Is the Craftsman 24 inch Model 88172 179cc snow blower right for you?
The Craftsman 24 inch 179cc Model 88172 is the least expensive 24 inch snow blower that I recommend. All the other snowblowers that cost less have no electric start, are either Chinese with poor parts networks or single speed models. Trust me, you need more than one speed when blowing snow.
Craftsman Model 88172
Five years ago this was the “standard” 24 inch snow blower. Six speeds, 5 hp motor, hand crank chute. It was and still is simple, reliable and gets the job done. Since that time Craftsman and others have added models that have more features, more power, and are easier to use. But, this continues to be the good snowblower for 1 or 2 car driveways that get an occasional heavy snow. This 2-stage snow thrower can handle paved, gravel, patios and clearing a spot in your flat back yard for your dogs
Now I want to be fair to everyone else. If I place this snow blower next to a model with more features and you and I talk about how those features will save you time, at least half of you will buy the more expensive model. For example, the Craftsman Model 88173 has a larger motor to move snow faster, better tires, single hand control and an easier to use discharge chute. It is the right fit if you have a typical 2 car driveway and you usually get 2 to 10 inches of snow at a time. It has enough power but not as much power as the Craftsman Model 88173 so it will take you longer to clear those bigger snows. The intake is tall enough to handle 22 inch drifts. It works well on gravel driveways. I recommend this to a lot of people who want a cheap, dependable snow blower and very few are disappointed with it.
Craftsman is offers a snow blower for every homeowner – from “good” models that are the least expensive on the market to a “premium” model that is larger than you tractor mounted snow thrower. This “good” snow blower offers the features you need for you small driveway. This model has quickly become one of Sears biggest sellers.
This snow blower is better than the one you are replacing.
If you have a 24 inch, 5 hp, 10 to 20 year old John Deere, Noma, Craftsman, Ariens, Cub Cadet, MTD, YardMan, Toro or Jacobson this is a direct replacement. Here is what has changed.
Weight: The Model 88172 weighs a lot less than your old snowblower. That makes it easier to use and it is still just as rugged. It is balanced better so you will be able to manuever it easier. It still has a replaceable bottom scraper and dependable disk drive transmission. Instead of the old metal skid shoes that left rust marks on everything, this snow blower has polymer shoes that last as long as steel and don’t mark up your drive or patio.
Engine: This engine comes standard with electric start. It is a 4-cycle so you don’t have to mix oil/gas. It is quieter and a lot more fuel efficient than your old one. All parts are readily available through Searspartsdirect if you want to work on it yourself. Yes, it still has a throttle and multi-position choke. One thing you will have to change though is how you handle fuel. Todays carbs are much more precise than the old ones and you really, really need to get a new sealed gas can. Use a fuel stabilizer and rotate your fuel so it is not more than a month old. (Pour the fuel into your car and go get fresh fuel once a month)
Chute Control & Polymer Chute: Snow doesn’t stick to this new polymer chute. It still rests on the impeller housing like your old one, but doesn’t bind up and rust like your old metal chute. (More expensive snow blowers use a longer, hanging chute that works even better) You rotate it the same way (about 10 cranks from one end to the other) but it is easier and stays free.
Hand Controls: This snow blower does not have single hand control. Most of the older models did not have this either. The handles are easier to use. They don’t take as much force to push down and are a lot easier than the over-the-bar controls. The cables look fragile compared to the heavy rods on your old machine, but they are proven to last just as long. Bolts no longer come loose, hinge points don’t rust up and they will flex when you hit them instead of bending into useless works of art. The same cables are used on all of the MTD built snow blowers and don’t give you problems.
Performance: This snowblower moves snow at about the same rate and throws it about the same distance as your old one. There will be times when you wished you had purchased the Craftsman Model 88173 with the larger motor, but it does the job, just not as fast.
Shear Pins: This snowblower uses 4 shear pins for added protection from rocks, tennis shoes hoses and tree limbs. They add enough protection that I don’t hear of anyone destroying their snow blower because they accidentally ran a garden hose through it.
Traction: This snow blower has about the same traction as your old 24 inch snow blower. You can’t get chains for these new 13″ x 4″ X-Trac tires tires but since the snowblower is so much lighter it is easier to manhandle. It will clean paved and gravel driveways, patios and flat area of your lawn just fine.
Note order it here! If the item is in stock at your local Sears you can order it here and within 30 minutes pick it up. For a normal fee you can also get it delivered right to your home. If the item is not stocked you can order it here and it will get to the store in about 5 days. You can have it delivered or pick it up!
Other Important Features (From Sears.com)
It’s time to retire your old snow shovel and start clearing the icy masses from your driveway and walkways with a Craftsman 24” snowblower. This lightweight blower has a strong and effective four-cycle, 179cc OHV engine that blows snow out of your way in minutes, meaning you spend much less time on the task than when you use a shovel for the job. The modern design includes an easy push-button electric starting system that gets the blower revving whenever you need it, even in subzero weather. And unlike older snow blowers, there’s no need to mix gas and oil to get the machine started.
The Dual-Stage Snowblower has an oversized 24-inch clearing width that gets the job done fast, even when you’re clearing snow from large driveways, big yards or decks. To remove heavy, wet snow, sludge or ice, power up the 12-inch serrated steel auger or 12-inch impeller to break up the icy, impacted blocks and blow them out of your way. With eight different speeds, six forward and two backward, you can easily adjust the thrower to clear light to heavy snow buildup from all areas of your landscape.
The Craftsman 24” snowblower has an EZ rotation chute to quickly and easily direct icy deposits wherever you aim.
The extra long chute gives better aim and keeps snow from blowing back on the operator.
Large 13-inch-by-4-inch X-Trac tires keep the tool steady with superior traction for extra easy maneuverability and safety.
Easy-grip handle ensures easy machine operation while wearing gloves or mittens.
Plow handles increase control of the blower and reduce pressure on your legs and lower back.
Reviews on Sears.com
Sears.com does not edit reviews. I read all of the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews and the reviews are really not worth mentioning…but I will anyway. This machine has only been around for 3 seasons and Craftsman fixed issues the previous machine had (Model 88957). In particular:
Carburetor – I had to change. I’m older than you and I’m sure you can change to! The problems with the carburetor is today’s fuel. Throw out that old metal gas can. Always close the vent and put the cap on your gas can. Take the fuel you used this summer and last winter and put it in your car. Buy new fuel and I strongly recommend only buy a month’s supply. (I have a 2 gallon can) If you live in an area that has high humidity (anywhere in the U.S.) use a fuel stabilizer with a moisture absorbent. Sea Foam and Marine StaBil are two that come to mind. When you buy fuel do not buy the cheapest fuel. If possible buy unleaded fuel without ethanol. By the way, a fuel filter will not eliminate fuel problems on a snow blower. The current instructions from the engine manufactures is to leave stabilized fuel in the snow blower. Don’t run it dry for storage.
Parts – Parts are easily available for this snow blower and the engine. If your mechanic says he can’t get parts what he is really saying is he is too lazy to order the parts from Searspartsdirect. He can’t buy cheap, aftermarket parts and charge you the same as OEM parts. If you need your snow blower repaired, bring it to any Sears. They will take it and return it fixed in about 5-7 days.
Not assembled – This snowblower comes to you in a box. It takes less than 10 minutes to raise the handles, install the discharge chute and adjust the skid shoes. You will need a 1/2 inch wrench to adjust the skid shoes. Read the manual please………..
Overall the Craftsman 24 inch 179cc Model 88172 two stage snow thrower is the best inexpensive snow blower. It is a good replacement for your old 22-24 inch snow blower. I have a 2 car drive, 70 feet long, a patio and I clear an area in the backyard for my dogs. It would do this job for me just fine.
Where To Get One
Sears is the best place to buy your Craftsman! They always have the best price and a great reputation for getting the purchase to you quickly. They also have good customer service.
Note! If the item is in stock at your local Sears you can order it here and within 30 minutes pick it up. For a normal fee you can also get it delivered right to your home. If the item is not stocked you can order it here and it will get to the store in about 5 days. You can have it delivered or pick it up!
Be Careful! This snow blower is sold through Sears and Sears.com! You may find other “factory-direct discount” stores and websites trying to sell it, but make sure they are authorized Sears sales representatives.
All Snow Blowers need maintenance. When you get your new snow blower home be sure to read the manual, check all the fluid levels and bolts. Learn how to change the shear pins and inspect the drive belts. (The belts are easy to change if you tear one up) ALWAYS have extra shear pins on hand. Learn how to start it and operate it. Snow blower engines run differently than your lawn mower engine. Most of the time you will have the choke on to some degree. (That’s why there are 4 positions on the choke) Practice using it on you driveway. (Don’t run the engine more than 10 minutes if the temperature is over 45 degrees) If you have any questions leave a comment below and we (other readers and myself) will gladly answer your questions. Above all PLEASE use a fuel stabilizer like Sea Foam or blue Stabil in your gas.
Value: At around $549 on sale it is a good value. Watch for special “Shop Your Way Rewards” sales, no interest or cash back with a Sears Card, Family & Friends, and Midnight Madness Sales that will discount the price even more.
Service & Parts Availability: With this snow blower you have the choice of calling 1-800-4MY-Home and have a tech come out and fix it OR take it to your local Sears and they will have it serviced for you. With a protection plan either way is no-charge to you. If you damage the snow blower yourself parts are easily available through searspartsdirect.com.