Super small, super lightweight, and moderate power. Those don’t sound like impressive attributes for a snow blower since it requires size, heft, and oomph to remove a lot of snow. Or does it? The Toro 38361 may just surprise you…
Design and Performance, Surprising In Many Ways
The Toro 38361 Power Shovel is a mere 12 inches wide. So, physical limitations guarantee that it won’t clear a path as fast as an 18 inch model. Or will it? After all, you’re dragging or pushing the extra weight of that 18 inch model around. You’re waiting while it digs through the snow.
Think of a baseball bat you whirl through the air to make contact with the ball. Sure, a heavy bat can give it a big wallop – if you can swing it fast enough. But a very light bat lets you easily swing that wood much faster. It’s the product of mass and velocity that gives the total momentum delivered.
Whether that analogy is exact in the case of a snow blower, it’s still true that you can move this 12.5 lb blower around much more easily than big heavy units. That compensates, at least partly, for the narrower rotor assembly. The Poly V-belt auger system compensates even more. It ensures the electric motor never gets bogged down from snow with a high moisture content.
The power provided is good, too, if not quite what one might wish. The manufacturer claims it will toss snow a full 20 feet but that’s only under ideal conditions such as ultra-dry snow or plowing a thin layer. The 7.5 amp motor makes the best use of the power it consumes, but it’s still much less than a larger 12-amp power plant.
Assuming equal efficiency, approximately the case here, you can’t get more out of something that only draws 7.5 amps of current than from a device that draws 12 amps. Keep in mind, the rating is how much electricity the motor uses; not how much power it delivers.
The Toro 38361 also peels off layers thinner than its larger cousins – only 6 inches, as distinguished from the 10-12 inches of competing models. Still, here again, that “less is more” theme might apply. It takes a lot of power (from the blower and you) to dig through a foot of snow. Shaving only half a foot can make the job go much easier and faster.
It does suggest a limitation of the Toro 38361 – it won’t quickly clear off a heavy snow fall that has been allowed to accumulate. The 38361 is clearly intended for areas that either get less snow or ones you attack before it piles up.
All those qualifications aside, the Toro 38361 is rated to clear 300 lbs of snow per minute and it lives up to that in real-world testing. Naturally, the exact weight-time figure depends on how much moisture the snow contains, but it’s a good ballpark figure.
Some simple arithmetic shows it can clear a 20 foot x 50 foot driveway covered with a 4-inch snowfall in about 20 minutes. Not bad for a small, moderate power blower!
Clearing off the deck – a job often done with a shovel because larger blowers are too heavy and the blade assembly too risky to use on wood – can now be done with a power tool.
Besides the bending and pushing, one thing that makes shoveling decks such a pain is moving the snow around the railing posts. You won’t have that trouble with a blower, which can easily be angled to push the snow around them and over the edge.
Apart from performing well, the Toro Power Shovel provides several great ergonomic features. Even apart from the lighter weight than other models, the handle system provides the ultimate in ease of use.
Most snow blowers have a lawnmower-like handle, a necessity to push a lot of snow. But it does make for harder handling than, say, something like a weed whacker. The 38361 has a single pole with a hand hold in its middle and a trigger guard-style grip at the top.
The result is you can whip this unit around almost like a broom as you push forward through the snow. Getting into corners is a breeze. Turning it is nearly effortless. The narrow mouth (12 inches) and shallow base (15 inches), combined with its low weight and high maneuverability, make the Toro 38361 the ideal tool for clearing steps.
Just as nice, the handle telescopes so you can easily adjust it to the height that makes the job most comfortable for you. The out-of-the-box total length of the blower is 52 inches, just right for the average person.
The handle position and angle are also adjustable so you can put it wherever it’s best for you. After all, even people of the same height can have arms that are of different lengths.
Assembly, Non-Existent – Hooray!
Most electric snow blowers require very little assembly. The Toro 38361 requires none! Ok, you will want to move the telescoping handle to your preferred length and tilt the hand-hold to your desired angle. But if that’s called assembly then even your reclining chair needs ‘assembly’.
The only other ‘assembly’ step is to plug in the cord, which has a cord-locking mechanism to prevent it from accidentally pulling loose during use.
Naturally, you should get one that can handle the current. Luckily, the low-draw motor is a big benefit here since you can use any standard 16 gauge cord, even if you buy a 100 foot length. Not surprisingly, those are much cheaper than the more heavy-duty 14 gauge or 12 gauge variety.
The Toro 38361 snow ‘shovel’ is a great tool for light to medium snow clearing jobs. If you just need to clear off a sidewalk that has been dusted with a 4-inch fall, it will do a great job.
It offers moderate power, light weight, and personal adjustment to make using it a pleasure. It will be easier to move around and help you get done faster. But for the larger jobs, you’ll need a unit with more beef – a wider mouth, a taller rotor (for deeper snow), and more power.