Anybody can use it. The Toro 1800 Power Curve earns high scores for handling and ease of use in one series of comparison tests. Owners agree wholeheartedly, except for a few complaints about maneuvering a long extension cord, which you'd have to do with any electric snow blower. This small unit is quiet, so you can use it without hearing protection; at just 25 pounds with an ergonomic handle and lift handle, reviewers say anybody can use it.
One owner, a woman in her 70s posting on AceHardware.com, says, "This little machine works great and is really fun to use... I would advise anyone who has [a] short double drive and little sidewalk to buy one of these." The ability to adjust the chute remotely with a lever instead of stopping the blower to adjust it manually is helpful, but the biggest thrill for many owners is never having to add gas or change the oil. Although the up to 150-foot extension cord you'll need limits your snow blowing range, that's a non-issue in small spaces, and hundreds of users are willing to put up with that inconvenience in return for the Toro's quiet, maintenance-free operation.
Great in light and crusty snow. Reviewers say the Toro is best at clearing relatively small paved areas and, because it clears right down to the ground, should not be used on gravel or other loose surfaces. One independent research organization gives it very good scores for surface clearing, but only fair to poor scores for throwing distance and performance while clearing away snowplow berms.
This blower has an 18-inch clearing path, and although Toro says it can handle snow up to 12 inches deep, most owners prefer to clear the snow about 6 inches at a time -- sometimes less if it's wet and heavy. They say you can clear more snow at once, but it takes more time and effort. "I do use the machine carefully, going out and clearing up to 6 inches of snow in a big storm," says one Amazon.com user who is very pleased with his purchase.
"It is surprisingly powerful," writes a reviewer on AceHardware.com who bought the Power Curve because he says a gas-powered blower is overkill. Many echo this sentiment and also praise the Toro's throwing power, but always within the context of electric snow blowers. Several owners say it removes dry snow well, but more than a couple of inches of heavy, wet snow tends to clog the chute -- a problem we found in all electric snow blower reviews.
A low-maintenance winner. Ultimately, the Toro 1800 Power Curve is the best choice if having a quiet, maintenance-free snow blower is your priority. Although it's perched at the high end of the single-stage electric snow blower price range, the Power Curve is a bargain compared to most gas-powered blowers.
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Excellent The Toro 1800 Power Curve is one of seven electric single-stage models tested and rated by ConsumerReports.org. In all, more than 70 snow blowers are included on the ratings chart, which is available only to subscribers. Others can read the brief overview and a few general buying-guide pages for free.
Review: Snow Blower Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of September 2012
Very good More than 250 Amazon.com users rate the latest version of the Toro Power Curve, giving it 4.1 stars out of 5. Complaints focus mainly on the blower's struggles in wet snow or snow deeper than 6 to 8 inches. "Decent, but be aware of its limitations," says one owner.
Review: Toro 38381 18-Inch 15 Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2012
3. Snow Blowers Direct
Very good Product expert Schrader selects the Toro 1800 Power Curve as the second-best electric snow blower sold by this site; his top pick is the two-stage Ariens AMP, which sells for about $1,500. Schrader calls the Toro Power Curve "ideal for residential use."
Review: Toro 1800 Power Curve Electric (18") 15-Amp Snow Blower, Kriss Schrader, Not dated
Good Here nearly 80 owners rate and review the Toro 1800 Power Curve, giving it an average score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. One 54-year-old woman says, "Don't think for a minute that clearing snow with this machine is effortless, but it is definitely less work and strain than doing it with a shovel."
Review: Toro 18 in. Power Curve Snow Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of September 2012
5. Snow Blowers Direct
Good The 1800 Power Curve gets an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 from more than 60 owners at this site. The only complaints come from a user who says it isn't powerful enough for the amount of snow his area gets, and another who finds it hard to maneuver since the wheels don't pivot but move in a forward direction only. One owner says his Toro Power Curve handles snowfalls of up to a foot deep with little difficulty.
Review: Toro 1800 Power Curve Electric (18") 15-Amp Snow Blower, Contributors to SnowBlowersDirect.com, As of September 2012
Good About 15 owners review the Toro 1800 Power Curve on Ace Hardware's website, giving it 4.7 stars out of 5. Each of them would recommend the blower to a friend, and all praise its light weight and maneuverability.
Review: Toro 18in Electric Power Curve Snow Thrower (38381), Contributors to AceHardware.com, As of September 2012