Toro calls this snow thrower a Super Single. Even stars in its own movie on the Toro website.
First impressions are this is an upgraded version of the single stage Toros we have grown to love. Frame is beefed up, engine is a 7 hp R-Tek, unit is on a 4 wheel chassis, three paddles versus usual two paddle system, self propel motion is accomplished by a tilt head mechanism as opposed to lifting the handle up, width is 24 inches, intake is 15 inches high and the Snow Commander weighs in at a hefty 115 lbs. Taking off the top cover shows plenty of room for maintenance work due to the 24 inch width.
Never have been a self propel fan for single stage blowers but it is definitely needed for the Snow Commander. The width, weight and snow resistance will make even a fit person breath hard after a few passes. Fortunately the tilt head works and provides the assist needed. The engine starts easily and you will not need the electric start. The 4 wheel chassis also adds stability as you go through the snow.
Snows the past 2003/2004 season were in the 6-8 inch range but were very heavy and crusty. The 7 hp engine took it in stride throwing snow in the 20-25 foot range. Spec is 35 foot in ideal conditions.
The true test for a single stage is the end of drive. This Snow Commander does well up to a depth of 12 inches. I believe the reason for this limit is due to the design of the intake housing. The top part of the intake housing deflects snow to the paddles. If the snow does not move down the housing the blower becomes dead headed. The only way to go forward is to ram the blower into the snow which may damage the plastic housing. The R-Tek engine took a lot of abuse but never stalled. This was also the first time the mix odors was noticed; possibly due to a full open throttle.
The Snow Commander is a solid contender in the single stage class. You can expect to handle 12 inches of snow. The 15 inch storm experienced in January 2005 found pushing this 24 inch blower difficult in comparison to the 20 inch wide 3650. May be difficult to handle due to it size and a woman or elderly person may be better off with something smaller. Although this is a solid machine the $200 differential over the 3650 may not provide any additional performance and its width can be a hindrance in deep snow.
Note: Updated based on performance in Jan 2005 blizzard.
Date Purchased: 9/2003 Price Paid: $799 Recommend: Yes
Smooth 7 hp R-Tek 24” width Self propel which actually works Heavy duty frame and chassis Lots of room to work in Toro quality
Size could be a problem for some Not as mobile as a lighter size stage blower End of driveway greater than a foot will require some help from a shovel Pushing the blower through 15 inches or more of snow will be a work out.