Toro 38381 Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower Review by Merrill Shadwell.
Winter is on the way and it’s time to take a close look at a good snow blower. After all, who wants to shovel the sidewalks yet one more time? Well, sorry to disappoint if you’re looking for a good one but I can only recommend a GREAT electric snow thrower: the Toro 38381.
Design and Performance, Blasts the Area Clear
Otherwise known as the Toro 1800 Power Curve, this snow blower may look similar to many others but it doesn’t act the same. Sure, it blows snow, just like the rest. There the similarities end. As the saying goes, the devil (or in this case, the angel) is in the details.
Those details start with a case and construction that can stand up to anything winter throws at it. It cuts through thick snow berms like the proverbial hot knife through butter.
A 15-amp electric motor is the starting point. An electric power plant is not the standard in great snow blowers; many have gasoline-powered engines. But turn this baby on and you’ll be thinking a new standard is about to be set.
One-foot thick layers of snow disappear before you know it. The cut depth of 12 inches is one reason why. Rather than just scrape off the surface, it really digs down in one pass to help you clear big snowfalls in one go.
The 18″ clearing width is another big reason the Toro 38381 helps move a lot of snow very fast. And this unit can toss up to 700 lbs per minute. The fast 1-piece, 2-blade rotor, driven by a Ply-V belt assembly, makes that possible.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this unit throws the snow up to 30′ away. So, not only are you clearing a large swath, you’re not just piling it up somewhere else you’ll have to clear an hour later.
Compact, Clever Design Makes For Easy Use
For all that snow-clearing ability, the Toro 38381 is among the lighter snow blowers on the market. It takes advantage of great materials and efficient design to do heavy-duty snow blowing without being heavy. It tips the scales at a modest 25 lbs and measures only 18 inches x 36.2 inches x 47 inches.
That low weight offers two advantages. It’s easy to pull out from storage and to put away. It also means that you’re putting your effort into moving the snow, not the blower. Fortunately, thanks to a serious set of blades and that powerful motor, you’re not putting in too much effort doing that either.
The Toro 1800 Power Curve won’t get bogged down on the sidewalk or snow-covered lawn, thanks to a pair of sturdy 6″ x 1.5″ tires. They’re large enough to allow for good forward motion without being so large to hinder the blower just from snow blockage at the wheels.
The handle design helps enhance that ease-of use. Push the safety button then a gentle squeeze of the handle starts things going. A solid grip makes it easier to hang on, even when the temperature is a little higher and the snow on the handle melts.
Part of that clever assembly includes the chute lever, a useful feature that lets you adjust the ‘exhaust’ for optimal convenience. The chute angle itself covers 160 degrees so it’s easy to place it wherever you need.
You won’t have to worry about the plug coming out all the time, either. The Cord-Lock feature ensures it stays put for the whole job. It’s well-sealed, too, so there’s never any risk of electric shock. In fact, the whole housing is double insulated and the blower carries a UL safety rating, something it couldn’t possibly earn without meeting a high standard.
Make sure the extension cord you use is big enough to handle the current without getting hot. Up to 100′, a 14 gauge cord will do. Beyond that, if you use a 150′ cord, step up to a 12 gauge cord.
Some (Easy) Assembly Required, But No Maintenance
Like a lot of snow blower models, the Toro 38381 doesn’t come quite ready to use out of the box. Assembly only takes about five minutes, and anyone can do it. Putting on the handle is a breeze, even for the non-mechanically inclined. Attaching the levers is equally easy.
Unlike gas-powered models, there is no fuel required. Not only does that save money and mess, it means you never have to worry about any gum building up in the engine.
Gasoline that sits for a long time, such as from one year to the next, doesn’t just become useless. It can really stuff up a motor. There are compounds you can use, or filters you can install, to combat that during use and during storage, but that’s one more thing to buy and do.
Something anyone who has owned a gas model knows is that the colder it is, the harder the snow blower is to start. It affects your car, why not your blower? You’ll never have that problem with an electric model.
Real-world users of Toro Power Curve models have also long known that a snow blower from this line will last years. The electric model will last years longer because there’s no need for maintenance. No one is likely to be disappointed that an electric model is MUCH less expensive than a gas-powered snow blower, either.
An electric snow blower won’t clear a layer of snow a few feet thick in one pass the way a high-end gas-powered model would. But if you keep up with what falls, that won’t normally be necessary. Those units can be rented for record-breaking situations.
It will, however, clear a lot of snow quickly and a lot more easily than most. Teens and women often find the Toro 38381 easy to remove, use, and store and you’ll be glad you don’t have to maintain it.