Poulan Pro PR271 is a powerful snow blowing machine with a lot of great features that we know you’ll appreciate when it comes time to clearing snow after a heavy snowfall.
When looking at two-stage snow blowers, there’s a lot to consider. Because these are not particularly cheap machines, you really need to look carefully at what you’re buying. This review is going to take a detailed look at the Poulan Pro PR271. This is powerful gas-powered, two-stage snow blower that’s relatively affordable. It has fantastic features, heaps of power and is a very durable machine, holding its own among the best two-stage blowers available today.
Heavy-duty Snow Blowers
To give you an idea of what your options are, we’ll also take a look at the Husqvarna ST224P and the Briggs & Stratton 1530MDS. By comparing these two (also amazing) snow blowers to the Poulan Pro PR271, you’ll get a good idea of what your options are in the top end of the two-stage snow blower market.
Before we begin reviewing the Poulan Pro PR271, I would like to clear up a small matter that could cause some confusion. On the Amazon website, the Poulan Pro PR271 is advertised as a two-stage snow thrower. I know, from past experience, that many people become confused by the terminology used in this regard. Strictly speaking, the Poulan Pro PR271 is a snow blower – not a snow thrower. A single-stage snow blower is generally referred to as snow thrower. This is because a single-stage snow blower uses the auger to throw the snow from the chute. This is in contrast to a two-stage snow blower that has an impeller as well as an auger. The impeller works like a high-powered fan that sucks the snow up from the auger and blows it out of the chute.
VIDEO | See Poulan Pro Snow Blowers do what they do best
Be that as it may, the semantic difference between a snow blower and snow thrower is really an academic argument – most people will refer to these machines by either title. What we’re dealing with in this review is three of the best two-stage snow blowers and as Shakespeare said: “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”. Or in this case: A snow blower by any other name will work just as well.
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Poulan Pro PR271 — Review
- Powerful 254cc Poulan PRO OHV Engine for 12.5-foot-pounds of torque
- The friction disc transmission gives you the opportunity to choose from among 6 forward and 1 reverse speeds
- Easy grip handle mounted power steering trigger for better maneuverability and single hand control
- The console mounted chute and deflector controls easily directs the snow where you want it
- Two step clearing process – ribbon augers break through snow & ice feeding it back to impeller blade which thrusts the snow up and out of the chute
- Auger diameter : 12 in
- Impeller Diameter : 12 in
- Intake height : 23 in
- Tire size : 15 in
- Working width : 27 in
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Poulan Pro PR271.
As far as gas-powered snow blowers go, the Poulan Pro PR271 is one of the most powerful in its price range with a really great 27-inch clearing path and all the amazing features that one would look for in a high-end two-stage snow blower.
The Poulan Pro PR271 is powered by a reliable LCT 254cc, OHV engine with a 0.71-gallon gas tank. This is a tough engine with an electric starter motor for easy starting, even in the coldest of conditions. Providing 12.5 LB-Ft of torque, it’s able to chew through heavy snow and ice by means of a 12” diameter ribbon auger made from high-grade steel. The friction disc transmission gives you 6 forward speeds and 1 reverse speed and is as smooth and easy to use one would expect from the best transmission system used on a snow blower.
Poulan doesn’t give specs on how many feet of snow the PR271 moves per minute. I find this a little disappointing as this is one the important points by which we measure the capability of a snow blower. I wasn’t prepared to give up on this, however, so I did some digging to see if I could find out how much snow the Poulan Pro PR271 moves. I managed to dig up some useful information on the Poulan Pro PR270. This is basically the same machine with same size auger and identical engine. The only difference that I can notice between the Poulan Pro PR270 and the PR271 is that the PR270 has a recoil starter instead of the electric starter on this model. So, for all intents and purposes, the capacity of the two snow blowers are the same.
The information that I got has been verified by a number of users, so I think we can go with them as being pretty accurate. Based a report by someone who’s used the Poulan Pro PR270 for quite a while, it will clear a driveway that’s 50 Ft long with snow that’s 12” deep in 40-minutes. According to Poulan, it blows the snow about 45 Ft from the chute. This should give you a good idea of what to expect from the Poulan Pro PR271.
Using the Poulan Pro PR271 is easy. It has power steering and really large 15” tires with tread that will conquer slippery conditions with absolute ease. The handle has four height settings and has comfortable soft grips which also allow for single hand operation. All your controls are placed right where you want them, at your fingertips, so to speak. You have remote control for the chute rotation and deflector direction as well as an easy to use trigger control that has a locking function. It also has a bright, clear lens light for increased visibility on those short, dark winter days.
The large 23” steel intake is rugged and built to last. It’s bolted to the frame, instead of welded (like most others). The guys at Poulan reckon this is a more rugged design and I tend to agree. Over time a weld will crack, whereas bolts have more flexibility. A bolt will work loose, rather than crack. Of course, this means an extra maintenance task, checking and tightening the bolts periodically. Though, in the long run, this could prove to be worth the trouble. A nice extra on this intake is the inclusion of an auger cleaning tool that clips neatly to the top of the intake. The skid plates on the intake seem to be very durable and they help to make the machine more effective on all types of surfaces.
If you’re looking for the cheapest two-stage snow blower, the Poulan Pro PR271 isn’t going to blow your mind. However, if you’re looking for one of the best, this machine is going to impress even the harshest of critics. Poulan Pro has been in the business of building quality, heavy-duty garden equipment for well over 70-years and their experience shows. This is not only evident in the quality of their machines but also the excellent service that they offer to their customers. When you look at the two-year warranty on the snow blower and really impressive 4-year warranty on the engine, you know that you’re with a manufacturer that has your back.
- 208cc Husqvarna LCT 4-Cycle Engine.
- Electric start: Easy to start in freezing weather.
- High speed impeller.
- 5-year engine warranty.
- Oversize 15″ tires with heavy tread.
- Quiet muffler.
- Clearing stick.
- Friction-Disc Drive Transmission.
- Six speeds and one reverse.
- Redesigned rubber on friction wheel improves traction.
- Trigger Mounted Power Steering.
- Easy to maneuver, including when turning.
- Slim Line Control Panel W/ Adjustable Handles.
- Easy to use levers allows for better control.
- Loop handle design provides grip variations for end user.
- 4 different positions all users of all sizes to use comfortably.
- Heated Hand Grips.
- Remote Chute & Deflector Control: change direction side to side / up & down.
- Strong Auger Housing W/ Ribbon Auger.
- Ribbon auger makes snow easier to handle.
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Husqvarna ST224.
Overview | Husqvarna ST224P
I’m sure that I’m not alone in saying that Husqvarna makes some of the most amazing machines. So it seems fitting that my first comparison to Poulan Pro PR271 is going to be a Husqvarna snow blower. As a comparative review, it’s not an exact match. The Husqvarna ST224P is a smaller machine. This is a 24” two-stage blower, whereas the Poulan Pro PR271 is a 27” two-stage snow blower.
The Husqvarna ST224P, therefore, has a smaller engine and is cheaper. I’d say that that the lower price is comparative to the lower capabilities of this machine. Basically, what I’m saying is that the reduction in price matches the smaller auger and engine. In most other respects they compare very closely. As far brands go, who’s to say which is better – they’re both at the top end of the scale as far as this is concerned. So let’s see how the Husqvarna ST224P compares to the Poulan Pro PR271.
With a 208cc, 6.3 HP engine, the Husqvarna has the power needed to run the 24” serrated ribbon auger. This engine delivers 9.5 LB-Ft of torque so the ratio between engine power and auger width is on a par with the Poulan Pro PR271. This machine is rated for snow that’s 6”-18” deep and adjustable skid shoes make it excellent for all types of surfaces.
The Husqvarna ST224P is just as practical and easy to use as the Poulan Pro PR271 and has the added advantage of a heated loop handle. The handle design is just as cool as the Poulan’s – almost identical. The Husqvarna also has four adjustable height settings for the handle. It has an electric starter and Husqvarna engines are renowned for starting effortlessly in any weather. It has friction disc transmission with 6 forward speeds and a single reverse speed, very much the same as the Poulan Pro PR271.
You have lever controls mounted to a dashboard right in front of you, this gives you control over the chute direction and deflector as well as the obvious speed and power settings. There are two fantastically bright LED headlights to illuminate your way when visibility is poor. You also have the benefit of power steering. The tires on the Husqvarna have the same type of tread as the Poulan and this snow blower will move about just as easily.
When it comes down to it, the Husqvarna ST224P is a cheaper alternative to the Poulan Pro PR271 for people who don’t need a machine that’s quite as big. If we look at your snow moving capabilities of the Husqvarna, it should work out to about 10% less than that of the Poulan Pro PR271. They both have similar auger designs with a similar power to width ratio, the Husqvarna ST224P is about 10% smaller. So it seems logical that it’s going to be clearing a volume (Cubic Feet per Hour) that will be about 10% less. If we look at the 50 Ft driveway example that I used for the Poulan Pro PR271 review, the Husqvarna should do handle the same driveway in about 45 minutes.
I can’t really get into an argument about which is a more durable machine. They’re both heavy-duty and reliable snow blowers from two of the most respected brands in the industry. Your decision might come down to something as simple as brand loyalty. The Husqvarna does have a 5-year warranty on the engine, auger and gearbox (the most critical components) and the other components have a 3-year warranty. This kind of put’s the Poulan to shame. Though a warranty doesn’t necessarily indicate how long a machine is going to last, though 5 years backed by a name like Husqvarna does give one a good sense of security.
30″ clearing width — Model : 1696828
- Briggs & Stratton 1450 Snow Series Engine, 306cc
- Easy to use electric starting, down to -20°F
- Dual-trigger steering for effortless turns
- On-the-go dash-mounted chute controls
- 3-Year limited warranty
- Dual-Trigger Steering makes tight turns effortless. Simply pull a trigger to release the left or right wheel to help make tight turns.
- Heated hand grips with an on/off switch keep your hands warmer while clearing away the cold snow.
- Integrated LED headlight provides better visibility in low light.
- Durable steel frame and chute and notched steel auger can take on snow and ice with ease.
- Large 16″ x 5″ tires will provide you with superior traction.
- Free Hand Control offers one-handed operation of the snow blower, allowing you a free hand to rotate the chute, adjust the deflector or change the speed.
- Clearing Width : 30″
- Intake Height : 20″
- Impeller Diameter : 12″
- Auger Gear Case Material : Aluminum
- Skid Shoes Steel : Reversible
We’re throwing the cat amongst the pigeons here by reviewing the Briggs & Stratton 1530MDS. It’s a bit cheaper than the Poulan PRO PR271 and not much more expensive than the Husqvarna ST224P but is larger and more powerful than the other two snow blowers in this review. This is also a two-stage snow blower and has all the amazing features that you’ll find on the other two, including heated handles – like you get on the Husqvarna. This makes the Briggs & Stratton exceptional value for money. So it’s going to come down to brand reputation to determine whether you’re prepared to pay more for the Poulan Pro PR271 that has a narrower clearing path and a smaller engine.
I’m not going to get into a brand war here, though I know many will argue that Poulan is a premier brand and this may be some justification for the higher price. That’s not to say that Briggs & Stratton is an inferior product – far from it. Briggs & Stratton have been around for a very long time (more than a century) and this is a highly respected brand. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which you prefer.
The Briggs & Stratton 1530MDS has a 306cc engine with electric start. The guys at Briggs & Stratton have put a lot of work into refining their engines for starting in cold weather and this engine has been tested to start in weather that’s -20°F. This engine delivers 14.5 LB-Ft of torque, driving a 30” steel serrated ribbon auger.
The snow is blown up to 40 Ft from the machine. The handles aren’t quite as comfortable as the Poulan Pro PR271 or the Husqvarna ST224P, there’s no loop handle and the grips are rubber but don’t look as comfortable as either of the others. Though the fact that these handles are heated (with an on-off switch) is an improvement on the Poulan. It utilizes a dual trigger steering system which slows or locks one of the wheels to turn the snow blower. This works very well for making sharp turns in a small area. The Briggs & Stratton also has single hand control.
The steel dashboard on the Briggs & Stratton 1530MDS has the same functions as the other two, this includes remote direction control for both the chute and the deflector as well as a control lever for the friction disc transmission. The transmission on this model has 6 forward speeds and 2 for reverse. It has an LED headlight, similar to the other two snow blowers in this review.
While the auger on the Briggs & Stratton 1530MDS is 3” wider than that on the Poulan Pro PR271, the intake is 3” smaller with a height of 20”. The Briggs & Stratton has really fantastic 16” X 5” tires with tread that’s just as great as the other two.
VIDEO | SETUP — Briggs & Stratton 1530MDS
It wouldn’t be easy to convince you to pay more for Poulan Pro PR271 when the Briggs & Stratton offers many of the same features and a wider clearing path at a lower price. Then again, that was never my intention, this review was meant to compare the Poulan Pro PR271 to its nearest competitors and let you decide which is best. Some may argue that Briggs & Stratton is a cheaper brand and may not quite match the quality of the other two. It does have a pretty good 3-year warranty (90-days for commercial use) and this isn’t too far behind the other two.
Do you really need a Two-stage snow blower?
Though there is a price difference between the Poulan Pro PR271 and the other two models in this review, they’re all pretty expensive machines. When you compare the price of these 2-stage snow blowers to single-stage machines, you can’t be blamed for asking whether it’s worth paying extra for a 2-stage snow blower. At the start of the article, I mentioned briefly that a 2-stage snow blower has an impeller and a single-stage snow blower doesn’t. Though it doesn’t make sense to pay that much extra for what is basically a high-powered fan. That’s because it’s not just the impeller that sets these machines apart. I’ll take a more detailed look at what the benefits are when using a two-stage snow blower.
Because a single-stage snow blower doesn’t have the impeller to blast the snow away, they use a completely different auger design. These machines have to use the auger to loosen the snow and throw it from the chute. A two-stage snow blower uses the auger only to loosen and break up the snow and ice. Most two-stage snow blowers use a serrated ribbon auger that’s much better at cutting through heavy snow and ice. These augers also mix air into the snow whilst shredding it, making it possible to blow the snow further from the chute.
Light-duty Single Stage Snow Blower | Briggs & Stratton 1696737
A major benefit of the two-stage auger is that it can work whilst completely submerged in the snow. A single-stage snow blower can only work with up to half the total diameter of the auger digging into the snow – the top half has to be free to fling the snow upward. This means that a two-stage snow blower has more than double the cutting depth of any single-stage machine.
While there’s an overlap in the auger width of the two types with the widest single-stage machines having a similar width to the narrowest two-stage machines, two-stage snow blowers generally have longer augers with a much wider clearing path. This also means that two-stage snow blowers have much more powerful engines, working much faster and they’re capable of handling heavy snow and ice.
Another difference, though not really an advantage, is that two-stage snow blowers are self-propelled. This is more a necessity than anything else. Because a two-stage snow blower is a bigger and heavier machine and it plows through much deeper snow, the engine drives the wheels to assist the user in moving it. A single-stage snow blower only uses the rotation of the auger to pull it forward and this is sufficient for the type of work that it does.
So to conclude, you should consider a two-stage snow blower if you need clear large areas, like a long driveway. A two-stage snow blower moves much more snow in a shorter time period and is, therefore, better suited to large areas. Another factor that you need to consider when deciding on a two-stage snow blower is the type of snowfall that you experience. Most single-stage snow blowers won’t go any deeper than 6” whereas two-stage snow blower will have a cutting depth of around 20” or more. A two-stage snow blower is the best for large volumes of heavy snow.