Snow Joe iON18SB 40V Cordless Snow Blower Review by Merrill Shadwell.
There are times you just have to look on in awe at a product. The Snow Joe iON18SB prompts one of those times. This cordless snow blower delivers an impressive amount of clearing power in a product that is powered neither by gas nor plugged in. Not enough for everyone’s needs, but it will fit the bill for many.
The Snow Joe iON18SB snow blower is battery powered, driven by a rechargeable 40-volt, 4Ah lithium-ion power plant. As a result, it starts with a simple button push and runs as quietly as any electric model around. In this case, that’s 82 dB. Not “whisper quiet” as Snow Joe claims, but very moderate.
Equally nice, and somewhat surprisingly, the 40 minute runtime it can get on a full charge is all working time. It doesn’t get weak for, say, the final 10-15 minutes as you might expect. That alone isn’t too surprising, sure. There have been cordless snow blowers on the market prior to the iON18SB. But those were small snow shovels, really. I know of none that have the size and power of this model.
Assembled, it measures a substantial 43.3″ high x 37.4″ deep x 20.5″ wide. Those are definitely full-sized snow blower specs. Yet, it tips the scales at a featherweight 31.5 lbs – that is with battery installed. How Snow Joe achieves that low weight while housing a 40-volt battery, I just can’t imagine. Golf cart manufacturers should study this thing :).
Of course, one way it reaches that low weight is through ample use of plastic rather than metal. That’s less than ideal but plastics are far better today than they were in yesteryear thanks to advances in material science. Anyway, they’re used in lots of snow blowers on the market and many of them are fine products.
Unusual Auger, Limited Clearing Ability
What’s highly uncommon, though, is the 2-blade rubber auger. That’s a first, to the best of my knowledge. I’ve seen plastic ones but never before rubber. It certainly helps lower the weight. But it also allows the motor to spin it at much higher speed with less power than would be required to drive a metal auger.
That’s fine provided it doesn’t break under impact from ice. Rocks are another matter. Best to use this snow blower only where you don’t expect to pick up gravel.
Still, over the right kind of ground, you can clear a decently large area in reasonably short order thanks to the 18-inch wide path. That’s far from the largest around but it will do for most homeowners, I suspect.
If, like me, you have acreage and a big circular driveway, you’ll want to investigate something wider. You’ll have to abandon the electric/cordless benefit, however, unless you’re prepared to spend a big chunk of money for a truly exotic unit. Admittedly, the iON18SB isn’t cheap, but the sort of electric cordless snow blowers I’m talking about sell for $1,500 or more.
The big downside to this particular model is that it can handle snow only up to eight inches deep; four inches is preferred. Given that the tires are only 6 inches high and 1.5 inches wide, you’re going to be limited in any case.
That’s not bad, and not a problem if you live in an area where the daily total is moderate. That, and you make a practice of getting out there promptly to clear up the snowfall. But those who live in climates that get big dumps fast will probably not find this unit beefy enough to do the job.
More importantly, since it has that rubber auger and the power is limited, you won’t be digging through hard ice with this snow blower. It can clear that width and depth, and meet the throwing distance discussed below, only if the snow is fairly fluffy. Slush and, even more so, ice are going to give the iON18SB trouble.
It is rated to move up to 495 lbs of snow per minute, and it can live up to that, but that assumes the sort of powder I mentioned. On the upside, with a rubber auger, you have a lot less concern in using it to clear off a wooden deck. It will scrape off deck stain, to be sure. But so will an ordinary plastic shovel.
180° Auto-Rotate Chute
The other compromise is in the throwing distance; the maximum is 20 feet. That’s pretty low, even for a snow blower far below top of the line. Even so, it’s plenty far enough for a great many buyers. Judge according to your personal situation.
The chute does turn a full 180° so there’s no concern on that score. Even better, the chute rotation switch (see 2. on above diagram) makes it easy to set with just a little thumb pressure. Best of all, you don’t have to stoop to change the angle.
It’s also a little unusual for a cordless to have a headlight. Snow Joe managed it on the iON18SB by making the lamp a 3-watt LED. Those little guys can produce a decent amount of illumination while drawing practically no power.
It won’t light up the driveway at night but you can see the path directly ahead well enough. There’s a switch to turn it off when not required if you want to save every little bit of juice.
Assembly & Setup
The iON18SB will need some assembly after opening the box. Watch the excellent video below and see how relatively simple it is to get this snow blower ready for service.
The battery powered Snow Joe iON18SB cordless electric snow blower isn’t for everyone. But for those who only need to clear fairly light snow it can do the job well. It’s lightweight and easy to use. Along with that comes near zero maintenance and no cord to drag around. A pretty good deal.