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Sick of shoveling? This electric snow blower helps me conquer Cleveland winters

The DeWalt 60V Max single-stage snow blower is tough enough to handle snow storms and is more than capable of stepping in when gas models let you down.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer
Describe what's shown in the image.
Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The DeWalt 60V Max snow blower kit is available for about $1,000.
  • With an all-steel auger and electric chute controls, you'll make quick work of accumulation and drifts.
  • No chute-clearing tool means you'll need to spend extra cash to get one.

Living in Cleveland, winters can be brutal with lake-effect snow and frigid temperatures. So in the winter of 2021, I bought myself a Troy-Bilt Storm 2420 two-stage snow thrower. The model did a great job until I pulled it out of the shed to prep for a recent storm...and it wouldn't start.  

I struggled mightily with the pull cord before remembering it had an electric start. Yet a few minutes and one extension cord later, there was just the sad, labored whirring of a gas engine struggling to kick over. With a storm just a few days away and expected to drop over a foot of snow, I didn't have time to troubleshoot. Troubleshooting meant tearing apart the engine, draining fuel lines, and testing wiring harnesses.

Also: The best snow blowers for unruly winter weather

And as my neighbors curiously peeked through their curtains and blinds to watch me threaten a piece of machinery with all manner of methods for rapid and violent disassembly, the bright yellow of the DeWalt 60V Max shone like a beacon of hope from the back of my garage. 

View at The Home Depot

Being a single-stage model, I had a few reservations about the 60V Max being able to handle much besides a few inches of dry, powdery snow. And being battery-powered, I worried about running out of juice halfway through my task. But DeWalt made a few design choices that improved upon some of the more annoying bits. Chiefly, they built the blower with an all-steel auger and included electronic paddle controls for the debris chute. 

dewalt 60v max
Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Other single-stage models have manual chute controls. Which means that if you need to change the direction of where your debris is being thrown, you have to stop what you're doing, shut off the unit, and then adjust the chute. And you have to do this every time you want to move the chute, which can be an annoyance at best, but a nightmare if you're trying to work in the wind or bitter cold. 

Also: The best extreme weather tech: Top gear for snowstorm power outages

The DeWalt 60V Max has convenient paddle triggers for controlling the rotation of the chute, which lets you instantly maneuver debris downwind and away from you. You still have to manually adjust the ejection angle of the chute, but that's pretty well a "set and forget" adjustment.  

As for power, the model comes with two 60V batteries and chargers, letting you go from assembly -- which only takes a few moments -- to use in just a few hours. The control panel features battery-level indicator LEDs for each battery, letting you check how much power you have at a glance. DeWalt claims that the 60V Max can clear up to a 32-car driveway on a full charge, and I'm highly inclined to believe them. 

I have a typical suburban driveway that can fit six vehicles fairly comfortably, and about 200 feet of sidewalk to maintain. With both batteries charged, I was able to fully clear my driveway and sidewalk sections twice, which was about 45 minutes runtime altogether, before I'd even drained half their power. And since I had so much extra runtime, I did what any other Midwesterner would do and cleared as many of my neighbors' sidewalks and drives as I could. I was able to clear the entire sidewalk on our side of the street, as well as two of the three driveways, before I needed to walk back to my own home to recharge the batteries.  

Also: How to choose a snow blower: Ultimate buying guide for winter days ahead

The DeWalt 60V Max has three power modes, including an eco-friendly battery saver option, so your runtime may vary depending on which mode you use. The power modes can also be used to adjust your chute speed for handling heavier or drier snow. The eco-friendly mode works well with fresh powder for when you need to quickly clear areas, while the heavy-duty mode is great for wet, heavy snow, and thin layers of sleet and freezing rain.  

dewalt 60v max
Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Like all other single-stage snow blowers, the DeWalt 60V Max does not have any sort of self-propelled drive for the wheels. But the body of the unit is lightweight enough to not need a ton of muscle or effort to maneuver and control. I'm even able to physically pick it up -- using proper form, of course -- and carry it if needed. The batteries themselves have a bit of heft to them, but even with both placed in the snow blower, the entire machine is still surprisingly easy to change direction. 

My biggest complaint about the DeWalt 60V Max is that it does not come packaged with a chute-clearing tool; you have to purchase one separately. While not a huge deal, not including a tool that allows you to safely clear obstructions like packed snow and ice poses a safety hazard. Especially if an operator is in a hurry and reaches into the chute without thinking while the unit is still running.  

ZDNET's buying advice

All in all, the DeWalt 60V Max single-stage snow thrower is an impressive little unit. With three power modes, you can tackle different types of snow and push for longer battery life. And electric chute controls make adjusting debris ejection quick and easy. 

The lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver around curved and angled walkways, as well as over uneven surfaces like buckled sidewalks. The all-steel auger is tough enough to handle just about any kind of snow, small bits of ice, and even sticks and other yard waste. And for about $1,000, you'll get the snow blower, two batteries and chargers, and countless mornings of not freezing to death as you manually shovel your driveway.  

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