532 of 542 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
The Toro Power Curve is not a bad machine for the right situations. At times I've been impressed by its effort-- but ultimately my needs were more than it could handle. I give it a mostly positive recommendation, but before buying just make sure you aren't expecting too much from this machine.
Living in Wisconsin we get a lot of snow, and my previous snowblower was a small 18" MTD that handled most everything for 12 years. When it died I was going to replace it with another but I was intrigued by the postive reviews on the electric models. Of course I never expected it to be as powerful as the gas blower, but I thought it would at least be better than shoveling. Which it is.
The assembly is simple. Five minutes to put the handle on and attach the levers. Then I purchased a 100' 12ga extension cord for $40. That's it-- you will never need to do or buy another thing for it.
True to Wisconsin weather, I had a chance to use it 6 times in the first three weeks. The first day was 3" light powder which the Toro chewed through quite well and probably cut my normal shoveling time in half. The second was 5" of day of crusted day old snow. The Toro actually worked a little better with this, probably because it had a little more solid substance to it. The third day was a 12" blizzard that left high drifts at the edges. And to be expected this is where I ran into problems. It was just too much for the Toro to handle and though I was able to clear most of our driveway it took a couple hours and a lot of help from my shovel.
And to be fair, I'm not judging based on THAT-- it is rated for light snowfall and a max 10" intake, not for replacing a large 2-stage snowblower. It seems very well suited for 3" - 8" of snow and smaller areas such as patios and sidewalks. Our driveway is apx 1000 sq ft and I think that's probably the most you'll want to do. Thankfully it seems able to throw snow at least 15'-20' feet depending on conditions. Many of the reviews on here claim they were able to do 12"-16" of snow with it. I'm not saying that's impossible... But I do question if its worth the time and effort to push it through that much snow. In those cases its probably necessary to do it in two 6" layers during and after the snow.
My tips for using it are to have a good plan with the extension cord. It is very annoying to keep manuevering 30 lbs of heavy plastic cord and bending over to move it. I tried to use an S shaped pattern and kept it on my shoulder which helped but the best thing was to have my wife follow behind me holding the cord. True, its taking two people and looks strange-- but I was able to clear snow twice as fast. Also when you are at snow drifts higher than the intake-- use a shovel or boots to knock the snow down in strips and then you can go over it with the blower. It also helps to move slowly in narrow strips to keep the motor from bogging down.
It is smaller than I expected, mostly plastic and very hollow feeling... But I'm not overly concerned about its durability/quality. Todays plastics are very strong and the previous Power Curve model has over 700 positive reviews and very few complaints of any parts failing. If I had any strength concerns it would be the metal handle which seems to flex too easily when pushed with force.
-NO maintenance or gas/oil
-simple to unpack and assemble
-its very light, anyone can handle it.
-its small and easy to store and transport.
-its quiet. Think: a vacuum cleaner.
-history shows it has good build quality and longevity.
-it quickly clears small to medium snow-- probably perfect for areas with light snowfall
-snow is thrown an impressive distance (10-20')
-would be good for using on a wood deck or roof
-its expensive. Comparable electrics are cheaper and single stage gas blowers start around $50 more.
-the wheels are too small-- I use them frequently when backing up and often end up dragging it.
-you need to press the trigger AND a small safety button at the same time to activate motor. This can get quite difficult with gloves or mittens on. (TIP: I put a small C-clamp to keep the thumb button depressed and it was a huge improvement.) The plastic main trigger seems difficult to keep depressed unless you use two hands.
-the output chute is small compared to small gas blowers. Some clogging but not too bad.
-its annoying to work around an extension cord.
-The metal handle seems a weak point. I worry about breaking it when pushing through deep snow.
-Don't expect to clear out 12"+ of snow as quickly as a gas blower. It is possible in some cases, but just be realistic. It will take more work.
I'm going to try and stick it out with the Power Curve for the rest of the winter, but next Fall I'm probably going to need to replace it with a gas blower. While it wasn't the best fit for me, it is not a bad product. I'm sure there are a lot of places and people that this will be a very good purchase. Just be realistic about its features and what you expect from it.
--------- *2 Month UPDATE* --------
After 2 months the snowblower suddenly stopped working. Pulling the trigger produced nothing. I disassembled the red cover and was disappointed to find the wiring from switch to motor was connected with regular twist-on wire connectors that had come undone. Seems a bad idea with the constant vibration so I replaced with waterproof butt connectors.
So that was fixed, but I was disappointed that the motor compartment had a lot water in it. The connectors had water in them and the motor armature was wet and the housing had considerable surface rust. I have been wiping it down after use-- but its impossible to avoid water. Maybe its OK to operate damp, but I'd feel better knowing it wasn't so wet inside.
--------- *12 Month UPDATE* --------
Snowblower blade stopped spinning at full power last winter. I suspect its a loose belt but I never got around to opening it up and checking. Instead I purchased a 205cc Simplicity single stage blower for $100 more than I paid for this and its much better suited for my needs. I do however plan on keeping this for a backup and for its portability (it fits in the back seat of my car).
244 of 250 people found the following review helpful
This is review written with Montana winter experience.
The reviews were generally good with this item so I bought one, mainly for the convenience of easily cleaning the drawbridge, walkways, entry, and in front of my garage without a shovel.
This device is pre-assembled, easily carried, easy to use, fast, quiet, and very user friendly. The only drawback is not with the machine; it is getting a low temperature cord that remains flexible in the cold. I suggest the yellow Solar cord that is good to about -50 offered through Amazon. To keep the cord out of the way always completely clean the area closest to the electrical outlet and progress forward; do not go way forward and back-track. I use it like I use a vacuum.
Overall excellent!! It takes the snow right down to the ground and even gets the hard compacted snow from where the cars enter the garage without a problem. Very fast, and you can easily change the length of the shaft so you do not have to bend over. The blade is plastic but seems very durable; it has run into some small objects, plant edges, and small rocks and I notice no wear after several uses. My wife is happy to not shovel, and it is easy on her bad back, and mine.
I give it 5 stars easily, and and am buying one for the office with a low temp. 100 ft. cord. So far I highly recommend this device for the easily accessable areas of traffic when you don't want to haul out the gas driven blowers, or shovel, or snow plow. It will even tackle drifts with ease if you take your time and start waving it across the top. It is fast and simple to use. The Broom model is more expensive but is only needed if you decide to change the blade and use it for summer-time dirt blowing. This model is a great one for just snow and is at a great price. Don't expect it to be durable for heavy slush, ice, deep snow, or large areas like driveways.
Hope this helps.
Excellent overall and still worth 5 stars and the price! I have used it many times now and it has always been very easy to use, even with crusty snow or over 6 inches. I recently returned from holiday vacation and found snow had fallen, melted, frozen, and new snow was on top. It worked as well down to the ground as with light snow and I was finished quickly without working up a sweat, straining my back, or heart, like chipping away with a shovel would. Nice product that sure makes living in snow country easier. A low temperature power cord is a must.
Still working great, even in -20 degree weather. I highly recommend this product, as well as the Sno-Wovel for deep snow and no back strain.
198 of 202 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2010
Have shoveled, bladed, & blown lots of snow in 55 yrs. Last snowblower was craftsman gas blower that is still working out at the farm. I am 64 & needed something lightweight & powerful that I can pick up & move as I need to! Very easy for one person to assemble. This is the tkt. I just came in from blowing one foot of snow on long driveway & sidewalk at home in town; plus the double driveway and corner lot sidewalk of my 91yr neighbor. One pass all the way to the concrete every time. It took me one hour start to finish. No clogs & the snow slid off the surfaces of the blower & no snow to clean out of the chute when done. I especially like the directional handle on the chute for snow. It allows a good dispersion of snow at a low angle so one is not hitting the neighbor's windows. The throw distance of the snow is equal to larger snowblowers I have used. I am a widow & have to pay for upkeep on sparkplug/gas driven items; and I am converting to electric yard items when possible. The price was reasonable & free shipping was an extra bonus.
474 of 493 people found the following review helpful
If you go to Target, Home Depot or any of the other big chains that sell the Toro Electric Shovel you will probably find the same thing that I did...that it is SOLD OUT. Why? Because this is one of the most helpful tools to have ever been placed on the market.
It works fairly well on small driveways; don't forget to pick up a nice long outdoor-use electric extension cord. And use this only on paved surfaces...no loose gravel!
But the real benefit of this tool comes with walkways and DECKS.
If you've got a large driveway, pass on this and go for something with a little more power. If you've got a decent size walkway, you'll love this. It clears the snow with ease and it will last forever; my father-in-law has had his since the early 90s.
If you have a deck with a railing, and your deck isn't covered so it builds up with snow, the Toro Electric Shovel will become your best winter friend. The snow is propelled a good 25 feet and easily clears deck railings. Just don't shoot the snow into the wind (duh). No more throwing out your back from lifting heavy snow over railings with this baby.
No matter where you use this...a word of advice: Try not to let the snow get deeper than about 6". Yes, that means you might have to go out a couple of times. But c'mon...it's fun! The Toro still works in deep snow, but it really isn't designed for it. Any deeper than about 6" and you'll need to "shave the top of the snow accumulation," and you might as well not have the electric shovel for the effort that takes.
Happy snow season!
346 of 367 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2010
I owned a previous Toro 1800 model for probably 7 years (ending in roughly 2000-2001). I'd get my driveway cleaned faster and better than my neighbors using their gas units. But, after 7 years, my Toro finally had it and I decided to get me a gas/oil mix snow blower.
I ended up with two different gas/oil mix units over the past 9 years. One gas snow blower lasted 3 years (I paid about $500 for it). The next one lasted 6 years and is on its last leg (I paid $465) for it.
Now, I FINALLY get to go back to a BETTER Toro 1800 model than the prior model that I loved so much (AND IT IS STILL THE SAME PRICE I PAID FOR MY FIRST UNIT 17 YEARS AGO!). I'm not waiting to purchase this unit since it is only $299 with free shipping. No way am I waiting. This model has been around a long time. That attests to its popularity, reliability and greatness. It will clear 10 inches deep, no problem. I've cleared snow over 18 inches deep, no problem. It chews right through the white stuff and tosses it clear off the drive by up to 30 feet. Powerful for an electric unit. And this latest engine is even more powerful! Can't wait!
I have cleaned up slushy snow (off the street) with this unit in the past. Nice clear path along the curb so the mail person can easily drive up to my mailbox in the winter. As 'convenient' as a gas snow thrower can be (for the simple reason you don't have to watch out for an electric extension cord), I can't stand it when the engine jets crud up and I have to get the doggone gas unit 'tuned' for a $100+. I started straining my oil/gas mixture through my wife's used nylons (a mechanic told me that trick to keep the jets clean from impurities in the gas/oil mix) and that worked well for not needing any further tuneups. But, I always dreaded coming up to the next season 'wondering' if the gas unit would start, how it would idle, and how long it would last before dying on a heavy snowfall day. I NEVER HAD TO WORRY ABOUT SUCH THINGS WITH MY PAST TORO 1800 ELECTRIC SNOWTHROWER! It always started, always ran powerfully, and always did a better job cleaning the driveway than my gas/oil powered units.
So I AM BACK FOR ANOTHER ROUND WITH WHAT APPEARS TO BE A MUCH IMPROVED VERSION (and the other model was already great)! I can't wait for snow to fall now! I'll be ready. I'll be thrilled. I'll be glad to be the ONLY ONE (AGAIN) in our neighborhood with this powerful electric snow thrower. My neighbors have purchased huge, powerful gas units. Man do they rev for 1-2 seasons. Then, I hear them chugging and choking (I know they don't filter their gasoline through nylon stockings) and then I see them loading these heavy gas hogs into their RVs for the semi-annual trip to the tuneup shop. I WILL NOT MISS THAT AT ALL. RELIABILITY, POWER, EFFICIENCY, CLEAN RUNNING, NO POLLUTION, ALWAYS STARTS, ALWAYS RUNS, WORKS LIKE A CHAMPION WORK HORSE, I AM NEVER GOING BACK TO THOSE MESSY GAS/OIL CHUGGERS EVER AGAIN. Not with this beautiful, electric, Toro back in my garage again (FINALLY - WELCOME HOME TORO!)
9/27/2010 - My new Toro arrived on Saturday (9/25/2010). Thanks for the quick shipment, Amazon. My new 100' 12-gauge extension cord arrived today (9/27/2010). Usually I don't look forward to winter. Now all I can say is: I'M READY - BRING IT ON!
11/11/2010 - Just a note that the shipping box mentions the type of extension cord to get. "Use 14 gauge extension cord only to 100'. Use 12 gauge extension cord only to 150'." I purchased the Pro-Power 12 gauge outdoor extension cord by Coleman Cable, Inc. On Coleman's selection guide, it says the 14 gauge gives you 15 amps up to 50' and 13 amps up to 100'. According to Coleman, the 12 gauge gives you 15 amps up to 100' whereas Toro says the 12 gauge is good up to 150'. I think your safest bet is the 12 gauge 100' but the 14 gauge will probably work just fine up to 100' (according to Toro's shipping box stats). A few more weeks and we'll post the results of our first uses with this powerful machine.
12/16/2012 - Wow. Hard to believe it's been two years since I last reviewed this snowthrower. I wish I had bad news for the gasoline and oil snow thrower lovers. Now, don't get me wrong. Those gas/oil tuneup beasts have their rightful place in probably 10 percent of the snowfall driveway cleanings that are needed in the United States. For the other 90% of driveways, this (under $300 shipped) electric snowthrower is ideal. No tuneups needed. Plug in and go.
I just got done plowing out the first significant snowfall in Ohio this evening. 10-12 inches of 30 degree snowfall and you know how heavy that can be. Sweet. Right down to the concrete. Smooth, clean. It even cleaned up the tire tracks packed down on the driveway from our two cars pulling in from work earlier. Next, I tackled the end of the driveway where the snow plow threw its buildup from the road. Took care of it out to two feet into the street and fifteen feet in the street on either side of my driveway. Now, the mail person can drive right up to the mailbox and have plenty of space to pull out. Of course, my driveway is super clean and this puppy is going on its third winter. I did hear my neighbor's gasoline super hog snowthrower misfiring a little today so I'm sure he'll be calling someone to pick it up for a tuneup (too heavy and huge to fit in his car). Anyway, if my electric snowthrower ever breaks down or it can't do the job, I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for looking.
156 of 165 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2008
This is a great product that I've used for the last 4 heavy Minnesota snowfalls. Here are some basic notes:
1)It works best in wetter snow. That snow that is heavy to lift and push with a traditional shovel is where this product shines.
2)It works OK in drier snow. Make sure you know which way the wind is blowing as even a tiny breeze can blow it right back into your face as this only shoots the snow in the direction it's pointed (vs a tradional snowblower).
3)You'll need a good extension cord. This unit has a snag which holds the cord in place and actually is quite good. However, dealing with an extension cord means that you'll have to do a little bit of pre-planning as for a route. You don't want to shovel over the cord, nor do you want to face the wind, nor do you want the cord dragging through the snow and causing more of a mess. After a couple uses, I got the hang of it.
4)This is a kid friendly product (with supervision, of course). Our 7 year old girl and 9 year old boy wanted to try it out and they had little problem holding both buttons and cleaning the sidewalk.
5)The best way I've found to use this product is to use it as a vacuum cleaner. Short strokes forward and then side to side due to the fact that it shoots the snow forward.
6)Best of both worlds when it comes to stairs, an easy lift and blow.
7)I called this a shovel enhancer as there's one part where it just doesn't work that well. You know when you've just been dumped upon by the snow gods and you have lots of foot or car traffic? That part of the snow where it's compacted and becomes that horrible ice? That's where you'll still need an ol' fashioned shovel as this one doesn't do much.
All in all, I'm very happy with this purchase. We live on a corner lot and it has a lot of sidewalk and a smallish driveway. Last year, my back was aching after shoveling, but this power shovel has helped in getting the job done without that pain. If there were a wider version sold by Toro (let's say 2 feet) that didn't signifcantly increase weight, I would upgrade immediately. Other than that, this is a great, surprisingly solid, device.
117 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2007
It's embarassing to say this, but when you try this out,make sure that it's right side-up. I had it reversed, and actually was going to return it until my wife showed me how to use it correctly! It does throw snow up to 25 ft. There are 2 competetive products on the market. One of them (I think by MTD) has a higher amperage. However I chose this model due to it's light weight. I strongly recommend buying low-temperature cable for use with these electric snowblowers. 16 guage is sufficient for this amperage. You want something that remains real flexible in the cold. !4 guage is really too big ,and 12 is out of the question. By the way...I live in Syracuse N.Y...if it works here it will work anywhere.
88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
When shopping for a new snow blower, you're likely to be comparing the Toro 1800 with the comparable yet less expensive Snow Joe 622 (or similar). As of this writing, the star ratings are fairly close, but with a bit more research, I found people had more trouble with their Snow Joe than I wanted to risk. Here's just one forum on the topic: http://www.amazon.com/Toro-1800-Snow-Joe-622/forum/Fx3U83YN3L1OW9A/Tx3DVDQ0HKUG8TS/1
The latest model Toro 1800 (38381) has a lightweight plastic body and the required assembly takes literally about 2 minutes. It has a strong 15 amp motor that was able to cut through snow to clear my driveway and sidewalk with ease. One thing to note about the Toro 1800 is that if you do not have the necessary 12 or 14 gauge power cord, a new 100 foot cord will run you fifty bucks or more. I wouldn't recommend using the 'standard orange extension cable' as those are generally only good up to 13 amps - but check the little tag on your cable to find out the amp rating, it might be sufficient.
It really is a top-end electric snow blower. It does not match up with large, heavy gas-powered snow blowers (for example, it will not blow snow that has been really packed down by a vehicle driving on it), so don't expect it to. On the flip side, you don't have to mess with mixing oil and gasoline or lubricating parts or worrying if it's going to start up when you go out in the cold - the electric motor is instant-on. All-in-all I'm very happy with this purchase.
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2011
Before the winter season began, I wanted to be ready for the snow. Last season my back begged me to get a snow blower. After doing some research and a lot of thinking, I decided I didn't really want to have to deal with the gas/oil a regular snow blower would bring me. I decided I wanted an electric one and this seemed to be the best.
- Tackled low to medium amount of snow like a champ.
- Easily started.
- You can control the direction and height the device throws the snow rather easily.
- If the machine stalls because of too much snow, just pull it back and it starts right up.
- Didn't see a gigantic spike in electric bill (small one though).
- The machine folds up nicely for storage. I recommend you put it inside when you are done on top of some towels for a few hours before storing it.
- Easy assembly
- Saved my back.
The not so good:
- The machine has a key that is needed to start it. It is just basically a piece of plastic that holds something down and allows the main lever you hold down to work. At least once, I managed to start the machine without that key in place. Don't know how, but just something to think about.
- After a while, holding down the lever that makes the machine work can hurt your hands. This is especially true if you are wearing very thick gloves. When using this machine, I recommend using the thinnest gloves you can that keep your hands warm.
- This doesn't have to do so much with the machine, but the recommended extension cords are expensive if you need over 100 feet. Also, I HIGHLY recommend you buy cords made for cold weather. It will help a LOT when you have to navigate the cord around your property and when you have to wrap up the cord to put it away. So factor about $75 dollars in for extension cords if you have a larger property.
- If you have a high amount of snowfall, the machine stalls a lot. It is rated for something like 10 inches I believe. The closer you get to that, the more you will find yourself constantly pulling the machine back and ramming it into the snow (and repeating). I have seen videos of people using the machine and this seems to be what most of them do. I did manage to do a foot and a half by doing this.
- The wheels are terrible. I wish they had used some higher quality rubber wheels. This is the only part of the machine that I am worried about lasting.
I am going to give this device 4 stars. I used this several times this winter and it made the snow clean up a ton easier. I feel like if you live in an area that doesn't see over 10 inches of snow very often, this is a much better device to have around than a gas powered machine you have to constantly maintain. But if you get over 10 inches constantly or live in an area that gets very heavy snow, I think you would be better off investing in a gas powered machine.
A couple of recommendations:
- Clean the snow up as soon as possible. The lighter the snow is the easier it is to remove.
- If you are expecting over 10 inches, it may be advantageous (if possible) to clean up the snow twice. It will make the amount of energy you have to use later a lot less. If it isn't possible, follow previous suggestion.
- Use a shovel to clear out a good starting point for the machine. Don't just throw it in the snow. Dig out enough space so the machine is sitting flat on your walkway and is able to maneuver a bit.
- Keep the extension cords tangle free.
68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
As other reviews have said, this is a great unit. We got it from Amazon last week, and our first big snow of the season hit yesterday. We got 14 inches of snow. The power shovel, you will notice, is rated at 6 inches or less. So it was useless, right?
Nope! First, we didn't wait until all the snow came down; we hit it in pieces. Even so, at one point we were dealing with 8+ inches. As other reviews have said (and as the manual tells you), just take it in layers: pick up the power shovel and get the first few inches, then get the rest on the next pass. At some points I'm sure I was pushing it into more than 6 inches, but it never complained.
This was nasty snow -- wet on the bottom, light on top. The kind that sticks to your shovel, so that you pick up 10 pounds of snow only to have 5 pounds sticking when you try to dump it. But the power shovel ate it all up. And didn't clog -- I noticed my neighbor, with his more powerful (and much more expensive) snow blower had to periodically stop to manually unclog his chute.
The next day, after the plows went through, we had a different type of snow to deal with; not icy, but in big heavy chunks that the plow had thrown on our driveway and sidewalk. Again, the key is to take it in layers. Even though the snow was compacted, the power shovel handled it until we got to pieces that had started to freeze up. At that point, I could hear THUNKs coming from the unit, so I stopped before I broke a blade. It handled 95% of what we asked it to do, though, and a lot of that outside its design specs.
Things I learned:
- This is a great unit, but it's not necessarily the best for 60-year-old grandmas. (Yes, I know there are 60-year-old grandmas who could kick my butt, but I'm talking stereotypes here.) Lifting the unit to do layers takes a fair amount of upper body strength; a 20-something athlete would find it easy, a 52-year-old who does daily light exercise [that's me] found it tiring after a couple hours.
- The safety grip get fatiguing after awhile. I used my right arm to hold the front handle (easier to maneuver) so my left hand was having to hold on tight to keep the safety engaged. After a couple hours my left hand was having trouble holding on. That's not a design flaw -- if you don't have the strength to hang on, maybe that's a good point to take a break -- but it's something to be aware of.
- It's electric. It shuts right down, it starts right up. I was letting it run when I didn't need to, just out of habit from gas-powered units.
- I started out using it like a shovel, going down one row of the driveway then walking back and fighting the cord. Bad method! Use it like a vacuum cleaner. That also give you better control of where the snow is going.
- You need to be aware of the electric cord. And sometimes you need to put the unit down and spend a minute moving the power cord to a spot where it stays out of the way. That vacuum cleaner thing again.
- The wind is your worst enemy. Sometimes it felt like I was walking into a blizzard when I was trying to shoot snow directly into the wind.
- The wind is your best friend. Don't shoot the snow into the wind, watch where the wind is taking it and adjust your angle accordingly. (I know, that's obvious, but it took me a little while and several face-fulls of snow to realize it.)
So far, a great investment, and one I recommend, with the above clarifications.
ADDITION (Feb 11, 2010) Since I wrote the above, we've been through two more major storms, each over two feet of snow each. Because the Power Shovel can throw over the mounds that built up on the sides of our driveway and walks, and because it handles the wet glop at the bottom of a snowfall, we made it through just fine. By staying ahead of the storms we were mostly dealing with 8" or less in each pass, and the Toro handled it all beautifully. (Until the township piled massive ice mounds on our driveway and sidewalk when they plowed. As noted, the Power Shovel doesn't do ice.) Still a Very Happy Customer.