2014 Ariens Deluxe 28 Snow Blower 921030 with Auto-Turn Review

Is the Ariens Deluxe 28 Model 921030 snow blower right for you?

 

 

The new Ariens Auto-Turn takes the large, high capacity Ariens 921030 Deluxe 28 snow blower and makes it as easy to use as a small compact model. The new Deluxe 28 has features that make it better than most of the other snow blowers in this size. Two-Belt impeller drive, cast iron, braced gearbox and the new Auto-Turn steering.

All for only $1099.

Ariens has taken one of the best homeowner snow blowers on the market and made it better – without raising the price!

Ariens 921030_Deluxe_28

Ariens 921030_Deluxe_28

Auto-Turn eliminates the need for you to make large loops during a turn, instead allowing even, tight turns from the center axis of the machine. This new technology will actually zero-turn. It also eliminates having to hang on to both handles and pull levers to make the turn. Their are no levers to move when making a turn. So turning becomes a simple, natural gesture while still giving the traction you need in the snow. You can turn effortlessly without adjusting the speed.

This 28 inch snow blower is sized for most 2-3 car suburban driveways.  It handles 4 to 16 inch snows easily and has enough power to blow heavy, wet snow. The intake is tall enough to handle 20 inch drifts. It works well on gravel driveways.

Auto-Turn is designed to let operators avoid straining and pulling in a turn, and allows them to guide the snow blower precisely without adjusting speed. No manual adjustments are needed to enable the feature  (no triggers or lever to pull). The steering feature is also available on Ariens Deluxe 30 wheel-drive models and all models in the Ariens Platinum, Professional, and Hydro-Pro including track-drive.  

Buy Here: Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe 28 in. Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVuRuHGZFeA

Ariens offers eight different grades of snow blowers. Ariens is a primary snow thrower manufacture and offers snow blowers for all homeowners, businesses and commercial users. The Deluxe is the full-featured heavy duty residential line. The Deluxe 28 reviewed here is a reasonably priced unit that easily gets the job done year after year. Ariens currently does not make snow throwers for other brands that I am aware of.  

What makes this snow blower the best 28 inch snow thrower for you? The features I like most:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6SV5ZMsgeY

Most of the time I pick two features I like most but in this case I like most of the features of this machine.  I will go through each one below.

IMG_6692 254 cc Ariens AX engine. This engine by LCT delivers over twice the torque of a 208 cc motor. I like the motor. It starts easily and has plenty of power to handle deep snows. I don’t expect you to have any issues with this engine but if you do LCT and Ariens work closely together so your local Ariens dealer can handle the warranty work quickly. Dual roller ball bearings reduce friction and prolong life. Commercial cast iron sleeve reduces wear and improves emissions.

 Update Dec 9:  The 12.5 ft lb Ariens AX engine has plenty of power for midwestern snows. It has more torque than the B&S engine that is also offered on the Deluxe 28+. It is quiet for it’s size and with a hood or ear muffs on you won’t need hearing protection.  I was pleasantly surprised with the torque the motor has. You know how heavy snow gets when it has gone through the snow blower once – the AX engine handled 10 inches of this snow well.

A lot of you are unsure about the Ariens AX (made by LCT) because it is a name you are unfamiliar with. But I want to assure you that this motor is better than the the old Techumseh you had and in my opinion it will prove to be one of the most dependable motors ever put on a snow blower.

I feel this 245 cc motor is just right for about 80% of the snows we get in the United States. Blowing snow this morning I feel it will handle 12-14 inches or so without a wimper. But – I would like to see Ariens also offer the 291 cc or 369 cc engine for those of you that live in a snow belt.

 

Ariens LCT Throttle

It has a throttle!

This AX series engine has a throttle!  The throttle is conveniently located on the top of the engine. Many of us like to idle the motor after we have worked it hard so this is a great addition! Over 2 hours run time per tank of gas make’s it very fuel efficient.

New Auto-Turn Steering. The new Auto-Turn Steering makes this the easiest to use 28 inch snow blower on the market. I noticed the difference taking the new snow blower off the delivery trailer. There are no levers to pull to steer the unit. In fact it is so easy to use, I am having a hard time putting in writing how easy it is. You just move the handles in the direction you want to turn and it goes there. It turn a easy as your push mower. It handles easier than a snow blower with pin-lock steering and it many times easier to use than one without power steering.

I have rugs from the kitchen door to the sides doors in my garage. With any other snow blower I am constantly messing up these rugs. (With a track drive I have to pick up the rugs before I go out the door or they will get caught in the tracks) With the new Auto Turn I can go over the rugs, turn the snow blower on the rugs and they don’t get messed up! I’d buy a snow blower with Auto-Turn for just that one reason!  

Because of the way the Auto-Turn works many of you are wondering if the snow blower will cut a side-drift. In other words after the city snow plow has piled a hard-packed drift of snow up against your mailbox can you go out there and cut it back with your new Ariens.  The answer is yes. I’ll make a video when it warms up a little to prove that.

I had one person ask about the clicking noise. Simply stated, that is the way the Auto-Turn is designed.  The clicking noise is only noticeable when the snow blower engine is not running and you are just moving it around the garage. Again when it warms up a little (it is -4 in my garage this morning) I’ll take the Deluxe 28 apart and show you how the Auto-Turn and why it makes noise when you turn.

 I have been using snow blowers for 40 years and I have never had one that is this easy to steer! It’s more than just the Auto-Turn that makes the Deluxe 28 easy to use. Like the Craftsman 88395 it is balanced well. What that means is when you are out in an area like your back yard, it doesn’t get caught in obstructions easily. It has enough forward weight to keep the front end down and cutting, yet it is balanced well so when you do find something you have to lift the front over (like a clump of frozen grass or a dog turd) it is easy to lift.

An example of a machine that does not work well is the Husqvarna 924HV. Somewhere along the development path of the 924 Husqvarna put larger tires on the unit than it was originally designed for. You would think this would help with traction but in reality it makes it almost worthless when you go off-roading with it. Because the whole unit now angles down it gets caught on every little clump of frozen grass etc.   

Heavy-Duty Cast Iron Gear Case

Heavy-Duty Gear Case

Heavy-Duty Gear Case

Heavy-duty cast iron gear case with alloy steel gears and L-3 synthetic severe-duty gear oil provides continuous reliability and a longer gear life. The gearbox comes with a 5-year warranty. Ariens is very proud of their front gearbox and they should be. This design will last the life of the snow blower and is the strongest currently made.  I’m not sure if they add the bracing to hold the gearbox for you or just to support the weight of this box, but I know you will never see the front auger shaft sag like it does on some of the other brands. You can “accidentally” hit something with the gearbox and not worry about breaking it.

28 in. clearing width.  Makes quick work of clearing driveways and patios in minimal passes
21 in. intake height. There is only one other snow blower on the market that has a higher intake (22 inches)

14 in. 3-blade impeller, 14 in. serrated auger and large discharge chute.

The 14 inch blower is larger than any other snow blower in this price range. This is one of three reasons this Ariens will blow snow over 50 feet. The augers are larger than most other brands and aggressively pulls compacted snow and ice into the blower (impeller). The combination of the 14 inch impeller and 14 inch open flight auger will suck as much snow into the snow blower as the engine power can handle.

I’m not saying the Ariens is better, just different. All the other brands use a 12 inch impeller for this size and price snow blower. Because of that many of the other brands make trade-offs or allowances to control the snow going into the unit. For example Toro has the Power Max® Anti-Clogging System (ACS), Husqvarna uses a closed flight, closely spaced front auger to meter the snow into the impeller. The new Cub Cadet 3X series use a third stage to inject the snow into the 12 inch impeller.  

The discharge chute on this Ariens is larger than the other brands. In fact the only chutes available as large are the ones on the Cub Cadet  3X-HD and 900 series snow blowers.

Heavy-Duty Blower Housing

IMG_6664

Heavy-Duty Blower Housing

Heavy-Duty Blower Housing

When Consumer Reports was testing this year blowing wet sawdust they made a comment that with one of the other brands the edge of the housing started to roll in. All the current snow blowers use about the same thickness of steel to make the housing but the Ariens uses extra stampings to make the side panels stronger. While most brands have one or two stampings, Ariens uses four. This makes the side panels strong and they won’t cave in as easily as the other brands.

Another minor feature is the rolled top edge. This is stronger than the angle stamped in the other brands.

Ariens Dual belt auger drive system

Ariens Dual belt auger drive system

 Dual belt auger drive system. This is the second reason this Ariens will blow snow over 50 feet. Exclusive dual belt auger drive system propels snow up and out of the chute powerfully and continually, providing sustained power and longer belt life with minimal to no maintenance or adjustments
6 forward speeds and 2 reverse speeds. Industry standard friction drive has been driving Ariens Sno-Tro’s since 1960. It let’s you adjust your speed to accommodate different conditions

Clean Looks

Clean Looks

 200-degree chute.  2.5 cranks on the handle moves the chute the full 200 degrees. The remote deflector accurately discharges snow up to 50 ft. (the third reason!)

 

Minor features I like:

– The handles are bolted together. Most of us NEVER drop the handles to store the unit or for transport so using two strong, locking bolts makes sense to me.

– The handles are strong and the tubing is a little larger than most.

– When you look at the snow blower from the back the design is clean and well thought out. The wiring is inside a harness, no separate wires drooping around. The control linkages, cables and rods are all neatly designed to sty out of your way.

Bolted Handle

Bolted Handle

Strong Mounts

Strong Mounts

Other features you are used to.

Dual-handle interlock system conveniently free’s one hand to allow chute and speed adjustments while maintaining operator safety
120-volt electric push-button start provides a quick and easy start
Large, in-dash halogen headlight helps provide extended snow removal time and added safety
Heavy-duty, reversible skid shoes adjust the height of blower housing to help clear uneven surfaces
Rust-resistant exterior helps ensure long-term use
Includes a 3 year limited consumer warranty

Reviews

I’m very confused about the reviews at Home Depot and Ariens. Both sites have hundreds of reviews posted for the Deluxe 28 with Auto-Turn yet the machine has not been around long enough to warrant more than a dozen or so reviews. In fact when you sort by date there are only 5 reviews on Home Depot and 3 on Ariens of this model (December 8, 2013). looks like they .  It appears they While the Auto-Turn is new, the Deluxe 28 snow blower has been around for a while. It is a proven, high capacity snow blower.  Less than 1 % of the reviews are negative. Of the 280 reviews only 3 are from mechanical problems and those seem to be bad assembly from the factory. The other negative reviews are from maneuverability and those have been addressed with the new Auto-Turn Steering. It’s well made and owners like it! Ariens AX engine, headlight and metal chute with remote controls give it the features many of you demand. These features plus the standard features you find on a Ariens make it one of the best snow blowers. The Ariens 28 Deluxe may just be the new standard in large, homeowner snow blowers.

Where To Get One

Where to Buy: You can purchase your new Deluxe 28 online through The Home Depot below or if you want to buy from a local dealer here is the link to the Ariens Dealer Locator. Find Your Local Ariens Dealer Here

(I get a small commission when you purchase through HD)

The Home Depot is the best place online to get your new Ariens.  At most Home Depots,  Ariens offers free white glove delivery service. The Ariens Sno-Thro will be shipped to your local Ariens authorized servicing dealer, who will complete 100% assembly of unit and inspect it prior to home delivery. The multi-point inspection includes, operators manual confirmation, set tire pressure, check fluid levels, and file warranty registration information. If an Ariens authorized dealer is not in your shipping area, the Sno-Thro will ship mostly assembled, directly to you via regular truck delivery, simple set-up instructions will be included with unit. To confirm White Glove Delivery availability prior to purchasing, call 888-927-4367 option #2

Buy Here: Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe 28 in. Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering

Be Careful! This snow blower is also sold through online-only retailers! MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING A Model 921030 with Auto-Turn not the older 921022 with the lever controlled remote wheel lock steering! Their price may be $50 less than Home Depot, but make sure they have a good reputation of taking care of you after the sale. You may find other “factory-direct discount” stores and websites trying to sell it, but make sure they can and will get you service if you ever need it.

Value: At $1099 it is a good value.

Service & Parts Availability: Service and parts are readily available through Ariens authorized repair centers. Home Depot is easy to work with if you have a problem.

 All Snow Blowers need maintenance. When you get your new snow blower home be sure to read the manual, check all the fluid levels and bolts. Learn how to change the shear pins and inspect the drive belts. (The belts are easy to change if you tear one up) ALWAYS have extra shear pins on hand. Learn how to start it and operate it. Snow blower engines run differently than your lawn mower engine. Most of the time you will have the choke on to some degree. (That’s why there are 4 positions on the choke) Practice using it on you driveway. (Don’t run the engine more than 10 minutes if the temperature is over 45 degrees) If you have any questions leave a comment below and we (other readers and myself) will gladly answer your questions.  Above all PLEASE use a fuel stabilizer like Sea Foam or blue Stabil in your gas. 

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I'll be glad you help you find the best snow blower. Please tell me the city, state and how large an area you want to clear.

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