Is the Honda worth the extra cash?
for some, yes..for me, no.
simply because im not willing to pay $2K for *any* snowblower..doesnt matter how good it is.
its simply out of my price range..
The Ariens is more "traditional"..has a friction disk drive..
a system that has been around for 50 years and works great..
the Honda has a "hydrostatic" drive..like a "hydro" transmission in a garden tractor..you dont have to shift it..personally I wouldnt pay double for that feature alone! (I see nothing wrong with the friction disk..its a "tried and true" method..99.9% of all snowblowers ever built have that drive) The Honda also has a Honda engine, which many consider to be golden..They really arent terribly similar machines..
But both are great machines, and both will do the job very well..
people rave about their Honda's..people also rave about their Ariens..
both will last 40+ years with good care..
only you can decide if the difference in price (and features) is "worth it"..