Recommended Snowmaking Equipment
To make real snow, you will need an air compressor and pressure washer (with most setups). To reduce your overall cost, it’s best to purchase these items at your local hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, or online. Backyard Snowstorm’s equipment recommendations are based on personal use and high customer ratings.
Both air compressors and pressure washers come in residential and commercial grade quality. We recommend residential grade equipment if you plan to make snow a few times a year. Commercial grade equipment is best for marathon snowmakers hoping to make snow heavily during the season.
Backyard Snowstorm recommend air compressors that have a minimum air rating of 5 CFM @ 90 PSI. Air compressors rated between 5-7 CFM @ 90 PSI will run continously during operation. Air compressors rated higher that 7 CFM @ 90 PSI will cycle on and off during operation.
Rigid 5.1 CFM @ 90 PSI Air Compressor
The Rigid 5.1 CFM @ 90 PSI air compressor is our personal favorite compressor to use with all 3 snow guns.
The retail price of the Rigid 5.1 CFM @ 90 PSI compressor is around $350 making it one of the cheapest air compressors that will work with our home snow guns.
This air compressor is also rated at 77dBA making it quiet in the air compressor world. This compressor is compact, but must be moved by hand and does not have wheels.
This compressor is residential grade and works amazing for the price.
Campbell Hausfeld 5.5 CFM @ 90 PSI Air Compressor
The Campbell Hausfeld 5.5 CFM @ 90 PSI air compressor is our commercial grade recommendation.
The retail price of the Campbell Hausfeld 5.5 CFM @ 90 PSI compressor is around $689. This compressor features a cast iron pump and induction motor that will extend the life of your air compressor for years.
This air compressor is rated at 85dBA making it another great noise option. This compressor does have wheels making it easy to move around.
Pressure washers are required for the Forecaster and Cold Front Snow Guns. Any pressure washer or high pressure pump will work as long as the pressure washer or pump can output at least 1,000 PSI. When looking at pressure washers to use, the GPM rating as well as the quality will be important to consider.
Ryobi 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer
The Ryobi 1.2 GPM pressure washer is one of the most economical options for making snow. This pressure washer will make about 1″ per hour in a 15′ x 30′ area with the Forecaster Snow Gun.
This pressure washer will retail around $100 making it one of the cheapest pressure washers to use with your snow gun. This pressure washer can be a little loud, so running it inside of the garage is best to reduce noise.
The drawback will be quality. This pressure washer is residential grade with lower quality components. From experience, you can expect this pressure washer (and others like it) to last for 1-3 years if you make snow a few times per year. If you’re getting started with home snowmaking, this is a great option!
AR 610 1.9 GPM Pressure Washer
The AR 610 1.9 GPM pressure washer is our personal favorite. This pressure washer runs at 1.9 GPM which will produce around 2″ per hour in a 15′ x 35′ area with the Forecaster Snow Gun.
This pressure washer is the highest GPM pressure washer that will run on a standard 110v power outlet making it convenient for most home owners.
The AR 610 features an induction motor which is almost silent during operation. The components in this pressure washer are commercial grade and design for heavy use. This pressure washer retails around $600, but is worth the investment if you are serious about making snow.
NorthStar 4 GPM Pressure Washer
The NorthStar 4 GPM pump is the real deal. With 4 GPM of water flow, this pressure washer can output about 4″ per hour in a 15′ x 40′ area with the Forecaster Snow Gun.
This pressure washer requires a 230v power source with a 30A breaker. If you don’t have this power source available, you can usually get an electrician to install the outlet in your home for $200-$300.
The NorthStar pump is industrial grade and costs around $2,000. This pump is heavy duty, and built for continuous use for years. We recommend investing in this pressure washer for larger applications and use with the Forecaster or Cold Front Snow Guns.
Full Snowmaking Setup Recommendations
If you’re not sure what a good setup looks like, check out our full setup recommendations! These full system setups will give you direction on what to purchase and how much snow to expect.
Little Cloud Setup Options
Forecaster Setup Options
Cold Front Setup Options
Other Fittings and Hoses
If you use your own or other equipment models, you will need to make sure you have the hoses and quick connections needed to connect this equipment to the Forecaster or Cold Front Snow Gun. Pressure washers have a few different thread connections. Visit our Pressure Washer Connections Page to see more information about connecting other pressure washers to the Forecaster or Cold Front Snow Guns.
Backyard Snowstorm recommends rubber hoses for best use in cold temperatures. A rubber garden hose, air hose and pressure washer hose are preferred for ease of use in these conditions. Backyard Snowstorm packages includes rubber hoses for this reason, and an adapter fitting pack to connect to any of the recommended pressure washers on this page.