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Need advice on Snow Thrower (Craftsman 88790 vs 88811)

mcm's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 103

10-26-04, 07:24 PM   #1  
Need advice on Snow Thrower (Craftsman 88790 vs 88811)

I'm trying to decide between two Craftsman models. Both are new for this year and have good reviews:

88790: 28" Wide, 9HP Tecumseh, Joystick shute control (polymer shute)
88811: 30" Wide, 11HP OHV B&S, Level+Rotation shute control (metal shute)

Now Sears have a 10% discount on both and also $50 off the 88790 and $65 off the 88811, so I started thinking about whether it would be worthwhile shooting for the 88811. I had originally planned on spending ~$1100, which is where the 88790 would have landed if it weren't for the discounts. As it is the 88790 would cost $925 inc. tax (CA), the 88811 would be $1203 inc. tax.

I already know I prefer the metal shute of the 88811, and due to the vastly different control mechanisms, I can't just jam a metal shute onto the 88790 (at least probably not without some metalwork.) Which also brings up another question.. How good are the joystick shute controls anyway? Seems kinda gimicky though I've never touched/used one myself.. I played around with the two part shute control on the 88811 they had at the store (there was no 88790 at the store, they have it on order) which consisted of a rotating control to.. rotate.. the shute, and a fore/aft lever for elevation. Seemed simple enough, simple = good in my books, and what I do want to have good control over (rotation) while its moving seemed nice and precise. Are the joystick models better or worse?

I liked the large guage shafts and thick welds/shroud on the 88811 in the store, so I hope that the 88790 has similar bulk. Both have serrated augers which I consider a must.

So the other big difference left is the engine.. 9HP Tecumseh versus 11HP OHV B&S. What are the pro's and cons of each? I've heard of problems with the early B&S OHV's from a couple years ago.. are these sorted out? Is the 2HP upgrade worth it?

The weight of these are 225 and 275 pounds for the 88790 and 88811 respectively, which I presume is primarily engine weight difference.

The conditions I need to tackle are up to a foot of loose snow, which I presume both will handle with ease, but the more challenging part is what MR PLOW packs up against the edge of my driveway. We're literally talking about a 1.5-2 foot wall of compacted blobby snow that usually weighs a crapload. I want to be able to chomp through this. How much difference does the extra 2HP of grunt make in this scenario? Not to mention the expected chunkier driveshafts/auger of the 88811.

Last edited by mcm; 10-26-04 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention my target conditions
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TheKneebiter's Avatar
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10-26-04, 08:17 PM   #2  
buy the bigger one. if you dont you will wish you did after the first storm.

waterdowg's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 145

10-27-04, 04:57 AM   #3  
I have a 5.5HP 24" Honda. We get 1 to 2 feet of snow plus 3-4 foot of packed snow from the plows. This cuts thru it like butter. I purchased it in '86 and and not a problem yet. Just replaced belts last year for the first time. So if my 5.5 handles this, either one of those would be fine. Also keep into consideration if you have a tight driveway you still need to get around the cars so cut size may be something to think about.

mcm's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 103

10-27-04, 10:13 AM   #4  
Thanks for the info waterdog -- I park my vehicles in the garage so the driveway is always empty (unless I have visitors.)

I think what I'm going to end up doing is checking them both out side by side at the store when the 88790 arrives. My big concern right now is how sturdy the 88790's business end is compared to the 88811. I was impressed with the thick driveshaft/augershaft, gearing enclosure and all round build of the 88811 so if the 88790 is similarly beefy, the chute (yes I can spell now) control is sturdy and works well, and the auger serration is violent enough for my taste then I think I'll be going with it.

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