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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

We are in the market for our first snow blower and could really use some assistance. The three we are considering are an Ariens Compact 24" ($799), a Sno-Tek 24" ($599), an a Troy-Bilt 26" Storm 2620 (~$350 - used). We have a steep, fairly long driveway; I haven't measured it, but it definitely seems like something that would require a two-stage snowblower. We live in Ohio, so while we get a decent amount of snowfall, it's not something we'd be using several times a week for an average winter, either. We are looking for something that is fairly low maintenance that will last for many years if properly cared for.

Our ideal budget is no more than $600, so we were all set to go with the Sno-Tek until I read some additional details about it and learned that Sno-Tek is the economy line of Ariens's products. That does concern us, as we want this purchase to last, but perhaps the Sno-Tek is just fine for our needs - that's what we'd like your advice on. After reading about this, we started looking at the Ariens, but it's a bit more than we'd like to spend; however, if the consensus is that it's not worth buying anything less than this model (or something similar), we would certainly consider the idea. Finally, a family member has a lightly used Troy-Bilt that he purchased a few years ago and is willing to sell it to downsize to a smaller model. We didn't discuss the exact sale price, but it'd be somewhere between $300 and $400. Any advice you have on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I would avoid the Troy-Bilt. Those are made by MTD and don't hold up very well to the slightest bit of abuse. If you hit anything with the augers you can end up breaking the front gear case or knocking the auger shaft out of the bearings on the outside of the bucket. Also, the control cables are pretty thin and can brake.

Sno-Tek is Ariens' cheaper line, but I have not heard any complaints on them and people do say they seem to be built better than the MTD stuff.

With Ariens I never saw the point of the compact models as they appear to be similar sized as the regular models, but with less features. I think the compact has smaller augers and impellers than the normal models, but the same size as the Sno-Tek models.

Make sure to check craigslist too as there are lots of blowers there for half price. A lot of people here actually are using 20 to 50 year old machines and love them. Granted, then you have to have the willingness to fix things if something breaks.

I have seen people using single stage blowers for large areas as well. If you go used you could get a single and a dual and then use whichever machine is appropriate for the amount of snow you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for your helpful advice, as you confirmed what I had read about the Troy-Bilt. In case it may help, I've posted a picture of my driveway to confirm the Ariens or Sno-tek should be able to get up and down it without too many problems.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Personally, I would avoid the Troy built.

As stated above, check Craigslist daily, if not twice daily, and you should come across a nice 3-5 year old Ariens for your budget.

As far as either one of those machines being able to go up and down your driveway, no issues at all. There is plenty of HP if you stick with a larger two stage (Ariens, Toro)
 

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Welcome, and here are a few I have seen in the Dayton area:

I've never heard of this brand, but it looks like an oldie but goodie, and the price is nice:

LAMBERT 28" SNOW BLOWER HEAVY DUTY
 

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Here's a few, after doing a search for "snowblower" on CL.

cincinnati for sale / wanted "snowblower" - craigslist

And I'm in Wilmington, just northeast. Sometimes expanding your search to surrounding CL markets, may yield you a better result. You'll just have to balance the possible savings versus the travel expenses, and if you have the ability to due the transportation yourself.
 

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I'm in the market for a snowblower. I'm in the camp that I want a new one w/ warranty. Sure, it (warranty) will expire after 3-5 years (depending on brand, etc). But, I want it for the long run (I know older ones are built better!). I have been watching craigslist and could get a 3-5 year old one for 20% cheaper, but no warranty and not the latest technology. I imagine there is a price point ... like 30% off of 2-year old model or 80% off of a 15 year old model, where I'd by used. I'm just not seeing those deals ... probably the best time to get those is spring/early summer. Right now, its a "sellers market" for used snow blowers/throwers/tossers.

Anyway, sounds like you need to first figure out if its new or used. I'm thinking your price range may have already figured that out, $600 for a large driveway isn't a new model (or you'd be in an entry level model which may not be as much of a brute as you need).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm still leaning towards going with a new model, and the Sno-Tek is currently sold out online for shipment to home for about a month. I could always pick it up, but I'd be missing out on the white glove service, which I'd like. Does anyone have any experience with the Craftsman 24" model 88173? The reviews generally seem to be positive, and it's only about $30 more.
 

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I was at home depot the other day and all lined up together was a couple of Ariens and two Snow Tek machines. I own a Ariens deluxe 28 so I'm a little biased here.lol Ok the snow tek are a budget built snowblower, thinner metal ,cheaper tires , black paint ect.. The Ariens deluxe or premium or much heavier , bigger engine & better quality . Like the old saying you get what you pay for. Try to find one on craigslist that's a year or two old for a good price.

 
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