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A snow blower clearing snow

Best Snow Blowers for $1,000 or Less

Shop before winter weather hits if you want your pick of top models

There’s no substitute for a snow blower after a serious snowstorm. While your neighbors are breaking their backs shoveling out from the latest snowmageddon, your driveway and walks are cleared and you’re inside, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and catching up on email.

But unless you live in a place with heavy snowfall each winter, you might not want to shell out upwards of $2,500 on a snow blower you’ll use only a few times each winter.

More on Snow Blowers

That’s where Consumer Reports comes in. Several snow blowers we’ve tested cost $1,000 or less, and many of them clear snow almost as well as the pricier top picks in our ratings of dozens of models from Ariens, Craftsman, Cub Cadet, John Deere, Troy-Bilt, and more.

In this review of the best snow blowers for $1,000 or less, we focus on two-stage snow blowers—they’re cheaper than three-stage blowers and are more versatile than single-stage blowers. Two-stage snow blowers—the most popular type—can clear snow up to about 16 inches deep.

How CR Tests Snow Blowers

It’s nice that no two snowflakes are alike, but that presents a problem for Consumer Reports’ testing protocol. “We need to run our tests with something we can standardize, for consistency,” explains John Galeotafiore, who oversees snow-blower testing at Consumer Reports. “That’s the reason we use a mixture of special sawdust saturated with water, instead of snow.”

The mixture we use can simulate a standard snowfall or be molded into a plow pile. (You know—the ones the town plow leaves at the foot of your driveway.) In each test, we time how fast each model cuts through the dense mixture and note how far the sawdust is thrown.

Now's Still a Good Time to Buy

Sales on snow blowers typically occur before and after the season, with preseason deals usually wrapping up in late October. “But this is still a smart time to buy a snow blower” if wintry weather hasn't arrived where you live, says CR market analyst Courtney Pennicooke. “By shopping now, and not waiting until after the first snowfall, you’ll have your pick of the best models.” (If you’re a snow blower novice, check out CR’s snow blower buying guide before you shop to make sure a two-stage model will serve you best.)

Each of the best snow blowers for less than $1,000 featured here can handle a heavy snowfall with ease.

8 Great Two-Stage Snow Blowers

These models earned a Very Good or Excellent overall score in CR’s tests.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.

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Snow blowers in Our Ratings.
Current Snow blower Ratings