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post #1 of 13 Old 10-14-2017, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Choosing a Snowblower

This thread is the home of a "work in progress" Excel spreadsheet comparing features for certain manufacturers and a subset of models.

I am trying to be passive and objective and avoid offering opinions.
Occasionally a wise-crack will creep in if I believe it applies to the industry as a whole but I will try to keep them to an absolute minimum.
Feel free to keep me honest!

In return, please do not offer opinions on any vendors or models on THIS particular thread even if your intentions are honorable.
Let's just let the data speak for itself.
Those opinions with the accompanying facts and rationale would be great to have over here: https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum...nowblower.html

In fact, it's probably best if ALL comments are made on the discussion thread to keep this as a sequential list of database updates

The astute reader might say "Doesn't the presence or absence of a vendor or model imply something? How can it possibility be totally neutral?"
I would have to admit to that point... however there's no way that I can include every manufacturer and every model.
Therefore the only truly objective spreadsheet would have to be..... totally empty!

Another astute reader might say "Aren't the columns also expressing opinion by their very presence or absence?"
I'd give pretty much the same answer. I can't include every possible specification and option and an empty spreadsheet buys us nothing.
I will however avoid a column that says "Does this model have the ACME bling widget" whenever possible.
It gets tricky if I ever include a column for things like Hydro or EFI because that might suggest that they are either desirable or undesirable.
Fortunately I don't need to because these are usually implied by the model name.

I am currently open to suggestions for improving the columns or the addition of certain brands or models.
That openness will dwindle rapidly however if it becomes too much effort for me.

It started life as an attempt to bring Objective Data into the process of making a purchase decision for one particular member based in Canada.
It recently increased in scope and I think it deserves its own thread as I improve it.

My short-term goal is to add some additional models and maybe some additional columns that may help the decision-making process.

I am doing this manually so, as you can imagine, the effort to populate the data is immense.
Errors may occur because of this manual process. Feel free to point them out if you spot them.
I apologize in advance to the vendors if this happens. Trust me.. I am trying hard to prevent that.

I strongly urge you to fact check before making any important decision or formulating a strong opinion - the data may be wrong

At some point the product offerings will change, the prices will change.
As soon as that happens, one of three things will happen to the spreadsheet.

A) If I am sufficiently motivated, I will need to develop software that uses data-mining techniques to automatically extract this information from vendor websites.
B) The information will become stale and obsolete
C) Vendors may be willing to provide their data to me in a form that is easy to consume. They presumably must have this data in a similar spreadsheet or database in their corporate office.

There is no way that I can continue to maintain this manually on an ongoing basis.

Automatic data-mining would allow me to update the spreadsheet at the push of a button or even automated to run every night.
This would require considerable software effort to get it working.
Furthermore, if the vendors change their websites as I'm sure they will, I will then need to modify that software to mine the data from the right places.
Once again that task may become too great for me to contemplate.

In the meantime, it is what it is and is current as of today. It uses an exchange rate of $0.80 US dollars per $1 Canadian

I hope it helps some people and that it might be interesting for others to see this data presented in a single location.

In an ideal world, I would get cooperation from vendors to make their data available to me in an easy-to-consume way.
It could happen.. but my expectations are low-to-modest.

Enjoy!

Last edited by unknown1; 10-14-2017 at 03:20 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-14-2017, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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EDIT: Spreadsheet removed to avoid leaving stale copies. See the most recent post to find it

I've added weight to the spreadsheet
All numbers are in lbs

Weight can potentially give some indication of
a) Maneuverability
b) Durability
c) Ground Traction

Caveats:

Maneuverability is also affected by
a) Steering options to disengage drive (differentials etc)
b) Wheels versus tracks
c) Driven or free-rolling
d) Center of gravity in relation to the wheels or tracks
e) etc

Durability is also affected by
a) Is it a heavy engine or is it heavy-duty metalwork.
b) The weight of a gadget tells you nothing about the metalwork
c) etc

Ground Traction is also affected by
a) Tracks or Wheels
b) Tread and Track design
c) Material used for the wheels and tracks
d) Tyre air pressure
e) chains or no chains
f) etc

Hassles:
Some define wet weight (presumably with operational levels of oil and full tank of gas)
Some define dry weight
Some simply don't say (at least not where I needed to see it - next to the number)

I indicated these as "wet" "dry" and "?"
I made no attempt to standardize these because
a) If they don't tell me which it is.. I can't guess
b) I did not have the interest to find out the size of the gas tank, oil sump, gas density and oil density and did not add these columns.
This is left as an exercise for the reader (especially if you intend to take them back to Canada in a Cessna)

Caveats on Color Scale
There are two outliers. One very heavy, one very light. This influences the dynamic range of the available color spectrum so many colors are "squished together"
Can you guess which these might be? Bonus points for that ;-) Hint: the Yamaha fans will know one of them.
I could not make Excel de-emphasize the outliers without writing scripts and I did not see real benefit in doing so.

Is heavy good or is it bad?
I arbitrarily chose to define heavy machines as "good" and therefore "green" - It's hard to stay purely objective with traffic signal colors. We have an inbuilt psychological attraction to green.
This would confuse the member who recently was concerned about a machine that his petite wife could handle or someone who is frail.

Double bonus points are awarded to anyone who can intuitively guess why the bigger Toro machine is lighter. ;-)
However, that is a Vendor specific question so please don't reply except maybe in a PM
I broke my own rule already simply to point out that weight can reveal other interesting questions in some cases.
It was not intended as an opinion for or against Toro or either of those models.


Enjoy!

Last edited by unknown1; 10-17-2017 at 01:22 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-14-2017, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to add the caveats from my earlier spreadsheets here because I can no longer fit them on the bigger spreadsheet.
That will avoid any subsequent readers from missing them.. or feeling they need to point them out.

Caveat:
CC is not a totally accurate measure of relative engine power but it's the best indicator we have. Power to CC conversions may not even be linear.
It can also affect cross-manufacturer comparisons. Engines are not all created equally. (Not all engines are created equally? - your choice)
A well-designed engine and fuel supply system at a given CC is probably more powerful than one that has inferior design.
Unless we have access to repeatable test data from an independent testing lab we cannot truly differentiate between different engines based on CC alone.
This is what led to various lawsuits over HP ratings and why they are avoided in the USA (but not in Canada).
The good thing about CC is that you can measure it trivially.. the bad thing is that it may mislead. Nevertheless, it's useful.
This is not an exact science but it's the best I can manage without independent test labs to measure meaningful power.

Edit: Bang-for-buck
It goes without saying but I'll say it anyway..
If you are comparing B4B across manufacturers. You'll get better results if you compare stripped-down basic models.
As soon as you add any option it will decrease the B4B by increasing the price even though you've not changed the tons/hour
.. but you knew that.

Last edited by unknown1; 10-14-2017 at 03:26 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-14-2017, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Explanation of the columns

Manufacturer - obvious
Model - obvious
TW- Tracks or Wheels
$CA - Price in Canadian dollars assuming 0.8 exchange rate - full list price without offers or discounts
For Yamaha models - these prices are from Yamaha Canada
For All other models - the price is from US corporate websites and back-converted to Canadian currency
This is useful for a Canadian person willing to drive across the border to the US, buy a machine and take it back
They will usually get a better price compared to buying the equivalent models in Canada
$USA - full list price without offers or discounts
Width - Auger bucket width
Height - Auger bucket height
Throw - advertised maximum throwing distance in feet
Imp - Impeller size when I know it
Wt - Weight in lbs (may be wet-weight dry-weight or unspecified)
Wt2 - wet dry or unspecified(?)
TpH - snow throwing capacity converted to Tons(US) per hour. Some models specify theirs in 1bs/minute so I convert to a single unit system
B4B - Bang-for-Buck this combines the tons/hr and price ie tons-per-hour-per-dollar
B4BN - normalized values for B4B to give rapid comparisons when compared to the model having the smallest value

Other columns may be added later

Last edited by unknown1; 10-14-2017 at 03:16 PM. Reason: column names changed - B4B, B4BN,TpH,TW
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-14-2017, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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EDIT: Spreadsheet removed to avoid leaving stale copies. See the most recent post to find it

All comments and replies on the discussion thread please to keep this thread clean
Discussion Thread here:
https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/general-snowblower-discussion/119481-choosing-snowblower-discussion.html

Latest Changes:

Data:
Duplicated Manufacturer column to help spot who is who when you are looking over to the right.
Added additional Toro model numbers - I believe the data is now accurate
I could not find any Tons-per-hour rating for the new Toro 38806 model - I don't see how Toro expect to sell that until they fix the omission - Toro Fans may want to let them know
Added a Model number column to differentiate this year's and last year's models when the name stays the same
Both may still be available if you can find the older models
I found the website data even though the manufacturer hid them from their main model lookup pages - I wonder why? - I did notice a $200 price increase year-to-year
Current rate of inflation is here: https://www.google.com/search?q=usa+...utf-8&oe=utf-8

Full Disclosure:
For the prices, I added $1 to every price and then rounded down to the nearest dollar
This has the following effect on prices
1999.00 becomes 2000
1999.99 becomes 2000
Although my data is now not exactly precise I think it is more useful and in some sense of the word... more "honest". Strange how inaccuracy can sometimes be preferable isn't it?
I wonder why they still do that? (Note: ALL vendors doing it)
I back-converted Yamaha prices into US dollars. This will help people living near the border to consider nipping up to Canada to buy one. I am not implying if that is a good or bad idea.

Formatting:
Tracks/Wheels shortened to T/W to save pixels
Model names changed to match the vendor's names - Previously I used "Pro" instead of "Professional"
Shuffled columns around

Coming Soon
: Nothing planned but I could expand the models from Honda if I get the feeling anyone cares - It can only give a small price drop by dropping the Battery Start - B4B would increase slightly but should not impact the color of B4B in a significant way

Column Definitions Here: https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/1297569-post4.html

Last edited by unknown1; 10-17-2017 at 01:30 AM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-15-2017, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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EDIT: Spreadsheet removed to avoid leaving stale copies. See the most recent post to find it

All comments and replies on the discussion thread please to keep this thread clean
Discussion Thread here:
https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/general-snowblower-discussion/119481-choosing-snowblower-discussion.html

Latest Changes:

Data: No Changes except duplicated Track/Wheel info since a buyer with steep gradients will probably want to see this clearly on both sides

Formatting: Ordered by Cost - This allows buyers with a specific budget to see their options at a glance
What could I get if I paid just a little more? Or a little less?
I anticipate that this is a common question.

Coming Soon
: Nothing planned

Ideas:
Does anyone want to see the Honda models without the "D" option too?
Any interest in seeing the other Ariens Models?
If anyone would like to see their favorite model on this spreadsheet please post on the discussion thread
I will need Make and Model-Name and Model-Number
We don't seem to have any Husqvarna, MTD Family, Briggs & Stratton Family
Does anyone have any suggestions for useful columns in the decision-making process?

Column Definitions Here: Choosing a Snowblower - Spreadsheet Data

Last edited by unknown1; 10-17-2017 at 01:32 AM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-16-2017, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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All comments and replies on the discussion thread please to keep this thread clean
Discussion Thread here:
https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/general-snowblower-discussion/119481-choosing-snowblower-discussion.html

There are two copies of the data. One sorted by Brand, the other by Price. (make sure you use the correct currency column for USA or Canada)
The price-order works well for someone with a fixed budget (or range)
The other works well for brand-loyalists or people comparing Brands


Latest Changes:

Full Disclosure:
Still awaiting definitive data for impeller diameter for Honda, Toro, Yamaha
I called local Honda dealer and spoke to 2 people - their expert did not know what an impeller was - I explained to him - He will call back if he can get the data from Corporate
I called local Toro dealer - he knew what an impeller was but could not find an answer searching parts database or any other resource

Data:
Added Lowest priced Honda models to ensure that their data is not misrepresented unfairly. I simply removed the D from model numbers
Added best guess impeller diameters for Honda and Toro - These are in italics to alert the reader - also clear disclaimer at the bottom
Removed Husqvarna - No useful data

Formatting: Sorted by Vendor to allow easy comparisons
This also helps if you have overriding brand-loyalty by bringing your favorite models together in one place
Added neutral background colors per-Vendor that AVOID traffic signal spectrum to maintain neutrality
Added traffic signal colors based on Impeller size
Because Yamaha are such outliers and not readily available in USA I excluded them from traffic-signals for best color separation on other Vendors

Coming Soon: Nothing planned

Ideas:
Any interest in seeing the other Ariens Models?

If anyone would like to see their favorite model on this spreadsheet please post on the discussion thread
I will need Make and Model-Name and Model-Number
Please check that data is available for Tons/hr and Throw before making the request.

Does anyone have any suggestions for useful columns in the decision-making process?

Column Definitions Here: Choosing a Snowblower - Spreadsheet Data
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Last edited by unknown1; 10-17-2017 at 01:36 AM.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-17-2017, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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All comments and replies on the discussion thread please to keep this thread clean
Discussion Thread here:
https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/general-snowblower-discussion/119481-choosing-snowblower-discussion.html

There are two copies of the data. One sorted by Brand, the other by Price. (make sure you use the correct currency column for USA or Canada)
The price-order works well for someone with a fixed budget (or range)
The other works well for brand-loyalists or people comparing Brands

Latest Changes:
Data:
Removed Impeller guesses - bad science - if you have no data do not invent it - especially if it results in a traffic light
This introduces bias which cannot be verified or supported and therefore is NOT vendor-neutral
If you believe impeller diameter is important take a tape measure to obtain verifiable data or request info from vendor
Data is once again vendor-neutral

Formatting
: None
Coming Soon: Nothing planned
Ideas:
Any interest in seeing the other Ariens Models?

If anyone would like to see their favorite model on this spreadsheet please post on the discussion thread
I will need Make and Model-Name and Model-Number
Please check that data is available for Tons/hr and Throw before making the request.

Does anyone have any suggestions for useful columns in the decision-making process?

Column Definitions Here: Choosing a Snowblower - Spreadsheet Data
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Last edited by unknown1; 10-17-2017 at 07:06 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-17-2017, 06:42 PM
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Hey

Your Canadian to US dollar conversion for the Yamaha’s are a bit out of whack?

For example, the list price of $2900 Canadian for the YT624ED should come out to around $2300 US at today’s rate.

The rest of the Yamaha models are also miss priced in US dollars.

Some suggested additional information for the chart that might be useful: transmission type (hydro, friction disc, etc), starting methods (pull, AC, DC).

Appreciate your efforts.

Cheers

Last edited by Arpinski; 10-17-2017 at 06:52 PM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-17-2017, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Moderator (Scot?)

Can you slide #9 over to the discussion thread please

Also is there a way to lock a thread as read-only (meaning you can't post replies... only the OP can)

This message can be deleted after

thanks
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