Toro 38360 Power Shovel - Urban Workhorse
Powerful, manuverable, and faily light weight. No gas engine to maintain.
No control over direction snow is thrown.
The Bottom Line:
Highly recommended. Throws snow 15 - 20'. Electric motor light, no maintenance, and very manueverable. A great device for urban areas.
Having moved from a rural town in NH to a town bordering Boston, I've found it a bit amusing to see all the large gas powered snow blowers for driveways the length of 2 cars. An old time Yankee myself, I knew the power of a push broom and frequent but brief trips outside to keep the surfaces clean. But last winter was a wet snow season, so I had to rely on my shovel instead, and my back wasn't very pleased. My neighbor, on the other hand, seemed to be keeping up with the snow without the strain or the requisite overkill behemoth snow blower - his secret: a 10 year old Toro broom.
So this year I purchased the Toro 38360. I didn't have to wait long to use it. It has been a near record December in terms of snow this winter. Heck, in the first snowfall, I could have written a complete review on the unit - that day start with fluffy snow, and ended with very wet snow -- pretty much a lab of test conditions for the new tool.
The Toro 38360 is an electric, single stage snow thrower. Typically, it is pushed like a shovel along the ground. Ergonomically it is laid out like a gas trimmer - there is a handle at the top of the pole, and a second handle midway on the pole for more control. The placement of this second handle is adjustable as is the height of the pole. The unit plugs into an extension cord just below the top handle and there is a simple cord locking loop that keeps tension off the end of the extension cord - preventing it from unplugging.
The switch is in the top handle, and you must hold it down while operating the unit. It's a tad bit awkward - I appreciate the nod to safety, but I would rather a switch that stayed in the on position to free my hand more.
The unit carves a 12" wide 6" deep path into snow. If the snow is higher, you'll have to hold the unit up. I found the unit to be a tad bit heavy for holding up too long. Similarly, while the unit is small enough to clear steps, the weight isn't worth it to me - I prefer using a manual shovel. But on 6" or less deep snow, the unit is pushed along the ground with ease.
The 7.5 amp motor throws the snow far: 25 feet in light snow, 15 feet in medium weight snow. Which is actually a problem. The snow is thrown in a straight arching path ahead of the unit. In my neighborhood, it means I'm always throwing snow against some body's house. Large snow blowers have a mechanism to aim the path of the snow, allowing the unit to throw the snow off to the side. The toro can only throw where I point it, so as I make my way down the sidewalk, I'm throwing snow ahead onto my neighbor's lawn or sidewalk or porch. Not very neighborly of me.
I think the ability to moderate the strength of the motor would be a great feature. That would allow me to control the length and arch of the snow. Still, I have found that I can limit the arch of the snow by increasing the angle I hold the unit as I push it along the ground.
In heavy slush - the unit struggles to throw about 5 to 10 feet. Since unit is electric - it won't stall -- one just has to back of off if the unit is struggling, and the blades immediately return to full speed
The snow is thrown by a plastic auger. Seeing the instructions for replacing the auger - I wondered just how durable a plastic unit would be. I've pushed the Toro against the ice lining my sidewalk and the stairs that jut along my driveway, and even a buried cinder block. On inspection, the auger has a few small chips, but it throws the snow as good as day one. I might purchase a replacement blade and store it in the basement just in case.
I highly recommend the Toro 38360 for those that want a snowblower for small jobs like a sidewalk, patio/porch, or 1 car driveway. It is a powerful, manuverable, and fairly light weight unit. It's only fault is that it throws the snow a bit too far - which is not all that bad a fault to have.