Nobody actually enjoys shoveling snow. It’s one of the most back-breaking chores throughout the whole calendar year.
But it’s even worse when you’ve got a large area to clear, such as a particularly long driveway, wide patio or sidewalk.
That’s where one of the best snow blowers for large driveways might be able to help you out.
They’re designed to shift more snow with larger clearing measurements, so you can get the job done faster and put your feet up sooner.
So, check out this review of the best snow blowers for large driveways – and finish with as few passes as possible.
A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.
Frozen water vapor – there’s snow where to hide.
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- 10 Best Snow Blowers for Large Driveways 2021
- Briggs & Stratton 1696506 Snow Thrower
- Husqvarna ST224 Two-Stage Snow Blower
- Remington RM2860 Rainier Snow Blower
- Dirty Hand Tools 103879 Dual-Stage Snow Blower
- Husqvarna ST227P Two-Stage Snow Blower
- Troy-Bilt Polar Blast 3310 Two-Stage Snow Thrower
- Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30XP Two-Stage Snow Thrower
- Ariens Professional 420cc Two-Stage Snow Blower
- Massimo Universal Snowblower 420cc
- Ariens Professional Rapidtrak Two-Stage Snow Blower
- What to Look for in a Snow Blower for Large Driveways
- How do you remove snow from a driveway?
- Which stage snow blower do I need for my driveway?
- Do snow blowers damage driveways?
- How much snow can a snowblower handle?
- How big a snow blower do I need?
- Do I need a three-stage snow blower?
- What’s the best snow blower if I have a steep driveway?
- What’s wrong with using an electric snow blower on my driveway?
10 Best Snow Blowers for Large Driveways 2021
Briggs & Stratton 1696506 Snow Thrower
First up we have this single-stage Briggs & Stratton snow blower which features the 900 snow series 205cc engine for nine-foot pounds of torque.
The only single-stage model in the review, its 22-inch clearing width, and 12.5-inch clearing height is very generous for its class, but it’s relatively lightweight and more maneuverable than many larger machines which justifies its inclusion here.
And with the specially designed snow shredder serrated auger, you can achieve two-stage results in a one-stage machine.
The one-piece housing is an all-steel construction, so the unit is tough and durable, the discharge chute rotates through 200 degrees, and with a push-button electric start, you can get going fast – even in freezing conditions.
- Excellent price.
- Space-saving design.
- On-the-go deflection controls.
- 30-foot throwing distance.
- Clears down to the surface.
- Ergonomic handle and grip.
- Oversized fuel cap.
- Won’t shift as much snow as a two-stage machine.
- Not suitable for gravel driveways.
Husqvarna ST224 Two-Stage Snow Blower
Swedish company Husqvarna is known to make some beastly snow blowers and this is one of their more affordable models. It features a 24-inch clearing width backed by a 208cc Husqvarna engine.
A hand-operated, remote chute deflector can move through 180 degrees and offers a high throwing capacity, while the unit works regardless of the surface type due to its adjustable skid shoes.
Designed for use in multiple conditions, the electric start is the boost you need to get going, while the friction-disk transmission ensures a smooth operation.
For homeowners with large driveways, this is a powerful machine with outstanding performance that won’t let you down.
- Affordable price point.
- Heated hand grips.
- Six self-propelled speeds.
- One-handed operation.
- Chute clearing tool.
- It might be too small and compact for really large areas.
Remington RM2860 Rainier Snow Blower
With a powerful OHV 243cc gas engine, this Remington two-stage snow blower offers outstanding performance and durability with an electric start for those chillier days.
It features an X-TRA wide clearing path of 28-inches, with a 21-inch intake height so those large driveways with deep snowfalls are an absolute breeze.
The single-handed operation allows you to engage both the wheels and the auger, leaving your other hand free to adjust the chute direction or machine speeds without stopping – saving you time and effort.
Rotate the crank handle to turn the discharge chute through 190 degrees, while the pitch control allows you to adjust the throwing height. And with eight-speed settings, you have total control over the job.
- Oversized controls for gloves.
- Large, deep-tread tires.
- Well-built unit.
- Easy-to-use controls.
- Great price for what you get.
- No handgrip warmers.
- A chute clearing tool would have been a nice addition.
Dirty Hand Tools 103879 Dual-Stage Snow Blower
Now we have an alternative manufacturer in Dirty Hand Tools – a break from the norm of the usual dominant snow blower brands. And this unit more than holds its own against them, with the Colorado-based company bringing a solid machine to the table.
With a 302cc engine incorporating a handy electric start, the auger housing gives you a very generous 30-inch clearing width and 20-inch clearing depth so you can tackle larger areas with ease.
Six forward and two reverse speeds provide excellent control so you can suit it to your own pace, and the quick-turn durable steel discharge chute rotates through 190 degrees with a dash-mounted handle.
Tested in the toughest winters, this is a great option for your large driveway.
- Cleaning tool attached.
- Reversible skid shoes.
- Rugged construction.
- Heated hand grips.
- None to speak of – let me know if you find one.
Husqvarna ST227P Two-Stage Snow Blower
Another monster Husqvarna machine now with this 254cc two-stage snow blower that’s packed with awesome features to help you get your large driveway cleared in no time.
It features trigger-controlled power-steering for superior maneuverability – turn on a dime to save time at the end of your driveway. Connect to a power outlet to start at the touch of a button – even in freezing temperatures.
The heavy-duty auger will make mincemeat of even wet or heavy snow and ice, while the large 27-inch clearing width will blast through large driveways in no time.
With friction-disk transmission to ensure a smooth drive, this machine is perfect for the big snow shoveling jobs that everyone dreads.
- LED headlight.
- Heated hand grips.
- Remote chute deflector.
- Aluminum gearbox.
- Reversible skid shoes.
- Chute cleaning tool on auger housing.
- There have been some issues with the belt – spares might be required.
Troy-Bilt Polar Blast 3310 Two-Stage Snow Thrower
Blast by name and blast by nature, this Troy-Bilt machine is made to power through even the toughest arctic weather to make clearing larger areas super quick and easy.
Make short work of the snow on your driveway as this monster eats it up with a 33-inch clearing width and a 22-inch clearing height, backed by a powerful 357cc engine with electric start.
The 16-inch serrated steel auger and heavy-duty impeller will suck up a huge amount of snow in one pass, while the durable polymer throwing chute deposits the material up to 40 feet away.
Power-assisted trigger steering is perfect for easy turns at the end of the driveway with the one-handed operation so you can easily control speed and chute direction, or scratch your nose without slowing down.
- Heated hand grips.
- Durable construction.
- Large tires with deep tread.
- Adjustable, high-impact skid shoes.
- Crank-adjusted chute might be a little outdated for some.
Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 30XP Two-Stage Snow Thrower
Stepping up from the Polar Blast we have the Arctic Storm, a 357cc gas-powered, two-stage snow blower that offers you a generous 30-inches of clearing width.
It features a serrated steel auger and steel discharge chute – which has the ability to be adjusted by using your thumb. This makes it ideal for on-the-go snow blowing, as you can modify the angle and pitch of where the snow is being deposited just by using the joystick on the dashboard.
It’s remarkable how much time and effort this will save you when clearing a large driveway.
High impact, adjustable polymer skid shoes help protect surfaces from scuffing, and the one-touch start will get you up and running down to 20 degrees below zero.
- Intuitive controls.
- Heated hand grips.
- Large, deep-tread tires.
- Tough and durable construction.
- Touch n’ turn power steering.
- A chute clearing tool would have been useful.
Ariens Professional 420cc Two-Stage Snow Blower
Hailing from Wisconsin, Ariens manufactures some of the best snow blowers on the market – many for commercial-sized jobs. If you have a huge driveway, then look no further – purchasing one of these machines is a serious investment that will keep you happy for years.
This is one of their professional-class snow blowers with a massive 420cc electric fuel injection engine. The huge 28-inch clearing width will make short work of any snow around your property, while the hydrostatic transmission ensures a silky-smooth driving experience.
Auto-turn steering allows you to easily maneuver this beast once you’ve made a pass – but you’re not going to need many to get the job done with this monster.
- Premium quality construction.
- Throws snow 60 feet.
- Built for high altitudes.
- Heated hand grips.
- Drift cutters.
- One-handed operation.
- Very heavy.
Massimo Universal Snowblower 420cc
Okay, so you really do have a MASSIVE driveway. What are these tiny machines – you ask?! Well, let’s take it to the next level of snow throwing, with this mounting plate for utility vehicles.
It fits most brands of ATV, including Polaris, Bennche, Odes, Kawasaki, Can-Am, and Honda, and it comes with everything you need to get started.
With an eye-wateringly powerful 420cc Loncin engine and an unbeatable clearing width of 60-inches, this monster will tear through snowfalls backed by the additional strength of your ATV.
Why should you push anything when you can let the machines do all the work while you have a blast at the same time?! The only problem is, your neighbors will be chapping your door to ask if you can clear their driveways too!
- Universal fittings.
- 13 horsepower engine.
- Controlled from your driving position.
- Flashing safety beacon.
- Electric start.
- Adjustable height skid shoes.
- Quick-release attachment.
- Sway-bar link for easy cornering.
- You need an ATV.
- Very large and heavy.
Ariens Professional Rapidtrak Two-Stage Snow Blower
Finally, we have possibly the best snow blower for large gravel driveways – especially if that driveway happens to be on an incline.
This professional-class snow blower from Ariens uses a track drive system as opposed to wheels, and with three different settings, it offers unbeatable traction no matter the terrain.
The 420cc Polar Force AX engine can launch snow up to 60 feet, while the variable speed hydrostatic drive system provides silky-smooth operation and durability.
Auto-turn trigger less steering technology ensures you can swing this monster round the corners with ease, while the commercial-grade cast-iron gearbox will last for years with a little care. And with a clearing width of 32-inches, you’ll power through tons of snow and barely break a sweat.
- Premium quality construction.
- Heated hand warmers.
- Wheeled setting for flat surfaces.
- Recoil/electric start.
- Very heavy.
What to Look for in a Snow Blower for Large Driveways
Choosing the right snow blower for your needs can be quite tricky and it depends on a number of different factors. Let’s take a look at what they might be, and hopefully, point you in the right direction.
Snow Blower Stages
Snowblowers come in three stages and I’ve briefly outlined their differences below.
Stage-one snow blowers contain an auger that sucks up the snow and forces it through a discharge chute. They’re the least powerful of the three stages, and clear right to the ground.
It should be noted that one-stage snow blowers should not be used on gravel driveways for this reason – you risk damaging the tool and the surface at the same time.
Stage-two snow blowers use the auger combined with an additional impeller, so they can handle more snow per pass.
Stage-three snow blowers have the auger and impeller, as well as two extra augers that sit at a 90-degree angle to the main blade.
Rotating simultaneously, they help break up icy snow and are more suitable for shifting particularly heavy or wet material – although they won’t necessarily do this any faster than a two-stage version.
When it comes to which one is the best for large driveways, I would lean towards using a stage-two machine.
If you have a gravel driveway, you don’t really have a choice – one-stage snow blowers aren’t suitable.
But if you’re regularly experiencing packed, icy, heavy snow that needs breaking down – you should opt for a three-stage snowblower.
Three-stage machines tend to not have as wide a clearance, which is why I’ve leaned heavily towards two-stage snow blowers in this review. You might struggle if you’re looking for the best 3 stage snow blower for large driveways.
For a more in-depth look at each snow blower, I would like to point your attention to the following two articles:
The article on single-stage versus two-stage snow blower focuses on the battle between the one and two-stage machines, while the two-stage versus three-stage snow blower article is…well, you get the idea.
Speaking of clearance, the size of the auger housing plays a significant part in just how much snow you can clear in one pass.
The larger the clearing width the more material your snow blower will suck up and remove from your driveway, which in turn results in you making fewer passes to get the job done.
The clearing height is an indication of how deep the snow can be for the snowblower to be able to handle it.
Certain snow blowers sacrifice width for height – and vice versa. For example, you’ll often find that three-stage machines are of a boxier construction for improving the breakdown of packed ice and snow at a focussed point.
When it comes to large driveways, choose a snowblower with as wide a clearing measurement as possible – somewhere between 26-36-inches.
However, bear in mind that it might not necessarily get the job done faster – as larger snow blowers can be more cumbersome and difficult to maneuver.
But since this article is focusing on machines that are suitable for the larger jobs – the bigger the better in this case (depending on your own circumstances and conditions, of course).
The larger the engine, the more powerful the snow blower is going to be. However, it’s also going to be larger and much louder.
For most people, engine size isn’t a deal-breaker, and you can get away with having something a little smaller.
However, when it comes to clearing large driveways, you really do want that extra bit of power – especially as you’re going to be clearing a lot more snow on every pass.
I’ve included a good selection of engine sizes in this review just to give you some options and the ability to compare, but you should be looking at over 300cc of power for the larger jobs and nothing less.
Discharge Chute and Throwing Distance
The snow blower’s discharge chute is an important part of the machine and how it operates should be considered before you make your final choice.
The chute can be moved in a number of ways, either by stopping the unit and shifting it by hand, using a crank-handle somewhere near the dash or by a remote or joystick control mounted on the dashboard.
Which one is right for you depends on personal preference, but in the larger machines, the chute tends to be remote-operated.
You can usually rotate the discharge chute through 180-degrees minimum, but some models offer a wider range.
This is important when it comes to large driveways – as is the pitch of the chute – where you can select the height at which the snow is going to be thrown.
You’ll need to consider where the stuff is being flung, because you don’t want to have to shovel it up again, and you certainly don’t want to dump it on an irate neighbor’s front lawn.
For larger driveways and areas, look for discharge chutes that have the most control over where the material is deposited.
And check to see how far the snow blower throws the snow – so you know it’s not going to come back in your way and double your workload.
Snowblowers that are designed for larger areas will nearly always come with easy-turn capabilities.
This is where you can use a trigger near the handles that will turn each wheel independently of the other.
It’s a similar technique used in zero-turn lawnmowers, and can play a significant part in reducing the time and effort it takes you to complete a large area.
Manually heaving a heavy machine isn’t fun and it can really take it out of you – not to mention taking longer to finish the job.
Power steering is a must in a good snow blower for large driveways – so keep a lookout for it.
The best snow blowers for large driveways are kitted out with plenty of extra features to help make the job easier and less stressful.
Most of them are not essential for the chore, but they can certainly take the edge off it and make the experience a little more pleasurable.
Headlights are a useful addition – as working a large driveway can take a long time, and in the winter you might often find yourself being beaten by the light.
As a caveat to this, from a safety perspective operating a snowblower at night isn’t recommended – even if your machine does have full beams. Try to be done before it gets too dark.
Heated hand warmers are ideal for spending longer out there on the driveway. In subzero temperatures, even the best gloves can let the cold in eventually.
Multiple speed settings are highly recommended for extra control and to set your own pace for clearing your property of snow.
A discharge chute clearing tool is also a great addition. Why they all don’t come with one is beyond me – it saves you trying to find something else to fix inevitable blockages (including your own arm).
Reversible skid shoes should come as standard from most snow blowers. You can prolong their life by simply switching them around when one side is fully worn out.
Larger two-stage snow blowers are certainly not cheap, with many running into thousands of dollars.
That’s the price you have to pay for the size and the quality.
Always buy the best you can afford, but just make sure you actually do need a snowblower that is in this class before you spend a small fortune.
How do you remove snow from a driveway?
There are a number of ways you can remove snow from a driveway.
You can use the elbow grease and do it the old-fashioned, back-breaking way of shoveling a clear path with a snow shovel. This is by far the cheapest method, but it’s also the most painstaking and will take the longest time.
This is especially true if you have a large driveway – and if you do, shoveling snow by hand is not at all recommended if you’re not at least in tip-top shape. There are far more snow-shoveling related injuries per year than snow blower accidents.
Using rock salt is another option, but this takes time and effort to spread, and even more time to actually work. It can also damage the surface of your drive with its acidity, and cause cracking and flaking to appear.
Many people use an ATV or garden tractor with a snowplow attached. This has its advantages and disadvantages – but the main downside is that you actually need to own the costly vehicle in the first place.
A snowplow can also cause significant damage to the top surface – or anything that has been buried by snow unbeknownst to you.
The best way to remove snow is with a snowblower. For tips, tricks, and advice on how to do the job most effectively, check out the video below.
Of course, you could always wait for it to melt – but that isn’t at all practical and only a viable option if you don’t need to use your driveway.
Which stage snow blower do I need for my driveway?
First, you need to check the size of the area you want to clear. If you have more than a three to four car-sized driveway, you’re probably best going with a two-stage snowblower.
For smaller areas, a one-stage will usually suffice. Single-stage snow blowers are available as corded and cordless electric models, so for manageable areas, they are far more suitable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.
Remember that you should never use a one-stage snow blower on a gravel driveway – regardless of its size.
If you’re looking for the best snow blowers for gravel driveways – follow that link and it will point you in the right direction.
You’ll only really need a three-stage snow blower if you anticipate having to break down a lot of wet or heavy snow and ice. Try to avoid spending over the odds if it’s superfluous to your requirements.
Do snow blowers damage driveways?
As mentioned above, one-stage snow blowers can damage gravel driveways – as well as potentially damaging the machine itself.
This is because a one-stage machine clears right to the surface and will scoop up all kinds of material – not just snow. The scraper on the bottom of the machine is designed to go flush with the pavement, so it will bring up anything that isn’t nailed down.
With a two-stage snow blower, you can raise or lower the clearing height, and skid shoes keep the machine on the level. As a result, a thin layer of snow will always be left behind by a two-stage model, but you’re not going to be bringing up any unwanted debris.
Of all the ways to remove snow from a driveway, sidewalk or other walkways, using the correct snow blower is likely to damage the surface the least.
However, that’s not to say it doesn’t happen and appropriate care must still be taken.
How much snow can a snowblower handle?
This depends on the type and size of the snowblower.
A one-stage unit should be able to take care of snowfall up to around 12-inches. Two and three-stage machines will be able to tackle up to two feet, but again it depends on the individual machine.
The power of the engine, the quality of the augers and the impeller will all come into play – as will the skill of the operator.
If you think you’ll seriously get snowed in with more than 24-inches, it’s probably a good idea to get a professional in to help you clear your driveway.
How big a snow blower do I need?
Once you’ve decided on the snowblower stage, you should think about the clearing measurements of the unit itself.
For large driveways, it makes sense that the wider the auger and housing, the less time it will take you to finish the job and you’ll get done by making fewer passes.
Personally, I’d be looking out for a machine that is somewhere between 26-36-inches wide.
Remember that larger snow blowers might not always be the fastest – for what they make up in size they often lack when it comes to maneuverability.
If you think that you’re in the wrong place and you need something a little smaller, or you would just prefer some more options, check out our article on the best two-stage snow blowers out there.
Do I need a three-stage snow blower?
Many people believe that each snow blower stage is better than the last. This is not the case.
They each have their merits, and just because a three-stage machine is the most powerful doesn’t mean that you should just opt for that version without due consideration.
Three-stage snow blowers are very heavy and cumbersome and are only really useful when having to break up tough packed ice and snow.
For most people they’re overkill, and when it comes to a large driveway, a three-stage machine often doesn’t possess the clearing width that a two-stage model can boast.
So no, the chances are you don’t need a three-stage snow blower at all. Unless of course, you do, in which case – go for it.
What’s the best snow blower if I have a steep driveway?
Great question. It’s incorrectly assumed that all snow blowers are perfectly adept at operating over any kind of terrain – including hilly inclines.
This is a big mistake and how accidents happen. For the most part, snow blowers will struggle on steep surfaces.
At least if they have wheels.
Track-drive snow blowers are highly recommended if you’re trying to clear hilly terrain. They will usually offer a choice of drive-systems, so they can handle whatever comes their way – from the conditions to the topography.
You’ll pay through the nose for the privilege, but if your large driveway is in any way steep, this is the best and safest investment for such terrain.
What’s wrong with using an electric snow blower on my driveway?
Nothing at all – so long as the area you’re clearing is a manageable size.
Electric snow blowers – both corded and cordless – are great for smaller areas. They’re ideal for use in the city, suburban neighborhoods, or anywhere the driveways support no more than one or two vehicles.
Out in the country, or if you’re trying to clear anything larger than that – they simply won’t be able to cut it. Not least because of the length of cable you’d need to use, the subsequent loss of power, running out of battery, or even cutting the cord accidentally.
Again, suit the machine to the size of the job and the type and amount of snow and you won’t go far wrong.
I hope this article has shed some light on your mission to find the best snowblower for large driveways that’s perfect for your needs.
For me, I think that the two Troy-Bilt models – the Polar Vortex and Arctic Storm – are worthy of a special mention and I would choose between one of them. They’re both of an excellent size, with plenty of quality features, highly rated and from a name to trust.
They don’t break the bank as much as more expensive models, either.
Let me know which snowblower you would consider and why, and let the winter do its worst!
Happy snow blowing!