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The 4 best snow blowers for wet and heavy snow in 2024

Techniques like shoveling a small driveway and blasting off a top layer of powdered snow with a one stage snow thrower don’t compare at all to using a powerful snow blower on wet and heavy snow. It’s an intense and satisfying labor that can feel like crushing your lawn’s ice, the hard-packed snow behaving nothing like its fluffy cousins. As such, the snow blowers for wet heavy snow are going to overlap only slightly with the best snow blowers period, and you certainly won’t see a snow thrower in the mix. Instead, the snow blowers that follow have high-performance engines, a strong drive train, and powerful throw.

The best snow blowers in 2024

  • Buy the  for the most powerful snow blower.
  • Buy the if you have difficult terrain.
  • Buy the for a cheaper, but still three stage, alternative.
  • Buy the 22-inch if you want something electric that is less expensive, and can handle a two stage snow blower.

Cub Cadet 3X 30-inch HD IntelliPOWER

Best for power and efficiency

A man uses the Cub Cadet 3X 30-inch IntelliPOWER Snow Blower to clear his wet, heavy snow.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Wide clearing area makes for quick work Possibly too wide for narrow sidewalks
Special power motor
Nearly two-foot intake height
Powerful lighting for early morning use
Heated hand grips

For one of the widest, most powerful snow blowers, this three stage from Cub Cadet is really worth a look. It features a wide clearing area of two-and-a-half feet and an extra tall intake area. You’ll also be interested in its IntelliPOWER motor, a motor designed to selectively use 16% more power so it can handle the wet heavy snows that we’re talking about here. Strongly treaded tires with deep grooves, which are accompanied by nice skid shoes, will keep you sailing over the snow with a precise direction.

But there’s a lot more to like about this offering from Cub Cadet than high power. This snow blower throws in a lot of extras that you might not have considered needing until they were there. Niceties like heated hand grips and intense LED lighting for morning power hours are what it’s all about. Critical things like chute angle and direction adjustment are a handlebar away from being done at any point so you can focus on getting the work done and not making ongoing snow trajectory calculations. This is a premium snow blower and one of the most powerful choices we were able to find.

Key Specifications
Stages 3
Clearing width 30 inches
Dimensions 40 x 30 x 35 inches
Weight 299 pounds

Cub Cadet 3X 26-inch

Best for difficult terrain

A man using a Cub Cadet 3X 26-inch snow blower on an incline.
Pros Cons
Uses treads instead of wheels Difficult to steer
Heated handgrips
5-year limited gearbox warranty

You’ll find many of the features of this Cub Cadet to be quite similar to other Cub Cadets. It has heated handgrips, powerful LED lights, and a high intake area. What really makes this unit unique among Cub Cadet snow blowers, and quite honestly most snow blowers, is its use of treads instead of wheels. This snow blower moves more like a tank than a traditional wheeled instrument. That makes it particularly good for dealing with somewhat rougher terrain at the expense of maneuverability. If you’re going up and down a relatively straight column of roughish terrain, however, this is a fantastic way to do so.

Key Specifications
Stages 3
Clearing width 26 inches
Dimensions 43 x 27 x 53 inches
Weight 309 pounds

Craftsman 357cc

Best value three stage

A Craftsman 357cc snow blower plows through rough terrain.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Power steering Simple design
Joystick controls
Affordable three stage power

For a somewhat simpler (if such a thing is possible for a three stage snow blower) design and an affordable price, check out this offering from Craftsman. While it doesn’t have nice-to-haves like heated grips or powerful LED lights (it does have lights, though), you will see it use convenient joystick controls for aiming the thrower and a great eight speed system that combines well with its eight speeds. Additionally, if you look closely, you can see the deep treads on the tires — what Craftsman is referring to as “x-trace rigid traction” wheels — meaning this snow blower should be more likely to handle inclines than a lot of the competition. Overall, this is a highly affordable three stage snow blower from one of the most trusted manufacturers. Don’t let its simple design and lack of extra features fool you.

Key Specifications
Stages 3
Clearing width 28 inches
Dimensions 49 x 32 x 31 inches
Weight 262 pounds

Ryobi 40V Whisper 22-inch

Best two stage for wet, heavy snow

A front view of the Ryobi 40V HP Whisper 22-inch snow blower.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Cordless electric power Not as powerful (two stage)
Runs very quiet
Most affordable option

If you’ve got the sinking feeling that other snow blowers on this list are too powerful for the situation that presents itself to you each winter, consider this two stage alternative. It’s still powerful, but has a lot of advantages for smaller jobs; it runs quiet, is considerably cheaper than three stage alternatives, and is less than 150 pounds, meaning you and a few friends can maneuver it should worst come to worst. Another great advantage is that it uses 40V Ryobi batteries which, as anyone knowledgeable about the best power tools would know, opens up other 40V electric power tools in the Ryobi system for your to use.

Still, though, this is a two stage snow blower, which means it won’t work perfectly for all situations. Luckily, Ryobi has a lot of footage of it being used on their site. So, if you’re questioning how much power your really need in a snow blower, tap the button below and check out the Ryobi Whisper’s performance. If you “recognize” the snow being blown as analogous to your annual visitor, this is the one to buy.

Key Specifications
Stages 2
Clearing width 22-inches
Weight 136 pounds

How we chose these snow blowers

The best snow blowers for wet heavy snow were chosen for their ability to tackle a large job. That’s just fundamental. It isn’t, however, the full story. Keep all of the following in mind as you pick out your snow blower.

Snow blower stages — The critical factor

In the world of snow blowers, how much power you want can be answered as easily as one, two, three. One, two, or three stage, that is. In machines, a “stage” is a part of the operational process. A one stage snow blower is, in abstract terms, about a third of the complexity of a three stage and can handle a lot more. In short, if you are tackling wet and heavy snow you want a two stage or three stage snow blower.

To understand why, let’s explain some complex terms in a simple way:

  • auger — An auger is akin to a drill bit, it is the spinning part that breaks up the snow.
  • impeller — An impeller is an advanced mechanism for shunting out snow that has been acted upon by an auger.

At the core, each stage of a snow blower adds one of these components to the action. Auger, impeller, auger. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • One stage snow blowers (auger) have an auger that breaks up snow and pushes snow away directly, in a single action. For this reason they are also known as snow throwers.
  • Two stage snow blowers (+impeller) add an impeller to “blow” the snow away, taking some work requirements away from the auger. The combined action of the auger and impeller allow two stage snow throwers to process more snow.
  • Three stage snow blowers (+auger) add a smaller auger, sometimes referred to as an “accelerator” to further break up the snow, do so more quickly than a single auger could, and give the full machine increased power and output.

Obviously, the full story is more intense than this, but there is no more important factor in your hunt for a snow blower for wet and heavy snow than its stage. Get a two stage or three stage snow blower if possible.

Other factors to consider when picking out a snow blower

While the other factors you will commonly consider when picking out a snow blower will be more variable for you — avoiding one stage snow blowers is a no brainer in most cases — they can be explained easier. Consider each of the following factors briefly:

  • Clearing width — It might seem like a minor point while contemplating the purchase, but minimizing the number of passes you have to do over a path will same you a lot of time in the long run. Off hand, Neighbor says the average US vehicle is 5.8 feet wide.
  • Dimensions — You’ll have to store your snow blower somewhere. Make sure you have room for it, lest you need to buy a she shed for it.
  • Weight — Not as big of a factor as you might think. Snow blowers have a drive train, after all. Still, if your snow blower malfunctions, you’ll need to deal with it somehow, so this is still a stat worth knowing.
John Alexander

John Alexander is a former ESL teacher, current writer and internet addict, and lacks the wisdom to know what the future holds. His writing has appeared in PopSci, HeadPhonesty, WIRED, and Digital Trends. When not working, he can be found playing board games, drinking too much tea, taking long walks, and attempting to read foreign language books.

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