What snowblower do I want?
January 14, 2014 7:37 PM   Subscribe

Current snowblower appears to be dead. Looking for a recommendation for a replacement, probably single-stage, at a reasonable price. Machine will be used to clear paved surfaces (sidewalk plus driveway) for a Minnesota home. Details inside.

I have an ancient 1984-vintage Toro 594 2-stage snowblower. It is far too heavy for my wife to use. It has multiple issues. I have never been able to start it with the pull cord, throttle doesn't work right, safety shutoff was bypassed by prior owner because it won't run at all with it enabled, and today the damn thing refused to start at all, even after 20 minutes of struggle. It feels underpowered even when it does run. But today I think it is dead, or in need of serious repair. I am tired of fighting with it.

So, hive mind, what snowblower should I be looking at to replace the current beast? I feel like a single-stage blower would work for us, and would be easier for my wife to handle. Electric start is preferred. But I don't want to get one that is underpowered, and end up regretting it. We are in Minneapolis, and have a corner lot, so we have to have something that can help us knock down the snowbank the plow trucks inevitably leave across our driveway. I also hope to avoid the brands that cheap out and use plastic where they should have used metal... If I have to buy a new one now, I'd like it to last as long as possible.

And of course, this is happening right when I have no money budgeted to replace a snowblower, so if there's a winner under $4-500 it would help.
posted by caution live frogs to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I know this isn't answering the question exactly, but just in case it helps in the short term: My father has/had a snowblower and will/would forget to remove the gasoline from the fuel tank over the summer, thus varnishing the tank and causing issues similar to what it sounds like you have now. He was suggested a product called Sea Foam to resolve it, which it did.
posted by jangie at 8:36 PM on January 14, 2014

I have the Greenworks electrical one and really like it.
posted by gerryblog at 9:19 PM on January 14, 2014

jangle - I run SeaFoam through the old machine at the beginning and end of the season; the darn thing worked at the end of December, but refuses to start now.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:06 AM on January 15, 2014

Take a trip to Robbinsdale and look at Robbinsdale Marine. I bought a Craftsman single stage new from Sears a few years ago, and when the carburetor (Made of all plastic. PLASTIC!) went out after two years I took it to them to get repaired. They had, no lie, 50 used snow blowers, all fully repaired and in great shape, and most were cheaper than the one I bought new at $450.

I really wish I had known about that place before I bought mine, and I'll be going there when this one craps out (The manual says operational life is only 70 hours. 70 HOURS!).
posted by sanka at 5:47 AM on January 15, 2014

I asked a snowblower-related question last year. A lot of people recommended Ariens and I've decided that's the kind I will buy when I eventually do buy a new one. Unless I decide to splurge for a Honda.

I haven't replaced my Craftsman yet, it's still running, but I live in constant fear that it will die on me. Don't buy a Craftsman. Don't even accept a free Craftsman.
posted by bondcliff at 5:59 AM on January 15, 2014

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