Snow blower suggestions??

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  #1  
Old 10-04-09, 08:23 PM
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Snow blower suggestions??

I am looking into buying a snowblower.
On average we get approx 20" to 30" of snow a year.
It can be heavy, it can be wet, it can start out as ice or sleet and then turn into snow. Or it can be dry, we get crazy weather here.

I would like to not spend more than about $350.

What is better, electric or gas?
I am thinking gas b/c you get more power and I just think it odd to try to run electricity around water!
What have you all found to work well?

I am currently leaning towards something that has metal blades as opposed to plastic. It just seems like they will work and last longer.

I am currently looking at these...good/bad/ugly?
Any opinions on them?

Craftsman 123cc 4 cycle Single Stage Snow Thrower
Craftsman 123cc 4 cycle Single Stage Snow Thrower
Sears Item# 07188704000 | Model# 88704
$329.99

Yard Machines at Lowe's: 123cc 21" Single-Stage Gas Snow Thrower
Yard Machines
123cc 21" Single-Stage Gas Snow Thrower
Item #: 188489 Model: 31A-2M1A762
$359.00

MTD® Yard Machines® 21in Snow Thrower (31A-2M1A700) - Snow Throwers - Ace Hardware
MTD® Yard Machines® 21in Snow Thrower (31A-2M1A700)
Price: $329.99|Item no: 74131

Yard Machines Single-Stage 21 In. Manual Start Snow Thrower - 31A-2M1A729 at The Home Depot
Yard Machines Single-Stage 21 In. Manual Start Snow Thrower
Model # 31A-2M1A729 Internet/Catalog # 100646698
Store SKU # 308565
$329.00/EA-Each

Thank you for any/all input!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-05-09, 05:58 AM
gsr
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Snowblower...

You should be fine with one of those, don't know enough about the current ones to recommend one over the other. With the heavy wet snow possible I'd avoid the electric ones.

You will find with the heavy/slushy snow you'll have to go slower, the single stage blowers aren't able to throw as much snow at one time or as far. They are also light so going through packed/windblown/snowplow piled snow can be tougher.
 
  #3  
Old 10-05-09, 06:31 AM
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Yes, electric would not be a good choice.

I would suggest you stay away from single stage blowers for the reason gsr gives.
My experience with single stage blowers are that they are just a bit better than a shovel.
They have a place for people who specifically need a light machine and can not physically shovel.
If you have your physical health though and want to move snow I spend a little bit more for a two stage blower.
They would move more snow and last much longer.

Something like this:

Click image:

Image courtesy of sears.com

Or this:

Click image:

Image courtesy of homedepot.com
 
  #4  
Old 10-05-09, 07:24 PM
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Thank you Gsr & GregH !

Is it really worth $200 more for the 2 stage blower?
 
  #5  
Old 10-05-09, 08:06 PM
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We have a long snowy winter here so maybe I am biased but I see those small units only suitable for clearing a very small area.
The two stage units are self propelled, are somewhat more forgiving if you accidentally hit something and will throw more snow, further, and in a shorter time period.

In other words and in my opinion worth every penny.
If you are out looking, in the two pictures I showed, the black one has all the controls at the handles.
It looks like you need to stop the red one to adjust the controls .

How large an area do you have to clear?
 
  #6  
Old 10-05-09, 08:31 PM
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I am also looking for a snowthrower. Looking for a two-stage though as I get a lot of snow where I live compared to areas around me for some reason.

The black two-stage pictured above is Sno-tek by Ariens. It is the same as the normal Ariens line except the engine is from a Chinese manufacturer instead of Briggs and Stratton.

Still not sure if I want to go with MTD, the Ariens cheap brand, or the Craftsman. If anyone has more info to sway me by this weekend, I'm sure other people here as well as me would appreciate it
 
  #7  
Old 10-05-09, 09:18 PM
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I am also in Missouri, get a 2-stage it makes you want it to snow, I have a Gravely 2-stage, last year we only had one snow that was worth starting it up. I cleaned everything in the neighborhood just to watch it work. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #8  
Old 10-06-09, 05:16 AM
gsr
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Single or two stage...

I've used both single stage and two stage blowers. A lot depends on the size of area you have to clear and the type of snow you get.

If you get mostly fluffy or small (less than 4") of snow at a time a single stage will work fine, with heavy or deep snow a two stage is the way to go.

If you have a single car wide driveway a single stage will work fine because it can blow the snow clear of the driveway, a 2 wide driveway you could go either way depending on your snow. A 3 car wide driveway or really long driveway I'd go with 2 stage.

Currently I have a single stage with a 3 car wide driveway and usually heavy snow and can get more than 4" at a time - pretty much against everything I recommended above. I've learned to go back and forth and blow the snow in front of you so it doesn't have time to pack down and harden, I also will go out twice if I know we're going to get a deep snowfall so I'm not trying to go through 12" of snow at one time. 90% of the time it works great 10% it's a struggle. It was free though and it takes up very little space in the garage, I can pick it up and put it in the truck to bring to someone elses house, it works. When it dies I'll probably buy a 2 stage.
 
  #9  
Old 10-06-09, 07:49 AM
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the more stages the better..

Originally Posted by geogrubb View Post
..get a 2-stage it makes you want it to snow..
^so true.. I own a pair of MTDs. A 3hp-21" single stage and a chunkier 8hp-24" 2-stage both of which are almost 30 years old. I send the 3-21 out when the snow is fresh, powdery and no more than 6" deep. The 8-24 gets to work when it's heavy and/or wet.



I don't know how much space you're clearing so I suggest you stick to your budget and try to purchase the biggest machine u could afford. Since the machines you're looking at are pretty much the same size, buy from the dealer that offers the best support (service/warranty). Also consider this.. Newer single stage machines work well but you will find situations where you'd get bogged down and decide you've gotta use the ol' shovel instead. Then while you're aching you'll wonder why you didn't go for the bigger machine. Maybe look for a used 2-stage? I bought my 8-24 used for $150 and then put in about $300 to rebuild it.

Either way you go, it'll be better than shovelling.. most of the time. Oh, I do find myself tracking storms on Intellicast - Local and National Weather Forecast, Radar, Maps and Severe Report and hoping for big snows since acquiring the 8-24. ha!
 
  #10  
Old 10-09-09, 10:16 AM
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Hey all!

Thank you all for weighing in on this.

I have a 2 car wide x 2 car long driveway.
Then some sidewalk area as well.
So not a huge area...but more than I like to shovel before going to work. :P
The snowplows do come thru and pile snow up at the end of the driveway (but the streets get cleaned

I know when I buy the single stage and start using it I'm gonna kick myself for not getting the 2 stage one....but I'm just not sure if I can fish out the extra $200 for it.

Would I be correct in assuming that metal "blades" work better than the plastic "blades"?
 
  #11  
Old 10-09-09, 11:46 AM
gsr
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Metal vs plastic...

I've never used one with plastic blades but I'd assume metal is better - I'd hate to break the blades on a chunk of ice. Mine actually has metal blades topped with a heavy conveyor belt rubber or something that seems to work decent.

As I mentioned earlier my next one will probably be a 2 stage but realisticly there's probably only 1 or 2 snows a winter that my little one has trouble with. When that happens I just go slower.

Another option check your local classified's, craigslist, etc you might find a good 2 stage blower that's only a couple years old. Or check the local small engine repair shops they might have some used ones or new ones left over from last year they are looking to sell.
 
  #12  
Old 10-09-09, 11:50 AM
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It would be easy to justify the 200 if you consider the medical bill if you did kick yourself.

IMO those little single stage blowers are disposable toys.
 

Last edited by GregH; 10-09-09 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Typo
  #13  
Old 11-03-09, 08:20 PM
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I ended up ordering a Sno-Tek (sorry you Chinese engine haters). I figured I would give it a try. Since it is Ariens made and pretty much the same minus the motor, could I potentially put a B&S motor on it if the LCT one ever failed?
 
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