We cover a wide range of best cheap (affordable) snow blowers on the market. Truth be told, the cheapest models are corded-electric, like the two below.
Table of Contents...
- 1 Best Cheap Snow Blowers
- 2 Buying A Used Snowblower
- 3 Single-Stage vs 2-Stage
- 4 Do You Need a 3-Stage Snowblower?
- 5 Gas vs Electric Snow Blowers
Snow Joe SJ624E / 21″
WEN 5662 : 18″ Electric
The winter season has its ups and downs. On the bright side, you can look forward to huddling around a warm fireplace with the family and a cup of hot chocolate in your hand. And let’s not forget all the fun activities like skiing, ice skating, snowball fights, etc. But there’s a reason so many people hate winter, especially those who live in the northern states.
Areas like New York, Wyoming, and Vermont are slammed with over 60 inches of snowfall every year. Imagine waking up one morning, only to find the entire driveway and backyard buried underneath one foot of snow. And then you realize it isn’t even a holiday, so you can’t just walk outside and have some fun with the kids. You need to clear the driveway, so people can get in and out of your house.
Powerful Cordless Snow Blowers
Snow Joe 24V-X2-SB18-CT : 48V / 18″
- Runs up to 40 minutes
- 4-blade rubber-tipped steel auger
- Clears a path 18” wide x 10” deep
- 1200 W brushless motor
- Clears up to 14 tons of snow per charge
- 2 W LED headlight
POWERWORKS SN60L410 : 60V / 20″
- 20” Clearing Width
- 10” Clearing Depth
- 180° Adjustable Chute
- Foldable Handles : Easy to store
- 7-In Rear Wheels
- 4-Year Tool Warranty
- Runs up to 30 minutes
Situations like these call for a powerful, reliable snowblower. Unfortunately, mother nature doesn’t care about your bank account when she dumps a giant pile of snow outside your door. But we do, which is why we made a list of the best cheap snowblowers you can buy in 2020.
You don’t need to invest over a thousand dollars on the most premium 2-stage models if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of convenience. There are cheaper machines that are sturdy enough to last a long time with proper maintenance, and have adequate amounts of power to deal with low to moderate levels of snowfall. Facing more than 12 inches of wet snow? In that case, we suggest you check out our article on the best 2-stage snowblowers. And don’t expect any luxury features like power steering or heated handles from budget models.
It’s also worth mentioning that most cheap snowblowers are equipped with solid axles, which means both wheels will rotate at the exact same speed, whether you’re going in a straight line or taking a turn. Turning these machines requires extra effort, since the outer wheel will tend to drag along instead of spinning freely during a turn. Not the best choice for people with back problems or smaller physical builds. But still, a lot easier (and faster) than doing things manually with a shovel.
Note: Buy a two- stage snowblower if you’ve got a long driveway or need to clear snow uphill. Two-stage blowers are self-propelled, and chew up snow at a much faster rate compared to single-stage models.
Best Cheap Snow Blowers
Best Cheap Battery Powered Snow Blowers:
Snow Joe iON15SB-LT Review
“Its compact and lightweight design makes this snowblower a great choice for elderly people and anyone else who doesn’t want to lift heavy weights. The Snow Joe iON15SB-LT can clean tight spots better than most other blowers thanks to its 15- inch clearing width.”
Ideal for: Sidewalks, walkways, wooden decks, and other narrow spaces where a 2- stage blower can’t fit.
A step- up from an electric snow shovel, but not really on the level of 18” and above snowblowers. The Snow Joe iON15SB-LT is designed to be compact and lightweight, with “ good enough” performance for clearing out patios and sidewalks. It isn’t a driveway clearing machine, although you could use it for some really small single- car driveways if nothing bigger is available. This is meant to be your grab-and-go snowblower, something that you can pull out of the shed or garage within seconds and start blowing immediately.
Ideal for senior citizens, kids, and women who need something that’s easy to operate and super lightweight. No need to pull cords or mess around with gasoline, since this is a cordless model. Just make sure you’ve got the battery charged before putting it into action. A fully charged 40V battery will last around 20 to 25 minutes if you’re clearing snow that’s 5 to 6 inches deep.
And no, it isn’t designed for icy or slushy snow. In fact, you might damage the brushless motor on this unit if you try to force the auger into snow that’s too deep and heavy. There is no built-in LED work light, which honestly isn’t that big of an issue. You can buy a hands-free head mounted flashlight and get the same effect. In fact, it’s even better since you can now walk away from the snowblower and still have the light facing exactly where you need it.
The chute is remote controlled via a hand crank. A handle behind the deflector chute helps you pick up the snowblower with just one hand for transportation, whenever you’re done working outside. The upper handle assembly can be folded down for storage, although it isn’t as easy as releasing a tab like in the more expensive and larger Snow Joe models. You have to undo the retainer bolt on either side of the handle, so it’s going to take a while (no tools needed). Maximum snow plowing capacity is rated at 441lbs/ min, and the intake depth is 8 inches.
Snow Joe iON18SB Review
“A cordless snowblower that’s silent, powerful, and convenient- the Snow Joe iON18SB packs everything you need in a compact package. It is easy to use, and easy to store when you’re done blowing snow. Barely requires any maintenance.”
Ideal for: Dry and fluffy snow up to 8 inches deep, or dense compacted snow up to 6 inches deep. Primarily intended for single- car driveways, although it can handle some of the shorter 2- car driveways.
It’s essentially an iON15SB-LT on steroids. The intake depth is unchanged at 8”, but width has been boosted to 18 inches. So you can scoop up more snow with each pass, and actually use this snowblower for clearing out driveways (the iON15SB-LT is more of a deck/ porch blower). The larger clearing width lets you cover more area with fewer passes, and the usage of a 4.0Ah battery instead of a 2.5Ah battery results in more battery life and performance.
While the iON15SB-LT is equipped with a plastic auger, this 18” blower uses a rubber tipped steel auger instead. It’s less likely to break down if you hit a rock, since rubber is softer and more flexible. And the steel core provides great structural support, so it performs better in wet snow compared to a plastic auger. Even though it has an intake height of 8 inches, we don’t recommend using this blower for anything more than 6 inches unless the snow is really dry and fluffy. Anymore, and the motor will struggle.
Since the iON18SB is so light, you can carry it around very easily. But this lightweight design also causes the blower to ride up on snow piles instead of cutting through them. You could force it down with your own body-weight, but the auger is still being driven by a relatively small motor. If you push it too fast, the blower will simply chip away at the snow instead of blowing it out of the chute.
To avoid making multiple passes over the same area, you can drive the iON18SB at a slower pace but that depletes the charge levels much faster. Either way, you’ll have a tough time if you try to clear thick snow with this blower. Check out the Snow Joe SJ625E if you want an electric blower that’s powerful enough for wet snow. The iON18SB does have one super cool feature though — an electric chute control, which allows you to rotate the 180° chute with a joystick. You can turn the chute without stopping the blower, and you don’t have to bend down either since the joystick is located right next to the auger control.
Best Cheap 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower
WEN SB24E Review
“Tough enough to start up in the harshest of winters, and powerful enough to clear a path through 16 inches of wet snow. The WEN SB24E is an affordable 2- stage gas powered snowblower for folks who care about performance over features.”
Ideal for: Double- car driveways up to 60 feet in length, wet snow, 18” snow piles, small to medium- sized yards, etc.
When you need big power on a small budget, you buy the WEN SB24E. It doesn’t have power steering or heated handles, but what it does have is tons of performance thanks to a 212cc 4- stroke OHV engine. While electric single- stage blowers like the Earthwise SN72018 top out at 700 to 800lbs/ min of snow clearing capacity, the WEN SB24E is rated for up to 1800lbs/ min. That’s around 2.5X the performance of the average electric snowblower. But you don’t have to pay anywhere close to 2.5X the price since the SB24E is one of the most affordable 2- stage blowers on the market.
It features all- steel construction for enhanced structural rigidity, so you don’t have to worry about scraping the pavement or hitting a rock. Adjustable skid shoes on the front allow this blower to function on uneven terrain that has lots of loose debris laying around. If you own a gravel driveway, this is the snowblower for you. Single- stage blowers clear snow all the way down to the surface, so they will pick up rocks and other debris. But double stage blowers like the WEB SN24E can run their augers nearly 2” above the ground to deal with rough terrain.
Talking of augers, you might have noticed that the auger on this blower looks very different from the paddle style augers on single- stage blowers. Well, it’s not a single- piece unit so if the auger does hit a hard obstacle it won’t break the entire driveshaft. Instead, one of the cotter pins on either side of the differential will break. This allows the auger to spin freely from the driveshaft, cutting off power to prevent any damage.
And since the WEN SB24E is self propelled, you don’t have to put your whole body into pushing it forward through deep snow. The giant 13” tubeless tires generate plenty of traction with their aggressive tread pattern, and you can even throw some chains on top of these tires to further boost traction on icy snow. Can’t do that with a single- stage blower which has those tiny toy wheels that can’t fit chains.
The WEN SB24E is a serious snowblower designed to take on serious tasks. It is perfect for large properties with long driveways. Wet snow, icy snow- it doesn’t matter because the sharp steel augers will chop it all up into a fine paste which is then swallowed by the impeller and spit out over 30 feet away from the blower. There are 4 forward speeds on this blower, most premium 2- stage models have 6 or more forward speeds. More speed settings means two things- you have a higher top speed to clear snow faster, as well as more options in between to move at the exact pace that you find comfortable.
Helpful tip: Even though this snowblower is equipped with a solid axle and no power steering, you can make tight turns much more easily by disengaging one wheel from the axle (so it spins freely). To do so, you’ll need to change the click pin position (refer to the user’s manual). Plan your course before hand, if you are going to make a lot of left turns, perform the modifications to the left wheel. If your path has a lot of right turns, do the same on the right side wheel instead.
Best Cheap Single Stage Gas Snow Blower
Briggs & Stratton 1696737
“More powerful than any electric snowblower on the market, the Briggs & Stratton Model 1696737 is ideal for homeowners who want a cheap blower to deal with moderate amounts of snow.”
Ideal for: Single- car driveways, paved surfaces, backyards, sidewalks, etc.
The power of gas combined with the compact nature of electric snowblowers. Briggs & Stratton designed this single stage blower for average sized driveways and narrow spaces like walkways. Its 22- inch clearing width isn’t much larger than what you get on a powerful cordless snowblower like the Snow Joe iON100V-21SB. But, clearing width alone doesn’t tell the complete story.
The Briggs & Stratton Model 1696737 packs a 208cc four- cycle Snow Series engine, which outperforms any electric snowblower motor in terms of peak power and torque output. This engine has been customized for winter conditions, and you can tell that just by looking at the oversized glove- friendly controls.
The 950 Snow Series engines are designed to start at extremely low temperatures (down to -20°F) with just a couple pulls of the recoil starter rope. A cast iron sleeve enhances durability, and an advanced splash lubrication system keeps the internals safe .
You don’t get a whole lot in terms of features with the base 22” single- stage model. There is no remote chute control, so you’ll have to turn it manually by bending down and grabbing a handle. People with back problems won’t like this, especially if their yard or driveway has a lot of turns, since you’ll constantly be changing the discharge chute direction.
A lot of snowblower engines have electric start, but not this one. While the recoil starter gets the job done and is very reliable, sometimes you just want to get things going with the push of a button. Tugging on that rope on a cold winter morning isn’t very pleasant. There are no LED headlamps, so you better bring your own flashlight after evening. And the handle isn’t height adjustable, which means you’re out of luck if you don’t like the default handlebar position.
It is a little heavier than most electric/ cordless snowblowers, but you don’t have to worry too much since the auger assisted drive will assist you with forward motion. The wheels aren’t self propelled, but they are a fair bit larger than the standard 6” plastic wheels you find on electric snowblowers. These 8” x 2”rubber wheels provide more traction in deep snow, and make movement a lot easier.
Briggs & Stratton makes 3 more single- stage 22” snowblowers, all of which use the same frame and engine as model 1696737. The only difference is that these are more expensive models, hence they come with a few extra bells and whistles sprinkled on top of the base package. Like the 1696715 which is basically a 1696737 with electric start. Then you have the 1696727-01 which takes things one step further by adding remote chute control. And finally, there’s the 1696847-00 “Snow Shredder” model which is equipped with a serrated steel auger that effortlessly slices through ice and makes short work of dense compacted snow.
There’s an even more powerful version of the 22” Snow Shredder, one that is equipped with a bigger engine. Model 1696741-00 is powered by an 1150 Snow Series engine that generates 11.5ft-lbs of torque, and it’s the most powerful single- stage snowblower that Briggs & Stratton makes. This model even includes electric chute control, and built- in LED headlamps.
Best Cheap Electric Snow Blower
“A barebones electric snowblower that gets the job done quickly and without any hassle. Its range is restricted by a power cord, but in terms of performance this Earthwise blower absolutely crushes most cordless models on the market.”
Ideal for: Walkways, patios, lawns, single- car driveways, etc.
Despite being the cheapest snowblower on our list (cheaper than even the Snow Joe 24V-SS11), this little Earthwise packs plenty of power thanks to a 13.5 amp electric motor. Rated for up to 700lbs/ min of snow- clearing capacity, it will clean up the average two car driveway in less than 10 minutes. It can handle depths up to 12 inches if the snow is dry and loosely packed, and in the case of wet or compacted snow that number goes down to 6 inches. With a clearing width of 18 inches, this snowblower is intended for average sized driveways. But you can also use it on a wooden deck because of how light it is. The rubber tipped augers on this snowblower will not damage wooden decks and sidewalks, and they are less likely to break down when compared to plastic augers since rubber is much more flexible.
There are dual LED headlights on the central console to help you operate this blower in low- light conditions. And if you want to turn the discharge chute there’s a little green colored crank handle beneath the console (you might have to bend down a little bit to reach it). Unfortunately, the SN72018 lacks any form of handle adjustment for storage or operational convenience. If you want to angle the handle backwards a bit to make pushing this blower easier, you’re out of luck. But there is a different model which has similar performance characteristics- the Earthwise SN71018, and that comes with an adjustable handle. It uses the same motor as the SN72018, has the same clearing width and shares the exact same frame + control layout. But it lacks the LED headlights. It is possible to make up for that with a head mounted hands- free flashlight. We recommend the SN71018 for people with back problems, since it gives you more options in terms of posturing and positioning while pushing the snowblower forward. And, it takes up less storage space when folded down (the SN72018 cannot be folded down as easily).
Snow Joe SJ625E
“The most powerful corded electric snowblower on the market, period. This beast can deal with snow over 12 inches deep, and you don’t have to worry about maintenance since this is an electric blower.”
Ideal for: Walkways, single and double- car driveways, decks, etc.
If you can maneuver your way around a lengthy and heavy extension cord, this is the electric snowblower for you. All the performance you can have from a 15-amp socket, combined with the reliability of a gas model. Minus the hassle of gas, since you don’t have to add fuel or clean air filters, carburetors, etc. The SJ625E can dig through 12 inches of light and fluffy snow, even more if you push it hard. That doesn’t sound too bad for a 35 lb. single-stage blower, does it? Even if you experience heavy snowfall every year this Snow Joe can handle it.
— To an extent of course, because it certainly isn’t designed for wet and slushy snow. Its dual paddle augers feature a steel drive shaft and the core section is also made from steel. The paddles themselves are rubber, so you shouldn’t expect it to fare very well with wet snow. About 5 to 6 inches of wet snow is what it can handle, anything beyond that and you’re essentially overworking the motor which might cause the windings to fail prematurely.
As far as features go, the SJ625E has everything you need- a hand cranked discharge chute, LED working light, and adjustable handlebars which swivel back and forth. You will find that this snowblower actually takes up very little floor space in your garage, once you fold in the handles and tuck in the power cord. The body is made from a tough plastic that doesn’t crack or bend easily. It is light, and rust proof but doesn’t give you the feeling of structural stability that you’d get from a steel blower.
There are no skid shoes, as is the case with most single-stage snow blowers. You shouldn’t operate this Snow Joe on gravel or uneven terrain, because the spinning rubber paddles come in contact with the ground and might scoop up loose stuff like stones or nails. Controls are fairly simple- you’ve got an auger lever, and a safety switch. Depress both at the same time to activate the auger. To turn the 180° discharge chute, you need to crank the handle located beneath the center console. The SJ625E ships in a partially assembled state, you just have to attach the handle assembly and discharge chute (no tools needed).
Best Cheap Snow Shovel
Snow Joe 24V-SS11
- 24V iON 5.0 Ah rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 27 minutes of whisper-quiet runtime
- 2-blade high-impact, low-temperature paddle auger
- Throws snow up to 20 feet and clears a path 11 in. x 7 in.
“A tiny 11lb snow clearing companion for people who want something faster than a shovel but smaller than a snowblower. With this tiny electric snow shovel you can get rid of all snow, right down to the pavement which makes it a great choice for clearing walking areas.”
Ideal for: Porches, steps, walkways, and decks.
Do you have trouble pushing a regular snowblower? Check out the Snow Joe 24V-SS11, it’s an electric snow shovel. Basically, a really small single- stage snowblower mounted to the end of a broom handle. It is so light, that most people can swing it around with just one hand. The 24V-SS11-XR kit contains the tool itself, along with a 24V 5.0Ah lithium ion battery pack and a charger. It packs a 400W motor in the bottom housing, and this motor spins a dual paddle rubber auger. Like any other single- stage snowblower, the Snow Joe 24V-SS11 scoops up snow with its spinning paddle, and discharges it far away from the user.
You don’t have to worry about any discharge chutes with this one, since the auger forces snow directly against a deflector plate that stays fixed in position. This makes operation of the snow shovel super easy; any child can pick it up and start blowing snow within minutes. The official max throw distance of 20 feet is to be taken with a grain of salt, since it only works in tightly regulated testing conditions that use dry and fluffy snow of a specific minimum height. In the real world, expect a throw distance under 10 feet. Don’t try this shovel on wet or slushy snow, it barely picks up anything in such conditions.
Heavier, densely packed snow will eventually break after you drive the shovel back and forth through it a couple of times. But if your whole driveway is covered in densely packed snow, you might as well break out the big blower. This little shovel is more of a spot cleaning tool/ secondary snowblower, and works best on wooden decks where you don’t want to damage the finish with a heavier and less maneuverable snow blower. Its auger cuts a path that is 11 x 7 inches in size, perfect for clearing out narrow spaces such as steps and walkways.
Snow Joe really upped their game this time, by using a brushless motor in this electric snow shovel. We weren’t expecting to see brushless technology in such a cheap model, but hey- nobody’s complaining. After all, it runs more efficiently than traditional brushed motors and generates less heat. Which means your 24V-SS11 can work harder but also last longer.
Changing batteries is really easy, and you can monitor charge levels by using the digital display on the battery pack. Expect around 20 minutes of run-time per charge, which should be more than enough for a machine like this. After all, you aren’t supposed to clear entire driveways with it. An adjustable front handle comes in super handy, since it lets you choose the perfect grip height with respect to your own physical build. No more straining your back while you bend down to manually shovel snow, this electric snow shovel is at least twice as fast and requires zero effort to operate. And since it’s so compact, you can easily store it in even the smallest of garages without any hassle.
Buying A Used Snowblower
For some of us, buying a new snowblower just isn’t financially viable no matter how cheap they are. And you don’t want to end up with a Chinese model that could potentially break down in a couple of months, after which you’ve got to fish around for spare parts because there are no local servicing centers or dealers to honor your warranty. But don’t worry, there are better options. Like the used market, which is a great place to snag yourself a quality name- brand blower for cheap. Lots of people like to upgrade their snowblower during fall. And there are others who just want a little extra space in their garage during spring season.
Where to look for a used snow blower? Should you?
If you live within the city, try checking Craigslist to see if there are any good deals. Only pay attention to listings that have plenty of photos showing the blower from multiple angles. eBay and Facebook marketplaces are also worth scanning through, you might get lucky and find a pro-sumer grade 2- stage blower for under $500. Don’t forget to visit your local small engine repair shops because they might have a couple of used blowers that were purchased from customers who didn’t want to sink anymore money into maintenance.
Buy an old 24” blower for $150, stick a new engine in it and you’ve got yourself a very capable snow clearing machine for super cheap. Finally, garage sales are a great place to grab some amazing deals. Homeowners are often looking to get rid of stuff as quickly as possible, so they tend to be a little more flexible than usual with pricing.
Before buying used, you’ll need to check a few things (in person, not online):
- Is the engine making any weird noises? Rev up the blower to full throttle, and listen for any knocking or grinding. Surging means the carburetor will probably have to be replaced.
- Rust isn’t always a huge problem, since it is inevitable when you mix moisture with metal. A wire brush and some paint will fix surface rust, but watch out for rust in the housing or rims.
- Check for dangling wires, loose augers, shaky wheels, etc.
- Are the belts worn down? Consider the cost of a belt replacement and use that to negotiate a lower price with the seller.
- If the tires don’t have enough tread on them your blower will lose traction and can’t pull itself forward through snow. The effects of worn- out treads can be mitigated with chains.
Important: We recommend you go with a reputable brand, even if it costs more. That way, you know the company has your back if something goes wrong down the road and your blower stops working in the middle of winter.
Choosing The Right Snowblower
Single-Stage vs 2-Stage
Single stage snowblowers are ideal for low to moderate amounts of snowfall, and they work best on paved surfaces. But if you’re dealing with larger driveways and wet or slushy snow, a 2- stage snowblower is almost mandatory. Its combination of an auger and impeller chops up hard blocks of snow into more manageable chunks, and then all these chunks are sucked up by the impeller to be forced outside the discharge chute at incredible speeds.
The auger on a 2-stage blower is made from steel and is divided into multiple sections. That way, if the auger ever hits an obstacle the entire transmission won’t be ruined. Instead, only one side of the auger will be disabled. And by disabled, we mean you’ll have to change a shear pin. Shear pins connect the auger to its drive shaft, and are the first thing that breaks when the auger hits something hard and heavy. This way, the gearbox, auger, and drive shaft are all protected from damage. You just spend a few cents on a new pin and you’re good to go. With a two-stage snow blower, you can adjust the height of the front housing. They have skid shoes on the front which prevent the steel augers from coming in direct contact with the ground. This is why 2- stage snowblowers can work on gravel and other unpaved surfaces.
Features like heated handles, power steering, multiple speed settings, etc. are exclusive to two- stage and three- stage blowers. But 2- stage blowers do have their disadvantages. They are expensive, heavy, take up a lot of floor space, require more maintenance, and make a lot of noise. A single- stage electric snowblower is much lighter, so you can run it on wooden decks without digging a hole through the deck. Single- stage blowers are also much better at navigating tight spaces due to their small size, which makes them the ideal choice for walkways and patios.
Do You Need a 3-Stage Snowblower?
If you’re an average homeowner living in the city, you probably don’t need a 3- stage snowblower. But ranchers and landscapers often use them to clear out lots of snow in very little time. Three- stage snowblowers add an extra impeller in front of the auger housing, which normally spins 10 times faster than the augers. This super fast spinning impeller at the front is often called an “accelerator” and it speeds up the snow plowing process significantly by quickly slicing up giant piles of snow into much smaller chunks for the auger.
Three- stage blowers can make short work of giant snow walls left behind by the city plow, and they have zero trouble chewing through icy snow. The engines on 3- stage blowers are larger and more powerful compared to their double-stage counterparts, so expect much longer throwing distances (in excess of 50 feet). While a 2- stage blower is good for snow depths between up to 18 inches, a 3- stage blower will easily chew through 20+ inches of compacted wet snow without showing any signs of bogging down. Three- stage blowers have more complicated drive-trains; hence maintenance will cost more. Unless you work in some sort of commercial environment or have a really long driveway (over 150 feet), all that power will most likely be wasted.
Go with gas if you want more power for clearing longer driveways and larger yards. Electric is much more convenient, since it requires nearly zero maintenance and running costs are far lower. Recharging a battery takes longer than refueling a tank with gasoline, but it’s also much cheaper. On gas snowblowers you’ll have to pull a recoil starter rope to get the engine running, but electric models can be started with the push of a button.
Gas snowblowers have carburetors that need tuning, air filters that need cleaning, and spark plugs that need changing. You don’t have to deal with any of that if you own an electric snowblower. But electric power does have its limits, and 2- stage electric snowblowers are very rare (check out the Snow Joe iON24SB if you’re interested in a 2- stage cordless blower). For larger tasks, you have no choice but to go with gas power since it’ll get the job done quicker. Wet snow, long driveways, ranches, etc. are the domain of gas powered snowblowers.