1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Two stage snow blower suggestions

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by DBCOOPER, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. DBCOOPER

    DBCOOPER Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Stowe, Pa
    Live at the end of the street with a turn around and constantly get screwed by the township plow guy. Did it by hand the last 25 years but my herniated discs won't allow that anymore. Like the Toro and Ariens because they're made in America and seem to have good reviews. Anything I should be wary of or stay away from?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley - Northeastern MA
    Either one makes a good snow blower - it really comes down to how comfortable you feel the controls are positioned. I would suggest an engine in the 10 - 12 HP range to handle the heavy end of driveway (EOD) garbage it sounds like you'll be dealing with most of the time. A wide bucket (30" +) is nice for quickly clearing the EOD area but it can be a bit awkward for walkways or other areas where a big bucket can be a detriment.

    A 28" bucket seems to be a good compromise and most manufacturers have models with larger engines for this size bucket. You can get away with smaller engine/bucket combinations - you just have to adjust your forward speed to allow the engine to process the snow you're dealing with at the time. Light fluffy stuff is easy where typical EOD stuff is usually very heavy, icy and slow going even with a big honking engine. Pay a bit extra for the next model up if you're not sure. You'll be glad you spent a couple of hundred dollars more for an upgraded model when it's 20 degrees outside and the snow gods just left 3' of white gold in your driveway. You can easily justify the added cost by amortizing it over 10 or 15 years which should be the service life of the machine if maintained properly.
  3. wenger7446

    wenger7446 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Messages:
    238
    Loc:
    Pottstown, PA
    I have had good luck with the Ariens Pro model my self. I have a garage full of Ariens products and have has great luck with them. They have a new hydro static unit that looks interesting.

    Let us know what you end up with.
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,899
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    Ariens has 2 lines of products, a pro and a homeowner. I think the difference is in the transmission quality. I just got rid of an Ariens that was over 30 years old. They are a well made machine.

    That said, for snowblowers, go with the largest engine on the narrowest chute you can find. It will help out when you have really wet snow. The narrower chutes also allow you to get in between gate posts so you can do walkways, etc.

    As for the size of the blower, think about how long of a path you want to blow, how high you plan to throw it, and lastly how much time you want to do it in. Oh, and figure out a place to store it before you buy it.

    The big names are Ariens, Honda and Simplicity. Toro isn't a small name, but it doesn't have the following of the other 3. I suppose your job is now easier since Tecumseh is no longer making their snow king engines.

    Matt
    raybonz likes this.
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,899
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    Oh, and spend the extra cash on a set of chains for it. It's one of the things I've never heard anybody complain about getting. I do hear about people who didn't get them complain about the lack of traction though. Having a package of shear pins is handy also. You will go a long while without snapping one, then go through 2 in a week for no obvious reason. I think they get stress cracks in them after a while and just let go.


    Matt
    Biglumber likes this.
  6. wenger7446

    wenger7446 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Messages:
    238
    Loc:
    Pottstown, PA
    x2 what Limestone said. Spend the extra money get the "pro" model. That has always been my moto and it has always proven successful.
  7. NickDL

    NickDL Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    89
    Loc:
    Souderton, Pa
    Limestone gave great advice. I've heard good things about Arien, but have no experience. Size the blower for not only the area that you will be clearing but also where you'll be storing it. I would also recommend getting one that has the option of electric start. I have this & I rarely use it but it has come in handy a fee times.
  8. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,122
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Electric start can be great, especially (Heaven forbid) you get sick and the Mrs. has to clear the drive.
  9. DBCOOPER

    DBCOOPER Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    440
    Loc:
    Stowe, Pa
    You know what our weather is like around here. I'd be hard pressed to spend 2 grand on a snow blower...
  10. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    442
    Loc:
    CNY
    You need to remember that with proper care it is no trick at all to get 20 - 30 years out of a GOOD machine. Do your self a favor and save a pile of cash, find a good used machine. I run a 10 yr. old Toro Powershift and have a 20 yr. old Ariens for a back up machine. I have about $400 in BOTH machines.
  11. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,899
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    Electric start is nice. I never used mine until I went to pull start it one morning at 4am and the pull cord snapped. I sat there looking dumb at the end of the string dangling in my hand until I decided to go look for an extension cord. I should fix that before winter starts.

    I've always had good luck starting it the night before a big storm to make sure the carb is primed and checking the oil religiously right before starting it. I don't change the oil every year, but I put synthetic in it figuring it only takes a little bit and is only used on the coldest, wettest, most miserable mornings. I want that oil as slick as possible.

    Matt
  12. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,550
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    I've been running an Ariens the last 5 years and have a 36 year old Toro as backup. Get one with a decent width to it and the horsepower to move heavy wet messes you won't be disappointed with either brand.
  13. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    If you don't want to spend 2 grand on a "pro" model then you just made your choice. Toro.

    Dollar for Dollar the PowerMax 2 stage machines out-gun anything in their price range.

    I like this one for ya, I'd prefer a model with the freewheel steering but that kicks the price up more.

    http://www.toro.com/en-us/homeowner...ages/model.aspx?pid=power-max-hd-928-oe-38660

    [​IMG]


    Also look/ask about last year's models. With winter being a no-show for 2011-12, I know a lot of local dealers here have a ton of leftover machines that I'm sure they either paid for out of pocket (ouch!) or have been paying interest on the floor-plan financing. That means they are probably desperate to unload them. ;) I'd be looking for a PowerMax 826OXE with freewheel steering and the Briggs OHV 8 HP engine. ;)
  14. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    You can find an Ariens in the same quality range as well and same general pricing. This year you should be able to find one for less than the premium they commanded a few years ago. An upper end Ariens with a 30-32 inch clearing path will run you about a grand or less.
  15. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm going to disagree here. A Platinum Series (one step down from the professional series) 30" model runs around $1800. A Deluxe 28 prices about $1200 but has a cheap system to rotate the chute.

    The Toro I recommended carries a list price of about $1400.

    No argument here that Ariens builds some great snow machinery. For their professional units, they go far beyond what Toro builds. Very pleased to see a Hydro trans returning to snowblowers (in something other than Honda) and that Ariens is sticking with Briggs for it's engines. But I stand by my orginal statement that feature for feature and dollar for dollar, Toro builds my pick for residential snowblowers.
  16. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Yeah, Husqvarna. In an otherwise decent line-up of OPE, their snowblowers, well, ... blow.

    You should also know that Craftsman, Troy-Bilt, Yard Machine, and Cub Cadet machines are all built by MTD. They also are not my first pick for snowblowers. I HATE that segmented auger flight design. Seen too many of them chew themselves to a piece of twisted metal.

    Simplicity, Snapper and recent John Deere snowblowers are built by Briggs and Stratton with the exception of the Simplicity Pro line. Not bad machines but very little stands out on them. As of 2012 Deere is out of the snowblower game.

    "Compact" 2 stage units have attractive price tags but are not going to perform like a full-size unit in the wet heavy snow on the end of your driveway.

    Any chance you have a lawn/garden tractor? Tractor mount blowers are awesome for EOD snow and will be even easier on your back.
  17. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,844
    Loc:
    mid-ohio via St.Croix USVI
    No input on what to buy, just a safety concern. ALWAYS shut down the machine before doing anything to it, I know it seems simple but we get in a rush and do things we should not.
    lots of missing body parts out there, live in a farming area and see it all the time.
    be careful
  18. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,511
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Hire a budding entrepeneur to do your snow clearing. Why shell out a grand or more for a machine to sit in your garage not being used most of the year, and sometime not even used much in the winter?
  19. ColdNH

    ColdNH Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    554
    Loc:
    Bow, NH
    well that depends on how much snow one recieves. A 1000$ snowblower will pay for its self in 4 years if your paying 25$ a shot to have your driveway cleaned 10 times a year. granted I only used my snowblower 3 times last year, but in the previous 3 years I probably averaged 12 times a year. On top of that im guess its goign to cost at least 35$ a shot to get my driveway plowed (if not more) and then Im at the mercy of waiting for the plow guy to show up. Lastly, Im goign to have huge snow banks and a shrinking driveway as the winter goes on. For those of us that actually get a decent amount of snow and have a decently long driveway it makes sense to have a good blower or tractor. Seeing that your from Minnesota, I have to wonder if you have a small driveway as im sure you get alot of snow there?
  20. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,899
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    I clean the lady's driveway across the street. I'd do it for free, but she wants to pay me. It gives me a little spending cash and since her driveway is directly across from mine it might take me an extra 15 minutes with the blower. Last year it was too wet for my blower so I had to do it by hand. No biggie.

    Matt
  21. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    But a Deluxe model runs in the $1000 range at least around here if you look around.
  22. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Northern New Jersey
    Another thing- bought a used snowblower with heated handgrips. Yeah, first thoughts were that they were a joke. Nope, they work, and work well (on my Ariens). Not a necessity mind you, not as warm as a woodstove, but help without a doubt.
  23. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    460
    Loc:
    Cape Vincent, NY
    John Deere, not from a "big box" store but from a dealer. My first one lasted from'72 to '04. My current one, JD 1124DDE runs like a tank. The large wheels make chains unnecessary.
  24. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    That actually an Ariens painted green and yellow with a different handlebar/control set. D and DDE series units are some of the best that Deere ever put their name on. As of this year, Deere is no longer selling walk-behind snowblowers.
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Snowblowers in particular can bite you when trying to unclog them. Even when shut down. The belt drive for the impeller/auger can store energy like a spring that releases unpredicably while you're fighting to remove whatever jammed the machine.

Share This Page