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This article will discuss who makes the snow blower engines first and then who makes the different snow blower brands.
Snow Blower Engines – Who Makes What?
There are five major manufacturers of winterized engines currently being installed on the snowblowers sold in the U.S. Every one of these brands has been around for over 10 years now and all of them have a proven record of reliability. In fact, in the last five years, all of the motors over 250cc have service records that are the best the industry has ever seen. Parts and service are easy to get from the dealer you purchased it from. If you purchased your snowblower online from a reputable retailer they will help you get service and parts. Today’s snow blower engines are designed to run on 87 Octane E10 fuels. They don’t require Premium non-ethanol fuels for proper operation. They are designed to run on today’s fuel (Do NOT use E-15 or E-85) When getting fuel please make sure you ARE NOT getting E15 or E20 Fuel!
LCT: LCT is an American owned company and they own their factories in China. You will mainly see this brand on Ariens and Husqvarna snowblowers but there are a few smaller brands now using this manufacturer. Storm Force, Ariens AX, and Snow King are LCT engines. LCT engine reliability on the Ariens and Husqvarna snow throwers is becoming legendary. LCT engines on other brands of snow blowers will have LCT on the valve cover.
LCT engines on Ariens and Husqvarna snowblowers are warrantied through the respective Ariens and Husqvarna dealers. LCT engines mounted on Power Smart and other smaller brand snow blowers are warrantied through LCT.
PowerMore™ OHV Winterized Engines: These engines are made in China and designed specifically for MTD. This motor is usually labeled the same as the snowblower it is mounted on. In other words, if you buy a Cub Cadet snowblower it will be labeled as a Cub Cadet engine. Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Craftsman, and Yard Machines engines are PowerMore.
All PowerMore engines are warrantied through the snowblower brand they are mounted on.
Loncin: Toro’s Premium Engine is made to Toro’s specifications by Loncin, one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers. Like LCT and Powermore the reliability is way up compared to your old Tecumseh or Briggs engine. As far as I know, DR Power is also using this engine manufacturer on their snow blowers.
Briggs & Stratton Snow Series: All B&S motors are labeled as such. Simplicity, Snapper, and Brigg & Stratton snowblowers exclusively use B&S engines. If a B&S engine is mounted on another snowblower brand B&S warranties the engine, not the snowblower manufacture it is mounted on.
Any B&S snow engines that are made in the USA will have the “made in USA” sticker on them. In reality, though, almost all are made overseas. Briggs does own its own plant in China. According to the Briggs & Stratton website, the following engines are NOT made in the U.S.A. 800, 900, 1150, 2100 Snow Series™
Honda: No I didn’t forget about Honda. They only install snow motors on their own brand. According to the latest info I have the engines in the single-stage are made in the U.S.A. and the rest are made in Thailand.
Tecumseh: Lawson Power Products (Tecumseh:) quit making engines in 2008. LCT has partnered with them and is now using the technology and brand names from the old Tecumseh OHV product line.
Snow Blowers by Brand: Who Makes What?
Ariens actually makes nine different series of single and 2-stage snow blowers but for most of us the Ariens Compact, Ariens Deluxe, and Ariens Platinum will be the models we will buy. The Pro, and Track series are high-quality commercial snow blowers designed to last a lifetime.
All of these are made in the U.S.A.
As you most likely know Stanley, Black & Decker (SBD) purchased the Craftsman name this year – but not the products. What that means for snow blowers is Stanley, Black & Decker will be independently developing their own line of Craftsman snow “throwers”, parts, and repair network. Because of that, I will explain the different Craftsman snow thrower lines available this year.
Craftsman At Sears
Currently, Sears is not selling Craftsman branded snow blowers. But parts and service for the Craftsman you purchased at Sears are still available through searspartsdirect.com
Craftsman At Lowes, ACE. Craftsman.com, etc.
As you most likely know Stanley, Black & Decker (SBD) purchased the Craftsman name – but not the products. What that means for snow blowers is they will be independently developing their own line of Craftsman snowblower, parts, and repair network. SBD recently purchased a large portion of MTD and have the option to buy the entire company in 2021. The Craftsman models currently listed on Lowes.com are made by MTD.
It appears Stanley, Black & Decker (SBD) also purchased Craftsman.com. It currently states,
WHO SHOULD I CALL FOR PARTS & REPAIR?
If you are in need of parts and/or repair for your CRAFTSMAN product, please call our customer service line, 888-331-4569.
WHERE CAN I GET MY TOOLS/EQUIPMENT REPAIRED?
For all repairs, call 888-331-4569 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll handle all your repair needs.
(Specifically for Snow Throwers:) WARRANTY SERVICE
With proof of sale, call this number to obtain the warranty coverage stated below: 1-888-331-4569.
MTD makes single, 2-stage, and 3-stage snow throwers and sells them with different names. They also make snowblowers to spec for other brands like Craftsman SBD
Cub Cadet is the most extensive line with the best dealer network in the U.S.
Troy Bilt is also a very popular line and has good, affordable snow blowers.
Yardman, MTD Pro, MTD, MTD Gold
They are a U.S. based manufacturer and the majority of the models are made and assembled in the U.S.
All Honda single-stage machines for the USA and Canada market are manufactured at the Honda plant in Swepsonville, NC. This includes the entire engine, from casting to final machine work and assembly. I believe Honda is the only current USA-market snowblower manufacturer who makes both the engine and snowblower at a USA factory.
Starting in May 2015 all Honda 2-stage snowblowers for the USA and Canada market are manufactured at the Honda plant in Swepsonville, NC. The 2-stage engines are still made overseas.
Husqvarna has both single-stage, 2-stage units.
All of these are made in the U.S.A.
Toro has a complete line of single, 2-stage, and heavy-duty 2 stage snow blowers. Toro has quietly developed one of the best snow blower lines.
- PowerMax HD
- Power Clear
Most are made in the U.S.A. but some are made in Mexico.
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton makes 3 basic snow blowers. An economy, a residential and a pro model. They also have single and 2-stage. You will see them under various names like:
Briggs & Stratton
Some of these are made in the U.S.A. but I’m not clear which ones are made overseas.
Brand: DR Power. DR Power is a famous U.S. brand but currently, all their snow blowers are made in China and imported here.
Brand: Amerisun Inc. The parent company for Power Smart and Snow Devil. This company is coming on strong with its China-built snow blowers. You can call them and get parts. They are currently building a nationwide service network.
Specialty Snow Throwers.
I am calling the rest of this list and any other brand not listed “specialty” snow throwers. Almost all of them are made in China. At this time I don’t know which of these names are manufactures and which are brands named just for the U.S. market. These brands either have only one or two models (most are small electrics) or are internet-only companies.
These companies all have the potential to be great, but for the time being be sure you understand the return and repair policies. In other words, a 2-year warranty is great but if you can’t find a dealer, an address to ship it to, or even to get someone to answer your phone call the warranty is worthless.
Other names you will see:
- Power Smart
- Snow Devil
- Snow Joe
- Dirty Hand Tools
Other Companies not listed:
One last word of warning. If the price seems too good to be true – it probably is. Be extremely careful of 2-stage snow throwers selling for less than $600! Or for that matter any snow blower selling for hundreds less than the brands you recognize. If you don’t recognize the brand there is a more than likely chance the snow thrower is made in China and service, parts, and repairs for it is non-existent or at best weeks away.
Be very careful about buying used. Like boat motors, these older engines are very susceptible to problems with today’s fuel. In addition, parts for the actual snowblower may be impossible to find.
Snow blowers have gone through many different design changes in the last 50 years and they still have a ways to go. The designs vary from a simple auger and fan to a “sidewinder.” There have been many different variations of the 3-stage design and some worked – and some don’t.
Gilson Snow Blower Shop has put together a long list of some of the old vintage machines. Go take a look here:Vintage Machine Showcase
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