Joined: Nov 15, 2010
R-version is recoil (pull start, only), E-version is available for more money.
I've been using this on small snowfalls, leaving the heavy stuff for a 2-stager. However as I live around the block of my church (which I help out), I found out that this little unit will push some decent snow as long as you are patient.
By patient, I mean you need to let the handle bar sit on your waist and take baby steps letting your legs push it along and basically only use your arms as a guide. Let the power equipment do the work we bought it for, not your arms! That is what I just did when I realized I was in a long, drifted, area that was slightly above the bucket height instead of the 4-5" of light to medium moisture snow. I wanted to go back and get the big unit, but was too lazy to have to walk around the block so I put the Toro through its paces.
I took one full pass and then 3 more 3/4 passes (the sidewalk is almost an exact three pass width, but since I needed to walk back and forth, twice, it made sense to let up a bit). So going through just over one foot of snow was I hardly able to break a sweat for the 200 yds. of city sidewalk. I did, but that was probably while "walking" back to to the house at a jogging speed letting the unit drag me.
Operation during average snows you'll want to use your arms a bit, extending the unit forward so that if you hit a sidewalk joint you don't impale yourself as you are halted.
Starting hasn't been a problem with the 2-pull GTS guarantee. Choke, 2 slow "primes", key-on and pull. Small 2-stoke engines turn over easily.
Everyone raves about the similar models with the quick-shoot. I'm sure it's nicer to use and you will probably smell less "gassy," but I wanted to save a few bucks so I went with the simplistic features (even more reliable).
And by "gassy," I mean that you might have some exhaust fumes from operation, but during a shoot adjustment from exhaust side of the machine, you will blow that smelly gas/oil mix fume on you from about 6" away. 2-Strokes are also louder so why not enjoy the blowing with an iPod or earplugs if you're out there? The plus is that 2 stroke engines are quite simple to repair (if needed...which is unlikely for homeowner's use for a LONG time) and reliable.
End of drive messes will tax any machine and in particular a single-stager like this. If taken s- l- o- w- l- y you will move some slush, but it really wasn't built to do so. It will ooze out the chute but it will with my big unit, too, but as the other one is twice the HP, it will launch it better. I haven't clogged either shoot yet this year.
You may need to jump on one soon, as some groups are soon going to force the public to buy heavier, more costly 4-stroke units...bye-bye freedom.
The trick with all blowers is that you need to properly "load" the right amount of snow (which changes by the amount of moisture in the flakes [wet/dense or dry/powdery])into the auger. With a single-stager like this, you can let the unit pull you along at a jog or hold it back and inch along so the right amount of snow goes in and therefore, goes out (at a good distance).
This unit will put snow off to the distance but it really is only about 15 feet. Less when wet. I'm sure it goes farther but I like to have the deflector on the low side to avoid a blizzard blowing around me.
Date Purchased: 12/2010
Price Paid: $500
Handling: small, light, easy starter
2-Stroke power to weight ratio and reliability
Practically self propelled (quick as you want to travel), cleans down to the pavement
Professionals buy them for portability, reliability and performance.
Toro units have an easy to replace "flapper" vs some other makers who rivet theirs.
End of Drive areas; Very deep snows (Still might want to add a second blower for those areas but those bigger units have some drawbacks as well)
Smokey and loud
This message was modified Jan 18, 2011 by JohnWI