The entire state of Utah had been eagerly awaiting what the latest storm would bring. It was an unseasonably warm December and our little mountain town was yearning for some snow to begin the year. The first weekend in January did not disappoint. A giant storm in the middle of the night brought a fresh foot of accumulated snow from the weekend. This provided the perfect opportunity to build and break out the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower.
To this point, I had tested a number of the best snow blowers powered by battery like the Dewalt 60V Brushless Snow Blower, or the Snow Joe Cordless Snow Blower – both are good for light snow storms – but I was hoping for a big storm to really push this two-stage gas snow blower. There isn’t a battery powered snow blower that I have tested to date that could have handled the heavy snow that was left behind in the mouth of my driveway after the city snow plow cleared our roads. And after years of shoveling that unbearably heavy snow, I was thrilled with the idea that this time around, I wouldn’t need to break my back shoveling.
As I mentioned, this gas powered two-stage snow blower was a different animal compared to most others I have tested this winter. This would require more assembly, a different snow removal experience, and different care, maintenance and storage when completed. Would all the extra work be worth it for a two-stage, gas powered snow blower? Read on to find out.
Jonathan Knoder is a freelance writer and editor and covers a variety of topics from tech to lifestyle, but he has a special affinity for audio gear and smart home tech. In the smart home space, he’s tested and reviewed everything from smart locks and home security cameras to robot vacuums and air quality monitors. His writing has been featured in Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, SPY.com, Security Sales and Integration, and Salt City Hoops. Outside of work, Jonathan is usually playing guitar and drums, at the park with his dog, or pretending to be a golfer at his local golf course.
Jonathan tested the snow blower by removing over a foot of snow that accumulated over a snowy Utah weekend. He tested out how well it removed snow, how well it maneuvered, how easy it was to clean and maintain.
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: Key specs
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: First Impressions
The first impression I got when I unboxed the machine was that it was a monster of a snow blower. It was refreshing to see a snow blower made from steel with metal augers and skid plates. Many of the electric snow blowers opt for plastic builds with plastic augers. This machine screamed durability and power.
I also noticed many of the components were not assembled (don’t worry, you don’t have to build the engine). This was going to require a bit more time and some tools to actually assemble the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower.
Finally, I noticed the weight of the machine. Many of the electric snow blowers are lightweight. Many you can completely lift off the ground by yourself. This… not so much. It weighs 184 pounds. Even pivoting to spin the machine was different and heavy. This made me wonder how easy it was going to be maneuvering the machine about. Although, by this point, I had yet to consider the self-propelling mechanisms that help move the machine around. Now, it was time to assemble the snow blower and get to work.
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: Price and Availability
You can purchase the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower through the manufacturer’s website, on Ace Hardware, or through The Home Depot online. At the time of this writing, you can save about $15 through Home Depot’s website, but ultimately, the machine costs $1,299.99.
Score: 5 / 5
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: Design
Out of the box, the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower does require some assembly. This includes attaching the steel chute to the snow blower, attaching the traction drive and properly assembling the chute adjuster joystick, as well as the machine’s handle. You’ll need a few different wrenches, a socket wrench with a few different sized sockets to complete the job. After following the online manual’s directions, I was able to assemble the entire thing in about an hour.
After it was assembled, I took account of the machine in full effect. It features a 24-inch clearing path. For instance, that’s twice the clearing width as that of the Enhulk Cordless Snow Shovel. That’s enough to clear a sidewalk or walkway in a single pass. I also noticed the height of the mouth. The manufacturer states the ideal snow depth is 12-inches. I was certainly going to put that to the test momentarily.
The way you adjust the chute was also unique compared to everything else I had tested to that point. On the handle of the machine is a joy-stick like mechanism that rotates the chute. You can also adjust the throwing distance by adjusting the height of the chute with the joystick. Ultimately, it is a nice design that you can adjust the entirety of the chute from the joystick, and don’t have to stop operation to make any adjustments on the physical chute.
Another nifty design feature is the option for electric start up. There is a process you must follow to start the engine including priming the engine and moving knobs into choke position and the engine into the run position. Once you’ve followed those instructions (they are listed on the engine for you to see), instead of pulling the cord, you can opt to plug the engine into a wall outlet using an extension cord, and press the red electric start button to fire up the engine. This can be beneficial for those who may not be strong enough to start the engine with the pull cord, or if the engine is having trouble starting with the pull cord.
The machine also is also self propelled. It features six speeds forward and two in reverse. I found the reverse to be incredibly helpful in certain situations moving up and down the slope of my driveway. With the self propelling motor helping you, the weight of the machine itself becomes essentially irrelevant when moving forward and backwards, although it does still take a bit of effort to pivot and turn the machine for the next pass.
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: Performance
There was at least eight inches of snow on most of my driveway, up to a foot on some of the sidewalks and 13 inches of snow in the mouth of the driveway that the city snow plow pushed there. Needless to say, there was plenty of snow about to test the machine. Although the proper way to use a snow blower requires you to begin down the middle of your driveway, that applies when you can toss snow to both directions of your driveway. I can’t because I would be tossing snow into my neighbor’s driveway. So, I started on the far end of my driveway, in our extra parking spot, and tossed snow forward toward the parkstrip by the street since the wind was at my back.
Considering the wind, I didn’t want to throw snow towards the wind and have snow blown back into my face. So when I would hit the end of the driveway, I put the machine in reverse and walked it back up the driveway. Putting it in reverse made walking a 184 pound machine feel like I wasn’t carrying anything at all..
The eight inches of standing snow on my driveway was no match for the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower. It easily cut, picked up and tossed the snow effortlessly. While it’s difficult to get an exact measurement of how far the snow is being tossed, especially considering wind, the weight of the snow, etc., I measured where approximately most of the snow was being tossed after a single pass. I was finding about 30 or so feet was the average distance. That’s short of the manufacturer’s rating, but, again, a lot of factors to consider that can change the distance.
The joystick to adjust the chute is a helpful device. It does take a little getting used to, as it’s fairly responsive to your movements, but it keeps you safely behind the machine at all times, even when adjusting the chute.
The only time I noticed the weight of the machine was when I could turn the machine to make a new pass. It’s certainly not a herculean feat to pivot the machine, especially on snow, but it’s certainly heavier than an electric machine for instance.
After clearing the entirety of my driveway with ease, it was time to see if the snow blower could tackle the heavy 13-inches of snow left behind from the city plow that resided in the mouth of my driveway. This amount of heavy snow was also no match for the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower. It was able to cut right through the heavy and packed snow with relative ease, making light work that would have otherwise been a laborious, back breaking manual snow shoveling job.
Score: 5 / 5
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: Care and Maintenance
If you want an in-depth guide on how to properly care and maintain your gas powered snow blower so it remains ready-to-go for season’s to come, read our in-depth guide on how to clean your snow blower.
After I was done clearing my driveway, it was time to clean off the snow blower. Before you turn the snow blower off, you want it to run on low for about a minute to help the engine power down. After that, you’re good to turn off the engine. And before you do anything near the augers, you’ll also want to remove the key.
Since the machine is constructed entirely of steel, you want to clean and dry off the machine after every use to prevent rust and corrosion. I cleaned off the machine with a chute cleaner and brushed off any excess snow on the body and chute. There was some snow stuffed back behind the impeller that was difficult to reach. To get that snow out and to prevent it from freezing, I used a small space heater and put it near the mouth of the snow blower and let it run for about 15 minutes. This melted away any excess snow. After the machine was completely dry and free of any snow, I put it away.
Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower: How Does It Compare?
When compared to the Dewalt 60V Max Single-Stage Snow Blower that I tested, the Toro is only $300 more, yet you get a two-stage motor with much more power and a machine that’s self propelled. The clearing width is also three inches larger on the Toro. The Dewalt is lighter, easier to maneuver, and less maintenance, but not nearly as powerful.
Comparing the Toro to the Ariens Deluxe 24-inch 254 cc Two-Stage Snow Blower, they have similar strength motors, albeit the Ariens sports two more cc’s, and the same clearing width. The Ariens has a deeper clearing depth of 16 inches compared to Toro’s 12 inches, but the machine is heavier at 245 pounds, and is roughly $150 more expensive than the Toro.
The Cub Cadet IntelliPower Two Stage Gas Snow Blower is similarly priced to the Toro. It does have a two inch wider clearing path, but the same ideal clearing depth of 12 inches. It features six speeds and two reverse, like the Toro. The Toro does have a stronger 252cc motor compared to the 243cc Cub Cadet motor.
Should you buy the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower?
|Decently priced considering the strong 252cc motor
|Durable steel and good chute and propelling controls
|Easily removed 13 inches of snow plowed-snow from the mouth of my driveway
Buy it if...
Your area gets a lot of snow
This is a powerful machine that can clear a lot of snow quickly.
The snow in your area is wet and heavy
It can cut through and toss everything from powdery to heavy and wet snow.
You have a large area to clear
The gas powered motor combined with a good throwing distance and two foot clearing path makes clearing large areas a quick endeavor.
Don't buy it if...
You’re on a budget
Many battery powered snow blowers are less expensive.
You only get a few inches of snow a year
For light snow, a battery powered snow blower will suffice.
You only have a small area to clear
If you only need to clear a walkway or a short single car driveway, you can save money and effort with a battery powered snow blower.
How I tested the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-Inch Snow Blower
I assembled and used the Toro Power Max 824 OE 24-inch Snow Blower to remove 13-inch deep snow that accumulated on my property. I cleared my driveway and removed the snow in the mouth of the driveway from the city snow plow. I also measured how on average the snow blower threw the snow it was removing. I finally cleaned and dried the snow blower after use.
Read more about how we test.