The Snow Joe Ultra SJ623E is an 18-inch single-stage electric snow blower that is more like a thrower. It’s attractive price has garnered it considerable attention over the years as a nice tool for those in need of some light or moderate assistance with snow removal. Online stores such as Amazon can have it delivered to your door in days.
Powerful 15-Amp Electric Motor
The electric motor runs at 15 amps which is powerful enough to throw fluffy snow about 15 feet (not the 20 feet they claim). That lighter snow gets gobbled up with considerable speed. With heavier snow, it does bog down quite a bit. Especially toward the end of the driveway. You’ll have to take it much slower to avoid clogging up the chute. There is a handy shovel tool in the event that happens.
The Snow Joe uses the maximum amount of power (15 amps) you can get from an electric snow blower in the United States. Despite that, it’s still an electric snow blower that can burn out with overuse. In heavier snows, you’ll need to take it slow. And when you feel the machine struggling to keep up with the snow in front, it’s a good time to pull back and let it breathe. Many engine failures on the Snow Joe (and other electrics I’ve seen) are from people pushing it past the limit. Even in lighter conditions, you’ll want to shut it down every 20-30 minutes to cool down to extend its lifespan.
On the other hand, the electric engine provides some nice benefits. There is no messy oil changes or dealing with a gas canister in frigid weather. No spark plugs that need to be replaced or recoil starter that throws your shoulder out. It’s also really quiet in use. Although probably not enough to to avoid angry neighbors if you are using it at the crack of dawn.
10-inch Steel Auger
At 18-inches wide, the Snow Joe SJ623E has a 10-inch steel auger. This is a nice bonus considering most products in this price range are using thick plastic. The steel is a bit thin and the rotor may be prone to bending if used on gravel surfaces.
The SJ623E can move up to 720 pounds of snow per minute. It can run efficiently through about 6-8 inches of light snow. I’ve seen videos of people on YouTube who’ve used this on up to a foot of snow without any problems. With heavier snow, I’d limit it to 4 inches. And you’ll have to go a bit slower with that. Still, this is quite impressive for an electric snowblower at such a low price.
Auger blades make contact with the ground like in their gas-powered single-stage counterparts. This leaves a nice clean surface with regular snow. It’s not great with heavy slush or compacted snow.
Lightweight and Easy to Turn
The 18-inch Snow Joe is a lightweight device at just over 30 pounds. This makes it easy to handle despite its lack of freewheel steering. However, because there are a lot of plastic components, you’ll have to take it easier on the machine. This means going slow through bigger piles and avoiding any rocks that can damage parts. It can’t handle the stress a 300-pound steel snow blower can.
My only minor gripe with handling is that the handlebars are a little short. They can’t be adjusted either. If you’re over 6 feet, you may have to slouch when using it.
180° Remote Chute Control
The plastic discharge chute can be adjusted 180 degrees manually by a crank below the handlebar. You won’t have to bend down and can keep one hand on the chute control and the other guiding the the machine. The chute is lightweight and the vibration from the motor can cause it to shift at times. A relatively minor annoyance.
With fluffier snow, the chute works efficiently. Heavier snow can cause some clogs if you’re moving too fast. I would encourage owners to generously apply a non-stick spray to the inside of the chute to avoid this.
20W Halogen Headlight
At its price, it’s no surprise that the Snow Joe Ultra is light on major features. No self-propelled mechanism, no single-hand controls, and no heated handlebars. But you do get a 20W halogen headlight which is rare in this price range. I’m a fan of this feature for safety reasons. Electric start is of course included and the handlebars can quickly fold down after use for easier storage.
Requires Heavy-Duty 15 Amp Extension Cord
This machine requires being plugged in to operate. They don’t supply a power cord so you’ll want to grab an outdoor one that can maintain 15 amps at the desired feet (Snow Joe says no more than 100 feet). It’s incredibly important to buy one that is rated at 15 amps. Anything less and you won’t get full power to the Snow Joe. While there are a lot of options, Iron Forge Cable and AmazonBasics makes quality outdoor extension cords.
There is a 2-year warranty, although it involves sending the unit back to the manufacturer. Snow Joe does sell a number of replacement parts.
Overall, I think this is one of the best electric snowblowers as long as you have reasonable expectations. The Snow Joe Ultra SJ623E is great for people who need help removing 6-8 inches of snow or less. For people with small-to-medium sized driveways because of the cord. And for those who can be a little more careful with such a lightweight product. So if you can handle that, and have no desire to drop $700 on a gas-powered machine, you will be happy with this one.
Brand: Snow Joe (Operator’s Manual)
Stage Type: Single-Stage
Engine: 15-Amp Electric
Fuel Capacity: N/A
Plowing Capacity: 720 lbs/minute
Clearing Width: 18 inch
Intake height: 10 inch
Throw Distance: 20 feet
Tires: 4.5 inch (2.5 inch width)
Weight: 33.3 pounds
Warranty: Full 2-year
Starting Method: Electric
Power Steering: No
Chute adjustment: Remote (180º radius)
Headlight: 20-watt Halogen
Heated handlebars: No