Snow Blowers That Put Shovels to Shame
Snow Blowers That Put Shovels to Shame

clear the driveway, not your wallet

Beautiful, freshly fallen snow quickly becomes a hazard if left unchecked on sidewalks and driveways. But shoveling can be time-consuming, back-breaking work. Even a cheap snow blower can get the job done more quickly and easily.'s picks for the best snow blowers under $500 include four electric models -- one of them a convenient battery-powered blower -- and two gas blowers able to plow through as much as a foot of snow. We also found a handful of options slightly outside our price range that pack a bit more punch, as well as a cheap power shovel that's up to the task.

PowerSmart DB5023
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powersmart db5023

Good Corded Electric Snow Blower Under $200
Price: $129 | Buy it from Home Depot

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Snow Joe Ultra SJ622E
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snowjoe ultra sj622e

Good Corded Electric Blower With a Bit More Power
Price: $167 | Buy it on Amazon

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Greenworks 2600502
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greenworks 2600502

Best Corded Electric Snow Blower Under $200
Price: $123 | Buy it on Amazon

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Snow Joe iON 18SB
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snow joe ion 18sb

Best Cordless Electric Snow Blower Under $500
Price: $278 | Buy it on Amazon

- Battery means no fussing with a power cord.
- LED headlight.
- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Ego SNT2102
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ego snt2102

Cordless Electric Snow Blower Worth a Splurge
Price: $599 | Buy it from Home Depot

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Toro Power Clear 518 ZE
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toro power clear 518 ze

Good Gas Snow Blower Under $500
Price: $399 | Buy it from Home Depot

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Craftsman 88780
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craftsman 88780

Best Gas Snow Blower Under $500
Price: $450 | Buy it from Sears

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Troy-Bilt Storm 2410
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troy-bilt storm 2410

Bonus: 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Price: $599 | Buy it from Lowe's

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Cub Cadet 3X 26"
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cub cadet 3x 26"

Bonus: 3-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Price: $1,199 | Buy it from Home Depot

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.

Toro Power Shovel
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toro power shovel

Good Electric Snow Shovel
Price: $99 | Buy it on Amazon

- 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.

Takeaway: 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.