Jan 9, 2010
Review by mcoffman38
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Easy maneuverability, light, powerful, quiet, 4 stroke.
Cons:Must adjust chute manually, might have problems with hills or really heavy snow.
The Bottom Line: Love it. Its all the stuff I wanted and none of the stuff I did not.
I had a John Deere two stroke snow blower that was 12 years old. I have decided to give it away because I don't like a few aspects of it. It is noisy, the chute clogs easily and being a two stroke it shoots oil out the exhaust and I always smelled like oil and gas after I finished snow blowing. It was also kind of hard starting.
Recommend this product?
So to the store I went. One thing I am learning about tools is to buy them from a reputable place that services what they sell. I have begun to frequent a certain shop and they sell Toro and Stihl products. So I knew my new snowblower would be a Toro.
I walked in and they had their full selection available. I asked for a 4 stroke because I don't like to mix oil and gas. 4 strokes are quieter and do not shoot oil out the exhaust so are less smelly. That left me with two choices - the Power Clear 180 series and the top of their line 21 inch blower. The difference in price was about $300. I paid around $420 for my Power Clear. It has an 87CC 4 cycle OHV engine with electric start. Most of the 21 inch models have engines that are 120CC and up but all are two stroke until you get to the top of their line.
The Power Clear 180 is fairly small. Only has an 18 inch cutting path and in my mind is the gas answer to someone who would like an electric snow thrower. This particular unit fit in the trunk of my Honda Accord just barely. The handle does collapse but not enough for the lid to be closed and the unit had to kind of rest at an angle.
The shop I bought from sells their snow blowers fully assembled and full of gas so it was a simple matter to come home - lift this thing out of the trunk and start her up. I am a female who is not overly strong and I was able to lift this unit myself - it weights 54 lbs.
For the first start (because I knew the shop had already started this unit up before loading it up and it was still warm) I simply pulled the starter cord and it started on the first pull. There was just a light dusting on the driveway - maybe two inches max and the snow was pretty light. I was impressed! The Power Clear cleared all the way down to the pavement and had a very impressive throw. I actually had to adjust the chute so it would not throw so enthusiastically too close to my neighbors yards. It handled my 100 foot long (but narrow) driveway with ease. My driveway is level and I have heard that some have had issues with this unit on sloping driveways. The big concern between the 18 inch and the 21 inch unit was would it be powerful enough to handle a larger snow. I approached the end of the driveway where the snow plow had piled up a bunch of heavier, wetter snow and was quite pleased. Really made short work of that snow and a few times I made more then one pass but by and large I was able to clear on the first pass. Most Toro snow blowers are kind of self propelled. You don't have to lift them up anymore to get them to move forward with the impeller. Now you just sort of hold on and steer and they move forward. Requires very little effort but the machine can be kinda fast on light snow.
This unit has a chute that you have to adjust manually - there is nothing on the handle to adjust the chute but the chute moved easily. Also the chute can be adjusted for angle - either up or down and many grades in between. Very convenient although I miss the chute adjustment being on the handle.
The next day I used the electric start just to see how it worked. This unit does not have a battery - to start electrically you have to have an outlet and extension cord handy. I pushed in the key, opened the choke, pushed the primer bulb twice (as per the manuel) and it fired up and died. Tried again, still nothing. Then I adjusted the choke closed a bit and it fired right up. Took about a minute to warm up and I was ready to go. I love how quiet this thing is.
As I said above my decision was to go with this model instead of the larger 4 stroke 21 inch model. I am pleased with the choice so far. Yes I might have to work a little harder with this one but its smaller size (easier to transport - the shop would have had to deliver the other one and no way could I have picked it up) does not imply lack of power. In my area, where the snow fall is not normally all that heavy I think this unit will be more then satisfactory. I am not sure someone who lives where the snow fall is really heavy will be pleased but maybe they will. I think because the unit is so easy to use and not smelly one would be likely to use it more frequently. For example I never wanted to use my old snow blower before when I had to go somewhere because I would just reek of gas and oil. But with the Power Clear there is none of that issue so I could see myself using it on my lunch hour or in the morning before I go to work easily. That may well keep me from letting the snow accumulate like I used to. I could see a person even in a heavy snow area being ok with this machine if they used it frequenctly.
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