Needed: Snow Blower advice.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by GGardner, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    I live in NJ and am toying with the idea of finally buying a snow blower. My back gets worse each year. I'm leaning toward a single-stage gas and would like to spend in the new MIM Telecaster range, but am completely out of my element.

    I've heard of Toro, Honda, and Craftsman but the majority of brands are foreign to me. Any advice? Any brands/models/styles/sellers to stay away from. I can't fix anything--so if it breaks, I'm stuck. Thanks.
     
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  2. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    I too am in NJ, and getting old.
    I bought a snow blower, but it is a pain to use, and often the snow is too deep. It is a fair brand, whose name I can't remember at the moment.
    Honestly though, if I could, I would go HONDA, or TORO.
     
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  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I live on Long Island and use a single stage Ariens snow blower. It's gotten me through some nasty storms. The key to using single stage blower is not to let the snow get deeper than 8-10 inches before clearing it and if you have a driveway and the streets are plowed where you live, to try to get out there and clear the end of your driveway as soon as the plow comes through. The reason for the Ariens are two fold. The winter I bought it had a lot of snow and local stores were sold out. I bought mine on line from a Chicago distributor at a good price with free shipping. That was unbelievable. The other thing that was important was that the blower, including the Briggs and Stratton engine were Made in USA! I don't trust the reliability of an engine from China of uncertain provenance. Mine cost around $600 with an electric start. It's well worth the few extra dollars not to have to be pulling on a rope hoping the thing will start. Plug it in, set the choke, prime the cylinder, push the button and go. Also, either use snow blower fuel additive or mix 90% unleaded regular with 10% E-85. The additive or alcohol sequester water that inevitably gets into the fuel tank when you add fuel during a storm. Good luck. Remember MADE in USA is important with this kind of product. Get a good one. You don't want a snow blower that suffocates on anything more than a trace.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  4. MDent77

    MDent77 Tele-Afflicted

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    I empathize with you. I took pride in the ability to shovel our 2 car driveway, stairs and a large area in the backyard (for the dog) for many years. That's just not possible anymore. I own a two-stage {Ariens Deluxe 28} snow blower and it's been reliable. If I were to look at single-stage I'd consider the Honda (HS 720AS) with solid reviews for reliability.
     
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  5. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    I use a contractor, takes him less than 2 minutes to do the driveway, i wave at him from inside my living room.
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    I bought a Toro last year. The one you don't need to mix the oil with the gas.
    It worked great. Hopefully it fires up this year. I don't doubt it I heard many good things about it.
     
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  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is where our collective schadenfreude comes into play.....we here in the South and West (as well as the Southwest) now learn why we suffer through months of debilitating heat, so that we DON'T have to deal with a snowblower question. I DO empathize with you guys, and I envy the fact that y'all have authentic seasons where the trees turn in Autumn and Spring is cool and pleasant. Our four seasons are "Heat, Heat, four weeks of Ice, and Heat". Sorry I can't help with your snowblower question.....I've never actually even seen one! ;)
     
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  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Move to Florida?

    We don't get much snow down here but based on my experiences with lawn mowers on a tough lawn, avoid the Toro, go with a Honda or Husqvarna
     
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  9. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well, I used to live in New Jersey (in between New Brunswick and Princeton) but I moved away last year to a warmer climate and sold my snow blower to my old neighbor. I can't say I miss it!

    Anyway I would definitely steer you towards a two-stage blower. The one I had - for over 10 years - was a Troy Bilt, 24" path, electric start with a Tecumseh Snow King engine that I bought from Lowe's for about $700...

    [​IMG]

    It did very well for most storms although there were times, like in very heavy wet snow or amounts over 12", that I wouldn't have minded the next size up. If I was buying again I'd probably go for a Honda or a Husqvarna but I have to say that while I took care of it, cleaning it and changing the oil at the end of each winter, it never failed to start or let me down in any way.
     
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  10. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you recall anything about your snow blower? Is it single stage, double stage, gas, electric? One of my obvious fears is getting something that "is a pain to use, and often [doesn't work when] the snow is too keep."
     
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  11. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    Ariens and Briggs & Stratton are two names that keep coming up. I had never heard of either before. One sounds like an NFL coach and the other sounds like a Boston law firm. $600 would be right in my wheelhouse.
     
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  12. Slip Kid

    Slip Kid Tele-Meister

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    I found the single stage to be aggravating and useless unless the snow was lite and fluffy. 99% of the time in my case it was wet and heavy and would just clog up in the chute. I thought the quality of the machine, which was a Craftsman, to be good. I bought it in 2004 and gave it to my father who still uses it.

    We moved to a larger house with a larger driveway in 2011. I bought an Ariens built Snow Tech (I think that’s the name) 2 stage machine from Home Depot that cost about $700. We had a blizzard the first winter I got it and it hasn’t let me down yet.
     
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  13. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    I think Consumer Reports said that you don't need to mix the oil w/ the gas on single stage machines--which is one of the draws for me.
     
  14. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    I love the snow. And I used to like go out at midnight and shovel. But it is on the growing list of things that I swore I would do forever but just can't. Like running, bench press, etc. I don't know if I could take the SW because I get creeped out by the thought of snakes and poisonous spiders.
     
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  15. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    Husqvarna is another brand that I never heard of until an hour ago doing Internet searches. They're reliable?

    Can't do Florida--alligators.
     
  16. guitarmojo

    guitarmojo TDPRI Member

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    Brand means almost nothing here, except for the engine. MAKE SURE you can ID the engine manufacturer before you buy. That said, the next biggest worry here is service and parts. You will break shear pins. You will have trouble getting it started after sitting for the off season. Small engine service isn't rocket science, but ethanol flavored fuels rot the fuel system generally. A long period of sitting around generally means a carburetor full of junk.

    To me, a plug in electric starter is bare minimum. Pulling on rope at 20 humid degrees isn't fun when it doesn't start on first pull. 2 stage, depending if your area tends to get heavy, wet snow (like NJ). Light and fluffy you can get away with single stage. Self propelled is almost a given. Almost. And you might want chains to gain traction in the slippery.
     
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  17. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd like a two-stage. But they get pricey. And I'm anticipating the argument with my wife. So I'm trying to sneak in something less ambitious.

    p.s. "in between New Brunswick and Princeton"--I know it well!
     
  18. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    The problem for me is that most of the two-stage machines appear to be $1K and above. I could sneak in an MIM tele. Sneaking in an MIA tele is much more of a challenge.
     
  19. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have been buying gardening tools at the tool rental place which is really close .
    They know their products, have parts and do service.
    You might pay a little more though
     
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  20. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Have you considered used? I bought a used Ariens two-stage last year - to replace my 1970-something Ariens that finally died on me. I would definitely want two-stage, electric start, and self-propelled. Chains help a lot too - depending on conditions.
     
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