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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks,

I know there's a lot of discussion/disagreement about what brand of snowblower is best, but I'm curious what the latest/greatest info is? I'm talking about new machines here, not used, and ones available in the USA (northeast if it matters).

I've always had the sense that Ariens, Toro, and Honda were the "top of the heap" - again I'm talking brand-new machines, not ones made 20, 30, 40 years ago.

But a friend of mine went to 3 OPE dealers over the weekend and they all told him they think Ariens machines are now awful (one said "since they were bought" but I can't find any evidence Ariens changed hands). One even stopped carrying them. They're all pushing Toro and Simplicity pro machines.

So I'm wondering... has Ariens really gone downhill? And if so, have the others too (as in, they're all getting worse but Ariens is still relatively good)?
 

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I think new Ariens machines are still top notch and I am pretty sure company ownership has not changed.

I can say with certainty that they are not awful, they still build a quality machine with models for every price range. Sounds like a few dealers bad mouthing the competition. One thing I learned from 30 years in sales, never bad mouth the competition, discuss the quality and features of your product and how the customer will benefit from these items, to make the sale.

IMHO the top 5 brands of snow blower currently:

Yamaha
Honda
Ariens
Simplicity Pro
Toro

I don't think any of these brands quality has got any worse in the past 8 to 10 years.
 

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I agree with Zggy 65 but

Yamaha
Honda
Simplicity Pro
Ariens
Toro
 

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IMHO, pick out a model that serves your needs and compare that model across the brands. In my case the ariens platinum 24 in sho was the best for me. The non fuel injected model.
 

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I agree with JLawrence0864 but

Yamaha - most coveted, expensive, hard to get. Like Napoleon, America exiled this brand from the US market.

Honda - most discussed, polarizing price and design, lots of love and hate. If you don't own one, you don't get it. If you want tracks and hydrostatic, this is the machine.

Ariens - good build quality, powerful, and reliable. Inconsistent control ergonomics. Ariens won't let you forget that it is made in America and has lots of steel. Ariens marketinng materials used to be very tacky. It is much better now. I'm glad they ditched that 1950's style marketing material. Some of the current high end product lines are very nice.

Toro - good balance of features and value. Generally good control ergonomics.

Simplicity Pro -rare unicorn, beautiful machine. Straightforward and classy.
 

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Folks,

I know there's a lot of discussion/disagreement about what brand of snowblower is best, but I'm curious what the latest/greatest info is? I'm talking about new machines here, not used, and ones available in the USA (northeast if it matters).

I've always had the sense that Ariens, Toro, and Honda were the "top of the heap" - again I'm talking brand-new machines, not ones made 20, 30, 40 years ago.

But a friend of mine went to 3 OPE dealers over the weekend and they all told him they think Ariens machines are now awful (one said "since they were bought" but I can't find any evidence Ariens changed hands). One even stopped carrying them. They're all pushing Toro and Simplicity pro machines.

So I'm wondering... has Ariens really gone downhill? And if so, have the others too (as in, they're all getting worse but Ariens is still relatively good)?
Ariens has definitely not sold to anyone, still owned by the Ariens family. I know of a rather large dealer in the Northeast who for decades sold Ariens machines. They pressured Ariens for a better bulk rate on the equipment and where told they already have the best rate offered across the country. The dealer didn't like the response so they started badmouthing Ariens and pushing Honda and simplicity pro machines. The regional Ariens rep caught wind of it and they decided to pull their dealer license from them.

There is nothing wrong with the new Ariens snow blowers. They are still built well. I would put the professional line up against any other manufacturer. I really don't think you could go wrong with either a Honda, Toro, Ariens, or a Simplicity Pro.

Personally I've used many different machines through the years for residential and commercial use. This includes Ariens models from the '70s, '80s, '90s, 2000s, and 2010s. I can say with the utmost certainly that the single best machine I've ever run is my 2018 Ariens pro 32.
 
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My personal opinion ... the older machines like my Ariens and YardMan are running great today, and clear any snow that I put them in. They are well constructed, simple to wrench on, but do lack the current safety features.

With that being said, I have repaired and sold a few machines over the past years, And the different brands have all performed well in there respective categories.

Sure, the little 5HP - 21 inch Bolens I sold is not going to perform as well as the 10HP- 24 inch Yard Machines I refurbished and just sold

To give a quick sum up, basically, everything I come across from repairing these different brand units, are all due to operator neglect, whether it be not operating it properly, not maintaining it properly, not storing it properly, etc., etc.,....

Whatever you decide upon for your needs, how you maintain, operate and care for it is going to reflect in its longevity. I have a brother in law that went through a nice Honda rider and a John Deere Rider, top money machines and brands, both requiring hefty repair bills. I still have my 30+ year old Craftsman Rider that looks and runs like they day I got it, with only replacing what I literally wore out from years of use.

Again, I have seen the very expensive high end machines destroyed, and the lowly cheap units that look new, and operate just as they should.

A Bentley or a Chevy will transport you from point A to B ........ :)
 

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Two (2) things to consider:
1. Dealer support (service, parts, etc.)
2. Parts availability from manufacturer
 

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Along those lines... we all see the state of things these days. Something strong and simple that can be repaired with generic parts, a welder and a hammer is most likely a safer bet than something esoteric requiring who knows what to keep going. At least for now I think... we shall see.

My 30+ year-old Yanmar runs like new and doesn't look too bad either... she'll probably outlast me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey, thanks everyone for the responses! I'm not sure what's motivating these dealers to badmouth Ariens but it sounds like the product is okay.


I know of a rather large dealer in the Northeast who for decades sold Ariens machines. They pressured Ariens for a better bulk rate on the equipment and where told they already have the best rate offered across the country. The dealer didn't like the response so they started badmouthing Ariens and pushing Honda and simplicity pro machines. The regional Ariens rep caught wind of it and they decided to pull their dealer license from them.
Interesting... does this dealer's name start with an "M" and they're in Beverly? If so, they were one of the ones my friend visited (another being C & J in Wilmington and I can't remember the third).
 

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Interesting... does this dealer's name start with an "M" and they're in Beverly?
That's the one! They still service Ariens and sell parts but can't sell new equipment. Just down the road, Cycles 128 picked up the Ariens license and has been selling new machines ever since.
 

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...a friend of mine went to 3 OPE dealers over the weekend and they all told him they think Ariens machines are now awful. One even stopped carrying them. They're all pushing Toro and Simplicity pro machines.
...they started badmouthing Ariens and pushing Honda and simplicity pro machines. The regional Ariens rep caught wind of it and they decided to pull their dealer license from them.
They still service Ariens and sell parts but can't sell new equipment.
And this, folks, just serves as a reminder that there are often many ways to spin a story.
 

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And this, folks, just serves as a reminder that there are often many ways to spin a story.
Also, sometimes salesman or dealers will bad mouth a brand or product that they don't have in stock. They want people to buy what they have on the floor.
 

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And this, folks, just serves as a reminder that there are often many ways to spin a story.
I'm not sure of Elaw is speaking of the same dealer that I am, but if I were selling a product and then the manufacturer told me I couldn't sell that product anymore I wouldn't be telling customers that. I'd give a different "excuse". My source was another long time Ariens dealer who also no longer sells the machines. But only do to personal retirement. They very much still believed in the quality of the equipment.

The dealer I am speaking of can still service and sell Ariens parts due to the fact that they have sold tens of thousands of units through the years. Ariens and the dealer both recognized it wouldn't be fair to the customers who purchased the machines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Actually he already has an old Ariens! And is very happy with it, he's just thinking a newer unit might be easier to use. I'm not sure I agree with that, but I suspect he just may have an itch for something new.
 
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