Snoblower recommendation please

I want to buy a snowblower/snowthrower, but can't decide which brand to buy. Is the Yardman (I think they call it) that Lowe's has any good? I am also looking at a Snapper or Toro. I'd like to have one that has an electric and a pullstart option. I don't want a big 2 stage one, just one that has the rubber things. Thanks for your help.
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In that category, they are all "okay" and there isn't much to recommend one over another. The Yardman is an MTD, as is the Yardboy brand. I have one with the MTD name on it that still starts easily and runs fine after abusing it for 10 years. It has the electric starter which I only really used for the first start up every season. I kept it as a backup unit when I got a bigger machine.
I finally bought a big two stage, because that was what the job really requires, especially as I get older. The end of the driveway would get plowed in repeatedly by the town, and the little machine was essentially useless on that, even for relatively small storms. It also meant I had to redo the driveway several times per storm to keep up, because it couldn't handle anything much over 4 or 5 inches without noticable struggle. Forget using it on wet snow! Now I wait until it stops snowing and do the job once regardless of how wet or packed the snow is.
The only issue I had with the MTD was at about 3 years, a lot of paint was peeling off, and rust was starting. I simply cleaned it up with a wire wheel chucked in a drill, and spray painted the affected areas with red lead primer. That was that. A little lubrication here and there from time to time probably doesn't hurt.
So, all in all, those little one stage units are a whole lot easier than shoveling everything by hand, but it has definite limitations. Going to the two stage unit was a quantum leap above that. Night and day difference.
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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If you really need a snowblower, then IMHO the 1-stage are almost entirely useless. In situations where they're not, a broom will do.
I'd suggest, for general use, 6 hp -rated Ariens or Honda. Units with 8/+ hp flathead engines get to be a wrestiling opponent.
The cheapies betray their lack of engineering. DAMHIKT.
J
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On 13 Dec 2005 12:44:54 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sme-online.com wrote:

If you've ever used a one stage, I'm curious what part of the snowbelt you live in & where you found it lacking. [and what machine it was- I haven't used one but am doubtful about the smallest 'electric sno-brooms']
After wrestling with big 2-stages for 20 yrs-- then paying a guy to plow for a couple years- I've used an electric single stage [Toro 1800] for the last 4 years. I clear a 100' drive with a big turnaround to 2 lanes and average about 70-80 inches of snow a year. [near Albany, NY]
In a 6" snowfall it will run circles around any 2-stage I've ever used. 9-10 inches, they're even. Over a foot, the little electric is a little slower than the 2-stage was, but just because it is only 18" wide. If they were sitting next to each other in the garage, I'd still grab the electric because it is so light & easy to use. And it still throws snow further than any 2stage I've seen. It will also 're-throw' snow without turning it into slush. I do my turnaround by setting the chute straight ahead and walking into it for 30'. That never worked with my 2-stage.
When the snowbanks get high enough to warrant it, I can pick up my 1-stage with one hand and cut the banks down to size.
Jim
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Oh, I don't know about that. I just cleared 9' of snow last week with my cheap single stage. My driveway is about 50 feet or so and it got the job done. Sure a more expensive dual stage would have been a little faster, but a broom would have been laughable. Every tool has its place.
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What do you all think about the Honda HS520AS with electric start model, I can get it for 680.00? It's a little pricy. It's about 125 bucks more than others I have looked at. I don't know if it's true or not, but they say Honda is top of the line.

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Consumer Reports years ago rated single stage honda best and the 700$ Deere second, But the Deere wont do wet Chicago snow it clogs the chute so their ratings are not complete, but for dry snow even 7" it works. Go to a place that knows them, sells and services them and will give you what works. Box stores give no service when they break . Slip Plate is good to spray in the auger and chute to make snow go easier.
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Is that a single stage unit? You can get a really nice Ariens 2-stage 7524 for $750 that has electric start, 7.5 horsepower, 24 inch wide cut, 6 speeds forward and two in reverse. It's your call, of course, but remember that whatever you chose will be your snowblower for a LOT of years. It's a commitment! If you under-buy for the reality of what you need, you'll have a looooong time to regret it. Factor that into how much you are willing to pay as well. a $100 difference works out to $5 a year over 20 years. Ariens machines tend to last 20-30 years by most accounts.
For a single stage unit, I would actually avoid Honda, not because of quality, but because single stage units are not truly self propelled, and the Hondas are a lot heavier than their less expensive two-stroke cousins. You will be needing to manhandle a single stage machine, so the extra weight equals more effort for the operator.
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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Commodore Joe Redcloud wrote:

Listen to Joe. He is so, SO right about this.
Twenty years ago I let the local lawn/yard equipment store guy talk me into a 4.5 hp Snapper. He assured me the 4.5 would be all I'd need. And I bought it, because, heck, compared to my old 8-horse it was nimble and quick and so much easier to turn. Unfortunately, it's by no means adequate for the heavy, wet snow, which is, of the course, the very stuff you most need a snowblower to move.
I've hung onto it for the past twenty years because it's been rock-solid reliable and I'm damned cheap - but when we get the deep, wet snow, I've got to clear it in stages. It's then, during the nastiest weather, that I so regret buying this little underpowered blower.
HellT
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Dave; I own a HS520AS snow. The single stage unit works VERY well. I think the thrower weighs in at 80 pounds. Much lighter than my old 280 pound Ariens 8hp 2 stage unit.
I can throw just about ANY snow between 15 - 30 feet. Naturally the lighter and less slushy the farther. I have never clogged the chute on the unit at all. As far as two stage unit, HA! You take some nice slush and watch a big powerful unit barely throw the snow a few feet away. The single stage unit are self propelled. Not the same as a two stage unit that has a transmission, but basically you tilt the unit forward a bit and the rubber auger starts marching the machine forward.
The other poster saying that the two stage unit breaks up the driveway mess the town leaves is absolutely true. The single stage unit doesnt like to break up ice. The metal auger on the two stage units works great on that one.
I been on both sides of the single vs two stage debate.For the physical size, location and my size driveway I got the perfect machine. I live in Long Island, NY Not too many storms around here like Albany, but we can have some severe ones.
Honda power equipment has some really nice stuff. I have no doubt that this unit will last me a number of years. I like the simplicity of the single stage units. You basically have an engine, belt and auger. No transmissions, no differential.
If you want to save some money dont get the AS (that one has electric start) get the standard one without it. With the honda stuff you really only need one or two pulls to get it going.
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Thank you all for your comments. I went ahead and bit the bullet and bought the Honda HS520AS . I live in Springfield, IL. We had a wet slushy snow last night( about 2 inches). I put gas in the new Honda and it fired up on the first pull. It threw out the wet snow in nothing flat. It threw it out about 20 feet away. My old Snapper would only throw it about 6 to 8 feet. I feel I got what I paid for and now I hope I'm set for the many years to come.

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Good for you Dave! Its a real nice unit. The only thing that I would say if at the end of the snow season, drain the gas in there. Then run it and put the choke on to get the rest of the gas out of there. You can do oil changes on it every two years. (I do it every year but I am pretty uptight about maintence) A nice 10w30 mix will do very nicely.
Lubricate the areas as described in the manual with a white lithium grease.
A few years from now I will get another drive belt just to keep handy. They are they first items to go when the unit gets a bit older and used.
Good luck with the snowthrower.
Tom
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Greg
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Get this one http://www.gizmag.com/go/4889 /
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