Thanks for all the input guys - I finally decided and bought the Compact 24 Ariens machine. I could not find any real negative reviews on this machine. Everybody seemed to have positive comments and thought it was a great machine for the money. I guess I will find out and real soon too - they are calling for some heavy snow in my area of Pennsylvania tonight into tomorrow, so I will give an update on it's performance. I have a gravel driveway, so I put a set of small 6 inch wheels on the front and mounted them so they keep the skid plate off the ground about an inch. I felt the skid shoes would dig into the gravel too much, so that is why I am going to give the wheels a try. I'll let you know how this set up works - or don't work for that matter !!