Snowblower recommendations and advice?
December 6, 2010 6:35 AM   Subscribe

I live in upstate New York. I need to buy a new snowblower and I'm looking for recommendations. It appears that nearly every snowblower, regardless of the brand, is now made by MTD and I have some serious concerns about their quality because of the large number of plastic parts and the thin metal they use. I'd like to know if my concerns are valid and what brands are made by other manufacturers. I've heard that Honda makes a phenomenal snowblower but I'm not sure I can afford $3000 or more.

I'm looking for a blower that's at least 28-inches wide with electric start. I want one with a speed control lever that you push forward or back, not sideways. Most importantly, I'm looking for one that will be reliable and trouble-free for a long time. I'm not as concerned about the engine reliability as I am about the drive train and everything else.

Please don't suggest a web site with reviews unless you're absolutely sure it's fair and objective. There seems to be many that are just shills.
posted by 14580 to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This typically won't help you in the middle of winter, but check pawn shops for snowblowers that meet your specs. You can usually find older ones with nice drafts and reliable Briggs & Stratton motors that will outlast you.
posted by SpecialK at 6:43 AM on December 6, 2010

I've always heard good things about Ariens. They always seem to get good reviews. My brother has one and has no complaints.
posted by sanka at 7:03 AM on December 6, 2010

I've lived in my home for 34 years and in that time I've had 3 snowblowers. I have 300 feet of sidewalk and I always did all the neighbors sidewalks also.
The first one I had was a MTD and I had it for better than 15 years and sold it to a police officer friend for more than I originally paid for it. My friend kept it until he died and it never stopped working for him.
I wanted something that had more versatility so I bought a new 7 1/2 hp. Simplicity. We had a major snow storm the first year I had it and it worked fine. I thought I wanted something with more power so I sold it to a neighbor. He's still using it.
I bought a big 11 hp. Snapper and it makes short work of the snow we have in Bucks County PA.
The absolutely best advice I can give you is to buy a quality one. Always run it out of gas when you put it away. Use a gas stabilizer and lube the lube points religiously.
All my snowblowers or lawn equipment start on the first pull. Just make sure the carbs don't sit with gas in them.
posted by JohnE at 7:17 AM on December 6, 2010

Toro Toro Toro $1499 at Home Depot.
posted by lobstah at 7:21 AM on December 6, 2010

I don't know a lot about snowblowers, but, for many things that aren't as good as they used to be, one good place to shop is estate sales.
posted by box at 7:32 AM on December 6, 2010

Although I have various qualms with them, I'd probably defer to Consumer Reports for a purchase like this.
posted by schmod at 7:54 AM on December 6, 2010

I also know a number of people with MTD blowers, including myself, and they work just fine. Much of the flimseyness you see is aesthetic only, though some of the parts that are plastic do seem just a touch unstable. BUT, none of them have ever broken. And the price really can't be beat.
posted by gjc at 8:29 AM on December 6, 2010

Response by poster: qjc - How old is your MTD blower? My 20-year old one as been great, but it's obviously built better than the new models. There seems to be a lot of complaints about plastic discharge chutes breaking.

It looks like I'll be looking at Ariens and Toro. I found a local dealer than carries both at prices that are competitive with the big box stores. He told me on the phone that they're about equal in quality. I also found out the Ariens in all metal construction but chute controls are not as convenient as Toro's. But the Toro's chute is plastic and uses control cables that might not be that durable.

I'm not interested in a used snowblower, although I might be if I see a good used Honda before Saturday.
posted by 14580 at 10:44 AM on December 6, 2010

Seconding Toro, and they're made locally! (Or at least there used to be a factory in Schenectady).
posted by dolface at 11:28 AM on December 6, 2010

The Hondas are phenomenal. Super sturdy, I know people who live out in the woods with 1/4 mile or more driveways and depend in their Honda blowers to get out.

They'll also chew up an entire Sunday paper in seconds with no ill effects. Or so I've heard.
posted by fshgrl at 12:15 PM on December 6, 2010

« Older Yet another iPad app recommendation filter   |   Help me hire a web designer Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.