The Toro Power Curve 1800 38381 is part of the snow blower
test program at Consumer Reports. In our lab tests, snow blower
models like the Power Curve 1800 38381 are rated on multiple criteria, such as those listed below.
The clearing width, or swath, in inches.
Removal speed is how quickly models could remove snow without laboring; single-stage machines were pushed as quickly as possible before the machine labored.
Plow pile removal:
How fast the snow thrower can remove a simulated pile of snow left by a municipal plow at the end of a driveway.
About This Brand
One of the market leaders in snow-blower sales, Toro sells a variety of electric models in addition to single- and two-stage gas models at outdoor power equipment dealers and Home Depot. It markets the electric models under the Power Curve and Power Shovel line names and the gas models under the Power Shift and Power Max line names. Electric modelshave snow clearing widths of 12 to 18 inches. Gas models have snow clearing widths of 16 to 28 inches and available electric start.
Engine size Engine Size is the engine displacement measured in cubic centimeters for gasoline powered engines. Most manufacturers not longer give a horsepower rating. Engine displacement is now the only universal way to compare relative engine size. Electric motors are stated in amps.
Electric start Most models offer a plug-in startng device that saves you the hassle of pull-starting the engine, but you need to be near an outlet.
Multiple speeds For two-stage models, most come with multiple forward speeds and two reverse speeds. The ability to vary ground speed according to snow conditions gets the job done faster. Some of the least expensive two-stage models have only one forward speed.
Single hand controls Most two-stage models have individual lever controls on each side of the handlebar, one engaging the wheel traction and the other for engaging the auger/impeller. This feature allows both control levers to be held down with one hand, leaving the other hand free to adjust the chute controls.
Single hand controls
Freewheel steering For two-stage models, this feature, which usually consists of triggers under each handlebar, disengages either or both the left and right drive wheels for easy, sharp turning.
Single lever chute adjustment Only on two-stage models, a single lever or "joystick" on the control panel allows for quick changes to the horizontal discharge direction (the alternative is a hand crank) and to the vertical discharge height (the alternative is leaving the operator position and manual adjustment) all with a single lever.
Single lever chute adjustment
Headlight This eases snow throwing at night or in low-light situations.
Heated handgrips Heated handgrips are a nicety, though they don't replace a good pair of gloves.
Warranty (yrs.) Manufacturer's stated warranty in years of coverage. In most cases it applies only to consumer use and not commercial use.
I have owned this Model since November 1994, and it has never required any service. When not in use I hang the Model from the wheel shaft on the garage wall.<br />I have always been impressed/pleased with what this Model is able to accomplish.<br />This Model has never failed to start, and I am careful to not strain the motor.<br />If I hear the motor straining I reduce the width of my paths to reduce the load.<br />The Model can handle ~9 inches of light snow easily, and when the snow is very wet or deeper I can shovel the snow into the impeller for disposal.<br />It may take longer to clear snow than the Big Brother units, but the cost savings and ease of storage & maintenance offsets the extra time.<br />We do get large storms (1 every other year) or very wet storms that this unit cannot handle. On those occasions I either use the shovel or my neighbor has mercy on me with his Big Brother unit.<br />I only use this unit when the snow is 4 to 12 inches deep. You do need some strength to push the unit into dense or high snow. Less than 4 inches of snow I will shovel, and at times I need to shovel frozen street plow at the head of the driveway.<br />My driveway is ~ 50 feet long & 2 cars wide. I can also carry the unit to the back for use on my patio.<br />Based on the real life performance of this single-stage electric Model, I may consider a single-stage gas Model when I need to replace the unit. Moving from a CR score of 38% to 71% may be sufficient for my needs, and the cost & storage would be better than larger units.<br />I typically use this unit ~4 times per season. If I had a larger capacity Model I could use it a little more frequently. However, with gasoline Models comes the cost, service, maintenance and reliability issues that may outweigh the frequency of use.
How long have you owned it:
More than six months
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
from Asheville, NC
Clears to the Pavement
Handles Most Snow
Have owned and used this for two years. Perfect for moderate snows (12 or less), although handles deeper snow. Does a great job of clearing wet or dry snow. Easily adjustable chute and throws far for an electric rig. If the snow is deep just make partial cuts. Very reliable, be sure to use a heavy duty cord to provide needed amps. Economical, easy to store and move, light, no maintenance issues.