What's behind our snow blower Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 86 models in snow blowers to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Based mainly on removal speed, distance, surface cleaning, controls, and handling.
  • Width
    The snow blower's clearing width, or swath, in inches.
  • Removal speed
    How quickly models could remove snow without laboring; We push single-stage machines as quickly as possible before the machine labors.
  • Plow pile removal
    How quickly the snow thrower can remove a simulated pile of snow left by a municipal plow at the end of a driveway.
  • Throwing distance
    How far a model disperses snow straight ahead, left, and right with the discharge chute set for maximum distance. Measured distances ranged from roughly 10 feet to more than 30 feet.
  • Surface cleaning
    Denotes how much snow the machines left on our blacktop surface after clearing with the skid shoes and/or scraper set for best clearing. The best in our tests leave a thin dusting; the worst leave a relatively thick coating.
  • Handling
    Denotes ease of pushing, pulling, and steering with the engine or motor on and off, along with how straight machines track while clearing.
  • Noise
    Sound pressure measured in dBA at the operator's ear. We measure it to determine the need to use hearing protection during operation. For a rating of less then "good," we strongly advise you use hearing protection.
  • Controls
    Includes ease of discharge-chute adjustment, handle height and comfort, and engine controls and speed selection.

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Recommended snow blowers

Recommended snow blowers are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Bigger, better, and friendlier are the terms that best describe the latest snow blowers, also called snow throwers. The new models feature easier steering and more convenient chute controls. If you're looking for information about snow blowers, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ snow blower reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our snow blower buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and snow blower reviews to help you choose the best snow blower for your needs.

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Snow blower buying guide

Larger storms are spawning bigger, brawnier snow blowers. But you needn't buy the largest, widest model to get competent clearing. You'll find smaller, easier-handling machines for smaller driveways, and midsized models that can handle the occasional heavy storm. Large or hilly driveways and consistently deep snow, however, demand a larger snow blower with power-driven wheels. Use this snow-blower guide to find the right model for your needs.

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