Snowmaster vs. Snapper shootout. - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-15-2017, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Snowmaster vs. Snapper shootout.

Finally got to use the Snowmaster on real snow yesterday. While we wound up with far less than predicted, at least it was heavier snow but with a layer of sleet on top so I was able to run both machines the under the same conditions and figure I'd post my observations in comparison. Accumulation around 6 inches.

Disclaimer: The machines were in different locations (Toro at my mom's and Snapper at my house) but we live less than a mile apart so conditions were the same.

The contenders: 2016 Toro Snowmaster 724 QXE (208cc) and 2003 Snapper I55224 (5.5hp Tecumseh OHV OHSK55) 2-stage.

Round 1, the Snowmaster: The Toro threw the mix quite well as the fountain of snow was maybe around 15 feet high and out 20 feet or more, plenty to clear across driveway and then some. The engine seemed to load up and develop a real loud bark - even though I was going at a slow walk it seemed to work very hard and would start to bog down a little if I walked at a quicker pace with a full bucket width.

The EOD was basically churned up wet snow about 8" deep by 2 feet back, had to go slow the engine got loud and vibration (from the stressed engine) increased. Throw distance remained as before so did good overall.

I found that the variable speed pace system seems to be of a variable-slip type of drive so when I encountered the EOD at my previous pace the machine would stop, naturally I pressed more on the handle and the it would start to plow in but ice or any solid obstruction would cause the wheels to hop as the tires have a lot of bite but when they let go the bouncing starts.

lastly, The drive system made it difficult to climb onto the porch (sits a 3 or so inches above grade) since you can't power up the step (due to aforementioned drive system characteristics at EOD) and also hopping started so I had to lift rear of machine and slide it onto porch, no big deal due to the light weight of the machine.

All in all the Snowmaster is great for areas with a constant height (driveways and sidewalks without step-ups), did well but the drive system is not ideal for plowing through heavy stuff at a constant rate.

Round 2: Snapper: Not much to say but I found the engine didn't seem to work nearly as hard even though the Snapper has about 1.5hp less so I guess turning a smaller diameter impeller and geared-down auger requires less power than a larger single-stage rotor at an RPM to throw sufficiently far.

Also, which need not be said because is true of most 2 stagers, but the disc drive of the snapper provides constant direct power and I have no problem climbing the curb with it. BUT the Snapper seemed to not be able to throw as well, about 10ft high and maybe close to 20ft out with the chute deflector raised to highest position on both machines.

The Toro has no throttle control and the Snapper was at full.

So that's my experience in a nutshell, hope you enjoyed.
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-21-2017, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for the writeup. I've just finished (?) my first season with the Toro Snowmaster, but the 824 QXE with the larger 252cc engine. It replaced an Ariens Compact 24", and I wasn't able to use them side by side during the same season. But based upon experience, I think everything you said is accurate and consistent with what I've encountered. If my area had much deeper and more compacted or frozen EOD stuff on a regular basis, I'd like the 2-stage for that. But the lack of maneuverability and hassle of using it in smaller (< 4 inches) snows really gives an advantage to the Snowmaster in most cases. Different machines, and different advantages and disadvantages. Just a trade off.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-22-2017, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, overall it's a good machine and I love how easy it is to move around. It should serve well. I particularly like that it has less parts to fail and the belt changes look easy too, plus it takes up less space.

I was taken a little off guard by how much more the engine seemed to be working compared to the Snapper. But in the event a wet snowfall is predicted I'll have to go out and clear every 8 inches or so and it should be fine.
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