December is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on toys, electronics such as TVs, kitchen cookware and more.
Snow Thrower Reviews
Snow Thrower Features (continued)
Snow Thrower Clearing Width.The clearing width for discount snow blowers usually ranges between 11 inches and 21 inches. A wider clearing width gets the job done faster; if the snow is deep, however, you may have to cut a narrower path.
Snow Thrower Intake.If you live in a region where the snow really piles up, you'll be constantly frustrated if the intake, which determines maximum cutting depth, isn't high enough. A low intake in high snow means you'll need to make several passes over the same area and remove the snow in layers, or venture outside periodically to clear the snow before it gets too deep. (A good rule of thumb from snow thrower reviews: the intake should be at least 2 inches higher than the depth of the snow.) The intake on most discount show blowers ranges from 9 to 12 inches; more power generally means a higher intake. The 7.5 amp Toro Power Shovel features a 6-inch intake while the 179cc Craftsman 88780, 208cc Poulan Pro PR621, and McCulloch MC621 sport 13-inch intakes. The heavy-duty Ariens Sno-Tek 939401 cuts up to 20 inches deep across a 24-inch path.
Snow Thrower Weight.Discount snow blowers come in a range of weights. Power shovels are the lightest and smallest; the Toro Power Shovel weighs just 12.5 pounds. At the high end of the snow throwers on our list sits the Craftsman 88780, a gas-powered model that weighs 98 pounds. Even at this weight a good discount snow thrower is manageable because it's helped along by auger rotors that pull forward as you push. The two-stage Ariens Sno-Tek 24 weighs 175 pounds and features a disc-drive transmission with six forward and two reverse speeds.
Snow Thrower Aim.Once the snow is churned up and compacted, it has to go somewhere. Specs detailing the throw distance and chute rotation give a good indication of where the snow will land. Snow throwers are a bit like ball players: some have a longer reach than others. Expert snow thrower reviews suggest choosing a discount snow blower that can manage at least half the width of your driveway (or the widest area you plan to clear). The throw distance for discount snow blowers typically ranges between 20 and 30 feet, although the McCulloch MC621 boasts a 45-foot reach. Note, though, that the advertised throw rate is only a rough gauge of maximum reach. Consumer snow thrower reviews we read say the amount and weight of the snow affect the throw rate (for example, the heavier the snow, the shorter the throw).
As the snow thrower flings snow through the air, it passes through a raised chute. The discharge chute on discount snow blowers is invariably made of plastic, which some consumers report is prone to cracking in cold temperatures. A discussion thread on Abby's Guide, however, points out one benefit of plastic: it doesn't rust. But chutes do clog with snow, which means you have to turn off the snow thrower and clear it out. (Never, under any circumstance, try this while the machine is running.) Some snow throwers come with a plastic scoop; the experts at Consumer Reports suggest a broom handle as an alternative. Some consumers say that spraying the interior of the chute with WD-40 or silicone minimizes build-up. The Toro Power Clear 418ZE features a proprietary design that's supposed to prevent clogging.
These days, the chute on most discount snow blowers is adjustable, which means you can aim the discharge in almost any direction along an arc that's typically180 degrees. Among the models we researched, we found some outliers: The Toro Power Shovel 38361 only throws snow forward while the Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381 chute adjusts along a 160-degree arc; on the Craftsman 88780, the chute rotates 190 degrees and on the Toro Power Clear 418ZE, it rotates 210 degrees. Both the Toro Power Curve and Power Clear models feature what the company calls a "zip deflector" at the tip of the chute that can be set at different angles for higher or lower throws. Pricey models sometimes feature a remote-controlled chute, while the chute on discount snow blowers is manually adjusted.
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Craftsman Snow Thrower Review
Toro Power Shovel Review
GreenWorks Snow Thrower Review
Toro Power Clear Review
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