The top-rated snow blower in Consumer Reports’ tests costs $2,400 and can move mountains of snow. The Cub Cadet 3X 30 ProH is a three-stage gas snow blower, and you’ll pay for that power. But look a few spots down the ratings chart and you’ll find another three-stage snow blower that costs half as much and scored so well we named it a CR Best Buy. It’s the Troy-Bilt Vortex 2890, $1,200, and is just one of the capable snow blowers we tested that will help you clear your driveway without cleaning out your bank account. Here are several other good deals listed from the most powerful to the least so you can match the machine to your average snowfall.

Three-Stage Gas Snow Blowers (18+ inches of snow)

Troy-Bilt Vortex 2890: $1,200
What we liked: The Troy-Bilt Vortex was excellent at snow-removal speed, throwing distance, and clearing a plow pile at the end of a driveway. The controls are intuitive; it handles like a champ. The 28-inch clearing width can handle a large driveway and it performs almost as well as wider models that cost much more. Premium features include a push-button electric start, headlight, heated handgrips, and a joystick to control the discharge chute.
What we didn’t like: This model didn’t leave the pavement as clear as higher-scoring machines, so you may have to make a second pass.
 
Troy-Bilt Vortex 2490: $1,100
What we like: The performance of this Troy-Bilt Vortex falls just below its brandmate, but its 24-inch-wide intake makes the machine easier to store than larger 28- or 30-inch versions. Another CR Best Buy, it has features found on higher-end models and can be driven with one hand on the machine and the other on the joystick to direct the discharge.
What we didn’t like: The snow-removal speed and throwing distance, while very good, are not quite as good as more expensive models in this category.

Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower (up to 16 inches)

Ariens AX254 921030: $1,000
What we liked: With almost flawless performance in our major tests, including removal speed, plow-pile reduction, and handling, this snow blower has a larger auger and impeller than other machines in the two-stage category, which boosts performance. And with a 28-inch-wide intake, it’s wider than most models we tested. An automotive-style steering system allows the inner wheel to rotate more slowly than the outer one, resulting in fluid, natural turns in the driveway.
What we didn’t like: The Ariens doesn't have heated handgrips, but that’s common at this price. And the snow blower has a lever-controlled chute, but it handles only the discharge angle. You’ll need to use a separate crank to rotate the direction to the left or right.
 
Craftsman 88694: $900
What we liked: There's a lot to love about this 26-inch-wide snow blower. It scored high marks for removal speed and plow-pile clearing, and just below that in other important tests, like surface cleaning, handling, and ease of using the controls. Billed as Craftsman’s quiet snow blower, it has an engine that makes almost half as much noise as other Craftsman blowers of similar size, though we still recommend hearing protection.
What we didn’t like: Like other models in this price range, it lacks heated handgrips. It also lacks a headlight, which is often standard equipment on two-stage machines.
 
Troy-Bilt Storm 2860: $900
What we liked: The Troy-Bilt Storm is 2 inches wider than the Craftsman above, which could be a challenge for storing next to a vehicle in a single-car garage. It clears snow as well as machines with larger engines and features heated handgrips, push-button electric starting, and a headlight.
What we didn’t like: Be prepared to muscle this more than 200-pound machine through turns, because it lacks the wheel-controlling transmission that makes pivoting easier.

Compact Two-Stage Gas Blower (up to 12 inches)

Cub Cadet 2x 24HP 31AM53SR710: $900
What we liked: This Cub Cadet clears a 24-inch-wide swath and scored high marks for snow-removal speed, tackling a plow pile, and throwing distance. The controls are easy to use and work well, helping you turn the chute, guide the snow blower, and change speeds. It lacks a joystick-style chute control—few models in this category have that feature—but it does include a headlight and electric push-button starter.
What we didn’t like: Like many other snow blowers, it’s noisy.
 
Craftsman 88173: $600
What we liked: The Craftsman has the same 24-inch-wide intake as the Cub Cadet but removed snow faster. Clearing right down to the pavement, this model also took down a plow pile and has a good range of pace settings through eight selectable speeds.
What we didn’t like: Except for the electric push-button starter, there aren’t a lot of extras on this model. It lacks a headlight, heated handgrips, and single-lever chute control. And without a freewheel transmission, turning the 162-pound machine can be awkward. Snow-throwing distance was only so-so.

Troy-Bilt 2410: $600
What we liked: At the same price, this Troy-Bilt performed like the Craftsman. It scored very good in all tests except for throwing distance and, when compared with the Craftsman, was slightly less efficient at taking down a plow pile.
What we didn’t like: There’s no headlight or freewheel steering, so turning is more difficult. Snow-throwing distance was mediocre.

Single-Stage Gas Snow Blowers (up to 9 inches)

Toro Power Clear 721 QZR 38743: $680
What we liked: This top-performer clears a 21-inch-wide path well and relatively quickly, and is easy to handle. It can effectively tackle the pile left by your local plow driver, unlike many other single-stage gas snow throwers. In testing, the controls were intuitive and worked well, including a discharge chute that you can easily adjust from the handlebars.
What we didn’t like: It doesn’t have electric start or a headlight, and throwing distance was average.

Craftsman 88780: $450
What we liked: At a lower price than the Toro, this Craftsman clears a 21-inch-wide path and has an electric push-button starter. It takes on plow piles successfully and wipes down to the paved surface very well, like most rubber-tipped single-stage snow blowers.
What we didn’t like: To rotate the discharge chute, you have to lean over the machine and grab a plastic handle—there's no joystick or crank. Changing the arc of the discharge is a separate adjustment on the chute, which wasn’t the easiest to control. Snow-removal speed was average and throwing distance was so-so.

Single-Stage Battery Snow Blower (up to 6 inches)

EGO SNT2102: $600
What we liked: This battery electric-powered model clears a 21-inch-wide swath. Handling, noise level, and ease of use take the highest marks here, and the EGO is simple to operate and starts reliably. Snow-removal speed and conquering a plow pile were fair; throwing distance and surface cleaning scored better. The kit comes with two 5-amp-hour lithium-ion batteries that are 56 volts each. The snow blower needs only one battery to run, but with a pair of full-charge power packs, expect about 30 minutes of runtime before requiring 40 minutes to recharge each. This model’s five-year warranty was the longest of any snow blower we tested.
What we didn’t like: The EGO was the best-performing battery electric snow blower in our tests, but it’s still best-suited for light duty on decks, walkways, and small driveways.