Newer Ariens models as good as they get... or... - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Newer Ariens models as good as they get... or...

So I'm intrigued. Ariens has a solid reputation in making good snow machines. Seeing some pretty die hard brand loyalists on this forum just check how many people lurk in the Ariens specific forum at one time, impressive I must say.

The phrase "they don't make 'em like they used to" seems common speak around the topic of snowblowers. Is there a specific year / model in which people agree may be the best ever made? Kinda like the 1970s were the golden age of audio recording. Subjective topic I know, but will the newer machines leave behind a legacy as the older units did. Are newer machines disposable? Are materials and technology getting better? Are the demands greater, in which we subject snow removal equipment, which impacts our decisions on what is a solid machine? Are the machines of today future proof?

Just curious.
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post #2 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 01:57 AM
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if i were shopping for a new blower i would avoid any mtd or generic chinese blower. i would be looking at a toro, ariens, or honda snowblower.
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post #3 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 43128 View Post
if i were shopping for a new blower i would avoid any mtd or generic chinese blower. i would be looking at a toro, ariens, or honda snowblower.
if I were in Canada Yamaha would be on the list also

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post #4 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Vincent_Diesel View Post
So I'm intrigued. Ariens has a solid reputation in making good snow machines. Seeing some pretty die hard brand loyalists on this forum — just check how many people lurk in the Ariens specific forum at one time, impressive I must say.

The phrase "they don't make 'em like they used to" seems common speak around the topic of snowblowers. Is there a specific year / model in which people agree may be the best ever made? Kinda like the 1970s were the golden age of audio recording. Subjective topic I know, but will the newer machines leave behind a legacy as the older units did. Are newer machines disposable? Are materials and technology getting better? Are the demands greater, in which we subject snow removal equipment, which impacts our decisions on what is a solid machine? Are the machines of today future proof?

Just curious.
An interesting thread, unlike our cars I don't think we have to worry about our snowblowers driving/operating themselves anytime soon and becoming obsolete. Technology has improved but not nearly at the same pace as our cars/trucks. You see some feature improvements like heated grips, LED Headlights,motor driven chute control and Honda's top line HSS has an auger protection system and some include hour meters. They have come a long way in feature content and have implemented some safety features but how they move snow has not really changed that much.

Honda, Ariens and to our friends up North Yamaha are the fan favs on this forum. All 3 of these companies still build high quality machines that employ solid construction along with good design/engineering and customer support (have not dealt w/Yamaha). I would also like to mention the Simplicity Signature Pro series that has stayed true to old school tank-like construction quality.

IMHO many of the other brands and machines out there just don't have the same "visible build quality" of the aforementioned. That is not to say that with proper maintenance and care that the other brands/machines won't serve you well for many years to come.

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Last edited by Cardo111; 02-18-2016 at 11:11 AM.
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post #5 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 10:11 AM
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I'm not sure "we" agree on what's the best snow blower any more than we agree on what's the best oil or brand of spark plug

Nothing is future proof but there is only so much you can do to improve the design. A new twist is Honda's anti-climb feature which has half the auger going in an opposite direction. Not available in the U.S. (yet).


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post #6 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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if i were shopping for a new blower i would avoid any mtd or generic chinese blower. i would be looking at a toro, ariens, or honda snowblower.
My thought exactly but isn't that tough to accomplish? Even the newer AX series engines (which are probably some of the higher end engines) are made in China. I'm sure it is assembled in the USA but I wonder if materials and such even differ from brand to brand.
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post #7 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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our friends up North Yamaha are the fan favs on this forum

Being a Canadian myself I wonder why wouldn't Yamaha be available to us fine folks south of the border.
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post #8 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Vincent_Diesel View Post
Subjective topic I know, but will the newer machines leave behind a legacy as the older units did. Are newer machines disposable? Are materials and technology getting better? Are the demands greater, in which we subject snow removal equipment, which impacts our decisions on what is a solid machine? Are the machines of today future proof?
I don't have the range of machines of others here. My Ariens have ranged from early 90's, to 2000. No experience with the 60's and 70's machines, or the current stuff.

I don't get the impression that current offerings from good brands are disposable. But I admit that electric controls for chutes, for instance, really make me nervous from a longevity perspective. These machines live in fairly harsh environments, getting wet, then freezing, repeatedly, then sitting idle for months. Small items that can corrode and seize up seem like they will be a challenge in 10 years or so.

Rightly or wrongly, I include things like quick chute controls (joysticks, levers that automatically unlock and then pivot the chute, etc) in this category, and I wonder about things like Auto Turn as well. Auto Turn can apparently require some adjusting on brand-new machines, so what happens after 10 years? Do automatic lock/unlock chute aiming mechanisms hold up in the long term, or do they become unreliable?

The current Chinese engines also make me wonder a bit. Will you still be able to get carb rebuild kits for your engine (which might have only been used for 2 model years) in 20 years, like for a Tec/Briggs? Info about an HMSK80 is widely available, they were used on tons of machines, for years. But as the engine market fragments, with suppliers whose names are not as obvious (I probably couldn't tell you who makes an Ariens AX engine from just looking at the blower), how will that play out over time?

I don't claim to have the answers, but these are the things that concern me. I suspect these areas may matter more than the gauge of the bucket steel, when considering how a new machine will fare after 10 or 20 years.

Much of our society may consider simply outdoor power equipment disposable, but I don't, and I suspect a good percentage of people on forums like this don't either. If I eventually buy a "new" 2010 blower, in 2025, I want it to still work well

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post #9 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cardo111 View Post
IMHO many of the other brands and machines out the there just don't have the "visible build quality" of the aforementioned. That is not to say that with proper maintenance and care that the other brands/machines won't serve you well for many years to come.
Funny you should mention this, before I purchased the Ariens I researched the crap on another reputable brand. I was in a pinch that day and bought it from a local big box store. I was drawn to it because it looked so good aesthetically. It had dual LED lights wrapped in a plastic enclosure that you really don't see often. A fully adjustable-height control system that was ergonomically friendly and yes, it had hand warmers.

After first use I was impressed as it started on the very first pull (AX engine) I let my wife give it a whirl and immediately she said "I don't like how it feels". Coming from an 12 year old — used 8.0 HP 27" Craftsman I kinda knew why. It felt lighter and just seemed to vibrate more. Sure it threw snow farther than my old machine but it felt like you were hanging on, way too much strain on the forearms. She also mentioned that it sounded terrible, maybe due to a new engine or underpowered, not really sure, but I REALLY wanted to like it. The new machine went back immediately, and now here I am on the Ariens forum.

As I was breaking in the new machine she walked by and said that she could hear a difference in just how it sounded from the previous machine. I smiled and she walked back into the house. One day we'll get some snow to throw around but for now I like what I see.
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post #10 of 62 Old 02-18-2016, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kiss4aFrog View Post
I'm not sure "we" agree on what's the best snow blower any more than we agree on what's the best oil or brand of spark plug

Nothing is future proof but there is only so much you can do to improve the design. A new twist is Honda's anti-climb feature which has half the auger going in an opposite direction. Not available in the U.S. (yet).

Holy smokes. Impressive. Will this take off as slowly as a 3 stage? Are we ready for this...
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