Poulan Pro PR621 single stage snowblower long term

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Just bought a house in Milwaukee this summer, and due to an aging back and somewhat lengthy driveway decided I deserve a snowblower. Neighbor has a massive, 9 year old Ariens 8hp 2-stager that looks brand new, but he conceded that he lovingly cleans it after every use, even waxing it every other year :P His has a Tecumsah motor, but now they come with B&S. They are ~$930 new, made in Wisconsin, and I wouldn't hesitate buying one except for our not-exactly-flat brick driveway. The auger would chew up the bricks and vice versa. So rubber-paddled single stage it is. Looked hard at the Toro Power Clear 421/621 models , and also the Cub Cadet 221 LHP . Both are supposedly made in the USA (engines included, Cub Cadet with a Kohler accd to the saleslady). Both are also $600-650. Then today at Farm and Fleet I see the Poulan Pro PR 621, on sale for $319. Doesn't have electric start (I'm getting older but not dead yet), remote-control chute (Toro can spin with a slider on the handle, still have to lean over while the Cub Cadet has two joysticks for spin/tilt but they don't feel very robust) but same-size 208cc motor as the CC (Toro is 163cc) and thick rubber paddles. Plus, as you can see in the pic the Poulan's paddles are held on by bolts and nyloc nuts whereas the CC has self-threading bolts, no nuts. So read the reviews on Amazon via Blackberry and went for the Poulan. I'm willing to spend extra for US made, but almost double is pushing it. Assembled easily (no leaking oil, or incorrect 10W-30 oil supplied as some of the Amazon reviewers said, they must have made some changes) and fired right up. A bit of smoke from muffler paint I assume, but as smooth and quiet as a 6hp-ish 4-stroke can be expected to be. Pulled off the side panels to see if there was any oil smoking, but everything was clean inside and looked to be well screwed together. Sticker on the (metal) frame says "assembled in the USA", no label on the motor but assume it calls Asia home. I'm going to look into mounting larger wheels on it and extending the thrower-adjustment arm, but hopefully with good care she'll be chucking snow for years to come. Will post back after the first snow. ~80lb box well packed only had to attach the shoot (instruction could have had a larger diagram to instruct which nuts and bolts went where) fill with oil and gas and unfold the handle. first start paddles disengaged paddles engaged frame tag paddles with nyloc nuts and bolts (Cub Cadet had self-threading screws) motor Poulan on left, CC on right
 
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I think you brought a knife to a gun fight looks a little small for a lengthy driveway in Wisconsin
 
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You could have set up the skids on the Ariens to keep the cutter bar off the surface.Frankly I would buy a late 70s/early 80s Ariens 7 or 8 horse job,and replace the engine with a modern Briggs.Total cost should be around $500-600.
 
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Congrats on your new house and new snow blower, Nurburgringer. Poulan looks nice.I saw that the newly opened Janesville store had it for $299.99 a week ago.The other Fleets charged $319.99, same as what you paid. I thought about buying the same single stage snow blower but the only thing that bothered me about it was the fact that the engine was built in China.At the end I found a good used Honda HS621 single stage in addition to an older Honda HS35.For both I paid $326. I hope you get long trouble-free service out of your new equipment. Welcome to WI.
 
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Essentially, all of these single stage machines function the exact same, only differing in sizzle items like a headlight or remote chute operation. I had a 98cc Toro Powerclear for 5 years. It was overmatched by the record snow of last year, so I got a bigger one with a bigger engine. Even then the little guy (16" width) could get the job done, it just took lots longer. Hope you get enough snow to give it a good run, but not too much!
 
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Looks like a nice machine. Keep an eye on fasteners for a while and lube cables etc. I bought a new Toro two cycle 221QE last January and I also own two other SS machines that I like to play with. I have an old 1997 Craftsman with a Tecumseh two cycle engine and a 2005 el cheapo MTD with the same engine in it. I over-ride the governor on those machines to make a lot more power. Believe it or not, when you crank up the revs on those Tecumseh engines, they'll throw some serious snow. The Craftsman works better than the MTD because it's heavier. The Toro however will easily outperform both of them. If snow get real deep and heavy, I pull out the big Simplicity two stage. However, it doesn't see too much service anymore. The SS machines tend to get the job done 90% of the time.
 
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I just used my 221qe Toro today after some snow ~ 3 inches of slushy mess. It worked great so I can only imagine when the snow is lighter in the coming months (less slush) Im sure it will perform flawlessly. Congrats on the snowblower, it looks like my Toro as far as the paddle design.
 
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At work we have a Toro single stage 2-stroke and an 8 hp Ariens. The little Toro is FAR easier to use and usually my first choice. For the BIG snowfalls we had last year, I turned to the JD 4030 with bucket, hehehe.
 
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agreed SS like the one you bought will get the job done 90% of the time. Nice purchase. Dont forget to dump the oil after the first 5 hours, or less
 

Nurburgringer

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Originally Posted By: NHGUY
You could have set up the skids on the Ariens to keep the cutter bar off the surface.Frankly I would buy a late 70s/early 80s Ariens 7 or 8 horse job,and replace the engine with a modern Briggs.Total cost should be around $500-600.
The bricks are uneven enough (starting to get 'troughs' where the car tires go back/forth) that I'd have to set the skids up at least an inch or so. Plus I'll be taking the blower into the backyard that has brick paths, and the SS will be much easier to maneuver around. If I had a long, paved drive a 2-st would be a nobrainer.
Originally Posted By: boraticus
Looks like a nice machine. Keep an eye on fasteners for a while and lube cables etc. I bought a new Toro two cycle 221QE last January and I also own two other SS machines that I like to play with. I have an old 1997 Craftsman with a Tecumseh two cycle engine and a 2005 el cheapo MTD with the same engine in it. I over-ride the governor on those machines to make a lot more power. Believe it or not, when you crank up the revs on those Tecumseh engines, they'll throw some serious snow. The Craftsman works better than the MTD because it's heavier. The Toro however will easily outperform both of them. If snow get real deep and heavy, I pull out the big Simplicity two stage. However, it doesn't see too much service anymore. The SS machines tend to get the job done 90% of the time.
Quite the stable of snowb lowers you've got! I've read about the "MTD" (Cub Cadet") - I didn't know that Toro still sold 2-cycle blowers.
Originally Posted By: kozanoglu
Congrats on your new house and new snow blower, Nurburgringer. equipment. Welcome to WI.
Thanks! I'm not thrilled that the motor came from Asia either, but mainly because I like to support American industry more than any real or perceived quality difference. $100 more, or even $200 more with a few fancy features and I would have sprung for the Cub Cadet but just couldn't justify almost $300.
Originally Posted By: 2cool
Essentially, all of these single stage machines function the exact same, only differing in sizzle items like a headlight or remote chute operation. .. Hope you get enough snow to give it a good run, but not too much!
Thanks - there aren't many objective reviews and/or videos online showing these SS in action. I'll get the wife to shoot some video when I'm out running it around. The headlight on the CC looks pretty weak; single filament bulb with a cheapo foil reflector. I can always mount LED lights on mine if I get the urge to snowblow at night. I feel like after putting the snow tires on the cars: bring on the snow!
Originally Posted By: JTK
For $319 you can't beat it.
If it chucks snow for years with good care, I agree.
Originally Posted By: antonmnster
At work we have a Toro single stage 2-stroke and an 8 hp Ariens. The little Toro is FAR easier to use and usually my first choice.
Yup, plus I have brick paths around the backyard that I'd like to clear, and the SS will be a lot easier to get back there and buzz around.
Originally Posted By: steve20
agreed SS like the one you bought will get the job done 90% of the time. Nice purchase. Dont forget to dump the oil after the first 5 hours, or less
Exactly - the other 10% of the time we'll just stay home, or bribe my Ariens-owning neighbor with a case of beer smile Thanks for the tip!
Originally Posted By: dave123
I think you brought a knife to a gun fight looks a little small for a lengthy driveway in Wisconsin
Heh - Milwaukee doesn't get the quantity of snow you might think. I put snow tires on all my cars, but the last few years my folks in NJ have had more snow than us! Also - "Lengthy" is subjective (that's what she said!) - it's about 50' long, single width.
Originally Posted By: Jeepster_nut
Congrats on the snowblower, it looks like my Toro as far as the paddle design.
Thanks - other than the Honda (which had squared-off paddles) the Toro, CC and Poulan had a very similar design.
 

Nurburgringer

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Well I've run two tanks of gas through the Poulan, and so far so good! The deepest snow we've had so far was ~8" of pretty light, fluffy stuff and she just chugged right through it. I would say it throws the snow about 10'-15' which is fine for my use. Starts up on the first pull, fairly easy to move around (the spinning paddle does help to drag it forward), and as expected the only issues are the bottom 'blade' (runs across the bottom of the blower right behind the rubber paddles) occasionally catches on the uneven driverway bricks or seams in the sidewalk. The only 'mod' I've done is to strap a longer handle on the chute so I can reach it easier. It would be nice to have 'remote control' for the chute, but not nearly enough trouble to justify the $200+ extra models with this feature cost. So far the wife has been sleeping while I've been out clearing the driveway, next time I'm waking her up to take some video. So for now, after ~2hrs use I'm giving the Poulan Pro a thumbs up. We'll see how she does with the 2nd half of the winter...
 
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They finally copied the toro design The older ones used a different arrangement .. looked sort of like an old school person powered push mower. They clogged easier I bought my dad a mid-90's craftsman with that style blade The curved rotor/paddle design is much better. you might find with the mid-wet snow.. it throws 20-30ft. if the snow is too light it wont throw as far.. with any snowblower.
 
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Don't beat yourself up for buying a Poulan instead of Cub Cadet, my step dad went out and spent bug bucks on a fancy Cub Cadet 2 stage walk behind, it has a Chinese engine. Probably the little Cub you looked aty had a chinese engine also, you can't believe everything the "sales lady" says, many of these people in sales don't know anything about what they are selling, I doubt it had a Kohler. (FYI many of the Kohlers are made in china now)
 

JTK

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Originally Posted By: Rand
you might find with the mid-wet snow.. it throws 20-30ft. if the snow is too light it wont throw as far.. with any snowblower.
Agreed. I bet it would throw denser snow another 10ft.
 
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Just bought one myself. Looks like a "Chonda". Takes the same plug as my Honda OHC mower. Started on the first pull. My old Toro S 200 finally gave up.
 

JTK

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Originally Posted By: HerrStig
Just bought one myself.
Where did you wind-up purchasing? Winter was so mild in my area, stores are flooded with snow removal equipment. Might be some great deals. Joel
 

JTK

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Originally Posted By: HerrStig
Amazon, 299 delivered if you have Amazon Prime. Came UPS. Probably won't snow again all winter.
Dang! You almost can't afford NOT to have one for that price. Keep it in the box until you need it! Joel
 
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Originally Posted By: JTK
Dang! You almost can't afford NOT to have one for that price.
Maybe I should get one, it might snow enough here once in my lifetime that I would need one! Plus more oil to change, how can you go wrong?
 
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