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Craftsman Snow Blower Review

Craftsman has been making tools for the everyman for nearly 100 years, so they kind of know what they’re doing. It shows in the types of tools they manufacture, in fact. Look at the types of snow blowers you can buy, and you’ll see that Craftsman has at least one in each category. You can find single-, dual-, and triple-stage blowers from Craftsman at prices comparable or lower than the competition. But how do they perform? Read through this review to find out which are the best of the Craftsman snow blowers.

6 Best Craftsman Snow Blower Comparisons

MODEL
DETAILS

Craftsman 88173
Type: Dual-stage
Single-hand Operation: Yes
Electric start: Yes
Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
Width clearance: 24 inches
Depth clearance: 21 inches
Chute material: Polymer
Warranty: 2 years

Craftsman 88172
Type: Dual-stage
Single-hand Operation: No
Electric start: Yes
Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
Width clearance: 24 inches
Depth clearance: 21 inches
Weight: 183 pounds
Chute material: Polymer
Warranty: 2 years

Craftsman 88780


Type: Single-stage
Single-hand Operation: No
Electric start: Yes
Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
Width clearance: 21 inches
Depth clearance: 13 inches
Weight: 98 pounds
Chute material: Polymer
Warranty: 2 years

Craftsman 88874
Type: Triple-stage
Single-hand Operation: Yes
Electric start: Yes
Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
Width clearance: 28 inches
Depth clearance: 21 inches
Weight: 283 pounds
Chute material: Polymer
Warranty: 2 years

Craftsman 88396
Type: Dual-stage
Single-hand Operation: Yes
Electric start: Yes
Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
Width clearance: 30 inches
Depth clearance: 21 inches
Weight: 268 pounds
Chute material: Polymer
Warranty: 2 years

Craftsman 88394
Type: Dual-stage
Electric start: Yes
Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
Width clearance: 28 inches
Depth clearance: 21 inches
Weight: 250 pounds
Chute material: Polymer
Warranty: 2 years

What Makes Craftsman Snow Blowers Great

If you just look at the specifications of a Craftsman blower and compare them to a competitor’s, it won’t immediately be clear what the differences are. The answer of what makes Craftsman stand out is in the performance of their tools, ergonomic design of details like handles, and convenient placement of controls to make your job easier. Although Craftsman has been a recognizable brand for the Sears (the store and the catalog), it was sold recently to Stanley Black & Decker. You can still find Craftsman products at Sears and sister store Kmart, though. The purchase was a big one at $900 million, and the Black & Decker parent company plans to continue building and growing the Craftsman brand. What does that mean for you if you buy a Craftsman product? Not much has changed yet, but there could be changes on the horizon to better the brand, warranties, and more.

How to Pick the Right Craftsman Snow Blower for You

So, how do you know which Craftsman blower is the best? You have to start with the type of snow blower you need. To know which blower is right for you, all you need to know is how much snow you typically get each season, the kind of material it is, and how much maintenance you’re willing to do on your machine. There are other little details and features that you might want, but those are secondary. First, let’s find you the right blower for you.

A single-stage blower is sometimes called a “thrower.” It’s still a type of snow blower, but the way it works is simpler than the bigger machines available. First, it’s best for those who regularly deal with only about 6 to 12 inches of snow per storm. They’re typically smaller than two- and three-stage machines, so they don’t have super-tall or wide intakes. These snow-throwing tools usually touch the ground below, so they’re suitable for paved surfaces or even wooden decks, as the bottom of the machine is usually protected by plastic, so there won’t be any damage done to surfaces. They clear snow all the way down to the ground. These throwers are also better for fluffy, light snow. If you’re hoping to chew up the icy compacted snow that the plow left you at the corner of your driveway, you might need a more powerful blower.

These middle-of-the-road blowers are the most popular among homeowners who need to clear driveways and walkways. Usually these machines can handle up to 24 inches, or even more, of snow drifts, banks, and snow-plow gifts. They work with two augers that work together to chew up snow and send it to an impeller, which then shoots the snow out to your yard and away from slick surfaces that you walk and drive on. Two-stage blowers are best for those who deal with wet, heavy stuff, and those compacted white drifts and banks that seem to turn to ice in just one wintery day. These can work on light snow, but they might just end up plowing sometimes. The good news is that these snow blowers usually sit on “shoes” that glide along the snow and make it easy to maneuver; they’re also adjustable, so if you have a gravelly surface, you can move the mouth of your tool up slightly to avoid picking up rocks.

The three-stage blower is a snow-eating beast that can make quick work of piles of snow and hardly pause. These machines have three augers (it’s in the name), but one auger is placed sort of perpendicular to the two standard augers. This part spins quickly and chomps into snow and ice at a much faster pace. All that icy snow gets broken down fast, and then it’s pushed along to the impeller, which then spits out all that snow to a better spot, tens of feet away. You can expect about a 30 percent faster snow-clearing experience with these compared to two-stage blowers. Like its dual-stage cousin, a triple-stage blower unit can be adjusted so it glides just above a surface, which is helpful when you’re clearing stuff from uneven surfaces or gravelly paths. While these are an excellent buy for someone with a large area to clear, they’re usually about 30 to 50 percent more expensive than a two-stage unit. Regardless of which type of blower machine that’s best for the snow you get and the size of your driveway or length of your walkways, Craftsman likely makes one that will work well for your needs. The most important thing you can do is read through Craftsman blower reviews, like the ones below, to find out some ratings, pros and cons before you make such a big purchase.

Top 6 Craftsman Snow Blower Reviews

Craftsman 88173 24″ 208cc Dual-Stage Gas Snowblower

Quick Info

  • Type: Dual-stage
  • Single-hand Operation: Yes
  • Electric start: Yes
  • Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
  • Width clearance: 24 inches
  • Depth clearance: 21 inches
  • Chute material: Polymer
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Craftsman 88173 dual-stage gas blower provides all the standard features you would expect on a machine of this size and quality. The two augers are serrated and spin quickly enough to chomp through icy snow, and they’re sturdy and durable, so they should last winter after winter. The chute can be rotated by a hand crank that’s located near you, so you can operate it while you’re pushing it through snow. The chute is plastic, but that means far fewer clogs of snow, as it’s a slippery surface inside. A push-button electric start makes it easy to get going in the morning, rather than you spending minutes pulling a cord to try to start this gas-powered machine. The engine is going to require regular maintenance, so you’ll have to do it yourself or hire someone, if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself. This part is imperative because without regular maintenance, you may pull out your snow blower next season and find yourself with a dead snow blower. For example, many users swear by using fuel stabilizers in the tank to protect the engine parts.

Pros

  • Manages through icy snow banks
  • Electric start is easy to use
  • Reliable with maintenance
  • Good for heavy, wet snow

Cons

  • Requires regular maintenance
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Pro tip

This is an affordable, powerful dual-stage snow blower that could work well for your bigger snowstorms each winter.

Craftsman 88172 24″ 179cc Dual-Stage Snowblower

Quick Info

  • Type: Dual-stage
  • Single-hand Operation: No
  • Electric start: Yes
  • Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
  • Width clearance: 24 inches
  • Depth clearance: 21 inches
  • Weight: 183 pounds
  • Chute material: Polymer
  • Warranty: 2 years

When you compare the Craftsman 88172 dual-stage blower to others similar to it, it may be difficult to figure out how this is different from them. There are a few key points that make this a little different. For one, it has a less powerful engine than most. Usually, two-stage blowers have a 208cc engine, and this one is 179cc. All that means for you, though, is that it moves a little slower. It’s still a powerful little snow-munching machine that will get through the fluffy stuff, the wet, heavy snow, and even icy banks. Some assembly is required when you buy this unit, but it’s only a matter of tightening a few nuts here and there, and putting the chute on. It may take a few tries to get the hang of this machine, and the chute direction, but once you do, clearing your driveway and sidewalks should be a breeze. There’s no single-hand operation feature, so you’ll have to stop to switch directions for the chute. The skid shoes that prevent damage to surfaces are reversible, so if you happen to scratch up one side, you can just adjust them and use the other sides.

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Works well on wet, heavy snow
  • Starts easily
  • Has reversible skid shoes

Cons

  • No single-hand operation
  • A little slow-going
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Pro tip

If you’re looking for a good value two-stage blower, this may be a good choice for you.

Craftsman 88780 21″ 179cc Single-Stage Snowblower w/ Electric Start

Quick Info

  • Type: Single-stage
  • Single-hand Operation: No
  • Electric start: Yes
  • Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
  • Width clearance: 21 inches
  • Depth clearance: 13 inches
  • Weight: 98 pounds
  • Chute material: Polymer
  • Warranty: 2 years

Most single-stage throwers operate on electricity, but the Craftsman 88780 is gas-powered and has a strong engine for a small machine. It’s one of the most affordable options, which makes it a good value. It sacrifices slightly on performance, though. Although it’s self-propelled, it can be hard to push. Perhaps that has something to do with how lightweight this machine is. It’s easy to start, though, thanks to the electric push-button start, which is uncommon on single-stage units. Don’t expect this machine to tackle the big banks of snow, but if you’re patient with it, you can take out some lightly packed snow drifts. It’s great for clearing fresh snowfall down to the pavement of your driveway and walkways. Plus, this snow-eating mini-machine has solid wheels, rather than inflatable, which means you won’t have to worry about running over something and getting a flat. Wet, heavy snow isn’t really something that this blower is going to do great with, but light, fluffy stuff doesn’t stand a chance against it.

Pros

  • Electric start
  • Has solid wheels
  • Affordable
  • Clears down to pavement

Cons

  • Slows down in wet snow
  • Hard to maneuver
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Pro tip

If you get light to medium snow during the winter, this smaller blower could be a good option for you.

Craftsman 88874 28″ 357cc 3-Stage Snowblower with Power Steering

Quick Info

  • Type: Triple-stage
  • Single-hand Operation: Yes
  • Electric start: Yes
  • Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
  • Width clearance: 28 inches
  • Depth clearance: 21 inches
  • Weight: 283 pounds
  • Chute material: Polymer
  • Warranty: 2 years

With the Craftsman 88874 triple-stage blower, you may need to be more cautious when you go to clear your driveway. This beast of a snow-eating machine may send snow flying into your neighbor’s driveway. It can shoot snow up to 50 feet, and regularly does, so says many customers. It’s much more powerful than its two-stage snow blower cousins, and it proves it by driving forward at a quick speed, pulling you along for the ride. There simply isn’t enough snow to satisfy this hungry machine. The power steering makes it easy to move it about, and the chute control is a joystick, which may take some getting used to. The included headlights illuminate your path, which makes for a much safer job when you’re clearing driveways and sidewalks pre-dawn. The 28-inch wide mouth means this machine can gobble up lots of snow at one time, and it really does perform best in the worst conditions. In fact, light snow doesn’t interest this snow blower, and it may end up just pushing the shallow snow around like a snow plow. It’s a pricey machine, but that’s common for three-stage snow blowers.

Pros

  • Includes power steering
  • Has headlights
  • Easy chute control
  • Clears lots of snow in one pass

Cons

  • May move too quickly
  • Acts like a plow in shallow snow
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Pro tip

If you’re looking for a powerful snow blower that’s easy to move because of power steering that will eat up tall snow banks, this might be the one you want.

Craftsman 88396 30″ 357cc Dual-Stage Snowblower with 4-Way Chute Control

Quick Info

  • Type: Dual-stage
  • Single-hand Operation: Yes
  • Electric start: Yes
  • Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
  • Width clearance: 30 inches
  • Depth clearance: 21 inches
  • Weight: 268 pounds
  • Chute material: Polymer
  • Warranty: 2 years

Don’t let the Craftsman 88396 dual-stage blower fool you. It may be a two-stage snow blower, but it has the heart, engine, and mouth of a three-stage snow blower. OK, so it only has the two augers, but it’s a beast that’s just hungry for all the snow. In spite of the powerful 357cc engine, it’s quieter than you’d expect. It’s also easy to maneuver, even when you get into the higher speeds. The self-propulsion is strong, though, so you may need to jog to keep up. The electric-controlled chute rotation makes it super easy to direct the snow to shoot out where you want it. One downside, though, is that the impeller doesn’t seem to shoot the snow as far as you may need it to – on average, it flies about 10 feet. Plus, this powerful machine can take down big snow banks with relative ease – even the icy gift the snow plow driver leaves you at the bottom of your driveway. It’s rare to find a two-stage snow blower with a 30-inch wide mouth, which makes it easy to clear snow in fewer passes than ever.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Has headlights
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Electric controlled chute rotation
  • Handles large banks of snow easily
  • Super-wide mouth

Cons

  • Doesn’t throw snow very far
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Pro tip

If you need a powerful two-stage snow blower with an extra-wide mouth, this could be a good option for your home.

Craftsman 88394 28″ 243cc Dual-Stage Snowblower with Quiet Engine

Quick Info

  • Type: Dual-stage
  • Electric start: Yes
  • Self-propelling: 6 forward speeds; 2 reverse speeds
  • Width clearance: 28 inches
  • Depth clearance: 21 inches
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Chute material: Polymer
  • Warranty: 2 years

This dual-stage snow blower from Craftsman is marketed to have a quiet engine, and it keeps its promise. The engine, while powerful, is quieter than you’d expect from a snow-munching machine. However, it may be lacking a little when it comes to the performance in conjunction with the power. The first forward speed is a little too fast to pick up all the snow in its way. So, you may need to work it a little to get all the snow gone. The built-in headlight is good and bright, which means safer operation when it’s late at night or just before dawn when you’re clearing your driveway and walkways. Although this is a dual-stage snow blower, it can handle all kinds of snow in its way, even the wet, heavy type of snow that’s commonly coming down in sheets along the snow belt.

Pros

  • Very quiet engine
  • Has headlights
  • Expensive
  • Handles all kinds of snow
  • Wide mouth

Cons

  • First forward speed too fast
  • Doesn’t throw snow very far
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Pro tip

If you need a snow blower that can handle wet, heavy snow, but also operates more quietly than you’d expect, this could be your best bet.

The Bottom Line

Whichever Craftsman snow blower you choose, you’re getting a good product that’s backed by a two-year warranty. It’s important to remember to keep up the maintenance on your machine, else you’ll be paying for repairs every year. Even though all these machines are considered the best of Craftsman snow blowers, there’s one that gets the thumb’s up from most users. The Craftsman 88173 24″ 208cc Dual-Stage Gas Snowblower may not have an ultra-powerful engine, but it’s strong enough to tackle wet, heavy snow that towers over it. It’s even capable enough to take down icy snow banks left as a gift from your friendly snow plow driver. It’s one of the best buys from Craftsman when you consider the workmanship, performance, and price. Just remember to maintain your unit every year! But if you’re looking for some more options to consider, check out some of the best snow blowers on the market today.

About The Author

Candace Osmond

Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for over a decade. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. When she's not typing away from the comforts of her desk, Candace can be found travelling to warm destinations, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven that is her backyard. Candace currently resides in the breathtaking Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids and one slobbery bulldog.

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