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Discussion Starter #1
Just took delivery of my new Snowmaster 824 in the crate. Bought it from ACME tools, as it saved me over $100 compared to the big orange store. No, I didn't buy it from my local dealer. Let's just say he's not the type of business man I'm giving my money to. I got my chainsaw through him, but never again. If he'd have had it in stock, I might have bit the bullet, but he didn't. Enough about that.

Count me as another Snowmaster lover. This thing is awesome. As others have said, it went "together" very easily. The "hardest" part was threading in the screw that holds the chute adjustment cable to the chassis. It had some paint over sprayed onto the threads, and I was overly careful not to cross thread it. Don't have a tap and die set on hand, or I'd have used that. It has coarse threads, so I'm sure I need not have worried... but I'm just that way.

Checked the oil and adjusted the skids for the scraper bar. They were adjusted just off level, so I just reset both of them to ensure even wear on everything. Fueled it up and it fired right up with the recoil. First impression was it is CRAZY quiet compared to anything else I've ever used. I've got a honda mower, and this is MUCH quieter than even that. Truthfully, I thought it wasn't running at the correct RPM because it was so quiet. But I decided to see how it worked the way it is. Just got about 2-3 inches of pure fluff last night. It had no trouble with that at all. No big surprise there. Took it out on the road where there was about 6-8 inches of build up from the last couple of days along the curb. It went right through that with no problem. Threw at least 25 feet. I'm not a blower expert, but I'm sure when I have snow with more moisture content, it will throw it ridiculous distances. The chute adjustment is absolutely awesome. Yes, it's a wee bit sensitive, but it's so easy to move that I don't care at all.

Just for kicks, I had it dig into the existing berm of snow next to my driveway just to see how it worked there. The berms are about 2-3ft tall and very heavy/icy from freeze/thaw action over the winter. It cut right through them without bogging down at all. Of course, it didn't scrape right down to the ground, but I didn't expect it to either. It's way to light to cut into hard buildup on the surface. But it had no trouble cutting a path no more than an inch or so off the ground. That was much better than I expected. If I want to get it closer I can chip off the build up with a shovel and it would clean it up easily.

The only concern I had was whether it would work well cutting a path from the driveway across the lawn to my storage shed. I thought it might dig in badly, but it slid right along. Just as easily as the old 826 I recently bought and sold. I would personally have no issue what so ever using it to clear a patch of lawn if that was a necessity. I'm not a pet owner, so not an issue for me at all. I also took it down the gravel alley from my sidewalk to the dumpster located there. It worked just as well there. All the gravel is already covered with ice and snow, so I was in no danger of digging into the rocks. Just to experiment, I also went down the middle that isn't packed down, to see how hard it is to go along while gently elevating the front so as not to dig up all the rocks. It worked great. I was afraid the personal pace system would not enjoy that, but it worked great as well. I can see how people might find the personal pace twitchy, but I had no trouble with it. It would occasionally grab SLIGHTLY if there was a frozen chunk of ice in the way, but it wasn't enough to throw it off course. It just chewed up the obstruction and continued on.

The only "issue" I had was where one of the expansion joints in my sidewalk has about a 1/4 inch height difference. It stopped dead in it's tracks with that. Not a design issue, as it's marketed for smooth surfaces, just a very minor problem for my unique circumstance. I am planning on re-doing the sidewalk at some point anyway. I wonder if the skids were slightly longer if it might handle that better. I may experiment with homemade plastic skids if I get REALLY bored.

The only issue I could find in all the reviews I've read is that it doesn't do well on previously packed down surfaces. I think this is more a problem of unreasonable expectations. I don't see the issue with the blower clearing off the vast majority of snow, and going back with a shovel/scraper and scraping up the problem areas, then hitting it again with the blower if there's enough there to justify it.

Sorry, no pics or videos. I don't see how they would add to what's already here on the forum. I can assure you that my blower performs exactly as the videos already posted show. I was especially influenced by the videos posted by tdipaul. In them you can see him going crazy with his Snowmaster. Not to call him out too bad, but he was charging through the deep EOD much faster than I'm comfortable with. But it is a great demonstration of what the machine is capable of. The machine doesn't care at all, but I don't mind the extra time it takes going a little slower.

I've got to say again how easy this thing is to move around. Going forward is no more difficult that walking down the street. I decided to pull it backward instead of turning around so I could blow the snow downwind, and it was so light I barely noticed it.

Compared to the Honda HS-520 that I've used for the last 5 years, this thing is a breeze. The Honda was a heavy, hard to handle pig compared to this machine. The Honda would not have thrown the snow nearly as well in the same conditions. Having the personal pace is what makes the HUGE difference.

I was very close to purchasing a larger 2 stage blower, but I'm extremely happy I decided to go this route. The larger Toros are all 26 inches or greater, and the offending sidewalk I mentioned earlier is 24 inches wide. So 24 is my magic number. I just can't imagine that a larger machine would be necessary. Digging into the old berm was so easy. Yes, I went slow, but not a problem for me. The machine didn't mind going slow at all.

I may revisit this review if I get a deep snow later on this year. Winter is not even close to over here in my neck of the woods of Wyoming. And I'm virtually guaranteed a deep dump of heavy spring snow at some point later in the winter. I'm very interested to see how it works in those conditions, but I'm not at all concerned. I'm about to take this over to my dads place. He's got a gutless 5 hp yard machine 2 stage along with my old Honda hs520. I'm going to see if he likes this enough to sell both of those and upgrade to the Snowmaster. I'm betting he will.
 

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Great review.

I have the 824 QXE's little brother, the 724 QXE. Same machine, just less power. I am yet to have the thing clog and I've used it up to about 12+ inches and taken it right through piles higher. I have my skids set fairly high due to uneven concrete (expansion joints as well as uneven settling). When it arrived from the factory they were set far too low, even lower than the manual recommends, so I'd strongly recommend future buyers check the skid height when you unbox. The bolts have also been machine tightened, I put a spanner on and literally kicked it to untighten.

I have had the auger dig into the mud a little when I misjudged the edge of a path. But no damage, just disengage, back up a little, and continue on. It is worth noting that that was worst case scenario as mud is lower than the path's concrete forcing the auger at a slightly downward angle. Plus of course it isn't designed for off road usage.

Three thoughts I'd like to put out there:

- This machine uses the same fuel/minute regardless. Even without the auger and wheels going it still burns the same amount of fuel.
- Therefore the faster you go the better.
- When you first get this machine YOU will be the slowest part. Literally, this machine works perfectly fine up to a brisk jog, you can practically run and the auger/wheels will keep up.

A lot of people who get the Snowmaster will treat it either like a regular single stage or a regular two stage. Both of which are fairly slow for different reasons. They will walk at a slow and steady pace behind it just like they see everyone else do. The reality is that the Snowmaster is insanely fast if you will just let it. It is waiting for you, you aren't waiting for it.

So grab some decent boots, and literally go jog your street's footpaths with the Snowmaster in front. You'll be able to get three houses cleared in under two minutes. Turning around is the most time consuming part. The thing is an absolute beast in terms of speed. Just set your skids high or pay attention to the evenness of the slabs, you don't want to go from a jog to zero due to hitting an expansion joint edge.

It definitely doesn't clear down to the surface or on packed surfaces but that's by design due to the skids. It will take care of 95% of the snow leaving you just to sweep up. Go grab a JM Enterprises 30" Snowplow Snow Pusher off of Amazon. That will get the last 5% quickly and do a great job (don't buy larger than 30", for foot paths it will get caught in the bank's, trust me from first hand experience here).

Overall extremely happy and would recommend it. I legitimately think the single stage market is in for a revolution between getting eaten by cordless two stage electrics and Snowmaster-like machines. A single stage without powered wheels will be like a dinosaur in a few years.

Only thing Toro needs to improve is the handle bars. Need to be adjustable height and collapsable in the off season.
 

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Glad to hear the videos were helpful!

Powershift93 said it best: it looked as if I was working it like a rented mule :)

...and in looking at the videos I agree 100%. There was just snow much snow that day it was a little overwhelming. But at that moment in time it did not feel that fast.

Maybe its my natural pace that was formed after working four college summers at a golf course, where the boss pushed for speed and efficiency. With 5 gals of premix, a spool of line and a Cushman Truckster I could weed whack an entire 18 hole course in a day. I loved that job!

But the machine has something to do with it too.

You nailed it Hogdog: it encourages the operator to work fast. Its not the type of unit that lugs you around at a snails pace. You control It.

I hear there is snow coming to NJ on Thursday, woo hoo bring it on!
 

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I told ya! These machines set the bar higher then one can imagine. These ARE the best kept secrets in snow removal. Enjoy!

Dont ya love how smooth and quiet it is? And how fast it clears the snow? No 2 stage or single stage can match it
 

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rack: Great write up and review. I've had my 824 since last fall. Unfortunately, we've only had 5 or 6 snowfalls with enough accumulation to justify using the SnowMaster. But, I love it so far for all of the same reasons you pointed out. I'll admit, though, I was neither surprised nor disappointed with the volume level of the engine running/exhaust. I don't think it's loud -- it isn't. But I also wasn't taken aback as to how quiet it was. Maybe just different expectations.

One concern I had, which certainly isn't unique to this machine, is how well it would do with 10% ethanol fuel. I've got mine mixed properly with stabilizer, but I'm eager to see how it responds after a summer of storage (with tank emptied, of course).

tdipaul: You're exactly right when you say you control it, not the other way around. Maneuverability, versatility, and speed are really what makes this machine worth the money. I'd be surprised if Ariens and other manufacturers don't follow suit with a competitive design. Makes me never want to touch a traditional 2-stage again!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all the positive feedback.

I agree about the volume of the engine. For more information, I had ear plugs in before I even started it. I have tinnitus (ringing in the ears) from my time in the military being around jets, so I try to protect my hearing as much as I can. With the ear plugs in I could only hear a whisper. With my Honda I definitely knew it was running.

Something else I failed to mention is how smooth it is. I thought the Honda was smooth, but this thing is VERY smooth. I feel very little vibration in it while running.

I agree with everybody that the machine will do whatever you ask of it. I do notice that taking a slower pace allows it to dig in much better when going over partially packed surfaces. We got another 4-5 inches in the last 24 hours so I got to play some more. I did play around with speed, and it's no joke that you could literally jog behind this thing and not diminish the results at all. The city also brought in their massive snowblower to clean up the huge berm of snow they plowed up. When they were done I went out and cleaned up the remnants. Even with some chunks of ice the size of baseballs, this thing just chewed them up. I only took out one of them, but I just had to see how it dealt with them. It destroyed it. I will NOT be doing it again though. It did rough up the edge of the metal auger very slightly. Just enough to rough up the edge. No bending or deformation. With repeated abuse like that, there would definitely be excessive wear. The rubber paddles are totally unscathed. I know this thing is not designed to be an ice auger. But I know what it can do now.

I am definitely not condemning tdipaul. As a matter of fact, I feel his videos are excellent at showing the versatility and strength of the machine. Being able to see it in action was important to me. Written reviews can only go so far. Without his videos, I'd have probably purchased a 2 stage.

I also agree that this makes a traditional two stage simply unnecessary for a very large proportion of residential users. I can also see that the snowmaster is probably perfect for a large portion of mom and pop snow removal services as well. Even my 8hp model seems to be sipping gas, and time is money. With the speed of this machine, money can be made quite easily for relatively little effort. Of course it's not a replacement for bigger machines, but for residential drives and sidewalks this thing is perfect.

I'm running 10% ethanol in this first tank because it's what I had on hand, but in the future I'll be using non ethanol. I can get it locally, but only in premium. Theoretically, you lose some power when you over octane any engine, but I know I won't feel any difference. As long as it doesn't cause an issue with stumbling I'll use it. And PLEASE don't make this a discussion on octane and fuel requirements. That's for another thread. I rode snowmobiles for a while, and the subject can really get people in that community wound up
 

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May finally get to use the new Snowmaster myself tomorrow for the first time since buying it in October or so. Forecast calls for 4-8 inches of wet snow here in the suburban Philadelphia Pa area.

Glad to see you like it-I think I will too.
 

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May finally get to use the new Snowmaster myself tomorrow for the first time since buying it in October or so. Forecast calls for 4-8 inches of wet snow here in the suburban Philadelphia Pa area.

Glad to see you like it-I think I will too.

Post your thoughts up tomorrow!
 

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Post your thoughts up tomorrow!
Will do. However my concern is the local hourly forecast shows temps well above freezing until about 3-4am so not really sure how much of it will accumulate. it hit 53 today and is still hovering around 50 currently. The local news says it will stick fairly early as temps drop and occasionally heavy bands roll through so it's wait and see.

Even 4" of wet snow is enough to break it out as my mother's driveway is about 150' long so wouldn't want to even push that with a shovel.
 

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Rack,

Thanks for the review and it's sad to read about your dealer. Shame that there are dealers that operate poorly but they complain that box stores are putting them out of business.

I unfortunately got mine at the big orange store as they had it marked $50 off at the beginning of the season. There's a Toro dealer a few miles away that stocks them and when I wanted a price on the 724ZXR they looked on the computer and gave me the same price as the QXE on sale at HD ($749). That itself wasn't a deal breaker but when I asked about delivery he said IIRC $50 and up depending on distance (even though I mentioned where I lived) so the basic ZXR would have been at least $100 more delivered than HD's QXE. So I bought the one at HD and rented their pickup truck for $20 more and also used the truck to haul a cabinet from my house to my mother's garage to boot.

All that said I don't think that dealer is bad (never dealt with service but ordered a carb kit and was reasonable) but financially the incentive wasn't there.

Also at the time none of the local Toro dealers knew anything about it's performance (I did mention the impressive YT videos out). Another dealer (nearest to me) just did the jaw drop shake head no response when I asked what they thought about it and he said " oh I heard about it" (they are a Toro dealer but don't stock Toro blowers only Ariens) and he said "the Sno-Tek will way out perform the snowmaster (though he'd only heard about it).

Just goes to show even dealers can have old-school, set-in-their-ways beliefs and may not even be very knowlegeable about the new things they sell.
 

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Just posting a little update here, more for information and amusement rather than criticism. I got the 824 QXE to clog up yesterday. It snowed less than 2 inches of *very* wet, slushy, heavy stuff in temperatures around 30 deg. and falling quickly down into the teens by evening. As the slush went through the chute, it wasn't ejecting fast enough to keep it from coagulating and solidifying in and just under the chute, and the stuff became a chunky, icy mess. Granted, this would have happened with any single stage or 2-stage blower I've ever used before, so it's no knock on the SnowMaster. Just confirmation that it can happen under precise circumstances.

BTW, when the chute clogs, this thing throws snow (or in this case, slush) about 10 feet out in front of the machine because of the auger's high RPMs. Kind of funny, really. It would have been easier to clean my driveway with a shovel instead of any snowblower, but I wanted to test the limits. And I think I found them.
 

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Mine clogged too!

Had an 8" storm today here in NJ

Usually I first shovel snow from the stairs and landing in front of the house. From the first heave it was obvious this was really heavy snow and it was going to be a good test for the SM.

In the driveway and sidewalk areas of virgin snow the machine hardly even flinched as the governor compensated for the load. BTW, the governor on this engine is super quick and responsive - the motor barks like a 4-stroke MX'er!

The machine had to work hard to get through any super dense, already blown snow and also the EoD but made it through the job without stalling. She clogged once on a mix of heavy slush/snow but cleared quickly by feeding more "clean" snow into it. Considering I run around way too fast I can't blame the machine for the clog.

FWIW, I blew 3 driveways and 500' of sidewalk in the same time it took my neighbor to do his driveway with an Ariens Compact 24 :)
 

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Mine clooged too but was able to blow it out on it's own. I posted my experience titled "Finally-1st use of Snowmaster 724QXE" it already got pushed way down the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It's good to hear about the limitations of the snowmaster, if nothing else than to get the knowledge out there for others who might be considering a purchase. Thanks for all the information.

I'm fortunate that in Wyoming we don't get much of your really wet slush except for some spring storms. I still look forward to trying mine out in those conditions, just to see what it does.

Tdipaul- I'm glad you get some good cardio work done while you're out clearing snow! I'm just lazy!:facepalm_zpsdj194qh

My daughter has expressed interest in using mine. She's only 10, but I think we'll let her have a shot at it with the next storm. Will be fun going over everything with her. I don't really want to share though.:blush: :blush:
 

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I live in Bucks County, PA and we got about 4-5 inches of heavy wet snow on Thursday. I bought the 824QXE at a local dealer last year at the end of the season. I have been dying to use this thing to test it out!

Well, it did not disappoint!!!!! Started on the first pull. I had my 2 car driveway done in a matter of minutes. I ended up doing about 5 of my neighbors driveways too.

My machine did not clog even though the stuff was super wet. At times, it didn't shoot that far, but it never clogged. I was happy.

The thing that I was most impressed with was the Personal Pace feature. It is SOOOOO smooth and natural feeling. I was watching neighbors using 2-stage machines; they were having to shift and push down the handles. Terrible

I can't wait for more snow. I love this machine.

BTW: here is an awesome article about the Snowmasters. Very detailed!!!
http://movingsnow.com/2015/2015-toro-snowmaster-724-qxe-824-qxe-picture-review/
 

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It's a good machine, I like that there's no auger gearbox to blow up, the "rotor" spins on ball bearings and it's so quick to use. Just need some real snow, not the 4 inches of slush we had earlier.

If you plan to do your own maintenance consider downloading the parts manual from the Toro site, bring up the sales page for your model and you'll see a "Manuals" tab, click and download the appropriate one.
 
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