There are homeowners who shudder at the idea of owning a shed full of outdoor power equipment that needs upkeep, then there are others who buy the biggest, beefiest gear available to mow, blow, and otherwise maintain the homestead. The three-stage Cub Cadet 3X 30” Pro H snow blower, $2,400, is for the latter folks. It’s a beast at slicing through deep mounds of snow—including that stubborn plow pile at the end of the driveway—and flings it faster and farther than other machines. Consumer Reports gave it top marks in our latest snow blower tests.

When Bigger Is Better

What makes the Cub Cadet so adept at snow removal is its updated mechanicals. An auger with 14-inch-wide fins—2 inches wider than those on previous models in Cub Cadet’s 3X line—feeds snow, ice, and slush to accelerator blades that move it to the impeller and shoot it out the discharge chute. In our tests, the Cub Cadet 3X 30" Pro H was the fastest at clearing wet sawdust, which stands in for wet, heavy snow when we test in the off-season, and knocked down a volume equal to what is left by municipal plows. Better yet, it cleared a 30-inch-wide swath in a single pass, second only to models with 34-inch-wide intakes.

At 352 pounds, the Cub Cadet is hefty but surprisingly easy to maneuver. The transmission allows you to set any speed up to 4 mph without having to stop and change gears. You can also shift smoothly from forward to reverse and back again in one simple motion. Other handy features include reliable push-button starting and heated handgrips. For dusk or nighttime snow removal, an LED lamp lights your way and makes you more visible to cars and plows. However, storing the Cub Cadet requires more than 13 square feet of floor space, which can mean a tight fit next to a car in a single-car garage.

Less Expensive Options

If you still want a big machine but at a lower price, the Cub Cadet 3X 30-inch HD, $1,650, performed nearly as well as our top-rated model. But with smaller auger blades and accelerators, and a smaller impeller, it wasn’t quite as quick at removing snow. It has a traditional transmission that makes it more difficult to quickly shift from forward to reverse, and it was a little more difficult to find a comfortable walking pace.

Most homeowners who regularly get up to 16 inches of medium to heavy snow will probably be happy with traditional two-stage snow blowers. Both the Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30, $1,500, and the Craftsman 88976, $1,600, got the job done in our tests.