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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have a main machine to clear my driveway in a Kubota BX2380 with a 50” blower and a 60” back blade. It’s a nice machine and takes care of most of my needs. Over the years, I have been a big fan of Ariens two stage blowers and have recommended them to several people. I’ve owned a Platinum 30 and a Deluxe 28. The issue that I have are three-fold.

One, the auto-steer feature is nice on its face but I feel like it does not work great when it hits packed down snow or ice. It moves left and right and requires some wrestling to keep it on track.

Second issue is the small fuel tank size. Don’t know why Ariens does this but the tank size is too small.

Third is the balance of the machine. I’ve used several Ariens blowers in the last few years aside from the one that I have owned and the balance is never right. It’s either too heavy on the front and makes it hard to pickup the front end for my wife or too light and rides up the snow.

I sold my Deluxe 28 a few years ago and got the Platinum 30 which I just sold.

Ended up buying a Toro 28 commercial model. It has the beefed up handle assembly, LED headlight and a larger fuel tank.

They got rid of the plastic chute but it does have other plastic parts on it. I can tell you that the trigger turning does not seem great but locking the axle together when the triggers are released makes a big difference going over packed down snow. The Ariens would be squirreling back and forth with the same conditions and I’d be wrestling it. The balance is perfect. Enough weight on the front to keep it from riding up but light enough to have my wife be able to pickup the front and turn it with no issues.

I feel like Ariens has always been onto something with the all steel construction which is why Toro is following suit. But I also feel like the design of the Toro is just better. It feels better when you are using it. Toro two-stages have always thrown snow further like the Honda two-stages and that is design. Ariens now charges more for the SHO models but why would they not just put the SHO design on all of their models?

My opinion but wondering what you guys think.
 

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The Toro is a very nice machine. It can kick some butt that's for sure. My observations with the 1428 commercial is that it's balance is very close to my Ariens 28" Professional. The lighting is nicer on the Toro, that's for sure. I like the chute controls a little more on the Ariens. I don't like the feel of the joystick, it seems disconnected from the chute too much. I also don't like having to reset the deflector setting each time I move the chute. Any movement of the chute and the deflector setting must be set also. I also think that the Toro triggers require too much movement to activate. The triggers on my old Husqvarna and current Simplicity do not require so much total movement of the trigger to get the job done. The Toro has a larger trigger thus a longer distance. The auto steering on the Pro models has always been rock solid for me and Ariens never did tweak the Pro like they did the other models. I like not having to use triggers when I use the Pro. To me it's just a different animal and the only time I feel like I might be fighting it a bit I'm going too fast for the conditions. Don't get me wrong I came very close to getting the 1428 Commercial and I still feel it's an outstanding machine, and it came down to just a few tiny points for me. Who knows what future snowblower I might buy, maybe one day the Toro.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The Toro is a very nice machine. It can kick some butt that's for sure. My observations with the 1428 commercial is that it's balance is very close to my Ariens 28" Professional. The lighting is nicer on the Toro, that's for sure. I like the chute controls a little more on the Ariens. I don't like the feel of the joystick, it seems disconnected from the chute too much. I also don't like having to reset the deflector setting each time I move the chute. Any movement of the chute and the deflector setting must be set also. I also think that the Toro triggers require too much movement to activate. The triggers on my old Husqvarna and current Simplicity do not require so much total movement of the trigger to get the job done. The Toro has a larger trigger thus a longer distance. The auto steering on the Pro models has always been rock solid for me and Ariens never did tweak the Pro like they did the other models. I like not having to use triggers when I use the Pro. To me it's just a different animal and the only time I feel like I might be fighting it a bit I'm going too fast for the conditions. Don't get me wrong I came very close to getting the 1428 Commercial and I still feel it's an outstanding machine, and it came down to just a few tiny points for me. Who knows what future snowblower I might buy, maybe one day the Toro.
The chute controls. Yes. The chute controls on the Toro are plastic. You can literally feel it bending as you are using it. It’s strange. But I would say it moves very easily so I don’t know how it will hold up.

I feel like Ariens is going to do some things in the coming years like adding LED’s, making SHO standard on all models and some increasing the size of the fuel tanks that will put them solidly at the top. We will see how it goes for me this year. As far as the auto-turn, it’s nice but again, when I am going over packed down snow with some ice involved where cars have driven over the surface, it’s not ideal. The Ariens have pushed forward until they hit a ridge of ice and moved the entire machine to the side. In my limited use with the Toro, it bumps up and stays the course. No wrestling. I wish there were a way to easily lock the axle for those conditions on the Ariens machines. Maybe a lever to do so on the handlebars.

My Toro is at my property up north in Michigan but I have pics of my Kubota. I’ll post pics of the Toro the next time I am up there.
 

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My Pro 28" has the large fuel tank because it has the 420cc Briggs on it. I might have made a different choice if not for the Briggs. The Toro would have been at the top of my list along with the Briggs Simplicity Signature Pro line.
 

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...~snip~

One, the auto-steer feature is nice on its face but I feel like it does not work great when it hits packed down snow or ice. It moves left and right and requires some wrestling to keep it on track.

~snip~....

I could not agree more with you on that assessment!

The first winter of using my Ariens I wrote a very critical assessment of the machine including the auto-steer and the poor headlight design.
I am now into my third (or fourth?) winter and am getting use to it. It still requires significant wrestling. I did not anticipate that much man-handling to keep control of it. I bought the track model as I do have some steep terrain. Past blowers had tire and the required chains. I was hoping the tracks would provide the traction needed but I think that in terms of control that I might have been better off with tires and chains again.


I am not complaining about power. With some of the dumps that I get, that motor is definitely welcomed and appreciated.
 
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