Model to try: Craftsman 88173
Approximate retail price: $680
Consumer Report score: 73 out of 100
Details: This is a compact, two-stage, gas-powered snow blower with an electric start and a 24-inch clearing width.
The snow blower tested well for removal speed and was rated “excellent” for its ability to plow a pile at the end of a driveway, Consumer Reports said.
Drawbacks include the machine’s ability to throw snow, which was rated as “only good” and its lack of freewheel steering that makes the snow blower harder to turn. It also does not have a headlight.
Consumer Reports also gave the same score to the Craftsman 98536. The score is based on their tests of the Craftsman 88173, which reviewers described as “alike enough” in its performance, features, and specifications that its test results would apply to both.
That snow blower has a 24-inch width and retails for about $650.