Pros: Reliable, starts on first pull, plenty of power, tackles snow up to 12".
Cons: Expensive, need to tighten bolts after use.
I purchased this snow thrower at a local John Deere distributor. Distributors know a lot about their products and can actually service things if needed. First let me say that if you are overly price conscious, skip this review and drive to your Lowe's or Home Depot store and plop down your $388 for a MTD snow blower. You might be satisfied, but I guarantee you won't get any service if anything should go wrong. I researched snow blowers pretty thoroughly before settling on a John Deere, and for an extra $170 you are getting a machine that will probably outlast a cheaper brand by at least 2-3 times. Also, the service at Lowe's and Home Depot is just abysmal...I don't think they have anyone in the store that is an expert at anything. Go there to buy nails and hammers...commodities!
First let me say that this machine is pretty solid, it weighs over 70lbs, but don't let that disuade you from purchasing it. It is build like a rock, nice steel structure, foam grip handles, everything feels like it was designed and spec'd to last a long time. Also, it has a very small footprint. It fits very nicely in my garage, and it smaller than a standard lawn mower. This model uses a two stroke Tecumseh motor and requires a 50:1 fuel mixture. Frankly, I'd prefer a two stroke vs. a four stroke simply because it is such a pain to change oil. When is the last time you changed your lawn mower oil without spilling oil all over the garage, driveway, lawn? It wasn't fun was it! Your best bet is to buy an extra 1 gallon tank and pour a 3.2 ounce container of two stroke oil into it.
Push the primer button twice, flip the choke on, and pull the handle and voila, you're ready to rock. This snow thrower has an enormous amount of throwing power (torque baby). I was able to cut through some super tough ice encrusted snow (about 4") without any issues. It sounded like my John Deere was about to explode; shards of ice, chunks of snow were flying everywhere blinding my view. I thought I was destroying my machine, the thunderous sound of destruction was upon my curious neighbors, but upon further inspection I was amazed how tough this guy was....it was no worse for wear. Also, I have tested this machine out on 8" of very wet snow. Again, it is infallable, it has plenty of power and just refuses to stall out. I cut through a huge pile of snow plowed snow, about 16". You know the stuff that is super slushy and saturated with water. While the Deere can't take it on all it once, moving slowly, I was able to demolish the Dam of snow and slush. My limp wristed postman and newspaper boy will no longer send me nasty notes, they can get to my mailbox. I'm once again a hero!
One thing John Deere should improve is making sure that every nut, bolt, and fastener has a lock ring washer. Everytime you run this machine you need to tighten snow chute bolts. They should have lock tighted them at the factory. Also, my other complaint is that it should do a little better job cleaning the bottom surface of your driveway. It does an admirable job, but in my opinion there should be a way to adjust the auger so that it really scrapes the pavement clean. A minor complaint here.
As you can tell, I love this snow thrower. My advice is to spend a little extra and buy a John Deere. You won't be disappointed.