Well well, it finally snowed here in Chicago. We have had no snow until now. We got 6″ , time to test out the Troy-Bilt Squall 2100 that you can get at Lowes. The 2100 is a single stage snow thrower which is good for smaller drives and light to moderate snow fall. The main feature that we liked was the 208cc 4 cycle motor, no more smoke and having to mix oil. The blower clears a respectable 21″ path and even has drift cutters to slice through drifts. It comes mostly assembled and you have to unfold the handles, add the chute, drift cutters and pour in the included oil.
To aid in cold starts the squall has a built in electric starter, just hook up the included extension cord and you're set. Being a 4 cycle we thought the unit would be a little more quiet than it is. The unit has a chute direction handle that is easily locked into position. To angle the chute you need to reach over the unit and manually aim it, however, the chute worked its way fully open while operating a few times. You can adjust the chute angle tension via a knob at the pivot point. The choke, primer and key are all easily accessible even with gloves on.
Our test conditions were 6″ of wet snow. We pulled the starter and on the second try it came to life. The choke was simple to operate and worked well. Pulling back on the safety handle engages the auger. The auger helps propel the unit through the snow and all you have to do is basically guide it and aim the chute. During our tests the Squall 2100 threw the snow about 15 ft, enough to more that adequately clean off a 2 car driveway. Distance thrown depends on conditions and moisture content of the snow. The Squall was not as quiet as we had hoped, it was a tad louder than a 2 stroke blower that we have. The skid shoes are adjustable so you can set your shave plate height.
Overall the Troy-Bilt Squall 2100 is solid well built machine. It works as advertised and is a good fit for an all around snow blower. It is protected by the Lowes Service Advantage, a number that you can call 24/7 for technical help and has a 2 year warranty. Check it out at Lowes
Update: 1-21-12 – On the second snow storm the year, the wheel fell off and the crimp style cap that holds it on is missing in the snow. This leaves the blower unusable. We will be calling the Lowes service advantage and report back.
Update: 1-22-12 – We ended up going into the store and Lowes took care of the issue with a new axle cap.