13 Mar Briggs & Stratton 1696610
Briggs & Stratton Dual-Stage Snow Thrower
The 1696610 dual-stage snow thrower by Briggs & Stratton is a beast of a machine that’s more than capable of handling most snowfalls. I think most of us are familiar with the Briggs & Stratton name as there’s a good chance that you’ll find its name attached to the engine of your lawnmower. This company is known for making reliable engines that will last a long time, so it stands to reason that any product they put their name on will likely have that same level of reliability.
As you might expect, reliability and durability don’t come cheaply, and you can expect to spend close to $1000 for this model. That might price it out of range for some people, but if you want quality you’re generally going to have to pay for it. My only dilemma is if I should just go out and buy one of these, or should I consult my wife first? Chances are if I do that, she’ll try and talk me out of it! Hmmm, what to do?
Snow Clearing Power
This snowblower has the power to handle most major snowfalls with its standard 208cc engine and user-friendly six-speed design. That’s right, it’s a self-propelled machine with six different forward speeds so that you can adjust it to a comfortable speed for you, and it also has two reverse speeds as well. I love the idea that this machine makes it easy to back up as well as move forward.
Probably more important than the fact that this machine can propel itself forward and backwards is that it can clear a 24-inch wide path. That’s a 2-foot path cleared with each pass, and it has a 21-inch intake to handle the deepest snowfalls as well. That’s enough snow-clearing power to handle snow removal in some of the harshest winter climates.
Rely on an Electric Start
It’s always good when you have a backup plan, and this Briggs & Stratton snow thrower definitely has one when it comes to starting up the machine. The first-choice method for startup is to use the built-in electric start button, but if this fails on you for some reason, this machine also has the tried-and-true recoil pull start option as well. It’s highly unlikely that both methods will fail, and if they do, it’s time to get it in for some repairs anyway. Fortunately there aren’t any customers that seem to have any problems with either start method for this machine, so it’s more a matter of preference than anything else.
If you do run into problems with the electric start, or any other issues for that matter, this machine has one of the best warranties of any snowblower manufacturer. Most come standard with a two year warranty, but Briggs & Stratton actually extends their warranty by an extra year over the industry average. That extra year is a comfort when you’re spending close to $1000 on a snowblower. Generally, if there’s a default in the workmanship of a product, you’ll discover it in the first three years.
Everything about this dual-stage snow thrower suggests quality. In addition to the factors we’ve already discussed, it also has a reliable steel auger that’s built to endure extreme winter climates. In fact, this machine is almost completely made of steel.
It also has a large set of 13-inch tires that makes gripping the ice and snow nothing to worry about. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies actually manufacture snow throwers with dinky little tires that cause them to slip and slide in the snow. That’s not a concern with this model at all.
Another great feature of the 1696610 that warrants a mention is the chute. It’s designed to offer a full 180 degrees of rotation, which makes it easy to change its direction from left to right. To control the chute you use a manual crank that’s within easy reach of the handles – it’s a simple design, but it works.
Fumbling in The Dark
The one thing that did surprise me about this machine was that it doesn’t have a set of headlights. It’s not that all snowblowers have them, but most of the ones in this price range do, so it seems like a strange omission from an otherwise extremely well-built machine.
I don’t view the lack of headlights as a deciding factor in whether or not to purchase this machine. Its powerful engine and sturdy construction are big positives and so is the fact that it’s self-propelled. All things considered, this snow thrower is one of the better models on the market today and I wouldn’t be disappointed in rolling one of these out of my garage on a regular basis.