Snow Joe ION24SB-XR 80V Snow Blower Review
Snow blowers have come a long way since they were first invented back in 1925.
The new Snow Joe iON24SB now takes that evolution to a new level with the first two-stage, battery powered machine on the market.
Battery powered single stage snow blowers have been available for some time now, but until Snow Joe came out with this model, buyers looking for a two-stage machine were out of luck.
First available in October 2016, it has been well received in the market with many positive reviews. There are a few things to think about though when considering if this is the right snow blower for you.
Not to worry though as we are going to cover everything you need to know in our in-depth look at this revolutionary rechargeable snow blower.
Let's dig in now and find out if the iON24SB is really up to the job.
What are the different models of the Snow Joe iON24SB?
First we need to clear up the confusion around the three different models currently available.
They are all the same basic snow blower with the same accessories, you just get different batteries or no batteries at all.
Here are the three model numbers and what you get:
The big difference between the battery types is the run time. The 5.0Ah ones are good for up to 40 minutes of continuous use. The 6.0Ah ones will last up to 50 minutes.
Note that these are the manufacturer's claims and how long you actually get will depend on the conditions you use it in.
What we can say though is that many reviews do confirm these run times are about right.
The batteries are compatible with all Snow Joe iON kit so if you have some already for other tools they can be used as spares.
What is a two-stage snow blower?
There are three main types of snow blower; single stage, two-stage, and three-stage.
The most common ones you will find in use by the average homeowner are single and two-stage machines.
We will go into the pros and cons of each in another article but will quickly look at the differences here to compare them.
In basic terms, a single stage blower has blades at the front (called an auger) that direct the snow straight into a discharge chute. These machines are light, compact and very maneuverable. They can only be used on paved surfaces as the auger makes direct contact with the ground.
Generally, only suitable for areas where you get up to 8 inches of snow in one go.
The two-stage machines still have an auger that collects the snow at the front, but there is a fan that blows it out through the discharge chute. This allows it to process snow faster and throw it further away.
The auger also does not touch the ground as there is a scraper blade underneath it. Height adjustable skid shoes keep the scraper blade at the right level.
The other main difference is that the two-stage machines have powered drive wheels to help move the machine along.
This is just as well as these blowers are quite bulky and heavy!
What are the features of the Snow Joe cordless rechargeable snow blower?
The Snow Joe 80V blower uses the two 40V batteries in series to run the powerful 2500W brushless motor.
That means both batteries have to be installed for it to work.
The motor starts instantly with the turn of a key and is virtually silent in operation. No ear muffs required except to keep them warm!
This means no noise, very little vibration and a motor that will last for many seasons.
There is a separate motor that provides drive to the wheels and it can handle moderate slopes as well as different types of flat terrain.
This is important as it means that there will be no loss of power to the auger motor when driving the wheels on the snow blower.
The blower has 3 forward speeds and one reverse, all controlled from a control panel assembly in the middle of the handle.
It would have been nice to see a battery charge indicator on the panel but that has been left out on this model.
You will need to check the batteries themselves for an indication of how much charge is left in them.
Also on the handle are the auger trigger on the right-hand side and the drive trigger on the left together with a safety switch in the middle.
Lower down the handle on the left-hand side you will find a crank handle for the discharge chute which can be turned through 180 degrees.
On the front of the control panel unit, there are dual LED headlights but these are only 0.3W each so, unfortunately, do not provide much light to work by.
Additional LED lights are provided just in front of each wheel which are useful to check for obstructions etc. around the wheels.
On top of the motor unit, you will find the battery compartment for the EcoSharp batteries under a clear flip-up housing. The batteries just drop in and clip into place and are easy to swap out.
In front of the motor is the discharge chute which as we know can be turned through 180 degrees for the desired direction of throw. There is also an adjustable deflector on top of the chute to control the height of the snow stream.
The iON24SB will throw the cleared snow up to 32 feet and has a load sensing capability that helps optimize the engine performance.
In practice this means that when it senses a lighter load it will drop the engine speed, thereby saving power.
Many reviews comment on how powerful the snow throwing capabilities are and that it works as well as some gas-powered snow blowers.
Be careful when working with this blower, especially in the dark, as you could throw snow or other debris over bystanders or through windows!
Special TracAssist snow tires provide plenty of grip in the winter weather. Although not the best snow tires out there, they are adequate for this unit.
Note that they need to be deflated from their shipping pressure before use. Failing to do this is a common cause of complaints that they lack grip.
If you find you still need more grip, perhaps because of a sloping driveway, then consider buying some snow chains for the wheels. Several reviewers have commented this really helps and they are easily available on Amazon.
The auger is made of serrated steel and can move up to 1000 lbs of snow per minute. The width of cut is 24 inches and a depth of 13 inches. This means it can cope with medium to heavy snowfall without too much of a problem.
The auger blades are connected to the auger shaft with shear bolts. This is to avoid damaging the unit if the auger hits an ice pack or rock and stops dead. The bolts will shear before anything else breaks.
There are two spare bolts included in the box. If the auger is not turning check the shear bolts are still intact before anything else.
A chute clearing tool is included that clips to the top of the auger housing.
There are adjustable skid shoes provided at each end of the auger housing to adjust the snow blower for different surfaces.
A replaceable scraper blade fits along the bottom of the auger housing to protect the auger.
In the box, you will also find
• Two safety keys.
• Two spare auger shear bolts plus two extra nuts.
• One wrench.
• One hex key.
• One user’s manual and warranty registration card.
What warranty does the Snow Joe cordless blower come with?
The iON24SB snow blower is covered by what the manufacturers call their Snow Joe Promise.
This warrants the product for two years from the date of purchase against failure due to a defect in material or workmanship.
Unusually for a manufacturer warranty, this also covers you for normal wear and tear which is great to see.
If any part fails then Snow Joe will either send you a new replaceable part, or a comparable product free of charge.
Register your product for the best service on their website or by phone. The warranty is also transferable to a new owner if within the two years.
How does the iON24SB snow blower compare to a gas powered one?
We will do a more detailed comparison of some of the top models available in another article, but briefly, these are the main differences.
The iON24SB is going to be a lot lighter than a comparable gas powered machine, the 5.0 ah model weighs in at 105.8 lbs.
Gas powered snow blowers are very noisy. In comparison, you will find the Snow Joe cordless blow to be much quieter. The noisiest component is the impeller fan that throws the snow over 30 feet away.
The Snow Joe battery powered blower also does not vibrate so much as a gas driven one which makes it much more comfortable to use.
The Snow Joe cordless is not going to be as powerful as a gas powered one as a rule. You will notice this most when tackling deep snow of a foot or more.
The iON24SB has plenty of power to be able to tackle most medium to heavy falls of snow though and many reviewers are impressed with its capabilities.
One of the main criticisms with the battery powered machine is that it's a little slow to walk along with even when at top speed.
A slow walking pace is probably how you would describe the speed of the Snow Joe whereas as gas powered machines can move at a fast walking pace.
Most people found this not to be too much of an issue once they got used to it. In fact, some suggested this was the proper pace to be using the machine for the best snow clearing performance.
A gas powered blower requires lots of routine checks and servicing to keep it working efficiently. The iON24SB, in contrast, requires little maintenance beyond checking nuts and bolts and clearing of any packed snow in the chute etc.
After using how long does it take to fully recharge?
This will vary depending on which batteries you have and how much charge they have left after use.
In general, the dual batteries should charge up in around 90 minutes although it can take up to 4 and half hours to charge a fully discharged pack.
Check the user manual out for lots of information on the batteries and how to charge them efficiently.
An important point to note is to make sure you charge the batteries up when it gets down to just 1 LED on the charge level indicator on each battery.
You will know when you are nearing this point as the blower will noticeably drop power. Do not keep going trying to squeeze every last drop of battery juice out of them as this could damage the batteries.
As these are lithium-ion batteries they do not suffer from a charge memory problem like older technology batteries do.
This means you can safely top up the battery whenever you get the chance without affecting performance.
Also, remember that lithium-ion battery packs must not be allowed to freeze. Make sure you store them in a cool, dry place at a temperature of between 50-68 deg F (10-20 deg C).
Will it work on a gravel driveway?
The short answer to this is yes, you can use this on a gravel driveway.
However, be very careful to set it up correctly and read the instructions in the manual as picking up stones can damage the auger. They also can cause injury when thrown out from the discharge chute.
The basic setup will be to adjust the skid shoes so that you get maximum clearance between the scraper blade and the ground.
Do you need to hold down both triggers on the handle to operate it or can you just squeeze one?
As described above, each trigger controls a different function so usually, you will need to hold in both triggers when plowing.
You can, if you want to push the blower by hand, only hold in the auger trigger.
Also, when moving the blower into position the manual recommends just using the drive only without the auger being activated.
Can the 40v batteries be used in other Snow Joe or Sun Joe tools?
As we mentioned earlier, the batteries are compatible with all Snow Joe or Sun Joe iON batteries. If you have some already for other tools, then keep them charged up as spares for the snow blower.
You could of course also save some money if you have some already by buying the model that comes without batteries or a charger.
Can I plug this in and use it with a cord if the battery runs out?
Unfortunately, the Snow Joe iON24SB is a cordless model only, so there is no way to use this with an electrical cord if the batteries run out.
Tips and Tricks
You may have noticed we've picked up a few tips along the way when checking out the Snow Joe so here's a list of them all together for easy reference.
The TracAssist snow tires are not the best on the market so if you need more grip, consider buying some snow chains. Chains that should fit from other suppliers are readily available from Amazon.
Make sure you deflate the tires after shipping though down to 20PSi as that could affect the grip as well. See the manual for details.
There is no battery charge level indicator on the control panel so when you start noticing a drop in power, check the indicators on the batteries. When it gets down to 1 LED on the charge level indicator on the battery pack it's time to recharge them.
You can use the drive trigger by itself to move the blower around when not plowing. Just tip the unit back a little so the auger housing is completely clear of the ground.
The integrated headlights are not man enough for the job so look for a good LED headlamp if you need to plow at night. Several powerful models are available on Amazon.
Make sure you know which model you are buying (see below) as you will have noticed already that there is one model that does not come with batteries or a charger.
Some reviewers have found that holding the triggers in can cause some hand fatigue. This seems to be associated with the triggers being under the handle rather than on top of it.
One buyer had found that it's fairly straightforward to move the handles on to the top instead so you press down on them to hold them in.
This may be something you want to look into if you suffer from weak hands or wrists and find you suffer from this problem. We advise that you check it will not void your warranty before making any modifications though.
There is also a cover available to protect your new machine.
Recap and Conclusion
That about wraps up our review of the Snow Joe iON 80V Max 6.0 Ah Cordless Self-Propelled (Two-Stage) 3-Speed + Reverse Digital Drive Snow Blower w/ Dual Port Charger.
Here's a quick recap of the main features of the snow blower for your reference:
• Revolutionary two-stage, battery-powered snow blower.
• 80-Volt Max EcoSharp rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for up to 50 minutes of runtime. Compatible with all iON tools.
• Integrated push-button display: LEDs show speed and direction of travel.
• Serrated steel auger shifts up to 1000 lbs of snow per minute. Cuts a path 24 in. wide by 13 in. deep.
• 180° adjustable discharge chute can throw snow up to 32 ft.
• Dual 0.3 W LED headlights for increased visibility at night
• Powerful 2500 W brushless motor with load sensing technology.
• TracAssist snow tires for better traction in winter weather.
• Bright LED lighting in wheel well
• Reversible skid shoes
• ETL approved and a full 2-year warranty
• Includes 2 batteries + dual-port charger (except for model number IONS24SB-CT which does not come with any batteries or charger)
We think this is a leap forward in snow blowing technology and many people will find this a great plow to replace an aging gas powered machine.
If this is your first two-stage snow blower, then it's also a great choice.
It's light, quiet, powerful and comes with a great 2-year warranty that offers complete peace of mind.
You can find a short history of Snow Joe here.
There are no cords, gasoline or regular engine maintenance issues to worry about either.
The only decision to make is which model to buy. As a guide, you could look at it this way based on the size of your driveway:
• Single car driveway: Go for the 5.0 Ah option.
• Double car driveway: Either go for the 5.0 Ah option + extra batteries or the 6.0 Ah option.
• Triple car driveway: Go for the 5.0 Ah option + extra batteries option
That should give you some idea of the type of area each one will easily cover.
Of course, if you already have some compatible iON batteries then go for the model that comes without any to save some money.
Last update on 2020-07-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API