14 Mar Yard Machines 123cc
Yard Machines Snow Thrower with EZ Manual Chute
The Yard Machines 123cc 4-Cycle snow thrower is not the largest offering by this manufacturer, but it may offer the best compromise between affordability and decent power you’re likely to find. I’m always a little torn between wanting to spend enough money to get a top-quality snowblower and not wanting to break the bank at the same time. This machine appears to be a potential answer to my dilemma. It has enough power to get the job done and it’s also priced right – you might say it’s in the Goldilocks zone.
This snowblower retails for under $500, which is a good price for a gas-powered snow thrower. I have a friend that just purchased a snowblower for quite a bit more money than this and his machine doesn’t have a whole lot more power. I guess that’s why it’s always best to do your homework, as you never know what you’re getting yourself into if you jump at the first deal you come across.
4-Cycle is Definitely More Convenient
A few years back I had a lawnmower that required me to mix my oil and gas together. This type of 2-cycle engine isn’t uncommon on smaller engines, but in my opinion it’s a bit of a pain. Yes, it does eliminate the need for oil changes, but you’re always worried about getting the mixture just right. It’s so much simpler to just put the oil where it goes and the gas where it’s supposed to go. That’s what you get with a 4-cycle design, and this machine by Yard Machines, fortunately, features this latter type of engine. It’s not that I’m afraid of a little work – I swear!
Moving the White Stuff
When you buy a snowblower there really is only one main measure of whether it’s appropriate for your needs or not and that’s how well it does at clearing the snow from your driveway. This machine clears a 21-inch wide path that’s up to 13 inches high. Most customers claim it can handle much more than that, but that’s the manufacturer’s specs and is more than enough for most people anyway .
The EZ Manual Chute™
It’s nice to have an automatic chute, but it’s not really necessary. Manual chutes are not uncommon on snow throwers and they aren’t a major issue for most people. It may be a minor inconvenience reaching for that handle instead of pushing a button, but it’s something you get used to pretty quickly. This Yard Machine model uses a unique handle they call the EZ Manual Chute™ which makes the process fairly painless. Essentially, it’s a nice big easy-to-grip handle which swivels the chute without much effort.
This is a fairly compact model weighing in at just 58 pounds, which means you can transport it without a great deal of effort. It’s not an insignificant amount of weight, but it’s manageable for most. It also has a folding handle that makes it even more compact if you plan on traveling with it. If you’re looking for a machine that you can use to make a few extra bucks by clearing away snow in front of local businesses but you don’t have a large vehicle, this snow thrower is a pretty good option.
This product comes with a two-year limited warranty which is about the industry average. It’s something that I’ve always found a little disappointing with snowblowers – when you’re buying this type of product you expect it to last you quite a few years, which is why it’s disconcerting that most manufacturers are only willing to offer a two-year warranty. We might be used to discarding our old smart phones every couple of years, but I don’t think we have this same type of mentality when it comes to snowblowers. It’s just too bad the manufacturers don’t get this.
Why the Warranty Matters
If you think I’m being a little harsh in my assessment of the usefulness of a two-year warranty for a snowblower – think again. Most customers that have complained about running into problems with this machine usually indicate that it happened after the first couple of years – just in time for the warranty to have run out! It’s hard not to be cynical when you hear this. In fact, for those customers that have stated their machines stopped working, they have generally said it worked well for the first couple of years. Perhaps, if this machine was closer to the $100 range I’d be more inclined to say this wasn’t such a big deal, but at a price point in the range of $500 I’d expect to get a few more years out of my snowblower.
Not What I’m Looking for
While I was happy with the price of this machine, I wasn’t very happy about its longevity. I just don’t think two years is enough of a lifespan for a snowblower that costs a fair bit of my hard-earned money. I’m sure there are people that have got more than a couple of years out of this machine, but I just wouldn’t recommend taking a chance on it.