I’m going to review both 26 inch Toro residential Snow Blowers here. Toro makes a residential and a commercial line of snow blowers and the OE model here is designed for residential owners. They are both high quality units and the only difference between them is the engine. The Toro’s compare in features and price to the Craftsman 88691 and the Model 88970. (Ariens does not make a 26 inch snow blower) Both of these give you great residential snow blowers at an affordable price. Toro has been making snow blowers for about as long as Ariens and I have no issues recommending one that is sized for the area you need to clear.
These Toro’s have a few features that are unique and make them as easy to use and durable as any other residential snow blower. I’ll go through these features in a minute.
Is this the best snow blower for you?
The 726OE has a 205 cc Briggs
205cc 4-cycle OHV Briggs and Stratton engine
26″ clearing width & up to 40′ throwing distance
Ideally used to clear 6-10″ of snow at a time on a driveway that can park up to 10 cars. (2 cars wide by 4 cars long)
250cc 4-cycle OHV Briggs and Stratton engine
26″ clearing width & up to 40′ throwing distance
Ideally used to clear 6-16″ of snow at a time on a driveway that can park up to 10 cars. (2 cars wide by 4 cars long)
The Power Max® Anti-Clogging System (ACS) handles more snow in less time to get the job done fast! The exclusive Anti-Clogging System meters snow going into the impeller to prevent clogging and maximize the efficiency of the snow blower. This system regulates the snow inside the machine to virtually eliminate clogging. This metering also allows the impeller to maintain the high rpm needed to throw snow long distances. In other words the metering keeps the engine from bogging down in wet, heavy snow. Most other snow blowers make you change gears to keep the engine from lugging down.
Quick Lever Chute Control with Locking Zip Deflector
Quick Lever Chute
The chute control is one of the easiest to use. There is never any binding with this unit. Quickly and easily adjust the chute direction with this simple, integrated control. Throw the snow where you want it to go. The lock on the deflector is out on the chute and firmly locks it in place. No thumb nuts to adjust, no slipping when moving heavy snow. Simply adjust and lock in the angle to throw snow where you want. The discharge chute, deflector and impeller cover are made out of a rugged, high density Sub Zero material that’s durable and stays flexible even down to -104° F (-75° C). It also naturally prevents snow and ice from sticking and will not rust over time. The discharge chute, deflector and impeller cover are Guaranteed For Life.
Durable One-Piece Frame
One Piece Frame
All the other brands use a separate frame and impeller housing. Having separate components makes them a little easier to work on but when parts begin to wear it also makes them a little less rigid. The Power Max uses a solid, one-piece unibody frame for ultimate strength that’s made out of the same thick steel as the commercial-grade Power Max HD. It has auger housing supports so you can push into snow piles without ever worrying about tweaking the frame.
Hardened Gear Box Gears
No Shear Pins!
No Shear Pins! When it comes to gearboxes, it’s the gears that matter. The Toro Power Max uses special hardened gears that can handle the toughest snow conditions. Others use softer gears that wear over time. The Heavy-Duty Auger Gearbox has special over sized hardened gears and shafts designed to withstand extreme stress, virtually eliminating the need for shear pins.
These Toro’s get mixed reviews and I feel they are all honest. Looking at the negative reviews all were from the same reason that everyone else has. Fuel. BE SURE you are using fresh fuela dn always use a fuel stabilizer. The 205 cc Briggs is adequate for most snows but as usual more power is always better…. buy the 826OE if you like plenty of power.
This model is typically not in stock at most THD’s. Just click on the link, buy your snow blower and pick it up in a few days. Home Depot also offers free ship to home if that is more convenient for you. (It will take you about 30 minutes to set up a shipped model)
Be Careful! This snow blower is also sold through online only stores! Their price may be $50 less than Home Depot but make sure they have a good reputation of taking care of you after the sale. You may find other “factory-direct discount” stores and websites trying to sell it, but make sure they can and will get you service if you ever need it.
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 your 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 $899 and $999 they are a little higher than the other 26 in models. I am going to leave it up to you if these Toro’s are worth a little more.
Service & Parts Availability: Service and parts are readily available through Toro authorized repair centers. Home Depot is easy to work with if you have a problem.
Here is a list of the features from Toro:
The Power Max 826 OE with Briggs & Stratton 250cc, OHV 4-cycle engine and the The Power Max 726 OE with Briggs & Stratton 205cc provide proven power and performance to make your job easier in tough winter conditions. The innovative Quick Stick control allows you to quickly and easily change chute direction AND chute deflector with a single, smooth motion. Convenient one-hand levers allow single-handed operation freeing the other hand to change speeds or the chute control without stopping.
A breakthrough in snow blowing technology, the exclusive Anti-Clogging System meters snow intake to prevent clogging and maximize clearing efficiency. The Heavy-Duty Auger Gearbox has special oversized hardened gears and shafts designed to withstand extreme stress, virtually eliminating the need for shear pins.
205 or 250 cc Briggs and Stratton engine is tough and durable for years of dependable use
This model has a 26 in. clearing width and can clear up to 20 in. deep in one pass
6 forward speeds and 2 reverse speeds are perfect for a variety of snow conditions
11 in. serrated auger powered by special hardened auger gearbox gears, the anti-clogging system (ACS) reroutes excess snow away from the chute and back to the auger to prevent clogging
The Toro two-stage design is built to handle deep snows and can chew up hard compacted snow
Moves up to 1800 lbs. of snow per minute
This Toro power max snow blower can throw snow up to 40 ft. away
The chute, deflector, and ACS are made out of a special sub zero material that is durable to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and guaranteed for life
The 13 in. deep lug tires aggressively dig into the snow for maximum traction
A removable key prevents the machine from being accidentally started