Best Budget Snow Blowers

Clear your driveway—not your bank account—with these impressive models

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person pushing snowblower through deep snow Photo: iStock

Many of the best snow blowers (or snow throwers) in Consumer Reports’ snow blower ratings cost a pretty penny. Some approach $3,000, which can feel like a lot to invest, particularly for a tool you may need only a few times per season.

But hidden among those more expensive models are a few standouts that’ll clear a path in even the deepest snow and without draining your savings. Sure, you might have to give up some snazzy features or select a slightly smaller model, but that’s still a lot better than clearing your driveway the old-fashioned way, with a shovel.

“While we do generally see pricier snow blowers score better, you don’t need to break the bank to get a top performer,” says Misha Kollontai, CR’s test engineer in charge of snow blower testing. “At a certain point, what you get for the added cost is often more features rather than improved performance.”

More on Snow Blowers

Among the features you might lose on budget-friendly models are heated handgrips, headlights, or easy-to-adjust snow-throwing chutes. All are nice features but none are essential, and you can save hundreds if you don’t get hung up on having them. You’ll also save by buying the smallest snow blower you can for your purposes, within reason. Very few people truly need a three-stage snow blower, which can clear 18-inch-deep snow in a single pass—and we don’t have any in our ratings that would be considered budget-friendly, anyway.

In most cases, a good two-stage snow blower can clear as well as a three-stage model, with the best ones clearing snow up to about 16 inches deep. You’ll save even more if you opt for a compact two-stage snow blower, which can clear to the same depth as a full-sized two-stage blower but in a slightly narrower path. These models usually clear a path that’s 24 inches instead of 30 inches wide. You’ll end up making more passes on a large driveway but you’ll save money, and many compact models can be a little easier to maneuver because of their smaller size.

If you live in an area where you rarely get more than a half-foot of snow in a typical storm, you can get away with a single-stage snow blower, which is cheaper still.

If you’re new to snow blowers or trying to figure out what configuration makes the most sense for you, our snow blower buying guide is the place to start. You can also dive right into our ratings to find the right model or simply read on for the best budget-friendly snow blowers from CR’s tests.

Best Budget Two-Stage Gas Snow Blowers

Best Budget Compact Two-Stage Gas Snow Blowers

Best Budget Single-Stage Gas Snow Blowers

Best Budget Electric Snow Blowers

Tell us how much you'd spend in the comments below.

Do you get enough snow to justify buying a snow blower?


Paul Hope

As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.