3 Best ATVs for Plowing Snow – Buyers Guide

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Removing snow with an ATV can be fun and effective if you have the right tool. For many homeowners, it is the preferred alternative for clearing their driveways.

But what is the best ATV for plowing snow? An ATV for plowing snow should be reliable, low maintenance, and heavy enough to get proper traction in the snow. It should have a transmission geared for low speeds, a fuel-injected engine for easy cold starts, and power steering for easy low-speed turning. Finally, it should have a reputable dealer in your area that offers a good warranty.

In this post, we have chosen our top 3 picks for the ideal ATV for snow plowing. All of them are reliable workhorses and not high-power sports models. Reliability is the main reason why they made our list rather than some of their more powerful and thrilling but not as reliable competitors.

These are also our top picks of the best ATVs for snow-blowing.

We also discover what features you should look for in an ATV for plowing snow.

Related: How to Plow Snow With an ATV: All You Must Know

1 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4×4 ES EPS

Why Is It Good for Snow Plowing?

  • Honda ATVs are widely regarded as the most reliable ATVs on the market—a reputation the company has had for decades.
  • The Honda Foreman is a tested and proven utility ATV that has been gradually improved and upgraded since its launch in 1987.
  • Its beltless, wet-clutch transmission is probably the most robust and efficient transmission on the market. With the electric shift program (ESP), you shift gears with the push of a button. With no drive belt, you do not have to worry about belt slippage and high power loss. The high and low sub-transmission make the Foreman ideal for high torque and slow-speed utility work.
  • It has a user-friendly electric reverse. Helpful when repeatedly shifting from forward to reverse, like when plowing snow.
  • An electronic front diff lock provides optimal traction with the flick of a switch.
  • Both speed- and torque-sensitive electric power steering (EPS) for easy turning at low speeds.
  • Handlebar-mounted work light that provides light when a raised plow blade covers the main headlights.
  • A solid workhorse that will keep going for years with proper maintenance. It can take a beating from heavy tasks such as plowing snow and other utility work.

What Would Make It Better?

  • We would like to see standardized, integrated winch mounts, eliminating the need to install an aftermarket bracket. This applies to almost all ATVs on the market.
  • The Honda does not come with a front-mounted winch from the factory; you must buy and install one or have the dealer do it for you.
  • It is not the cheapest or the best value, especially if you also will be trail riding.

What Are the Alternatives?

The Honda Foreman may not be the best option if you want a machine for work and play. While the transmission is ideal for heavy pulling, there are better alternatives for high-speed trail riding. Its reliable but low-power engine and solid rear axle are also not optimal for thrilling trail runs.

If you are set on getting a Honda, the FourTrax Rubicon EPS ES, with its independent rear suspension and automatic dual-clutch transmission, is a better option for combined sport-utility-recreational use.

But you still get an engine built for longevity and not for power. Also, the automatic transmission adds to the list of things that can potentially break.

In the sports-utility category, Honda faces serious competition from other brands.

The Can-Am Outlander 570 offers an incredible overall value with a nice balance between cost, performance, and rideability. It is, however, not as reliable. It’s still our top pick for those looking for a more versatile ATV at a reasonable price.

Other Key Features:

  • ESP – Electronic shift program. Shift the five-speed transmission by pushing a button.
  • EFI: Electric fuel injection with an O2 sensor for better fuel economy.
  • TraxLok, selectable 2WD or 4WD
  • Solid rear axle with swingarm suspension.


  • Brand: Honda
  • Engine: single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-stroke.
  • Displacement: 518cc
  • Weight: 654 lb (curb weight)
  • Transmission: Five-speed electric manual with reverse, automatic wet-clutch (oil sump).
  • MSRP: $8,349 (2020)

2 Yamaha Kodiak 700 ESP

Why Is It Good for Snow Plowing?

  • Yamaha ATVs are well known for their durability and robustness, built with top-of-the-line manufacturing quality.
  • It has a reliable and well-proven single-cylinder engine.
  • Ultramatic CVT transmission. Yes, it is still a belt-driven transmission, but it is the most durable and long-lasting in the industry. It is designed for optimal performance, minimal belt slippage, and low maintenance. Yamaha offers a 10-year belt warranty.
  • 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.
  • Combining a big bore engine with its compact size makes it ideal for maneuvering and pushing a plow through tight spots.
  • Yamaha offers a quality Warn Pro Vantage winch, and 54″ inch plow system, and a large windshield as optional accessories.
  • The handlebar-mounted work light provides light even when the plow blocks the main headlights.

What Would Make It Better?

  • The 700 Kodiak does not come with a winch like some of the more expensive Yamaha Grizzly models.
  • As with the Honda, we would like to see integrated winch mounts.
  • The single-cylinder engine does run rougher than dual-cylinder ATVs.

What Are the Alternatives?

Why did we choose the Kodiac over the Grizzly? On paper, the two models may seem very similar. But the Kodiac offers a better overall value for snowplowing and utility work purposes.

While the Grizzley provides an aggressive, sporty, fun riding experience, the Kodiak is designed for optimal durability and reliability.

The Kodiak has a suspension set up for work more than high-speed trail riding. The Kodiak is also more compact than the Grizzly and offers a lower seat height, making it easier to get in and out. Then there is the price difference of $1,100.

The initial cost of a Kodiak will set you back a bit more than some of its competitors, such as Polaris and Can-Am. But a lower maintenance cost will likely level your financial burden after a few years.

Other Key Features:

  • YFI: Yamaha fuel injection
  • Three-position On-Command 4WD system; 2WD, 4WD, locked differential 4WD.
  • Speed-sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS).
  • High-capacity radiator for better cooling at low speeds.
  • Independent Double Wishbone Front and Rear Suspension.


  • Brand: Yamaha
  • Engine: Single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-stroke, SOHC.
  • Displacement: 686cc
  • Weight: 686 lb (wet weight)
  • Transmission: Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; H, L, N, R, P
  • MSRP: $8,799 (2020)

3Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS

Why Is It Good for Snow Plowing?

  • The V-twin engine offers loads of power, even from a dead stop. It also runs more smoothly than a single-cylinder engine. It provides high torque, especially at low RPMs, which is excellent for low-speed plowing.
  • Kawasaki offers a quality Warn Pro Vantage winch, and 54″ inch plow system, and a large windshield as optional accessories.
  • Kawasaki ATVs are also well known for their reliability and toughness, just not as good as Honda and Yamaha.
  • Fuel injection makes the ATV easy to start in the cold.
  • Low-range transmission for controlled low-speed plowing.
  • Preload adjustable shocks, front and rear.

What Would Make It Better?

  • Belt-driven CVT transmissions are not ideal for high torque applications such as pushing heavy snow loads. Allow the belt to heat up before attacking the snow at full force, or it may get damaged and start slipping.
  • No integrated winch mounts mean you must get an aftermarket mounting bracket.
  • It does not come with a handlebar-mounted work light.

What Are the Alternatives?

If you want the power, but don’t like the looks of the Kawasaki, consider looking into the CanAm Outlander 650 or even the 800.

Other Key Features:

  • Variable control front differential lock.
  • Electric starting system
  • DFI: Direct fuel injection.
  • Final drive: Selectable 2WD/4WD with variable control front differential lock and shaft.
  • Independent four-wheel suspension


  • Brand: Kawasaki
  • Engine: V-twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-stroke, SOHC.
  • Displacement: 518cc
  • Maximum torque: 42.7 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm
  • Weight: 699 lb (curb weight)
  • Transmission: Automatic CVT (H, L, N, R)
  • MSRP: $9,999 (2020, in black color)

What to Look For in an ATV for Plowing Snow

In reality, most ATVs can push snow just fine. But to find the ultimate snowplowing machine, there are some key features you need to look for. This guide will make choosing the right snowplowing ATV easier for you.

ATV Weight – Heavier Is Better for Plowing

The main challenge with ATV snow plowing is getting enough traction. Most ATVs have more than enough power to push loads of snow. But the problem is transferring this power through the wheels and down to the ground.

The weight of the ATV, in combination with the type of tires you use, determines how capable the rig is of pushing snow. More weight generally means better traction. With better traction, you can push more snow.

When it comes to snow plowing, the ATV’s weight is even more important than how powerful the ATV is. No amount of power will help you if your wheels are only spinning.

If the ATV is too light, you won’t be able to move any snow at all.

Related: What is the best size and weight ATV for plowing snow?

Wheels, Chains, Studs, or Tracks?

Tracks are superior to tires for traction. Even when you install tire studs or chains, the difference in the amount of snow you can push with tracks vs. tires is no short of impressive.

Due to the high cost of tracks, a set of quality tire chains is probably the best option for most of us.

Related: Which Are Better for Your ATV: Tire Studs or Chains?

Maneuverability: Power Steering or Not?

Adding a heavy snowplow to the front of your ATV will affect how easily the bike steers. Power steering (EPS) makes steering the ATV much more manageable, making it a recommended option for a snowplowing ATV.

In this post, we discuss whether power steering is worth it.

What Transmission Type Is Better?

Most ATVs on the market use belt-driven (CVT) transmissions. They are cost-efficient but the most effective at transferring the power from the engine to the wheels.

Their rubber belt is a weak link that may wear out prematurely if misused. CVT transmissions are generally not ideal for high torque applications, at least not before the belt and pulleys have had time to warm up.

You may get belt slippage if you apply too much throttle with a cold belt.

Another potential issue with CVT transmissions and snow plowing is being able to drive slowly enough. It is nice to slow down to remain in control in tight spots and when pushing large amounts of snow.

The CVT transmission on some ATVs is set up for higher-speed applications such as trail riding. That is why a sports ATV may not be your best option for plowing snow.

Utility ATVs are generally geared for lower speeds and are usually better for plowing snow. Ask the dealer about the transmission before making your decision.

Honda is currently the only manufacturer that offers a different transmission style than CVT.

Fuel Injection (EFI) vs. Carburetor

Fuel-injected ATVs typically start more easily in cold weather compared to carburated models.

4X4 and Diff-Lock

You need a proper 4×4 system for traction. Ideally, looking for a model that offers locking diffs for additional traction when needed would be best.

Front-Mounted Winch

The ATV needs to have a front-mounted winch so that you can lift the snowplow. We typically recommend a winch with a pulling power of 1500 – 2500lb for snow plowing.

Synthetic winch ropes are generally considered the better option for snow plowing applications. In this post, we examine the pros and cons of steel cables vs. synthetic ropes.

Plow Quick Mount

We wish all ATV brands would offer standardized OEM quick mounts to remove the need to install an aftermarket plow bracket.

Sufficient Clearance to Install Tire Chains

Some ATVs require that you install wheel spacers to avoid rubbing issues when installing chains. Ideally, it would be best to go for an ATV that can fit chains without spacers, as they add cost and impact maneuverability.

Nice-To-Have Winter-Ready Accessories

Some accessories and features are not mandatory, but they can be nice when riding an ATV in the winter.

  • Heated grips and thumb throttle: Electric hand warmers are great for comfort. However, they consume quite a bit of electricity when in use. Battery drain due to extensive winch use is a common problem with ATV snow plowing. An additional power drain, such as hand warmers, will not improve the situation.
  • Elevated LED light bar: Lifting the plow will cover the headlights on many ATVs. With an LED light bar mounted high enough to clear the plow blade, you always ensure optimal visibility.
  • Heated seat cover to keep you warm and dry.
  • Large windscreen as protection from snow and wind.

Brand Reputation

All ATVs break, but some brands break more often than others.

To save you from problems down the line, we recommend sticking with one of the top reputable brands, such as Can-Am, Polaris, Yamaha, Honda, or Kawasaki.

Only time will tell if the up-and-coming Chinese brand CFmoto will make our recommended list. Steer clear of the cheaper Chinese or Taiwanese brands; it is not worth it. However, Suzuki and Arctic Cat/Textron have work to do before earning a spot on our recommended list.

Dealer Availability and Reputation

More important than which brand you choose is which dealers you have in your area and the quality of the service and warranties they offer.

To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your ATV, you must follow the specified service schedule. In addition, you may have unexpected warranty issues and problems where having a well-reputed dealer nearby is vital.

Will You Be Using the ATV for More Than Plowing Snow?

Please note that the ATVs recommended in this post are selected only with snow plowing in mind. However, most people will also use their ATVs for things like trail riding or collecting firewood.

Other riding applications are going to require a different set of features. For recreational trail riding, you would likely want a more powerful engine, and for hauling firewood, you must also look at the ATV towing capacity.

Cost and Value

If you plan on only using your ATV for snow plowing, you will likely be just as happy with an ATV that costs two-thirds of the price of a premium model.

If removing snow is the only task you need the ATV to do, a snow blower may be your best option from a financial standpoint. But if you include the “fun factor,”…well.

Even if you plan on adding some utility work, such as gardening or small-scale farming, you do not need the top-of-the-line ATV model to get the job done.

The more expensive models are generally packed with more powerful engines and extra features you may not need to plow snow.

Shop around for good deals. And remember, the MRSP is only a suggested price.

Related Questions

How Good Are ATVs for Snow Plowing?

An ATV is not made explicitly for plowing snow. It does the job quite well, but is it good enough for your needs? This post explains more in-depth how good ATVs are for snow plowing in various applications and snow conditions.

How Does an ATV Plow Work?

Those new to snow plowing or specifically snow plowing with an ATV may be interested in reading this post on how an ATV plow works.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, choosing the best ATV for snowplowing hinges on understanding the key features like weight, tire type, and the power of the machine. Your individual needs, such as the size of the area you need to plow and the average snowfall in your region, also play a significant role.

By carefully considering these aspects, you’ll be well-equipped to make a selection that will make snowplowing efficient, effective, and even enjoyable.

Haavard Krislok
Haavard Krislok
Haavard Krislok is an ATV and off-road enthusiast with a rich background spanning two decades in owning, maintaining, repairing, and utilizing ATVs for farming, logging, and hunting. Outside his professional life as an engineer and project manager, he cherishes recreational trail riding and is the creative force behind BoostATV.com, serving as its owner, editor, and content creator.

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