Which Snowdog Is Best For Me?
One of the most common questions we get from visitors to our store or our website is “Which model is best for me?” With a few different options to pick from, it can be difficult to know which one is going to suit your needs best.
Snowdog has stopped production on the anything below the 13hp model. With improvements to the clutch, remote choke, and the addition of the reverse gear option - it's easier to make a decision. We had previously done a test of a 10HP and 13HP here.
The options available now are:
- 13HP Compact
- 13HP Compact with Reverse
- 13HP Standard
- 13HP Standard with Reverse
Compact model vs. Standard model
We’ve been telling our customers that the Standard is better in deep snow because of the longer track (and therefore reduced ground pressure). We have proven this. The Standard I tested, even with the larger engine, sailed through deep snow (even some slush on the ice) without even slowing down. In heavy slush conditions, anything will bog down, but the Standard 13HP still performed very well. The Compact, though lighter, had some trouble in slushy snow, and just couldn’t maintain speed when I drove through some slushy spots.
The other most notable difference was the steering. The Compact is a breeze to steer in any conditions. In deeper snow, the Standard becomes nearly impossible to steer at top speed by simply “pushing” the handlebars out to the sides like you’d want to do. To steer the Standard most effectively in deep snow, you have to tilt the whole machine to the left or right like a jet-ski in order to carve into the snow. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult, but it does take some practice. On trails that are used frequently, steering is not a problem for either model (though it’s still a bit easier on the Compact).
Reverse Option: Yes or No?
We have typically advised our customers NOT to pay extra for the reverse gear option because we didn’t believe it was as useful as our customers want it to be. At the time, the reverse gear had to be actuated manually by a lever in the front of the engine compartment, which seemed a little awkward.
This year was the first year that Snowdog offered the Reverse option with a switch on the handlebar, allowing you to drive the machine in reverse much like a Snowmobile. This changes everything! If you’re going to buy a Standard 13HP unit, the Reverse Gear option is actually pretty handy. I found myself in a situation on a marshy trail where I had to back out (or pull myself out). The reverse gear made it incredibly easy.
Reverse option, when available, is definitely a YES.
The question of Compact vs. Standard isn’t an easy one, but here’s how I’d boil it down:
Pick a COMPACT MODEL if:
- You prefer to transport it from place to place without a trailer
- You plan to ride on packed snow or on existing trails
- Ease of steering is important (in any conditions)
Pick a STANDARD MODEL if:
- You plan to boldly go where no one has gone before
- You regularly encounter deeper snow
Whatever Snowdog you decide on, you’ll love them. They’re super fun to drive even if you’re not into ice fishing. They’re great for touring the lake, exploring bush trails or just taking the kids out for a sleigh ride and enjoying the great outdoors.