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Discussion Starter #1
After last weeks' foot of wet snow, I've been looking to upgrade my snowblower from the Ego 56V lithium-ion single-stage I have now. It does ok as long as the snow is not too heavy and only 6-8" deep or less. Unfortunately, we get more than that frequently.

I've read good things about the SnowMaster here, on movingsnow.com and thewirecutter.com, so I went to the local independent Toro dealer to check it out. None in stock and the guys there strongly recommended against it. They said several people had purchased it and returned it after it couldn't handle EOD snow and by ramming it into that stuff, the "plastic" gearbox would break. This doesn't quite jive with what I've read here, but I'm interested in hearing some more real-world feedback on this. He suggested a traditional two-stage from Ariens or Toro. One neighbor gets by with a Toro PowerClear, while most others have two-stage blowers.

I live in Waltham, just west of Boston, near the Mass Pike/128 junction. Driveway is about 75' long and one car wide for most of it. It widens to two cars wide for the last 20' or so. The ease of use and potential speed of the SnowMaster appeals to me a lot compared a regular two-stage.

Thank you for the great forum by the way! I've learned a ton already!
 

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I had picked up the 724 QXE for my girlfriend figuring it would fit her as she is smaller in size at 5’ tall and surprisingly it actually wasn’t much smaller at all than my 24” Sno-Tek, I found it real cheap so whichever fit her better the other got sold, We actually did not like the snowmaster as the personal pace option made it feel rather jerkey and not feel as in control if that makes any sense but it wasn’t what we expected, IS a nice machine but I guess it’s more personal preference so you may like it but it wasn’t our choice and not as compact as we thought it would be.
 

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Your average snowfall is 44 inches. We had like 54 inches of snow this year in the Omaha area (almost a record), and my 724 QXE had NO PROBLEMS clearing that snow. This thing was a dream to use all winter in a very hard winter both in wet snow and dry and it never clogged or even thought about it once. Fastest, easiest to use snowblower I've ever seen! Love the personal pace which I quickly adapted to. I could easily walk along with the left hand and move the chute with the other.

You might consider the 824 QXE for just a little more power.

One thing I'm looking at is longer skids so it glides better over irregular pavement.
 

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If you pushed one of their lawn mowers you would see the same reaction as its sensing the pressure on the handle as you push forward and walk.

With the snow mush you and I get with the use of too much salt its more a case of going out and clearing several times during an event or using a lot of fluid film to make the paddles and the spout slicker-this is what I use with my TORO CCR3000 and the TORO S200.

Anybody that rams a snow master into a heavy half frozen end of driveway mess head on deserves to pay for the repair.
Taking half cuts with the wet crap that you and I end up with is always a good idea as it is less taxing on the drive belts and you can just take your time.

If time is an issue the need for power is paramount and the larger TORO'S have steering brakes which help avoid getting tired or twisting something you have no desire to twist and end up lame for a few days.
Having a can of Fluid Film Aerosol Spray does wonders for making the surfaces contacting snow slick and can double your casting distance.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

I'm going to offer an opinion despite not having had the opportunity to try a SnowMaster. So forgive me, and take it for what it's worth (hint- it's free). Background, I've owned several 2-stage machines, and recently got my first good single-stage (a Toro 2-stroke Power Clear).

You already have a rubber-paddled single-stage, so you have a tool that's good for the little storms.

To my mind, the SnowMaster kind of bridges the single-stage / 2-stage gap. But you *have* a single-stage already. So to add a SnowMaster feels like it would have a bit of overlap with what you have now.

I'm really like my single-stage so far. It's really quick in small storms, is easy to handle, and clears all the way down to pavement. But it can't do everything. We got 7" of wet stuff last week, and it did well with the driveway, but struggled with the packed piles that the plows left behind in the street. Even taking partial-width cuts, it wasn't really the right tool for the job, and was having a hard time.

So that night, I went back with the 2-stage, and cleared that stuff without trouble, though even the 2-stage was working hard. It was heavy snow.

I really like the combo of single-stage & 2-stage. Each is a "dedicated" tool, if you will. One for light storms, one for heavy stuff. They can overlap, but each has its own area of "expertise". Since I have both available, I won't use the 2-stage for a 3" storm, and I won't use the single-stage for 15".

If you want to have just a single machine, I think the SnowMaster is a nice compromise. Easier to handle than a 2-stage, but should be more capable than a typical single-stage (metal augers for icy stuff, and can drive itself forward). But only the center of the auger is rubber-tipped, so it won't clear all the way to pavement like a single-stage. And it's still a fast auger RPM (like a single-stage), reducing the torque available to the augers.

If you're going to add a second machine, I'd consider a small 2-stage, maybe in the 22-24" range. It should have more ability to chew through tough stuff than a single-stage or SM, while still not being too bad to maneuver. I'm not far from you, just a little further north, but I'd be a little uncomfortable only having a single-stage type machine available. When we get an 18" storm (especially if overnight, etc, where you can't clear it in stages), I want a 2-stage around.

If you go for a SnowMaster, I'd consider the 824, as carterlake said. It's tough to have too much power available, especially if it's what you're relying on for bigger storms.

Just my $0.02.
 

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RedOctobyr makes a very good point, I also have a newly acquired single stage I planned to keep just for that reason, light snowfall but enough to cause a mess the single stage will be nice to clear to the pavement, just need a little more snow to try it.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

I'm going to offer an opinion despite not having had the opportunity to try a SnowMaster. So forgive me, and take it for what it's worth (hint- it's free). Background, I've owned several 2-stage machines, and recently got my first good single-stage (a Toro 2-stroke Power Clear).

You already have a rubber-paddled single-stage, so you have a tool that's good for the little storms.

To my mind, the SnowMaster kind of bridges the single-stage / 2-stage gap. But you *have* a single-stage already. So to add a SnowMaster feels like it would have a bit of overlap with what you have now.

I'm really like my single-stage so far. It's really quick in small storms, is easy to handle, and clears all the way down to pavement. But it can't do everything. We got 7" of wet stuff last week, and it did well with the driveway, but struggled with the packed piles that the plows left behind in the street. Even taking partial-width cuts, it wasn't really the right tool for the job, and was having a hard time.


So that night, I went back with the 2-stage, and cleared that stuff without trouble, though even the 2-stage was working hard. It was heavy snow.

I really like the combo of single-stage & 2-stage. Each is a "dedicated" tool, if you will. One for light storms, one for heavy stuff. They can overlap, but each has its own area of "expertise". Since I have both available, I won't use the 2-stage for a 3" storm, and I won't use the single-stage for 15".

If you want to have just a single machine, I think the SnowMaster is a nice compromise. Easier to handle than a 2-stage, but should be more capable than a typical single-stage (metal augers for icy stuff, and can drive itself forward). But only the center of the auger is rubber-tipped, so it won't clear all the way to pavement like a single-stage. And it's still a fast auger RPM (like a single-stage), reducing the torque available to the augers.

If you're going to add a second machine, I'd consider a small 2-stage, maybe in the 22-24" range. It should have more ability to chew through tough stuff than a single-stage or SM, while still not being too bad to maneuver. I'm not far from you, just a little further north, but I'd be a little uncomfortable only having a single-stage type machine available. When we get an 18" storm (especially if overnight, etc, where you can't clear it in stages), I want a 2-stage around.

If you go for a SnowMaster, I'd consider the 824, as carterlake said. It's tough to have too much power available, especially if it's what you're relying on for bigger storms.

Just my $0.02.

The Snowmaster also has a metal auger between next to the paddles as well. I would say the Snow master is better than a two stage. They both perform extremely well, but the Snowmaster really throws well. I know the one I saw out threw a Toro Powermax by a good 10 ft. I do agree that the 824 would be better than the 724 for more power.
 

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I also have the single-stage plus two-stage combo. My wife really likes the single-stage and uses it often. It's easy to use and doesn't have a bunch of complicated levers. She usually blows just enough to get her vehicle out of the garage, and I will finish up with the 2-stage when I get home from work.

So, I'd also suggest keeping the little electric blower and adding a capable 2-stage (24"?) to the fleet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the thoughtful comments. Good points about adding a two-stage to the existing single-stage, which was my initial inclincation, but the great reviews of the SnowMaster made me reconsider. I expect this to be my primary snow clearing device for all but the lightest storms since the Ego is not the strongest single stage. Did I mention the paddles don't contact the ground to help propel you forward? It needs lots of pushing if the snow is heavy or deep. It can clear to pavement, but only because it has a scraper bar. If I had a really good single-stage, I agree that a two-stage would be the way to go.

I had hoped the Snow Joe two-stage lithium-ion would be a good device, but the reviews are not very good. Poor reliability, low maximum speed, long charge times, etc. Otherwise it would be a good size and I do not miss small gas engines at all.

I'll think on it a little more. Clearly I've got time right now! But I am leaning toward the SnowMaster for the ease of use, maneuverability, and speed. Sounds like EOD is doable if you break it up and take smaller passes, which is perfectly fine from my perspective.
 

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When I looked at some of the photos of the plastic gearbox I thought no thanks. There is a thread here about some Craftsman plastic gearboxes not lasting very long. I think they are interesting, but I just don't know about their longevity.
 

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Just some notes here:


1) The snowmaster cleans just as well as the single stage I used to have.

2) It is self-propelled, the paddles don't touch the ground. The sacrificial scrapper bar does a pretty good job cleaning right down to the ground.



3) I used her even in very light snow. Only 1/2 inch? No problem. And she'll throw even a very small amount of snow.

4) Draining the oil or the gas is a breeze. The oil drain has a tube that sticks out for easy draining and the carburetor has a screw in the bottom for draining gas at the end of the season.

5) I wouldn't recommend this for really hilly or steep inclines since the machine is so light.

6) You'll be amazed at how fast you'll get the snowblowing done. I'd say I cut my time in half. Sometimes I was only out there for 15 minutes and that was 3 driveways and sidewalks.
 

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My 824qxe is 30% faster than a 24" 2 stage 96% of the time. If you are doing 16"+ on a regular basis, I'd go with a 2 stage with big old drift cutters.

I sold my 2 stage because my wife couldn't use it, and it just wasn't very necessary. The 2 stage was just like a hotrod that was cool, but just a toy and not actually needed.
 

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Sorry to hear that your cordless SS doesn't actually have the paddles touch the pavement. To me, that's a significant benefit of an SS. Maybe that would have been too much extra load on the batteries. I'm not yet convinced by cordless snow-removal equipment.

Hopefully you can let us know how the SnowMaster works out! They sound nice.

I'm hoping that I can use my SS for most of our storms, since it can be quick and easy to use, in suitable conditions. Then resort to the 2-stage when needed. Hopefully the SM will be able to take the place of a 2-stage for you.
 
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