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post #1 of 12 Old 10-17-2019, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help Deciding -

Wife and I want to buy a snowblower for our son and daughter-in-law as a house warming gift. We have a price point of aprox $1,200 give-or-take. We have narrowed it down to three units (all at the Home Depot)

Cub Cadet 30 in. 357cc Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Steel Chute @ $1,099

Ariens Deluxe 28 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering @ $1,199

Ariens Deluxe 24 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering @ $1,099

I'm not particularity tied down to these particular units / brands.

`One of the things that caught my attention was that the two Ariens models have a significantly smaller engine displacement (103 CC's less to be exact) With the Cub having a 357 CC engine and the Ariens having 254 CC's. As an old school type guy I was always told that "there's no replacement for displacement". Is this something I should be concerned about with today's newer engines?
All of them seem to be decent units. I like the auto-turn feature of the Ariens, (over having to pull a trigger every time you want to turn), but of course this is just another complicated piece of machinery that can go wrong in my mind.

His new driveway is over 135'x 10' with a parking area at the top that's at least 55'x30' (over 3,000 sq. ft of blacktop to clear) and he lives in an area that gets more snow then the city (about 50 miles north of Detroit.)

Does anyone have any experience with any of these machines? I'd love any input you guys can offer.

Last edited by justadbeer; 10-17-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-17-2019, 10:05 PM
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I read the forum frequently, I just don't participate regularly. Your answer is going to be to go with Ariens due to many factors. The main reasons being build quality, longevity, and future access to parts and service. Another big deal is to try and go through an Ariens dealer that can set up the equipment properly and service it when needed. You'll usually find that the price through the specialized dealers is the same as the big box stores due to MAP pricing.

That's a lot of space, and I'm sure others will chime in on which sized unit is better. The larger unit will obviously take a larger pass, but the smaller unit will be more efficient with the snow it moves, if they both have the same sized engine. Where they are located, how much snow, and what type of snow are important considerations.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-17-2019, 10:59 PM
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Sadly, I'm not a MTD fan despite their corporate headquarters being in my backyard. Generally speaking, Cub Cadet's quality and resale value are not up to par with Ariens. In my opinion, Honda is top-of-the line while Toro and Ariens share 2nd place at lower prices than Honda. I refurbish and resell snow blowers as a retirement hobby and focus almost exclusively on Ariens.

Of the options listed, I think the the 28" Ariens is worth the extra $100. The added width will be handy for smaller nuisance snow days and you can always take a partial swipe with the larger bucket if the snow is very deep. Of course you'll always be taking a full swipe on your first trip down the driveway but you can reduce your ground speed to the lowest gear in that case. I've worked on nearly every variant of the Deluxe models and they are all very good machines.

I know it exceeds your budget but I'd highly recommend the Ariens Platinum 24 SHO as a better option. The MSRP is about $1600 but it does have the 369cc engine. My son owns this model and has been very pleased with it's performance.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-18-2019, 08:16 AM
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Wow ... I guess I am living in the past for sure..... 1600.00 for a blower, and some much higher than that ... whewwww

My machines are 4 older, solid built Ariens, 1 Craftsman and my well built beast of about 50 years old, a Yardman 7100-2. I just ordered a new set of XTrac for my Yardman, as I wore out a set of Snow Hogs on it. I also wore out the original solid Chevron tread tires it came with ... It is my most used machine.

In today's market, I am not privy to the new model features or quality, but the Ariens does have a good name brand going.

Some interesting reading on who owns what:
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-18-2019, 08:28 AM
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The Cub Cadet is not all that bad. Cub Cadet, (MTD) has added a heavy duty gear box to their units so they've got that going for them.
As far as the steering the Ariens Auto Turn system is pretty much bulletproof. The Cub's trigger steering involves plastic triggers, cables and sometimes sticky and reluctant action. The Cub's chute deflector controls bug me and I think the action could be improved. I'm not a huge fan of the Ariens ice drill chute control so chute control comes out even for me. The Ariens housing, auger, impeller and overall construction is beefier than the Cub's but the unit won't be used in a heavy snow belt. I'm not a big box guy so hopefully both units are going to be purchased at a servicing dealer!!
Unless you were in a heavy snow region or you get lots of EOD mess then go look at them and move the controls and take a look at both. If you do get heavy EOD or more snow than I think go with the Ariens.
I don't get excited about Ariens until you get to the Platinum or Professional models. Once you get there then you have what I think are world class snow moving beasts.

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Last edited by Zavie; 10-18-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-18-2019, 08:54 AM
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Higher displacement means throwing the heavy wet stuff as far as the light fluffy stuff. Any time you have a large apron on a drive it’s great to throw the snow some distance so that you don’t end out blowing it a short distance then blowing it again. Also to blow the snow well out into the yard so you don’t create huge piles.

As for brand, I would choose the Ariens with the most power you can afford. Ariens has always had great product support throughout its lines of blowers. Keep the oil changed yearly, fresh stabilized gas and a new plug every few years and the Ariens machine will last 30+ years with normal homeowner use.

Congrats to your son on his new home?
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-18-2019, 07:32 PM
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I went with the Ariens 24" Platinum as it takes up less space in the garage (an important consideration in my case). While the 28" will make a pass 4" wider, I didnt feel it was necessary as it only adds one additional pass on the driveway. (If that, I tend to go over areas I've already cleared to get "every last bit". lol.

2014 Ariens 24" Platinum
2010 Yard Machines 600 Series, 24" w/179cc MTD engine
Toro CCR 3650 GTS
Troy Bilt 521OR w/Tecu HSSK50 engine
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-18-2019, 07:52 PM
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I have the Ariens Deluxe 24 and am happy with it although it is only two years old and we have had light snow, so I haven't really had to give it a hard workout. But going by past experience with Ariens snowblowers I don't anticipate any problems.

Re "where to buy" I agree go to a dealer if possible. While there are bad dealers out there, they don't usually last long and the remaining ones have the practice to set up a new machine properly. The guy at the big box store assembling yours might be holding a wrench for the first time in his life. I bought mine at a dealer, the price is the same, and it was set up properly.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-20-2019, 12:03 PM
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How big an area needs to be cleared? A 30 inch machine takes a bit of muscle to operate, and storage can be an issue if this is a newer home with limited garage space. If the area that needs clearing is large, a large machine makes the chore quicker, but it will tire the operator out as well.

Smaller area, go with the smaller machine or compromise on the middle sized unit. Ariens is likely a better quality machine, and more likely to maintain parts availability for longer.

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post #10 of 12 Old 10-20-2019, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by skutflut View Post
...A 30 inch machine takes a bit of muscle to operate, and storage can be an issue if this is a newer home with limited garage space. If the area that needs clearing is large, a large machine makes the chore quicker, but it will tire the operator out as well...
In my case, going from a 24" Honda HS80TAS to a 32" HSS1332ATD made the job twice as fast, AND much less tiring. The big Honda does all the work, so you just have to walk along behind it and push some buttons and levers. The HS80 was more work to turn and required lots of effort at the EOD. With only 3 speeds forward it was rarely optimum for the conditions. The HSS is a pleasure to use by comparison.
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