The Best Snow Blowers For 2013-2015

Welcome to MovingSnow! This page covers the latest Snow Blower reviews and my picks for the best for this year!

Remember! It’s not what I think is best, it’s what you and I think is best for you!
If you think we made a good match please tell all your friends to come to movingsnow.com

There are new snow blowers this year but no 2015 snow blowers…

 Manufactures of snow blowers do not use model years to designate the latest snow blowing equipment in their lines. They use model numbers and only change those numbers when they significantly change that machine. 

Don’t be fooled by the hype. The “snowblowers-R-Us” sites want you to think they have the 2015 snowblowers that are better than snow blowers at other sites. I will keep the current model snow blowers on this page. If a snow blower is discontinued you will still be able to read the review – but the review will be in the searchable archives. For example, Husqvarna completely rebuilt their line this year but there may still be a few older units left at some dealers. If you have a specific model in mind you can read my reviews of them by using the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page you are on.

The Current Brands of Two Stage Snow Blowers:

Ariens, Craftsman, CubCadet, Honda, Husqvarna, Jonserd, Poulan Pro, PowerSmart, Remington, Simplicity, Snapper, Sno-Tek, Stanley, Toro, Troy Bilt, Yard Machines.

There are around 150 two-stage snow blowers and 100  single stage snow blowers currently for sale from these brands. I am going to write reviews of the best and most popular first. Then as I have time I’ll write reviews of the rest. I will not write reviews of the 10,000 or so Far East Snow Blowers that are trying to get into the U.S. market. If you have questions though please leave a comment below and my readers and I will answer it.

Canadian Eligible Snow Blowers & Accessories:

Canadian Snow Blowers are different than those in the U.S. and Europe. Not better or worse, just different models and features. Here are three popular places to buy your new snowblower. If you have questions on Canadian Models please leave a comment below and my readers and I will answer it.

Sears.ca Snow Blower Prices-Reviews Sears Canada
 
Lowes.ca Snow Blower Prices-Reviews
 
TheHomeDepot.ca Snow Blower Prices-Reviews homedepot.ca

New Items For Fall 2014! I’ll add them as they are announced.

  • Husqvarna: Husqvarna has completely rebuilt the snow blower line for 2014-2015! This change was over 3 years in the making and I am very excited with the changes in price, capacity, sound levels, and quality in the new machines.
  • Ariens: The Auto-Turn is a proven winner. Introduced last year it will Zero Turn without levers or triggers. New this year SHO (Super High Output) motors
  • Craftsman: Craftsman is introducing Quiet Technology to snow blowers. Gas motors that are up to 45% quieter than the one you now own.  
  • Cub Cadet: Introduced the 3X Line in 2014. 50% more capacity than their 2 stage line.
  • Troy-Bilt: It looks like Troy-Bilt at Lowes is getting a few of the 3X models too.
  • Toro: Introduced the Power Max Compact Line in 2013. Introduced their own engines in 2014.
  • Jonserd: A new name in the U.S. but a long standing, dependable name worldwide. Tractor Supply will be selling these made-by Husqvarna snow blowers.
  • Craftsman/MD: Sears Canada is coming out with a large number of new high horsepower snow blowers. It looks like most are made by Husqvarna.
  • Remington: You know the name and it is know for inexpensive lawn & garden tools. Home Depot will carry these made-by MTD snow blowers

Shear Pins Replacement Shear PinsIgnition Keys Replacement Ignition Keys, Skid Shoes

Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower Reviews

Single Stage snow throwers are easy to maneuver, transport and store. But they only work on hard surfaces like cement, blacktop and patios. Because they clean right down to the surface they will not work on gravel and may scratch your wood decks. Gas powered single stage snow throwers will easily move up to 6 inches of snow and throw it 15 feet or so. A few will clear up to 9 inches.

I will add residential single stage reviews as I get time.

Go here for single-stage commercial snow throwers: Professional Commercial Business Single Stage Snow Blowers/

Two-Stage Snow Blower Reviews

Depending on the model, two-stage snow blowers will move snow up to 22 inches deep and throw it up to 50 feet. They work well on hard surfaces and you can adjust them to clear your gravel driveway and the spot on your lawn for your dogs without throwing rocks and grass. Wider models clear large areas faster. Larger impellers and motors on some units throw the snow farther. Power steering, Auto-Turn, heated hand grips, remote chute controls make deluxe snow blowers easy to use.  The two-stage snow blower market is very competitive and you do get what you pay for. More expensive models have more features and many are better built. The best units I will rate you will be able to put in your will for the kids to fight over :)

Cheap 2 stage Snow Blowers – There are a few good ones. Go Here: Cheap 2 stage Snow Blowers – There are a few good ones

I am giving ALL Power Smart and Snow Devil snow blowers a “don’t buy” rating again this year. The short warranty and lack of repair centers are the main reason I can’t yet recommend these units. Go here to read my review: Power Smart – Snow Devil Snow Blowers – Great Deal or Great Ripoff?

20 to 23 inches Residential 2-Stage

A good size for single car driveways. (10 X 40 feet) Works well for light to heavy snow. 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review: Sno-Tek 20 in Model 939401 Review  Great for Urban areas, small driveways that get lots of snow.

Review:  Ariens Compact 22 in 205 cc Model 920013 Snow Blower Review Best overall residential 22 inch snow blower

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a few years

Review:  Craftsman 22 in Model 88170 Review If you live in the city this may have a place in your garage.

Review:  Amerisun – PowerSmart DB7659 Don’t Buy This 22 inch Snow Blower

24 inch Residential 2-Stage

This size is the most common because it works well for 2 car wide by 3 car long driveways. (16 X 60 feet)  Works well for light to heavy snow. 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review:  Craftsman 24 inch 208cc Model 88173  Best Value 24 inch Snow Blower. Good for Heavy Snow!

Review:  Ariens Compact 24 in. 208 cc Model 920021  MY Second choice for Best Value 24 inch Snow Blower

Review: Toro Power Max 724OE Another Great 24 inch snow blower!

Review:  Husqvarna 200 Series (208cc Two Stage) ST 224 It’s hard to impress me, but they did this year

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Compact Track 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower Best Traction but no power steering!

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Review:  Cub Cadet 24 in 524 SWE  Easiest To Use 24 inch Snow Blower

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower This one is the highest capacity 24 inch under $1000. Extremely easy to use.

Review: Troy-Bilt Vortex 2490 Snow Thrower This is not the snow blower for you.

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components.

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Platinum 24 in. Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering Everything you could possibly want on a 24 inch machine yet easy to use.

Review: Husqvarna 300 Series (254cc Two Stage) ST 324P Landowner Everything you could want on a 24 inch snow blower. Is this the best 24 inch or is the Ariens Platinum?

Buy: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers. 3X 24 in. 277 cc Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Heated Grips. 50% more capacity than a Cub Cadet 524 SWE

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a few years

Review:  Craftsman 24 inch 179cc Model 88172 Least Expensive 24 inch Snow Blower I recommend. Before you buy, please check out the Best Value Craftsman 88173

Review: Ariens Sno-Tek Snow Blowers. 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower Another Inexpensive 24 in Snow Blower. A good choice if you don’t like Craftsman.

Review:  Power Smart DB7651 Power Smart is getting there, but not this year. Don’t Buy This 24 inch Snow Blower

Remington RM 2410 and Troy-Bilt 2410. Just 2 inexpensive MTD made snow blowers.

Review: YardMan 24 in Model-31as63ee701 Another Don’t Buy The snow blower is ok, it the price they want for it that’s the problem.

26 inch  Residential 2-Stage

A larger snow blower that will still get through the side door on your garage. Works well for 2 car by 4 car drives. (16X80 feet)  Works well for light to heavy snow. 

Ariens does not make a 26 inch snow blower.

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review:   Craftsman 26 inch Model 88970 Good Value 26 inch No Power Steering. This snow blower has been replaced in Oct 2014 with a new quiet model

Review: Craftsman 88972 quietest 2-stage snow blower

Review: Toro 726OE 26 inch 205 cc Easy to use chute control (Toro Power Max 726OE 38614 )

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Review:   Craftsman 26 inch Model 88691  This snow blower has been replaced in Oct 2014 with the new quiet model 88694

Review: Craftsman 88694 Review The Best Overall 26 inch Snow Blowerquietest 2-stage snow blower

Buy Here Cub Cadet 526 SWE:Cub Cadet Snow Removal 26 in. 243 cc 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering 2X 526 SWE. This model appears to be going away and is replaced by the new 3X snow blowers.

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components. Some have track drive for hills and off roading.

Review:   Husqvarna 300 Series (291cc Two Stage) ST 327P Landowner 27 inch Snow Blower

Review: Toro 826OE 26 inch 250 cc A Toro if you live in a snow belt (Toro Power Max 826 OE 37772)

Review:   Cub Cadet 26 in 357cc 3 Stage! Model Cub Cadet 31AH55T, Cub Cadet # 3X 26, Cub Cadet 31AH55S  Highest Capacity 26 King Of The Hill!

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a year or so.

Review: Power Smart Snow Devil Don’t Buy – This 26 inch Snow Blower is horribly  underpowered

27 to 28 inches Residential 2-Stage

Most of these have larger motors to handle heavy, wet snow well.  For 2 to 3 cars wide, 5 cars long and larger. (24 X 100 feet) 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review: Ariens Deluxe 28 Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Model Ariens AX254 921030 Best Value, Easiest To Use, The Best Overall 28 inch Snow Blower. 

Review:  Craftsman 28 inch Model 88395 with Power Steering Good Value 28 inch Snow Blower with all the extras! My No.2 Choice for best 28 inch. If the tires on the Ariens 28 Deluxe scare you away then look seriuosly at this snow blower.

Review:  Husqvarna 200 Series (254cc Two Stage) ST 227 It’s hard to impress me, but they did this year

Review:  Troy-Bilt Vortex 2890 Snow Thrower Review – This Is Not The Best Snow Blower For You

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe Track 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower (Review Coming Soon!) Best Traction 28 inch Snow Blower

Track: 

Review: Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890 Track Review – A Good Snow Blower At A Great Price!

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components. Some have track drive for hills and off roading.

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Professional Series 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower (926038)

Buy:  Cub Cadet Snow Blowers. 3X 28 in. 357 cc 3-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Heated Grips

Buy: Toro Snow Blowers. Power Max HD 1128 OXE 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower

Buy: Toro Snow Blowers. Power Max HD 1028 OHXE 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower

Buy: Toro Snow Blowers. Power Max HD 928 OHXE 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower

Buy:  Ariens 926056 Professional Pro Hydro Pro 28 inch (420cc) Two Stage

Buy:  Ariens 926042 Professional Pro ST28DLET 28 inch (420cc) Pro Series

Buy:  Ariens 926053 Professional Hydro Pro Hydro Pro 28 inch (420cc) Two

Buy:  Ariens Snow Blowers. Professional Series 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower (926038)

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a few years

Review:  Ariens Sno-Tek 28 in.   Least Expensive 28 Snow Blower

(Review Coming Soon!) Don’t Buy 28 Snow Blower

30  inches Residential 2-Stage

One of these will cut your snow blowing time in half over a 24 inch. Most have large motors, power steering, remote chute controls and heavy duty gears. 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

There are no residential units I recommend. Just about all 30 inch snow blowers have power steering and other options to make your snow blowing easier. 

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Review: Craftsman 30 inch Model 88396 Best Value For 2014! Easiest To Use 30 inch Snow Blower in 2014. Best Chute Control

Review: Ariens Deluxe 30 Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Model Ariens 921032 My Second choice for Best Value 30 inch Snow Blower

Review:   Husqvarna 200 Series (291cc Two Stage) ST 230P Deluxe 30 inch Snow Blower

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components. Some have track drive for hills and off roading.

Review: Ariens Platinum 30 SHO Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Dealer Only! Biggest, baddest, most powerful 30 inch Snow Blower. You can throw snow anywhere you want with this snow blower!

Buy Here: Ariens Snow Removal Platinum 30 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering 921029 Smaller motor than the SHO but still plenty for most of us.

Review:  Cub Cadet 31AH57S 3 Stage!

Review:  Cub Cadet 930SWE 31AH95SU Note: This review is for the 933. Everything in the review applies to this model

Review:   Husqvarna 300 Series (369cc Two Stage) ST 330P Landowner 27 inch Snow Blower

Review:   Husqvarna 300 Series (414cc Two Stage) ST 330T Landowner 30 inch Track Drive Snow Blower. Biggest Motor! Best Traction for Slopes.

Review:  Husqvarna 1830EXLT 30 inch Track Drive Biggest Motor! Discontinued but there still may be a few left.

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last one season

Beast Snow Blowers. Don’t Buy 30 inch Snow Blower

31 and over inches Residential 2-Stage

These snow blowers in general are heavy-duty machines capable of handling any type of snow. Most have heated hand-grips and remote chutes. There are hydro versions that will last for years. 

Review:  Craftsman High Capacity 33 in Model 88397 Best Value 31 to 36 inch Snow Blower. This puppy moves snow!

Review:  Craftsman High Capacity 45 in Model 88398 This snow blower is too big for you! These are great for large, flat areas like parking lots and miles of sidewalks. Commercial operators love them, but most homeowners say they wish they would have bought a smaller machine. 

Commercial Snow Blowers 2-Stage

Go here for two-stage commercial snow throwers: Professional Commercial Business Two Stage Snow Blowers

 

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

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    • @Rich, No I haven’t thought about it.

      The Ariens drift cutters I list here are for Ariens snowblowers only. There is a separate part for SnoTek models Ariens Snow Blower. Sno-Thro Deluxe Drift Cutters for Snow Throwers

      The hand warmers only work on certain Deluxe models. The Compact line uses a different model that is dealer only:Ariens 72000700 Handwarmer Snow Blower Accessories Snow Blower Product Features:Heated hand grips help keep your hands warm during extended snow blower operation Kit includes two heated hand grips, wiring harness and an on/off switchSimple and easy to installAll hardware required for mounting is included. Compatibility is based on snow blower serial number Specifically for use with Ariens ST24LE (920014) – serial #34999 and under – 2010 and older, ST26LE (920015) – all models and ST28LE (921022) – serial #34999 and under – 2010 and older Will not fit any other Ariens models

      You can download and view the complete Ariens accessory catalog here: http://www.ariens.com/en-us/SeriesDownloads/Snow%20SPAG_web.pdf

      View Comment
    • Paul,
      Thanks for all the helpful info.
      1. Would like to know if Ariens Deluxe 28″ can be ordered with high altitude jets—–I’m west of Denver @ 7800′
      2. Have not seen the 28″ in a Platinum series—–am looking for a 306 cc (or larger) engine for a 28″ model. Appears not to exist.
      Thanks,
      Rich

      View Comment
      • @Danielle, Which one did he get? Craftsman 40 volt, Ryobi 40 volt Snow Joe 40 volt or Greenworks 80 volt? I will be doing a review of them in about 3 weeks.

        The battery ones will clear about 4 inches of snow and the batteries last about 25 minutes per charge. If you get more snow than that or you think it will take you longer I suggest returning it and getting the Craftsman.

        View Comment
      • @Chad, Remember it’s not the snow blower – it’s the “at Menard’s” that you have to deal with. Once you buy a gas powered item from Menard’s and put gas in it – it’s yours. If there is any problems with it, warranty work, or service work you have to find a local servicing dealer yourself, take it there and wait until they get it fixed. Most of these dealers will fix their own customer’s stuff before they even look at your snow blower. That said,

        The Brute is made by Briggs & Stratton and comes out of the same factory as the Simplicity and Snapper snow blowers. The basic snow blower has been around for many years. Some of the stores have a 27 inch with power steering – some have the 27 inch without it. The 27’s without can be hard to turn. The 250 cc engine is adequate for Midwest snows but is way under powered if you live in a snow belt like upstate New York. If you buy one make SURE you put fuel stabilizer in it and run it completely out of fuel before you put it away for the summer. (the carb doesn’t like stale fuel)

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  8. What is the difference between the Craftsman 28″ #88395 and the Craftsman 28″ #98538? Your review said the #88395 was your first choice and the #98538 was your second choice.?

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    • @Dan, I am not reviewing Honda snow blowers because I only have access to a couple of the single stage units. The 2-stage units are too expensive for my area of the country. For example, the base model HS724WA 24 inch two stage without electric start or power steering retails for over $2200. Ariens, Toro, Husqvarna or Cub Cadet all have similar units around $799. A directly comparable Ariens Platinum 24 with additional features including electric start, auto-turn, 4 way chute, cast iron gearbox, heated handgrips, new HID LED light and 291 cc engine is only $1399.

      When you get into the big units the price is even more inappropriate. A Husqvarna 1830 EXLT with hydrostatic transmission Simplicity Pro or Ariens Pro and all the additional features mentioned above is $1000 less than the HS1332TAS and they all have larger motors, larger tracks and are over 100 lbs heavier.

      View Comment
      • Auto writers dont buy the cars they rate. They contact the mfg and they try them and write wothout strings attached. Why not consider that.
        Add in noise rating, service and ease of use. If a unit us 100 lbs heavier and is not easy to handle its not a best buy.

        View Comment
        • @Tom, I like your idea and I do things here fairly close to that.

          – I do have a close working relationship with the majority of the manufactures and many of the retailers. I know and talk to the correct people to always get the facts about the items.
          – I have been to the factories, manufacture showrooms or GIE-EXPO to see what is new and different. I can try out most of the items as needed. I don’t travel around the country too much because of family issues.
          – I don’t buy any products I test. If a manufacture wants me to use a particular product they send it to me. When I’m done they either make arrangements to pick it back up or I donate it.
          – Snow blowers are different than cars. Weight is not a factor. A unit weighing 450 lbs can be easier to use than one weighing 230 lbs. It has to do with the options.
          – The best service is very subjective. Is it included? Is in-home repair even available? Do you want to work on it yourself – are parts easy to get? Is the service local? I can’t rate that because service is very different in your home town than it is in someone else’s. All I can do is train you on what to look for.
          – Noise: noise has never been an issue until this year. I will spend more time on this as the winter progresses.

          View Comment
  9. Will the Ariens Auto Track be able to track straight when cutting into a high snow bank on one side of chute. For example, when clearing in front of mailbox the high and densely packed snow bank left by the plows, I have to slowly cut into the bank only a couple inches at a time. Will the Auto Track want to keep turning into the bank or will it track straight as desired. Thanks.

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    • @Mike, Yes it will cut straight. I actually tried this by running the corner of the snowblower into my garden bed. It does not try to veer off. I’ve also used it to cut the packed snow around my mailbox and it works just as it should.

      View Comment
  10. Paul – replacing a 10 year old yard machine snow blower that is shared with neighbor. How do you rate the Ariens Compact 24 Model 920021for 2014/15 season? How does it compare to Sno Tek 920402 – basically is it worth the extra cost?

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  11. Excellent website!

    I am researching for my next snow blower.

    I am down to two choices: Ariens ST30LE Deluxe or CRAFTSMAN®/MD 277cc 28” Steerable Snowblower

    Our Driveway is 140’x20′, we live in the snow belt in Southern Ontario. The Ariens is listed for 1399$ and the Craftsman is just on sale at Sears for 999$(!). SALE ends on Aug 26th… It’s regular price is 1399$

    Right now I am leaning towards the Sears model due to the sale price, but I am wondering if the Ariens can handle the conditions better. Which model would be better with ice/compacted snow? I wonder if Ariens would be much more durable?

    View Comment
    • @Peter, The Craftsman is a good snow blower and is a great value at $999. (It will be on sale again for around that price) I rate it for medium use. In other words if you normally get 30 to 50 inches a year the machine will do a good job for you. The 277 cc motor works well for light to moderate snows but you will wish you had more power if you regularly get heavy, wet snows. If you do a lot of height adjustments to the discharge chute (throw the snow close in one area and long in another) the discharge is hard to keep adjusted. The tension is adjusted with a thumb-knob and it can be difficult to get it adjusted correctly. I do recommend you purchase additional shear pins and a set of belts right away.

      Now, if I can compare the Craftsman to a 1/2 ton pickup the Ariens 30 inch Deluxe is more like a 3/4 ton pickup.

      The Ariens engine has a lot of torque and even in heavy, wet snow just keeps going. All around the snow blower every piece is just a little heavier and stronger built than the Craftsman. The chute controls are very positive, the discharge locks in each position and are all metal so there are no cables to wear out. The drive control cables and rods are very heavy duty. This snow blower is very durable. Every detail is built for quality. The autoturn makes this snow blower very easy to use.

      Tires, traction and balance are about the same for both machines. In summary, I recommend both snow blowers to most people. I recommend the Craftsman for best value but it may not have enough power since you live in the snow belt. I recommend the Ariens as the best overall of the two. The Ariens is worth the extra money IF you want to spend it.

      If you want to buy online here are links to Sears.ca and HomeDepot.com

      CRAFTSMAN®/MD 277 cc Dual Stage Snowblower

      ST30LE Deluxe, Auto Turn, 120V Electric Start, 30 Inch Clearing Width

      Ariens offers a front weight kit if you have a lot of compacted snow 10 lb. Front Weight Kit – For use on Deluxe and Professional Sno-Thro models.

      If you want the most power Ariens dealers also carry the Platinum 30 SHO. With the 414 cc motor you will NEVER run out of power.

      View Comment
  12. Great advice, looking at two stage and was curious is the Arien just the top of the line? Seems like here in Central Wisconsin it is the main buy! I know they are here so maybe alot to do with it. What about Toro. I am one that would rather spend now than pay later…so I was staying away from craftsman, club cadet, mtd, etc. Have a 3 car garage/driveway and been using a plow on the lawn tractor…tired of that. any insight other than what you already provided is appreciated. I was loking at the Ariens Deluxe ST28LE 921030 for $999. seemed to be good overall conditions

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    • @Jeff, I really liked the 28 Deluxe Ariens let me use last year. A couple of times I wished I had a little more power for those 17 inchers we got but 95% of the time it was great. I really like how far it threw snow and the Auto-Turn….it’s so easy to use.

      All in all the Ariens is a great, dependable, long-life snow blower but there are comparable snow blowers. The Ariens Compact is very comparable to the Toro Power Max and the new Husqvarna 200 Series. The Deluxe/Platinum is very compareable to the Toro HD and the 300 series Husqvarna. Craftsman, Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt fall somewhere around the Compact line in durability and the Deluxe line in features.

      They sent a 30 inch Ariens Platinum SHO this year. It should be unstopable!

      View Comment
    • @vcglny, Yes, I did review the Brute 2-stage back in 2010. They haven’t changed since then. They are made by Briggs & Stratton and come down the same assembly line as the Simplicity snow blower. If you can get one in the $800-900 range it’s a good deal. Be careful where you buy it though. Make sure the retailer will support it and know before hand where you can get it serviced.

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  13. Pingback: Honda,Yamaha or Husqvarna - Page 5 - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums

  14. Your advice seems really good and from what i read i really trust your opinion. I live just north of Boston so i get a decent amount of snow. I love my mechanical toys and I’m a research guy cuz i really like to buy the best toys. Iv been researching new snowblowers the past 2 years and have been waiting for some real results for the Cub Cadet 3x because it looks promising. i also like Ariens but there are so many models that it gets confusing. I was looking at the 30″ Husqvarna from Lowes but i was told by the Lowes salesman that they had many returns of that model and the 30″ Troy-Built (357cc) was much better. my main concern now is that i need something that throws a legit 30-40ft, or as far as possible. my new driveway that i just expanded is 4 cars wide and 3 cars deep. I am really interested in the new ariens SHO motor, but am not sure if its out of my price range. What is your top 1,2, even 3 picks for something maybe 28″-30″ wide for around $12-$1300 (a few hundred more if really worth it) I am ready to purchase asap and would really like to know your pick because i will def have a very good chance of going with what you recommend. thanks for your time.

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  15. Great and informative site. I am interested in getting the 28″ Craftsman, but didn’t know if I should hold out for the new “quiet” engine. You mentioned that the Craftsman 26 inch Model 88691 is going to be updated to a quiet engine (I believe it is the 88694). Do you know if any of the other Craftsman models are getting the new quiet engine (specifically a new version of the 28″ 88395)? I was at Sears yesterday and asked that question, and no one had even heard about the update to the 26″ model.

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  16. This weekend the Sears has their #88173 on sale for $680. Above you have it lined-out and when I click on it the review/page is not there. Do you still recommend and is that a good price? Is it being replaced by a new model with the quieter engine? Thanks

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  17. Looking at purchasing a Sears “Professional” model, with a 30 in. cut and a 420 cc engine. On sale for $1500. Have you done reviews on those and do you know if they have the quiet engine. We get tons of snow here in Nova Scotia – tons.
    regards,

    View Comment
    • @Richard, Down here a few of the Pro 30 inch models had a plastic transmission and it has had problems. Please check to make sure that the snow blower you are looking at does not have plastic trans. (if you look in the parts manual it will show a separate case inside the frame. If you can’t get a manual tip the snow blower up on it’s nose and remove the bottom cover of the transmission. You won’t hurt the engine doing this.)

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  18. My area of central Massachusetts gets a wide variety of snow types and accumulations, and I have 160′ driveway to keep clear, among other things. I am trying to decide between an Ariens 30″ Platinum and a Husqvarna 327P, which sell for the same price. Considering ease of use, clearing efficiency and maintenance costs, which of these do you think might have an edge over the other?

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    • @Kevin, Even though I like the Husqvarna it doesn’t have a history yet. On the other hand the Ariens Platinum is a proven winner. I really like the Auto-Turn Steering on it. The Ariens Platinum is very easy to use. Ariens is advertising the Platinum as ” a smart investment you can pass on to the next generation” and I completely agree.

      Ariens is letting me use the Platinum 30 SHO this year and I can’t wait to get it in really deep and heavy snow. I expect it to throw snow well over 50 feet!

      Maintenance. The Ariens uses a double drive belt for the impeller. This alone is going to give you 4 or 5 times the life of the single belt system like the Husqvarna. Change the oil every spring and please use a fuel stabilizer and the Ariens will last until we change everything out for solar powered electric snow blowers.

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    • @Marvin, For everyone else reading this the Simplicity (also Snapper, Briggs & Stratton) SnowShredder is a single stage snow blower that has metal teeth in addition to the rubber paddles. It is advertised as having 14 cutting surfaces to break up tough compacted snow. It should work well for chewing through that snow plow drift the snow plow left you yesterday.

      The problem with all single stage snow throwers is they are really only good for no more than 6 inches of snow. They are not self-propelled, you have to push them. The way the rubber paddle is designed it will pull the snow thrower through the snow when you lift up on the handles.

      If you get hard packed drifts the SnowShredder will work no better than any of the other single stage snow throwers. The paddles on single stage units like the Toro and Ariens are reinforced to also tear through that hard packed snow. As soon as the snow gets deeper than the intake (9 to 12 inches) you will stll have to lift the front end and take multiple passes to clean the snow.

      Now to answer your question. I feel the SnowShredder is more of a selling tool than an actual advantage. The Toro Snow Blowers. Power Clear 721 QZE 21 in. Quick Shoot Single-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower is the best. It throws the snow farther than other brands, and it is the one snow thrower that most commercial operators will buy to throw in the back of their plow truck for cleaning sidewalks. If you don’t want to spend that much money my second choice is the Ariens Snow Blowers. Path-Pro SS21EC 21 in. 208 cc Single-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower.

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  19. Hi Paul. Amazing site! I love researching equipment and this is the best and most detailed review site I have found yet. Thank you.
    I live in Central Ontario and have a flat, but very large paved driveway. I am looking for a good 30-32″ in the $2000 range with powered chute and easy to maneuver. Right now Sears has the 30″ Craftsman Pro, 420cc on sale for $1599 (seems like a great deal), but after looking at your reviews I am tempted to look closer at the Ariens 30″ Platinum for $1900 at home Depot. Although different sized engines, they both have roughly the same torque rating at 16.5/17 ft lbs respectively.
    I guess the other options available for me (if I spend more money) would be the Ariens 28″ Pro. It has the 420cc (Briggs Polar Force) with 21 ft. lbs. (very appealing), but less width which is very important to me and it’s $2600 at HD. Another option would be the Ariens 30″ SHO at 20 ft lbs for roughly $2200.
    Can you tell me about the Ariens 369 or 414 engines vrs the Briggs 420 Polar engine. How do they compare in regards to reliability and longevity, parts, repairs etc. Should I choose one over the other?
    Thank you in advance for your insight.
    Steve

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    • @Steve, The Craftsman Pro is the same snow blower as the Snapper/Simplicity/John Deere. You can’t go wrong with this snow blower if you choose to buy it. It was the king of the hill 10 years ago.

      Since then Ariens and others have not only caught up but left it in the dust. The current Ariens Platinum 30 SHO in my opinion has at least 25% more capacity. I have never run out of power with the 414cc engine on a 30 inch. You should be able to run the Platinum SHO in 4th or higher most of the time. That will let you get your drive cleaned faster.

      The LCT engines have a warranty failure rate about .17%. the Briggs about 1.0%. Yes, you read that right. The brands won’t tell you but it really looks like the LCT is going to give 1000 hour typical life. The Briggs averages around 250-300. You can get parts for the LCT engines through any Ariens or Husqvarna Snow Dealer.

      The Ariens SHO will give you years of service. You really don’t need to upgrade to the Pro. The Pro frame is designed for hours and hours of use a week.

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      • Thank you Paul. I don’t think I could have found the Failure rate and expected life info anywhere else. Based on your reply, I have ordered a 30″ SHO. I am surprised that with those failure ratings, they would still put a Briggs on their Pro models. I guess it’s all about brand recognition. Too bad manufacturers weren’t forced to publish their failure rates and average engine life in their specs.
        Many thanks,
        Steve

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        • @Steve, Yes, name recognition is very strong marketing. It’s not that the Briggs are any worse than they ever were. It’s just that toady’s consumer wants a more dependable, longer lasting engine than we did in the past. For example, we used to accept that cars were “wore out” in 100,000 miles or less, that we should trade them in every 3-5 years. Today many of us run vehicles 10 years or longer. We also want our L&G equipment to last as long as we want, not how long the manufacture wants. The Briggs on the Pro is a different quality engine than the typical ones on the residential machines. Briggs will figure this out with snow engines quickly or get out of that area.

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    • @Robert. I’m going to spend more time looking at all the track drives this Thursday. I have not had a chance to see the Cub Cadet Track since they changed it from a 2 wheel system to the 3 wheel. The older 2 wheel systems like Honda still uses did not have a lot of clearance under the frame and got stuck in deep snow easily.

      I have a Husqvarna 1830EXLT that I have been using for 3 years and it will go through any snow drift. With track drives you can adjust how high the front is and I regularly raise this one up and inch and clean gravel parking lots and even lawns.

      I like both the Husqvarna and the Ariens Deluxe track drives. They have big 5 1/2 wide treads. Here is a link to the Ariens. Click on the video tab and watch the video. Ariens Track Drive Models

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  20. Paul – love your information. My question is about machine quality. Do Sears/MTD 24 & 26 inch machines have plastic drive gears? Just replaced my 15 year old Ariens friction disk and all transmission parts are solid metal gears and shafts. Features and extra controls are nice improvements, but how about the quality of current designs in the residential machines? You usually get what you pay for, so to replace my 15 yr old machine with similar quality I may need to go up to the Deluxe models. What is your opinion? Thank you.

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    • @Myron, Craftsman uses metal gears. I don’t know about other snow blowers made by MTD. All the brands spec their own machines including, Yard Machines, Remington, Troy-Bilt and Cub Cadet.

      I like the Ariens Deluxe and Platinum series. Great quality and they will last just as long as your old one.

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  21. This article has been EXTREMELY helpful! So I’m down to 3 now, my objective is to buy something that will last, but not break the bank… I have a small acreage, 2.5 acres, with some concrete but majority is gravel driveways to the house and to the shop. Menards has 11% rebate right now, making the MTD Pro 30″ 357cc two stage snowblower $800 bucks after rebate (don’t see rated in your article above). The Ariens Deluxe 30″ Two Stage 357cc is $1299 through Home Depot (rated very well in your article), and the Craftsman 30″ 357cc is $1198 through Sears. What’s the best option to buy in your opinion?

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    • @Karl, No, I really don’t deal that much in the Canadian market but I will be glad to help you figure out the best snow blower for you.

      Yes, there are only 2 differences between the two. The CRAFTSMAN®/MD 420cc 30” Steerable Snowblower has the larger 420 cc engine and adjustable height drift cutters. This is the first time they have offered the drift cutters and they look trick! Everything else is the same.

      If you use this link when you buy I make a little commission on the sale.

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  22. Paul,

    Great website. I have narrowed my choices down to 2. The first is a MTD Gold #31AM53KE504 – 24″ with a 208 cc Powermore engine. the second is a craftsman CRAFTSMAN®/MD 24” with a 305 cc Briggs and Stratton. The Craftsman is about $250. more as they are both on sale right now. Would appreciate any feedback you could provide.

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    • @Jeff, The Craftsman is worth $250 more than the MTD so it boils down to what do you need? It has a higher resale value and a premium engine.

      For example, I get an average 45 inches of snow here per winter. Most of my snows are 10 inches of less. So the MTD will have plenty of power for my snow and it will clean my 16 X 80 foot drive in about 20 minutes.

      If I lived in up state New York I would get 120 or more inches of snow and many of the snows would be 20 inches or more. The MTD would not be a good choice and i would pick the Craftsman for the extra power. The extra power would allow me to get the snow moved faster.

      They both have power steering and they both have the 4 way chute. The Craftsman is the new style made by Husqvarna.

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  23. Paul, thanks for this very informative site. It has been extremely helpful as I venture into the world of snowblowers for the first time. My driveway is paved 105″ x 16″. I live in Stratford, Ontario where average annual snowfall is 100″. I live across from a field so some drifting at times. I am debating between the Ariens 24″ Deluxe, Ariens 24″ Platinum, Ariens Deluxe 28″+ or the Platinum 30″. I’m just wondering if the maneuverability of the 24″ is more of an advantage than the size of the 28″ or 30″. I have never owned a snowblower before so any insight would help. I was also considering the new Husqvarna st327 but it seems like Ariens is the way to go. This is not a purchase I want to make again in the near future so I’d like to get it right. Thanks.

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    • @Troy, If it is normally below 15 degrees or so when you blow snow I suggest you get a Platinum model with hand warmers. You will appreciate the larger engines on both the Platinum 24 and Platinum 30 for busting through the drifts. The 24 will feel more maneuverable but it will also take you about 25% longer to clear your drive. If time is a factor get the 30. That 100 foot driveway can feel very long when you have to take and extra pass or two with the smaller machine.

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        • @Troy, Drift cutters will slice snow off that is taller than the impeller housing and drop if in front of the snow blower. Without drift cutters the snow can over hang the snow blower and will fall behind it so you will have to make another pass to clean it up. If you are in a situation where you have to stack snow right next to the driveway and it gets 3 or 4 feet tall or your drifts sometime get more than 30 inches tall then drift cutters can be use full.

          I don’t need them myself. If I do get some overhang I just knock it down with a shovel.

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          • Paul, thanks for your counsel. Most helpful. I’m now trying to decide between the platinum 30 and the platinum 30 SHO. The SHO is $138 more here in Canada – is it worth it for the extra HP? Or is it just overkill? I think I read it uses more fuel as well. Any guidance appreciated.

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          • @Troy, We don’t know how much more fuel it will use but I will assume it will use more than the Platinum 30.

            The Platinum 30 has enough power to handle any snow. The SHO will just do it faster. If you need to always get done as soon as possible or you want the biggest baddest toy on the block get the SHO. Otherwise the Platinum 30 is one really great machine and it will serve you for years and years and years.

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  24. Thanks so much for a wonderful site, Paul. I wondered if you could please comment on the following single stage electric start snow blowers:
    Toro Power Clear 721 E 21 in; Toro Power Clear 518 ZE 18 in; Craftsman 21in 179cc Model 88780 (which has the plus of in-home repair availability). I thought I was looking for a light weight machine, hence the 18 in model, but now I’ve read your guidance that weight isn’t an issue (unless of course, I need to bring it into the shop and so somehow lift it into the car). I am a small woman, not mechanically knowledgeable, living in Wisconsin, so am hoping for effective snow removal, ease of operation, reliability and availability of repair. I look forward to your reply. Thanks so much.

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    • @michelle, No weight is not an issue. Blowing 6 inches or less snow these single stages move as easily and a push more. But, you know I am not a big fan of single stage snow blowers. Yes, they clean hard surfaces like your driveway right down to the cement, but they don’t throw the snow very far and anything over 6 inches they don’t work well in. If we get say, a foot of snow you need to go out and clean your drive every 4-5 inches.

      The engine on 518ZE is too small. It’s only good for 2 to 4 inches of snow.

      The 721 E is a good snow blower. It has plenty of power for wet heavy snow. With the electric start as long as you use fresh fuel it will start all the time for you.

      You can get the 21″ 179cc* Single-Stage Snowblower w/ Electric Start with a 5 year in-home protection plan for only $30 more than the Toro 721. It also has electric start and throws snow well. The Toro has a beter reputation but that is mainly because they have been around longer. The 179cc engine in the Craftsman is a great motor.

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  25. Hi Paul ~ wondered if you could please share your wisdom on one more type of snowblower ~ cordless electric snowblowers, such as the Snow Joe iON21SB-PRO Cordless Snow Blower 21-Inch or the Snow Joe iON 18″ Cordless Snow Blower, or other brands? (The 18″ one seems to be available, while the 21″ appears to be sold out.) Thanks much.

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    • @Michelle, At this point the Snow Joe, Ryobi, Craftsman and Greenworks cordless snow blowers are cute, little toys. They have good battery run times of 30 minutes or more but they are only good for 2 inches or so of snow. I thought about buying the Craftsman version just for cleaning off my back steps but at $359-399 dollars I just can’t see spending the money.

      The Greenworks 80 volt appears to be more promising but it’s not available yet. I also know of another 6 or so cordless electrics that will be ready for fall of 2015 that may get them close to single stage gas units.

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  26. Hey!! Paul i thank you for your posts and Q&A on here, I’m undecided about the Ariens Hydro Pro and Huskvarna 30″ST330P I’m leaning hard towards the Platinum as it looks a lot more of HD machine and put together tighter than the Husk. Here’s my Q for you,i,ve been reading a lot about issues with the Ariens zero turn darting and having tracking mind of its own and having to fight it to keep it straight,the complainants didn’t elaborate further. What do you make of this,could this be a bad set-up issue and/or operator errors (more likely) or something else?? I know this could be hard for you to answer as there isn’t much more info than that but i value your opinion(s) on here. A Northern Ontario, Canada follower..I’ll put our Canuck snow up against anybody…Lol. Thanks..
    By the way i have a 1980 Canadiana 33″ 10hp posi-drive snowblower made by Toro which i did a minor rebuilt in 1999,parts were difficult to find then and worst now and the friction disc drive on the one wheel is finished now,(couldn’t replace it then) it was the first zero turn system in its day, by torquing the handles to the right diss-engaging the left wheel allowing it to turn on a dime and re-engaging once the machine was in line again it was a nice easy machine to operate (no longer now) it was also easy to maintain, grease fitting everywhere it was a joy to own but now its time to retire it,original Tecumseh motor is tired.

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    • @Dennis, The complaints were all caused by assembly error and the issue was very quickly fixed. If you look at the dates of those reviews none of them were written after Jan. I like the Husqvarna also but for you the Ariens Platinum is the best way to go. If you get over 100 inches see if you can get a Platinum SHO model with the big engine.

      Here is a video that shows the drive of the Platinum, Ariens Platinum SHO 30 Inch A Look Inside

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  27. Do you have a review on the Poluan Pro 241? I have my choices down to the Sears 88173 that you recommend and the Poluan Pro 241. Your advice will make the choice for me. Thanks

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    • @John, I will always suggest the 88173 over a Poulan Pro because of the service. You can always get parts from Craftsman and Sears repair services is very reliable on getting your machine fixed if there is a defect. Plus if you choose you can purchase the 3 or 5 year Protection Plan through Sears that also covers wear and tear on you machine at your home. The 88173 is a good snow blower with plenty of power for it’s size. The combination of service, parts availability and features is why I give it my Best Buy.

      Now, the Poulan Pro is basically a Husqvarna 200 series. Because the price is less than the 200 series I have a feeling it doesn’t have as good of quality components (like internal engine parts, bearing etc.) but I have not been able to verify this one way or the other.

      If you are buying a Poulan Pro from a local dealer that you trust, then I will say “Get it.” But if you are buying it from a Sam’s Club or some other big box store I would strongly suggest you go with the Craftsman instead. Why? because of service. If you bought the Poulan from Sam’s, etc. and if there is anything wrong you have to do all the work to get it repaired. You have to find a servicing dealer (if there is one in your area) bring the machine to the dealer and then wait for them to fix it. Most of the shops will work on ALL their own client’s stuff before they get around to yours.

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  28. If been inquiring about and looking on line for a snowblower for my daughter to use she has a one car garage doesn’t put her car in it ,her driveway is the length of 4 cars and also has front walkway, I’m looking at sno tec because it’s made by areins but did you ever hear of a power smart snow blower if yes how is it, and how big do you think would be good for the job,I feel a 22 or 24 inch one is ok,

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  29. There is the 921028 Ariens Platinum, available for about $120 cheaper than the 921038 Ariens Platinum SHO.
    Are they the same machine? Sounds like it may be a deal to me, OR NOT?

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    • @Bob. They are not the same machine. The SHO model has a larger 414cc engine. Depending on where you live the Platinum is adequate for most areas of the country. If you live in a snow belt where you get 100 inches or more consider the SHO.

      Ariens is letting me use an SHO this year and I don’t expect to get enough snow to even begin to make that huge motor work.

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    • @Ann, The Ariens has a bigger – better motor. The Ariens has more capacity and larger tires. It has the Auto-Turn power steering. Under the right conditions it will blow snow 55 feet.

      The Toro has an easy to use chute control. The Toro does not have power steering. Under the right conditions it will blow snow 40 feet.

      The Ariens costs more but it is worth more.

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  30. Trying to decide on a cheap but dependable 2 stage snow blower. I have a Craftsman 4 stroke single stage currently and it does an amazing job at clearing snow with the exception of wet or heavy snow which is why I want to move up to a 2 stage. I have heard good things about Ariens and,from what I have read the Sno Tek 20 inch is basically the same as the Ariens but with the Chinese made LCT engine. Are there other non-engine components on the Sno Tek version that are different from the Ariens Compact series?

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    • @Jon, Yes the Sno-Tek is completely different. In fact the engine brand is about the only thing in common with the 2. It’s made by Ariens but that is about as far as the 2 go for being the same. The Sno-Tek is a “price-point” snow blower designed just to pull some market share away from the cheap MTD units.

      The Compact is a true Ariens. It’s heavier built than the SnoTek. It has better tires and better controls.

      The best deal on a inexpensive snow blower will be the Craftsman
      24-in. 208cc Dual-Stage Snowblower
      . The rumor is it will be $599 over Black Friday weekend.

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  31. I don’t see many comments on Troy-Bilt. I accidentally found out (through reviewing our Lowes Card account) that my Christmas present from my wife this year will be a Storm 2620 machine. Since she didn’t talk with me about it (for obvious reasons), Did she make a good decision? Is this a good machine? Thanks for your advice.

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  32. Thanks paul, If I may, between the ariens 28 inch and the cub cadet 28 inch 2x which do you prefer for new jersey weather? both have great reviews , But I read somewhere the the cadet is small . Im 6’5 and the ariens is taller any thoughts on this? This will be my first snow blower and at my age shoveling is out. Thank you.

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    • @James, The 24 and 26 inch Cub Cadet snow throwers with power steering are about 1.5 inch shorter than most snow blowers. They have 15 inch tires on them. They do work well for short people.

      The 28 inch Cub Cadet though has 16X5 tires – the same as on the Ariens. It has the same handle height as the Ariens.

      You get about the same snowfall totals as Chicago so either one will work well. The Cub Cadet actually has a little more horsepower and better tires than the Ariens Deluxe 28.

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  33. Hi Paul,
    I’m trying to buy the right Snow Blower for the price without paying for a overkill machine. I’m leaning on buying a Ariens Snow Blower. I live in Westchester County N.Y. I have a driveway of 25 x 100 and another 120′ of sidewalk to clear. Here are the Ariens Snow Blower choices I’m considering.
    Ariens 28′”254cc at $999. Ariens 28″+ 291cc at $1199.00, or Ariens Platinum 30 @ $1599.00 If there is another one you would recommend please let me know. Thanks, Mike B.

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    • @Mike B, Personally, I would go with the “dealer only” Deluxe 28+. It has a larger motor and better tires than the Deluxe 28. The Platinum is nice but may be overkill for your area. If you lived north of Albany I would recommend the Platinum.

      If they are all out of the 28+ the Deluxe will work – it will just take you about 15 minutes longer to move your snow. If you get a lot of ice or packed snow you may have to buy a set or chains for the Deluxe.

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    • @Rick, Track Drive snow blowers are a little harder to use, even with power steering but they have some major advantages in traction and being able to adjust the the front height easily. If you have multiple surface types to clean or have to go “cross country” to get over to another house to clean etc. they are the best way to go. Because they have so much traction you actually have to drive them with the power steering. They are very hard to turn without it.

      The Husqvarna 30in. Electric Start Track-Drive Snow Thrower – 414cc Engine, Model# ST330T
      track drive will go just about anywhere. I really like the fact that it has 4 height settings plus float so you can clean your cement drive, clean your gravel drive and then go out in back and clean a spot in the lawn for your dogs.

      Did I say it will go just about anywhere? Up and down steep driveways. Out on the lake to clean a spot for the kids to play hockey. About the only thing that they don’t like is steps. You will have to build a board ramp to get them up a step. They go down just fine.

      The link above is for 30 inch. Amazon still has a few of last year’s 27 inch at a great price. Husqvarna 1827EXLT 27-Inch 414cc SnowKing Gas Powered Two Stage Snow Thrower With Electric Start, Power Steering & Trac Hydro Drive. Both of the Husqvarna’s have hydro transmissions. Hydro’s are really the way to go for track drives.

      I’m not a big fan of the Cub Cadet 3X Track. The tracks are fine – the 3 stage only works well in really deep snow.

      I also don’t recommend the Ariens Compact or Deluxe Track Snow Blowers. They have a solid – locked axle and they are impossible to turn. The Pro and Hydro Pro on the other hand are great machines and I highly recommend them.

      Finally, there is the Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2690 XP. It is a good machine but it has one major flaw. The 208cc engine is too small for the size and driving the tracks. Troy-Bilt went for low price on this one and blew it. If it had a 277 or 327 I would highly recommend it.

      I personally have a 30 year old Craftsman track drive with a solid axle I use for a spot on the lawn for my dogs. I leave my lawn long and the old track drive never gets stuck. I also have a Husqvarna 30 inch Track here that will go through anything. With the tracks and the huge motor – it’s unstoppable.

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  34. Thanks for the great information . You confirmed my original thoughts or tracks being harder to drive , therefore will look at buying one with tires .
    We are looking for a snowblower for a driveway that fits 2 cars beside and long enough for 2 cars behind, thus a total of four cars . The one we are considering is Husqvarna 24-in 208cc 2-Stage Snowthrower . This is sold at Canadian Tire in Ontario Canada . If you don’t think this is a good purchase , is there another you would recommend ?

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  35. Happy holidays to you Paul.
    Could you tell me how high handles on ariens deluxe 24 are?also what’s the height of lowest setting on the husqvarna st27p.my lady is 5 ft tall.
    Thanks jack.

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    • @Jack, I don’t have the exact measurements but I have an Ariens Platinum SHO 30 and an Ariens Power Brush here and both of them have handle heights of 37 inches. I am going to guess the Deluxe 24 is within an inch of them.

      The Husqvarna has 4 inches of adjustment and I know the highest setting is 37 inches. I also know you can lower it so it is shorter than any other brand.

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  36. Happy New Year Paul!
    I have a 20 year old Ariens ST824 that I am planning to trade in for a new Ariens. I can’t decide on whether to buy the Platinum 30 or the Platinum 30 SHO. I live in Oswego, NY. Today we got 15″ of snow. We have gotten 5′ in a 24 hour period before. My driveway is 100′ x 3 car wide. I have a “T” connected to the driveway that is 4 car widths wide and 20′ long. I normally snowblow my pond ( which is 75′ x 65′) about 6 times a year. The biggest issue I have is trying to blow heavy, wet snow and having the snowblower throw the snow far enough so that I don’t have to double blow the snow. I weigh 125 lbs and wonder if either of these two will be too big for me to handle. I am no wimp… as I just spent 2 1/2 hrs snowblowing the driveway and a few paths to the propane tank, and garage. Which one do you think would be better suited for me?

    Thanks,
    Toots in snow country

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    • @Toots, The SHO is only 5 lbs heavier than the Platinum. If you are currently using a 2-stage snow blower than you will be able to use these. Both machines have good traction tires. Both are balanced well so you don’t have a lot of weight to lift up to go over a curb or obstruction.

      The large engine on the SHO will handle any snow without a wimper and throw it up to 60 feet. I have to say if you want to throw snow as far as possible the Platinum SHO is the best snow blower on the market this year. (The second best is the Husqvarna ST330T)

      You will like the Auto-Turn a lot because it steers itself. Please let me know which one you get :)

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      • Hi Paul! Will be getting the Platinum 30 SHO by next week… It had to be ordered.

        Thanks again for your help! Can’t wait to use it! Do you know anyone near Oswego, NY that wants to buy our 8HP/24″ Ariens ST824? Still runs like a gem; just wanted bigger horses.

        Toots :)

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        • Hey Paul!
          I got to put the Platinum 30 SHO to the test this past week as we got > a foot of snow 2x in the last week. Well, you were right… this baby can really throw the snow. It is a beast. I only wish it had a larger gas tank as I had to fill it up 2x before finishing both my driveway and pond. It starts like a gem (I can even use the pull start) and it turns pretty well… but not as easy as my 20 year old Ariens ST824 (not sure why.. it weighs only 8 lbs more than my old ST824). Some more good news is that I sold the Ariens ST824 two days ago. Thanks again for your help!
          Toots :)

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          • @Toots, I installed the optional poly skid shoes on this 30 SHO snow blower and it turns better. The metal skids seemed to stick on my old blacktop.

            Yes, all the 400+cc engines suck fuel – but they sure have the power. You won’t see anyone put larger fuel tanks on because they don’t want any more old fuel sitting in the snow blower than absolutely needed.

            Isn’t it great? I’m glad you found the right snow blower for you!

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  37. In some reviews I recall that the Husqvarna ST 224 snow blower is touted as having a 5 year warranty. The warranty chart in my ST 224 Operator’s Manual refers to the engine manufacturer (LTC) warranty. Per an Email to me from LTC, the engine warranty is 2 years parts and labor. Is the 2 year period consistent with other people’s information?

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    • @John, Warranties on gas powered equipment are confusing. The engine always has a separate warranty. (and sometimes the transmission) What’s even more confusing is some engine manufacture warranties are covered completely separate of the machine itself and you may actually have to go to a different dealer to get the engine warranty covered. (Briggs & Stratton)

      In your case: Your snow blower and engine have different warranties but both the LCT engine and Husqvarna snow blower are serviced at a Husqvarna dealer.

      You entire snow blower has 3 different warranties.

      – The snow blower has a 5 year warranty on front gear box and a 3 year warranty on the entire snow blower.
      – The LCT engine has a separate 2 year warranty for defects
      – Husqvarna also has a 5 year starting guarantee on the 200 series snow blowers. If you followed the storage procedure in your owners manual Husqvarna will get it started for you. That storage procedure is on page 19 of your manual.

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    • @Hilton, I have to assume you are talking about the Ariens Compact 24. (Because the Deluxe 24 has the autoturn)

      The answer is a resounding NO! The auto-Turn is so simple and bullet proof that you will never have an issue with it. The Deluxe is an all-around heavier-built machine than the Compact 24 so I expect you will have a lot less repairs using it.

      Watch the first 4 minutes of this video to see how simple the system is. Ariens auto-turn

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  38. Live in Chicago along the lakefront. Have two separate condo buildings. One with 2,800sf of garage/driveway area and 400sf of sidewalk. The other has 1,800sf of garage area and 750sf of sidewalk. Debating between Ariens 24″ and 28″Deluxe.

    Also, if I don’t purchase blower thru your site, how can I contribute $ in return foro the invaluable info you have given me. Have you thought of paid section for minimum fee? (Would have purchased largest 2-stage at Home Depot – Toro 724 – if it were not for your site)

    Thanks in advance.

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    • @Hilton, Thanks for the offer. Instead of a paid section just tell your friends about this site and my other site Todaysmower.com..

      One of the best things about the Deluxe and Platinum series Ariens is how far they will throw. The 14 inch fan can throw most snow 50 feet. This may be a big advantage for you on the driveways because you won’t have to throw the snow twice like you do with a smaller machine. The Deluxe is stronger than the compact so it can take more abuse like frozen chunks of ice, newspapers, shoes and other stuff you may find around a more public place like a condo.

      The big, open chute on the Deluxe tends to not plug when you are clearing wet sloppy stuff.

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  39. Hi Paul,

    Mike O’Connell from outside Boston here. I posted a lengthy question somewhere on this site yesterday, but now can’t find it. In short, I don’t have the biggest driveway, but the driveway is below grade with 3.5′ foot retaining walls. We get more snow than Boston proper, and my driveway will have a car in it, so I need a smallish machine (24″?) with enough power to throw snow up high (with the walls our snow banks are now almost 7′ above driveway, but that’s the highest it has gotten on our seven years here) and decent distance. Money is an issue.

    I didn’t realize that it is so tough to even find a snowblower this time of year. If I can get an Ariens 24″ Compact $899 (free shipping) should I go for it?

    Thx,

    Mike

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    • @Mike, You asked the question over on my other site todaysmower.com. Here is my response:

      @Mike, The minimum I suggest is the Craftsman 24-in. 208cc Dual-Stage Snowblower. It will do the job. There are a few other 208 cc 24 inch snow blowers that will also work – Cub Cadet 524 SWE Cub Cadet Snow Removal 24 in. 208 cc Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering 2X 524 SWE – Husqvarna ST224 – Ariens Compact 24.

      But the best for your situation is the Ariens Deluxe 24. Right now the only place to buy it is at your local Ariens Dealer. It has enough power to to always throw your snow up and over your walls plus it will handle those 18 incher’s with ease.

      The Ariens Compact has about the same throwing power and capacity as the Craftsman and Cub Cadet. So my answer is: If you can’t get (or afford) the Deluxe 24 the Ariens Compact is a good choice. Keep in mind, like the Craftsman it does not have power steering. If you are the only one using that won’t be a problem. If someone else who weighs less than 150 lbs may complain that it is hard to turn.

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  40. Hi Paul which would be a better buy for Ottawa On a Cub Cadet 357 Model 31BH55SB596 or a Yard machine 357cc 31AH65KG500 both available at lowes.ca their is a $300.00 difference in price your opiniont would be appreciated

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    • @Ron, There are three differences between the two. Power Steering, 3X stage, Skid shoes. Otherwise the 2 snow blowers are identical.

      The Yard Machines 357cc 28-in Push-Button Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight is a good basic snow blower. Down here they put a 277 cc engine on this model so the 357 will give you plenty of power to blow your typical 70 inches of snow. But it may be hard to turn for you because it does not have power steering and you have to manhandle the snow blower around corners. If your spouse has to also use the snowblower this one may be too hard to turn. Myself, I have never needed power steering but it sure is nice.

      The Cub Cadet 357cc 28-in Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight is a lot easier to turn. With the power steering all you have to do is pull a little handle under the hand grip and the snow blower turns itself. The Cub Cadet also comes with the hard poly skid shoes ($70) that won’t scratch your patio or stained concrete drive way.

      The Cub Cadet 3-stage really works well on deep snow but it doesn’t clean up 2-4 inch snows well. The Yard Machine works well on 2 to 20 inch snows but the way a 2-stage snow blower is designed will take you a few minutes longer on the really deep stuff.

      The Cub Cadet is worth $300 more because of the 3 added features but don’t spend the money if you don’t need to. If you need power steering get the Cub Cadet, if you always get 8 to 20 inches of snow get the Cub Cadet. If you need poly skid shoes you can get them for the Yard Machine for around $30 US.

      When you buy your snow blower get extra shear pins: MTD Shear Pin with Clips (4-Pack) Get one extra pack if you buy the Yard Machines – Get 4 extra packs if you buy the Cub Cadet!

      Here is a link for the poly skid shoes: (I couldn’t find them on the Lowes site) Arnold 490-241-0010 Universal Deluxe Poly Slide Shoes For Most 2 Stage Snow Throwers

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  41. Hello Paul,
    I just discovered your website and I think it’s great. I’m about to take delivery of an new Ariens 24″ Platinum with the 306cc AX engine. I’m still using my very basic 24″ MTD with a Tecumseh HMSK80 engine that I bought new back in 1994. Over the years I’ve done numerous repairs and it still runs great and I will continue to use it as a backup. From what I could tell, the Ariens AX 306 and the old Tecumseh HMSK80 have about the same displacement, but I assume the AX would have a power advantage being a OHV design. I’ve stayed with the 24″ size for clearence between cars and general maneuverability. I do all maintenance and repairs on all my vehicles and equipment and tend to keep them for quite a while. I guess what I’m asking is, will I be happy with my new purchase?
    Thanks,
    Bill from Candlewood Lake, Connecticut

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    • @Bill, I’m a little biased. If my wife said, “go get the snowblower you want” that is the exact model I would buy for my home. That engine has “about 10 HP” so it will move any snow and throw it up to 50 feet. Get it into a foot of snow and your neighbors will stop to watch it work!

      When you get it home, check the oil, read the manual and then push down on the handlebars. Both sides of the front housing should come off the ground evenly (at the same time)

      If it doesn’t follow the procedure in this video. Ariens auger housing set-up.

      Then set your skid shoes for about 1/4 inch clearance between the bottom scraper and the cement (a little higher if you clear gravel or lawn)

      You are good to go! Please us a fuel stabilizer!

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  42. What are your thoughts on older snowblowers? for eg. Craftsman 24″ at 15 years old? Or, should one stay away from used models and go new because of warranty issues? Also, how would you determine price of used/older models? is there a general “rule of thumb” or depreciation used?

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    • @Bee, Personally, I use old snow blowers but I know how to work on them, I know how to get parts and I know what snow blowers to stay away from. I usually have a donor snow blower in the junk pile I can use parts off of.

      For example, the Craftsman you refer to. I find that most people can’t remember when they got a snow blower. They say 5 or 15 years old and it is usually more like 10 and 20.

      The key to a Craftsman is the model number. It’s in the lower right hand corner of the frame. If it starts with 247 snow blower parts are readily available. If that number starts with 536 don’t buy it. Parts are getting very hard to find.

      Engines: If the engine was made by Tecumseh parts are impossible to find. If the engine was made by Briggs – you can get parts. Don’t buy a used snow blower unless you can hear it run. A “simple carb kit” today is now $125 including labor and most repair shops won’t rebuild they just replace at a cost of over $250 for a new carb.

      If you can’t do the repairs yourself most shops won’t touch a old Craftsman or about 20 other older brand names. Most shops tell you they can’t get parts.

      Prices: Around here in the winter a running used 24 inch snow blower is worth at least $200. In July it’s only worth about $35

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  43. Which to buy the Husqvarna 227 or the equal to it sold under the Craftman name and which do you think would have the cheaper price the Husqvarna 227 sell at the dealer nad the Canadian Tire store for $1298 here in Nova Scotia my problem though with Sears.ca is there customer service and order by phone are all done overseas so no talking with a Canadian about snowthrower issues great site hope to get a reply we sure are getting a sxxx load of snow this winter piled up almost to 6 feet in places bring your Ariens SHO plenty of snow here to make it at Thank`s Rick

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    • Hi Rick, the discussion is mute at this point. It appears sears.ca is out of snow blowers. Six feet is a little more than I’d want but I wish I could get just a little snow – I’ve only had 10 inches total this year!

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  44. Called my local Sears store here in Canada and they have a couple of snow blowers left that they want to clear. Salesman wasn’t sure of the model number but he said it was Craftsman Professional Series. 30″ and power steering, electric joystick chute control and a metal chute not plastic. He also said it has a B&S 420 cc engine. Reg price was $1899.00, clearing for $1599.00. What do you think?

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    • @Melvin, that is made by Simplicity/Snapper/Briggs. The 420cc Briggs is their best snow engine and Ariens uses them on their Professional models. It’s a good machine and has been around to over 10 years. $1599 Canadian is a good price.

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  45. Find your reviews helpful in making my selection. After reading everything I could find on a 24 inch two stage blower, I decided on the Cub Cadet 524. Well to my disappointment when I went to make the purchase, the handles are between two and three inches lower than Toro and other models in this store. I am only 6’1″, not that tall. I pushed a 524 around the showroom and had to bend down the whole time. There does appear to be any adjustment. The other models were all the same height between them. Can’t imagine why CC would go lower???
    Back to reading the reviews again to choose another model.

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    • Hi Frank, It has to do with the power steering inside the transmission case plus the wheel size. The 24 and 26 inch use 15 inch tires and it does make the handles lower. That’s why I do suggest them for shorter people.

      The best solution is the Husqvarna. It has adjustable handles. If you want power steering wait until Sept. There is a strong rumor they will have a 24 inch power steering model this year.

      The heavy-duty Ariens Deluxe also has the higher handles and the auto-turn power steering.

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        • I know it’s only April, but I have been looking for an Husqvarna blower. Your review is for a ST224,model # 961 93 00 96. This store has a 924HV, model # 961 95 00 17. What is the difference? Their web site make a reference to “handle mounted levers for easy steering”. Could this be the new model you mentioned due this Fall?
          Thanks again!

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          • Hi Frank, The 924HV is a 2010-2013 model. You won’t be able to get the new ones until mid-Sept. They don’t start making them until July.

            The 924HV was not a big seller. The 924 does not have power steering. The 924 also has a little glitch where snow can get into the transmission and it then melts on the friction plate. The friction plate gets slippery and it won’t move. We’ve had to duct tape all the holes on the transmission case to keep them running.

            The ST224 was changed so that won’t happen. St224 also has the adjustable height handlebars. I don’t know what the model number will be for the new one with power steering.

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