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Mr_Pacman


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Points: 14

Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Original Message   Oct 4, 2011 11:51 pm
Hello everyone,

I've decided between 2 snowblowers:


Toro 621 ZR  ($760)
Honda HS520  ($840)

These two are available locally and I know I will be able to get parts in the future. This might not be the case with other brands being sold in town, so I really want to stick with the Toro or the Honda.

I don't want a 2 stage (we don't get that much snow here).

I'm leaning towards the Honda, but just want to make sure I'm not making a mistake and should be getting the less expensive Toro. I'm not worried about electric start, and the "quick shoot" is not important to me. The Toro I have selected has the same features as the Honda (handle on the chute, recoil start).

Which one would you buy (let's assume the prices are the same, as the difference in cost is not important to me).  I want something that will perform well, and last for many years.

Thanks very much
James

Replies: 10 - 19 of 19Next page of topicsPreviousAllView as Outline
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2388

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #10   Oct 5, 2011 4:38 pm
FrankMA wrote:
Here's a shot of my new to me HS621AS - no beauty queen but pretty enough! 

At least it's not a rust bucket.  Don't know how old your HS621 is, seems in pretty good shape.  How is it mechanically?  Does the engine run?  Everything working?
This message was modified Oct 5, 2011 by aa335
FrankMA


Location: Merrimack Valley/Northeastern Mass
Joined: Jul 1, 2010
Points: 587

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #11   Oct 5, 2011 5:53 pm
The machine is in really good shape. I bought it off a guy in South Boston who had a 2 car driveway in a very urban area. He would snowblow his driveway and the 30' sidewalk in front of his house and that was it. South Boston is located right on the coast so it usually does not get hammered with snow like where I live. He had it on CL last Spring for $ 125.00 and when I saw the ad I jumped on it. I knew I was going home with it as soon as I saw it. I tried to offer him $ 100.00 but he knew what he had and would not budge - that was OK because I thought $ 125.00 was a decent price anyway and after looking it over we had a deal.

It needs a set a impeller blades and a new scrapper bar + some overall TLC but I'm capable of bringing it up to speed and am quite happy to own such a fine piece of OPE. I can't wait to put her to use this winter and see how well she performs. I've always read great reviews on the HS621 so I had my eyes on CL looking for one (for quite some time I may add) and finally scored a decent looking machine. I wish that Honda would sell these fine machines in the USA.... Nothing like a good single stage for those 4" - 6" snow storms that are'nt quite heavy enough for a 2 stage.

Toro Wheel Horse 522xi GT, Honda HS928TA, Honda HS621AS, Honda HS520A, Toro CCR3000 (work in progress), Honda HS624WA (sold 08/23/2010), Stihl BR550 Backpack Blower, Stihl MS250, McCulloch MS1635, Honda EM6500SX Generator
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2388

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #12   Oct 5, 2011 7:51 pm
FrankMA wrote:

I've always read great reviews on the HS621 so I had my eyes on CL looking for one (for quite some time I may add) and finally scored a decent looking machine. I wish that Honda would sell these fine machines in the USA.... Nothing like a good single stage for those 4" - 6" snow storms that are'nt quite heavy enough for a 2 stage.


I bought the HS621 as a new machine back in 1998 for $800 US.  The electric start was probably about $900.  That was a lot of money for a single stage, 50% higher price than the nearest competitor.  In today's money, that would probably be $1200 or more.  I guess Honda figured that it wouldn't sell too many HS621 at those prices so they came out with the HS520, and compete against Toro 221Q's. 

The HS520 had a fresher look, still feels solid, heavy, and high quality.  It was more nimble to move around, but a bit skittish and bounce around more.  In normal snowblowing situation, the snow jet was a tighter so it went a little bit further.  However, in foot deep wet snow or EOD piles, it performed worse than the older HS621.  The HS621 superior engine just had more grunt torque.  The larger flat center paddle was superior on slush or hard packed snow as well.  It was less resistant to clogging.  These were my observations since I had both machines at one time for direct head to head comparison.
FrankMA


Location: Merrimack Valley/Northeastern Mass
Joined: Jul 1, 2010
Points: 587

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #13   Oct 5, 2011 8:14 pm
One feature I really like about the HS621 is the streamlined aesthetics. It has that sleek "get the job done" kind of look. It might sound a little crazy but it reminds me of a shark.
This message was modified Oct 6, 2011 by FrankMA


Toro Wheel Horse 522xi GT, Honda HS928TA, Honda HS621AS, Honda HS520A, Toro CCR3000 (work in progress), Honda HS624WA (sold 08/23/2010), Stihl BR550 Backpack Blower, Stihl MS250, McCulloch MS1635, Honda EM6500SX Generator
Mr_Pacman


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Points: 14

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #14   Oct 5, 2011 10:34 pm
I appreciate all of the replies. I think I'm going to get the Toro 621, but I will get the base model to keep the price down. I don't think I need the fancy features like the "quick shoot" or the "zip deflector".  Toro charges a huge premium for those extra features. The 612E is $620 locally, so that puts the price right between the smaller 418 Toro and the 621QZE "cadillac version" which sells for $820 locally.

Plus, the basic 612E has a metal chute vs a plastic chute on the higher models.

Thanks for all of the replies and suggestions.

James
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2388

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #15   Oct 7, 2011 12:07 pm
FrankMA wrote:
One feature I really like about the HS621 is the streamlined aesthetics. It has that sleek "get the job done" kind of look. It might sound a little crazy but it reminds me of a shark.

Yes, it is quite sleek compared to the newer machines.  The newer ones are either too busy with exposed muffler guards, fuel tank and caps, valve covers, or handle consoles with headlights. 

Trying to look bulky and busy like a 2 stage snowblower is not a good approach, especially for people shopping for snowblower for the first time.
This message was modified Oct 7, 2011 by aa335
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2388

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #16   Oct 7, 2011 12:15 pm
Mr_Pacman wrote:
Plus, the basic 612E has a metal chute vs a plastic chute on the higher models.

I don't think I ever seen any Toro single stage with a metal chute.  Even all their larger and current 2 stage snowblowers have plastic chutes.  If anything, metal chutes are more expensive and will be offered on their higher models, not the other way around.

Properly designed and made, plastic chute is more slippery and does not allow snow/ice to stick.  I don't have any problems with the plastic chute on my Toro 421Q, it's lightweight, easy to change direction.
This message was modified Oct 7, 2011 by aa335
Mr_Pacman


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Points: 14

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #17   Oct 11, 2011 5:12 pm
Just quick update and also a very big thanks to all of the members who took the time to give me advice in this (and a few other) threads over the past few weeks. I really do appreciate it!

I ended up buying a Toro 418 ZR today from Home Depot. They "price protected" an online competitor, so my final price was $360 which I felt was fair as the cheapest online price was $399.  I won't unpack it until it's getting close to the first snowfall just in case a nice used machine pops up for sale.

I debated between this machine and the $850 Honda HS520/ $800 Toro 621, but with those machines being 2 - 2.5 times times the price, plus they were quite a bit larger and would be hard to store in my 2 car garage.

What sealed the deal, was the Home Depot rep giving me a demo of a Toro 621. I didn't realize how the rubber auger would "bite" into the ground and literally pull the snowblower and the driver with it.  With my recent lumbar fusion, I didn't really want something that was pulling me around, as I'm still healing and trying to restrict any sudden jerks in my back.  I'm sure the "pulling" feature is a desirable selling point for most (and it might be for me in the future) but for now, I needed something a little less powerful.

The 418 didn't bite as much, and was much easier to move around. It's similar to the electric Toro 1800 I had last year.  It might be a bit underpowered for what I need, but I suspect it will do the job for most of the snowfalls we get in Calgary.

Once the first snowfall arrives, I'll give an update as to how it works. Perhaps it will help someone else make the right decision on what's best for them.

My wife is also quite happy that this snowblower saga is over. She was sick and tired of hearing about different models, prices, pros/cons etc. 

Thanks again!

James
carlb


Joined: Nov 16, 2010
Points: 269

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #18   Oct 11, 2011 5:22 pm
On most single stage snow blowers the amount of bite the auger will have to the pavement is directly related the how the scraper bar is adjusted.  If the scraper bar is adjusted too low it will not allow the augers to grip the pavement as it will raise the bottom of the machine up some.  If the scraper is adjusted too high the augers will hit the pavement with more force and pull and jump forward.  When properly adjusted single stage machines should just pull you along and not bounce and buck.  You can easily adjust the scraper bar on the either of the machines to meet your needs. As the rubber augers wear you may need to adjust the scraper bar up some.
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2388

Re: Honda HS520 vs Toro 621 This is the last snowblower question I ask......I promise :)
Reply #19   Oct 11, 2011 5:30 pm
It's good that you are able to demo the two models to see which one feels right to you.   The Toro 621 is quite aggressive in its pull when the snow is less than 3 inches.  It can move along at jogging pace.  It just takes some getting used to modulate its speed by tipping it back slightly.  The Toro is nicely balance so it requires little effort to tip it back.

The snowblower actually have less bite when there's snow on the pavement.  In actual use, when you have 6 or more inches of snow, that pull is quite appreciated rather having you trying to push.  In 12" of snow, you have to push it along.
This message was modified Oct 11, 2011 by aa335
Replies: 10 - 19 of 19Next page of topicsPreviousAllView as Outline
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