Toro Power Clear Review
Users praise the durability of this gas-powered snow blower and say it clears snow deeper than its 12-inch intake suggests. The 518 ZE features an electric start and a discharge chute that rotates 210 degrees and is designed not to clog.
For inexpensive single-stage gas snow blowers, the Toro Power Clear series earns impressive reviews. An expert Toro Power Clear review on Snow Blowers Direct commends its power and ease of use. The company says the compact Power Clear series performs best in up to 6 inches of snow, but users report it achieves at a higher level. Reviews on Home Depot, for example, say the 518 ZE cuts through wet, heavy snow and clears down to the pavement. (Note: Single-stage gas snow blowers should be used only on smooth surfaces.) Deep, dense snow dumped by blizzards or snow plows may require more than one pass and an occasional break to clear a clogged chute, according to reviews, but users aren't complaining. We did come across one minor gripe saying the rubber paddles can't pick up tightly compressed snow, so you’ll probably want to break up any packed snow like drifts left behind from snow plows at the end of your driveway. Consumer reviews on Snow Blowers Direct are also favorable; one reports using the 518 ZE snow thrower to clear more than a foot of snow on a pond to make room for skating. We read a few grousing comments about having to bend way down to reach the oil filter and electric start.
The updated Toro Power Clear 518 ZE (starting at $399) features a 99cc OHV engine with recoil and electric starts, the latter good insurance against sub-freezing temperatures and a boon to users who don't want to hassle with a pull-cord. (Users say the Power Clear series starts up easily, with one or two pulls, so the electric start is rarely necessary.) As on other inexpensive gas snow blowers, there are separate tanks for oil and gasoline; the fuel capacity is 1.4 quarts. The Toro Power Clear 518 ZE cuts an 18-inch path with a 12-inch intake (up to 1,100 pounds of snow a minute) and shoots it as far as 25 feet. A proprietary "zip deflector" on the adjustable discharge chute lets you direct the snow high, low, or anywhere in between. This compact model sports 6-inch plastic wheels and weighs 58 pounds. One user posting on a consumer product review site asserts that it's light enough to carry up stairs.
Where to buy
The Toro Power Clear series features moderately priced gas snow blowers built for moderate amounts of snow, but they rise to the occasion to perform better than the specs suggest. Also worth noting, all Toro blowers are backed by a 2-year full coverage warranty for additional peace of mind. The Toro Power Clear series clearly deserves a spot at the top of our list and at the end of your driveway.