Thought we might have a repeat of 2010-2011 winter for 2011-2012. Didn't want to deal with pulling and pulling to get the old 2cycle blower to run so replaced it with this Electric start unit. GREAT blower. Starts quick and runs great. But as they say, wash the car and it rains, buy a snow blower and it doesn't snow! Best investment made to stop old man winter. Saved on gas as well because by spring still had the same tank of gas I started with. 4cycle engine runs smooth and on the one day that did snow, although not enough for the blower, was able to test the power by piling up the snow in one direction. Then on the last pass of the driveway it was fairly high enough to see how the blower takes a load and it tour right through the pile up with no problems. Special note though, the manual states to spray silicone spray in the shoot to help prevent clogging. Good rule to follow because it works. There was no clogging of the shoot, from the heavy wet snow, after I sprayed it . Thank you Sears and Craftsman for another great product.
Bought then returned this item 3 times before I asked for a complete refund. Item has very good power and snow clearing ability. Handle that moves the snow chute locks in place and can not be moved unless you pry the spring up with a screwdrives or some type of instrument. Shame the handle did not work as well as the snow clearing performance of this snow blower!
Purchased this in February 2015 after receiving so much snow in the NYC metro area that my trusty Toro electric just couldn't throw any more new snow over the old snow. This is a well-built machine, in a completely different league from the electric models. It is made for Sears/Craftsman by LCT (engine) and MTD (thrower hardware, which also makes Club Cadet and Troy Bilt). Yes there are plastic parts but they are not in stressed areas. I chose this one for the simplicity of the single-stage design (fewer moving parts to break/maintain) and the significant power of this model (208cc), and it has more than lived up to these expectations. My driveway is two cars wide and 2.5 cars long, and I have a long sidewalk that runs around the house, but I did not need or want the size or complexity of a self-propelled or 2-stage model. The Chinese LCT engine has been amazingly eager to start, with or without using the electric start feature, on par with the Honda engine on my power washer (which is manual only). I guess that's my biggest surprise to the upside with this. There really haven't been any downside surprises. In my opinion, your long-term satisfaction with this will depend largely on how you maintain it at the end of the winter. You might have grown up with machines like outboard engines, lawn mowers, and snow throwers with 2-stroke engines with simple carburetors and lubrication systems that required no oil maintenance. These you could just leave sitting all through the off-season. Those days are over. If you leave a modern small four-stroke engine like this sitting in your garage with old gas all summer, the chintzy ethanol in the gas will degrade and gum up the tiny carburetor, and it will not be likely to start in the fall without a lot of disassembly and cleaning (or carb replacement). This is not Sears' fault, it is a responsibility of the 21st century 4-stroke engine owner. You MUST use fuel all season long to which a generous dose of Sta-Bil has been added, because you never know when the snow is going to end. You MUST drain the gas in the spring and run the engine dry; I dump a healthy couple of shots of Seafoam into the tank as it gets low to better pickle the engine. You SHOULD drain and refill the engine oil after you do this, and it is easy to do when the engine is still warm. (I put the thrower up on milk crates when I change the oil so it's easier to drain into a milk jug.) There are three or four bolts on the back of the thrower that you have to remove to get access to the engine to drain the oil and see the fuel tank. If you spend an hour doing this at the end of the season the engine will start up reliably every fall and you will get 15 seasons out of this machine before the body rusts out, perhaps replacing the spark plug and rubber paddles every 5 years or so. I have added about $20 worth of an inline fuel filter, a fuel line tee, and a little drain valve to facilitate the removal of extra fuel in the tank before running it dry.
Living in the north east I needed a dependable snowblower. Have a small footprint so larger machines were not practicable, this machine is just right for the yard I have. Has not failed me yet.
Hard to start, doesn't pull itself well, vibrates when paddles engaged, wheels get full of snow and won't turn, have to push it up the smallest of inclines, bottom scraper keeps bending so it wont clear to concrete, I seem to fight this thing the entire time I am using it. This is the third and last Iowa winter I will own this horrible machine. Nothing good to say, no positives, no pros all cons.
I selected this blower because of the expected power, which is good. However, in my two years of ownership it has experienced major failures both seasons and required repairs. The first time I used it, it ran for 15 minutes and the engine died and would not re-start. I found an extra engine bolt in the driveway. Back to Sears for warranty repairs. This past season, the bolt that connects the auger control to the engine broke off in the block resulting in significant labor costs and three weeks of downtime. For comparable money, I suggest purchasing a larger more robust unit.
I needed a snow blower that was smaller due to both limited storage space and because my driveway is only slightly wider than one car. I bought this in November 2012 and did not need it at all that winter. Winter 2014 and now 2015 I have used it about 8 total times. This thing has cleared the snow quite well every time - everything from light and fluffy to dense packed, to ice covered snow.
I have not had any issues with the directional stick. I change the direction of the shoot frequently while using it and it still works flawlessly.
The only negative was that it took about 6 pulls to get it to start for the first snowfall this winter. The second snowfall only took one pull.
I would highly recommend this to anyone that does not have the space for a larger two-stage machine.