This review covers the 2015 Husqvarna ST327P Model 961 93 00-92 two-stage snow blower
This model is available at your local Husqvarna dealer, Amazon.com and select retailers. This review also applies to the ST324P and ST330P snow blowers. Width and engine size are the only differences.
Amazon is offering this snow blower with free shipping for the same price or less than the other retailers: HUSQVARNA ST327P 27In 2-Stage
With the success of the Ariens Deluxe 28 SHO Picture Review this review will be all pictures with a explanation under each one.
Who is this snow blower for? Anyone with a 2-3 car driveway up to 300 feet long. (You can do more if you have the time.) This snow blower will handle gravel and turf. It will also work on side slopes. With the included poly skid shoes it will clear your cobblestone, pavers and patios without leaving brown rust marks. This snow blower will clear areas about 30% faster than the residential 24 inch machine. This snow blower will handle all of the snows we get in the U.S. including last years Boston blizzards. It’s not quite as fast at clearing as the HUSQVARNA ST330P
or Husqvarna ST330T but it has plenty of power for the size to get the job done no matter where you live.
This snow blower is also offered with tracks: Husqvarna ST327T. The track model includes a heavy duty hydrostatic transmissions designed for the track drive.
Husqvarna manufacturers two levels of snow blowers. The 200 Series residential (covered here) are economy models designed for most of us. The 300 Series Landowner models have more features, larger engines and are built stronger to handle areas that get lots of snow. The 300 series are built well enough to last you many years.
Compare this Husqvarna snow blower to the Toro PowerMax HD Model 1028 and the Ariens Platinum 30 SHO.
I usually purchase one or two snow blowers each year for MovingSnow as base-line units to compare the other snow blowers to. This year I decided to purchase one “high-end” machine and one economy unit. I purchased the ST327P from my local Husqvarna Dealer Eau Claire Lawn Equipment.
When you first look at the 300 series Husqvarna snow blowers you immediately see the extra features that make this a “high-end” machine. HID-LED lights, deflector shield and included drift cutters.
Husqvarna orange is a heavy-duty powder coating that is baked on. The process is very consistent and I have yet to find an orange Husqvarna Snow Blower where the powder coating is flaking off.
Right Front View. The 27 inch front housing is 22 1/2 inches high. It is a lot taller than you old snow blower and can handle deeper drifts than just about any other snow blower.
Right Rear View. The 300 series is Husqvarna’s heavy-duty line. It has the heavy-duty control cables and rods so you will never have to replace cables. I’ll go through the other strengths later in this article
Tall intake for the “Big One” All of the Husqvarna 300 series snow blowers have a 22 1/2 inch tall intake. This allows the snow blowers to take on the toughest snow falls and drifts. The big gray piece is not a weight. It’s a decorative cover.
A view you will get used to. The operator’s position has a nice clear view of the snow blower and what’s going on in front. Even the tall discharge chute does not get in the way.
Front of Dash. Simple poly dash. Yes, the dash is plastic but I have not heard of any consoles that have cracked or broke including the 1830EXLT that I have used for the last 3 years. This model was new last year but Husqvarna used the good parts off the previous machines to make their best snow blower yet. The dash is one of those components. By the way I like the HID-LED lighting a lot on this snow blower. The eight individual bulbs are angled so that they shine wide and far. The Ariens Halogen with its mirrored reflector is the only other snow blower light that comes close to this one.
Husqvarna uses LCT engines. This 291 cc engine delivers 14.5 ft lbs of torque and is rated to give up to 4 times the life of your old engine. Cast iron cylinder, ball bearing crankshaft bearings make this one of the most dependable engines you can buy on a snow blower. By the way 291 cc is the right size on this snow blower. It gives you plenty of power to blow the deep snow but offers better fuel economy so you are not complaining that the gas tank is always empty.
The Husqvarna engines (LCT) are designed to run on unleaded fuel up to E10 (10%) ethanol blends. Never use E15 or E85 fuels in small gas engines like this one. Many areas of the country are now offering E10, E15 and E85 from the same pump so double-check to make sure you are getting the E10 blend.
The hard to use oil drain. Yes, it is the back of the engine where it should be but as usual with most snow blowers – it’s too short. I really wish ALL of the brands would spend an extra 10 cents on a longer pipe so the oil drain sticks out far enough so the oil is easy to drain without it getting all over the machine.
Where’s the dipstick? The next picture will tell you where Husqvarna hid it.
While I’m ranting about changing the oil I want to discuss checking the oil. There is a tall fill tube on the top of the engine but you check the oil using the old-style oil port on the lower right side of the engine. You unscrew the black plug and the dipstick is located there. My question to Husqvarna: Did the clerk who ordered these engines just make a mistake on the order form or is there an actual reason why you went “old school?”
The gray lever under the red choke is the idle control. Manufactures want you to run the engine at full speed when you are blowing snow. This keeps the engine at optimal power and reduces clogging when blowing heavy, wet snow. Husqvarna includes a convenient lever so you can if you have to take that “important” phone call you can idle the engine when you walk away from the snow blower.
Husqvarna uses a muffler system that is a lot quieter than the one on your old snow blower. The engine is not a twin cylinder, ( I actually had a salesman tell me that once) the muffler has two outlets so it is as free-flowing as possible.
Enough about the engine – now on to the dash or console. Like the Ariens the free hand control is on the left. What that means is if you are out blowing snow and want to move the chute you can take your right hand off the impeller handle and use it to change the chute and deflector position on the fly. This is the opposite of the MTD built machines. I’ll go over the individual controls in the next pictures.
Speed control for the hydrostatic transmission. You can change the speed on the ST327P in one fluid motion all the way from full reverse to full speed forward without going through notches or a set of “gates.” You can also adjust the speed on the fly so if you are going too slow or a little too fast you can take your right hand off the impeller lever and move the speed control. I like to tap it with the palm of my hand to change the speed just a little. The 300 series Husqvarna’s have one unique feature I am not aware any other snow blower has. You can adjust the reverse speed. If you do a lot of backing up and the snow blower is backing up too slow for you the control rods are adjustable. It’s a wrench adjustment but’s it’s a great feature for some of you.
Here is proof that at least one computer tech helped to design this snow blower. This is the hand warmer switch. O is off I is on. By the way these get nice and warm. You can feel them through winter gloves.
There is a trigger under each handle. These are the power steering levers. If you want to steer left pull the left trigger – go right pull the right one. If you can walk behind this snow blower and use your hands you can drive this machine.
The chute rotation is the lever in the middle of the dash. The deflector control is the left lever. To use these you push in on the handle and then move it. Husqvarna built in quite a few notches so you can put the snow exactly where you want it. The deflector won’t keep riding up like it does on the MTD built 4-way chute control.
One last picture about the dash. This is a very good example of finding the right snow blower for you. The handle in the front of the picture is an Ariens. The handles in the back are the Husqvarna ST327P. The handles on the Ariens point straight back – the handles on the Husqvarna tilt down. The Husqvarna’s handles are easier on your wrists if you are using the snow blower for a long time. Your wrists are lined up with the rest of your arm. Sounds like a no-brainer as which one is better? Not quite. Even though the front of the two snow blowers weighs the same the Ariens feels lighter when you go to raise the front up. The way the handles on the Ariens are positioned make it feel lighter in the front than the Husqvarna. So…if you have a long driveway to clean you may like the Husqvarna’s handles better because your wrists are in a normal position. But if you have a complex area to clear and have to turn the snow blower a lot you may like the Ariens straight handles better. (If you understand why a snow blower is designed a certain way it makes it easier to decide if that snow blower is the best choice for you)
Let’s stop by and visit the underside of the snow blower before we move around to the front. Hydro-Gear 1310-1001 Hydrostatic Transmission. This is the best hydro transmission you can get for a wheeled snow blower. (The tracked versions use a different hydro) This transmission is a completely sealed, one piece unit that integrates the power steering. You will never have to do any maintenance on this trans. Yes, it’s more expensive than the gear drive systems but worth every penny if you want to never worry about performing any maintenance. By the way the black plastic cover that covers this transmission is just cosmetic and used to make the snow blower look good. Don’t feel this snow blower is a lower quality because it does not have a metal cover like many of the gear drive units. The gear drive units have to keep snow and dirt out of the trans. This trans is completely sealed.
The transmission and impeller drive pulleys. The orange rod in the picture is the impeller housing hanger. This rod makes it very easy to realign the housing to the transmission when changing belts. It makes the Husqvarna 300 series easy to repair yourself.
Wing nuts on handles. If you need to drop the handles down for storage in the summer the wing nuts make the task easier. It’s still a 10 minute job so you won’t want to plan on doing this in the winter. Be sure you check these nuts when you first get your new snow blower and after the first few times you use it.
All of the cables and control rods are heavy-duty commercial grade. Springs are covered to protect them from twigs and branches.
Some snow blowers use a bolt that screws into the end of the axle to hold the wheel on, others use a key and clip. Husqvarna uses a pin and safety clip. Simple to use….it never rusts onto the axle.
15 X 4 tires are just the right size for this snow blower
Ariens Deluxe/Platinum 16X4 tire on left. Husqvarna ST300 series 15X4 tire on right. Both work equally well.
The 300 series Husqvarna snow blowers come with both steel and poly shoes.
I have two real complaints about the Husqvarna ST327P. The oil drain and the poly skid shoes. Neither complaint is a “don’t buy” issue but I have to rant about them anyway. The poly skid shoes are junk. They are too small, too flimsy and not worth installing on the snow blower. When it comes to poly skid shoes the Cub Cadet Cool Blue shoes are the best, then the heavy-duty Ariens poly and then the Craftsman. I’m going to find a way to mount either the Ariens or Craftsman poly shoes on this snow blower and throw the supplied shoes in the trash!
Drift Cutters are included. Drift cutters cut deep drifts ahead of the auger housing so the snow drops down in front of the snow blower instead of over the back. With todays tall housing designs (sorry Simplicity owners) 90% of us will never use these. I suggest if you don’t need them take them off and store them in your garage. If you do need them please check the wing nuts every time you use your snow blower. The stamped wing nuts have a habit of vibrating loose.
Your new Husqvarna Snow Blower uses four shear pins. It comes with six extra in their own little toolbox between the engine and the discharge chute. After you check them out don’t forget to make sure the cover is latched. Don’t worry, I’ll show you where they go.
Poly discharge area. If you look at many old snow blowers this area has holes worn through it or major dents that keep the old machine from working at its peak. Husqvarna chose to install a replaceable poly discharge. The poly discharge also doubles as a bearing for the discharge chute so you don’t have to grease this area anymore. Aerodynamically Husqvarna has realized that all the snow is ejected from the blower at the rear so their discharge opening is a little smaller than other brands. No, It does not clog in wet heavy snow.
Full width chute brace. The chute brace for the hanging chute is one of the strongest.
The top bracket of the hanging chute doubles as the connection for the chute rotation cables. The chute cables are commercial grade and sealed so they don’t freeze up in the winter.
For the chute to rotate more than 180 degrees there is a notch in the bottom and a rubber flap to keep the snow from running out the corner of the chute. In my experience using this for the last three years it works well. It a nice little detail that allows you to put the snow exactly where you want it.
Here is a detail that separates the mid-priced snow blowers from the high-end machines. The cable is heavy-duty. The end of the cable is a large steel eye. The end of the cable is booted completely so no moisture can get into the cable and freeze it. This cable will work in any temperature.
Like all of the high-end snow blowers the ST327 includes a rubber flap in the metal deflector hinge to keep the snow from blowing out the cracks but there is more….
The rubber flap on the end of the deflector adds just a few inches and really makes your snow blowing task better! Have you ever blown light fluffy snow and have it hook right off the end of the deflector and right into your face? It can get so bad that you are instantly blinded from that fine cold snow. Aerodynamically, the snow coming out the end of the discharge is creating a lift effect at that edge and the snow is trying to fill that low pressure area. The rubber boot over the end of the discharge breaks up that low pressure area and helps to keep most of the snow from blowing in your face.
Finally we reach the front end. I’ll bet you thought we would never get here! The hole you see in this picture is a drain hole. As you know the snow flowing through the snow blower will actually heat the impeller housing up. When you are done clearing your snow many times that housing cools down and the snow/water will freeze your impeller solid. If there is no drain hole that means the next time you go to use your blower it won’t work and before you realize what’s wrong you burn out or break a drive belt. Even though there is a drain hole I still use a heat lamp to dry out the entire front of the snowblower when I’m done clearing snow. Woods 18/2-Gauge Clamp Lamp with Bulb Guard
Yes, it’s a cast iron gearbox. They just painted it silver
Front auger shear bolts. If you have ever owned a Simplicity snow blower you will appreciate one little feature Husqvarna does not advertise about these bolts. The hole on the inside shaft is elongated just a little bit. This not only helps the shear bolt to eject properly if it ever breaks but it makes it a lot easier to replace. With some of the other brands it can be an almost impossible task to line up the holes to put the new shear pin in place. There is a shear bolt on each side of the front gearbox. Be sure to replace them with an identical shear pin. Using a bolt may break your gearbox the next time you hit something.
Nice, thick scraper blade. This is easily replaceable if you like to run your front end on the pavement.
Real sealed ball bearings. No lubrication ever required.
Center gearbox brace. If one is good – is two better? (on the Ariens) You decide. There is no torsional/twisting load on this brace so one is enough. If you have ever owned a snow blower that had one too many rocks run through it you know why this brace is here. It keep the front auger from bouncing up and down.
In My Opinion: In the last few years Ariens, Husqvarna and Cub Cadet/MTD have all figured out that you can get considerably more snow through a two stage snow blower if you increase the engine size and figure out a way to get more snow to the impeller. Ariens added a small amount of horsepower and changed the impeller in the SHO models. The rest of their snow blower did not need a redesign. Husqvarna changed from a closed flight front auger (which meters the snow) to an open flight and changed the impeller from a three-blade paddle to a four blade cupped design. This improved their system well enough that they did not need to add a lot of horsepower. Cub Cadet added lots of horse power, kept the closed flight auger but increased the speed on the two center flights (the 3rd stage) to force more snow into the impeller. Toro’s 2-stage snow blowers use a completely different method to move snow that also works very well. They are simply four different ways of doing the same thing. Each method has it’s own benefits. Don’t be fooled that one method is “lightyears” ahead of the other systems. To figure out which snow blower is for you always take a look at the entire snow blower, the brand, the service and the parts to find the best snow blower for you. By the way: Briggs& Stratton/Simplicity hasn’t changed anything – yet. By the way: I don’t know if the new Honda 2-stage snow blowers are better than the older versions at moving snow. By the way: The Chinese snow blower manufacturers appear to believe we will buy anything – if it’s cheap enough. Now back to the review: Remember, I said this snow blower uses four shear pins. Two are used on the auger up front. The other two are used here. If a rock, brick, shoe or garden hose makes it into the snow blower these bolts will shear to protect the impeller from damage.
Husqvarna switched from the closed flight auger to an open flight system with the new 300 series. Open flight augers allow more air to be mixed with the snow – making it lighter and easier to flow through the snow blower. It reduces clogs and actually lets more snow through.
Last but not least. I have had quite a few people get confused by that nice gray piece on the top of the auger housing. That is not a weight. It’s simply a plastic cover to make the front of the snow blower look good… Since you made it this far thanks and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.