2014 Craftsman 26 in 208 cc Model 88691 Two-Stage Snow Blower Review
Is This The Best Snow Blower For You? Almost everyone can use this snow blower! This is the snow blower you should buy for you wife and grandmother (not the cheap small one) If you can walk behind this unit, you can use it. Why? Because the snow blower has power steering! You drive this snow blower with two small levers under the handles. No manhandling an awkward, heavy machine. No locked up solid axle. No “pin-lock” differential. This is the least expensive snow blower on the market with this feature. And it’s not a bad machine either. This “better” Craftsman 26 inch snow blower (88691) will easily handle 9 inches or more snow on a 2-3 car drive 80 to 100 feet long. And it will fit through the side door pf your garage.
The new Craftsman Quiet 4-Way Joystick Snow Thrower Model 88694 replaces the popular Model 88691. This 26 inch 208cc snow blower features not only the new quiet engine but “zero-turn” steering and 4 way chute control. If you need to blow snow at all hours of the day or night right next to your neighbor’s bedroom window and you want a snow blower that’s easy to use – this is the one for you.
These new snow blowers are designed to make the snow throwing experience safer and more comfortable. How? by making your snow blowing experience a lot quieter, the new Craftsman® 2 stage snow blowers are up to 45 percent quieter than all their previous models.
Power steering makes this snow blower one of the easiest to use. Two small levers under the handles let you “steer” this snow blower with your fingers. This method is the easiest way to manuever a 26 inch snow blower.
Poly skid shoes that don’t mark your new patio or stained driveway yet are as tough as the steel shoes on other brands.
Single handed 4-way chute control. The extended chute puts the snow where you want it and it so strong it has been driven over by a pickup and still bounces back to it’s original shape.
The efficient Overhead Valve motor with electric start is sized to get you job done quickly and efficiently.
Large, deep tread tires
Extended chute with a lifetime warranty. The chute is so tough you can drive over it with a pickup and not damage it. (Try that with a metal chute) It is slippery so snow does not stick to it and it will not rust.
This snow blower by Craftsman is a great snow thrower at a “value” price. If you follow Craftsman you know this size has been around for a few years now and is one of the best rated snow blowers on the market. It is very popular because of the features and the affordable price. This machine is a proven winner and it will last for years if properly taken care of.
What you can use this snow blower for: For paved and gravel surfaces, patios, sidewalks and walkways. Will do grass pathways and trails. All types of snow including heavy, wet blizzard snow. It has tires large enough so you can go out in the back yard and clean a spot off for your dogs or make a path out to the storage shed. You can use this to clean your patio and deck and the poly skid shoes will not scratch the surface. This snow blower is a good choice if you have a stained concrete drive. It handle occasional 12 inch and deeper snow falls. The six forward and two reverse speeds will let you go slow for the heavy stuff and faster for the lighter snows.
This Snow Blower Has Been Around Longer Than Most. Can You Trust It? This snow blower has been sold now for at least 4 years and has a proven track record of being a very reliable and capable machine. This snow blower is one of the best Craftsman has ever sold. Of course if you use a fuel stabilizer and take care of the machine it will be one of the best you have owned.
What you may not like: This snow blower is 26 inches wide and will probably fit through the side door of your garage. If you have to go through that side door to move snow make sure the door is at least 30 inches wide.
Owners of the 4-way chute control on this unit either love it…..or hate it. What most owners don’t understand is the control is actually designed to use your hand to release the chute and your forearm to move it from side to side. [box type=”info”] In other words with your left hand reach over the top of the control handle and grasp the knob. Squeeze the red button like you are making a fist. Use your forearm to move the handle from side to side for the chute rotation and push it forward and back for the deflector.[/box] This works very well because you use the strength of your forearm to change the rotation of the chute, but it does take some getting used to.
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.
MovingSnow’s Best Buy Craftsman 88691
Is This One Of The Best Rated Snow Blowers for 2012 – 2014? When you go read the reviews of this machine you will find negative reviews. Why? Because it has been around longer than most. This snow thrower has had many upgrades over the years and has been rated as one of the best snow blowers for the last two years. The drive system has been around for many years and is one of the most dependable around. The transmission is proven reliable on this size. The impeller, auger gearbox and shear pin system has proven itself over the years. Read on to learn more:
Does This Get a Best Snow Blower Rating For 2012-2014? In the Good, Better, Best rating system this snow blower rates a “Best” for ease of use, durability and long life. 4-Way remote chute, electric start, adequate engine all factor into this “best” rating. It uses a strong Craftsman motor that has plenty of power for it’s 26 inch size and 9-22 inches of snow. In fact the motor is one of the most dependable on the market today. Don’t be afraid to buy this snow blower if it fits your needs.
Is This One Of The Best Snow Blowers for the Money 2012-2014? I normally don’t give you my opinion, but I do expect owners to like this machine. This is one of the “best values” on the market for 2014. Craftsman has kept the price about the same as last year and it will be very hard to find a comparable snowthrower from the other brands for a similar price. If you want an easy to use 26 inch snow blower seriously look at this machine.
Customer Satisfaction: When you go to sears.com to read the reviews of this snow thrower you will see over 4 years of reviews. Overall customer satisfaction is great but there are a few negative reviews I want to note. First, always use a fuel stabilizer or fresh non-ethanol fuel. If you are going to leave your snow blower sit for more than 2 weeks use a fuel stabilizer. Today’s gas is designed for auto use, not for these small engines. Second, buy extra shear pins now! The auger system is designed to be protected from damage by the shear pins breaking and if you replace one with a bolt you stand the chance of destroying your auger gearbox. Third, get used to it before the first snow. Go out and play with the chute control, learn to start it, and practice with it.
I am not going to tell you to buy a protection plan, but todays fuels are not designed to be used in small engines and Sears is the ONLY retailer that will repair fuel related problems if you have the optional protection plan. For less than the cost of one carburetor repair you can have 5 years of protection.
Here are a few tips to get the best out of this snowblower. 1. Read the operator’s manual and familiarize yourself with the operation of the machines BEFORE you have to blow snow with it. 2. The 3 or 5 year home protection plan can be a great value. Sears will fix your snow blower and give the satisfaction that it will work for you for the 3 or 5 years. 3. Practice using the chute so you really understand how to use it. The deflector has a tensioning adjustment that you can change it for light or heavy, wet snow. 4. When you get your new blower home, get it out of the box, learn how to start it and use it before the first snow. Take it out and practice with it in the driveway. (If there is a manufacturing issue, you will find it now instead of when the snow is 12 inches deep.) 5. Use a fuel stabilizer like Stabil (Marine) or Seafoam. Put it in your gas can when you fill it at the pump.
Value: At around $899 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.
Service & Parts Availability: Service, 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. Parts, I have a 21 year old Craftsman snow blower that I use every year. All the parts for it are still available through searspartsdirect.com. Parts are available now for your new snowthrower and I expect them to be available for 15-20 years from now.
Ask me in the comments below and I will show you how easy it is to get your parts. It is not hard to get parts for your Craftsman snow blower and the motor.
Ease Of Use: This snow blower has the 4-way chute and power steering. You will like the control you get with the extended chute and the fact that snow does not blow back at you as much. This uses a “power steer” drive system. There is no differential so both wheels drive all the time giving you the best traction. When you want to turn just pull the trigger under the handle and the snow blower turns for you. No “manhandling” If you have back problems or a physically smaller than average I suggest buying this snow blower. It is balanced well so you if you do have to lift up the front to go over an obstruction you easily can do it. Under normal snow removal conditions you will appreciate the traction this unit has. The extended chute allows you to put the snow exactly where you want it.
Key Features and Benefits: (From Sears.com)
Move more snow with a more powerful engine and save time out in the cold. This 26 in. Craftsman® Dual-Stage Snowblower has a 208cc* 4-cycle OHV engine, EZ Steer for better maneuverability and 4-way chute control.
208cc* 4-cycle OHV Craftsman® engine provides more power, longer life, and improved fuel economy – no mixing of gas and oil required. Move more snow with a more powerful engine and save time out in the cold
Push-button electric start allows for easy and sure starts in cold temperatures
26 in. clearing width and 21 in. intake height lets you clear more snow with each pass, ideal for medium to large paved and gravel driveways and sidewalks
12 in. serrated steel auger and 12 in. impeller breaks up hard-packed snow and discharges heavy, wet snow
6 forward and 2 reverse, power-propelled speeds save time and energy, allowing operator to adjust speeds to match need
Trigger controlled EZ Steer system allows operator to turn unit with ease, increasing maneuverability while reducing user fatigue and time
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 operator’s position
Extended chute design keeps a tighter discharge pattern to increase throwing distance and reduce snow blow back
15 in. x 5 in. X-Trac tires provide superior traction in heavy snow conditions
Deluxe Glide-Tech™ skid shoes eliminate garage rust stains and driveway damage, by sliding along pavers and bricks
Single hand operation eliminates starts and stops, freeing up a hand for on-the-go adjustments
Mitten-grip starter handle – 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
2-year limited warranty
Limited lifetime warranty on upper and lower chute