Finally buying a snow blower... Compact 20 or 24"? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-16-2016, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Finally buying a snow blower... Compact 20 or 24"?

Joined the forum and have been reading a lot since the beginning of the week. I've lurked here for a white but I couldn't find all my questions so figured I might as well dive in and ask.

I live in Northern VA. We do not get a TON of snow, but last year we got hammered and had roughly 36" of snow where I live. I would say normally we get about 24" of snow a year. I'm from Pittsburgh so I am used to snow, this is nothing compared to them. With that being said as I am getting older I find it more annoying to shovel, hence why I want a snow blower.

Everywhere I am reading and looking people are quite adamant about getting a two stage snow blower.

I would LOVE to get a deluxe Ariens 24". But to be quite honest I just don't have the room to store it. I refuse to store it in the garage since it will take up too much space, and yard tools have zero place in the garage. My shed is a 7x10 so it's not huge but considering I have lawn equipment in there, I wouldn't have room for the Deluxe. Which brings me to the compact 20"/24"... I'm leaning more towards the compact 20" mainly because I want the smallest two stage possible since this will be in storage 11 months out of the year and not touched, I would prefer not to constantly have to move something around just to pull the lawnmower out...etc.


From what I gathered on here, most people think the compact is too expensive when for 100 more you can get the deluxe, I get that but again it's the storage, I just don't have space for it. Are people happy with their compact? Realistically should I look into the Ariens single stage snow blower? I keep seeing that single stages are faster but you will have trouble if you get a ton of snow where the two stage will be slower but handle it no problem. If I still lived in PA I would have no issues getting a two stage and not thinking twice, but being in VA I am wondering if I am making the right choice.


Note that those recommending a single stage to me are the Ariens/Honda/Toro which their higher end models are $500-600, which seems a little nuts for a single stage when the compact is 200 more.


Just looking for honest feedback on the compact 20/24" I see tons of great reviews for the compact 24". And the 20" uses the same engine which makes me want to believe that even though it's a little narrower it might actually be a little better than the 24" mainly because it can't fit as much snow into the front of it like the 24" would but who knows?


I will note that I have zero Ariens dealers by me or even close to me other than HD/Lowes. So I can easily get the 24" compact, where as the 20" I'd have to order online, and the cheapest I can find it for is $830 compared to $899 that the 24" is going for.


That was long winded, so thanks for reading it through :-)


-Nigel
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 06:36 AM
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I have a 2016 Compact 24". I'm getting older too. Compared to my old 20" Trac Craftsman, The 24" is a beast to move around. Sure, it's nice to have the weight for heavy end of driveway snow, but I'm working harder when turning. Not much weight difference between the 20" & 24" Ariens. Compared with my old machine, my Ariens is much bigger. Though a poor value, I wish I had the 20".
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 08:28 AM
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It seems to me that you're priority's are storage space and price. So it doesn't matter if the blower will do the job of removing deep or wet snow. Keep that in mind IMO. You maybe shoveling.


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post #4 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 08:37 AM
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Being storage your highest priority, I'd go with the Compact 20, it would also be lighter and easier to maneuver.
If you can fix older equipment, and you have a paved driveway, maybe search for a used Honda HS621 single stage. They can handle up to 10-12" of snow
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 08:58 AM
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Will the blowers you mention move wet ,heavy snow? I can see 12 inches of powder.


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post #6 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 09:26 AM
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Nigel,
24" of snow annually is a *really* small amount of snow for a 2-stage, and I bet in Virginia the majority of your snow comes in 1" to 4" snowfalls, and it's generally wet and slushy...you live in the ideal climate for a single-stage snowblower..single-stagers are designed for your kind of snow, they are much better in wet slushy snow than a 2-stage...

2-stagers don't like small amounts of wet slushy snow, they aren't designed for it, they tend to clog on it and don't throw it well..they are ideally suited for for 6" to 24" cold dry snow.

But a single stage eats 2" of slush right up, it's what they are designed for..different machines for different climates, you are in ideal single-stage territory. In the single-stage category, everyone agrees there are only two names to consider: Honda and Toro. And Honda single-stagers are now the only snowblowers 100% made in the USA.

Scot
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 09:45 AM
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What about one of those toro hybrids,snowmaster line?

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post #8 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfixit View Post
hsblowersfan
Will the blowers you mention move wet ,heavy snow? I can see 12 inches of powder.
I do not have personal experience with using them (although I have more than one).

I have seen mixed reviews of it being good/not good with wet heavy snow.

Read this thread from NJHonda.....

https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum...1-working.html

It uses the same commercial grade GX160 engine that is used on the Honda 2 stage snowblowers HS55, HS622 and HS624.

Watch this video as well

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post #9 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ih8thepackers View Post
What about one of those toro hybrids,snowmaster line?
maybe! that could be a good option..
we dont know a lot about those, because they are new, but they are probably fine machines. (no reason to doubt that)

I wouldnt say they are "hybrid" though..they are 100% single-stage, just with a larger and fancier tractor portion. Probably no real advantage over a "traditional" single-stage.

Edit! on the line above..I was wrong about that. These machines can really use the term "hybrid", because they do have powered wheels! While a "traditiional" single stage does not have powered wheels. So the Toro Snowmaster really is a "hybrid" in the sense that it has a "single stage auger", no impeller, but also does have a transmission with powered wheels, similar to a 2-stage snowblower's tractor unit. The bucket is still "single stage" however.


https://www.toro.com/snowmaster/

Nigel,
I want to comment some more on a couple of your comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewShockerGuy View Post

Everywhere I am reading and looking people are quite adamant about getting a two stage snow blower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewShockerGuy View Post
Note that those recommending a single stage to me are the Ariens/Honda/Toro which their higher end models are $500-600, which seems a little nuts for a single stage when the compact is 200 more.

-Nigel
You seem to be suggesting it would be better to spend "only $200 more" to get the Compact 2-stage, and spending less, $500-600 on a single-stage, would be "nuts" in comparison..in reality, you most likely have that completely backwards..its more likely the $500-600 single-stage is the much better machine for your climate, and spending $200 more for a small 2-stage would be "nuts" because you would be spending more for a machine that is not as well-suited for you and your climate, and could actually perform worse in your typical snowfalls.

I think you might have gotten the false impression that a 2-stage is "better" than a single-stage..that is not the case at all! This forum gives a skewed view of the real world..the majority of us in this forum are very unusual "snowblower enthusiasts"! the majority of us live in heavy-snow areas, and because of that, the majority of us have 2-stage snowblowers..which can lead to the impression that "people are quite adamant about getting a two stage snow blower."..yeah, but only in this forum! and only for people who live in the Northern US and Canada...but that kind of snow, and the snowblower needed for that kind of snow, simply doesn't apply to you.

A single-stage is not at all inferior to a 2-stage..unless! you live in an area where your climate makes it inferior.

If you live in Buffalo NY:



and your annual snow is measured in feet, not inches, and you have a 4-car wide and 500-foot long driveway,
then this is your ideal snowblower:



and this is a joke:



But you live in Virginia and further south, and your typical snowfall looks more like this:



(or even up to 4" or so)
Then your ideal snowblower is this:



and this is a joke and the worst snowblower you could own:



So! its all about the kind of snow you get..
everyone's ideal snowblower is different, and for many, a single-stage is the much better choice.
The main factors in choosing a snowblower:

1. Where you live, which determines how much and "what kind" of snow you get.
2. How much space you need to clear.
3. storage space.
4. cost.

Sure, cost is a factor for everyone..
a $800 Honda single-stage might be your best machine for 1, 2, and 3, but if its too much for 4, then it fails the test.

We dont get a lot of discussion on single-stage snowblowers on the forum, because not many people here own them. But what discussion we have had over the years always says: Honda and Toro for single-stage, because they are the two manufacturers who have really focused on single-stage. The Ariens "path-pro" single-stage is probably perfectly fine as well, but we just haven't heard much about them. (they are also fairly new, only been out 5-years or so.)

Scot


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Last edited by sscotsman; 12-21-2016 at 08:59 AM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-17-2016, 10:35 AM
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Im not saying you should rule-out the 2-stage completely!
im only suggesting that it seems more likely the single-stage would be better for you, but it could be a borderline choice..

If I lived in Virginia, I would probably completely ignore 1" to 3" snowfalls, not clear them at all, because its likely the snow will completely melt away in a few days..
but I know lots of people do want to get rid of that snow as soon as it falls..and that could be necessary for safety reasons.

Do you ever get snowfalls of over 1-foot at a time?
if so, how often?

Scot


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