If you don’t feel like reading our best snow blower article, we chose the Husqvarna ST224P model as our top choice. It’s price may be high, but it’s not too high from a long term investment perspective. You are looking at a bedazzling combination of a 4 stroke engine and an outstanding line of perks to make any range of snow blowing chores a walk through the park.
It has been well over 2 weeks since I wrote a detailed snow blowers comparison shopping guide for newbies. If this is your first time buying a snow blower, I’d rather scroll over to the buying guide before taking a dip into this snow blower review post.
What this best snow blower review offers is more of an insight to help you buy a decent snow thrower – and that too without any maintenance gigs, ongoing fuel expenses and vice versa on the line. A lot of people make the mistake of going either too far with a specific company’s product, or buying something totally under rated.
The latter happens when you are looking for a cheap snow blower in an effort to cut down on the ticket price. What it really does, on the contrary, is that it lands you with a steaming pile of crap of a blower that does not work as advertised. Alternatively, your driveway might be too big – alongside mounds of snow that are impossible for a conventional snow thrower to get through.
Troy Bilt Squall 208E
Toro 1800 Power Curve
Snow Joe SJ625E
Poulan Pro PR241
How so? I am laying a strong emphasis on the “right” kind of product factor. The right blower would be a unit that matches the thickness of snow which accumulates over whatever area you are looking to clean. Secondly, this particular product has a minimum blowback effect on your wallet – i.e. no ongoing expenses, no sudden breakdowns, easy repairs and servicing etc.
What’s more important is that you need to know your area in an out. Sometimes people buy snow blowers with a general estimation of their driveway schematics in mind. Things totally turn out to be different when they have practically brought over the unit – and are looking to blow some snow around as a test run.
The worst case scenario in this situation is that many companies refuse to take the unit back for a refund; they will most likely agree to an exchange, but your chances of getting your money back are pretty slim.
Yes, as far as I recall, I, or none of the other co-writers at Power Tool Buzz, talked about any snow blower safety tips during the last write up. You can still read the article as far as tips on comparison shopping are concerned, but you will not find any info on safety measures.
In that realm, I feel that a lot of information was left out. Not on purpose, but we were all running short on sticking with the scope of the article. Safety is important – therefore, you should give the following passages a quick read.
There are numerous incidents (per anum) both inside and outside the U.S concerning power tool safety hazards. Like it or not, OSHA did help prevent those “mishaps” from happening at your workplace, but you have to pay attention to a certain number of precautions. It doesn’t matter how good the onboard integrated safety measures are on any product, you need to be willing to wear safety gear and do the usual drill.
Injury occurs when snow is usually rock solid or heavy. Soft snow is not that hard to breakthrough in normal cases. However, solid snow clogs the exit chute of the snow blower, which can cause limb injury in an instant. How does that happen? When anything clogs, our first instinct is to reach in with our hands that’s what users do when the snow thrower chute is clogged. Technically, the blades are still able to rotate – if that happens, you are in for a “shocker.”
Clogging is a common issue and occurs frequently with lawn mowers and snow blowers. Best case scenario is you can prevent clogging by following some of the steps mentioned below. They are more of a precautionary measure in some sense.
Okay, if you snow blower is eventually clogged – and I am not saying that it won’t happen, there’s nothing to panic over. Simply turn it off, disengage the clutch and wait for a good 5 – 10 seconds so that the blades are eventually stopped.
Use a broomstick or some other object to break the snow from inside the chute. If you feel that the snow has been broken down into little chunks, you can turn the snow blower back on again. Most likely, the blades will chew through the rest of the snow bits n’ pieces. If that doesn’t happen, and the chute is still clogged, then repeat the first two steps and try clearing the blockage again.
Clogging is not the only issue that a user can encounter; there are some other problems that can be easily solved at home. In most cases, you will not have to seek the services of a repairman because ‘Powertoolbuzz’ intention is to help potential users cut down on expenses.
Take a look below and see if you find anything useful issues and how to solve them immediately.
If you are starting your snow blower fresh – as in after few days’ gap and it is not starting, then the issue might be in your spark plug. Sometimes when the plug is too old or rusty, you can unscrew it and clean the head with a sandpaper. Alternatively, you should be out there looking for a new spark plug because they come in cheap.
If the plug is fine and everything else seems to be in order, then the fuel reserve in your snow blower tank is old. Fuel normally gets old when the snow blower unit is not used for a long time. Ideally, the tank should be emptied at the end of each season so that the fuel does not choke the carburetor and the associated tubing. A good sign of fuel running old is the smoke fumes. They tend to induce a headache on the user.
If it’s not clogged, then the blower is most likely suffering from a case of faulty impeller, or worn out scrapper. What normally happens in both these cases is that the impeller fails to blow up snow through the chute. It keeps getting built up, and eventually the chute gets clogged. If this is repeatedly happening, then you need to replace the impeller. The only way that’s happening is if you are taking it in for servicing.
If the scrapper bar is worn out, then it means that the unit is not scrapping the snow effectively. Period. Snow will not go up the chute, and hence cause the blower to blow empty. Alternatively, you may see snow going almost midway up the chute but it will go back inside. This happens if the pedals are not working, or they are too damn old.
Snow blower auger issues are not something to fuss over. They are pretty simple; most of the times, you will know what’s wrong and how to nip it in the bud. For instance, if the auger’s shear pin is not working, the auger will no longer remain fastened to the drive shaft. The good news is that shear pins are supposed to break instantly if the auger hits the rock. This is to help prevent any major mechanical damage from occurring.
Technically, if the shear pin is broken, the auger will not turn – hence it will not work. The shear pin is easy to obtain; it is not expensive and can be bought from any number of power tool hardware retailers out in the market.
Alternatively, if the auger is not turning, check if the belt is okay. Think of an auger belt as a fan belt in your car. If the belt is broken, the connection between the gear box and the snow blower engine is disrupted. Meaning that you will not be able to use your snow blower with any results. The easiest solution is to get a new belt; it’s not that complicated.
This problem only occurs on units with wheels at the bottom. The wheels are for mobility – they can jam at one point. It’s not a big deal. The easy way is to keep the wheels oiled so that a jam doesn’t occur, but if it does, check to see if there is a rust build up. WD-40 can come in handy to get rid of the rust in no time.
If all else fails, it means that you’re going to need to replace the wheels. Snow blower wheels are easily available. These are the kinds of accessories that won’t bring your unit to a full breakdown. The only problem is that once the wheels break down, the warranty period of the unit is long gone. Therefore, make sure that you are able to claim the warranty, or get an easy fix on the wheels.
We reviewed a series of different brands, ranging from Husqvarna, Toro, GreenWorks and Troy Bilt. I was more inclined towards Briggs and Stratton Co., but the rest of the Power Tool Buzz team didn’t have much time. Assuming that we were already 70 Hours in with the reviews, there was no time left.
Also, the upper management was kind of getting impatient on the delayed content write up. I wish they knew that it’s not easy reviewing products when they are a tad bit more complicated than the rest. Anyhow, read on to see which Snow Blowers come off as a highly recommended addition from our staff members and yours truly.
This one’s our top of the line all time favorite "snow blower" because of several reasons. Not to mention the fact that by now we have reviewed a gazillion of Husqvarna Co. power tools such as their famous chainsaws, which is why we feel more confident with using the company’s loaner units for reviews and all.
Model ST224P features a high performance 208 CC – 4 stroke engine. That sums down to a little over 6 HP, where you are able to fish through any type of snow with relative ease and comfort. On the up and up, Husqvarna Co. has given an extended 5 year warranty and the electric start feature to help make things easy for you during chilly winter mornings.
The downside to having a Husqvarna ST224 P is the sheer bodyweight of the product. It weighs exactly 200 Lb. out of the box. This means that they added wheels for mobility, but they can wear down over the course of one year or so. If that happens, and IF the unit is still covered under company warranty, it would be better to get a free repair service on those wheels.
Husqvarna wanted to offer more of a car like experience to the ST224 P snow blower users. Therefore, the company developers introduced power steering features to help make second passes easy for people. You can cut corners easily – given that you have mastered the driveway area type and all. The installed levers on each handle make operation easy; you can turn the Husqvarna unit on a dime, or make a quick 180 Degree turn.
Taking things one notch up, the snow thrower is self propelled – hence the ‘P’ in the ST224 model number. I figured that self propellers were in order because pushing a 200 Lbs. snow blower up a slope was going to be one hell of a difficult ride. They also topped the directional controls off with a headlight lamp for foggy days. You couldn’t ask for more, could you?
Husqvarna ST224P two stage snow blower features electric start instead of the traditional cord pulling mechanism. As of this day, it is still unusual for us to see blowers with electric starters, but a lot of companies are beginning to acquire this change. Cords can be tricky; they can break and it gets tiring when you have to pull over and over again in an effort to turn the engine.
However, here’s what Husqvarna Co. failed to mention. You have no on board battery to “start” the snow blower. The way it is done is by attaching an extension cord to your regular wall outlet, and then you need to start the motor. Once the motor has started, you can pull back the cord and things are good to go. Should the product cease to function at any point, you will need to repeat the same exercise again to start the unit.
Bear in mind that you are using a high quality, high resistance extension cord that is especially developed for outdoor operation during winter season. Regular cords can get brittle, which causes the insulation to malfunction.
Assembly was easy and pretty much straight forward. Considering that you purchased a brand new unit directly from Amazon, Husqvarna Co. or some other reliable intermediary, the main parts will come attached already. They set the unit up on a wooden pallet to prevent shipping damage to the unit.
Once everything is setup and you have cut the packaging cords, make sure that the chute and the handle are attached in place. The height of the handle is easily adjustable, so feel free to test it before tightening the bolts. The company has provided few spare miscellaneous bolts as backup.
Before turning on the Husqvarna snow blower, the engine oil and fuel levels need to be checked. Oil levels are crucially important because if they are low, the engine can cease to function. If that happens, it will require a complete engine rebuild. Husqvarna Co. normally ships out these units with minimum engine oil levels – so, it is essential to check things under the hood before taking it out.
By the way, if you happen to have an air compressor with you, take a look at the tire pressure of the snow blower. Sometimes, companies send out the units with over pressured tires for shipping purpose. If it seems too high, lower the pressure to 14 – 17 Psi. for safe usage.
I tried this two stage snow blower at different depths. Although the box and manual says that Husqvarna ST224P can be used on snow up to 18 inches thick, I tripled the depth to make sure what the excitement was all about. Not only did I notice a throw distance of 65 Ft., but the unit worked flawlessly. The only important thing in this equation is that the snow needs to be fresh/ soft. Hard snow will simply end up clogging and damaging the snow blower innards.
These issues are generally encountered, and acceptable, in one form or another in different snow throwers. Technically, it is not just Husqvarna Co., that is at fault, you can pretty much bring up the rap sheet on other brands to see what’s really going on in there.
If The Blades Clog: During extreme weather conditions, the blades inside the chute can clog. You can solve the problem by spraying some WD-40 (*as mentioned earlier) or good old cooking oil. Sometimes insulation can get brittle, and it takes a toll on hard metal objects. Let the moisture take care of the business. If you are not comfortable with using cooking oil and WD-40, then go for a good quality anti freeze.
Some users said that the handles get “too hot” while operating the Husqvarna ST224 P two stage snow blower. At best, I found the temperature luke warm. You can further cut the heat by wearing thick gloves. The only real problem is that the small knobs and switches become a little too hot to handle. Otherwise, there is no issue with making contact with the handle; it is a matter of opinion.
Back in 2015, Husqvarna was reportedly selling the same line of snow blowers with faulty auger drive belts. It was not intentional. However, the quality was poor and the belt would prematurely snap. This created a ruckus among users and they “convinced” the company to revise the auger belt batch. Things have been better since then.
Warranty: The warranty on Husqvarna ST224P spans over 3 years by default. I did mention that it’s extended to 5, but the +2 years are only applicable on engine related issues.
Next up, we got the Troy Bilt Squall Electric Snow Blower. As far as the “electric” part is concerned, it’s pretty much similar to the Husqvarna snow blower – but with the exception of push button start technology. It basically means that you do not have to connect a cord to the main power line to turn on the unit. In that sense, Husqvarna was a little too inconvenient.
Another reason that makes the Troy Bilt Squall blower a worthy contender in the power tools niche is the pricing. I mean, you are looking more or less at the same technical specs – i.e. 208 CC, hardy body, 4 stroke engine and a long throw distance. Husqvarna’s unit was around the ballpark figure of $1,000 bucks, but Troy Bilt Squall is available at half that price. It’s a bargain if you could get a lower rate from a real life retailer after a bit of haggling.
Given that Troy Bilt Squall has a 4 stroke engine, it can chug through various depths of snow. Just to be on the safe side, you should always use the snow blower at a day’s interval; this way, the snow is relatively fresh and the core parts of the machine don’t have to work that hard. Once the snow is thick and tough as rock solid ice, even the most fanciest self propelled high tech snow blowers are susceptible to permanent mechanical failure as mentioned earlier in this best snow thrower post.
To be honest, this Troy Bilt snow blower does not have a throw distance of 60+ Feet, as seen in the case of the Husqvarna unit. The distance in this unit’s case is minimized to 30 Feet, which is okay because you probably don’t want to throw away all the snow in your neighbor’s driveway etc. Things can escalate very quickly if the neighbor is a dorky fellow – and you happen to be living in a closed community.
Just for the record, you will not have to make second passes with this snow blower because it has a diametric coverage of 21 Inches. The only disadvantage to this much size is that you are not able to work freely around narrow driveways, or paths which require a blower with relatively less coverage area.
If that’s the case, feel free to go for a unit that’s not only cheaper and also befits the exact area layout where you will be using it the most.
Troy Bilt Squall’s chute is “customizable” in a sense that you can rotate it around up to a maximum of 190 Degrees. That’s 10 degrees more than the Husqvarna snow blower. With 190 Degrees, you are looking at setting the direction of the snow wherever it is convenient for you. Just be careful that you are throwing the snow at a main common spot around the house so that it becomes easier to haul it once the cleaning process is done.
A lot of high quality brands have created power tools with a maximum warranty of 10 years. Unfortunately, in this case, the warranty only goes over 2 years. It does ring a few bells because experienced users normally assess a product’s shelf life in relation to its warranty.
I wouldn’t say that the Troy Bilt snow blower has a top notch build quality, but it is decent enough to NOT give users any major issues. However, one worrying thing is that the unit’s tires can either jam or fall off due to a lack of a proper holding assembly. This happens during the third or fourth year of continuous use. You will not be able to get the repairs easily that way because the warranty is void by then.
In some instances, the wheels fell off after a very little use. Such cases are rare but there are users who reportedly shared these experiences in different snow blower reviews on online forums. My best advice would be to use the snow tool carefully. It is not exactly “light as a feather”, but almost weighs 90 Lbs., which is still manageable. You can easily lift the unit and carry it around a little bit if need be.
Toro’s model 38381 sits right in between convenience and affordability. This is an electric snow blower, therefore its performance is not as robust as a typical gas powered snow blower. I’d also suggest that you do not compare Toro electric snow blower with other gas powered units within the same price range. The engine force can create a huge difference – whereas inexperienced users think that they are being ripped off by electric unit manufacturers.
Toro 38381 series has two other variants with slight differences in pricing and features. If the price tag up north of $200 seems too much, you can go for a lighter version as well. Just ask the vendor or scroll around the online sales page wherever you are considering buying the Toro 38381 from.
The fanciest version of the Toro 38381 series comes with a maximum snow blowing capacity of 700 Lbs. per minute (not too bad), a 25 Ft. throw distance and a clearing diameter of 18 inches. All these performance stats are churned out via a medium range 12 – 15 Amp engine. If you ask me objectively, I’d suggest that this snow blower is ideal for light feathered tasks around driveways that are usually flat and span over lesser length – width.
Ideally, Toro recommends this thrower and other units to elderly people who cannot use a high performance model easily. On the same note, this unit is also perfect for folks who have a small area that’d only take 10 – 15 minutes for a thorough cleaning.
Since this Toro 38381 is an electric blower, it means that the unit needs to be connected to a power outlet inside or outside the house. Your movement around the area will be limited due to the cord, but you can buy an extension cord socket to increase the distance. Just make sure that you are buying a high quality cord with enough resistance and insulation properties to help withstand the cold weather.
Usually wires with low resistance and inferior quality get brittle and break easily. This is one reason that Toro and many other companies do not recommend getting an extension cord. However, if you are experienced, there’s no harm in getting a bunch of wires as long as they do not directly interfere with the unit’s own wiring and mechanism.
Many people created their own connection points leading out of the spot where the original Toro Co. power cable was. You should know that tempering with a snow blower or any range of electronics in an attempt to enhance the product’s performance voids the warranty. Do that on your own risk!
As stated earlier, this Toro 38381 model and other versions which they are offering alongside this unit are medium performance products. They are best suited for low level work which involves sidewalks, pavements, driveways, walkways and etc. Just think of clearing a thin layer of snow that’s not wet or too hard.
If you are being careful with this snow blower, you will probably end up using it flawlessly for 4 – 5 years without any major setbacks. Some people don’t pay much attention to the hardness of snow level, which causes them to “unintentionally” damage the unit. To be honest, there’s no real solution to sheer dumb luck, but just be wary of where you are using this snow blower.
Features wise, user communities usually debate over Toro 38381’s 1800 and 1500 series units. My advice would be to go for 1800 model because it has more intuitive appeal. Plus, you are also going to future proof yourself for a few years because the aforementioned model is latest in line these days.
A Toro snow blower comes with added zip deflector, chute lever, ergonomics and overall lightweight profile. The product practically weighs only 25 – 26 Lbs., so you can easily lift and store it if you happen to be a senior user.
On a scale of 1 – 10, Toro 38381 – 1800 model is very easy to use. The light weight adds to maneuverability factor because you can practically do multiple passes without hitting fatigue anytime soon. The company also installed bigger 6 Inch diameter rear wheels so that twisting the snow blower on its own axis is easier when you have reached the end of a walkway or a driveway.
In summation, the design and some other long due features, such as; zip deflector and control lock make this snow blower an ideal companion for budget conscious users. You can practically operate it with one hand if you are used to the unit.
Speaking of extension cord and operation, many users end up cutting the cord because they make the mistake of running over it. If you are working in a dark, or a foggy environment, you should always leave the extension loops behind you. The blades can cut them if you are not careful with remembering the “trail”.
To get the best performance out of Toro and any other snow tools, always use the product on a flat surface. You should ideally do a few walks on the path to feel for any rocks lying underneath the snow bed. These rocks can hit the auger and do some serious damage to the impeller and the connected blades without any prior notice!
For starters, Greenworks has one of our go-to brands since Power Tool Buzz started reviewing products. I, and other co-writers, just find the company’s products not only reliable, but also an environment friendly addition to a typical user’s arsenal.
Although, we don’t really take environmental safety hazards too serious, we do like the idea of not damaging the ozone layer, or leaving a trail of harmful chemicals in the aftermath of a detailed hands on power tool review.
Let me just say it out loud; Greenworks is slightly better than the Toro 383831’s 1500 and 1800 blower units. The good thing is that Greenworks’ product actually costs a little less as compared to many other products in the market. The 2600502 model is classified as an electric snow blower with enough prowess to outperform competitor products when used on walkways, patios, driveways, pavements etc.
This Greenworks snow blower features a nice 13 Amp motor and a bodacious 20 Inch clearing width. The discharge distance is well over 20 feet, which is ideal in most home based scenarios where you willingly want the snow to hit the boundaries of your house, instead of going all the way across to the neighbors’.
The chute has an okay-ish 180 degree turn capacity. Also, this snow blower does not have a self propeller. It implies doing some good ol’ fashioned hard work, rather than letting the snow blower take care of everything.
Now, you may call it a perk, or a setback, but Greenworks electric snow blower is limited by its power cord’s length. There is a possibility of increasing the distance by going for an extension cord, but make sure that it has high resistance and does not get brittle during extreme outdoor chilly weather.
Compared to Toro, the Greenworks’ guys installed a power cord lock system along the handlebar lining. It means that the cable will not get tangled while you are busy making all those swerves and second passes over the cleaning area.
Considering the price limit, Greenworks pulled it off with overall stellar features. It has a plastic body; don’t complain about it because the manufacturers didn’t have a lot of budget to play around with, there is the quick start feature, and overall long shelf life.
This budget snow blower is ideal for small homeowners and elderlies who have to do stuff on their own. Things will work fine if your expectations and requirements are lined up with the snow blower. A lot of times, people don’t have an exact idea about the area layout and the kind of snow blower they need, which is why they end up with an overpowered or under powered product.
I noticed that Greenworks snow blowers can handle snow effortlessly for as long as the depth was 4” to 6”. If it went any deeper, the snow blower would initially grind and then halt. You may get mixed results if the snow is perfectly dry and fresh, but running the unit through wet, or solid snow deposits won’t do any good.
I have to say that the product’s tagline is real cheeky: ‘When it comes to snow, go with Joe’. It was all the more reason for me to give this Snow Joe snow blower a chance because Power Tool Buzz has never reviewed any of the company’s other products at this website before. But still, after a bit of surveying, I found out that these folks have been around in the market for a long time now. They have a lot of satisfied customers over the internet, to say the least.
Last year’s winter setting was intense, but of course, I didn’t get the chance to test and review this snow blower back then. In fact, since winter season is still a little far ahead, we did most of the reviewing in-house with artificial setting. The snow was real, but the area was setup to reflect actual walkways, driveways, pavements etc.
Anyhow, Snow Joe Ultra came out with glowing results. It has a typical 15 Amp motor with the razzmatazz of a gas powered snow blower that can really go deep. During the initial phases, I tested this snow joe blower around 6 inch of snow/ ice. Afterwards, I played around a little bit with different types of snow; wet, dry, hard etc. to see how well this unit can perform.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that this snow blower worked very well up to a depth of 30 inches. However, to get to that level of performance, I made sure that the snow was dry and fresh. Otherwise, 30 inches is a lot for any electric snow blower if the snow is hard or wet to say the least.
Last but not the least, if you are a budget conscious user who wants to clean thicker snow deposits with this snow blower, make sure you are breaking the ice with a shovel beforehand. This way, the unit will have no issues with cleaning the area. However, the whole exercise can take 6 – 8 hours easily because of all the manual work involved.
We all tried to recommend the above mentioned snow blowers based on their overall performance in relation to the price tag they come with. But, feel free to surf around the internet and do your own research to buy a product that exclusively helps you down the road. Thanks for reading our best snow blower review and make sure to share your blowing experiences in the comments below. Good luck.