Snowmobiles vs ATVs – Differences and Similarities

snowmobile vs atv

Snowmobiles or ATVs? An article on how to see which one fits you best.

Are you a brave person that is looking for some adrenaline in his life? If the answer is yes, after some online searches, you’ve probably found some ideas. Many sports can deliver what you are looking for, but which one of them is good for you? However, you will start to have lots of fun only by practicing that sport for a long time. If you have a busy life and some money to spend, my suggestion is to try a new vehicle.

Many people will suggest you choose between an ATV and a snowmobile. Why is that? Because snowmobiling or going off-road with an ATV will deliver the adrenaline that you are looking for. The question is, which one of them is good for you? You shouldn’t let people influence you. That’s why, in this article, I’m going to present and compare these 2 vehicles, making your decision easier.

 What are they?

A snowmobile is a lightweight motorized vehicle which is used on either snow or ice. In the cold areas of the world, people use these vehicles for transportation every day, because of the snow that is present at any moment of the year, making them a must for everyone there. However, most of the people use it for recreational purposes, snowmobiling being a very common hobby these days.

Its build is very unusual. Instead of front wheels, the snowmobile has 2 skis that are steered using a handlebar. It also has a track that is replacing the back wheels. This track is making snowmobile traction monsters on the snow. It also helps with the weight distribution.

An ATV (all-terrain vehicle) is a 4 wheel vehicle that does exactly what its name says: you can ride this on all terrains. They are used in a lot of domains like construction, military, surveying etc.

However, many people use it for off-roads as a hobby, just like a snowmobile. They are also very popular in competitions. Some models are modified in order to make ATV’s powerful and fast vehicles instead of utility vehicles. It is also used as a transportation vehicle by the people that live in hard to reach areas.

Do you need a license to ride them?

If you do want to start riding one of them, you would probably want to know whether you need a license for it. For snowmobiles, it depends on the state that you live in. Some states will require you to take a test before hopping onto one, some states won’t. You can find out this information very easy just by doing a little online research.

Even if your country doesn’t require you to own a license, you should still attend some snowmobile courses. The people there should tell you everything about those vehicles. They will also inform you about dangerous situations and what to do in case you are in one of those. Remember, health should always be your number one priority.

The same rules apply to ATV drivers. However, as you know, ATV’s can also be driven on normal roads. Most states will require you to have a car license in order to drive one of those.

This way, they make sure you know all the rules that are applying on the road. In order to go off-road, you may not necessarily need a license.

Again, you should take 2 or 3 minutes to ask Google this question. Just like that, you will eliminate the risk of getting in any kind of trouble.

Fun and adrenaline

Unfortunately, I can’t give you a simple answer right here. No one can say that snowmobiles are funnier than ATV’s or the other way around. This is because we all have different opinions.

My suggestion is to try them both and see which one you like. You might be like: “So you’re saying I should get an ATV license just to try it once?” right now. The answer is no. Although a lot of ATV’s are built with only 1 seat, you can find one with 2 seats. Ask someone with a license to take you for a ride, in order to see if you like it.

If you need to drive it in order to find the answer, go for it. Make sure you are in a quiet place where you can’t hurt anyone. Again, don’t choose one until you’ve tried them both.

As for adrenaline, they can both deliver the same amount of it depending on the terrain. Don’t go for jumping and doing tricks straight away. Take your time and get used to it.


Price is a very important factor in choosing one of these 2 vehicles. I’m going to tell you from the beginning: it isn’t going to be cheap. A lot of people say that it is not worth investing in such expensive hobbies.

I can also tell you that isn’t true at all. Yes, you can do a lot of things with the money you are going to spend on one of these.

However, you can’t buy memories with money. And you are sure going to have many using these vehicles. Without any further ado, let’s see how much money do you need to get into either snowmobiling or ATV riding.

First off, let’s talk about snowmobiles. Depending on the brand, the vehicle itself it’s going to cost about 10.000 dollars. You don’t have to get a new one though. Read a few reviews on the internet and see which snowmobile is good for a beginner. Then, try to find a good deal, in the second-hand market.

As long as you take someone with you, that knows how to verify snowmobiles, you’re good to go. You can get a decent one for about 2.000 or 3.000 dollars. Don’t spend every dollar on the snowmobile, because it isn’t the only thing that you need. We are going to talk about that in a little bit.

The price of an ATV isn’t much different. A decent brand new model is 10.000 dollars as well. A big and powerful one can go up to 25.000 dollars. Yes, it costs as much as a car.

Don’t be fooled by the very low prices. Carefully read the description of it, and if you are a beginner, I would suggest going for a 450CC engine. Again, try finding a good price on the second-hand market. This way, you will not break the bank and still have lots of fun with your new purchase.


This is a topic that most people forget about. Like I’ve said earlier, don’t spend the whole budget on the vehicle. Both of these sports are very dangerous if you are too silly. In most of the cases, an accident is inevitable in the future.

That’s why you need to make sure it’s not going to be a tragic one. How do you do that? The answer is pretty obvious. You must take precautions.

Because these 2 vehicles are pretty similar, you also need about the same gear. Try to have your whole body protected if possible. You are going to need a helmet, something to protect your eyes like googles, a jacket, long pants, gloves and a good pair of boots.

Although you might be tempted to go to your nearest hypermarket and buy those, my suggestion is to forget that. Yes, you might pay less money, but the quality is not going to be good enough. With gear, you are aiming for the minimum amount of injuries in case of an accident. Cheap gear will not be going to handle that as it should.

Go to dedicated snowmobile and ATV shops or have someone guide. People from the internet can help you with that as well. As for prices, your gear should cost about 400 dollars. The most important pieces are the helmet and the jacket, and they are about 100 dollars each.

Can a kid drive those?

Both snowmobiles and ATVs come in little sizes, dedicated to kids. As for whether a kid can drive those or not, the answer is the same as earlier. It’s all up to the state that you live in.

However, these models aren’t like the adult size ones. They come with a smaller engine and some extra safety measures. An adult can set the speed limit very easy on those.

To eliminate any risks of tragic accidents, those vehicles will kill their engine if they detect that the child fell off.


Overall, those are similar vehicles that will deliver a lot of fun and adrenaline. Both of them come with some risks, so you should always be careful while riding them.

Don’t try anything silly unless you have some experience. Go try them both and see which one fits you best. No matter what decision you take, go and enjoy your new vehicle.

After so many information, now is my time to ask a question. Which one do you prefer and why?

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