2014 Craftsman 45 in 420 cc Model 88398 Two-Stage Snow Blower Review
By: Paul Sikkema
Is This The Best Snow Blower For You? This is Craftsman’s biggest snow thrower! At first look it appears just like the Troy-Bilt and Cub Cadet 45 in snow throwers but there are some subtle differences. The Craftsman 88398 has drift cutters, sealed, maintenance free ball bearings, stronger than steel poly skid shoes and is serviced right at your home by Sears Home Services. You never have to take your Craftsman anywhere to get it repaired . This Craftsman is designed for anyone that needs to clean a very large driveway or large, wide sidewalks. This snow thrower features heated hand grips, huge capacity, large deep tread tires, big motor, power steering and electric start. It handles not only the heavy, wet snow on your driveway but also clear the piles of snow left by your snow plow or ATV.
This is a specialty snowblower and I normally don’t recommend this snow thrower because of it’s size. It is too large for most of you. It works best for large flat areas like parking lots, city sidewalks, school sidewalks and three car driveways. Don’t buy this if you have a steep incline to clear. Don’t buy this if your sidewalk is less than 45 inches wide. Even though it weighs almost 500 lbs and has dual wheels ….. it has has traction issues on steep driveways and sidewalks.
WHAT SIZE DRIVEWAY WILL YOU BE CLEARING? (Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large) This snow thrower is large enough to handle any size of driveway, parking lot or sidewalk complex. There is no larger walk-behind snow blower on the market.
WHAT TYPE OF SNOW DO YOU TYPICALLY GET? (Powdery, Light, Moderate, Wet & Heavy.) This is Craftsman’s largest capacity snow thrower. It will handle all types of snow well.
WHAT TYPE OF SURFACE WILL YOU BE CLEARING? (Paved, Gravel, Patio, Deck, Turf.) The Craftsman 88398 has Polymere rust-resistant, non-marking, reversible skid shoes. These non-marring shoes are the tougher than steel, yet they won’t scratch your patio or leave brown rust marks on your cement sidewalks and driveways. If you do manage to wear them out they are reversible to give your double the life over steel skid shoes.
HOW MUCH SNOW DO YOU NEED TO CLEAR PER SNOWFALL? (Less than 3″, 3″-6″, 6″-9″, More than 9″) The 22 inch intake height will let you power through most drifts. Tool-less drift cutters let you cut cleanly through deeper drifts. This snow thrower will handle 20 inch snow falls easily.
What you can use this snow blower for:For Paved and Gravel surfaces. (Because of it’s size you may have traction issues using it on unfrozen gravel) Moderate to wet and heavy snowfall. Because it has larger tires than most of the other snow throwers you can go out in the back yard and easily clean a spot off for your dogs. This snow blower will easily handle 20 inch and deeper snow falls. It will handle even deeper snow falls if you get blizzards often. The six forward and two reverse speeds will let you go slow for the heavy stuff and faster for the lighter snows.
What you may not like: This snowblower is big and heavy! It will not work well for you if you have to go over more than a step or two. Even though it is a big snow thrower it is very easy to use and balanced well. Don’t buy this if you have a steep incline to clear. Again, don’t buy this if your sidewalk is less than 45 inches wide. Even though it weighs almost 500 lbs and has dual wheels ….. it has has traction issues on steep driveways and sidewalks.
Sears is the Official On-Line Retailer: This snow blower is sold through Sears and Sears Hometown stores only. Click Here To See Current Price, Order Online, Pick Up at your local Sears, or have it delivered to your home: Be sure to click on the “Special Offers” tab to see the online only specials!
Be Careful! You may find “factory-direct discount” stores trying to sell this snow blower but make sure they are an authorized Sears Retailer. Make sure the “factory-direct discount” store won’t leave you “out in the cold” when it comes to service. Sears gets your snow blower serviced quickly at your home if there is a warranty issue.
Is This One Of The Best Rated Snow Blowers for 2013? Mechanically this Craftsman 88398 snow thrower is rated well and has no maintenance issues, but there are some reviews out there complaining about traction. If you need to clear large areas like city sidewalks, school walkways or huge, flat residential driveways don’t be afraid to buy this machine. The snow blower itself has been around for many years. The engine is only 3 years old but it is developing one of the best service records around. It has six shear pins in the auger so if you do hit something they break instead of damaging the gearbox.
Does This Get a Best Snow Blower Rating For 2013? In the Good, Better, Best rating system this snow blower rates a “Best” for ease of use, durability and long life. Power Steering, remote chute, electric start, large engine all factor into this “best” rating. It uses a strong Craftsman motor that has plenty of power for it’s 45 inch size. In fact the motor is one of the most dependable on the market today. The huge 16 in impeller and discharge chute move snow well and don’t clog when blowing wet, heavy snow.
Is This One Of The Best Snow Blowers for the Money 2013? I normally don’t give you my opinion, but if you need a snow blower this large the price is reasonable.
Customer Satisfaction: Owners who knew what they were buying like this machine. It has virtually no mechanical issues.
Value: At around $2300 it is a good value for the size. You get many “creature comfort” features for the money with this snow blower.
Service & Parts Availability: Service and parts are easily available at your home. Just call 1-800-4MY-HOME and Sears comes right to your home and repairs the snow thrower. If the service tech does not have the part with him, he can quickly order it while he is still at your house. The in-home repair is usually quicker than if you take another brand to a servicing dealer. If you want to service it yourself parts are readily available here Save 10% on your purchase at Sears PartsDirect.com
Ease Of Use: This is one of the easiest snow blowers to use because it has power steering and remote chute. It doesn’t matter if you are 5 ft, 100 lbs or 6 ft 300 lbs you will be able to easily operate this snow blower even though it is one of the heaviest snow throwers on the market. Heavy duty power steering makes this a breeze to use. The chute is the largest and doesn’t clog. Other features like good knobby tires, a headlight, heated handgrips and electric start make this snow blower a good choice.
Key Features and Benefits: (From sears.com)
Maximize Snow Removal Performance with This 45″ Dual-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Featuring a brawny 420cc engine, the Craftsman 45″ Dual-Stage Gas Snow Blower is built for heavy-duty use. Extra wide 45-inch clearing width means your driveway will be clear in minutes. The deluxe Glide-Tech skid shoes slide over pavers and bricks smoothly ensuring damage-free performance. Features like plow style handles, EZ Steer system, heated hand grips and push-button electric start make snow removal a breeze.
Dual 16″ x 6.5″ X-Trac tires in this 45″ Dual-Stage Gas Snow Blower offer greater traction in slippery snow terrains. In-dash LED headlight sheds a glow on your clearing path, enhancing visibility for added safety. Watch in amazement as the tool-less drift cutters knife through hard-packed, icy snow drifts, making it easier to power your way through and efficiently clear them. Park this potent snow thrower in your garage reassured that the patented deluxe Glide-Tech skid shoes will eliminate the chance of rust stains.
Use the remote chute control on this Craftsman 45″ Dual-Stage Gas Snow Blower for a 190-degree rotation adjustment while on-the-go
With six forward and two reverse, power-propelled speeds you can power through everything from light powdered snow to heavy wet slush
- A 45-inch clearing width and a 22-inch intake height lets you clear a wide driveway with ease
- Extreme capacity discharge chute throws large volumes of snow in a tight pattern avoiding snow blow back
- Single hand operation enhances the ease for on-the-go adjustments
- 420cc four-cycle OHV Craftsman engine comes with trigger controlled EZ Steer for better maneuverability
- 16″ x 6.5″ X-Trac tires and tool-less drift cutters are ideal for use in heavy snow conditions
- Heated hand grips and mitten-grip starter handle for comfortable operation in cold temperatures
- Large deluxe Glide-Tech skid shoes keep driveway damage-free
- It’s available in a black/red finish
- Item Weight: 490 lbs.
- Two year limited warranty