This is the first time I used the new SnowMaster. I had a chance to use it on 4-10 inches of snow on cement, gravel and turf. The snow ranged from 4 inches of powder to slush to 10 inches of nice heavy snow. Enjoy!
Blowing snow is not an exact science. Because of that I tried to use the SnowMaster on as many different surfaces and types of snow as I could find.
UPDATE: After the latest east coast storm, there are a few videos showing up on youtube using the 824 and 724. I listed them at the end of this article.
Update Jan 2018:
Hi Paul, Just wanted to post a note of thanks for all the great info on this site. Based on everything I read here and my needs (small driveway, Boston suburbs, etc.), I bought the SnowMaster 824 QXE to replace a really awful two-stage snow thrower, and I could not be happier!
This thing throws snow farther than either two-stage I previously owned, and the speed is just incredible. The amount of time I save because of the chute joystick and not needing to shift gears is remarkable.
Boston’s bomb cyclone snow event today was the second chance for me to use the new SnowMaster, and it dominated everything this storm could throw at it. With some patience and practice, I was easily slicing through 12 to 18-inch drifts. Note: I wasn’t sure about getting the larger engine, but today made it worth it. The extra power was helpful.
As stated in the reviews, the one weakness I found is the weight. There are times when it rides up the deep snow or won’t quite cut through the harder stuff on the ground. However, for me, the weight is more often a positive, as I can very easily pull it up our sloped driveway and sidewalk. Also, this snow thrower is so light I can pull it up a few steps to clear off the walk to my back patio and most of the patio in a matter of minutes, versus an hour of back-breaking shoveling in the past.
Regarding the personal pace system, I had never used it before. At first, I thought it was way too fast and difficult to control. However, after about 30 minutes of use, I was very comfortable with it.
For anyone on the fence after reading these reviews and watching video of the SnowMaster, go for it.
Here is what I like about the SnowMaster:
- The 824 QXE has a lot of power. Even with wet snow from the snow plow it blasted the snow 15-20 feet. Most of the time it was throwing snow 20-30 feet.
- It has plenty of traction under all conditions. Even when I took it out on the lawn on 3 inch tall grass and cleared 10 inches of snow the tires had plenty of traction and didn’t spin. The SnowMaster is a lot lighter than a traditional 2-stage so the tires are just right. It spun a little on gravel but that’s expected.
- Toro does not recommend using it on turf or gravel. I tried it out anyway on a frozen gravel driveway and 3 inch tall grass. It’s not meant to clear gravel and turf but in a pinch and with a little practice it will work. There are two reasons it’s not the best choice. First the skid shoes can’t adjust for more clearance under the scraper so it will throw rocks. Second, the Personal Pace will cause the front of the snow blower to buck up when it gets stuck in the turf.
- If you live in an area that gets more 2-6 inch snows than 10-20 incher’s it’s a better choice than a single stage. If you live in an area where you don’t get 2-6 foot drifts it will handle the occasional 18 inch drift just fine.
- It will take as much snow as you can push through it. With most residential 2-stage snow blowers when the snow gets too deep for it the snow will build up in front of the snow blower and you have to slow down or stop and wait for the 2-stage front auger to catch up. If you don’t the snow will fall out the side (windrow) and you will end up having to go back over again or you have to take 1/2 passes. Even in 10 inch snow the SnowMaster did not leave a windrow out the side.
- My neighbor has a 15 year old 2-stage, 26 inch, 8HP snow blower. It’s well maintained. I could clear the same snow twice as fast because he had to slow down and wait for the snow blower to swallow all the snow.
- The chute control is super-quick and so easy. It’s tall enough that you don’t get slow blowing back in your face.
- I have a 16X70 concrete driveway, an old street paver patio and I clear about a 20X20 area of turf for my dogs. I live in an area with lots of trees so I don’t get drifts. I seldom get more than 15 inches of snow. This SnowMaster is just right for me.
Here is what you may complain about.
- It will take you a little while to get used to the Personal Pace. It’s different than anything you have used before. To use it, grab the handle with both hands and just start walking, but I caught myself pushing on the handle before I started walking and that caused the snow thrower to jump. Once I figured out what I was doing and then concentrated for a few minutes I got the hang of it. After 30 minutes or so I can say I like it!
- I’ve had a few readers say, “It doesn’t have a reverse!” It does not need one. There is a full length steel handle under the Personal Pace handle. When you want to go backwards just grab that bar and pull it back. It’s very light and easier to pull back than a single stage snow thrower (with the smaller wheels) I never felt like I was going to slip and fall pulling it backwards.
- It does not work that well on gravel driveways. Don’t buy it if your driveway is gravel or turf.
Here’s a video for you.
I boiled about an hour’s worth of use down to 12 minutes. Enjoy!
Be nice! I know snow blowers a lot better than video editing….
Disclaimer: I purchased this snow blower myself. Toro did not compensate me in any way for positive comments and likewise other companies did not pay me for negative comments.
If you would like to buy one please head over to this article for the buy links:
Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below:
[schema type=”review” url=”http://wp.me/p6vdNF-3o6″ name=”2015 Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE Test on Pavement, Gravel and Turf” description=”This is a video review of the new Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE. Check out why I only gave it a 9 out of 10!” rev_name=”Toro SnowMaster 824 QXE” rev_body=”The Best New Snow Blower For 2015! Is it the best for you?” author=”Paul Sikkema” pubdate=”2016-01-03″ user_review=”9″ min_review=”1″ max_review=”10″ ]