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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased my first house just over 9 years ago and that very first Christmas my family chipped in and purchased a small, single stage blower for about $400 I believe. It does OK on powder snow of up to 6" but anything wetter or deeper than that and it struggles and I'm better off getting the shovel out. I need to upgrade my machine and am looking for advice.

My driveway is about 65' long and by the road is about 10' wide. As you get closer to the house then you can easily fit 3-4 cars across so it's fairly wide up there. It's basically flat with no slope but it's older and beat up a bit. Machine would be stored in the garage attached to the house. We probably tend to get wetter, heavier snow here and in the past few years we've received quite a few 10" and more storms. I live in a cul de sac so the plows don't really get close to my driveway which means I have even MORE snow to clear since I need to get a part of the road as well.

My brother has a slightly better single stage machine and much smaller driveway. He'll usually clear his driveway and then bring his machine to my house to help me finish mine. When we're done with mine then we'll load up both machines and go take care of our parents house. We all live within about 5-10 minutes of each other.

I'm sick of our wimpy machines, especially with my driveway so it's time for an upgrade. I'm not leaning towards any brands, I just want something to make clearing my driveway as easy as possible.

What features should I be looking for? I also have a 1/2 ton pickup so ideally I'd like to get a set of loading ramps to drive the machine up into the bed of my truck to take it to my parents house.

Thanks in advance.
 

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jmo...stay away from the " off brands".....and focus on ariens, toro, or honda 2 stagers ..for the hondas you need deep pockets tho. if you have made due with a ss machine......my advice would lean towards an ariens 24 " unit.
 

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I have not used one myself but several members have them and they are very pleased with how much snow they can move and how fast.

Toro SnowMaster® 824 QXE with a 252cc
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just my uneducated mind here, but I was looking at these two machines.

I'm looking at a 30" Ariens Deluxe and a 3 stage Cub Cadet 28". They both are running the same price but I like the metal chute on the Ariens.
 

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Just my uneducated mind here, but I was looking at these two machines.

I'm looking at a 30" Ariens Deluxe and a 3 stage Cub Cadet 28". They both are running the same price but I like the metal chute on the Ariens.
ariens all the way,between those 2
 

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First you need to determine how much money you want to spend. You already know the size of the area you will be working with so then you have to estimate how much snow your area gets and last how much time do you want to spend clearing the snow? I would go with the larger Ariens even though it`s only 2 inches.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Geez, I need this thing sooner rather than later. Last spring I took care of my little 98CC Toro and put her in the shed. Today we got about 7" of powder snow and it just finished up about an hour or two ago so I got dressed and headed to my shed. I took the carb apart and it was junked up even though I took care of everything in the spring. I got it cleaned up and then filled her up with a new gas mix I made about a month ago with stabilizer.

She wouldn't start. Pull after pull and nothing. Got the extension cord out and the electric start didn't work either. I ended up just grabbing the shovel and got to work. I did about 60-70% of my driveway before calling it quits about 11:15pm. I'll finish the rest tomorrow by hand before heading to my parents house.

I'm not opposed to other machines if there are better ones out there. The machines I listed above were running $1,399.
 

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Ariens is one of the top brands in snow blowers, Not going to find much better, might find a equal but not a lot better. Get the Ariens, I want a new one myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK, so if I decide on Ariens then I have more options....

30" Ariens Deluxe runs about $1,399 with a 306cc engine and 50' throwing distance
24" Ariens Platinum runs about $1,499 with a 369cc engine and 55' throwing distance


Even though the Deluxe is 6" wider, it's still about 10 lbs lighter then the Platinum and the Platinum has a slightly larger fuel tank. The only other difference between the two is the chute rotation. The Deluxe says it has a crank turn and the Platinum says it's a quick turn but I don't know what those differences are. Other than that, everything else seems to be the same.

Will the increased power of the Platinum be enough to make up for the 6" of clearing width you're losing?

Also, will these machines safely make it up and down a set of ramps so that the blower could be loaded into the bed of a standard 1/2 ton pickup?
 

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I wouldn't try to talk you out of the 30" Ariens Deluxe. Good brand. Good performance. Top end features. It might be "too much" machine but that sounds like what you're after here (and don't seem to mind the cost).

Just double check your storage space. It is 45.5 in by 32.4 in assembled. Make sure you have at least that amount of space and room to maneuver it in. It can be shrunk down a little in the summer but it is a hassle.
 

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If storage space of the machine is not an issue, then you'd be just fine with the Deluxe 30. Yeah the 24 may have a bit more umph but hey, $100 is $100, right? For me space is an issue. That is why I will go with the 24 inch. In my piddly small 2 car garage, 6 inches means a lot. I load and unload snowblowers into the back of my 3/4 ton Chevy Duramax often. Just get a good set of ramps that you wont slide on when loading it in the winter.
 

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Hopefully, the single stage will handle the snow that New York/New England just got. :)

I agree with staying with the name brands (Ariens, Toro, etc.), but it all depends on how much money to want to spend. I'd look for the best value in the name brands.

From what you described of your driveway, it sounds like you may want the bigger machines 30-36". . . unless you don't mind an extra pass or 2 with the smaller machines (24-28").
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't think storage space is really an issue for me. I'm a single guy and I have a one car garage attached to my house. The width of my garage is only slightly larger than the actual garage door so that while a vehicle COULD fit in the garage, it's very unlikely to be able to open the vehicle door to get in or out. My ex wife had a difficult time with her little Sentra so my 1/2 ton would be even worse. Needless to say, the garage might be the storage place.
 

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OK, so if I decide on Ariens then I have more options....

30" Ariens Deluxe runs about $1,399 with a 306cc engine and 50' throwing distance
24" Ariens Platinum runs about $1,499 with a 369cc engine and 55' throwing distance


Even though the Deluxe is 6" wider, it's still about 10 lbs lighter then the Platinum and the Platinum has a slightly larger fuel tank. The only other difference between the two is the chute rotation. The Deluxe says it has a crank turn and the Platinum says it's a quick turn but I don't know what those differences are. Other than that, everything else seems to be the same.

Will the increased power of the Platinum be enough to make up for the 6" of clearing width you're losing?

Also, will these machines safely make it up and down a set of ramps so that the blower could be loaded into the bed of a standard 1/2 ton pickup?
I have a 24 deluxe with a 250cc engine and to be honest, I really don't see how anyone could need a bigger engine on a 24 even if using it professionally. In the 8" of snow we just had on LI, I was using it in the 2nd to fastest speed. It wasn't even blinking. Only reason I didn't use the fastest speed was I didn't want to take a chance on slipping. It's a monster and I can shoot the snow at least 30 feet. I have a concrete wall on one side of my driveway so I shoot the snow across the full width (25 feet) and it makes it pretty far into my neighbors property (probably close to 50 feet).


As far as size goes, I went with the 24 for easier maneuverability between the cars in the driveway. I don't think a 30" would speed things up much for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm all over the place when it comes to making a decision like this. My mind keeps going back and forth on what to do because I just want to make the correct decision.

Right now I think I'm leaning towards the 24" Platinum. Sure, it's the most expensive but it's also the biggest engine and is the most maneuverable at 24".
 

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for the area ( s) you have to blow snow from any 30" machine is well past overkill, don't just buy it because you can and seeing that you'll be loading it on your truck it would be easier done with a 24" machine than a 30" machine even though the machine will be running and in gear, bigger is not always better
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK, so I just went ahead and ordered the Ariens 24" Platinum. I liked the beefier engine and the smaller width to make it easier to move in tight spaces. It will sure be an upgrade over my little $400 SS Toro that struggles with anything more than a few inches of powder.
 

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I'm sure the newer machines have features not found on the old girls, like lights and handwarmers and fancy chute controls, but you are not going to beat the performance of a 10000 series Arien or my personal preference the 924 series. They can be had for cheap money if they need work, and less then $400 in great shape. The same for the older Toros...I just tested today for the first time a 78 Toro 38150 with the steering clutches. I had no problem manuevering that old tank so I didn't even try the clutches. I was concerned that the old Briggs wouldn't throw snow well as it sounded like the motor wasn't revving fast enough ( I'm used to Tecumsehs)...The old girl went through 18 inches like it wasn't there. I like the look and feel of the new Ariens, but not enough to part with the bucks!
 
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