Husqvarna is definitely one of the leading brands when it comes to gas power equipment. Buying a high-quality, gas-powered 2-stage snow blower is an expensive undertaking. You want all the facts before making a decision. This review examines if it’s worth paying a little extra for the Husqvarna ST224 snow blower.
There can be no denying, an electric snow blower is always going to be your cheapest option. Furthermore, a single stage snow blower will be cheaper than a 2-stage snow blower. The Husqvarna ST224 is a fairly large two stage, gas-powered snow blower. Add to this, the Husqvarna reputation for outstanding durability and service, you should expect to pay a hefty price for this high-end machine. At around $900, it is by no means a cheap snow blower.
I’m sure you have many questions before spending this kind of cash. Is the Husqvarna ST224 worth it? Our review should clarify this. I’ve been a devoted fan of Husqvarna power equipment since forever. It goes without saying then, that my immediate response would be yes; it’s always worth paying a premium for this incredible brand. Forgive me, but my enthusiasm for the Husqvarna ST224 will be apparent throughout the review as a result. In the end, I’ll leave you to make the final decision. It is one of the most popular gas-powered snow blowers on the market. So, it seems that many snow blower buyers are in agreement with me on this. It is, undeniably, a magnificent machine.
The higher price tag is not just about the band, high-grade materials, and expert engineering. The Husqvarna ST224 is more expensive because it’s a gas-powered snow blower. It is also a 2-stage machine, adding even more dollars to the price – regardless of brand or build quality. If you’re uncertain about the virtues of single stage vs two stage, or electric vs gas snow blowers, you’ll probably benefit by reading our snow blower buying guide before you make a final decision. Our complete snow blower buying guide will endeavor to answer much more than these two important questions. You should get a clear idea of what to look for when buying a snow blower.
Husqvarna ST224 Review ǀ 24-Inch 2-stage Gas Snow Blower
- 208cc Husqvarna engine
- Remote Chute Deflector/Remote Chute Rotator
- 15-inch tires
- Electric Start
- 24-Inch Two Stage
- Dimension: 58.5 x 40.5 x 24 inch (LXHXW); Weight: 198.6 LBS
- 6-speed transmission; 1 reverse
- All metal auger housing and chute
First impression: Wow! Aint she a beaut. Okay, maybe this is just me, but this is was what I felt the first time I took a look at the Husqvarna ST224. I’m always blown away by superb engineering and great design. This Husky snow blower has all these traits in bucket-loads. The Husqvarna ST224 is not just a looker, she’s a rugged machine. Built to work hard and make your life easier.
Husqvarna manufacture larger snow blowers, but I think the 24” clearing width is all one needs for a large yard. The maximum clearing depth is equally impressive, at 18”. In order to work its way through heavy snow, with ease and incredible speed, the Husqvarna ST224 is fitted with a 208cc (6.3 HP) engine, delivering a whopping 9.5 LB-Ft of torque. This is accompanied by a high-speed impeller that blasts the snow away from the chute in a display of splendor. Yes, I’m sure it’s becoming abundantly clear, I absolutely love this machine. I seldom approach a product review with this level of enthusiasm.
What I like most about the Husqvarna ST224 is the ease of operation and superbly designed dashboard, with everything you want at your fingertips. The engine starts easily, no matter how cold it gets, using an onboard electric starter. Once this mighty beast is grumbling and rearing to go, you have excellent control over everything. It is a pretty loud machine though – 88.4dBA at the operator’s ear. Husqvarna also supply a “guaranteed” noise level of 105dB, whatever that means. Either way, it’s noisy.
The wide loop handle has two skid steer levers on each side, with the added luxury of heated grips. Centrally mounted, is one of the most comprehensive dashboard control panels you can hope to find on a snow blower. Chunky levers give you full control over every function, all within easy reach. You get a solid, built-to-last feeling when shifting any of the levers, and they are super-easy to use with your gloves on, thanks to the over-size design. The handle, which is incredibly sturdy, has four adjustment positions. Tall or short, you’ll find the most comfortable fit for longer working time with the least fatigue.
The Husqvarna friction disc transmission is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Power is transferred effortlessly through the aluminum auger gearbox, smoothly and efficiently. You can adjust the chute rotation and cover angle directly from the dashboard, on the move. Two bright LED headlights have been elegantly incorporated into the molded front end. They look great and enable you to work into the night, if you feel the need to. They’ve done a great job of placing the auger cleaning tool on top of the auger housing, exactly where you need it.
I’ve come to expect the very best build quality and materials from Husqvarna. They have certainly achieved this in the ST224 snow blower. Solid metal throughout, with paint that looks like it can withstand a warzone. The plastic skid shoes are as tough as they come and are quite easily adjusted for any surface. Each skid shoe has two bolts that hold them firmly in position. To adjust the height, you need a wrench to loosen these bolts, then move the shoe to the desired position and tighten. The bolts have an extra wide base, ensuring a tight fit without damaging the plastic.
Maneuvering a snow blower, weighing just under 199-pounds, seems like a daunting prospect even for the most burly of us. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how nimble this baby is. The huge all-terrain wheels are not only indestructible, they amble over anything in their path. The power steering is sublime and the Husqvarna ST224 propels itself forward without any effort, with six speed settings. The single speed reverse mode can be engaged easily too.
I could go on forever about how impressed I am with the Husqvarna ST224. If you’re a regular on this site, you’ll know I don’t dish out praise too easily. Though this snow blower is just one of those wonders of the engineering world. It’s exquisite to look at, built to endure the harshest environment, and a breeze to use. Kudos to the Husqvarna engineers for one of the best products ever. I’m sure there are a lot of folks who don’t want to spend this much on a snow blower. For those who are, I know you’ll be delighted with what you find the first time fire this machine up.
Snow Blower Buying Guide
The Husqvarna ST224 may be (in my opinion) just about the best gas-powered snow blower around. It is, however, quite expensive, and not your only option. You may not need a gas-powered snow blower at all. Perhaps something smaller and much more affordable. This snow blower buying guide will help you make the best decision and spend your money wisely.
Types of Snow Blower
The first question you need answered is whether you need a single-stage or two-stage snow blower. Some may even consider a 3-stage snow blower. Though these are normally used for commercial snow clearing companies and ranchers.
The type od snow blower you require will depend on how much snow you need to clear and what the average snowfall is in your area. If you live in Alaska, New York, or any area where you receive heavy snow for long periods during the winter months, your snow blower becomes an essential item. For heavy snow areas, you need take this decision quite seriously and 2-stage (possibly 3-stage) snow blower is probably going to be your best bet.
The length of your driveway, or any area that needs clearing, should also be considered. While you may be able to accomplish the task with a less powerful, smaller machine, it will take longer. In many instances, your decision might be based on time vs money. Someone living in Oklahoma City may be able to get away with a small electric snow shovel. Though for a larger area, using a snow shovel could end up taking more time than one would wish for. A larger snow blower may not be essential for everyone, it could simply be a matter of convenience.
Single-Stage Snow Blowers
These are more basic machines and won’t generally have the same clearing capacity as a 2-stage snow blower. Single-stage snow blowers are technically snow throwers, not snow blowers. The auger is shaped like a corkscrew, or paddles. The auger loosens the snow and lifts it from the surface. The momentum generated by the auger then flings the snow into the chute, where it is discharged. A single-stage snow blower is best suited to light, fluffy snow, and will become bogged down in compact snow and heavy ice.
The auger design prevents it from digging too deep into the snow. A single-stage snow blower will not have the best clearing depth, possibly 12 – 13” at best, with some as low as 8”. If you’re going to be clearing several feet of snow, a single-stage snow blower will require several passes before you get the job done. In heavy snowfall areas this can become wholly unpractical.
Because the auger is doing all the work, single-stage snow blowers don’t move as much snow. In other words, less pounds per hour. The throwing action of the auger also means the snow is not deposited too far from the machine. Though some single-stage snow blowers can discharge up to 30-feet. A single-stage snow blower can only be used on paved surfaces and won’t work too well on an incline. They may also leave a thin layer that needs to be cleared manually. However, many single-stage snow blowers have scrapers that will clear down to the surface.
Single stage snow blowers, or snow throwers, can be just about any size. An electric snow shovel, with a clearing width of around 8 – 12” is, essentially, a very small single stage snow thrower. Larger models, with a clearing width of up to 22” (or more) are generally referred to as snow blowers as they are capable of performing similar tasks that can almost compare to a more accomplished 2-stage snow blowers.
Two-Stage Snow Blower
A two-stage snow blower is differentiated by the impeller that blows the snow from the chute. Unlike a single-stage machine, a two-stage snow blower does not use the auger to discharge the snow. Instead a fan, or impeller, sucks the snow from the auger and blows it out of the chute. This allows a faster rate of discharge and will usually blow the snow further.
Because the auger does not have to throw the snow, the design is more efficient. A two-stage auger usually has ribbon, or helical design. The auger blade will often have notches, or “teeth” that assist in breaking compact snow and ice.
A two-stage sow blower has several benefits, vs single stage machines. The auger can handle snow that is much deeper. Larger two-stage snow blowers can handle snow that is more than 20” thick. They are also able to dislodge ice and heavily compacted snow. A two-stage auger is more efficient and will remove more snow in less time, usually discharging it over a greater distance.
Two-stage snow blowers will clear away snow and ice right down to the surface, and don’t need any additional clearing. Power assistance means they are better at handling hills and slopes. Another advantage is the ability to clear snow from lawns and gravel surfaces. Adjustable skid shoes allow the user to configure the snow blower for the type of terrain.
While a two-stage snow blower is typically more expensive than a single-stage equivalent, many prefer the improved efficiency and speed. In areas that experience heavy snow and ice, a two-stage snow blower is the best, sometimes only option.
Three-stage Snow Blowers
A three-stage snow blower has the same stages as a two-stage machine, with an additional accelerator which improves the discharge rate. This means that a 3-stage snow blower will be more efficient when removing large volumes of snow and ice.
Three-stage snow blowers typically have larger augers, capable of handling thicker snow. They are large heavy machines and are generally used for applications where a 2-stage snow blower can’t handle the workload.
Gas vs Electric Snow Blowers
Gas snow blowers are the most powerful and will, therefore, handle the highest capacity. They are also better suited for large areas, where it is impossible to use an extension cord. Gas-powered snow blowers are more expensive and require extra maintenance. They are more bulky and heavier than electric snow blowers. In urban areas, noise can be a problem with gas snow blowers.
Many people with average sized suburban yards prefer electric snow blowers. A corded electric snow blower is the cheapest option, and some can be large enough to compete with entry-level gas snow blowers. They are quieter than gas engines, and don’t require as much maintenance. You also don’t have the hassle of storing gas and oil or starting a gas engine. The only drawback to using a corded electric snow blower is the extension cord, which poses some safety hazards and can be cumbersome, especially for longer driveways.
With the improvement of battery technology, cordless electric snow blowers have become a viable option. Increased operating voltage and brushless electric motors, means that cordless electric snow blowers have much improved working times. Though it may require several batteries to keep working uninterrupted. Battery-powered snow blowers are quite expensive.
What size snow blower do you need?
A larger snow blower will obviously do a better job at clearing snow faster than a smaller one. One needs to weigh the pros and cons of how practical a larger snow blower may be. Not to mention the cost.
As size increases, so does weight and maneuverability. You need to consider the effort it takes to move a large heavy machine around. Storage space may also be an issue. A snow blower can be stored outdoors with the correct cover. Though it is always preferrable to store a snow blower in a garage or shed.
A large snow blower may not always be able to negotiate narrow areas and walkways.
Snow Blower Features
Some snow blower features can be considered essential, while others might be more of a luxury.
Wheels vs Tracks
Most snow blowers have wheels, some use tracks. Single-stage snow blowers are propelled by the movement of the auger, assisting the user to move the machine forward with less effort. Two and three stage snow blowers have power assistance for the wheels, using power form the engine or motor to drive the wheels forward or backwards. This makes two and three stage snow blowers better equipped to handle hills and steep driveways.
Wheels can loose traction in slippery conditions. It is always a good idea to buy a snow blower with larger wheels when dealing with more challenging terrain. Good tread is important, and tire chains can also be an advantage. Although quite rare, some two and three stage snow blowers are fitted with tracks, like those you see on tanks and some earth-moving equipment. Tracks provides better traction and are the best for dealing with steep hills. A snow blower with tracks is not all that easy to maneuver and can be quite a hassle in tight turns. Tracks can also damage lawns.
- Handle adjustments: being able to adjust the handle to suit you will make your life much easier. If compact storage is important, a handle that folds flat will be an advantage.
- Speed settings: Two and three stage snow blowers have speed settings that control how much power is sent to the wheels. More speed settings allow you to work easier and more comfortably. It is always more convenient to have a speed adjustment lever close to the handle.
- Chute adjustments: Most snow blowers allow you to rotate the chute so you can choose which side the snow is discharged. Some chutes can rotate 360°, others only 180°. Some snow blower have a chute cover that can also be adjusted which will control the angle of discharge. A chute adjustment lever that can be operated with one hand whilst using the machine is the most convenient.
- Electric Start: A gas engine is always easier to use if it has an electric starter. Many electric start snow blowers don’t have an onboard battery, this means you have to connect the snow blower to an AC outlet to start it. While no battery saves on weight and eliminates the need to keep the battery charged, an onboard battery is more convenient.
- Heated Handles: Not essential but adds to user comfort.
- Headlights: Lights make it easier to work in dark conditions. On short winter days this is a great advantage.