What size ATV do you need for snow plowing?
800cc or 400cc?
The real answer is that horsepower and engine size have little to do with it. In fact, the weight of the ATV is far more important than what engine size you have.
A 400cc ATV will plow snow just fine as an 800cc ATV would as the weight difference isn’t too significant. But there’s more to it.
Perfect Size ATV For Plowing Snow
If you ask me the perfect size for plowing snow and being a good all-around ATV is anything that has a V-Twin engine and is a good price. If you’re looking for something new then nowadays that means you’ll be looking at a 500cc quad. Even a 650 would be nice too, but I wouldn’t go beyond that.
I would stick to a 60-inch plow at the most. This would be overkill for most as a 48-inch plow will work just as well.
When it comes to anything over 12 inches of snow ATVs start to struggle as they don’t have the weight to push through. It would be more worthy to get a side by side with a 500cc engine in it because it would weigh more and push more snow.
A Better Option
Once you start to get beyond a foot of snow, an ATV is not the best thing to use to plow snow.
A regular snowblower* is a far better and cheaper option.
In a perfect world, it would be great to have both an ATV and a snowblower. The ATV can be used for hunting, farming, and many other things around the home. While the snowblower can clear a higher amount of snow than the ATV can, but the ATV can come along and keep the driveway clear once you have cleared most of it away.
What is the perfect ATV for snow plowing is a very open-ended question. You also have to factor in what kind of snow you’re plowing and the terrain you’re on.
If the snow is already compacted from people driving on it, your ATV is going to have a harder time. Plus, snow chains on your tires are rough on the pavement and can tear up ground you don’t want to be torn up.
If an ATV with a plow is ideal for you the best upgrade besides the plow and winch you can do is the tires. Some of the tires you get on today’s ATVs are nice and aggressive but you can always do better. You want aggressive tires to help give you the needed traction but don’t go too aggressive. I have a guide on the best ATV tires, this can give you a better idea of what to buy.
- If you can get any ATV, then get one with fuel injection and not a carbureted one. A fuel injected ATV will turn on without having to choke it; you just put the key on and press start. Fuel injection is so much nicer for colder weather riding. No need to play with the choke and wait for the engine to warm up.
- A huge feature, if you want an ATV to plow snow, is one that is 4-wheel drive. Don’t get a 2-wheel drive ATV. You want to plow in 4-wheel drive mode to give you the most traction. 4×4 is more useful for not only plowing but so many things, so it’s best to stick to them.
- I like to let out some air out of my tires, around to 5 psi, to give my tires more traction. I also carry a portable 12-volt tire inflator too.
- Consider heated grips and even heated jackets that plug into your ATV’s battery. Plowing snow is a cold and wet job so why not have some comfort?
- This one is huge – getting a 12-volt solar panel charger* for your ATV is very practical! It’s easy to forget about your ATV until you need it and I’ve seen it many times where you go out to the ATV, and it won’t start. If you ride your ATV every so often and don’t keep the battery charged the battery will die. You don’t want to be stuck with your ATV not starting because of a dead battery when you have a lot of snow to plow.
What You Don’t Need
You don’t need the 1000cc ATV. That is way overkill and doesn’t offer any more benefit for plowing snow.
Don’t overdo it. You can only plow so much so don’t be stupid and hurt yourself. Be smart about this. Use the snowblower when the ATV just can’t handle it. Take it one step at a time and only eat as much as your spoon can handle.