snow thrower advice

I need advice on a snowthrower.
We live in a relatively moderate climate --northern Va. Typically, we get a few snowstorms in the 4-6 inch range, with a big one --12-18 inches -- every few years. But most are smaller.
I have a single width driveway, about 40 feet, about 50 feet of sidewalk. So obviously this is not a situation that requires a high-end snowblower.
I'm considering two options: a Yard Machines 2-stage, and a Honda HS520 1-stage, both at about 600 bucks.
I'm thinking that the Honda, being at the high end of the 1-stage machines, is probably better quality than the YardMachine, which is at the bottom of the 2-stage scale.
I'm also thinking the 1-stage machine might be better for the more frequent 4-6 inch snowstorms we tend to get. The only real problem I forsee is the packed snow at the end of the driveway, where the helpful plow drivers deposit it.
I'll be grateful for any advice.
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Boy, do I have a web site for you. (It's not MY web site; just my reference...). True fanatics populate this site, as you'll see. These guys love snowthrowers more than anything else in life, it seems.
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Robert A. Barr wrote:

Just a guess- would that be http://www.whatsthebest-lawnmower.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=wtb-lawnmow er
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Good guess.
Rather embarrassing -- I forgot the URL! Geez...
http://www.whatsthebest-lawnmower.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl
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jb wrote:

You're forgetting the type of snow you usually get. It's rarly the light, fluffy stuff. More often, it is the heavy, wet stuff. That means you need to consider more horsepower in order to pick up and throw the snow.
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the BIG machines are for over 6 inches, my neigbor has the honda 2000.00 Blower , in 14 yrs he has used it 5 times.............our snows are usualy under 5 inches.. ive used mine 120 times, and he borrows mine . The right TOOL For The Job is the way to go
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mark Ransley wrote:

Armstrong power works always no matter what, LOL. Have small Toro blower and it is adequate for me. It is kept well all the time. One pull starts it even in -30C weather. When there is not much on the ground, I use leaf blower clearing off snow from porch, deck, driveway. Tony
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One stage snowblowers are useless! Go for the Yardman if that's all you want to spend.
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I've worked on a few small engines. But I've never had to work on a Honda.
The closest I got was a friend who had a generator with stale gas. Squirt of ether and it fired up.
Get the hint?
Buy the Honda. If it slugs on the hardpack snow, just snow blow half a width each time, and do twice as many passes.
--
Christopher a. Young
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Hi, I live in COLD climate. Winter temp is ~30C not counting wind chill. Honda never fails to start. I drive Honda car as well. Tony
Stormin Mormonn wrote:

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I've lived in NY most of my life & have wrestled with 6-10 HP 2 stage snowblowers for about 30 of those years. About 5 years ago I started hiring a guy to plow my driveway- double width, 100 feet, on about a 20 degree incline.
He got $25 a pop, came whenever we had 6" of snow, day and night & did a decent job without tearing things up too bad. I opened my walkways & cleaned up the corners with my old Ariens.
Second year my Ariens was acting up & my brother-in-law gave me a little 18" Electric Toro blower to use on my sidewalks. [1800 Power curve] It had been given to him by a neighbor who was moving south & he wouldn't use the little thing. [he has a 20HP walk behind beast with lights & stereo system]
I fell in love. This little bugger throws snow further than any gas powered machine I've ever owned. It also cleans right down to the gravel surface in my drive-- and cleans off my concrete sidewalks better than a snow shovel. And those snowbanks left by the plow? No problem-- 6 footers are not uncommon here & I can lift the snowblower to the top of them with one hand and peel them down 6 inches at a time-- throwing the slushy liquid 20-30 feet back.
The second year my snowplow guy sold his business to a slightly less efficient fellow-- who went out of business in a year. So 2 winters ago I was considering calling someone new but decided I'd give that little Toro a real work out & see how much snow it could move.
That winter mother nature cooperated & threw several 6-8 inch slushstorms at us, followed by a couple 24 inchers of real snow. That little Toro ate them all up.
For normal snowfalls the little thing is incredible. It weighs about 10 pounds; starts every time; leaves no dangerous residual compression when shut off; rarely clogs; takes up no floor space in the garage; yearly maintenance consists of taking it down from the high peg in the back of the garage; after doing my whole gravel drive for 2 1/2 years I rebuilt it last year for about $100- new bearings, belts, rotor & couplers. [I would order a spare coupler with a new machine-- They act like the shear pin & nobody in my area seems to carry them-- I managed to eat one once when I let the snowplow mess freeze solid overnight & then rushed the job. Because I couldn't find one except online, I epoxied the broken one & used it for 2 days until the new one arrived. I replaced it because I'm not sure that the epoxied one would break as designed-- but I have it as a spare now. --
Oh yeah-- another advantage. Breakdown? Bring it inside & work on the kitchen table. No gas or oil smell; light enough to lift on to the table & small enough to dry out on the boot tray by the back door.

The Toro runs about $300- Since there are no yearly maintenance costs, in your case you could probably use it for 6 years then throw it out & buy a new one [if you do, I'll pay shipping and throw it out for you.<g>] and still be $600 ahead of the game. Not to mention the 2days each year you spend carting the thing off to the dealer or fussing with it yourself.
Warning-- It is not a 'manly machine'. You will get no testosterone boost from using it. [But the up side is that it is light enough, safe enough & quiet enough that the occasional wife, son & daughter have grabbed the handles & taken mine for a spin.]
Jim
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Get the Toro Paddle type no less than 5 hp. If you need the extra power for wet snow 4-5 inch range a 3 hp won't get it!
Its like 4 wheel drive you don't always need it but when you do, its great.
Tom

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I had my driveway paved last month. Now I get to play with the snow blower without as much fear of chucking gravel thru windows and into cars.
Nopefully less shearpins to go thru per season.
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The little electric power shovel is great for my back porch stairway or clearing a deck.
The wind kicks up on my ridge making for some nasty piles of snow in the driveway. My 5 hp 2 stage track drive barely does the job some winters. other seasons it is overkill
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tflfb wrote:

Along those lines:
For a reliable, maneuverable 1-stage, I doubt you'll find one better than the Toro CCR3650. It's 6.5 hp and can handle some pretty big Midwestern snows, even the packed snow the plow leaves at the end of the driveway.
Toro makes a bigger, more powerful 1-stage called the "Snow Commander" (or something like that) but it's harder to handle.
BTW, "electric start" is a nice option to have "just in case," though the CCR3650 has never failed to start on the 1st, or maybe 2nd, pull.
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I vote for the Honda. I have been using mine (5hp, single) on a 40 foot double width drive with 130 feet of sidewalk for 5 years. And I'm in Canada EH!
This machine is a pleasure to use. I've had not a single problem. The best part is it works for a very small amount of snow and for large snowfalls. I know people with larger two stages that don't bother pulling them out for smaller snowfalls. The rubber paddles does not mark or damage a driveway like some blade types. It also stores like a lawnmower in the garage. I would buy another one in an instant.

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After reading a few replies I know I'm going to be odd man out here. I've been using an MTD now for 7 years with no problems what so ever. Of course I do give it basic maintenance every couple of years which may be a factor.
Deciding factor for me was price. I was able to get more HP and a larger size for less money at COSTCO. All told I'd do the same again.
FWIW: NY with heavy wet snow
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Jim,
I just bought a 7.5 hp Troybilt at Lowes for 799.90. I'm wondering what size engine and what you paid at Costco for your MTD?
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 12:11:59 GMT, "Houseslave"

Mine is a 28", 10hp model. Don't recall exactly what I paid for it but $749 seems to be about right.
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