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Using a snow blower to clear a sidewalk.

Best Snow Blowers for Quick Clearing

Standouts from CR's tests of more than 60 models

Residents of Denver and other parts of the Rocky Mountains, up into Wyoming, have already received their first snowfall of the season, compliments of winter storm Aiden. And while it’s probably too late for them to expect any preseason deals on snow blowers, folks in other parts of the country who’ll need one this winter would do well to act now.

“You may still be able to find deals in some areas, in the form of leftover inventory and early season ‘new low prices,’ ” says Courtney Pennicooke, CR’s market analyst for outdoor power equipment. “You also have a greater selection of models to choose from than if you wait until the first snow hits.”

How We Test Snow Blowers

In order rate snow blowers every year in time for you to buy one early, Consumer Reports had to get creative in how we test them. 

Because we don’t get enough snow early enough in the season at our facility in Yonkers, N.Y., we use hundreds of pounds of sawdust, soaked in water to mimic deep, heavy snow. This approach allows us to manipulate the mixture, creating deep piles and snow banks for our rigorous battery of tests for removal speed, throwing distance, and surface cleaning. 

And unlike snow, sawdust doesn’t melt or change consistency with the weather, which makes for fair comparisons.

To identify the top performers in the marketplace, we test models from a wide swath of brands, including Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Craftsman, Briggs & Stratton, Ariens, Honda, Toro, Worx, EGO, Husqvarna, Poulan, and SnowJoe. We rate 1-, 2-, and 3-stage blowers, and there are more than 60 models in our current ratings. (If you’re not sure what type you should consider, check out CR’s snow blower buying guide.) Read on for CR’s ratings and reviews of the best models for each type from our current rankings.

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

Best 3-Stage Snow Blowers

For clearing up to 18 inches or more

Cub Cadet 3X 30” PRO H
Price: $2,400
Overall score: 92
Rank: 1 of 6
CR’s take: No snow blower clears faster, or more thoroughly, than this Cub Cadet. Period. It throws snow far out of your path and is built with nice features like electric start, built-in headlights, and even heated hand grips.

Cub Cadet 3X 30” HD
Price: $1,650
Overall score: 91
Rank: 2
CR’s take: This premium Cub Cadet model, sold exclusively at Home Depot, performs almost as well as our top-rated snow blower but costs a whopping $750 less. It still plows through a 30-inch-wide path in a single pass and clears like few other tools.

Troy-Bilt Vortex 2890
Price: $1,200
Overall score: 90
Rank: 3
CR’s take: For half the price of the top-scoring blower, this model clears almost as well and in a slightly narrower profile—it’s 28 inches wide as opposed to 30. It still has nice features like headlights and heated hand grips, and unlike the two models above, you can access and adjust all of the controls using one hand.

Snow blowers in Our Ratings.
Current Snow blower Ratings