Handles well, but carburetor issues a recurring gripe. Handling is a high point for the Toro Power Clear 180 in one expert test, where it earns the best possible score. Owners agree, saying it moves easily, although it can struggle to get up inclines. The single-stage blower gets only mediocre expert marks for its controls, which owners don't really comment on. They do, however, say it's easy to put together, and they like not having to mix oil and gas. The unit does require straight oil, but it comes right in the box. This snow blower is quite loud, so hearing protection is recommended.
The Toro Power Clear 180 was subject to a recall in July 2010 due to a carburetor problem that could allow fuel to leak, causing a potential fire hazard. Numerous complaints related to the carburetor are still being posted. One user says at SnowBlowersDirect.com that the carburetor cover screws fell off the Power Clear 418ZE, which is the same model as the Power Clear 180. Another writes: "My biggest concern is the smell. I am not sure if all gas models smell so much, but this one reeks of gas so bad that I cannot store it in my garage, and my clothes stink of gas, too. I did not see any leaks, so I am not sure if it is defective."
It bogs down if you go too quickly in heavy snow. The Toro Power Clear 180 cuts a cleared path 18 inches wide, and has a 12-inch-high intake. One expert test gives it lower-than-average scores for both berm removal and clearing plain surfaces. Owner reviews are mixed, with most saying that the blower cleans right down to the pavement, but only a bit at a time. "If there's more than 3 inches, you have to go over at least twice," says a user at HomeDepot.com. Another says, "The price is nice and its quality is very good, but it is very small...when you get more than 3 inches of snow, this blower is useless."
Other owners disagree. One posts on SnowBlowersDirect.com that he just cleared 6 inches of lake-effect snow with the Toro Power Clear 418; another adds, "I had 18 inches of snow to blow, as long as I did not go too fast it did fantastic." The general consensus is that you can run the Power Clear 418/180 through just about anything, as long as you give it plenty of time. It rarely jams when presented with heavy or deep snow, but you may need to make multiple passes. Some users knock tall or packed snow apart with a shovel to make things easier for the blower.
Undermined by shortcomings. Many users praise the Toro Power Clear 180 for rarely clogging, but say it requires multiple passes or very slow passes as snow gets deeper and heavier; some use a shovel to break up the snow before blowing it aside. Like any single-stage blower, the Power Clear 180 is limited to paved surfaces only. While those who love it really love it, persistent carburetor problems that don't seem to have been solved after a 2010 recall somewhat fade its glow. Reviews are far more positive for the Toro Power Clear 621 QZE (*Est. $770), although not as many owners weigh in on this blower.
Excellent The Toro Power Clear 180 is one of more than 70 snow blowers reviewed here. All are given comparative rankings and evaluated on criteria such as handling, snow removal speed, and performance for surface clearing and removing berms left by a snowplow. Full details are available to subscribers.
Review: Snow Blowers Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of September 2012
Excellent The Toro Power Clear 180 -- also the Power Clear 418 -- was subject to a recall in 2010. A problem with the carburetor could allow fuel to leak, which posed a fire hazard.
Review: Snow Blowers Recalled by the Toro Company Due to Fire Hazard, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, July 14, 2010
Good Nearly 80 users review the Toro Power Clear 180 -- the same model as the 418ZE -- giving it an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5. Most love their Power Clear 180, although opinions are mixed about how well it performs in wet, heavy snow.
Review: Toro Power Clear 180 18 in. Single-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of September 2012
4. Snow Blowers Direct
Good The Toro Power Clear 418ZE attracts feedback from more than 50 owners, who give it 4.1 stars out of 5. While most love how well this machine performs, a few comment on carburetor problems.
Review: Toro Power Clear 418ZE (18") 87cc 4-Cycle Single-Stage Snow Blower w/ Electric Start, Contributors to SnowBlowersDirect.com, As of September 2012
5. Snow Blowers Direct
Good This is the same machine as the Toro Power Clear 418ZE, less the electric start. More than 40 users give it an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Most are big fans, but a few aren't thrilled about having to add/change oil, although they do like that the blower comes with the oil they need.
Review: Toro Power Clear 418ZR (18") 87cc 4-Cycle Single-Stage Snow Blower, Contributors to SnowBlowersDirect.com, As of September 2012
6. Snow Blowers Direct
Fair The resident expert on snow blowers selects the Toro Power Clear 418ZE as one of his three favorite single-stage, gas-powered blowers for residential use. Unlike most of his other picks, however, he doesn't write a more extensive review for this machine.
Review: Top Consumer Single-Stage Snow Blowers, Kriss Schrader, Not dated