My Review of the 2011 Troy-Bilt Storm 30 in 357cc Snow Blower Model 31AH55Q5711. An alternative to the Craftsman 88896
It’s Not The Best Snow Blower. It’s The Best Snow Blower For YOU!
Update August 30, 2013: Last year was a tough year for some of the Snow Blower Retailers. By the sale prices Lowes is offering on this snow blower it looks like they have a bunch to get rid of. Either that or they are dumping them in favor of the Husqvarna’s they now carry. We’ll see….
Troy-Bilt 30 in 357cc 4-cycle Gas Blower. Commonly called the Troy-Bilt Storm 3090 XP.
Value: I rate “value” based on the quality of the snow blower, ease of use, the service record, parts availability, the ease of getting your unit repaired and the price.
Craftsman 88830 or Troy-Bilt Storm. Which one is better?
Both the Craftsman 88830 and the Troy-Bilt Storm are good, high capacity, large frame snow blowers. These two units will handle the worst snows and still clean the 1 inch snowfalls quickly and cleanly. Both feature heated hand grips, 4-way chute controls, power steering, large tires, headlights, BIG motors, single handed operation and heavy duty skid shoes.
Determining the best value for these two snow throwers is difficult to determine because the ONLY difference is the Craftsman comes with drift cutters. (Cost $24.99) I’ve used the Craftsman and been all over the Troy-Bilt and that is the only difference I can see. Ok, the color and the dash is different!
I gave the Craftsman 88830 my BEST BUY AWARD in 2010. Which one should get this award for 2011?
It’s more than the equipment itself: Consumer Reports and many other website only rate one half of the purchase of a snow blower. They rate only the equipment, how well it works, and how often it breaks down. They rate the snowblower against other snowblowers. But to me that is only one-half of owning a snowblower. They don’t rate the other half of your purchase. There is much more to owning a snow blower than just how well it blows snow.
In today’s economy buying and owning a product is much more than whether the product works as advertised. Did you get the right snow blower? Did the sales person or website help you get the right snowblower? Could you talk to or email and knowledgable real person? What do you do when it breaks down? Can you get parts to fix it yourself under warranty? Do you have to haul it somewhere to get it fixed?
Owning a snowblower is more than getting the best price or the right color. It is a piece of mechanical equipment and over time needs preventative maintenance and regular service. Even when stored iit needs to be prepared properly or it won’t start for you next season. In addition, stuff breaks….not because the product is bad, but because we do dumb things with it.
Even the best-made products are subject to normal wear and tear. In fact I wouldn’t want a snow blower that was not designed to be repaired. (You just replace it when it broke) Snowblowers require new skid shoes, wear bars, drive belts, spark plugs, shear pins, grease and control cables during the normal life of the equipment. In addition, they can easily pick up anything in their path. Snow is fine, but items hiding under the snow like landscape bricks, kids toys, sticks, chunks of ice, and gloves can cause damage to your snowblower. You will need repairs and depending how often you use it, regular maintenance.
Value is more than the snow blower itself. Features like heated handgrips are nice, but they do no good if you can’t get the snow blower started. You may have gotten your snow blower cheaper from one store, but if you have to haul it 60 miles to get it repaired that great price may not be the best value.
Is This SnowBlower Right For You? Read on.
Customer Satisfaction: Good: The Troy-Bilt Model 31AH55Q5711 has been around for a while now. Lowes.com has over 25 reviews and rates a solid 90% “recommend” rating. Most of the reviews are positive. Note: Most if not all of the negative reviews are complaints about initial build quality on a few units.
This snow thrower is very popular. It continues to be a solid, dependable snow blower for 2011. It is a big snow thrower and has all the features that make it easy and fun to use. Heated handgrips, power steering, big tires, big motor, 4-way extended chute…this snow blower has it all.
With a street price around $1099 it is cheapest 30 inch two-stage snowblower on the market.
Is this the right snowblower for you?
Almost everyone will be able to use this snowblower. It is balanced well and easy to use. The controls are simple and intuitive. It has power steering making it very easy to use. If you can walk, and use the hand controls, you can use this snowblower. Even you 84 year old grandmother will be able to drive this machine.
If you have a bad back, weigh less than 130 lbs, or are shorter than 5.5 check this Troy-Bilt out! Of course, if you are larger you will also like this machine.
When you first look at this snow blower it may seem too big, but it’s not. The Storm 3090 and the Craftsman 88830 are easier to turn and have more features than all the other snow throwers in this price range. The tires are large enough and it weighs enough push through that drift your friendly city-worker left at the end of your drive.
This snowblower needs a door 32 inches or larger. The 30 inch width and the skid shoes need 32 inches or more. If you regularly use the garage side door or go out the back to clean a spot off the patio measure your doors to be sure you can get through them.
Do you have to put the snow in precise locations? My neighbor has a spot where he has to blow the snow into a 4 foot wide area. This model has the 4 way chute control so putting the snow exactly where you want it is easy. The longer chute also helps to keep the snow from blowing back into your face. On this model you can adjust the swing of the chute and how far it throws from a single control on the dash.
Do you have a beautiful drive or patio? The steel skid shoes will leave brown (rust) marks on your drive. If you have stained concrete or a nice patio buy the optional poly shoes.
Do you clean snow off the lawn for your dogs? If you routinely blow snow off of your lawn (I do this for my Italian Greyhounds) this snow blower has the larger wheels needed to give you traction in the grass. The wheels on the 88691 also work well on gravel and hard surfaces.
This is a medium frame snow thrower with a well matched motor and all the features you need.
Here is a rundown of the features and benefits of this workhorse:
Single Handed Operation: You can drive the snow thrower easily with one hand to make adjustments to the chute or change speeds without stopping. The heated hand grips keep you hands warm.
4 cycle, 357 cc Overhead Valve Motor: This Troy-Bilt (Powermore) motor is sized well for the 30 inch clearing width. It has plenty of power to bust through drifts and move most snows. The 4 cycle Overhead Valve (OHV) engine is quiet. The motor is equivalent to an old Techumseh 12-14 hp and is much more reliable and fuel efficient. (Because of the lawsuits last year none of the engine manufactures will rate their motors in horsepower anymore)
30 inch clearing width: The 30 inch width is wide enough to make short work of large driveways and deep snow. You can quickly clear most sidewalks in one pass.
21 inch intake height: The intake is high enough to tackle most normal drifts.
Electric Starter: Of course this Troy-Bilt snowthrower has push button electric start. Just plug the 110v power cord into any wall outlet and push the button.
12 inch serrated auger with 12 inch impeller: The 12 inch is large enough to handle most snowfalls (6 to 14 inch snowfalls) You may have to drop down a gear when throwing heavy wet snow. The serrated auger effectively chews up the snow before throwing it into the impeller.
6 forward, 2 reverse speeds: Plenty of speed choices so you can get your snow blowing done quickly and efficiently.
1.25 gallon fuel capacity: 1.25 gallons of fuel is the right size tank for this snowblower.
4 way chute control: 190-degree chute rotation and pitch control with the ease of a joystick to discharge the snow where you want it, without leaving the operators position
Extended Chute Design: Keeps a tighter discharge pattern to increase throwing distance and reduce snow blow back
In-dash headlight illuminates the clearing path
16 in. x 6.5 in. X-Trac tires provide superior traction in heavy snow conditions
Heated hand grips make using this unit more comfortable in cold temperatures
Single-hand operation eliminates starts and stops, freeing up a hand for on-the-go adjustments
Mitten-grip starter handles – Easy to grasp and turnover recoil start while wearing gloves
Plow style handles for comfort and control with panel design for convenient shear pin storage
Warranty: 2 year manufactures defects warranty with up to a 4 year optional extended warranty
NOTE: If you have the snow thrower delivered it will be delivered in a box. If you pick it up at the store they will assume your vehicle is large enough and will keep it in the shipping box.
Assembly is simple: Cut the end out of the box and drag the snow thrower out onto the floor. Find the manual and read the assembly directions. It will only take you about five minutes to position the handles, adjust the skid shoes and attach the chute.
After you use your new snowthrower for a while, come back and tell us how well you like your snowblower. (scroll down for the comment section)