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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I've been considering a single stage to go with my Ariens 24 SHO. I've been reading on and off for weeks but can't make up my mind. Main thing I'm looking for is how good they clean to the concrete and how easy/ergonomic they are to change chute direction.

I can only blow snow to one side of my driveway so a easy painless chute control is the biggest factor for me. The toro seems to have the edge with this part, the Honda looks to be somewhat low on the handlebars and most report that it's stiff to turn. The Honda does have the remote deflector which would be nice but it's not something that I would have to adjust very often so I don't see this as a make it or break it thing.

I like the idea of the floating scraper bar on the Toro, from what I have read it seems like this system would require less pressure on the bars for a close clean to the surface?

Anyone have any experience with both that could shed some light?
 

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Seeing that the price is somewhat similar I'd go with the Honda, then again I am a bit biased :).
 

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Happy 721QZE owner.

I have the Toro 721QZE. First time homeowner - this is the only snowblower I've ever owned, so I can't offer much in the way of a comparison.

The Quick Chute feature is definitely worth it, despite the ridiculous added cost. When its windy, I'm constantly changing the direction with each pass so I'm always blowing with the wind. I've never used the electric start because the recoil start is so easy to use - nice oversized pull handle. The electric start requires running an extension cord - there is no battery on board. If you can find a 721QZR, that has the quick chute with no electric start.

The Zip Deflector is what controls the distance the snow is thrown - it cannot be adjusted from the handlebars. I don't mind this I don't adjust the throwing distance often.

I tried the Honda controls in the store, the direction control is definitely harder to use. The dealer salesman lamented that they changed it in 2014 for the worse. The Toro has a bigger engine, and consumer reports rated the 721E their best single stage snowblower. I know a lot of people on here might not think much of their reviews, but only place I could find that did a comparison of a lot of models. There are a number of folks on this forum who think Toro has the best single stages, they have a long history of making them.

I'm definitely glad I got it - its very maneuverable on the curvy walkways and other hard to reach places. Very easy to store and get in/out of my garage around the cars/etc.

The weekend before last I had no where to go, so I intentionally waited until we had 11-14" of snow on the ground - my neighbors had done a couple passes already over the weekend. I wanted to see how much snow the 721QZE could handle :) It had no problems with this amount of snow, though it was fluffy. It works well on the end of driveway stuff too.

FYI - I like Honda, I've owned a couple of their cars and have a Honda mower, but I went with the Toro for the snowblower and am very happy.

My local Toro dealer had the best price - I got a 721QZE for $700 even back in November, $70 less than home depot.
 

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It's really a coin flip. Both machines are very capable. I myself prefer the Honda, but like JnC, I'm a little bias. But I've also owned a Toro 3650 and it was an amazing and solid performer. I really haven't had a chance to try the new shoot controls on the Honda HS720, but the "old" tried and true metal chute with manual turning and snow director will never let you down. My only gripe is that the handle tends to stick out past the edge of the machine (Honda HS520 and Honda HS621) when turned completely left or right making it difficult to snow blower in a tight space like next to a car. Not really a problem for me because my cars are in a garage. I will say, the GC190 engine on the Honda is extremely reliable with plenty of power, but again, you can't go wrong either way. I'm sure others might argue, but as far as I'm concerned, Honda and Toro have the best two single stage machines currently on the market. You just can't beat their performance and reliability. Let us know which way you go. Pictures are always a plus.
 

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I don't have anything to add in way of how they perform but I will say I have looked at both machines and found the balance of the Honda much better for me. I am 5'8" so I don't know if its just because of my height or what but if you have not stood behind each machine, I would suggest you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies guys! Really appreciate it.

Yes that would make sense to go check them both out in person, I haven't seen either of them.

For the Toro all I can find is the QZE model, no one seems to carry the QZR. I'm not big on spending the extra $150 or whatever it is for the electric start that I will never use but I've blown 150 bucks on dumber things I guess. According to Honda.ca my local dealer has stock of 720's so I better go check them out before they take em off the showroom for the season. My toro dealer also has 721's so I will check them out too.

I'm not in any kind of hurry to buy one so maybe I'll get a good price if I wait until the season's over and then have it for next year.

Thanks again for all the replies!
 

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I just bought a 721. I had a simplicity 520e prior but it was under powered compared to the toro and harder to start however the 520 was significantly quieter and doesn't shake/vibrate as much as the 721. The 721 has a lot of plastic on it but then again that is something that won't rust. My 520e couldn't throw snow as far and didn't handle nearly as much. It was also a 2-cycle so I stunk after running it but I like the smell of 2-cycle...wife hates it! I also had a snapper le19. It was way under powered. They are both gone.

So when I initally started looking I was thinking a two stages sno-tek 24. But in my area we can get 1 inch to 6. And rarely get over that at one falling. However we did get hit with 17 inches two weeks ago...I used the 721 3 times and loved it! The quick chute adjustment is nice and easy! I was also looking at the snapper 922/1222 but it didn't do as well in CR. It was less money but I couldn't find the 1222 anywhere. I also strongly considered the honda 720. After a number of hours and YouTube videos I noticed the 720 clogging up with wetter snow...this was the difference. I really liked the honda and it seems well built but did find the chute adjustment stiff and much harder to adjust. My local HD had one on the floor and it was a pain to adjust. I do question the Toros longevity they seem to have gotten cheaper and more plastic then older models but it is a 4 stroke and is a breeze to start...first pull and almost never need to prime or choke it. It cleans well and is very fast. My driveway is cleaner then my neighbors with his ariens 28. He leaves about a 1/4 - 1/2 of snow but man does it throw it far! I can also get it done faster than his but he doesn't need to go out and do it as much as I do. I did about 7" and it went thru it like butter. I like snow blowing so dosing it multiple times is all right in my book!

In all honesty I don't think you can go wrong. Honda makes the better quality engine but it isn't as powerful. Toros chute adjustment is far and away better! Toro also has a larger dealer network for repair. Just my 2 cents.
 

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i have had both a Toro Powerclear and a Honda HS720 recently. i have not been 'in the game' long enough to say anything about longevity. others can speak on that issue. both machines started on first pull consistently with no problem. with regards to the machines:

on the Toro, the 'power propel' feature that pulls the machine forward is incredibly aggressive. i'm not saying if that's good or bad -- to each his own. i know some people love that feature. in contrast, if you use the HS720 after using the powerclear, it feels like you have to give the honda a little push to get it started. however, once you're blowing snow, the honda feels fine and does not require any noticeable force to propel it.

the 'Q' feature, the quick chute function that controls left/right of the chute is awesome, hands down much better than honda's iteration of chute control. the 'Z' feature, the up/down zip deflector -- shrug, it works. nothing fancy. as for the chute itself, the honda gets a PLUS because of its metal chute, vs the plastic on the toro. at least the chute on any toro with QZR or QZE has the upgraded 'shape' of the end of the chute. the curved end of the non-QZR/QZE chute tends to "spray" the discharged snow a little more erratically.

the honda chute controls are indeed primitive compared to the toros. on the honda, you do not have infinite control over the left/right or up/down direction of the chute. rather, there are separate controls for left/right, and then for up/down, and each of them has about 6-7 slots that you can adjust the chute deflector to. i had no problem with this, but some people have pointed it out as a negative.

see here:





the honda chute controls are definitely stiff, as reported by many others. for me it's not a deal breaker, but for the sake of comparison, it is clearly stiffer than the toro's. the metal chute does a great job of directing the discharged snow in a fairly tight fashion.

the size of the toro is unnecessarily large. i don't know why the toro was made with such a large footprint. the honda takes up noticeably less space. the ability to twist two knobs and quickly fold down the handle on the toro is a must if you need to transport the machine in a small space with any frequency. i point this out because the honda requires a wrench to perform this function. however, this also means that these two knobs on the toro are prone to loosening with the engine's vibration, and falling off while you are using the machine. there are many reports of this.

the toro powerclear series has had reports of the carburetors and/or fuel lines leaking fuel. this is not just the models that have been recalled. just an issue to be aware of. i had a 2013 model that required a new carb rebuild kit in 2014 for leaking from the carb. it did not sit in storage with old gas.

the honda hs720 does have the report of 'excessive vibration', fixable by loosing the two bolts that fold/unfold the handle. i did not notice any significant difference in vibration between the toro and the honda.

the honda has a fuel valve built in, which is a nice bonus. i can't speak for the toro 721, but the 621 did not have a fuel valve.

i haven't taken the hood off the honda, but the spark plug is a billion times easier to access as their is an access door right on the top of the machine. the toro requires taking off the chute so you can take off the shroud, before you can get to the spark plug.

i'd be happy to answer any other questions about the honda. i know it's a new model this year, and people are interested in it, but there don't seem to be many users that actually own it and can provide info on it.

hth
 
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