The Toro Power Clear 418 ZE 38282 is a smaller, slightly less powerful version of the top-rated Toro Power Clear 621 QZR 38458 (Est. $730) for a fraction of the price. Features like a well-designed auger, electric start and solid construction also add to this single-stage snow blower's value. Though it doesn't perform as well in one expert comparison test, hundreds of users contend the 38282 excels as a mid-grade snow blower.
First-rate handling. The Toro 38282 earns the highest score possible for handling in one professional comparison test. Its 58-pound weight and folding handle make storing and moving easier than many similar models. Reviews say controls are well-placed and straightforward; one owner review at SnowBlowersDirect.com notes, "The mechanics and chute are easy to manipulate." The Toro 38282 gives users the choice between an electric push-button starter and a manual recoil cord to crank up the engine. Most say the snow blower is easy to start, though there are a few reviews that mention occasional difficulties.
Medium-duty performance. Powering the Toro is an 87 cc, four-stroke engine, and it clears snow using the same top-rated auger as the 38458. "The curved rotor and inverted funnel housing move more snow in less time and virtually eliminate clogging," says snow blower guru Bob Crewe at SnowBlowersDirect.com. The 1,100-pound-per-minute capacity and 25-foot throwing distance is better than the electric snow blowers in our report but doesn't quite keep up with the larger single-stage Toro 38458. Owners say it can power through up to six inches of snow but takes a little more time to clear wet or deep packed snow.
Mid-grade quality from a reliable brand. Toro's warranty coverage is slightly better than the standard snow blower warranty: In addition to covering the machine with a full two-year warranty, Toro will repair the 38282 if it doesn't start in one or two pulls for two years after purchase. Other than the occasional issue with starting, there aren't any owner reviews complaining of mechanical breakdowns or other major issues. "This machine is worth the money and lives up to my demanding expectations," explains one user at HomeDepot.com. A few satisfied owners say that after several seasons, the Toro 38282 is still running strong.
Editors include the Toro Power Clear 418 ZE 38282 in their broad snow blower report, rating it alongside two dozen other single-stage gas models. Each snow blower goes through a systematic analysis on its speed, clearing ability, strength, throwing distance, noise output, handling and controls.
Review: Snow Blowers Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, December 2012
The Toro Power Clear 38282 is one of the top-rated snow blowers at HomeDepot.com, with a 4.5-star score from about 440 owners. Just over 90 percent recommend this machine, saying it clears six inches of light snow quickly but slows on heavier snowpack. A few 38282s had occasional difficulty starting.
Review: Toro Power Clear 180 18 in. Single-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of October 2013
3. Snow Blowers Direct
Bob Crewe, the snow blower expert for SnowBlowersDirect.com, recommends the Toro Power Clear 38282 because of its electric start, compact size and Power Curve rotor. More than 80 owners also comment and rate the 38282. Most are pleased with its performance, but a few have sporadic problems starting the engine.
Review: Toro Power Clear 418ZE (18") 87cc 4-Cycle Single-Stage Snow Blower w/ Electric Start, Contributors to SnowBlowersDirect.com, As of October 2013