My first battery-powered snow blower was a Snow Joe Two-Stage

This winter I’ll be relying on my newly purchased EGO Power+ Snow Blower to clear the snow off the driveway. However, this EGO snow blower isn’t my first battery-powered snow blower but instead I once owned Snow Joe’s first Two-Stage 80V Cordless Snow Blower, the iON24SB-XR.

As far as I know, Snow Joe is the only manufacturer of a cordless electric two-stage self-propelled snow blower currently on the market. For two decades I had been using a MTD gas powered two-stage snow blower that I bought at the local K-Mart. Naturally, whether gas or electric, I prefer two-stage snow blower over a single-stage. So, during the 2016-2017 snow season I bought and used the Snow Joe two-stage as my primary means of removing snow from my house.

With winter just beginning I’m looking forward to seeing what the EGO snow blower can do. However, I thought it would be good to stroll down memory lane and give you my initial review and overall impressions of the Snow Joe ion24SB two-stage I once owned.

My Initial Impressions of Snow Joe’s iON24SB

At the time of my purchase, many of the early reviewers for this two-stage cordless Snow Joe were either first time buyers of a snow blower or graduating from a single-stage snow blower. As someone that has owned a two-stage gas snow blower for the past 20 years, I wished there had been more reviews from previous two stage gas owners before I made my purchase. I only came across one trusted reviewer which was Paul Sikkema from   Sikkema’s review helped convince me to take a chance on this Snow Joe. 

After using the snow blower (iON24SB-XR 5.0 Ah) for just a few days, I quickly reached the conclusion that this cordless snow blower isn’t as good as a gas snow blower. However, if you’re looking for an alternative to gas, noise, and engine maintenance this cordless Snow Joe is a reasonable compromise. As long as the snow blower is functioning well, it definitely will do its primary job of clearing snow off your driveway.

Initially, I debated whether I wanted to keep or return the Snow Joe and leaned toward keeping it because it was “good enough”.  After decades of dealing with gas, oil, noise, and sluggish engine starts that come with a gas engine…I ‘m just ready for the electrification of my outdoor tools. So, on Amazon my initial review put this snow blower at 4 stars out of  five.  If this was a gas snow blower it would have received 3 stars from me but because it didn’t need gas and introduces some cutting edge technology I favored the higher ranking.

Here are my initial impressions of the Snow Joe:

The Positives

Size Doesn’t Matter – This snow blower definitely can throw snow. When I first put the snow blower together, my first impression was that it was smaller than I had expected. However, I quickly found that as long as long as you have power in your batteries it shouldn’t have a problem clearing up to a foot of snow. I went through 3 inches and 7 inches of powdered snow with no problem. My neighbors with their larger more expensive snow blowers were confused with how this small thing could pick up so much snow. Some reviewers complained that it doesn’t do well with wet snow but almost all snow blowers have problems with wet snow.

Quicker Startup, Less Maintenance, and Less Noise – To start this snow blower it’s just a matter loading batteries into the compartment and then go. No priming the engine and for the first time in 20 years after clearing the driveway my clothes or hands don’t smell like gas and fumes. I’m also getting to that age where noise is starting to bother me so my ears are very pleased with the Snow Joe. In fact, this cordless snow blower is quiet enough when running that it felt odd to me to hear my neighbor running his own gas snow blower from a distance.

The Negatives

Packaging Needs Improvement – As other reviewers have mentioned, the packaging could be improved. With the thin box and weak packing material, my snow blower arrived with the fastener for the chute clean-out tool broken. I feel I’m lucky nothing else broke during transit and I plan on calling Snow Joe to get the broken part replaced.

Awful, Awful, Awful Handles – Snow Joe, what were you thinking? This snow blower’s handles are uncomfortable as you have to squeeze the drive/auger grips from the bottom with your fingers. For good reason, most two-stage snow blowers have you press the grip from top with the weight of your hand. Less fatigue on both hands and elbows that way. This poor design choice by Snow Joe was one of the reasons I considered returning the snow blower. Also, the “safety button” on the auger trigger needs to go or have the ability to lock in place as it was cumbersome to engage without two hands. Snow Joe, when you do improve this handle/grip I’d like to have us “first generation” buyers be able to retrofit this year’s model with the new handles/grips.

Neutral Territory

More Battery Power Needed – My 5.0 Ah batteries lasted only a half-hour. I had to wait for three hours to recharge the batteries before I could finish the second half of my driveway (40 feet long with three car garage width). Snow Joe does have a 6.0 Ah option, but I think you’re better off saving the money buying the 5.0 option and use the savings to buy a second set of batteries. The 6.0 Ah bundle only gets you extra 10 minutes of operations than the 5.0 Ah bundle. My recommendation for a normal residential driveway:

Single car driveway: 5.0 Ah option
Double car driveway: 5.0 Ah option + extra batteries or 6.0 Ah option
Triple car driveway: 5.0 Ah option + extra batteries

Build and Material of the Snow Blower – My gas snow blower lasted 20 years and I abused the heck out of it. I think I’ll be lucky if this new snow blower lasts 10 years with its plastic parts and lighter material. Realistically though, I’m not sure today’s gas snow blowers would last 20 years unless you’re willing to fork over a lot of money for the elite/professional lines. So given the price of this snow blower, I’m OK with the expected 10 years. Also, being that this snow blower is battery powered there is a lot less vibration, wear and tear than a gas snow blower. In other words, plastic on a cordless/electric snow blower should last longer than it would on a vibrating gas snow blower.

Not Fast, Not Slow – Some reviewers complain that the snow blower is too slow but I found the speeds reasonable for a two-stage snow blower. The three speeds are very comparable to the first three gears of my gas snow blower. My gas snow blower has a 4th gear that I seldom use (too fast with snow/ice on the drive) and won’t miss. What I will miss though is my 5th gear which is intended to be used without the auger engaged so you move to your destination quickly. The Snow Joe is difficult to push/pull if the motors are not being used.

Final Impressions: Great concept, but did I get three lemons?

Shortly after my initial review, it was quite obvious by my second use of the snow blower that due to poor wasn’t just the chute mount as I mentioned below that had been damaged but also auger housing. I found snow leaking on the side and the snow blower couldn’t be balanced/leveled properly. 

Looks like my Snow Joe Two-Stage Snow Blower was damaged in shipment.

I contacted Snow Joe directly, worked with them directly and received a replacement. Unfortunately about 3/4th done with my driveway the auger motor of snow blower #2 stopped working. I worked with Snow Joe received a replacement and experienced the same auger motor problem with snow blower #3. It’s a pity because until the auger motor quit, the snow blower was clearing the snow off the driveway just as you expect any two-stage gas snow blower would.

After three snow blowers, Snow Joe decided to refund my money (I never asked for a refund as my goal was to have a working Snow Joe in my garage). I had to spend $60 on packing and material to return the final snow blower but in all three cases Snow Joe sent me shipping labels. So for $60 and my time spent returning snow blowers (more of a pain than the money), I had use of the snow blower. I think Snow Joe actually lost money on this deal due to shipping, support, and replacement costs.

So with having three snow blowers that didn’t work, why is my final rating standing at three-stars? It mainly comes down to the great customer service I received from Snow Joe. Between emails and phone conversations, Snow Joe treated me right. Also, it’s my hope I just had a string of back luck as I can see real potential in this snow blower. When it worked, it worked great.

But Wait There is More…

Despite having to return the Snow Joe, I remained hopeful that Snow Joe would have all the quality control issues and design flaws worked out for the next model. Starting in the 2017-2018 season, Snow Joe did indeed introduce a new version of this snow blower, the ION8024.

Snow Joe ION8024-XRP 24-Inch 80 Volt  Two Stage Snow Blower

This new version of it’s cordless two-stage bring a feature upgrade with a cutting-edge 4-speed digital drive system (3-speed XPORT for rapid return at the end of a snow-clearing run). More importantly, Snow Joe addressed some of the design issues I pointed out including improved handles and better tires.

While I haven’t reviewed the new Snow Joe myself, reviewers at Amazon give this snow blower 3.1 stars out of 5 stars. But given the sample pool is rather small (only 48 reviews) at the time I’m writing this article, I’m not sure if you can conclude from the reviews whether this is new version is better or worse than the previous snow blower.

As always, if you have ever owned a Snow Joe two-stage snow blower, I’d love to hear from you on your impressions of this machine. Also, if there are other manufacturers of cordless electric two-stage snow blowers let me know as well via the comment section of this article. 

11 thoughts on “My first battery-powered snow blower was a Snow Joe Two-Stage

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  1. I bought this same model last year and agree with your review. The handles are terrible and not being able to take a finger off the auger button is a pain ( my hands felt like they had been throw a war after the first time).
    The battery life works for me, standard 2 car subdivision drive, if the snow is 3″ or under, when its heavier I need to recharge before I can finish.
    I thought about going back to a gas model this winter, but I paid $750 for the Snow Joe last year, didn’t want to take the loss.

  2. This year, I bought the EGO’s single stage snow blower. I can move a lot quicker with it ( and with a lot less pain) than I could the Snow Joe. It’s not as good as a gas two-stage, but I’m pleased with it (plan to do a review at the end of the season). If you want to stick with the Snow Joe line…I just noticed that Snow Joe has introduced a similar single-stage snow blower to that of the EGO. Their new snow blower though uses a 100V battery:

    1. How does it compare in the heavy snow compared to the Snow Joe? Can it deal with the “end of the driveway stuff” as well or better than the SJ?

      1. The EGO snowblower didn’t have any issue with the heavy snow except being a single-stage it doesn’t throw the snow as far as a two-stage. With several snow events last year, I only had one time where end of the driveway snow was difficult to break through/remove with the EGO. Overall, I’m glad I made the purchase.

    1. Sorry for a very late response. I didn’t see this comment earlier. I think the EGO does a slightly better at the end of the driveway than the Snow Joe I reviewed. I can move the EGO single-stage back and forth at a quicker pace…where with the two-stage if you get stuck it’s harder to move back and forth. My experience is neither a single-stage or two-stage does well in breaking down snow barriers without some work…and one of the reason they evented a three-stage for this specific situation.

  3. Brian, thank you for the great review. You say that the snow joe is not as good as a 2 stage gas blower. Can you elaborate on that a bit? What are the main disadvantages?

    1. Specific to the Snow Joe that I reviewed…the self-propelled drive is slow compared to almost any two-stage gas snow blower I’ve ever used. My understanding is newer versions of the Snow Joe 2-stage and EGO’s newest 2-stage both move a lot quicker than the original Snow Joe. I think in general gas two-stage snow blowers are built a little tougher and heavier than electric which some may prefer…but also that may be because gas snow blowers have to be built with heavier metal to support a heavier vibrating gas engine.

      Here in South Dakota, I thought I’d never be happy with either a gas or electric single-stage snow blower. But I’ve surprisingly found EGO’s single-stage snow blower to meet almost 90% of my needs. In the heart of winter with less chance of wet snow…I found I can clear my driveway at a much quicker pace than any gas than any of my neighbors with heavier two-stage snow blowers. My point is, I’m starting to rethink this notion that bigger, heavier, and tougher snow blowers are better snow blowers. I’m about to write a post talking about my three winters with the EGO snow blower and it’s been mostly a positive experience.

      1. Besides the self-propelling speed of your old snow joe and plastic shell, were there any other disadvantages that you’ve heard or have experience of electric blowers compared to gas snowblowers?

  4. Hi Bryan, can you elaborate on besides lifetime, what another disadvantage the battery-powered one has compared to gas powered blowers?

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