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Nov 4, 2020
3 min
Most Reliable Snowmobile Brands

If you’re in the market for a new snowmobile, you likely consider reliability to be a chief factor. In this article, we’ll list the most reliable snowmobiles currently on the market to help you make a decision.

We arrived at these brands and vehicles based on analysis from trusted enthusiast publications like along with our experience as Canada’s leading source for the best rates on snowmobile insurance.

Most Reliable Snowmobile Brands

First, let’s look at the most reliable snowmobile brands before we explore individual offerings from them. Don't forget to invest in good safety gear as well! Check out this article for a list of the best snowmobile helmets.

Bombardier Recreational Products

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) is a Quebec-based snowmobile manufacturer. It is the modern iteration of the company founded by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, widely credited with inventing the first snowmobile.

BRP’s snowmobile offerings fall under its Ski-Doo brand, which has become a proprietary eponym given its popularity and reputation for quality.

BRP is by far the largest snowmobile manufacturer by market share.


Polaris has more than 60 years of experience manufacturing some of the most acclaimed snowmobiles on the market. The Minnesota-based company is considered a premium snowmobile manufacturer, with its vehicles priced well above the $10,000 mark.

In terms of market share, Polaris holds a healthy second place, coming in at 33% of sales in 2017.


Yamaha is another ubiquitous snowmobile manufacturer known for its durability. The company pioneered lightweight snowmobiles in the 1980s when it introduced the Phazer.

In the 2010s, Yamaha announced a partnership with Arctic Cat, another one of the most reliable snowmobile brands in the world.

Arctic Cat

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Arctic Cat scores major points for reliability. It’s another one of the most popular snowmobile brands on earth and is headquartered in Minnesota.

In 2017, Arctic Cat joined the Textron family of brands. It now benefits from decades of vehicle manufacturing experience from brands like Bell and Cessna.

Most Reliable Snowmobile of All Time

Yamaha snowmobiles with the manufacturer’s venerable four-stroke engine are widely considered to be among the most reliable snowmobiles of all time.

The manufacturer introduced these models in 2002 and has made constant revisions since then the improve the four-stroke engine’s performance and weight. Yamaha’s RX-1 engine, in particular, remains a staple of its motor sleds to this day.

Most Reliable Snowmobiles: Individual Models

Next, let’s take a closer, individual look at the most reliable snowmobiles ever built.

Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX SE 146

The Sidewinder X-TX SE 146 is a beast on the trail. It contains Yamaha’s prized four-stroke engine, which – as we mentioned earlier – is considered to be among the most reliable workhorses out there.

Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-TEC

The Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-TEC represents the latest generation of the manufacturer’s REV Gen4 snowmobiles. 

In addition to being durable – a basic requirement to be listed among the most reliable snowmobiles – the Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-TEC comes with very solid functionality via its Cobra WT track that grips deep snow with ease, keeping you on course.

The Expedition Xtreme 850 E-TEC is also work-ready, with as much as 125 pounds of cargo capacity depending on the configuration.

Polaris 850 Switchback Assault 144

The Polaris 850 Switchback Assault 144 is highly reliable both in terms of build and performance. It handles very precisely and should inspire confidence when racing.

Arctic Cat M 8000 Mountain Cat Alpha One

Last on our list of most reliable snowmobiles, we have the Arctic Cat M 8000 Mountain Cat Alpha One. It offers a reliably smooth riding experience thanks to an aluminum beam placed at its center, which helps the track flex as you ride.

Most Reliable Used Snowmobile

The Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX SE 146 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for the most reliable used snowmobile. It uses a venerable four-stroke engine, which Yamaha has been perfecting since 2002.

Don’t expect to get a huge discount going used, though. Given the X-TX SE 146’s reliability and build quality, it – unsurprisingly – maintains its value fairly well.

Protect Your Investment with Snowmobile Insurance

Surex helps Canadians find the best rates on snowmobile insurance. Click here to learn more about how we operate. If you’re ready to start a quote, visit this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered high mileage for a snowmobile?

A snowmobile with more than 8,000 kilometres on it would be considered high mileage. However, you also need to consider the sled’s reliability as not every model will necessarily start to have problems within that range.

You should also consider the snowmobile’s maintenance records. I well-maintained snowmobile with 8,000 kilometres on it can offer much more reliability than a poorly-kept sled with 3,000 kilometres.

How long do snowmobiles last?

Snowmobiles generally last about 30,000 kilometres (just over 20,000 miles). This equates to roughly 20 years of riding.

Again, however, this comes down to how well you maintain the snowmobile. Be sure to follow the service schedule outlined in its manual to get the most life.

What is better  – two-stroke or four-stroke snowmobiles?

Four-stroke snowmobile engines are widely considered to be more powerful, which is why enthusiasts love them.

However, if your definition of “better” is “more efficient,” two-stroke engines undoubtedly have the upper hand. In fact, many modern snowmobiles come with two-stroke engines to account for shifting environmental regulations.

Who makes the best four-stroke snowmobile?

Naturally, you’ll hear different answers regarding this depending on who you ask. However, Yamaha is a very solid contender for the title as its four-stroke engines have held up considerably well since their introduction in 2002.

How many miles can you put on a four-stroke snowmobile?

Four-stroke snowmobiles generally last much longer than two-stroke ones, ranging from between 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometres) and 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers).

Who makes Yamaha snowmobile engines?

Yamaha produces its own snowmobile engines. However, the legendary manufacturer did strike a deal with Arctic Cat through which they regularly trade technology.

Arctic Cat engines are just as reliable as Yamaha ones so there’s no reason to have any doubts about this arrangement.

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