Heavy, but easy to maneuver. At 214 pounds, the Troy-Bilt Storm 3090XP is big and heavy. Experts and owners say it's nonetheless a breeze to operate, thanks to power steering and the ability to disengage wheels while making a turn. Heated handgrips make your time in the cold more pleasant, and a headlight and reflective strips make you more visible in dim light.
One-handed operation leaves the other hand to steer and use the joystick that controls the angle and direction of the discharge chute. Paul Sikkema of MovingSnow.com says the joystick is easy and precise enough that his neighbor can lob snow into a 4-foot-wide area, but cautions that the 3090XP requires 32 inches of clearance, so it might not fit through all doorways. On the plus side, he says the blower's wide, 16-inch wheels give it great traction on grass.
Interestingly, the Craftsman Professional 88830 (*Est. $1,100) -- basically the same machine as the Storm 3090XP, plus drift cutters -- draws a significant number of complaints about problems such as control cables snapping and heated handgrips shocking you if your gloves get wet. Still, many owners praise the 88830's maneuverability and fast, powerful performance.
Handles wet snow and packed berms beautifully. With a 30-inch clearing path and a single-pass snow cut depth of up to 21 inches, the Storm 3090XP can clear lots of snow quickly, even the wet, heavy stuff. It ranks among the best blowers in one expert comparison, collecting the highest scores possible for both snow removal speed and cutting through snowplow berms.
Several owners report using the Troy-Bilt Storm 3090XP to clear 15 to 18 inches of snow, and one says it throws the snow at least 30 feet. Sikkema says the blower "will handle the worst snows and still clean 1-inch snowfalls quickly and cleanly;" very good expert scores for surface clearing back this up. We saw no owner complaints about this unit's snow-removal performance or for the Craftsman 88830's capabilities, durability and design issues aside.
Powerful, effective and full-featured. Experts and users choose the two-stage Troy-Bilt Storm 3090XP for quickly clearing piles of dense snow; they say it even performs well on snowplow berms. Nice features such as power steering and heated handgrips, plus a 30-inch clearing path, make this a pricey but favored tool.
Excellent ConsumerReports.org includes the Troy-Bilt Storm 3090XP among 19 26-to-30-inch two-stage snow blowers in its latest ratings chart. Blowers are ranked based on objective tests of their performance. The chart includes the Craftsman 88830, the Yard Machines 31AH65FH and the MTD Pro 331AH65FH as similar models whose performance should be comparable.This article is available to subscribers at http://www.consumerreports.org
Review: Snow Blowers Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of September 2012
Very good Sikkema calls the Troy-Bilt Storm 3090XP "an alternative to the Craftsman Pro 88830," and says the only difference between them that he can find is the latter has drift cutters while the Troy-Bilt does not. He adds, "If you have a bad back, weigh less than 130 pounds or are shorter than 5.5, check this Troy-Bilt out! Of course, if you are larger you will also like this machine."
Review: 2011 Troy-Bilt Storm 30 in 357cc Snow Blower Model 31AH55Q5711 Review, 2011 Best Buy?, Paul Sikkema, Aug. 30, 2011
Good About 70 owners review the Craftsman Pro 88830 here, giving it an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. A few complain that their blower never worked and a couple of others say it doesn't perform well in "low, slushy snow," but most users express satisfaction.
Review: Craftsman Professional 30" 357cc Dual-Stage Snow Blower w/ EZ Steer, Contributors to Sears.com, As of September 2012