After looking at snow blowers for almost year and agonizing over the decision I purchased a Simplicity Pro 1628E at the beginning of this season and in a word, it’s FANTASTIC. I thought I’d share my impressions with others out there doing the same thing.
To give a little background, the Simplicity replaced an old 70’s era 8 hp Ariens. The Ariens was a good machine, but it was tired and really couldn’t throw snow the way I need it to. I clear a driveway that is about 100ft long and is double wide at the top where there is a house on one side and a shed on the other. This led to throwing and re-throwing snow with the old Ariens to get the snow off the driveway. Clearing my driveway with this machine could take as much as 2 hours. It was time for a new machine. Enter the Simplicity P1628E.
The Engine - The engine is a 342cc Briggs and Stratton OHV rated at 15.5 ft-pounds of torque. For those who prefer HP, before switching to torque the engine on this machine was advertised as 11.5 hp. It has electric start, which I used once to ensure that it worked. Otherwise it has been a 1 pull start.
Throw distance – While I don’t think it throws snow quite as far as a Honda, the machine throws the snow much further than I need. At the top of the driveway I throw the snow over cars and well off the driveway. No more re-throwing the snow. I used to start from the middle of the driveway and work my way out while always throwing to the right. Now I find that I am better off starting on one side of the driveway and working my way to the other side while always throwing the snow to my front yard to avoid putting it in my neighbor’s driveway. (A great problem to have.) I could use the remote deflector as well, but what fun is that?
Power boost – As others have pointed out, this is basically a variable diameter pulley on the engine side. As the load increases the pulley diameter is decreased, through the use of a spring, changing the pulley ratio and giving more power to the impeller. Is it effective? To be honest I don’t know. I know that for most snowfalls this year I went down the driveway and straight through the EOD without slowing down. Perhaps the Power Boost comes into play here, but it may just be the size of the engine as well. All I know is that it is not easy to choke this thing.
Easy turn – This is a feature I would not want to do without again. The automatic differential on the new Ariens is nice, but I used one and found that when going over an uneven area (frozen snow under freshly fallen snow) the machine wanted to drive itself and it took some muscling to keep the machine going straight. With Easy turn, both wheels are locked and drive forward at the same speed so keeping the machine tracking straight is no problem. When it is time to turn, simply squeeze the trigger to unlock the right wheel. As others have stated, this does make it much easier to turn to the right than to the left but it is not true that it is hard to turn to the left. Sure it takes more effort than turning right, but by no means is it difficult. I muscled a solid axle through turns for nine years, and I have to say, I love Easy turn.
Electric chute – I was very apprehensive about going with the electric chute. The first time I used it, it would get stuck if I moved it too far to its hard stop. I was afraid that my initial feeling to avoid that feature was accurate. Fortunately, I made a simple adjustment to the motor and haven’t had a problem with it since. I have come to love this feature. It took some getting used to, but now, I hit the end of driveway, squeeze the Easy turn and rotate the chute all in one motion and without stopping I am on my way back up the driveway.
Hand warmers – I didn’t think I needed this feature either. In general a nice pair of gloves works fine, however, when my good pair is wet and I grab another I do find myself turning the heating on and it does work well. The available settings are high, low and off.
Overall performance - I am in NH where we had a decent amount of snowfall this year. We saw 1 foot + accumulations of light fluffy snow, 9 inches of the wet heavy stuff, a couple inches of slush as well as a layer of slush with the wet heavy stuff on top. Unfortunately, there were no 2 foot accumulations to test the machine with this year.
The good -The Simplicity handled all of the different snow types in stride. With slush, I was able to plug the chute, but I never had to stop to clear it. I just pushed on and once enough slush was pulled into the machine it would blow out. What I really love about this machine is how easy (physically) it is to use. I am used to having to muscle my old machine around. With this machine I just walk behind it pulling levers, pushing buttons and squeezing triggers. It is truly a pleasure to use. A storm that used to take me 2 hours to clean up with my old machine I can have done inside of an hour with the Simplicity and without any of the “day after” aches that come from wrestling with a machine.
The bad – I do have one complaint. When throwing fluffy snow to the right, I have found, as others have, that some of the snow is tossed straight up and does not hit the chute. This leads to a spray of snow and well, if it’s windy, you know where that snow is going. I think a snow cab would be a good addition.
Overall I think the Simplicity is a well designed, well built machine that I enjoy using and will for many years to come. If not for the spraying snow issue, I wouldn’t be able to find anything that I don’t like about this machine.
In the words of Forrest Gump, “And that’s all I have to say about that.”.
Date Purchased: 09/2008
Price Paid: $1949
Overall ease of use - Easy turn, power chute, large powerful engine.
The spray of snow when the snow is light and fluffy and the chute is turned to the right.