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Heated handles take the sting out of clearing snow

Some larger snow blowers have this bonus feature

Published: January 28, 2014 04:45 PM

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Innovative features on some of the latest snow blowers tested by Consumer Reports, including the top-ranked Cub Cadet 31AH57S, $1,500, and the Ariens 921032, $1,300, have improved snow removal speed and maneuverability. But when you’re clearing the driveway in bitterly cold temperatures, another little feature can make a big difference in your comfort—heated hand grips.

The heated handles typically come on larger models that cost more, starting with the 26-inch, track-driven Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2690XP 31BM73R 3, $1,100, featured in our tests. Many snow blowers with 28- to 30-inch clearing widths, including the Cub Cadet 31AH57S, also have heated grips.

Unfortunately, it's the snow blowers with the narrowest clearing widths that keep you out in the cold longer and they usually aren't equipped with the heated handles. If you use one of those machines, you can keep your hands warm with air-activated or other hand warmers ($1 to $2 per warmer) that you slip into your gloves.

To find the best snow blower for the size of your property as well as the amount of snow you typically clear, see the results of our snow blower tests, which feature both single-stage and two-stage blowers.

—Ed Perratore

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