2012-2013-2014 Snow Blowers – Who Makes What? Craftsman, Ariens, Cub Cadet, Toro, Troy-Bilt, Snapper, Yardman, MTD Pro, Honda, Yard-Machines and MTD?

by: Paul Sikkema

I know if you are reading this you are a savvy consumer. Someone who wants to know everything you can about the product you intend to buy before you purchase it.

You work hard for your money. Retailers work equally hard to separate you from it. Retail and discount stores are shouting “lowest price,” others “best value.”  Being a savvy consumer means looking beyond the sales pitch and assessing the true value of a product.

Here is a list of engine brands followed by a list of snow blowers brands and who makes what.

Snow Engines – Who Makes What?

There are five manufactures of winterized engines currently being installed on the snow blowers I am going to review this season. Every one of the brands has a proven record of reliability.  In fact in the last two years all of these motors have service records that are the best the industry has ever seen. Parts and service are easy to get from the dealer or retailer you purchased it from.  They are designed to run on todays fuel (Do NOT use E-15 or E-85) AND HAVE MUCH LOWER EMISSIONS than motors sold just a few years ago.

One of the most common questions this year is: Where is the engine made?  

Briggs & Stratton Snow Series: All B&S motors are labeled as such. B&S snow engines are warrantied by B&S, not the snow blower manufacture it is mounted on. B&S snow engines that are made in the USA have the “made in USA” sticker on them. Ariens Polar Force engines are B&S. According to the Briggs & Stratton website the following engines are NOT made in the U.S.A. 800, 900, 1150, 2100 Snow Series™ Source: Briggs & Stratton Engine Manufacturing Locations

LCT: Ariens AX, LCT Snow King and Storm Force, LCT engines have LCT on the valve cover. Storm Force, Ariens AX, and Snow King are LCT engines. You will mainly see this brand on Ariens, Sno-tek and Husqvarna Snow blowers but there are a few smaller brands now using this manufacture. LCT reliability on the Ariens and Husqvarna snow throwers is becoming legendary.  LCT engines on Ariens and Husqvarna snow blowers are warrantied through the respective Ariens and Husqvarna dealers. LCT engines mounted on Power Smart snow blowers are warrantied through LCT

PowerMore™ OHV Winterized Engines: This motor is usually labeled the same as the snow blower it is mounted on. In other words if you buy a Craftsman snow blower it will be labeled as a Craftsman engine. Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, and Yard Machines engines are PowerMore. All PowerMore engines are warrantied through the snow blower brand they are mounted on.

Loncin: Toro’s Premium Engine is made by Loncin, one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers. They make their 87cc, 99cc, 163cc, 212cc, 265cc and 302cc engines. Like LCT and Powermore the reliability is way up compared to your old Tecumseh or Briggs engine.

Honda: No I didn’t forget about Honda. They only install snow motors on their own brand. According to the latest info I have these engines are made in Thailand.

Tecumseh: Lawson Power Products (Tecumseh:) quit making engines in 2008. LCT has partnered with them and is now using the technology and brand names from the old Tecumseh product line.

Snow Blowers by Brand: Who Makes What?

Manufacture: Ariens

Ariens actually makes 7 different series of single and 2-stage snow blowers but for most of us Sno-Tek, the Ariens Compact, and Ariens Deluxe will be the models we will buy. The Platinum, Pro and Track series are high quality snow blowers designed to last a lifetime. I will make a point of reviewing all of the Ariens snow blowers at Home Depot so you can compare them to the other brands.

Manufacture: Briggs & Stratton

Briggs & Stratton makes 3 basic snow blowers. An economy, a residential and a pro model. The also have single and 2-stage. You will see them under various names like:
John Deere
Briggs & Stratton
Craftsman 88618
Some Craftsman Canadian Snow Blowers

Brand: Craftsman

Craftsman has 4 separate lines of snow blowers right now. The Craftsman at Sears models have the legendary service and parts availability. They have both single and 2 -stage units
Craftsman at Sears – MTD makes these for 2013-2014. No Pro models
Craftsman at Kmart – MTD makes these for 2013-2014
Craftsman at Ace Hardware – MTD makes these for 2013-2014
Craftsman at ?
Craftsman®/MD (Canada) – Husqvarna, B&S and MTD makes these for 2013-2014. Did I get them all?

Manufacture: MTD

MTD makes single and  2 stage snow throwers and labels them with different names. The Cub Cadet ones with metal chutes are dealer only models.
Cub Cadet
Troy Bilt
Yard Machines
Yardman, MTD Pro, MTD, MTD Gold
Some Craftsman Canadian Snow Blowers


Manufacture: Honda

All Honda single-stage machines for the USA and Canada market are manufactured at the Honda plant in Swepsonville, NC. This includes the entire engine, from casting to final machine work and assembly. I believe Honda is the only current USA-market snowblower manufacturer who makes both the engine and snowblower at a USA factory.

All Honda 2-stage snowblowers for the USA and Canada market are manufactured at the Honda plant in Japan. The engines for these machines are made at the Honda plant in Thailand, then shipped to Japan for final assembly to the snowblower frame.

A few months ago, the Honda plant in Swepsonville, NC announced expansion and spending plans for the facility so it could produce 2-stage snowblowers. It is expected Honda 2-stage snowblowers will start being manufactured at this plant as early as next year.

Manufacture: Husqvarna

Husqvarna has both single stage, residential 2-stage, and landowner 2-stage units
Poulan Pro
Some Craftsman Canadian Snow Blowers

Manufacture: Toro

Toro has a complete line of single, 2-stage and heavy duty 2 stage snow blowers.
PowerMax HD
Power Clear

Specialty Snow Throwers.

I am calling the rest of this list and any other brand not listed “specialty” snow throwers.  At this time I don’t know which of these names are manufactures and which are brands named just for the U.S. market.  These brands either have only one or two models (most are small electrics) or are internet only companies.

These companies all have the potential to be great, but for the time-being be sure you understand the return and repair policies.  In other words, a 2 year warranty is great but if you can’t find a dealer, an address to ship it to, or even to get someone to answer your phone call the warranty is worthless.

comes with free shipping container

Each Order of 50 Or More Comes With Free Shipping Container!

Amerisun Inc. Parent company for Power Smart and Snow Devil. This company is coming on strong with their China built snow blowers. You can call them and get parts. They are currently building a nationwide service network.

Other names you will see:

Power Smart
Snow Devil
Snow Joe

Other Companies not listed:

One last word of warning. If the price seems to good to be true – it probably is. Be extremely careful of 2-stage snow throwers selling for less than $500!  If you don’t recognize the brand there is a more than likely chance the snow thrower is made in China and service, parts, and repairs for it is non-existent.

Vintage Snowblowers:

Snow blowers have gone through many different design changes in the last 50 years and they still have a ways to go. The designs vary from a simple scoop and fan to a “sidewinder” to the current design.  There have been many different variations of the 3X 3-stage design and some worked – and some don’t.

Gilson Snow Blower Shop has put together a long list of some of the old vintage machines. Go take a look here:Vintage Machine Showcase

Got a Question or Comment? Here's Your Chance!

  1. Morning Paul
    Read your article on who makes what with great interest. I have an old (1999) Husquvarna 1030E with a Tecumsech 10 HP Snow King engine. The entire machine has less than 50 hours on it (I was away at sea most of the time I had it). I need a new impeller and worm gear drive shaft that broke in half with the shear pin intact! The parts are obsolete or so I am told. Can I use parts from other manufacturers and if so who? I hate to trash this machine as it has so little time on it. Have since ordered an Ariens but I want to fix the Huskey up if I can. Thanks in advance for the help,
    Dan McCoart

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    • @Dan, mytractorforum is one of the best places on the web to find old lawn stuff. I personally don’t know who actually made that snow blower, but I’ll bet it was also made under a bunch of other brands. Look around the forum and find the snow blower section. Ask and someone will have an answer for you!

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  2. I have a question for you, I am looking at a 28 inch Ariens, they are sold at the local Home Depot and as well at a independent dealer. I have been told by a local repair shop (who is fixing my almost new 28 Poulan Pro, auger keeps turning while frying the $54 belt off) that buying the one at HD would not be the same quality as from the local Ariens dealer.
    Would this be true?

    Thanks for any advice.


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    • @Ed, No, it’s not true. Ariens makes no distinction between the snowblowers sold at Home Depot, Build.com, Home Depot Canada or the independent dealers. They are all the same.

      Now Home Depot does not carry ALL of the snow blowers Ariens makes. They only carry the ones most homeowners want and don’t carry the high dollar pro models. Likewise many dealers don’t carry the SnoTek series because they don’t make enough profit-per-snow blower.

      Where your repair shop may be getting his “facts” is a few years ago Ariens started using LCT engines and a few dealers would not sell them because they were “Chinese” But everyone has now realized that the LCT engine is one of the best on the market.

      FYI, If you can find a 28 Ariens Deluxe anywhere, get it. They are in very short supply.

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  3. I have an old Honda HS621 snowblower. I need to replace the auger and want to know if a 21″ YardMan or Yard Machines snowblower auger can be used as an alternative part as the cost is much less than a Honda supplied auger. The machines look to be identical and the parts interchangeable.

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    • @Tim, Basically you are trying to take the rear end out a Ford pickup and install it in a Chevy. They look the same but all the mounts are just a little different.

      Honda, MTD

      The shaft diameter, pulley diameter have to be measured. The bearings have to be verified that they are the same. Honda is typically metric, MTD is typically S.A.E.

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    • @Craig, I actually haven’t decided which snow blower is the best for me, but I do have it narrowed down to a few choices.

      First, My daughter and son-in-lawn live in the Chicago area. They get up to 12 inches of heavy wet snow and their driveway is 12 X 80 feet plus a couple of short sidewalks. I had given them a single-stage snow thrower to use but because they sometimes get drifts 2 feet deep it didn’t work that well. So I just gave her a 24 inch Husqvarna ST 224. It will be the perfect size and power for them.

      Second, I live north central Wisconsin so I get more snow, up to 20 inches at a time. I have a 16 X 70 drive and live on an ambulance route so I need a snow blower powerful to not only clean the drive but also clear the wet, slushy snow plow drift the end of the drive. The plow comes through every hour so that stuff is usually really wet and heavy. My first choice for this area is the Craftsman 24″ 208cc Dual-Stage Snow Blower 13″ x 4″ X-Trac tires. It has plenty of power and is a great value.

      But, I’m also getting older so I think I would like a snow blower with power steering. The Cub Cadet 24 in 524 SWE Two-Stage Snow Thrower
      icon is a really good deal also.

      Now, What makes it so hard for me to make a decision is I really like the Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering and I have been coming up with a list of why I need that $1000 snow blower. So:

      1. I also like to clean off an area in the back yard for my dogs. That area gets drifts up to 3 feet and the smaller tires on Craftsman and Cub Cadet really don’t have enough traction out on the lawn.
      2. I love to see a snow blower throw snow 50 feet or more. It’s just a beautiful site to an old gear head like me. The 14 inch impeller and 2 belt drive system in the Ariens really throws snow and throws it a lot farther that the other 24 inch snow blowers with the 12 inch impeller.
      3. I really like the Auto Turn on the Ariens.
      4. I like the fact the Ariens has no poly or plastic. While the poly is dependable, I can fix metal if I ever break anything. Plastic has to be replaced.

      Now if I can just talk the spouse into the extra money……….

      Please use my choice as a comparison only. If your drive is larger or steeper etc, ask me and I’ll help you find the right snow blower for you.

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  4. I have been looking for snowthrowers for several weeks. I have narrowed it down to two. the cub cadet 526swe model at $899, or the toro mdl 37777 – $999. Both are 26 inches. which do you recommend? Which engine is better. there is also some concern whether a wire or rod connects the movement of the transmission. arew the gear drives different?. Please help, because I can’t make this decision. Thanks

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  5. Being in my 50s I finally decided that I need a snowblower. When the plow passes by we can easliy have over 3 feet of very compact, sometimes slushy snow. While I know little about snowblowers, I’m leaning totards a 3 stage machine; either a Cub Cadet 28″ or a Troy Bilt Vortex 26″. Both have (the same^) 357 cc engine. First, is it worth buying a 3 stage snowblower? Second, if I go with a 3 stage machine, which of these two (or another one) is the better option? Please advise

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    • @Frank, They are both the same snow blower, just two different sizes. They are both made by the same manufacture (MTD) and probably come off the same assembly line. I am not a big fan of the 3X. It does a great job on 10 inches or more of snow but it has a habit of throwing snow out the front when cleaning 2 to 6 inches.

      You would be just as well off with a Cub Cadet 26 or 28 inch 2 stage. The 2X will handle the snow plow drift just as well.

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    • 3 Stage machine are not really advantageous over 2 stage machines. They either just add a screw in the middle to supposedly aide in pass the snow back to the impeller, or have an additional auger on the top of the bucket in front in the old machines for deeper drifts. Really though a 2 stage will do just fine. They are just gimmics.

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  6. I am looking to buy a new snowblower (my first brand new one). I had an older ariens ST1032 and loved it. It was old enough to have points. I have a steep driveway and need to clear part of the lawn so I want big tires and it needs to throw the snow a long way.i can spend up to 1000 dollars. Do you have any ideas?

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  7. Ready to buy new and can’t make up my mind… Have looked at all the different options out there. I’ve got a 3,500 square feet of driveway with a 80′ uphill section that is a 18 degree incline at its worst. I am debating about going with the new Husqvarna 30in ST230P with 16′ wheels or focus more or traction and try the new Troy Bilt Storm Tracker 2690 XP™ loosing 4″ in path clearance but surely have improved traction and electronic chute control. Either way its better than pushing my vintage ariens 22″ 2-stage with rubber. Thoughts?

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    • @Adam, The Troy-Bilt does not have a large enough engine. You will be waiting on it all the time. The 208 cc works well on a 24 inch or even a 26 inch wheeled unit, but it is not big enough for tracks.

      The ST230P Husqvarna will do a better job than the Troy-Bilt. Before you make your final decision take a look at the Ariens Deluxe 30 (at Home Depot or a dealer) It’s a heavy machine and has a larger 14 inch impeller/auger and will throw snow farther than the other 2. If you have traction issues with the Ariens they have tire chains available.

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    • @Ruben, Yes, The first engines in 2009 had a few issues handling ethanol fuel, but in the last 4 years there have been NO issues with the motors. They are dependable, long life engines.

      People still ignore the fuel warnings and don’t use sealed gas cans, leave the fuel in the engine all summer, etc. but that is not the engine’s fault – that is a problem with today’s fuel. I highly suggest using good, fresh fuel and a fuel stabilizer like seafoam.

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  8. Hi Paul
    I am leaning towards a PowerSmart 24 inch model – I have budget constraints – would you think this would be a disaster ? most reviews compalin about slow customer service, but there seems few problem with the product, I also read on your site that they are building a national network so it should only get better – Do you agree ?
    Thanks for all your advice

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  10. Hi Paul, I’m looking to get a new snow blower to replace my old Ariens ST824. The old Ariens served me well, but it’s time to get a new one. I’m looking to spend $1,000 or less. Right now I’m looking at the Cub Cadet 526swe, Ariens deluxe 28, or one of the Toro or Craftsman 26″ models.

    My driveway holds about 8-9 cars, plus a clear a 10×10 patio and some of the backyard for the dogs.

    I live in Upstate NY, Rochester, we average around 100″ of snow or more a year.

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  13. Paul, I live in Canada and am looking at purchasing my very first snow thrower. Can you tell me anything about the reliability of Yardworks machines. I’m eyeing the two-stage, 24″, 208 cc OHV model for about $950. I’d also really like to know who actually makes them. Someone suggested that MTD does, but I can only find references to Yardman and Yard snow throwers, not Yardworks. Would appreciate any insight you have.

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  14. Just an update on the Honda snowblowers…

    All Honda single-stage machines for the USA and Canada market are manufactured at the Honda plant in Swepsonville, NC. This includes the entire engine, from casting to final machine work and assembly. I believe Honda is the only current USA-market snowblower manufacturer who makes both the engine and snowblower at a USA factory.

    All Honda 2-stage snowblowers for the USA and Canada market are manufactured at the Honda plant in Japan. The engines for these machines are made at the Honda plant in Thailand, then shipped to Japan for final assembly to the snowblower frame.

    A few months ago, the Honda plant in Swepsonville, NC announced expansion and spending plans for the facility so it could produce 2-stage snowblowers. It is expected Honda 2-stage snowblowers will start being manufactured at this plant as early as next year.

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    • @Robert, Thank you, That is great info to know! There are very few horizontal shaft engines made in North America. (Nobody talks about Genrac) Feel free to keep us informed about any changes Honda will make to these units when they come to the U.S.

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  15. I purchased an 824 Ariens in 2001. Two yrs ago the slip clutch for the wheels began to fail.
    It still stops but a couple of paces late. Given my back issues, I need one that stops when I think its going to. Is this a common problem? The Ariens dealer told me it would cost $700 to fix with no warranty whatsoever. Given that, I thought I better look for another since I get plenty of lake effect snow here in MI. I’d like to buy one that will last me more than ten years that has “power steering,” if you think this feature works well. What’s your take on my Ariens dealer experience and would I be relying on this same dealer if I bought another one from HD? I’m open to other brands. I’d like one that has P/S if you think this feature works well.
    Your ideas would be appreciated.

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    • @Gerry, It actually sounds like you got a long and rewarding life out of your old Ariens. Yes, transmissions do need maintenance and 12 years without a problem is pretty common with an Ariens.

      The new Ariens have a much simpler transmission and it should last even longer. The new auto turn is very simple. Here is a video of what the new Ariens transmisssion looks like inside: Ariens Platinum – a look inside.

      I actually suggest sticking with an Ariens. The 24 inch Ariens Deluxe and Ariens Platinum snow blowers have a larger engine than your old one and will blow snow a lot faster. The Autoturn really is maintenance free and easy to use.

      HD is running out of certain models of Ariens so don’t be afraid to go to that dealer to buy a new one. Ariens and Home Depot don’t have sales so his price will be about the same.

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  16. Hi Paul, so glad I found this article. I am looking at the new Cub Cadet 3 stage 30″ snowblower, find it very hard to find reviews on it (probably because its new?). Do you know what motors are fitted on them? In the brochure it says its 420cc…but that is it. Is it one of the Powermore motors you mention in your article? I live in NW Ontario and we get snow…lots of it, my last snowblower was/is an older(2007) Husqvarna 27″, it did the job well (100m driveway with 4-5 foot snow drifts) and 60′ x60′ parking area in front of garage) Will the 3 stage and extra 3″ make a noticeable difference?

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    • @Simon, I still haven’t decided if the 3X is better than a 2-stage but the engine will power through anything you will get. Yes, all Cub Cadets use the MTD/Powermore engines.

      The extra 3 inches and the huge engine will probably give you about 20% time savings.

      Are you getting the one with the black plastic chute or the yellow metal chute? The metal chute machine is supposed to be higher capacity.

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  17. It’s time to replace my John Deere 924DE. The auger gears are worn out, and that’s a $6-700 repair. I’m really leaning toward the Ariens 24″ Delux that is selling for $999 (if I can find one) but after reading your reviews, I’m wondering if I’d be just as well off saving some money with with the Craftsman 88173 24″ with the 208cc motor that is selling for $679 right now, or the Toro with the larger 250cc engine (but 11″ tires) that sells for $899.

    I have a 200 yd driveway that is plowed, but have to clear 2 30×30′ areas in front of garages, an area of the back yard for the dog, and a mailbox that gets plowed in deep because we live on a corner. Oh, and we live in Maine, where 12-20″ storms are not uncommon. What do you recommend?

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    • @David, The Craftsman 88173 is a great value. It has plenty of power for it’s size. You do lose some features. 4-way chute, 14 inch – high capacity impeller, all metal construction.

      I like the engines on the Craftsman and Ariens a lot. The Toro is a good snow blower but the engine has the highest defect record of the 3.

      You can get by with the Craftsman and you will be happy with it. The Ariens though is a different class of snow blower. It’s heavier built and capable of taking on any snow plow drift or winter storm. If you are willing to spend the extra $250, it would be well spent. The Ariens will throw snow over 50 feet.

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          • @David, There are about forty different 24 inch models and thirty 28 inch models.

            The snow blower market is actually very structured. There is the Under $600 market. The under $800 Market and the under $1000 market. So everyone tries to “fit” into those areas. 28 inch is about the biggest most manufactures can go a still stay in the under $1000 market.

            Many of the 28 inch snow blowers are actually easier to use. Most are balanced better so the handles are not as hard to push down to turn. Most have power steering of some type so all you have to do is pull a lever or in the case of the Ariens just move the snow blower and it turns for you.

            Many of the 24 inch snow blowers are “price point” machines and lack any real creature features like power steering, heated hand grips, short chutes, remote deflector controls and some don’t come with electric start. The lack of power steering and poor balance makes many of them harder to use.

            In a given brand there is usually less than a 30 lb difference between a 24 inch and a 28 inch.

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  18. Sorry for any confusion, but I meant the Ariens Delux 24 (which seems very hard to find) compared to the Ariens Delux 28 (which is the same price and more available). But I think you’ve answered the question for me in any case. Thank you for your incredible responsiveness. It’s very helpful.

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  19. Paul, very interesting read here, thank you. I would like your opinion on a couple things please. First, today I was told that most machines (less than an Ariens) use a brass worm drive gear with a greased gear box, instead of an alloy gear in a gear-oil bath. He said that one frozen paper is all you get away with. The second one will chew the brass gear and apparently wty won’t cover it. It seems to me that even if you don’t find a paper, it simply can’t last as long as an alloy gear? Thoughts?
    Also, considering a 29″ Briggs & Stratton Brute with Easy Turn ™ power steering. I have read negative things about serious mechanical premature engine failures in the Briggs of recent years. Not sure if the site was credible or not. Also a little concerned if the Brute transmission is a quality piece or not. In one ad it says it uses a friction disc with 2 gears each side for steering, but the guy at B & S says it is a gear box with CVT pulley’s etc. Really? I wonder if anyone can provide feedback on whether this is a good (and affordable rebuild if necessary 15 years from now) or not? Thanks much.

    The Briggs blower I am considering is at a Sears in Canada. It has the B & S Snow Series 1450 engine. Heated grips and electric chute rotation, with manual chute height. In fact it was a substitute for the 88395 Craftsman you mention here often. That one was 1000. but sold out first day of Black Friday. They want 1200. for the 29″ but is a Briggs & Stratton unit front to back, not a Craftsman with a Briggs engine. Is the Brute the higher end of the Briggs line or the low end of the 3 classes you mentioned earlier? The Ariens 28 Deluxe you like (me too) is 1379.00 up here :( …plus 13%. I am considering it though as my drive is about 600′ long and has a steep hill involved. I simply can’t afford a track machine.

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    • @Steve, Brute is the cheap brand name for Briggs/Simplicity/Snapper/Murray.

      Take a hard look at this snowblower. Item #: 717 952 444 10. This is basically the new 200 series Husqvarna with a Briggs engine on it. You can read about the 200 series Husqvarna here: 200 Series Husqvarna.

      Now, let’s cover your questions. Yes, most machines do use an aluminum gear case with brass and alloy gears. 90% of them last the life of the snow blower. Some use grease, some use gear oil and some use engine oil for the lubrication. I see very few problems with the front gearbox unless you mess with it. I repeat – They very seldom go bad except when you abuse them. Abuse is replacing the shear pins with bolts and then running a garden hose through it. The gear case is sealed for life – but some owners insist they have to remove the lubrication and replace with new every few years. The owners that do that have more problems than leaving it alone. The Briggs snow blowers have the weakest gearbox and I have seen more failures with them than any other brand.

      I don’t know if the Brute uses the Friction Disk or the CVT. I would assume it uses the Friction Disk because it is the “cheap” brand. That said, the CVT is made by General Transmissions and doesn’t have ANY issues. I expect it to last the life of the snow blower. (there was a plastic case transmission in a Craftsman Pro a few years ago that gave these enclosed trannys a bad name. It was not made by GT) The GT HR 300 P transmission is tough, really tough. Here is a link to the data page for it HR 300 P.

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  20. Hi Paul. I am interested in the craftsman 71795244110 it is on sale for $1199 Canadien. Is this a good choice for this price range. Who makes the machine , is it an American Brigs&strat? Should I do the safe thing and buy a Ariens?
    Also should I use a ethanol additive&91 octane when fueling up?

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    • @Ed, None of the engines on snow blowers are made in the U.S. That Craftsman 71795244110 is the same snow blower as a 200 series Husqvarna with 3 important changes. First it has power steering, 2nd, a larger 250 cc engine and finally the dash has one light instead of the six focused LED’s.

      I wish we could get power steering on a 24 inch down here. I like the snow blower a lot and it will be a great residential snow blower.

      You can use any car gas up to 10% ethanol. Myself, I use Sea Foam but any good fuel stabilizer will work to keep the fuel fresh.

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      • Thank you Paul.The engens in the Craftsman 717 952 441 10 is advertised as a 305 cc. Is this overkill? Will that 305 monster fry off the belts (or is it a single belt) prematurely? and shorten the lifespan of the transmission? (hopefully steel). As you can probably tell this will be my first blower.I am not very knowledgeable.Is it the first 3 numbers that specifies Husqvarna as the maker of the Craftsman?

        Also in the meantime the Toro 826 power max went on sale for $1000.No headlightime ,250cc, the controls seem flimsy er than the Craftsman.
        Thanks for your expertise, and quick response. Ed

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        • @Ed, The Canadian snow blowers tend to have bigger engines than the U.S. counterparts. I guess they think you get more snow :) 305cc is not a bad size and I don’t imagine that it will wear out belts faster than a 208cc. The belts are “horsepower” belts and can take more HP than the 305 can deliver. The same way with the trans. The tires will spin long before the engine can tear anything up.

          I don’t know if the sears.ca item numbering system can tell you who makes the snow blower. I just look at it and can tell by the frame and auger housings.

          I like the controls on the Craftsman. Everything is big and easy to use with gloved hands. Does the Toro have power steering?

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          • Eh Paul no the Toro 826 power max does not have power steering thanks for point that out.It was tempting me at that price, but now know that the Craftsman is a Husqvarna has given me closure on it, I hope there are some left.Last time I was there , there was only 2 or 3 models left between sell outs or discontinued models. They have also closed the other location. I hope that this doesn’t affect the legendary services department, I have heard rumors it will.

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  21. Hi Paul where does Poulen pro cut costs on there blowers? Looks the same as the Husqvarna minus the adjustable handle bars. Would this be something you would recommend for Canadien lake affect snow region? I was at Walmart and have the 30″ Poulen pro mis priced for $780 Supposed to be $1298. Would the last laf be on me?
    Thanks again

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    • @Ed, The basic snow blower doesn’t change, meaning the engine, drive train and frame is the same. The will reduce costs by not putting on power steering, using a single light instead of 6, stuff like that. The big cost difference is the supply chain. For example, with WalMart or Same’s a truck picks the snow blowers up at the factory or storage warehouse, brings them to WalMart’s warehouse and then they are shipped right to the store. Most, if not all of that transportation cost is eaten by the retailer. WalMart also bids out the snow blower and orders 5000 or more at a time. The assembly line can make all 5000 at the same time. WalMart/Sam’s also works on a fixed margin of profit per unit so they can reduce the price and still make enough to keep the doors open.

      With a snow blower sold at a dealer, the orders are smaller say 6-25 of one model. The transportation costs are usually higher because one dealer doesn’t get a whole truckload from the factory. The semi that is bringing his snow blowers may have 6 or 10 other dealers items on them. I don’t know about Husqvarna specifically but other brands also use an intermediary. A wholesaler will order from the factory, store the items in a warehouse and then trickle them into the dealers as they need them. All this adds to the cost of a snow blower. Finally, the dealer needs to make a larger profit per unit to pay for the overhead of the store, part counter, service bay and (free) delivery etc.

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      • Thanks Paul. I took another look at the poulen pro, 30990195 at wallmart I was wrong it does have the adjustable bar, power steering, everything minus led hend lamps.impressive looking machine my main concern is the 254 cc power plant or lack there of, rated at 12.5 torques on a 30″ bucket.would that be a Lct moter? last year we had enough snow to impress a Eskimo.Is this enough power to go threw 6 -8″ of wet snow not to mention the hard pack at the end of the lane way? Thanks Paul.

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        • @Ed, This snow blower with the LCT 254cc will throw 6-8 well. Even heavy, wet snow. You will have to go slower with it when moving really deep 12-20 inch snow. 254 cc is about 8.5-9 HP. I used a 254 on a 28 inch last year and found it to have a lot of torque. The engine worked with 12 inches of snow but it got the job done very well.

          Here is a video of that snow blower with the 254. I expect the Poulan Pro to do about the same: Ariens Deluxe 28 With Auto Turn Takes On The Biggest Husqvarna In Wisconsin!

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          • Hi Paul found the video helpful, smooth sound, not too loud, impressive distance. That Ariens must have 14″ impeller. The Walmart corrected the price on the Polen Pro, for that price I would rather the Ariens Deluxe 28, or the Husqvarna 27″ with the same 254 LCT. That Husqvarna is not only functionable but looks awesome. I also like the double auger belt system on that Deluxe, built to last!

            By the way went to Sears to get the facts on the service department. Unfortunately there will be no more men in trucks! They made the change this year , and still do not know who will be taking on the task.That will definitely factor into my decision.

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    • @Ed, I’m used to the trigger steer but I’ve used the Ariens Auto-Turn enough that I’m really comfortable with it also.

      When using the Auto-Turn you don’t even think about it. When you want to turn the snow blower you just move the handles like you would a walk-behind mower. You can lift the front and zero-turn with it. It acts just like the differential in any other item like your car, forklift, etc. In other words the axle automatically unlocks.

      With a trigger steer you have to pull a trigger on the handle to turn in the direction you want to go. Some trigger steers like the 200 series are fluid. Other systems like the older Husqvarna used dogs that let you move a few degrees at a time. You can easily over-turn if you are just making a small course correction. If you want to turn with the snow blower in neutral you have to pull both triggers.

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  22. Paul, (1) have you had any experience with Yamaha, they seem to have comparable quality to Honda with similar pricing. I’m dealing with large amounts of wet/heavy and a lot of “off” pavement clearing. (2) what would be the most practical method to snow blow a wooden deck, wood steps going up 8 ft to a large (600 sq/ft) flat surface. My current blower has chained wheels and I’m reluctant to encounter the “rath of the missus” if she ever discovers scratches/gouges on the new deck. Deck is why I’m considering tracked blowers.
    Bob in Nova Scotia.

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  23. Hello, my driveway is 40’X120′ and the plows leave an average of 2-1/2′ at the end of the driveway. I also like helping some of my neighbors. I really like the Husqvarna and the Ariens. I was thinking 30″ with track system. What are your thoughts? Thanks again!

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    • Hi Tony, I like the Husqvarna track drive a lot. It has a big motor, hydrostatic drive and all the options to make it easy to use. But buy the 2015 ST330T version. I say this because there may be a few 2014 1830EXLT’s floating around yet and they have sticky steering.

      The Ariens are also great but you have to buy the Pro series to get power steering. The Compact and Deluxe have solid axles and are really hard to steer.

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