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Personal Loans

Snowmobile Loans: How to Secure the Best Financing

Snowmobiles offer a terrific source of winter fun, but they’re not just for hobbyists. They’re a critical means of transportation for the military, government services, farmers and ranchers, postal delivery workers, and ski patrols across the North.

Whether you’re an outdoor cold-weather enthusiast or you depend on snowmobiles for your daily life, you’re likely familiar with the high cost of a new or used snowmobile. That’s where snowmobile loans come in.

Below, we’ll walk you through several snowmobile financing options and how they work.

In this guide:

Where to find snowmobile financing

Snowmobile loans are common, given the high cost of the motor vehicle. The most common funding sources are often personal loans and dealership funding; some borrowers turn to credit cards for snowmobile purchases, but we advise against it.

We’ll discuss all three of these snowmobile financing sources below.

Option 1: Snowmobile loan

Personal loans are among the most common financing tools when buying a snowmobile because they are unsecured, you can get funding quickly, and you can use them for just about anything, including a snowmobile.

As with most forms of financing, snowmobile loan rates depend largely on your credit. If you have a good credit score, you can likely qualify for personal loans at a low interest rate and without origination fees. But if your credit is poor, you’ll face higher rates and fees.

We’re covering four of the best personal loan options for snowmobiles. Click the lender’s name in the table below to jump to the section where we profile its snowmobile loan.

LenderBest for
SoFiGood credit (670+)
LightStreamExcellent credit (740+)
UpgradeFair credit (580 – 669)
UpstartThin (little to no) credit (300 – 579)

SoFi – Best for good credit

Editorial rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Rates (APR): 9.49% – 26.31%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
  • Credit score: 660+

SoFi personal loans for snowmobiles are a terrific option for borrowers with good credit. You can get funding as fast as the same day. There are no required fees, but skipping the origination fee could result in higher interest rates.

  • Credit score category: Excellent, good
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: As soon as the same day
  • Origination fee: 0% – 6%
  • Late fee: None
  • Discounts: 0.50% interest rate reduction for enrolling in autopay
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

LightStream – Best for excellent credit

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rates (APR): 8.99%25.99%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
  • Credit score: 660+

Offering loans for almost anything, LightStream ranks as the best personal loan for excellent credit with low rates and no fees. If you have good credit, LightStream’s loan is an excellent choice to fund your snowmobile purchase.

Forget the origination and late fees—LightStream doesn’t charge any. You can also get a lower rate by opting into autopay.

  • Credit score category: Excellent, good
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Not available
  • Deposit time: As soon as the same day
  • Origination fee: 0%
  • Late fee: None
  • Discounts: 0.50% interest rate reduction for enrolling in autopay
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 144 months

Upgrade – Best for fair credit

Editorial rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Rates (APR): 8.49%35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Credit score: 580+

If you’re looking for an online snowmobile loan and you have bad or fair credit, Upgrade is a terrific option. It provides flexible repayment terms and even allows customers to change their payment dates to accommodate their monthly budgets.

Fair-credit borrowers, beware: All Upgrade personal loans come with an origination fee. And if you have poor credit, fees can go as high as 9.99% of the total loan amount.

  • Credit score category: Fair, bad
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: As soon as the next day
  • Origination fee: 1.85% – 9.99%
  • Late fee: $10
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

Upstart – Best for thin credit

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rates (APR): 5.20% – 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Credit score: No minimum in most states

Upstart is an online lending platform that partners with banks to provide personal loans you can use for almost anything. Because of Upstart’s unique lending model, borrowers with poor or little no (aka thin) credit may be able to find snowmobile financing.

Upstart’s lending model considers education, employment, and many other variables when determining eligibility—not just credit score. Upstart says this model leads to 43% lower rates than traditional models. Just be prepared for high rates and origination fees if you have bad credit.

  • Credit score category: Fair, bad
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: As fast as one business day
  • Origination fee: 0% – 12%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of payment
  • Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months

How to secure the best snowmobile loan rates

When you don’t have the cash saved up to purchase a snowmobile, personal loans are often the best option, especially if you can secure the lowest rates. 

Here are a few ways to keep those APRs down:

  • Shop around: Don’t just go with the first snowmobile loan you find. Get several quotes to see which lender will offer you the best rate.
  • Improve your credit score: If your credit score is in rough shape, you’ll likely only qualify for expensive loans with high rates and fees. Spend six months to a year improving your credit score before applying.
  • Choose a shorter loan term: By choosing a repayment term of two or three years, instead of four or five, you’ll likely qualify for lower interest rates. Keep in mind this means higher monthly payments. Ensure you’re comfortable paying the monthly installment amount before moving forward.
  • Wait for your raise: Some lenders consider factors outside your credit score, such as employment status and income, when calculating APRs. If you know you’re due for a raise, wait until you have the pay stubs to prove you’re in better financial standing. This could help you secure a lower rate because lenders will view you as less of a risk.

Option 2: Dealer financing and specialized lenders for snowmobiles

Another common form of snowmobile financing is an installment loan through a power equipment loan specialist. These lenders specialize in financing power equipment such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, and tow trailers to transport them.

You can often get financing through power equipment dealers who partner with lenders, but you might also get a loan from the lender. Every now and then, manufacturers may offer special factory financing.

If you’re buying your snowmobile from a dealership, ask whether it offers financing options. It may finance your purchase or refer you to a partner lender.

Always compare dealership snowmobile financing rates with another option, such as one of the personal loan lenders above, to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Some dealers may pressure you into taking a bad offer by getting you to sign on the spot.

Option 3: Credit card

Some consumers purchase snowmobiles with credit cards, which could be the most expensive form of financing available. The average credit card interest rate is around 28% at the time of writing.

If you hope to offset the higher rate using a rewards credit card, it will be a temporary offset at best. The ongoing interest charges will negate the benefits unless you pay off the balance quickly.

The best option for credit card users is a balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR introductory period. However, unless you pay the full balance before the promotional period expires, you’ll incur accrued interest charges on the purchase.

Alternative snowmobile funding

Erin Kinkade, CFP®, advises considering alternatives to the above funding options:

I’d first and foremost recommend using a savings or investment account earmarked for large expenses. This option is best for those with discretionary income who can save (or invest) for large expenses.

But I understand this isn’t an option for most people. In my experience, I’ve seen people cost-share with another individual (or a few) to pay for the motor vehicle in one of two ways: 

  1. Pay for it outright, with joint ownership and each person obtaining their own insurance.
  2. Be joint owners on a loan.

What are the costs of snowmobiling?

The average cost of a snowmobile is $15,000, but the specific model you choose can have a huge impact on that cost. Snowmobiles with smaller, less powerful engines might cost as little as $4,000, and high-performance snowmobiles can set you back more than $20,000.

The cost of the snowmobile itself is just the start. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, the average snowmobiler spends $2,500 a year on the hobby. This can include equipment, trail fees, insurance, maintenance, and transportation.

When budgeting for the cost of your snowmobile and the monthly loan repayment, don’t forget to factor in how much you’ll spend per year to use your snowmobile. Ensure you have enough funds to repay your snowmobile loan and—crucially—use your snowmobile.