2016 Craftsman Snow Blowers – What’s New – and Exciting!

What Does Craftsman Have New this Year?

This is a complete list of what Craftsman is offering for gas snow blowers for 2016.  Besides your favorite, Craftsman is introducing 4 snow blowers.  A new single stage, two brand new heavy-duty 2-stage machines and they are bringing back an old 28 inch favorite. I’m really excited about the heavy-duty models. I’ll go over each one in the list below,

Why Buy A Craftsman Snow Blower This Year?

Why The Brand: Craftsman has been selling residential snow blowers from the beginning. Overall, they sell the best value machines.  That means they are not the cheapest on the market but are a fair value. That also means that some of the other brands will have snow blower that are more heavy-duty (and more expensive)  but as a homeowner Craftsman snow blowers will give you your money’s worth and last for years.   When sized to the amount of snow you get and the area you have to clear you can always feel good that you made the right decision in purchasing a Craftsman. Craftsman does not make a commercial snow blower even though they have a Craftsman Pro series. They only market to residential owners and have a size that will fit just about any driveway.

Sales: Craftsman snow blowers are sold online at Sears.com/Snow Removal Equipment, and at physical locations including the Full-line Sears Stores (Malls), at the Sears Hometown Stores, Sears Outlet Stores and Sears Hardware Stores. In addition, certain models are sold through ACE hardware.

Sears is intent on becoming one of the best online stores so the best deals and the best sale prices are always available through Sears.com/Snow Removal Equipment.  You can order online and pick up your new snow blower at your local store. Most Craftsman snow blowers are also eligible for free delivery.

Parts: Craftsman has one of the largest parts networks in the industry and parts are always available online through Sears PartsDirect. Parts are available to order anytime – 24/7 – through the Sears PartsDirect website. All you need to is the model number of your snow blower from the nameplate located on the frame of the machine. Enter that model number into the box on Sears PartsDirect and parts diagrams pop up. You can click and order the part right there. New! Did you know you can purchase online get free in store pickup at Sears Parts Direct?  It’s quick and easy to do. Choose your item and choose your store, that’s it! Sears PartsDirect

Service: Craftsman has a well established parts and repair network.  The unique feature of their network is for most snow handling equipment they will come right to your home for repairs and normal maintenance.  You never have to worry about having to take you snow blower somewhere to get it fixed. Just call 1-800-4MY-HOME to set up an appointment.

The big red elephant in the room: Is Sears going out of business? I’m not privy to what is going on behind the closed doors of the Sears Corporate Boardroom but I will say the news media has been trying to convince you that Sears will “be out of business” by the end of the year since the 1990’s. The news media knows that they can sell at lot more “newspapers” with doom and gloom than they can with feel good articles so they will always continue to find an “open wound” and pour salt in it.  In general, they love to watch something fail. I know, “the sky is falling” sells a lot more newspapers or likes on Facebook but it does not help when you are trying to decide which snow blower you want to have in your garage for the next 20 years.  That said, I have watched Sears closely for the last 16 years and Craftsman equipment, Craftsman Parts and Sears Repair Services are just as available as it was in 2000. Craftsman, Sears Parts, and Sears Repair are all separate from the mall stores so even if Sears does close your local store at the mall, parts and service are still available with just a phone call or through sears.com.  The only thing I’ve noticed is that Sears Repair is having the same difficulty as everyone else is having in finding and keeping qualified techs. Because of that some areas of the country are experiencing 2-3 week repairs (is that any different than your local dealer?)

Owner Reviews: Depending on the model, Craftsman Snow Throwers averages 4 to 4.5 of of 5 stars. The biggest complaint/issue continues to be the general lack of knowledge that owners have about using fresh fuel and storing gas engines with fuel stabilizer in the tanks. This is an industry problem  – not just a problem with Craftsman. If you are not using a sealed gas can and fuel stabilizer you are just asking for problems even on brand new machines.

All Craftsman gas engine snow throwers have a 4-cycle engine.  All 2-stage and 3-stage snow throwers have a throttle but do not have a fuel shut-off valve. Please use a fuel stabilizer when storing the snow blower with fuel in it.

The Complete 2016 Craftsman Snow Thrower List:

My goal is to help you find the right snow blower for you. You can get the best deal but if it is on the wrong snow blower it’s a lose/lose for both you and the company you purchased it from.  Before I get to the list I would like to remind you about the snow blower facts article that will help you decide on the right type and size snow blower for you. The article will answer most of your questions about what size or type of snow blower you need for your property. Check out the FAQS page for questions like “How large of snow blower do I need?”

Note: Any model numbers you see in stores or online that do not match this list are discontinued models.  Craftsman typically does not sell off discontinued models in the spring but waits until the next fall. In particular there are some previous year 33 and 45 inch models available right now.

Please Note: If a snow thrower is listed on sears.com I will give you a link to buy.  I do have a relationship with Sears where I make a small commission if you buy through this site.  

So, here is the list of the 2016 Craftsman snow blowers. You may ask any questions about these models in the comments section at the end.

2016 Single Stage Craftsman Snow Throwers:

Craftsman offers three single stage gas snow throwers this year.  Remember, single stage snow throwers only work on hard surfaces like a black top driveway or cement sidewalk. They do work well if you have people who walk on the snow before you clean because the front rubber auger actually touches the ground. No matter what the manufacture states a single paddle snow thrower will only handle about 6 inches of snow at a time. If you get more snow than that you will have to go out in the middle of the storm and clear snow.  They also don’t work well on that frozen pile of snow the snow plow truck left you about 10 pm last night. It will clear it OK if the pile has not froze but if it has froze solid take a snow shovel with you to break up the snow so the snow thrower can move it for you.

The 11683 is a low powered, inexpensive snow thrower that I only recommend for people who get very little snow every year. In other words, if you can’t remember the last time you got 6 inches of snow this machine may be a good choice. If you buy it just because it’s the cheapest snow thrower you will complain about it being under powered and a bad choice for you. This snow thrower does not have electric start

All of the other snow throwers that Craftsman offers have electric start. 

The 88780. Many of us in the Midwest have two snow throwers – a heavy duty 2-stage for the blizzards and a general purpose single stage for the 4 inch and less snow falls. This is a great choice for the second snow thrower. If you feel that a single stage snow thrower is all that you need the 88780 is a good choice. The 179 cc engine has plenty of power for all but the wettest snow and will realistically throw it off your 2 car wide driveway.

The 88782. If you get a lot of 2 to 6 inch’ers and an occasional 8-10 inch snow the 88782 may be a good choice for you.  The extra power of the 208 cc engine will quickly cut through heavy, wet snow and throw it clear of your 2 car driveway.  It’s easier to use that other single stage snow throwers because the remote chute lets change the throwing direction without stopping the snow thrower and moving around to the side of the machine to move a lever. The new LED light is bright and will help you see out at the end of your driveway in the middle of the night.

  11683 88780 88782
Sears Stock Item # 11683 88780 88782 NEW
Sears Service Item # 247.116831 247.887803 247.887822
Buy Here, Get The Best Deal Here: Sears.com  Sears.com   Sears.com
engine 4-cycle / 123 cc OHV 4-cycle / 179 cc OHV 4-cycle / 208cc OHV
engine brand Craftsman Craftsman Craftsman
clearing width 21” 21” 21″
intake height 13” 13” 13″
drive auger propelled auger propelled auger propelled
starter type recoil starter electric starter electric starter
auger / impeller Snow Claw Snow Claw Snow Claw
speed control auger propelled auger propelled auger propelled
operation control single wrap-around lever  single wrap-around lever   single wrap-around lever  
chute control manual manual 2-way joystick
tire size 8″ x 2″ 8″ x 2″ 8″ x 2″
headlight  No No  LED
fuel capacity 2 quarts 2 quarts 2 quarts
skid shoes n/a n/a n/a
handle ergonomic ergonomic ergonomic
warranty 2 year limited 2 year limited 2 year limited
extended chute  No No  No 
drift cutters  No  No No 
Click on Price for Sears Sale Price:  $399.99 $499.99 $549.99

2016 2-Stage 24 inch Craftsman Compact

The 88172. Do you have an older 5 HP, 24 inch Craftsman snow blower? This is the exact replacement. Short, plastic chute, good engine, no single-hand controls. If you have a small one or two car driveway and you don’t get a lot of snow this can be a good choice. Again, if you buy this because it’s cheap – you won’t be happy, but if you know what this snow blower’s capabilities are it may be a good machine for you.

The 88173. This snow blower continues to be one the best overall values for 2-stage snow blowers. The 208 cc engine has plenty of power. The long chute holds the snow better so it doesn’t blow back in your face so often. It’s listed as a compact which means it is a good residential machine if you average 60 inches of snow or less a year.  In other words, I highly recommend it for Chicago but not for Boston. It will work well for New Jersey or Long Island but not for Buffalo. Be warned, it throws snow well but it does not have some of the more expensive “creature features” that you may want. It does not have power steering, a headlight or remote deflector control. It does have poly skid shoes that won’t scratch your pavement and single hand control. Single hand control lets you rotate the chute or shift the gear selector while still moving.

Want this snow blower but really need a light? This light is as bright as the dash mounted variety one and you can move it so the chute is not in the way!  Craftsman Snow Thrower/Mower Light

  88172 88173
Sears Stock Item # 88172 88173
Sears Service Item # 247.881723 247.881733
Buy Here, Get The Best Deal Here: Sears.com Sears.com
engine 4-cycle / 179 cc OHV 4-cycle / 208 cc OHV
engine brand Craftsman Craftsman
clearing width 24” 24″
intake height 21” 21″
drive wheel wheel
starter type electric starter electric starter
auger / impeller 12” serrated auger /
updated 12” impeller
12” serrated auger /
updated 12” impeller
speed control 6 forward, 2 reverse 6 forward, 2 reverse
operation control No  single hand control
chute control crank / manual EZ Rotation Chute
tire size 13” x 4” X-Trac 13″ x 4″ X-Trac
headlight No    No 
fuel capacity 2 quarts 2 quarts
skid shoes Glide-Tech™ Glide-Tech™
handle steel panel panel
warranty 2 year limited 2 year limited
extended chute No   extended chute
lifetime warranty
drift cutters  No  No  
Click on Price for Sears Sale Price:  $599.99 $679.99

2016 2-Stage Craftsman Quiet Series

Many people complain that snow blower engines are too noisy.  If you want an excellent 2-stage snow thrower but would like it to be quieter than your neighbor’s these snow blowers are the best choice.

Note: The written item description for these three snow blowers on Sears.com can be a little deceiving. It’s not wrong and they are not lying but I want to clarify the details before you buy one of these snow blowers.  The engines are up to 45% quieter than a normal 208 or 243 cc engine. They also have the same horsepower as the normal engines.  BUT! These snow blowers are a little under powered for their size clearing heavy snow. That said, the 26 inch machines have had a 208 cc engine on them for years and they have always been under powered for many people.  So I only recommend these three snow blowers if you want a quiet engine and you live in an area of the country that gets less than 60 inches of snow a year. These snow blowers will work well for the 2 to 10 inch snows, but 14-18 inch snows and deep drifts will take you a longer time to clear with these machines.  They are good, dependable snow blowers but under powered for areas of the country that get more than 60 inches of snow a year.

The 88972. This snow blower is a good value but does not have power steering and a 4-way chute control. If you want a larger width than popular Craftsman 88173 and are a robust, healthy person this is a good choice.

The 88694. This snow blower is on of the easiest snow blowers to use. If your spouse needs to move snow but doesn’t like machinery this is one of the best choices. If your 125 lb mom needs a new snow blower and she has a gravel driveway or gets 12-20 inch drifts this is the best choice. And yes, it’s quiet. About 45% quieter than her old one. This snow blower is balanced well so it’s easy to maneuver, has good traction and power steering. Basically, if you can walk and use both hands  – you can use this machine.

The 88394.  This snow blower is just a little larger and more powerful than the 26 inch 88694. It’s still very easy to use and I suggest it a lot for people who average 50 inches or less snow a year but have a larger driveway, a gravel drive to clear, or want to clean a spot on the lawn for the dogs.

  88972 88694 88394
Sears Stock Item # 88972 88694 88394
Sears Service Item # 247.889721 247.886941 247.883941
Buy Here, Get The Best Deal Here: Sears.com Sears.com Sears.com
engine 4-cycle / 208 cc OHV
Quiet Engine
4-cycle / 208 cc OHV
Quiet Engine
4-cycle / 243cc OHV
Quiet Engine
engine brand Craftsman Craftsman Craftsman
clearing width 26” 26” 28″
intake height 21” 21” 21″
drive wheel power steering power steering
starter type electric starter electric starter electric starter
auger / impeller 12” serrated auger /
updated 12” impeller
12” serrated auger /
updated 12” impeller
12” serrated auger /
updated 12” impeller
speed control 6 forward, 2 reverse 6 forward, 2 reverse 6 forward, 2 reverse
operation control single hand control single hand control single hand control
chute control 2-way joystick 4-way joystick 4-way joystick
tire size 15” x 5” X-Trac 15” x 5” X-Trac 15” x 5” X-Trac
headlight  No   No  LED headlight
fuel capacity 4 quarts 4 quarts 4 quarts
skid shoes Glide-Tech™ deluxe Glide-Tech™ deluxe Glide-Tech™
handle deluxe panel design deluxe panel design deluxe panel design
warranty 2 year limited 2 year limited 2 year limited
extended chute extended chute
lifetime warranty
extended chute
lifetime warranty
extended chute
lifetime warranty
drift cutters No    No  tool-less
drift cutters
Click on Price for Sears Sale Price:  $799.99 $899.99 $999.99

2016 Craftsman 2-Stage Best Series

Craftsman has a snow blower for everyone and they use 4 paint schemes to make that easy for you to understand. Gray is good, Red is better, Black is best and Black/Yellow is Pro. The Black series has all the dependable features you want without the high price. If you live in the U.S. and average 100 inches or less a year, these snow blowers will do the job – well.

These snow blowers have been around for quite a while. They have had incremental improvements over the years but in general they have been and continue to be some of the best value snow blowers on the market. When you think about Craftsman and the good-old-days and smile, these are the snow blowers that made you smile.  There are other machines that blow snow faster, are bigger, are heavier and a lot more expensive but these snow blowers are just dependable and easy to use.

These two snow blowers are very easy to use for any individual under 6 ft 2 in and over 110 lbs. You drive them and don’t need to “man-handle” them to clear your driveway or sidewalks. They have tall tires for more traction and are balanced well.

If I rated the 250 plus snow blowers on the market, these two machines would be in the top 10 for value, ease of use and dependability.

The 88395. This snow blower is 28 inches and uses a 277 cc engine. It will handle areas of the country that get 100 inches or less very well. This is a good size for a 2-car wide 100 ft long driveway.

The 88396. 30 inches and 357 cc engine.  I’ve used this snow blower on 14 inches of heavy snow and the engine has more than enough power. One of the features I really like about this machine is the electric joystick chute control. This control is proven “bulletproof” and the easiest chute control on the  market. No need to move your hand when you have to change the throwing direction. The control is right by your right thumb. This is one of the larger snow blowers on the market and will handle 120 inch average snowfalls well.

  88396
Sears Stock Item # 88396
Sears Service Item # 247.883963
Buy Here, Get The Best Deal Here: Sears.com
engine 4-cycle / 357 cc OHV
engine brand Craftsman
clearing width 30”
intake height 21”
drive power steering
starter type electric starter
auger / impeller 12” serrated auger /
updated 12” impeller
speed control 6 forward, 2 reverse
operation control single hand control
chute control 4-way electric
tire size 16” x 6.5” X-Trac
headlight LED headlight
fuel capacity 5 quarts
skid shoes Deluxe Glide-Tech
handle deluxe panel design
warranty 2 year limited
extended chute extended chute
lifetime warranty
drift cutters tool-less
drift cutters
Click on Price for Sears Sale Price:  $1,199.99

New 2016 High Capacity, Large Frame, Large Area 2-Stage Craftsman Pro Snow Blowers

The new high-capacity Craftsman Pro snow blowers are a big deal. Why?  The old models had been around for many years. They were expensive, heavy and very out-dated. The old 33 inch model was an OK machine but the 45 inch – was just worthless. I could go on but you get the picture.

The new models are a complete redesign.

  • 6 forward and 2 reverse, power-propelled speeds save time and energy, allowing you to adjust speeds to match you snow.
  • A  30 or 34” clearing width and 23” intake height lets you clear more snow with each pass. Coupled with the larger engines these snow blowers are ideal for large to extra-large paved and gravel driveways and sidewalks
  • Large 14 inch front auger cuts through the snow and moves large amounts into the 14 inch impeller. There are very few snow blowers on the market with this large impeller. I expect it to throw snow a long, long, long way. The steel that makes up this new snow blower is thicker than the other Craftsman models (and about 80% of the other brands)
  • Front gear box brace and full width auger shaft. This will keep the front auger running smoothly and it will handle hard packed old snow without bending the front auger.
  • Simple, dependable crank chute control and remote pitch lever allow easy adjustment of height and distance of your snow discharge
  • The new chute is huge! The steel high arc chute keeps a tighter discharge pattern to increase throwing distance and trajectory
  • Handle braces (support struts) so the handles will not break over time. The snow blowers are very well-balanced.  They have just enough weight of the front so they won’t ride up in heavy snow but light enough that you can easily go over curbs and into your garage. Single hand operation eliminates starts and stops, allowing you to use the one hand for on-the-go adjustments
  • 327cc or 420cc 4-cycle OHV engine. These engines are strong and you won’t have to wait on them no matter how deep the snow.
  • Comes with trigger controlled zero-turn steering for better maneuverability. To steer right or left just pull a trigger under the handle bar. To zero-turn just pull both triggers and spin it around in its own length. This system is very intuitive and keeps the snow blower moving in a straight line when you want it to.
  • In-dash LED headlight plus a new high-output LED light bar right on top of the auger housing
  • 16″ x 6.5″ X-Trac tires and tool-less drift cutters are ideal for use in heavy snow conditions
  • Push button electric start allows for easy and sure starts in cold temperatures
  • Large deluxe poly Glide-Tech skid shoes keep driveway damage-free

Please Note: These snow blowers have not been rated by any of the other review sites. I will not get a chance to use one until I get some snow and that’s usually around December. But, I’ve been using and studying the design of snow blowers long enough that I will be able to give you an honest opinion of their capacity soon. I’ll write a separate review. Hint: So far I like them better than the red, tracked snow blowers that cost twice as much 🙂

  88976 88978
Sears Stock Item # 88976 NEW 88978 NEW
Sears Service Item # 247.889760 247.889780
Buy Here, Get The Best Deal Here: Sears.com Sears.com
engine 4-cycle / 357 cc OHV 4-cycle / 420 cc OHV
engine brand Craftsman Craftsman
clearing width 30″ 34″
intake height 23″ 23″
drive power steering power steering
starter type electric starter electric starter
auger / impeller 14″ serrated auger /
14″ impeller
14″ serrated auger /
14″ impeller
speed control 6 forward, 2 reverse 6 forward, 2 reverse
operation control single hand control single hand control
chute control crank / remote pitch crank / remote pitch
tire size 16” x 6.5” X-Trac 16” x 6.5” X-Trac
headlight LED in dash headlight plus LED light bar LED in dash headlight plus LED light bar
fuel capacity 5 quarts 5 quarts
skid shoes Large Deluxe Glide-Tech Large Deluxe Glide-Tech
handle deluxe panel design deluxe panel design
warranty 2 year limited 2 year limited
extended chute Steel High Arc Chute Steel High Arc Chute
drift cutters tool less
drift cutters
tool less
drift cutters
Click on Price for Sears Sale Price: $1,499.99 $1,699.99

2016 Craftsman Pro 3-Stage Snow Blowers

3-Stage snow blowers work well on deep, medium to light snow.  6 inches or better is ideal. Under those circumstances these snow blowers are high-powered, high-capacity machines that will move up to 50% more snow than the red Craftsman snow blowers. If I lived in a snow belt like Hammond, IN or Buffalo, NY these would be a great choice.

Because some of the review sites are using damp sawdust to test snow blowers many of these review sites are rating these snow blowers as the best. They do work better than most under certain conditions.  Are these the best for you? Please be aware if you get a lot of 2-4 inch heavy, wet snows these units tend to splatter snow out the front. They are a high-capacity snow blower but not a “clean” snow blower. If you get a lot of snow that freezes into hard drifts quickly these snow blowers tend to break shear pins on that type of snow. You will need to take half-passes or less to clean solid, frozen snow.

The 88870. 24 inch, 277 cc. Over-the-top power in a small unit. If you have a small driveway but need to throw the snow a long distance this is a great choice.

The 88874. 28 inch, 357 cc. Works well for a 2-3 car wide driveway 100-150 foot long.

  88870 88874
Sears Stock Item # 88870 88874
Sears Service Item # 247.888701 247.888741
Buy Here, Get The Best Deal Here: Sears.com Sears.com
engine 4 cycle / 277cc OHV 4-cycle / 357cc OHV
engine brand Craftsman Craftsman
clearing width 24″ 28″
intake height 21″ 21″
drive power steering power steering
starter type electric starter electic starter
auger / impeller 12″ / 12″ / 12″
3 Stage System
12″ / 12″ / 12″
3 Stage System
speed control 6 forward, 2 reverse 6 forward, 2 reverse
operation control single hand control single hand control
chute control 4-way joystick 4-way joystick
tire size 15″ x 5″ X-Trac 16″ x 6.5″ X-Trac
headlight LED headlight LED headlight
fuel capacity 5 quarts 5 quarts
skid shoes Deluxe Glide-Tech™ Deluxe Glide-Tech™
handle deluxe panel design deluxe panel design
warranty 2 year limited 2 year limited
extended chute extended chute
lifetime warranty
extended chute
lifetime warranty
drift cutters tool-less
drift cutters
tool-less
drift cutters
Click on Price for Sears Sale Price:  $1,199.99 $1,399.99

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39 Comments

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