If you’re looking for a mid-range snow thrower that is practical, pretty easy to use and will work for the average North American snowfall, then you really can’t go past Poulan.
Although the company was originally founded in Louisiana back in 1912, it was actually bought out by Swedish power tool manufacturer Husqvarna back in the 80s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poulan However, despite the official change of ownership, the brand still manufactures its range of power tools in America with factories in McRae, Georgia, Nashville, Arkansas and Orangeburg, SC.
One of the biggest advantages to Husqvarna buying the company seems to be that they are able to share technology. So, while Husqvarna is generally geared towards professional or industrial use, Poulan is more aimed at the homeowner, but being able to share research and development has meant that the two brands have excellent workmanship, but maintaining the separation by catering towards the needs of each type of customer.
What’s The Pro Model About?
While the Poulan brand is aimed at the majority of homeowners and is generally more affordable than Husquvarna, they have also introduced the “Pro” series. Although still aimed at homeowners and for domestic use, the pro series just has that bit more power, and in snow blowers, this translates into what you see in the Poulan Pro pr241 review, with a machine that is able to get you clearing snow with ease.
Some Of The Really Nice-to-Have’s To Look Out For
For some people the whole idea is nice to have, they have an excellent shovel after all. However, for the rest of us, they are a machine that just makes like so much easier. However, taking into consideration your lifestyle, blizzard rating, driveway shape and camber, and how energetic you are, you have a few other things that you can look out for. To date, it doesn’t appear that any snow blowers come with factory-made drink holders, but they certainly do have other more useful features (and you can probably get a clip-on heated drink holder aftermarket).
Power Assist Movement
Many of the larger throwers/blowers have power assisted wheels. While with a lighter machine you may get away without these, having them makes clearing a path so much easier. No, they aren’t doing all the work for you (unfortunately), but using power-assisted wheels means that you are going to get the job done faster, and you will find that you can go in more places. While with completely manual options you are unlikely going to be able to safely go up and down slopes, once you add a bit of power to help you control the machine this becomes less of a safety concern and significantly less effort.
While there will definitely be a limit to how fast you can go in deep fluffy snow, and taking it slow and steady will get a hardpacked icy path cleared well, if you’ve finished and want to put your blower away in the garage, you will want to be able to go at a quicker speed than when you were sucking up those flakes. Having a machine that goes in reverse is also really handy if you don’t want to have to try and maneuver a stuck snow thrower.
Just like lawnmowers, most of us really do not have the time, energy, or mystical knack, forgetting small engines started with a quick pull on a piece of string (repeatedly). Modern engines often have a simple push-button that will start the engine, and these electric starts are just the thing for cold mornings when your fingers are frozen.
Like with power-assisted wheels, having power steering just makes like a little easier. Few people can really remember driving a car without power steering but trying to maneuver a heavy thrower is no easy feat either. Although this feature is generally marketed as a great way to make life easier, it is also a safety aspect. Being able to control and maneuver this large machine that is capable of crushing large chunks of ice and converting it to a fine powder is a good idea. These are not something that you want to allow to get out of control.
What About Width?
It would seem that the average sidewalk in North America is around 24inches wide. So if you are looking at make your purchase to keep your paths clean, consider what is the maximum width which can be cleared by the model in one pass. Many stage-2 engines have a wider mouth so they may be able to remove any snow with just one walkover. However, smaller models may require two or even three, and if you are looking at a large driveway that is several feet wide then you will really need to make sure that the model of blower you are looking at is not going to mean having to spend all day repeatedly walking up and down your driveway. If it only has a narrow mouth check the clearance of the snow blown, for while there is a technique to ensure that you aren’t having to clean up snow that has already been cleaned up, you really don’t want to be left with few other options.