A snowblower is a single-stage machine that tosses snow in one motion. A snow thrower is a dual-stage system that breaks up snow and ice before funneling it into the chute.
These distinctions don’t matter quite as much as the features or the knowledge of a single and dual-stage system. However, they might come in handy if you’re describing the type of machine you have.
Final thoughts on snowblowers/throwers
Investing in a good snow thrower is going to make your winter a whole lot easier. Whether you get moderate snow or deep snow, a snow thrower can help save time, energy, and your sanity. The machines on our list are well-rated, durable options that can handle more than just light snow seasons, and keep your driveway clear without worrying.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of working the snow thrower, you’ll never want to go back to a single shovel. Make sure you keep up with maintenance and proper storage techniques, and your snow thrower should offer you at least a decade of excellent service. Don’t let the blizzards get you down! Throw off that snow and get on with your life.
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