Toro Snowmaster vs. Ariens SS - Looking For Help - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Toro Snowmaster vs. Ariens SS - Looking For Help

Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and am impressed with the wealth of knowledge that I've seen here.

After 4 dealer visits and way too many hours of online research, today we purchased an Ariens Path Pro that should be fine for her.

But, in my research, I am now considering something for me.

My situation:
  • I have a significant slope to my driveway - we do get a great south sun exposure such that if I get the snow down to near the surface, sun will melt it completely away fairly soon - unless it is single digit cold as it has been for several days now.
  • I have a 33 year old Toro 3521 that still works just fine and starts first pull about every time. It has 3 gears and I can generally use top gear for most of the snow removal (especially going up the drive or it takes forever
  • My Toro lawn mower also is many years old and works fine... so I have a very good feeling about Toro equipment
  • But, I am convinced that Ariens makes great products as well
  • And my preferred dealer is an Ariens as my go-to Toro guy has retired and sold the business
So, since the 3521 still works and won't command much on resale - I think I will just keep it and, likely, add another snowblower (didn't know people had more than one 'til I started reading here).

I am intrigued by the Toro Snowmaster with the personal pace feature as I think it would help going up my driveway and appears to be much faster than my 2 stage. Not sure I like the auger material but have not seen bad comments about it. I would likely do the 824 QXE although the 724 would probably be fine. If it lasts as long as the last one, it would be money well spent, I believe. Service at this dealer appears to sometimes be lacking - but there are many good reviews as well. I know, it is the unhappy people who take the time to post and not the happy campers.

Reviews here about the Snowmaster and the better single stage units indicate that for most normal snows I could clean the driveway much faster with one of these than my 2-stage Toro 3521. This is worth considering since my wife's car is not all wheel drive and I try to make sure to get the driveway snow down to the surface as much as possible and before we drive on it.

The Path Pros would probably also work fine but I am slightly skeptical about them going uphill on my driveway. I know there is some help from the paddle/auger but as I am nearing 70 I don't want to do too much pushing.

On the lighter side (I hope), my wife has suggested that I certainly should get electric start so that in case I die, she will be able to start it. This was a sobering recommendation.

So, I would appreciate any thoughts or advice on buying another snowblower.

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post #2 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 02:31 PM
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Sorry I can't help, never having had a sloped driveway but if I were to buy a single stage it would be a Toro. Hopefully someone will chime in with more info.
And yes, a lot of us have lots of blowers!


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post #3 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 02:35 PM
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I have a personal pace lawnmower and hate that feature. I would much rather have a 3-4 speed with disc drive. Just my two cents.

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post #4 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 03:01 PM
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i think your on the right track. you need something self propelled for a sloped driveway you dont want to push a single stage up the slope.

if you had a flat driveway i would say any new or late model single stage would be good.

the toro snowmaster i think is the only single stage on the market that has a drive? so you are kind of limited there are lots of smaller 2 stage machines you could also get. ariens compact series 2 stages

Toro snow commander 7hp RTEK HS720 GC190 OHC
Toro ccr3650 6.5hp RTEK ....Ariens sno-tek 26" 208cc LCT
Ariens st824 924082 HMSK 80 ....Ariens path pro 136cc
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 03:04 PM
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The Snowmaster is a great snow blower (this is my third season with it). Personal Pace makes even more sense on a snowblower than it does on a lawnmower, IMO. I don't have a sloped driveway, so I'm not sure how it would perform there, but it is awesome on my flat driveway.

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post #6 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 03:53 PM
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I also have a sloping paved driveway facing south. I have a Toro single stage that I picked up in the summer and I've only had a couple of chances to try it and then it was only a couple of inches of powder. It works fine on the top part of my driveway which is flat. Going downhill it just wants to run away from you and it's all you can do to hang on and not fall. I actually preferred running it up hill. Some people here say to go from side to side on the sloping part but that's a LOT of stopping and starting and turning around.

I think you need to find a dealer that has one of the Toro's that you can try out. That machine interests me too but I would hate to drop a lot of money only to find out I hate the Personal Pace system first time out.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-03-2018, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. You have made me aware that going downhill is as much a concern as going uphill... hadn't thought about that. Today, I used a new single stage snowblower on my daughter's level drive and sidewalk and at times I felt like I had to run to keep up.

Had I been doing that downhill on my driveway I would have had to lift up the front end to slow it down... and that would defeat the purpose of the auger wiping down to the concrete. Or, I would have possibly fallen trying to keep up.

I think that may have eliminated the single stage for me.

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post #8 of 17 Old 01-04-2018, 04:32 AM
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It depends..... I have a sloped driveway and have no problem with my single stage. It just takes practice to have it not run away from you. On occasion I do my neighbors very sloped drive and while it's more of a challenge it's doable for me. It's all about your comfort level when doing something like that. Having said that I recommended that my neighbor give up any snow removal because of his health issues. His son contacted a snow removal contractor for the season. If he was in better health I feel that the Snowmaster would be an excellent choice. If you decide to go single stage then the Toro 721 is an outstanding choice.

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post #9 of 17 Old 01-04-2018, 05:27 AM
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With the single stager covered why not freshen up the 3521 with a new engine, impeller kit, belts, bushings and tires?

$105 Predator 6.5hp engine
$35 Impeller kit
$30 (2) belts
$25 (3) bushings
$60 (2) tires/tubes
$15 pulley adapter


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post #10 of 17 Old 01-04-2018, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tdipaul View Post
With the single stager covered why not freshen up the 3521 with a new engine, impeller kit, belts, bushings and tires?

$105 Predator 6.5hp engine
$35 Impeller kit
$30 (2) belts
$25 (3) bushings
$60 (2) tires/tubes
$15 pulley adapter


Do Toro dealers freshen up snow blowers without charging an arm and a leg?

Now, I'm even considering the Snowmaster to compliment the 3521 for as long as it lasts.

Too many choices - but the good news is there seems to be a lot of good choices - the trick is finding the right one for our use.
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