About the Poulan Pro PR521ES 21-Inch 136cc Electric Start Gas Powered Single Stage Snow Thrower
Well let's start at the gas powered motor. It's a 136cc four stroke Poulan engine that bang for buck is the most powerful in its class.
When I was looking around for a snow thrower I thought this engine may not be powerful enough for the job. Others I'd looked at online had far bigger engines, but far larger price tags as well - so I didn't really have a choice. Anyway, after the first big snow fall I was surprised how well this engine coped.
Its got a 21 inch clearing width. More expensive snow throwers have up to 32 inch clearers. The 21 inch is adequate, just takes you longer compared to the larger machines. The gas tank will run for a full hour and three quarters.
The Poulan Pro weighs 81lbs. So, most people can manoeuvre it with relative ease. The steering handle is very ergonomic as is the large recoil handle, so your arms don't get tired even if you are out clearing the snow for sometime.
I like the look of the frame too. Its sturdy and well coated, giving it long term rust protection.
What's wrong with the Poulan Pro PR521ES
I have noticed that probably through the power of the motor, compared to the frame, that it does vibrate. After using it a few times through some 12 inch snowfalls I did check it over because of the vibration to make certain nothing had come loose, but everything was fine. The good thing is that there are no belts or cables in the drive system, so one less thing to worry about.
When it arrived at my front door all boxed up, it was a little disappointing when I opened the box to find that they'd already put the oil in and through the transportation it had leaked a little. It wasn't a lot though and didn't take long to clean up. It's quite a poor fitting oil cap. I guess they have to pre oil them otherwise they'd have a run on motor warranties. I for one wouldn't have thought of adding oil.
The Poulan was quite noisy. But I tend to clear snow when my neighbours are too, so, there's just one big noise going on anyway. I think the noise might have being due to the paddles. Once they were worn in, it hasn't been nearly so bad.
Questions and Answers about the Poulan Pro PR521ES
Q) Our driveway is sloped. Not too much but still sloped. Will this snow thrower work on our driveway?
A) Definitely. We also have a sloped drive and the traction the Poulan Pro provides is excellent.
Q) Is it shipped assembled or disassembled? I'm not too handy.
A) The Poulan Pro is shipped more or less assembled. You only have to put the handle and blower on, and check the oil in case of spillage whilst been shipped. Full instructions provided for all of these things.
Q) When the Poulan is off how do you turn it right and left?
A) Easy. Its just like your lawnmower. It will go wherever you want it to go.
Q) How does the PR521ES compare to others in its price range?
A) I've owned a few snow throwers so think I can answer with experience here. I think the Poulan Pro is the best in its price range. Poulan have been around in various forms for a century now and I liked the way that they are American made. I shopped around and found that the Poulan Pro had the same features as some imported snow throwers that were hundreds of dollars more. Also its 136cc engine is the most powerful in this class of snow thrower.
Q) It says in the specs LCT gas. What does that mean?
A) The PR521ES is a 4 cycle engine. This means that the oil and gas are separate just like your car engine. This is great because lots of them that have 2 cycle engines you have the tricky time of adding oil and gas together.
Q) Can you use this on gravel?
A) Yes, you can raise the lower blade to miss your gravel on the PR521ES but take care and make sure that if you do have stony gravel that when you use it no people are around. It is a snow thrower but will become a gravel thrower if your gravel is deep enough.
History of Poulan
Poulan was founded in Louisiana in 1912 by Claude Poulan purely as an American based chainsaw factory (great chainsaws by the way - I've had a small one for twenty odd years that starts anytime of the year you like). Poulan was purchased in 1958 by another chainsaw manufacturer, Bearid. Then Beaird- Poulan was purchased in 1972 by Emerson Electric. More recently Poulan was acquired by the Swedish giant Husqvarna. Poulan are manufactured in another factory on the same site as Husqvarna.
These days they are famous for their drive on mowers, chainsaws, lawn mowers, trimmers, tillers, blowers and snow throwers, with the very Poulan PR521ES a popular entry level thrower..
What's right with this Poulan snow thrower
Well of everything, its got to be the price. As I've said, if you've got the money, I guess you'd go buy a $2000 machine, but really I've been very surprised as have my neighbours at how this smaller snow thrower handles the conditions. We've got a fairly long driveway, and it really throws the snow even though its only got a 13 inch intake.
I've only had up to 12 inch snowfalls since I've had this Poulan, but a friend came around to borrow it as his snow thrower had broken down and he had a 24 inch fall. I was a little reluctant I've got to say thinking that that was probably a little too much for it but 'a friend in need...', anyway when he returned it he said he had no problems at all even with 24 inches.
I've never had a problem starting it - it always starts at worse second pull and I like the way because its a four cycle engine that I don't have to think about getting the gas/oil ratio right. Plus four cycle engines are much more economical than two cycle.
I looked at electric powered snow blowers but not too seriously. I don't like the idea of a long electric cable especially if it got damaged on top of snow and besides, I had an electric lawn mower ages ago that I'd never buy again. They just don't have the horse power that gas engined machines do.
Another thing that was great though was that when it arrived it came complete on its wheels. All I had to do was bolt the handle and blower on and it was good to go.
A gamechanger for buying this too was the brand. I've had a small Poulan chainsaw that I bought probably 15 years ago and the engine's never given me any trouble at all.
Detailed Benefits of the Poulan snow thrower
- For smaller areas its great. If you've got a 1/4 acre to do then I'd suggest going for a semi commercial grade snow thrower though.
- High quality - Now lets not get carried away. The quality of this Poulan snow thrower is good not great.
- A two year warranty
- Parts and service widely available through lawnmower stores throughout the States.
- Poulan is a well respected brand that's been around since 1912.
- Easy start procedure
- Lightweight? Yeah to a degree. At 81lbs its going to be a stretch for a lot of people to lift it onto a bench or storage area but at the same time, weight means that its got balance and that means staying down level on your lawn area while doing the snow throwing.
- Easily detachable snow thrower and main steering handle for compact storage.
- Ready to roll out of the box. Just attach the blower and handle (5 minutes) add gas and you're off to the races.
- Its compliant with Californian emission laws.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Paulette Klein on February 07, 2016:
Was great the 1st year, no problems, since then every year it wont start. Can anyone let us know what we can do to fix this problem. We have had it in for a tune up, Also always has new gas and sparkplug every year and still doesn't start. waiting for a response. Thank you
Jerry Fisher (author) from Wellington on January 04, 2014:
Yeah agree - but like you for the price of it I can put up with a bit of vibration too.
Curt on January 04, 2014:
Watch for the vibration to loosen the oil filler and allow oil to spew out. Also bolts on the shoot will come loose and/or fall off. Otherwise, love it.