The best way to clear snow from your driveway and walkways is to use either a snow blower or snow thrower. For many, the difference between the two is mere semantics and this has led to some confusion. So let’s start by defining the two and look at the difference between a snow thrower and a snow blower.
A snow thrower is also referred to by its technical description, being a single-stage snow blower. A snow thrower uses an auger to churn up the snow and dispel it. This means that the snow is literally flung or thrown from the machine. A snow thrower is the cheaper option of the two and is less efficient. Because a snow thrower uses the auger for two purposes (loosening and throwing the snow), it won’t usually deposit the snow as far from the machine, nor will it cut as deep into the snow.
A snow blower, also known as a two-stage snow blower, is a more powerful and efficient machine. The two-stage action means that the auger only loosens and lifts the snow – this is the first stage. The second stage makes use of an impeller that acts like a fan, sucking the snow out of the auger and blowing it away from the machine. This two-stage action means that a snow blower will usually (but not always) blow the snow much further and because the auger isn’t performing two functions, it’s able to work better at removing the snow and will typically cut a deeper path than a snow thrower.
Both a snow thrower (single-stage snow blower) and a two-stage snow blower will come in different widths. More expensive wider machines will clear a wider path. You’ll get more electric snow throwers because they don’t need as much power as a snow blower that uses a two-stage action. A snow thrower’s motor only needs to power the auger whereas a snow blower needs to power both the auger and impeller. A snow blower is also self-propelled, meaning that you won’t require much effort to push it whilst working, this is better when moving heavy volumes of snow. Though the auger motion of a single stage snow blower (snow thrower) does help to move the machine forward and because they are usually used in lighter working conditions, this assistance is enough. Larger two-stage snow blowers are usually gas powered machines and there aren’t too many electric versions available because the lower power of an electric motor makes them fairly limited in their clearing capacity.
If you look at this description you may be asking: what’s the difference between a snow thrower and an electric snow shovel? Here the lines are even more blurred, they’re really one and the same thing. Though the term snow thrower is usually used to describe a machine with a wider and deeper clearing path. Mostly, people refer to an electric snow shovel as a snow thrower with a path that roughly resembles that which you’d clear with a conventional shovel, maybe a little wider – an electric snow shovel usually clears a path of around 12-15 inches. When we talk about snow throwers, it’s a machine with a larger and wider auger and will clear a path of about 16-20 inches or more.
Best Snow Blowers and Snow Throwers
Having covered these few details, let’s take a look at what you can get in these categories. This review is divided into four sections. First, we’ll review two of the best electric snow blowers and then three of the best electric snow throwers. Finally, we’ll review the best gas-powered machines: one snow thrower (single-stage snow blower) and four two-stage snow blowers. The prices will vary, as will the capabilities of the different models. Some will have a wider and/or deeper clearing path and the power of the machines will also differ, this will affect how many pounds of snow they move per minute and their throwing or blowing distance. All the snow blowers and throwers in this review come highly recommended and you can rest assured that buying any of these products is going to give you the best value for money in their class. All you need to do is take a look at which one best suits your needs and, of course, your budget.
1. Snow Joe Ultra SJ621 18-Inch 13.5-Amp Electric Snow Thrower
The Snow Joe Ultra SJ621 is the largest snow blower in their product range. It’s a powerful machine and performs as well as many two-stage snow blowers. This means that you’re getting a very powerful machine at a price that makes it one of the best value deals.
The powerful 13.5A electric motor drives a four blade steel auger – this, in itself, is exceptional for a single stage snow blower or, if you prefer, snow thrower. This gives it the ability to clear up to 650-pounds of snow per minute. You’ll be clearing a path that’s 18-inches wide and 10-inches deep. Pretty impressive for a versatile snow thrower that weighs just under 33-pounds.
The Snow Joe Ultra SJ621 has all the user functions and comfort that you could hope for. This includes a padded soft grip handle and remotely adjustable chute giving you 180-degree rotation. It even includes a 20W halogen light for working when the visibility is poor.
You couldn’t ask for more from an electric snow thrower. It’s extremely powerful and efficient. You’ll get a 2-year warranty on this product.
2. GreenWorks 2600202 13 Amp 20-Inch Corded Snow Thrower
The GreenWorks 20-inch snow thrower is probably the closest rival to the Snow Joe Ultra SJ621. The normal retail price of this model is slightly lower – but that will depend a lot on where you buy it. The only real difference that I see, that might be of importance to some, is that the GreenWorks snow thrower has a plastic auger whereas the Snow Joe has a steel auger.
The GreenWorks 20-inch snow thrower uses a 13A electric motor and has a clearing width of 20-inches and a depth of 10-inches. The snow will be thrown up to 20-feet from the chute. This places it in the same league as the Snow Joe alternative and is, therefore, one of the best in its class.
It has a very comfortable handle design and you can rotate the chute 180-degrees. It has really bright LED lights that give you a wide angle of view when working in the dark. Weighing only 32-pounds and with wheels that offer superb traction, the GreenWorks snow thrower is a pleasure to use.
Deciding between the GreenWorks and Snow Joe 20-inch snow throwers could come down to a coin toss, they offer you very much the same in terms of performance. Some may prefer the auger on the Snow Joe, but it’s debatable whether it’s actually better. Perhaps, look at the price and see which seems better in this regard. If your warranty is important to you, the GreenWorks 4-year warranty may make this one your preferred choice.
3. WEN 5662 Snow Blaster 13 Amp Electric Snow Thrower, 18-Inch
I like the tough and reliable aspect of the WEN 5662 Snow Blaster. It is a very robust snow blower. It costs a bit less than the other two electric snow blowers that we’ve looked at but doesn’t clear as wide or as deep. Though this difference is slight.
The 13A electric motor drives a well-designed auger that will throw the snow up to 20-feet from the machine and move 490-pounds of snow per minute. Your clearing width is 18-inches wide and 7.8-inches deep.
Apart from the slightly narrower clearing width, about 2-inches less depth and no lights, the WEN 5662 Snow Blaster has the same features as the others. It has an adjustable chute with a remote control lever – I’d say that the design of this lever is much stronger than the other two. It weighs 39-pounds and has fantastic 6-inch wheels. The WEN is every bit as easy and comfortable to use as the others.
So you’re not going to get the same work done with the WEN Snow Blaster – it has a smaller auger than the others. It is a little cheaper, though. In my opinion, the WEN looks like a more robust machine and it has a two-year warranty.
1. Toro 38381 18-Inch 15 Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower
The Toro 38381 18-inch offers perfect versatility for most homeowners. It’s big enough to handle a driveway without too much effort yet small and light enough to clear snow from your porch or walkways. It also has the power to handle relatively large tasks.
The 15A electric motor and power curve technology on the auger design is fantastic for delivering the correct amount of power for the job you’re undertaking. This means that the Toro 38381 1800 is going to churn through 700-pounds of snow per minute without breaking a sweat. The superbly designed auger will clear a path that is 18-inches wide and up to 12-inches deep and will clean right down to the pavement.
The handle is designed for really easy operation and maneuverability. You have your controls right where need them and can adjust the blower chute 160-degrees with a remote lever – so you can change the direction of where you’re blowing the snow as you work. It also has an adjustable zip deflector.
Although this is a fairly large machine, roughly the same size as an electric lawnmower, it’s very light (26-pounds). It’s easy to move and carry. The 6-inch wheels have great tread for giving the snow blower the traction it needs. All of this makes the Toro 38381 electric snow blower an easy machine to use, clearing snow is made as effortless as it can be.
I really don’t need to go into too much detail about the Toro brand, it’s one of America’s favorites, offering fantastic performance and value for money. Toro provides a 2-year warranty on this snow blower.
2. Snow Joe SJ615E 15-Inch 11-Amp Electric Snow Blower
Snow Joe is another brand that needs no introduction and their price vs function and quality makes them among the best deals that you can get. The Snow Joe SJ615E is a smaller and less powerful electric snow blower than the Toro 38381 and is also much cheaper. So if you don’t need such a big machine and don’t want to spend too much either, the Snow Joe SJ615E is going to appeal to you.
The 11A electric motor is great for light to medium snow, moving up to 440-pounds of snow per minute with a clearing width of 15-inches and a depth of 8-inches. The two blade plastic auger is very durable and is abrasion resistant. There’s no need to worry about clearing hard paved surfaces. It will discharge the snow from the chute up to 20-feet.
The handle design is similar to the Toro, with the only difference being that this model has a single hand power trigger, the Toro has a wide lever that stretches across the width of the handle making it a bit more convenient. The Snow Joe SJ615E has the same advantage of a remotely adjustable chute (180-degrees) and adjustable zip deflector. At a weight of 24-pounds, it’s easy to carry.
For one of the cheapest electric snow blowers, the Snow Joe SJ615E gives you everything that you’d want from a snow blower and it has a reasonable clearing width and depth. As for service and warranty, Snow Joe offers you as good a deal as any of the best brands and you get a 2-year residential (non-commercial) warranty on this snow blower.
1. Honda High Clearance Single Stage Snow Blower HS720AA
Honda equipment is never cheap and you’re paying for quality. I think that Honda engines are the best and, if you agree with this, you’ll see why it’s worth paying extra for the Honda HS720AA snow thrower. Chances are, you’ll never have to replace it because Honda machines last forever.
The Honda GC190 4-stroke OHC (Over Head Cam) engine is a remarkable piece of machinery. It’s as tough as it gets and starts easily, no matter how cold the weather. This engine gives the Honda snow blower the horsepower it needs to eat through the snow at an amazing pace. It works through 55-tons of snow per hour, that’s about 500-pounds per minute. It then throws the snow a distance of up 33-feet away – that’s incredible for a single-stage machine. It has very easy lever controls for managing the distance and direction of the snow through the rotational chute.
The auger is built for the toughest conditions with strong bearings and replaceable rubber paddles. This means that the Honda snow blower can be serviced for years and years. Instead of throwing the machine away after a few years, you can replace the necessary parts when the time comes. This auger has amazing depth clearance (12-inches) and it clears a 20-inch path with ease.
The Honda HS720AA is built to be really tough. It’s almost all steel with very little plastic, only the wheels and grips on the handles are made from plastic and, even these, are made from very durable plastic. All of this does make the Honda a very heavy machine for a snow thrower of this size, it weighs 91.5-pounds.
If you see the sense in buying the most durable and robust machinery, then the price of the Honda won’t bother you. If you’re looking for a cheap snow thrower, this one’s not for you. The Honda HS720AA costs more than some of the larger two-stage snow blowers, so it’s for everyone. Though this little beast will be churning through snow just as reliably as did on day-one, many years after the others have gone to snow thrower graveyard. Honda offers just about the best after-sales service in the world and you should always be able to get parts and technical support for this machine. You get a 2-year warranty for residential use and 3 months commercial use on the Honda HS720AA.
1. Husqvarna ST224P – 24-Inch 208cc Two-Stage Electric Start with Power Steering Snow Blower
There’s no question about it – Husqvarna is just about the best when it comes to gas-powered garden tools and they’re not shy about charging for this. The Husqvarna ST224P is designed as much for indestructible durability as it is for easy and comfortable use.
It’s powered by a 208cc 6.3HP monster of an engine with an electric starter. It has a really smooth friction disc transmission that gives you six speed settings for forward motion and one reverse speed, controlled by a lever at the handle. The ribbon auger design is super-efficient and clears a 24-inch path with ease.
The chute rotation lever is also accessible at any time, right where you need it. The loop handle makes handling this snow blower a breeze and it even has a heated grip for more comfortable working in the icy cold. It also has LED headlights. The heavy-duty wheels have a tractor-style tread and solid steel rims. Adjustable skid shoes mean that you can work right down to the ground on any surface.
Built tough and with a full list of specs and features, the Husqvarna is definitely worth hauling out a few extra bucks for. This a premium snow blower. Husqvarna has a 5-year guaranteed to start warranty on this engine – so if it fails to start during this period (provided that it has been correctly maintained), they will repair the engine for free. The warranty for the snow blower is 3-years.
2. Briggs and Stratton 1696619 Dual-Stage Snow Blower with 250cc Engine and Electric Start
The Briggs & Stratton 1696619 is every bit as impressive as the Husqvarna equivalent and is priced around the same mark. The only thing this snow blower doesn’t have is heated handles, otherwise, it meets the same high standard of the Husqvarna and some might prefer the features and specs on the Briggs & Stratton.
The engine used on this machine is a 250cc variant from the 1150 snow series. These engines are purposefully designed for starting and operating in freezing conditions (as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit), making this the perfect engine for a powerful two-stage snow blower. It has electric start and friction disc transmission. This engine powers a mighty steel auger, clearing a path that’s 27-inches wide and 20-inches deep. Clearing snow from a long driveway is no problem for this snow blasting beast.
The levers for adjusting your speed and chute direction are placed on the handle, right where you need them. It has powerful LED lights and is a pleasure to use. The weight is quite good for such a large snow blower, 189-pounds and it has heavy-duty wheels, providing excellent traction.
Briggs & Stratton have been building power equipment for about a century now and they know their stuff. You also get excellent service backup from Briggs & Stratton, as well as a 3-year warranty.
3. YARDMAX YB6270 Two-Stage Snow Blower
The YardMax YB6270 is also built for tough conditions. The auger design is different to most others and this can be beneficial in certain conditions.
It has a 208cc 7HP engine with both electric and recoil starter. The transmission has 6 forward speeds and two for reverse. The auger gives you a 24-inch clearing width and works to a depth of 21-inches. The auger has serrated cutting blades which makes it the best for tightly compacted snow and hard ice. The powerful steel impeller is also designed to maximize its ability to remove large volumes of snow and ice.
It has easy to use controls for adjusting your speed and the chute direction. The handle offers you versatile gripping positions and together with the great 13”X4” wheels, it’s really easy to use. Although this is also a durable machine with plenty of steel, it’s lighter than many others at 161-pounds.
The YardMax YB6270 is not too cheap, but you’re getting the type of quality that you’d expect from a snow blower of this caliber. It’s a great machine with one of the best augers for icy conditions.
4. Poulan PRO PR271 – 27-Inch 254cc Two-Stage Electric Start with Power Steering Snow Blower – 961920091
The Poulan 254cc OHV engine is very durable and has an electric starter. This powers a very impressive ribbon auger with a clearing capacity of 27-inches wide and has a 23-inch intake height. The handles and controls are as good as any of the others. You’re able to control the chute direction with a remote control lever and it has a lever that controls your speed via a friction disc transmission with six forward speeds and one reverse.
It has an LED light and the 13”X4” wheels with great tread are as impressive as any of the best snow blowers. The plastic skid shoes make it very smooth when working on an uneven surface.
The Poulan Pro PR271 deserves its ranking among the best gas-powered snow blowers and the engine has a fantastic 4-year warranty all the other components (with some limitations) are covered by a 2-year warranty.