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Discussion Starter #1
Good afternoon,

I am looking to purchase a snowblower for my mother to use for light to moderate snowfalls. If the snow is too wet, deep or compacted, a neighbor with a two-stage model can assist.

Located in Omaha, NE, her lot is on the corner with two single car driveways with sidewalk along two sides. Only the driveway connecting to the garage is used. Her requirements are an electric start and ease of use with arthritic hands. My concern is the Toro 721 or Honda 720 may be too much machine to easily maneuver. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Toro Power Clear 518 ZE $479
99cc 4-cycle OHV
Rotor Propelled
54 lbs

Toro Power Clear 721 QZE $759
212cc 4-cycle OHV
Power Propel Self-Propel
87 lbs

Honda HS720AS $809
4 cycle, 190cc Honda OHC
Auger-assist drive
93 lbs
 

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I don't know how old your mom is. But have you considered an electric snowblower or thrower? Maintenance free and as long as she doesn't forget to plug it back in after use she'd be good for the next storm. Look at this video and see... I particularly like the 3rd one ion something since it is battery operated or AC wire if you run out of juice. These are light to handle. 37 lbs


 

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Discussion Starter #3
She is 68 this year.

Thank you for the video links. I will check out some of those models. She would prefer to not have a cord, but maybe it's not as big of a hassle as she believes it would be. I have looked at the Ego battery operated snowblower it seems like a fine unit if the batteries can hold up long term with 9 months of non-use each season. The ergonomics seem fine, but I do not believe the flappers help propel the unit forward which may, or may not, be a concern.
 

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That Honda 720AS is pretty heavy if it has to be moved without power. I think that the 54 lb. Toro makes more sense for a 68 yr. old woman. I don't have any experience with the battery powered models, but they look like a good idea.
 

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I don't know how old your mom is. But have you considered an electric snowblower or thrower? Maintenance free and as long as she doesn't forget to plug it back in after use she'd be good for the next storm. Look at this video and see... I particularly like the 3rd one ion something since it is battery operated or AC wire if you run out of juice. These are light to handle. 37 lbs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhYat9jSphY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5BsVCbJg7g
do you have any real world experience with any of these? I get asked this question a lot around here. The dealer does not recommend because most of our snow is wet.

this will be my first winter trying a couple Honda single stages. a 520 and 621.
 

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Artes, I know this isn't the snowblower feedback you were looking for but maybe she should consider a local plow service or pay a neighbor willing to help. My mother also had arthritic hands and would be in misery for days if she did any outdoor work during the winter months.
 

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In some limited experience, I often think that getting a smaller/lighter/wimpier unit than the snow conditions demand is not doing a favor for someone who will be struggling with it anyway. Get one with electric start, easy controls, power steering, etc. Focus on lighter control effort rather than buying a lighter-weight machine that demands more physical effort to muscle around. Get one that you'll be comfortable using on the days when she can't or decides not to use. My fond memories of Omaha snow include almost everything except powder, but I was walking/driving, not clearing. The little electrics look like a good option especially if battery and not a lot to clear. Lithium ion batteries get charged in the sparing and sit all summer no problems.
 

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I have a Honda tiller I bought in 1989, still runs great, pulls on first pull after setting all year, year after year. I like Honda, and that being said there's a lot of negative reviews on the Honda snowblower:
https://g.co/kgs/XUVrME

I have as Toro. It's a 2006, CCR 3650. Parts still available for it. Starts easy and does a good job on lighter snows. Four inches is no problem (I used it in 24" drifts. Not designed for them, but it works if you pick it up and drop it into the drift). Don't use it much anymore, backup only. (My primary is a 24" Ariens Platinum).

But it's the right size for your mom (my mom used one like it while she was still alive). Easy to start, turn and use (as long as she will be using it on cement, with slight slopes. If on gravel or moderate to large slopes, go with a powered unit.
 

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I would check out the Toro SnowMaster. It's similar to the Toro Personal Pace lawnmower, the mower or snowblower goes forward at your own pace by applying pressure to the handle by pushing it. It's a single stage, less intimidating than a two stage, less dangerous, lighter in weight, very easy to maneuver, has a good size engine, no gear shift lever to change, pretty powerful single stage, and has electric start.
 

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I would check out the Toro SnowMaster. It's similar to the Toro Personal Pace lawnmower, the mower or snowblower goes forward at your own pace by applying pressure to the handle by pushing it. It's a single stage, less intimidating than a two stage, less dangerous, lighter in weight, very easy to maneuver, has a good size engine, no gear shift lever to change, pretty powerful single stage, and has electric start.
x2 for the Snowmaster. There is none of that paddle drive single stage torquing and bucking going on. And it's nicely balanced.
 

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How is one's current mobility ? What are the odds of getting the phone # of the guy who's doing lawn care who may be a *snow remover* during the off-season.

Between the older age, mobility, one fall can be a real physical setback, etc, I would opt. to sub it out if it was a option you have not considered.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate the updates. Mom and I have discussed having the patience to wait for assistance. I live up 30 minutes away in good weather and would happily handle the clearing efforts like I did during the second half of last season after my father passed. The best solution is not the solution acceptable to her. To avoid her using a shovel, I believe a snowblower is on the docket. She's on a fixed income and the purchase will be mine.

Last weekend, I had her try out the controls on the Toro Power Clear 518ZE. The handle on the chute control was a bit stiff to move around. With arthritis, she preferred a palm type grasp for the chute over a fully enclosed hand needed to move the chute.

I wonder if the Snowmaster would be too intimidating? At her house, there is an older Ariens two-stage in the shed which I can use for snow fall a smaller machine could not handle or clear impacted driveway ends.
 

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My first thought when I read your post was exactly what Jlaw said......Snowmaster. Although like others have said
if she is arthritic you might want to keep her out of the snow....the frosty cold is going to reek havic on those hands. If she is determined then look at the Snowmaster.....to add on to what Jlaw mentioned it also is a straight bar push to make it go rather then having to squeeze levers and keeping tension on her hands so much she just has to push forward.

See @4:22:

 

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You guys must have some strong mom's ! A elder person IMO is going to struggle freewheeling/moving any snowblower when not engaged in drive alone whether it a single stage of any make/model. Then you add in the complexity of arthritis, bad weather, not great stability already, then snow, slush, ice, being out in the elements and then moving a heavy piece of equipment.

One wrong fall can lead to severe physical impairment for the rest of ones long life. Or worse.

Artes. Are you familiar in use/operation of a snowblower, whether it be single stage or larger. It does require some level of muscle to use them, if not move them into position when the engine is not on ?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I generally prefer to shovel, but do break out my single stage when we have larger snowfalls. I am familiar with using them.
 

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Just bought a 22 inch 179 cc. Yard Machines snow Blower from the MTD website. The second one as a backup. New in box for 249.00. Came with electric start. Hec of a deal. Perfect for my use. Provided you mom is in good shape and doesn't mind a little work this would be a good machine for her. I would recommend one with chute controls though, mine is a manual. The maintenance would be the issue here though. Because of this you would probably want to go electric. This is the size I would go with. I would go with a single speed self propelled unit. Slower but it won't be dragging her around and easy to maneuver.
 

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Once you've settled on which machine to get you need to accessorize :eeek:

I finally broke down and purchased a pair of slip on ice cleats two years ago. I tend to wear tennis shoes most of the year and sometimes even when out snowblowing. As you well know tennis shoes aren't known for their traction on ice. These things are amazing.
The model I have (Ice Beast) is like the blue ones in the link except they have a strap from the heel up around the ankle.
I couldn't find a price but any manufacturer, model that's close I can say would be great for helping her keep her feet under her especially when trying to muscle around a blower no matter what size you end up with.

https://www.winterwalking.com/ice-cleats/ice-beast/


Amazon lists quite a few different ones. Mine have little carbide cleats that you don't want to get anywhere near wood, linoleum, finished concrete or anything that matters if it's scratched. BUT they do grip on ice !!
If I were to replace them I might go for the chain style as I'd feel comfortable leaving them on getting into the car and possibly driving with them.
Lots of manufacturers and options out there.

https://www.amazon.com/ICETrekkers-Chains-Large-9-5-12-5-Womens/dp/B00LDYIJ00/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=ice%2Bgrippers&qid=1578838091&refinements=p_72%3A2661618011&rnid=2661617011&sr=8-6&th=1&psc=1

.
 

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If you're willing to consider a second hand machine I would take a look at either the Honda HS520 or Toro 3650. Both are small lightweight nimble machines that will easily handle snowfall amounts up to about 6"-8" without any trouble whatsoever. The Honda HS520 is a 4 cycle machine, so no mixing oil and gas needed. The Toro 3650 is a 2 stroke machine, so there's the added step of mixing 2 stroke oil and gas needed. I purchased a Honda HS520 for my mother who is 71 and has a few aches and pains stemming from arthritis. She actually enjoys getting outside and clearing the driveway and sidewalk. We got her the electric start model, but she's been using the manual recoil start because it fires right up on half pull. Around here, you can get a Honda HS520 with electric start in excellent condition for $250 - $300 on Craigslist. Toro 3650 goes for around $200 - $250 on Craigslist. Good luck whichever way you go!
 

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I would take the money you plan on putting into a snow blower and giving it to the neighbor or someone close to do it for her. It may be a compromise that she is cleared enough but not totally for a bit.

Now I don't think just because you are 68 you are decrepit. But there is beyond huge difference between myself at 65 plus and having worked all my life and run machinery doing so and even my mother who was highly capable but had not done that sort of thing (she had sons and we always found a way to take care of her). Simply no way should an older person be throwing themselves into that when they never did it before. You may be dealing with a bit of denial, something to be worked out. I have seen too many older people wipe themselves out trying to do to much in the latter years or not having done it before. Life is a balance.

2 inches of wet snow can be as heavy as 10 inches of light snow. You know your mother and what discussion approach might work, give it some thought, my mother was stubborn (and wonderful) but we alwyas were able to come up with one to deal with stuff.
 
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