Snow blower after nearly 2 seasons

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Well to start there's only 4 conversation types to pick from so I picked idea even though it's my review/ opinion of the snow blower.

I purchased the blower Oct/Nov of 2016. I'm in Minnesota and we didn't really get a lot of snow last year. I was mostly impressed with this thing until this year, then again it's my first snow blower.

My first major complaint is this thing gets hung up on anything and everything, all it takes is the slightest bump/crack. Even a newer concrete sidewalk. It will stop you dead in your tracks. It does clean down to prevent but that's the drawback is the scraper bar hangs up on anything and everything. Also catch the edge of the scraper bar on the grass or something next to the driveway or sidewalk, it's hanging up.

When it's not hanging up if the snow isn't isn't gotten to right away and it's a heavy wet snow this blower doesn't have the weight to it and will often ride up over the snow in a lot of spots.

Tonight for example we got around 4 inches of wet snow so far and the blower rode up over it in a lot of spots even when trying to angle it to keep downward pressure on it. I have a plow style shovel that took care of these spots.

The scraper bar wear is another downfall, you'd think I was snow blowing a frozen jagged rock driveway. This thing is about 3 uses in and is already missing some chunks. Plan on replacing it once a year or more depending how many snowfalls you get.

This thing is a pain when I do the neighbors driveways. The little wheels and low height of the machine make it a pain to drag backwards, and packed snow in the street and ruts make it almost impossible to push it forward even with the anger going and the 6 inches or so of snow when I was doing it tonight. I guess if we had sidewalks it might be easier to plow my way there but that'snot the case.

My driveway is on a decent incline and even with 4 or 5 inch snowfalls that are wet, on full auger speed, I find myself repeatedly ramming this thing into the snow to get it moving up hill.

I have no complaints about how the rest of the machine has held up this far, has a top notch warranty and impressive battery life

I've been finding myself more and more going for a shovel then to ram this into wet/ light snow falls/battle with it uphill/drag it to the neighbors/or try to use work arounds so the scraper bar doesn't stop me dead in my tracks every time it catches.

Minnesota, or at least the area I'm in doesn't get dumped on really but I'm starting to think I might throw this on CL and go with a gas 2 stage and wait to see if ego comes out with a 2 stage of their own.
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Erik

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Posted 6 months ago

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Blue Angel, Champion

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I was discussing some of these same points with my neighbor a few weeks ago. He has a small gas 2 stage, 24” I think.

For the most part, the light weight is very handy as it makes the unit easy to move around, steer, and change direction. His is cumbersome whenever he has to do anything other than walk behind it while it self propells in a straight line.

The only time mine rides up on snow is if it’s been driven on and compacted. The only scenario I can think of otherwise would be if the snow was super wet and then started freezing in place. I don’t think a 2 stage would be much different, though I’ve never owned one.

I slide my Ego at a slight angle when I do my sidewalk, which keeps the scraper from dropping into the expansion joints. This works well on my sidewalk, but won’t help on uneven cracked surfaces.

I’m not sure about Minnesota, but we had an unusually warm crummy winter here in Ottawa. Lots of freezing rain, ice etc. to deal with which isn’t normal. Heck, it’s been so warm lately that we barely have any snow left.

I feel this machine works great in normal snow and is faster and more convenient than shoveling 1/10 of my driveway by hand. It does require some muscle to get through difficult snow, no doubt, but I’ll take it over a shovel. A self propelled unit would make dealing with the plow pile easier, an as you point out it would surely help when blowing going uphill.

I think as a small single stage snowblower it works rather well, but a two stage definitely has its place.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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If you’re away from the house that much I can see how that could be a problem.
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szwoopp, Champion

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Exactly, and you are deciding on the snow blower with that in mind.  Makes sense.
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Erik

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Blue Angel off topic, but Craftsman sent me an email about their new 60v mower/ leaf blower/ line trimmer. Interested I took a look. Made by a company called Cleva North America I think. They make "Lawnmaster" brand yard equip that sells at home depot/menards/Amazon.

They have a 60v 2.0ah and 5.0ah battery. The 5.0 ah is 149$ while the 2.0ah is 99$. Wonder what the quality of the batteries is.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Ugh... what a tragic story Craftsman is. It makes me sad when I think of once great tool companies who “value-Engineered” themselves right out of the market.

As with any power tool system investment, I look at the whole line and the company behind it. Unfortunately for Craftsman they’re just another page in a large company’s portfolio. Without Sears behind them I’m not sure how much confidence I’d have in them long term. So many power tool battery platforms have come and gone from the market in recent years...

Hard to say by looking at their web pages. They don’t mention charge times or any special features.
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Erik

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I was hoping since they have had a long relationship with chervon they could get rebranded EGO, mauve the relationship isn't as good as it used to be, maybe EGO didn't want to risk it who knows? Sears definitely has the floor space for it though. Too bad.
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MattW

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I'm also in Minnesota and run a big 28" two stage.  The Ego snowblower has always struck me as ok for areas that never see more than 4 inches of snow or small areas that are hard to access.   I wouldn't dare run it on my driveway where the plow pile can reach waist height after a heavy snow like the 12" one I had in January.  I did see a mod where somebody put casters on the front that helped them deal with sticking on cracks problems. I do get that not everybody has the space to store a 300 pound 2 stage so the Ego would certainly be an improvement on shoveling.
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szwoopp, Champion

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I think 4" is underselling it.  I would say it handles 6-8" very well.  I have had zero problems with the scrapper bar catching on things and like that it cleans down to the surface. 
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I was going to say the same, that up to about 8” it chews through VERY well, unless it’s really damp heavy stuff or has a thick layer of ice on top. If that’s the case, taking narrower passes works very well.

Taking narrower passes works right up until the snow is deeper than the mouth is tall.

Another note. Last year when we had a 52cm/20” snowfall I had absolutely no problem clearing my driveway with a crappy 18” plug-in SnoJoe. I blew the driveway three times during that storm, and probably had to go back over the end of the driveway after the plows came by again, but I managed just fine. The Ego is a much more capable machine, so I may have been ok doing it in two passes?

In my humble opinion, sitting around for 24 hours watching the snow pile up is asking for trouble no matter what. It makes sense to blow it in stages. If you’re away that’s different, but those times will be very few and far between.

Matt, great point about storage. Yes, most people would be hard pressed to store a large 2-stage machine. For me it would mean choosing between parking a car in the garage or a snowblower! :-)
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szwoopp, Champion

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Go with the snowblower.  You can use your leaf blower to clear off the car :)

Some of this just seems like common sense.  Are you buying a snow blower for that 1 storm a year that is double the snow fall of any other or do you want a more manageable / affordable machine that will do the job 80-90% of the time.  And when you do get that monster storm adjust your approach accordingly.  Go out more than once to clear the snow.  Make 2 passes.  Make half passes.