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Help with a single stage blower (Honda vs Toro)

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Mr_Pacman, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Mr_Pacman

    Mr_Pacman Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Hi everyone,

    I've spent a few hours reading various threads on this site and have learned a tremendous amount of information.

    I now feel it's time to ask a couple of quick questions in order for me to make the right snowblower decision.

    Here are a few background points to make things easier:

    1) I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We get a moderate amount of snow. It's not usually wet/heavy (but it can be sometimes). We don't usually get huge dumpings, but can get 12' overnight.

    2) I've had 3 back surgeries, and want something small and light. A 2 stage won't work as it's heavy, and it will take up too much space in my garage

    3) All I have to "blow" is a 2 car driveway. No sidewalks and the snowplow rarely comes by as we live in a cul-de-sac.

    4) Last year, I bought an electric Toro PowerClear 1800. I found it worked quite well to remove the snow all year. It had a bit of trouble with some of the wet/heavy snowfalls, but overall I was impressed. Dealing with the powercord was a hassle. At the end of the year, the machine refused to turn on (I think it was an electrical short as it simply refused to start one day, not from me burning out the motor). Toro gave me a full cash refund, which I thought was great customer service!

    5) I should mention that I'm not overly concerned with how long it takes me to clear my driveway. I'm quite happy making extra passes with a narrow blower vs dealing with a larger/heavier unit.

    I had done my research and planned to buy the new Toro 621 model. I went to Home Depot today and was quite surprised at how physically large it was.

    Here are my questions:

    Does anyone have experience with the new Toro 421ZR/ZE models? They only have an 87cc motor, which I assume is the same as last years PowerClear 180, but they have increased the clearing path to 21 inches from 18 inches. Would this 87cc motor be just as powerful as the electric Toro I had last year?

    If this one is going to be too underpowered, what about the new Honda HS520C2, which is on the Honda Canada website here:


    At 160cc engine, this one is right between the Toro 421 and the 621 and is priced at $769 Canadian dollars.

    I'm not overly concerned about the price (after having my 3rd back surgery last year, I just want something that is good quality, lightweight, easy to move around and reliable).

    Would you suggest the Honda HS520C2 over the new Toro 621. I know the Toro has various options on the 621 (adjustable chute, zip deflector etc), but I'm not too bothered with all the fancy features as it's easy for me to bend over and adjust the direction of the chute.

    Are spare parts for the Honda easy to get? There is only one Honda snowblower dealer in town wheras lots of places sell and service Toro around here.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    James Dixon
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow caster

    Hello James,

    I have an older Toro S200 and a 4 year old?,
    CCR2000 with the power curve paddles.
    I would still have the other two Toro pups
    I bought years ago if I have not lost the main
    paddle bearings and the sheet metal sides
    on them.

    What you need more than anything is
    www.fluid-film.com to coat the interior
    of the snow caster you choose to make your life
    easier as all the snow and I mean all the snow
    will be thrown much farther and faster for you.

    The other thing you need is Seafoam to treat the
    gasoline and render the ethanol disssolved
    if you have it to avoid fuel issues.

    The main issue is service for your snow beast
    as you want to be able to get it repaired and or
    serviced for the coming snow season.

    I would get a copy of Consumer Reports and look
    at the snow blower section of the lawn and garden
    eqiuipment portion of the annual CR book and see how
    it tolerated the testing they put the models through and
    base your decision on that alone as they are a very reliable
    source of information.

    Just be sure to get some Seafoam and Fluid Film and you
    will have few issues with your fuels or sticky snows.
  3. Dubl0Vert

    Dubl0Vert Senior Member
    Messages: 178

    My vote goes to the toro...I have used a single stage toro gas powered for years and it works great. Small and light so it fits right in the back of my truck with no ramps, just pick up and move. Its an animal and helped me clear sidewalks and even got me unstuck once!
  4. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Not sure but I thought I read the toro's are made overseas now. Toro has been a quality product for years and not sure if this will effect the quality if this is true. Honda also makes a good product from the guys I have talked to. I would go with the Honda
  5. TwiceStroked

    TwiceStroked Member
    Messages: 40

    Ditto on both the Honda and Fluid Film.
    I have a 521 ~80# only change oil and plug yearly and the paddles every other year unless I hit the curb edging. I personally now keep 1 plug and 1 paddle kit in the garage just in case. Been a 2 pull max starter in the coldest, and cleans down to concrete everytime. Somewhere around 10 years now.
    I replaced the Toro 2 stroke with this only because I got tired of the 2 stroke smell and having to have mix on hand, but it too did me well. That Toro was lighter and was '98 vintage.
    I'm in upstate N.Y..
    p.s. Take what CR says with a grain of "salt".
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  6. Dubl0Vert

    Dubl0Vert Senior Member
    Messages: 178

    ohhhhh, did forget about the 2 stroke thing. That's the only downside i have with the Toro. I have to keep a separate can and make the gas oil mix. You just have to remember to stock up at the beginning of the winter with quality oil.