Best Cheap Snow Blowers
This buying guide recommends the best cheap snow blowers (aka snow throwers), including gas and electric snow blower models, based on snow blower reviews.
What We Considered
To research and compare snow blowers, we consulted expert sources such as Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, and MovingSnow.com, all of which do product testing. We also plowed through thousands of online reviews from current and past owners of cheap snow blowers on the websites of retailers including Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, and Sears. Most reviews focus on performance, maneuverability, durability, and ease of use. All in all, reviews indicate that buyers who match the specs to their particular needs and have realistic expectations are satisfied with cheap snow blowers.
We Looked At
Manufacturers often indicate the power of a snow blower in cubic centimeters (CCs) for gas models and amps for electric blowers, which can make it confusing to compare models. CCs refer to the volume of piston displacement in a gas-powered engine. The greater the displacement, the more powerful the engine. The same is true for the amp rating in an electric motor -- the more amps (a unit of measure for electric current), the more powerful the motor. In the case of battery-powered blowers, higher voltage means more power.
Reviews indicate that more power doesn't necessarily mean better performance. Indeed, a slew of satisfied reviewers say many of the less-powerful blowers we researched do just fine for light snowfall on small, paved areas and deftly blow away top layers of deep snow.
Still, expectations are usually higher for gas snow blowers, and users' satisfaction often depends on how well they have matched a snow blower's capabilities with weather conditions in their area. While an electric or single-stage gas blower should suffice for lighter use, buyers who live in very snowy climates should consider a two- or three-stage gas model.
If light weight is a key requirement, it's no contest: Electric snow blowers win out big time. The electric models on our list start around 32 pounds. The heftiest, a battery-powered model meant to compete with gas blowers, tops out at 64 pounds. For an even lighter option, a power shovel can make quick work of smaller, tighter areas where a blower would be too awkward.
The lightest (and least powerful) gas snow blower among our picks is just under 60 pounds, while the three-stage model we favor tops out at a hefty 267 pounds. Fortunately, a gas blower is also more likely to feature some form of self-propulsion and power steering, making it less of a beast to move. Still, gas blowers are likely to be bulkier, so users who need help clearing snow in tight areas will want to stick to an electric model -- or a tried-and-true shovel, electric or otherwise.
User-friendly touches can make a demanding winter chore easier, if not fun. Buyers who have switched from gas to electric snow blowers prize the ability to plug in and go rather than mess with a fuel tank and pull start. Apart from a few users who feel hampered by the cord (which can be run over, if you're not careful), most say electric blowers are easy to manage once you get the hang of it, which happens pretty quickly. Even easier to manage are battery-operated models that don't require an outdoor extension cord or a well-placed outlet. Other features reviewers appreciate include small touches like easy-to-operate power buttons that don't require constant engagement and snow-discharge chutes that are easy to aim. Bells and whistles like headlights, heated handgrips, and remote chute control are nice but uncommon on the cheapest blowers.
Gas snow blowers require more user engagement than electric snow blowers. Oil and fuel levels must be checked throughout the season, and the engine should be cleaned when snow is done for the year. A pull cord or recoil start demands priming the engine and setting the choke, and some users find the recoil action awkward, if not impossible. But technological improvements have made the top gas snow blowers quite user-friendly. For one, the four-cycle engines now common at the cheaper end of the market have separate compartments for oil and gasoline, so there's no need to premix the two, as you would with a two-cycle engine. Several users report that their clothes no longer have the telltale odor that inevitably comes with a two-cycle model. In addition, many top snow blowers now have a convenient electric start that can eliminate any struggles with the pull cord.
Our Top Pick
Craftsman 88780 Review
Users say this single-stage Craftsman snow blower is adept with fairly hefty accumulations of up to about a foot on smooth surfaces. Because it's self-propelled and easy to handle, it's a good pick for buyers who need a powerful snow blower but can't manage a heavier two- or three-stage gas model.
Enough power to manage heavier snowfalls, including icy deposits, users say in online reviews.
21-inch clearing width.
Convenience features include self-propulsion and push-button start.
Excellent or very good marks in expert tests for handling, plow-pile removal, and surface cleaning.
4-cycle engine with separate tanks for fuel and oil; no premixing required.
Some reviews suggest that the throwing distance is not very far; deep snow may further shorten the range.
As a single-stage snow blower, it's not designed for use on gravel or rough surfaces.
Some reviewers complain of vibration and others say the build is not as sturdy as it could be.
Greenworks 2600502 Review
Budget-conscious buyers who don't regularly battle blizzards should be pleased with the Greenworks 2600502. Users who've gotten used to managing the cord praise the ability of this lightweight electric blower to clear snow up to about 8 inches. Even with some complaints regarding durability and construction, the majority consensus is that, for the price, this blower is hard to beat.
Longer warranty (4 years) than most snow blowers, gas or electric.
Very lightweight and easy to maneuver, at only 32 pounds, and compact for easy storage, users say.
Clears a 20-inch path, slightly wider than other cheap electric blowers, so fewer passes may be necessary.
Less maintenance than a gas blower.
Relatively quiet; owners compare the noise to a loud vacuum cleaner.
Too many plastic flimsy plastic parts to stand up to long-term use, many users say; some reports of units that were dead upon first use.
Models that come with an outdoor extension cord are more expensive.
Recommended 50-foot cord length may not be sufficient for long driveways and sidewalks.
Although the battery-powered Snow Joe iON 18SB can't compete with other snow blowers on power, many owners say it's got the chops to chew through lighter snowfalls on smaller driveways and sidewalks. They also say it's hard to beat the quiet engine and cord-free, lightweight maneuverability compared with bulkier gas blowers.
Battery means no fussing with a power cord.
Very lightweight, at only 32 pounds, making it easy to lift and maneuver.
Good marks for surface cleaning in expert tests.
8-inch snow intake makes it well-suited for occasional use and light accumulations.
Less noisy than gas models.
Energy Star certified.
Not enough power to deal with heavy snow; don't expect to easily clear more than 3 to 4 inches at a time, several owners warn.
Many say this blower clogs easily and has a limited throwing distance.
With up to 50 minutes of run time per charge, the battery might not last long enough for larger jobs.
Some complaints of long recharge times.
Toro Power Clear 518 ZE Review
This single-stage Toro snow blower is light, compact, and cheap for a gas model. While the Toro Power Clear 518 ZE doesn't have the oomph of more expensive blowers, users say it's plenty adept with snowfalls of up to about a foot. Its modest weight and ease of operation are top selling points for consumers who want an entry-level gas blower that's simple to use from start to finish. Experts say the brand deserves the positive feedback it receives from bargain-minded consumers.
Very light for a gas blower, at 58 pounds.
Locking deflector to direct snow high or low and a discharge chute that rotates 210 degrees to throw snow where users want it.
Backup electric starter and variable speeds.
High marks in expert tests for throwing distance, surface cleaning, and handling.
Collapses for easy storage.
4-cycle engine with separate tanks for fuel and oil; no premixing required.
2-year, guaranteed-to-start (in one or two pulls) warranty in addition to a 2-year full-coverage warranty.
Struggles somewhat with wet snow, according to reviews.
Rubber paddles don't make much of a dent in tightly compressed snow, some users say.
Reports of paddles breaking and screws loosening or falling out.
Some users complain that the oil tank is awkwardly positioned, making refills difficult, and the gas tank lid can be hard to remove.
The corded electric Snow Joe Ultra SJ622E does a fine job even on heftier accumulations of powdery snow, owners say. They love the lightweight frame and no-hassle upkeep of this electric blower. Many say it's good for clearing off a deck. Reviewers warn that it's underpowered for wet snow, or that the cord gets in the way, but those are complaints levied against all electric models. Users say it beats a shovel any day and score the Snow Joe brand tops among electric blowers for reliability.
15-amp engine is on the powerful side for an electric blower.
Handles up to about 10 inches of powdery snow with ease, users say.
Very lightweight, at just over 32 pounds, making it easy to push and maneuver.
Earns high praise for quick and easy assembly -- less than 5 minutes by most accounts.
Requires little maintenance and folds up for storage.
Lacks the power to deal with wetter snow, many users say, leading to clogging and reduced throwing distance.
Requires an outdoor extension cord that can be pricey.
PowerSmart DB5023 Review
Very inexpensive but effective for lighter accumulations, the corded electric PowerSmart DB5023 suits buyers who need a snow blower only occasionally and are willing to drag along a power cord. Users say it has surprising power and clears small driveways and walkways with minimal effort, as long as the snow's not too wet or too deep.
8-inch intake height easily clears up to 6 inches of powdery snow, owners say.
30-foot throwing distance is farther than competitors.
Quieter and lower-maintenance than a gas blower.
At 37 pounds, it's a bit heavier than comparable electric blowers.
Too many flimsy plastic parts, reviewers say.
1-year warranty is half the industry standard.
Requires an outdoor extension cord that can be pricey.
Low-maintenance, go-anywhere cordless snow blowers have undeniable appeal, but the Greenworks Pro 2600402 seems to miss the mark despite a souped-up 80-volt battery. Several users say it labors in deep or wet snow, while others complain that it simply stopped working after just minutes of operation.
Battery-powered, so users don't have to fuss with a power cord.
Maintenance-free, brushless motor and push-button start.
Less noisy than gas models; good marks for quiet operation in expert tests.
Long 4-year warranty.
Not enough power to deal with wetter snow, several users say.
Reviewers report several durability and quality-control issues, with some receiving units that are dead on arrival.
Many say the battery life is much shorter than the 45 minutes promised.
Poulan Pro PR100 Review
The single-stage Poulan Pro PR100 is temptingly cheap for a snow blower with a reasonably powerful gas engine, but reviewers raise a lot of red flags. Many say it's a beast to drag through the snow, often because of malfunctioning wheels. Others report flying bolts and even the muffler falling off the blower.
Inexpensive for a gas snow blower.
Wide 21-inch clearing path.
Easily clears paved driveways and other small, hard surfaces, users say.
Separate tanks for oil and gasoline simplify maintenance.
Reviewers report durability and quality-control issues such as bolts that shake loose, poorly welded mufflers, and wheels that are prone to jamming.
No electric start or self-propulsion.
Can be hard to maneuver, many users say.
Other Products We Reviewed
GreenWorks Snow Thrower Review
GreenWorks Snow Thrower reviews are strong across expert and consumer review sites. This electric snow blower is tagged a leader in its class by reviewers, who shine a spotlight on its power, feature set, and durability. Users posting reviews on Viewpoints express relief that this snow thrower makes the old lifting-and-throwing routine a thing of the past and say it does a first-rate job on lighter snow up to 8 inches and manages moderate amounts of heavier snow at a slower pace. The power surprises some users, according to reviews on Amazon, where they tell of quickly clearing large driveways covered in several inches of snow, which lands far enough out of the way to avoid the annoyance of clearing the same snow twice. We did, however, come across a post saying the throw distance drops slightly when the discharge chute is turned to the side. These reviewers ditto the assessment that denser snow requires more effort and a few caution that too many storms dumping lots of wet snow in a season might be too much for this model. Of course, you can always minimize the strain on the machine by running the snow thrower periodically as the snow piles up. In general, though, GreenWorks 26032 reviews indicate that purchasers are quite pleased with the performance-to-price ratio.
At 46 pounds, the GreenWorks Snow Thrower (starting at $200, Amazon) is still easy to maneuver -- 8-inch radial wheels are a big help -- or even carry onto a deck. This model features a 12-amp electric motor and can move up to 500 pounds of snow a minute. It has a 10-inch intake and 20-inch clearing path and a maximum throwing distance of 20 feet. The blades are plastic and the discharge chute can be rotated 180 degrees. There's a cord lock to ensure it stays plugged in, and the handlebar can be set at three heights; even tall users find it comfortable.
The Greenworks Snow Thrower is a sturdy and reliable performer, one backed by a particularly long four-year warranty. Given its price, features, and execution in moderate snowfalls, this snow thrower looks like a good deal.
WORX Snow Thrower Review
Consumers looking for a light but sturdy electric snow blower that's sufficient for several inches of mostly fluffy snow will be happy with the WORX Snow Thrower. This electric snow thrower is recommended for snowfall up to 8 inches and WORX Snow Thrower reviews on Snow Blowers Direct say that in such conditions, it clears like a champ. Small amounts of slushy snow are quickly cleared and hurled yards away, assert some reviews. One user notes as an aside that a bottom layer of ice may cause some skidding of the plastic wheels without affecting snow removal. Consumers also cheer this model in reviews on Amazon. One reports it successfully nibbled through 2-foot snow-plow piles at the end of the driveway. Another compares it favorably to a slightly more powerful competitor in terms of price and overall value but concedes that the WORX Snow Thrower lags a bit when set against deep and dense snow. The WORX Snow Thrower is easier to store, this review continues, and less demanding of the required electrical accessories (e.g., extension cord and circuitry). Several users posting reviews on both sites carp about the assembly instructions, saying they're not very clear and might frustrate anyone without some technical skill.
The WORX WG650 (starting at $228, Amazon) weighs 27 pounds and users consider it light enough to lift into a car or truck. It boasts a 13-amp engine and rubber-tipped steel auger that can clear a path 18 inches wide by 9 inches deep (with a 10-inch intake). The discharge chute rotates 180 degrees (control is positioned on the handlebar) and the maximum throw rate is 30 feet; WORX WG650 reviews say heavy snow is more likely to land 15-20 feet away. The handlebar can be set at three heights -- users taller than 6 feet say it's a tad short even at the highest level -- and collapses for storage.
Steady pushing at a moderate pace in fluffy snow, and the WORX Snow Thrower is at its best. It manages under more trying conditions, as well, but you'll need more patience and may have to unclog the chute periodically (WD-40 is a useful preventive measure). Bottom line, you won't be disappointed.
Snow Joe Ultra Review
On paper, the Snow Joe Ultra 622U1 electric snow blower (starting at $168, Amazon) seems like a deal. It has a lot of power for the price and its light weight makes it easy to handle (ladies, that includes you). Snow Joe Ultra reviews generally say this model is adequate for moderate amounts of snow. In a review on Sam's Club, one consumer says it cleared a 100-foot long driveway in 30 minutes. Users posting reviews at Overstock similarly report it works well on fresh snow up to about 6 inches and about half that on wet or crusty snow. Other reviews say it even manages in big storms, cutting into the depths a bit at a time.
On the other hand, plenty of Snow Joe Ultra 622U1 reviews complain about the build quality. On Snow Blowers Direct, and Amazon, users grumble about blades and augers that can't withstand the force of ice and heavy snow and plastic parts that become brittle in the cold and susceptible to cracking. Consumers also say vibrations loosen critical bolts and the wheels bog down in deeper snow and sometimes slip out of place.
The Snow Joe Ultra sports a 13-amp motor that can move up to 800 pounds of snow a minute. It cuts a path 11 inches deep and 19 inches wide. The discharge chute is manually adjustable along a 180-degree arc (some reviews say heavy snow pushes it back to center) and the maximum throw is 20 feet. The unit weighs 36 pounds.
When the Snow Joe Ultra holds together, it does what it's meant to do. But the number of discontented purchasers and the nature of their complaints raise doubts about this model's reliability and durability.
Toro 1800 Power Curve Review
Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381 reviews are quite complimentary. Consumers posting reviews on Home Depot, for example, say this electric snow thrower deftly clears what one describes as "heavy prairie snows" and up to two feet of the lighter snow that falls elsewhere. In such conditions some patience is required, users write, and you'll probably need to make more than one pass. But there's strong agreement that using the Power Curve (starting at $300, Amazon) sure beats shoveling; one reviewer says he hoists it up to a roof that he previously shoveled clear. Reviews say it slows a bit when confronted by wet, packed snow; one user notes on Amazon that if it stalls out, you can pull back to get it going again. Reviews posted by women award points for easy maneuverability and light weight, and a male reviewer says it's light enough to hold up while shaving off the tops of snowbanks. Users also like the long throw rate and discharge chute that can be adjusted for direction and height.
Still, we read some harrumphing about underwhelming performance and the need to press both the trigger and safety button to keep it running (try a piece of duct tape or clamp over the safety switch, users suggest). A few Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381 reviews gripe about the plastic auger or the small wheels, and one enterprising reviewer switched out them out for a set that came off an old lawn mower.
The Power Clear 38381 features a 15-amp motor that can hurl up to 700 pounds of snow a minute a maximum of 30 feet. It cuts 10 inches deep with a 12-inch intake across an 18-inch path. The chute rotates 160 degrees with a lever that some say doesn't work too well (adjust manually, instead) and the "zip deflector" can be set to throw at different heights. This model weighs 25 pounds.
This snow thrower is not the best bet for lots of heavy, compacted snow, but it earns stars when faced with more modest demands.
Poulan Pro PR621 Review
The Poulan Pro PR621 (starting at $420) is one of the most powerful single-stage gas snow blowers available in the cheap price range. A Poulan Pro PR621 review on Home Depot claims it has at least as much power as pricier models. It makes quick work of 6 or so inches of powdery snow and throws a good distance, according to reviews on Amazon, but struggles with heavy snow at depths exceeding a couple of inches; one user, though, says it cleared away snow that had been compacted under a car. Consumers assert the PR621 starts on the first or second pull of the cord and is easy to maneuver, even for a female reviewer who weighs 100 pounds -- although she concedes that her husband moves along at a faster clip.
But complaints abound about poor design. Numerous Poulan Pro PR621 reviews report that snow throwers ordered online arrive covered in factory-added oil that leaked due to an ill-fitting cap. Users also gripe that the snow blower guzzles gas, the wheels are too small, vibrations loosen blots and screws, and snow blows back from under the unit, which doesn't clear down to the surface. (Follow up with a shovel, one review advises.)
The Poulan Pro PR621 sports a hefty 208cc four-cycle engine (no mixing of oil and gas needed). This is a single-stage model, so confine its use to paved or smooth surfaces. It weighs 90 pounds, cuts a 21-inch path, and has a 13-inch intake. The chute rotates 200 degrees, the fuel tank holds one gallon, and it sports a headlight. The engine on the Poulan Pro PR621 has more heft than most in this price range and some consumers consider it a good buy, especially for regions where medium snowfalls are the norm. But the absence of a backup electric start and negative reports about design and assembly keep it from earning a spot on our list. There are better budget-priced gas snow blowers out there.
Ego SNT2102 Review
The Ego SNT2102 is for consumers who long for a low-maintenance cordless snow blower with the power of a gas model. Although it comes with a comparatively hefty price tag, this is one of the only electric models we researched, corded or cordless, that users say is capable of slicing through up to a foot of powder without getting bogged down. The mix of convenience and performance might be well worth the added expense.
More powerful than cheaper cordless blowers, with two 56-volt batteries.
Can handle up to a foot of powdery snow and smaller accumulations of wet snow, users say.
Top marks from experts for surface cleaning and handling.
35-foot throwing distance means snow won't pile up where users don't want it.
No fussing with extension cords.
Heavy for an electric blower, at 64 pounds.
Some experts and owners claim it's hard to manage on rough surfaces or in heavier accumulations.
Still slower and less effective than gas blowers, experts say.
Troy-Bilt Storm 2410 Review
Though just outside the Cheapism price range, this Troy-Bilt snow blower is one of the best values on the market for buyers who want a two-stage snow blower that can make quicker work of heftier snowfalls or clear rough surfaces like gravel or dirt. The Troy-Bilt Storm 2410 also receives kudos for relatively rugged construction, with several users saying it will last for years with proper maintenance.
Tackles wet, icy snow and accumulations up to a foot with ease, users say.
Convenience features include self-propelled drive, eight speeds, push-button electric start, and remote chute control.
24-inch clearing width.
Experts give it very good marks for speed, plow-pile removal, surface cleaning, and handling.
Heavy, at 195 pounds.
Remote chute control can be finicky, reviewers say.
Experts warn that a lack of freewheel steering can make it more difficult to turn.
Cub Cadet 3X 26" Review
This Cub Cadet snow blower is pricey, no doubt, but a solid value for a three-stage blower that's powerful and fast enough for large, frequent snowfalls. It's also in another league when it comes to features, with heated hand grips and power steering to make it easy enough to maneuver with one hand despite being relatively heavy.
Can handle even the biggest snowfalls and be used on gravel, dirt, or hilly terrain, users say.
Extra-wide 26-inch clearing path.
Dual augers and an induction accelerator break up snow and push it into the impeller, helping make cleanup quicker.
Convenience features include heated hand grips, trigger-controlled power steering, push-button electric start, and a headlight.
Heavy, at 267 pounds.
Shear pins that protect the gearbox break too easily, some users grouse.
High-speed accelerator may make a mess with smaller amounts of snow, experts say.
Although it's definitely not meant for heavy-duty work, the Toro Power Shovel is a lightweight alternative to a snow blower that is especially adept at clearing snow from small decks or walkways where a larger blower would be a no-go. Users say it's best for small amounts of powdery snow, although some reviewers have used it to clear deeper accumulations a little at a time.
With a 6-inch intake, this electric shovel easily clears up to 4 or 5 inches of powdery snow, users say.
High marks for clearing snow down to the surface in expert testing.
Much lighter, less bulky, and easier to control than a full-size snow blower.
Fits in areas a snow blower can't reach.
Not enough power for densely packed or icy snow.
Front-only discharge might leave users covered in snow, depending on the wind.
"On" switch must be pressed continuously while operating.
Some complaints about weight given the lack of wheels.
Some gripes regarding cheap materials and reports of broken handles.