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Discussion Starter #1
First post and new to any snowblower machine at all!


After a few days of research, it looks as though Ariens and Cub Cadet are the ones mentioned the most.


Ariens in general look pretty solid but have heard a lot of comments on the Autoturn feature and only working in relatively flat driveways. When there is grade or slope, it sounds like they are a bear to keep going in a straight line. Sounds like the machine needs to be man-handled a lot more. Because of this, I am very hesitant on such a large purchase.


What started my look is the Cub Cadet at Costco for $699.


I went to HD last night and looked at the machines, but was too cold for any salesguy to be present. So I basically moved them around on my own.


Ariens Deluxe 28 (921030), Big and unusually heavy to move around. $1,099. I think this is last years model, but priced the same as:


Ariens Deluxe 28 (921046). Amazingly easier to move around and much more balanced than the 921030. $1,099. Don't know if this is good or not.


Cub Cadet 2x 24. Actually felt nice and looked good overall. $799


SnoTek 24" (920402), nice and light. Felt easier to move around than the Ariens. $649


I don't need to overspend if I don't have to, but my main concern is getting a $1100 machine hauled out there to find out it's a disaster on the steep driveway with side slope to it. Sounds like the Cub Cadet can maintain a straight line better than the Ariens, and I don't know about the SnoTek (other than I know it's made by Ariens, but may not have the autoturn feature).


Advice?


Thanks!
 

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Which machine to purchase is asked a lot it seems and I'm a newbie.

IMO it's a personal decision.

Buy by price.
Buy by size depending on area to clean and annual snow fall.
Buy the brand you like.
Buy because the dealer is close and you won't work on it or parts are easy to get.
 

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I will add that buying from a local dealer could help with future needs and support small business. HD will be of no help IMO.
 

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As with most things, buying at HD is different quality then dealers. The type of drivetrain (hydro/friction) makes a difference on a hill, also power makes a difference, I look for smaller buckets (under 26") and bigger hp (over 8hp [270cc])


-efisher-
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, so I see there is a local Ariens dealer so I'll check them out besides HD.


The most important concern is the auto turn option on the Ariens and if I'll have problems keeping a straight line.
 

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Yes, help yourself by helping others: Are you throwing snow in northern Georgia or the Northwest Territories? You make no mention of how long the drive is. Sidewalks to deal with as well?


SnoTek is Ariens' value line.


Heft, when it comes to snow blowers, is considered a benefit.


The newest Ariens have had some modifications made to the AutoTurn system. You'd focus on only the newest models.


Most here will advise against Home Depot and that lot as you will have no one to turn to when you want to make a warranty claim.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Location is in the NW part of the county, N Idaho panhandle. The snow I will be dealing with is typically heavier, wet snow that tends to weigh down tree limbs and interrupt power around the whole lake. Getting into the house starts with about 200' of gravel driveway, and then drops down a steep, asphalt grade that is 300' long x 12' wide. No sidewalks.


In addition, my sister lives next door and has a longer driveway, 300' long x 14' wide. Also asphalt with a steep grade, but does not curve around a corner like mine.


I will only look at dealers in the area an not HD/Lowes. Thanks for the heads-up on warranty claims.


I'm in Colorado now and heading up in a week, but there is snow now. Trying to do a little research before heading up and trying to scramble finding a machine on Dec 23rd. All the mothers and girls will be up there before me and I'll start to hear about difficulties getting out of driveway. It makes it very hard to get out if the driveway is not cleared after a snow.
 

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Yikes, you're gonna be busy !! That's a lot of ground to cover.


We've got a steep (smooth) drive. It hasn't presented many challenges for the snow throwers over the years. Some might recommend a tracked machine in that setting, but those move way up $$$. The tires on the traditional machines can be fitted with chains. I've got chains and have never used them.


I guess you need to address whether your wife would ever have to run the machine in your absence. The newest machines are EFI and that will be ideal for those who can't deal with chokes and the like. The AutoTurn system makes the machines highly maneuverable but then there's that intimidation factor.


It sounds like you're going to want to focus on something bigger. Ariens has a beautiful 28" SHO, but that's moving well north of your target price.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yikes, you're gonna be busy !! That's a lot of ground to cover.


We've got a steep (smooth) drive. It hasn't presented many challenges for the snow throwers over the years. Some might recommend a tracked machine in that setting, but those move way up $$$. The tires on the traditional machines can be fitted with chains. I've got chains and have never used them.


I guess you need to address whether your wife would ever have to run the machine in your absence. The newest machines are EFI and that will be ideal for those who can't deal with chokes and the like. The AutoTurn system makes the machines highly maneuverable but then there's that intimidation factor.


It sounds like you're going to want to focus on something bigger. Ariens has a beautiful 28" SHO, but that's moving well north of your target price.

Yea, a little dicey with snow on it and our guy who plowed last year has decided not to do residential this year....hence me looking at snow blowers. This is hard because my wife and kids go up a week earlier than me. Last year the power went out for 2 weeks. Generator in garage but hard to explain how to hook it up and maintain when I'm 2000 miles away. Needless to say, frustration was there and I had no control. Once I got there, plugged generator into electrical panel and we were good to go! Wife much happier then.


Now, again with a lot of snow there and more coming, I'm trying to get ahead of the game before rolling in a day before Christmas.


My brother wants to get a big ol' plow and put it on his Tahoe....but those are several thousand dollars. I don't think he realizes that cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well those track rigs are expensive! Dang!


Ariens (921039) Platinum Track 28 SHO - $2100, 369cc
Ariens (920022) Compact Track 24 - $1400, 208cc
Cub Cadet 3X™ 26" HD TRAC - $1600, 357cc
 

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Yeah, it's makes a plow-truck look downright affordable!!
 

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Finally got word from snow plow guy from last year. It's official, he can't do it. He also said it's too steep for his truck blade to get down both driveways. Suggested I call someone else that has a blade on a 4wheeler and snowblower. This is making it more fun by the minute!


So, even if we pursued the blade on his Tahoe (1999), it might be a little tricky doing the work....especially my driveway. He even said "that blade with the split down the middle would be nice". Well, I'm thinking that's even more expensive! Probably more than what his truck is worth!


Any thoughts/recommendations on the track units? I might have to split the cost with my sister so both of us can benefit....
 

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if sis is willing to spend some bucks on the investment.....a tracked ariens or honda would be the way to go. but with that much driveway (s)......its gunna take awhile to clear em ! plows are fast, but in a high snowfall area, you can quickly go from a driveway to a pathway .
 
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Yeah, I'm not certain what the right answer is here. A tracked machine is certainly an option, but there are likely alternate solutions that others can offer up for your setting.
 

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Yeah, I'm not certain what the right answer is here. A tracked machine is certainly an option, but there are likely alternate solutions that others can offer up for your setting.
imho.....the best option would be an expensive one ! a 4wd compact tractor with a front bucket and chains on the rear. could you get a new 4wd kubota with loader for $20000 down there ? ( a rear mount pto blower would just be a literal pain in the neck for the op !! ):wink:
 

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Is there a machine that can adapt on-the-fly to pavement and gravel?? Would a Honda do that?
 

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Is there a machine that can adapt on-the-fly to pavement and gravel?? Would a Honda do that?
the hondas and other tracked machines do have the ability to lift the bucket for uneven terrain, or keep it low for close shaves on hard surfaces. ( from what i read ! )
 
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Is there a machine that can adapt on-the-fly to pavement and gravel?? Would a Honda do that?
Yes it can. And from the way the OP described his driveway(s) I would recommend a tracked 32" model. The HSS928 has been getting a bad rep for clogging but the HSS1332 hasn't and would get the job done a lot faster. If the extra width can save one pass on each driveway that would be a significant time saver.


I'd also suggest he add a snow cab. It cuts the wind, and blow-back, and shelters you if the weather turns wet.


For example: Here's my forecast and it sounds like I'll be blowing shallow wet snow in the cold rain. I'll be glad to have the cab:
Friday Night Cloudy. Snow showers developing after midnight. Low 22F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 70%. About 2 inches of snow expected.
Saturday Precip. 1-3 in Cloudy with rain and snow early changing to all rain and becoming intermittent late. High 41F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%. 1 to 3 inches of snow expected
 
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