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Surprisingly capable, Portable, and Affordable.
Dec 19, 2008 (Updated Dec 22, 2008)
by Mark Morissette
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Highly portable, surprisingly capable, light, electric operation means no gas to bother with.
Cons:Unable to aim output, Won't handle extreme snow, electric means cords. Power switch=sore fingers.
The Bottom Line: If you are willing to accept the fact that it's not a $1000 snowblower at a $120 price point, you're apt to love the little Toro Power Shovel!
After our last (Brutal) winter I swore I was going to get a snowblower this year, but of course we didn't get around to it - it's easy to forget a brutal winter after a beautiful summer. So, when I went hunting for one at the last second before a major storm arrived today, I was laughed out of most stores which had already sold out days before.
Recommend this product?
The few stores that still had snowblowers in stock only had high end (>$1000) models which was not only outside of my budget, but were far too large for our needs.
However, after some digging I came across a floor model Toro "Power Shovel" at the local Home Depot - it was literally all that was left, not only at that store, but in the entire city. I looked at the instruction manual and was quite surprised at the specifications - with the ability to throw 20 to 25 feet, and handle snow in the 20cm range, it seemed like it might just do the job. It was light (I literally threw it over my shoulder in the store while finishing our shopping) and it had a very adjustable handle which would make using it quite comfortable. With the ability to easily return (or likely re-sell) the unit if it turned out to be inadequate, I took a "What have I got to loose" attitude.
Half out of desperation, and half willingness to try it out, I bought it. A plus was the fact that it was only $120 - a deal compared to the $300 to $450 I was figuring I would be spending shoudl I have been able to find the mid-sized snowblower I was actually seeking.
The storm arrived today, and upon my arrival from work I put it right to use - and I was impressed! The little Toro did an admirable job handling snow that was in the range of 20cm (8"). Some drifting on our driveway exceeded even that height, but attacking it in stages or actually lifting the unit up and taking small "chunks" with it quickly knocked them down to manageable heights. Yes, under severe load (and I mean extreme, I was pushing HARD!), the motor bogged down at times and I had to back off and start again, but I didn't expect it to be a powerhouse, so I found it entirely acceptable.
I found the following mentionable:
1/ Width. At only 12 inches wide some might find the cut rather narrow.
2/ Lack of directional control. The snow goes pretty much straight ahead and there is no way to steer the output from a left/right or up/down standpoint. Depending on the layout of what you are clearing you might to use some creative angles to avoid blowing all the snow into your neighbors house/driveway/car. :-)
3/ You still have to push. Yes., it blows the snow, but there is still some physical effort involved - if you expect the little Toro to be like a large walk-behind power driven snowblower which requires little to no effort to run, you will be dissapointed...but you already knew that, right?
4/ The fact that it's electric of course means you have a cord to deal with, but on the plus side that means no gas cans to bother with.
5/ It's portable! Unlike a large snowblower that would be a pain to transport, you can throw the littlel Toro in the back seat of just about any car (perhaps even the trunk depending on size) and use it elsewhere.
6/ Without doubt, my biggest gripe is the power switch. There is a safety button that must be pressed first, and then the trigger underneath is held to turn the power on. I found that after holding the switch for extended periods my fingers started to cramp up. Unfortunately there is no method of locking the power on, surely in the interest of safety, but irritating none the less.
The snow we received today would be about the maximum I would expect this little unit to handle, and honestly even that is probably technically at or near beyond it's design limitations - but it handled it like a champ!
With only a 2 car driveway and a sidewalk, and living in an area where 20cm snowfalls are on the high-end of what we get in one dump, it would seem like the little Toro Power Shovel is a great option for those who want to alleviate some of the back breaking effort of shoveling without the expense and hassle (or need) of a fully fledged snowblower.
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