Best ATV for Snow Plowing

Winter can be the most scenic of seasons, particularly if you live in a region that gets a lot of snow. There’s nothing quite like looking out of your window to see rooftops and hills covered in white, children making snowmen, and taking that first step into a blanket of seamless snow...

There is however a drawback to this kind of weather: blocked driveways that can take hours to shovel. You may have become accustomed to shoveling snow manually, and if so - we salute you. However, we also feel your pain - this is time-consuming, inconvenient, and tiring. 

ATVs can be a fast and convenient way to plow snow, especially if you have a driveway that gets several feet of snow during the winter. ATVs beat manually moving the snow as they require less physical effort on your behalf, but they also do a more effective job. 

Best ATV for Snow Plowing

A good ATV for snow plowing should be reliable, sturdy, and above all, it needs to have enough traction to grip and move the snow. You’ll need something that has a fuel-injected engine for starting the ATV up on cold, frosty mornings and power steering for easy low-speed steering. You’ll also want something robust and durable, that will see you through many winters to come. 

ATVs can be incredibly useful and are growing in popularity, which means more choice and more competitive prices. But this can also be pretty overwhelming - which is the best ATV brand? What size engine is best for plowing snow? How do I install the snowplow? Fear not though, as that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of the best ATVs on the market for snow plowing, complete with a handy Buyer’s Guide and a Frequently Asked Questions section which should answer all of your burning questions, so you spend less time browsing and more time plowing… 

In a hurry? Then you can check out our top pick below...

Top 5 Best ATV for Snow Plowing

OUR TOP PICK

Summary

Honda are widely renowned for their reliability and durability, and for offering some of the best ATVs on the market. The Fourtrax Foreman 4x4 does not disappoint, and its beltless, wet-clutch transmission is probably the most robust and efficient available. Easily shift gears with the press of a button, and the high and low sub-transmission allows you to turn easily even at low speeds. 

This ATV is particularly good for plowing snow thanks to its user-friendly electric reverse, which means you can easily move back and forth like you do when plowing snow. It has torque-sensitive electric power steering (EPS) for easy turning at low speeds, and an electronic front diff lock that provides optimal traction at the simple flick of a switch. 

If you’re working in a low-light situation, the Honda Fourtrax has got you covered, as it comes with a handlebar-mounted work light in addition to the main headlights, which can be used when these are covered by a raised plow blade. 

This ATV is solid and reliable, and with attentive maintenance, it will last for years to come. 

Pros

  • Honda is a market leader for quality and reliability
  • Beltless, wet-clutch transmission
  • Torque-sensitive EPS for turning at low speeds
  • Easy reverse button
  • Handlebar-mounted light

Cons

  • It’s not the best for trail riding, so if you’re looking for something multi-functional this may not be the ATV for you.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

2020 YAMAHA KODIAK 700

Summary

Yamaha is trusted the world over for its powerful, reliable motors. The 686cc motor with optimized torque and power delivery combines strength and power with comfort for an effortless ride. The fuel-injected engine makes starting this machine up on a cold morning super easy.

Yamaha’s peerless Ultramatic transmission is operated through a five-position shift lever that offers High, Low, Neutral, Reverse, and Park gates —for positive and precise transmission operation. A robust mechanical 4WD system is selected using a handlebar-mounted lever, and 25-inch Maxxis® tires provide ultimate traction on a range of terrains. 

When equipped with an additional winch, this ATV has a towing power of 1322 lb and the adjustable preload in the front and rear suspension allows you to stiffen up the springs to compensate for the extra weight of the winch and plow.

Pros

  • Reliable, robust ATV brand 

  • Towing power of 1322 lbs 

  • Front and rear suspension 

  • 25 inch Maxxis tires 

  • 686cc motor with optimized torque and power delivery

Cons

  • Single-cylinder engines run rougher than dual cylinder ones. 

BEST VALUE

Summary

This Kawasaki ATV lives up to its name: it’s an absolute Brute thanks to its fuel-injected 749cc V-twin engine that is easy to start in the cold and delivers mammoth power; it also has a 1,250 lb towing capacity and independent suspension. 

The Brute is ideal for tackling difficult, uneven terrain thanks to its responsive acceleration and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). It also has excellent traction and performance in a variety of weather conditions with variable control front differential lock and selectable drive modes for increased adaptability. 

Kawasaki also offers a range of additional accessories for adapting your ATV for harsh weather conditions. For example, you could purchase the Kawasaki Warn Pro Vantage winch, 54″ inch plow system, and large windshield for optimum versatility and durability when plowing snow. 

This ATV is great if you’re looking for a vehicle you can use for work and play. 

Pros

  • Fuel-injected twin engine 

  • 1,250-lb towing capacity

  • Responsive acceleration and CVT 

  • Various drive modes 

Cons

  • Belt driven CVT transmissions may not handle high torque applications such as pushing a lot of heavy snow.

RUNNER UP

Summary

The Polaris Ranger is not cheap, but it’s an ATV that combines power and comfort with an unrivaled ruggedness. It has a heavy-duty Pro-PTV clutch system and a 32% larger drive belt for longevity and durability, and an electronic, fuel-injected 999cc engine. With electronic power steering, this ATV is easy to steer, even at low speeds when doing manual work. 

It has a 1,500 lbs payload capacity and can tow up to 2,000lbs, making it ideal for a day of work, whether it's plowing snow, moving logs, or shifting heavy items. The sturdy tailgate with an automotive-style handle and latching mechanism makes loading and unloading effortless. 

Don’t be fooled thinking this machine is only good for work, though. The Polaris Ranger is complete with a 3-Position, user-selectable throttle control to select from three options: Performance, Work, and Standard mode, meaning you can use this ATV for work during the week and head out on the trails on the weekend. Plus, the supersized 27” Maxxis 6-Ply tires provide unrivaled traction and puncture resistance and tackle any terrain you throw at them. 

Pros

  • 32% larger drive belt for durability 

  • Fuel-injected 999cc engine 

  • Power steering 

  • 1,500lb capacity and 2000lbs towing power 

  • Versatile - multiple modes to switch between 

  • 27” Maxxis 6-Ply tires for ultimate traction 

Cons

  • It’s not cheap! 

RUNNER UP

Summary

This ATV from Massimo has a powerful 493 cc 32 HP EFI liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine and can reach speeds of over 40MPH. It also comes kitted out with 25-inch all-terrain 6 ply tires that provide traction even on snow and ice. 

Fully independent front and rear suspension and hydraulic disc brakes make for excellent braking power and make this ATV versatile for trail riding as well as snow plowing. 

With a 1200lb towing capacity, it's not the most powerful of ATVs, however, this machine is ideal for lighter snowfall or for somebody who wants a versatile ATV that they can ride on multiple terrains.  

Massimo are a relatively new ATV company, as they were founded in 2009, however, all of their vehicles are built and assembled in Texas, plus they have an ethos of providing power and reliability at an affordable price, meaning you’ll get more bang for your buck. 

Pros

  • 493 cc 32 HP EFI liquid-cooled engine 

  • Speeds of over 40MPH 

  • All-terrain tires 

  • Hydraulic disc brakes and front and rear suspension 

  • Ideal for trail riding too 

Cons

  • Lesser known brand 

  • single-cylinder engine

  • Lower towing capacity 

Best ATV for Snow Plowing Buying Guide

Buying an ATV is an investment, so check out our points below for all the things you should consider when choosing a vehicle…

Engine power and size 

When it comes to plowing snow, engine displacement and horsepower (hp) are not actually a priority. Most engines will plow snow, but a good ballpark figure is something around 400cc or higher. ATVs are powerful machines, and even a smaller or moderate vehicle will be able to handle pushing snow. You also need to consider maneuverability, as a larger machine may be more difficult to handle and turn. Once you get to engines around the 800-700cc mark, there’s hardly any difference between the power as the figure increases. Generally, a 500cc will get the job done even in the height of winter when you have a lot of snow to shift, so don’t get sucked into buying more powerful - and often more expensive - machines. 

You may want to consider a more powerful machine if you’re going to be towing heavy items though, or if you want speed for trail riding. However, don’t forget that a bigger engine equals a higher fuel consumption, which will bump up the cost of running and using your ATV.  

Weight

Rather than power, weight is actually the most important thing to consider in an ATV, as the weight of the vehicle is what will provide it with better traction and momentum. It will also provide the ATV with better stability and reduce the risk of it toppling over.

Traction

As we said above, a heavier vehicle supplies more weight and as a result, more traction. Traction will enable you to shift more snow and will provide you with a better grip when working on slippery surfaces. This is why a smaller engine under 400cc will be problematic. It’s not so much that it won’t have the horsepower to plow the snow, but rather that it won’t have the required traction. 

Momentum

Any ATV will be able to shift the light, powdery type of snow, however wet, heavy snow is a different ball game altogether. This is where momentum comes in. Momentum is what you get when you combine mass (weight) with velocity (speed). While traction and the weight of the vehicle should weigh your ATV down enough so it can push heavy snow, you’ll need that little bit of speed to really give you the power required to push anything that gets in your way.

Tires, chains, and studs 

  • You can also improve the traction of your ATV by assessing its tires. Soft, rubber tires will provide grip and increase traction on your vehicle. Some people swear by deflating their tires to improve traction on snow, however, the downside of this is that the ATV will be harder to steer, and it will also result in more wear and tear on the steering components. 
  • Another option is to add chains to your tires. Chains improve traction on snow and ice and reduce the risk of your tires spinning, these also work well on gravel surfaces. However, chains can damage seal-coated surfaces due to their roughness, and they won’t work very well on hard surfaces like asphalt, as two hard surfaces rubbing together doesn’t provide adequate traction. Chains will also wear your tires down more quickly than usual and decrease your overall speed. 
  • Tire studs are also an additional way to improve traction on your ATV. They’re cheap to buy and while they are not as effective as chains, they are more forgiving and won’t wear your tires down as much. They also work well on ice or packed snow.  

The right plow 

You will of course have to buy your snow plow separately, and therefore it’s essential that you choose the right one for your needs and your vehicle. Snowplows are great for plowing and moving more than just snow - they’re also good for clearing fallen leaves in the fall, spreading mulch on your lawn, and for cleaning debris or dirt off roads. When you’re choosing a snowplow, read the specification carefully and consider things such as the fit for your ATV, ease of installation, and durability. Snowplows differ in size but for ATVs they generally have a length of around 50”- 60”. Look for something heavy-duty that is made from a strong, durable material such as steel. 

Tips for plowing snow with your ATV:

  1. Firstly check your ATV is sturdy enough to plow snow, otherwise, you risk overloading it if you add a snowplow. 
  2. Change the oil and check tire pressure - cold weather conditions are harsh on even the most durable of vehicles, so check your ATV is in good working order before adding the plow.
  3. Make sure the depth and angle of the plow are adjusted to reflect the amount of snow you plan on plowing. 
  4. Avoid very heavy or deep snow, or tackle this bit by bit. 
  5. Be wary of items hidden underneath the snow. 
  6. Follow the natural slopes and contours of the area you’re plowing. 
  7. Clean all of the snow and dirt off your ATV to keep it in optimum condition. 

Best ATV for Snow Plowing - FAQ's

Are ATVs good for snow plowing? 

Yes! If you have an ATV with a fuel-injected engine, good traction, and power steering, then it can do a great job of tackling a snowed-in driveway. If you fit a strong snow plow on your ATV, it’ll be far more efficient and effective than shoveling the snow manually, plus it can be used for a plethora of other tasks around your home and yard, too. However, the plowing ability of your ATV also depends on the engine size and the weight of the vehicle. Engine power isn’t everything- any ATV with an engine of 400cc and above will get the job done, the main thing is that your ATV has enough weight to it, as this improves traction. 

How do I install a snowplow on my ATV?

There are 3 major components involved here: the mounting plate, the plow tube, and the plow blade. The installation will vary depending on the make of your snowplow and ATV, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. You’ll need a jack to raise the ATV up so that you can install the mounting plate, which is usually secured with U-bolts. Then you will need to attach the plow tube, and you’ll have a set of pins and latches that will secure this to the front of the ATV. Lastly, you’ll be ready to install your plow blade.

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