It’s that time of year, as we near the end of 2023 and begin to wonder if we need to prepare for another long winter. Snowfall is on its way, but how much snow should you prepare for? It’s better to prepare for the worst case scenario rather than not at all. Although you probably resist, it’s time to think about buying a new walk-behind track snow blower or replacing your old one. If you’re trying to find the best track snow blowers, you’ve stumbled to the right place. We review many of the best models and brands worth spending your money on.
NOTE: All track-drive snow blowers are considered Commercial or Professional-Grade snow blowers. Companies don’t make cheap track drive snow blowers. Manufacturers assume if you want track-treads, you’re serious about snow clearing. Plus track drives are far more complex than wheels so there’s no way to make them cheap. Nobody wants a cheap track drive snow blower, and if you do, you’re out of luck. They don’t exist.
Table of Contents...
- 1 Editor’s Pick – Best Track-Drive Snow Blower / Honda HSS928ATD
- 1.1 Best Professional Track-Drive Snow Blower for Wet Snow
- 1.2 Most Powerful Track Snow Blower
- 1.3 Ariens Platinum RapidTrak 28 SHO
- 2 Best Track Snow Blowers – 2023/23
Track-Drive vs Wheel-Drive Snow Blower
If you live in a part of the world where heavy snowfall is expected every winter then you probably have a need for a 2-stage snow blower. Most people don’t even consider a track-drive model, which I don’t understand.
If you want traction on snow or ice when you’re out clearing snow then a track model can’t be beat. If you have measurable elevation changes where you live, and you’re going uphill and downhill then then you need a track-drive.
Because the track tread is wide and spread out, it evenly distributes the weight of the snow blower as the ridges on the track surface penetrate into the snow and ice. This design creating a stable platform as the foundation for snow clearing. Most snow blowers with wheels slide around a lot. Would you drive a snowmobile with wheels over snow? I doubt it.
A snow blower with wheels doesn’t make much sense if you’re looking for a snow blower for clearing heavy wet snow over hilly terrain. Also, people generally want things to be lighter, but in the case of snow blowers you want them to be heavy. Their weight keeps them firmly planted on the ground, making it difficult for them to slide around uncontrollably. Because of the nature of the tread design, the weight forces the tread into the snow or ice, forming a strong temporary bond. A lightweight snow blower slips and slides easily, and dangerously.
If you live in an area that’s mostly flat then a wheel-driven snow blower will be adequate. But if you have hills, with noticeable inclines and declines, especially on your driveway then don’t consider anything other than a track-drive snow blower. Track drive snow blowers are designed for the most difficult winter weather, able to move easily over uneven terrain, deep snow, and up inclines and down declines. The difference in safe mobility between wheels and treads is immense. Safety needs to be a priority, but this is often not considered.
If you’re still considering a 2-stage snow blower with wheels then you should read our 2023 guide to all types of dual-stage snow throwers.
Editor’s Pick – Best Track-Drive Snow Blower / Honda HSS928ATD
Honda makes wonderful track-drive walk-behind snow blowers. They apply the same ingenuity to their snow blowers as they do to their vehicles. Honda doesn’t know how to make inefficient products which is why you’ll always pay a little (or a lot) more for a Honda snow blower. This is one of their flagship series for heavy wet snow, inclines and declines, and uneven terrain. Excellent!
Why Honda Snow Blowers are more Expensive
We have a full blown review of the HSS1332ATD later in this article, but for now, let me share a few words. You may have noticed that Honda track-drive snow blowers, portable generators, lawn mowers, etc., are more expensive than the average consumer brand.
The reason is simple — Honda engineering is as good as any brand on the market. They use the highest grade components and spend a lot of money on R&D, and they take their time to create products that will endure for years. Honda never slaps together a product just to get it out on the market.
Quality costs money because the time it takes to develop their products take a long time, in addition to the fact they have their own proprietary technology they’ve developed over decades and many other brands don’t have expertise as good as Honda. Think of it this way, Honda cars are one of the most reliable cars on the market.
VIDEO: Learn about Honda’s Maintenance Tips for their Track Snow Blowers
Why do people buy a Honda vehicle? Yes, because their reliable. Well, they’re reliable because all of their components are well-made, engineered to work together and the level of defects is incredibly low. A car cannot be reliable if any one of these points is not fact. And, they they’re one of the top engine manufacturers in the world. The engineers at Honda apply everything they know about making cars to everything they make and their snow blowers are no different, as well as their portable generators.
Cheaper brands often rush their snow blowers to the market, which is why you often see models discarded after one season. Honda only releases a product when it’s ready for the public and any poor design issues related to quality, safety or reliability, have been resolved. Honda is not perfect, things often go wrong when manufacturing complex machines but for average brands, it happens all the time.
The Honda HSS1332ATD, and all other Honda snow blowers are excellent, and recommended. But Honda is not the only brand that makes premium track-drive snow blowers. A few other brands you should consider are: Ariens, TORO, Cub Cadet and Husqvarna, which we look at next.
Best Professional Track-Drive Snow Blower for Wet Snow
Husqvarna ST 430T / 30″ Wide / 420cc with EFI (961930134)
This is how Husqvarna categorizes their 400 Series of snow blowers:
Designed for commercial operators, Husqvarna’s 400T series snow throwers are a premium option featuring hydrostatic transmissions and steel operator consoles. They provide the durability and maneuverability required to manage the roughest sidewalks, driveways, or common areas and the heaviest snows day in and day out.Husqvarna
OVERVIEW / ST 430T (400 Series)
The 400 series is the premium line from Husqvarna. In other words, these are the best snow blowers that Husqvarna makes. Whether you own a commercial property or a large home or ranch, this is for anyone serious about conquering heavy snowfalls. You’ll enjoy clearing snow with this machine.
Husqvarna pulled out their best technology to make the ST 430T. We have the full list for you but here are a few that make this standout from other brands, such as the fully adjustable bucket height, control panel made with steel, adjustable handle height, cast iron impeller and the warranty on this snow blower is exceptional. Husqvarna stands behind the quality and wants to give owners peace of mind.
➤VIDEO — Overview Up Close, of the Husqvarna ST 430T Snow Blower
FEATURES / 961930134 — ST 430T
- Husqvarna Engine: 420cc (EFI) Electronic Fuel Injected = Fewer emissions, not affected be elevation, no maintenance, runs efficiently
- Start Guarantee: Engine will start with the first or second pull, guaranteed for 5 years!
- Electric Key Start / LED headlight
- Height adjustable handle: Suitable for all heights, including tall people
- Clearing Width is 30-inches and the snow intake housing is 23″ high
- Trigger control power steering / High capacity belt system
- Hydrostatic Transmission: Infinitely variable speeds
- Steel Operator Console: Built to high standards
- Track Drive: Continuous tread tracks give you excellent traction in snow and ice
- Heated Handgrips: Keep your hands warm
- Weight: 373 lbs.
- Warranty: 3-year warranty / 5-year engine warranty / 10 year gearbox warranty
- Easy adjustable bucket height: Adjust the space between the auger housing and the ground with your thumb
- Cast iron impeller: Made for durability
If you’ve purchased a Husqvarna track-drive snow blower before and you were disappointed you might want to reconsider as Husqvarna has updated and improved their 400 Series to meet the standards customers expect. Husqvarna snow blower reviews aren’t always kind to the brand because of problems they had with the design of their snow blowers.
The good news is that Husqvarna has been listening and over the past couple years they’ve been fixing the problem that customers have been complaining about. The ST 430T model is often compared to Ariens professional RapidTrak models. In 2023 this is a closer race than it’s ever been before. Personally, I prefer Ariens for their technology, engineering and their RapidTrak system. And, Ariens has been developing snow blower technology for a long time, longer than Husqvarna.
Don’t get me wrong, the Husqvarna 400 series models are some of the best commercial track-drive snow blowers you can buy, but Ariens technology is better and they have a longer history to prove it. I wish Husqvarna took the time to refine their snow blower designs as they do with their gas chainsaws. Sometimes it’s hard to convince people that their older machines are better today than they were yesterday.
VIDEO — Learn about the Features that make the Husqvarna 400 Series Snow Blowers Special
Honestly, I feel it’s better for a brand to come out with an new series, and with a fresh new look, even if the underlying technology is the same as the past series. The goal is to distinguish yourself from the past, and erase all the old reviews that no longer reflect the current generation of snow blowers. Also, in the same way that car companies update their styling every 2-3 years, snow blowers can be so much more interesting than they are today but for some reason manufacturers cling to the old way of doing things.
I’d love to see a streamlined futuristic snow blower. I’m confident that homeowners would happily flock to a brand that designed their snow blowers like Apple designs phones or like Tesla designs trucks. Remember when Apple made people sell their Blackberry with the release of their first iPhone. The right design can change an entire market, but it’s disappointing that most power equipment brands are stuck in the past.
My advice to power equipment brands is simple — don’t be boring and don’t release products before they’re ready. This is why Honda charges a premium for their snow blowers and other products. Their reputation allows them to charge so much more than other brands. A brand like Husqvarna has no valid excuse for releasing below average quality snow blowers as they have in the past. Either way, in 2023, Husqvarna snow blowers are excellent and deserve your consideration.
Most Powerful Track Snow Blower
Ariens Kraken: Best for Deep Wet Snow — 32″ W / 420cc with EFI (926520)
- Electric Track Actuator: 3 Modes — Switch wheel, track, and dig-in.
- Thumb Joystick Electric Chute: Easily move chute with minimal effort.
- 360° LED Lighting: Bright illumination with 21” LED lightbar, LED chute lights, and downward-facing LED
- Auto-Turn Steering: Effortless, zero-degree turning radius./ Turns on a dime
- 14-inch impeller moves snow quickly
- Hydrostatic Drive: Switch between gears anytime, and set the speed on the fly
- Reinforced Steel Handlebars: Extra strong
- Fast Heating Handgrips: Keep your hands warm in the freezing cold
- Toss snow from three feet up to 60 feet.
- 420cc Ariens AX420 EFI Engine
- Drift-Cutters / Commercial skid-shoes / One Hand Interlock
- Electronic Fuel Injection: Works the same at any elevation. No carburetor. Runs smooth. Less emissions.
- 3 years residential use. 1 year commercial use
OVERVIEW — Kraken
Ariens has created a series of track snow blowers for people who have specific needs. We started this article with the Ariens Mountaineering built for high altitudes. The Kraken is built for the toughest, most extreme winter weather conditions. It’s the ultimate walk behind snow blower, and the most powerful track snow blower that Ariens makes. It’s also called the King of Snow, and it lives up to the hype. It’s an amazing piece of machinery.
I love the fact that snow blower this big can turn on a dime. Ariens implemented auto-turn steering in the Kraken and it’s impressive to see up close. You’ll be shocked at how maneuverable this track snow blower is. Specifically, the Ariens RapidTrak system is their secret weapon. It puts the Kraken and other Ariens Track snow blowers ahead of other brands.
Ariens Platinum RapidTrak 28 SHO
Steamlined Design — Ariens Track-Drive Snow Blower (921057)
You can see the full list of features above. In short, it has every feature you could ever want. The lighting design alone is impressive with a long-bar 21″ long, illuminating the entire area around you. Plus, the chute itself has lights and there’s another set of LED light pointing down towards the ground. The goal was to provide customers with a way to see everything around them when clearing snow.
You wonder why other manufacturers haven’t created powerful lighting system before. LED lights are cheap and don’t require much power. Also, when you clear snow in the evening, it can be dangerous if you can’t see where you’re going. This is a small feature of the Kraken but it’s an example of the thoughtful engineering that went into the design of the Kraken. Watch the video below and you’ll see exactly what it’s capable of.
VIDEO / See the Ariens Kraken clearing deep snow
Best Track Snow Blowers – 2023/23
Why buy a track snow blower, when wheeled models are generally cheaper? Simple, tracks provide better traction on snow and ice. This makes a track snow blower the best in heavy snow and ice. They also they perform better on an incline. Turning your track snow blower may be more cumbersome, but you won’t get stuck as easily in heavy snow and you have much better control on a slippery ice surface.
VIDEO | HSS928ATD : Witness the Power!
For this review, we’ve looked at the real top guns. Honda, one of the undisputed champions in the outdoor equipment business, offer some of the very best track snow blowers and we’ll be reviewing a few models. Essentially, these are two models in different formats: the smaller Honda HSS928ATD (and HSS928AATD variant) will kick off the review, followed up by the HSS1332AT (and HSS1332ATD variant) as a larger capacity option. As an alternative to the top-rated Honda machines, we’ll also be reviewing the mighty impressive Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890. These are all, most certainly, top contenders for the best track snow blowers this winter.
Review — Honda HSS928AAT / HSS928AATD
Best Commercial Track-Drive Snow Blower for Home Use
Best Track Snow Blower — 28″ / 270cc
- Electric Start – (HSS1332ATD only)
- Commercial grade Honda GX390 OHV engine
- Clears up to 2750 pounds per minute
- Exceptional throwing distance: 56 ft. max.
- Snow Clearing: 31.9″ clearing width / 21.7″ clearing height
- Dual track drive provides exceptional traction through most snow conditions. Pliable, low-temperature rubber tracks with sure-gripping cleats, providing solid traction and ideal balance. Perfect for complete control on inclines, rough or uneven ground, and icy conditions
- Auger height control lever allows you to easily adjust auger housing height with just the press of a thumb. Variable positions let you choose the best height for different surface conditions.
- Honda’s hydrostatic transmission. Just move the lever forward or backward to go in t
- Fingertip steering: easy control, even with the engine off
- All-new electric 4-direction joystick chute control lets you reposition the chute on the go. With up to 198 degrees of rotation
- Ice breaking, heavy-duty serrated auger
- Innovative Self-Protective auger system: Auger Shear Bolt Guard detects high torque levels and immediately shuts off the auger and the engine, protecting the snow blower.
- Throttle control lever provides manual control of the engine speed.
- Hour Meter with Auger Lock Indicator Light (HS1332ATD only)
- High-powered LED Light: exceptional lighting and high visibility in all conditions.
- Steel reinforced auger housing: with automotive-grade steel side auger housing
- 3 year residential/commercial warranty
OVERVIEW / Honda HSS1332ATD
Along with so many others, I maintain that Honda manufacture outdoor power equipment that can easily be seen as the best there is. In my experience, paying extra for Honda products makes for great long term value. These machines just don’t quit on you. So the Honda HSS928AAT seems like a start to this review.
You’ll notice that two models are grouped together here. So let’s start by noting the difference between the Honda HSS928AAT and HSS928AATD track snow blower models. Both are the same basic machine, the difference being electric or recoil starting. The Honda HSS928AAT only has a recoil starter, while the HSS928AATD offers an electric starter. The latter model (HSS928AATD) will cost around $200 more than the standard HSS928ATD. When reviewing these two snow blowers, you can view all specs and features as being the same, with the obvious exception of the starting methods.
This is a 2-stage, track drive snow blower with a clearing width of 28” and a removal capacity of 1900 LBS/Min. Maximum clearing height is 21.7” and the powerful blower discharges up to 52’ from the chute. The Honda HSS928AAT/AATD is powered by the ultimately reliable Honda GX270, 270cc OHV engine. The AATD model is fitted with a DC starter motor. Anyone familiar with Honda power equipment will attest to the proven durability, efficiency, and easy starting of any Honda GX engine. This is a tried and tested engine over many years. With a conveniently large 1.3 gallon gas tank, the super-efficient Honda will give you long working times between fuel stops.
The controls are wonderfully easy and it’s quite comfortable to use. At each of the rubber clad handles, you have the left and right control levers – like motorcycle handles. You simply squeeze these levers to activate the skid steering in the direction that wish to turn. A control panel is laid out between the two handles, providing power assisted easy adjustments for speed, chute angle and auger height adjustment.
The hydrostatic clutch system offers smooth infinite speed control. The lever is clearly marked and easy to use. The central Neutral position is indicated by the familiar “N”. Push forward toward the “F” decal to increase forward speed or pull back toward “R” to reverse the machine. Immediately to the left of the hydrostatic control lever is a simple throttle control. To the right, you have a joystick that electrically controls the chute rotation up to 198°.
Easy fingertip controls allow you to raise and lower the auger with the touch of your thumb. A Pneumatic strut controls the auger height, giving infinite control of the auger. Interlocking drive is also at your fingertips, allowing for easy one-hand operation when needed. The front dashboard, just below the horizontal control panel has the choke, a digital hour meter, and a key start for the HSS928AATD electric start model.
Durability and great service life is something we’ve all come to expect from Honda, it’s what makes the brand worth paying extra for. To this end, the HSS928AAT/AATD models are fitted with a heavy duty serrated auger with bearing support on the shaft. The auger housing is also fabricated from ultra-durable metal and an auger cleaning tool conveniently clips to the top of this housing. Reversible skid shoes also maximize operational lifespan. The auger is protected by shear bolts which will shear to protect the drive shaft and impeller when encountering an obstruction that would otherwise damage these components. They’ve fitted a high-power LED headlight, improving visibility in dark conditions.
Such a large and tough track snow blower has an obvious downside, it’s monstrously heavy. The HSS928AAT weighs 265 pounds. When you add a starter motor, it becomes even heavier, the HSS928AATD weighs an extra 9-pounds (276LBS)
If you want the best track snow blower, you will be paying for the privilege. Honda machines are far from being the cheapest. With that said, you can be sure that you’re getting top quality and durability, along with the Honda reputation for, arguably, the best service and dealership repairs. Because of their proven reliability, Honda are able to offer one of the best warranty agreements: 3-year residential and 3-year commercial warranty. Need I say more.
Review : Honda HSS1332AAT / HSS1332AATD
32″ Clearing Width / 389cc — Honda HSS1332ATD
The Honda HSS1332AAT and HSS1332AATD track snow blowers are a step up from the HSS928AAT and HSS928AATD models reviewed above. This is a larger, more powerful option, with pretty much the same features and specs. With it’s larger engine, the Honda HSS1332AAT/D has a greater capacity across the board. So we’re looking at a larger clearing width, and an improved throw distance. The clearing capacity is drastically higher, making this machine ideal for clearing large volumes in short time period.
Like the smaller Honda models, the differences between the HSS1332AAT and HSS1332AATD are minor. The Honda HSS1332AATD has an electric starter, whereas the HSS1332AAT requires manual staring by means of a conventional recoil starter. There’s one additional advantage to the Honda HSS1332AATD, which is unique to this model, you won’t find this on any of the other Honda snow blowers in this review. The Honda HSS1332AATD has a torque sensor for added auger protection. This is in addition to the shear bolts that feature on the other models.
The beefy Honda HSS1332AAT/D utilizes a formidable powerplant, the Honda GX390 (389cc) engine. With around 30% more power than the smaller Honda equivalent, this model shows some pretty impressive capabilities. Clearing width is up to 31.9”. Clearing height remains the same, 21.7” – the auger is wider but has the same diameter. The impeller benefits from the extra engine power, taking the maximum throw distance to an incredibly impressive 56’. Clearing volume is a mighty 2750 LBS/min.
When it comes to convenient easy controls, the Honda HSS1332AAT/D is identical to its smaller brother. Smooth hydrostatic speed control is managed with a lever, as is the throttle, and it has the same electric joystick for chute rotation (198°). The wonderfully easy pneumatic strut for infinite auger height control is also identical. It has the same reversible skid shoes and LED light.
As the Honda HSS1332AAT is made from the same durable metal components as the smaller model and has a lager engine, as well as a wider intake, it is obviously going to be even heavier. The HSS1332AAT weighs in at a whopping 276 pounds, with the electric start HSS1332AATD weighing 298 pounds.
The Honda HSS1332AAT/D will cost a little more than the smaller models in the series. This extra cash buys you a noticeably more powerful machine. This could be the ultimate track snow blower for a large yard, close to commercial specifications. It’s a Honda product, so quality, reliability, and durability are a given. It is covered by the noteworthy 3-year residential and 3-year commercial Honda warranty.
For reference purpose only —
Review – Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890 / Discontinued
The Honda track snow blowers may make you the envy of the neighborhood but let’s face it, they’re quite expensive. So, what’s the alternative? I think that the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 is the next best option. It compares exceptionally well when pitted against the Honda HSS928AATD 28” track snow blower. As a brand, Troy-Bilt is a renowned American manufacturer of power equipment and can be taken seriously. In terms of performance, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 perfectly matches the Honda equivalent.
With its 272cc OHV 4-stroke engine, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 delivers the same kind of power that you get from the smaller Honda snow blower, featured at the beginning of this review. It has the same clearing width (28”), and the intake height is basically the same at 21”. This model offers both electric and recoil starting, placing it alongside the more expensive Honda HSS928AATD. Yet costs considerably less.
Controls are more conventional than the sophisticated Honda’s. The Troy-Bilt has 6-forward speeds and 2 for reverse, operated by a lever on the control panel located between the dual handlebars. Chute rotation and pitch are mechanically controlled, also using a lever. You steer the snow blower in the usual way with levers that you pull at each handle. A three position lever also allows you to shift the weight distribution to maximize traction from the D-Track drive system.
The Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 has not skimped on luxury items. You have heated grips and an LED headlight. In all respects, this snow blower is as easy and comfortable (if not more) than the Honda models. It also allows for one-hand operation.
This machine is built tough, making it a worthy competitor to the Honda snow blowers. Quality metals and 12” serrated auger offer outstanding durability. This can be confirmed by the hefty 250 pound shipping weight.
In my opinion, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 is second best to the Honda track snow blowers. Though I must a admit a good degree of bias here, Honda is usually my number one brand for any form of power equipment. Even as a second place contender, I wouldn’t rank the Troy-Bilt far behind the sophisticated Honda HSS928ATTD. When you consider the price difference (the Troy-Bilt is almost half the price), It’s not all that easy to say that Honda is the really the best option. The Honda may last longer, but will it last twice as long? I’m not too sure. Troy-Bilt offers a more standard warranty (2-years). Which may be an indication that they aren’t quite as confident about the long term durability. When it comes down to it, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 is certainly one of the best track snow blowers and the price is more than reasonable for the level of quality that you’re getting.