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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, love these forums as they help simple people like myself make semi educated decisions. I've been plowing my 250' driveway with my John Deere lawn tractor for the past 8 years and after last year I said enough is enough. Plowing just was just pushing the snow into mounds and I find my driveway getting narrower and narrower. Plowing at the end of the driveway was a real challenge especially when the street plows go by.

So I decided to take the plunge and purchase a snowblower. The two I looking at which are conveniently located by me are the Ariens Deluxe 30 from Home Depot and and Craftsman 30" model 88396. The Craftsman is $100 less, seems to have a larger engine, comes with drift cutters and the Ariens seems to have be a little better built but what do I know. Do you think the Craftsman would have more power with a bigger engine? Is the extra dough for the Ariens worth it? Any input would be appreciated. I want to complete this purchase before these units are out of stock.

Thanks,
 

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Ariens is extending the 3-year warranty to 5-years, its their current promotion. However, you need to purchase and register by 10/31.

I would go w/ the Ariens. Mostly because I have had poor luck w/ Craftsman (mowers) in the past ... and what I read here from multiple different posters. I'm sure they'll chime in soon!

PS, I'd buy from a local dealer instead of Home Depot, that's just so you have a knowledgeable person to do address any set-up problems. However, if you think you may want a return and full refund, it sounds like HD has been great to work with for some with problems (not sure if most of those problems are partially/fully HD lack of set-up).
 

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for only $100 savings for similar sized machine the ariens is a no brainer. my brother bought a craftsman around 15 years ago. he still has it but has had numerous issues with it
 

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hello rieltime, welcome to SBF!! I have to agree with brick city even if the ariens cost more. personally I wouldn't be looking at craftsman snowblowers
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all for your input. Since I have a Lowes nearby I might as well put the Troy-Bilt XP Storm 3090 XP into the conversation. This unit has the same size engine and the same price as the Craftsman. It also offers heated handgrips. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, I just noticed that I do have Toro dealers nearby (not HD). Are they worth a look? Sorry for all the questions as I'm hoping I only need to do this once. ;-)
 

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I would only be looking at Ariens and Toro if you are buying new. Honda is good too, but expensive. Some of the Briggs built machines are suppose to be decent. Troy Bilt is MTD and made cheaper. Most Craftsman are MTD as well, but some might be AYP which would mean made by Husquavarna.
 

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just remember hat
Honda
ariens
toro
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yea, I just looked up the Toro's and they are out of my budget as is the Honda. Do you think the engine in the Arien's Deluxe 30 will hold up on heavy snow amounts? Would the Deluxe 28" be a better option?
 

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Welcome to the forum Rieltime :D

You shouldn't have a problem with the Ariens engine holding up to heavy snow. The reason Ariens is always recommended as a good machine to buy is build quality and reliability.
 

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Welcome, and is used out of the question?


And don't forget about Yamaha, although quite rare south of Alaska and Minnesota, the U.P. and some parts of Wisconsin.
 

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If you can find a Deluxe-30 with the Briggs & Stratton, I'd go that route. I don't have any experience with the Ariens AX brand engines, but it looks like Ariens is willing to stand behind them so regardless, I'd go with the Ariens. The 28 or 30 will do just fine with heavy snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would consider used but it would need to be not too old. I can't stand dealing with repairs shops especially when I need the unit most. I looked in Craigslist and there was nothing appealing in my area but will keep an eye out.

There are no Yamaha snow blower dealers anywhere near me. It looks like they are basically in Canada for now.

In the meantime, I'm leaning toward the Arien's Deluxe 30 for now.
 

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I was in exactly the same situation as you. This summer I rebuilt my old blower, gave it to my son, and started looking for a new unit. I had narrowed the search to the Craftsman 88396 or a comparable Ariens machine. Consumer reports gave the Craftsman a "recommended" and "best buy" rating, and it was cheaper than an Ariens, but the Ariens brand is generally considered to be the best quality going. I decided on the Ariens, and ordered the "Pro 28" 926038 model which was even more money than the deluxe or platinum, but for once in my life I wanted to treat myself to the best machine that money could buy. I'm retired with more money coming in from pensions and investment income than I can spend, so I thought why not?

Well, as I have indicated in other threads on this forum, the B&S motor was defective. There was an oil stain underneath the frame on the cardboard when I assembled it, and it leaked oil from under the motor every time I ran it. I returned it to Home Depot for a refund and ordered the Craftsman 88396 at Sears. Actually, the model number here at Sears Canada is 52447 and it has the 420cc MTD motor where as the Sears version in the US appears to have the 357cc motor. Anyway it was $901 less money than the Ariens, and it has some features that I prefer over the Ariens; the poly skid shoes and the electric joystick chute control but it only has the 12" auger and impeller. The Ariens' are 16" and 14".

Anyway, I don't want to imply that Ariens was to blame for a bad motor from B&S, or that that same bad motor could not just as easily have been mounted on a Craftsman for that matter. I'm sure you will be happy with your Ariens Deluxe unit or a Craftsman, if you go with that. I just thought I would share my experience for what it's worth. As for the quality control at B&S, that's another issue entirely.
 

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Thinking about it some more, I recall that one reason I decided to originally go with the Ariens Pro model over the Deluxe or Platinum was to get that bigger 420cc 21 ft/lb B&S motor.

Ironic wouldn't you say?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks pwm for the info. How did you like the Craftsman's performance compared to the Arien's pro? I'm still on the fence. Making these decisions is trying.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Also, it seems anything made by MTD is frowned upon around here. My concern is to get a machine capable of handling anything throw at it. We had a tough winter last year here in NW NJ.
 

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rieltime: I have not received my Craftsman yet. It gets delivered on Nov 14. I was able to see one in person at Sears on Monday and I was impressed with the appearance of it. I only ran the Ariens up and down the driveway testing the auto-turn and the other features for about 25 minutes so no real experience with it either. It was obvious to me that it was also a well constructed unit. Just so you know, I've had 2 blowers before this, and have been blowing snow for over 30 years.

As for the perceived poor quality of MTD versus other brands, I'm not going to comment because I have no experience to make a judgment. All I can say is that I had no reservations buying the 88396 Craftsman. As far as having enough power is concerned, the Craftsman has the bigger motor which means more torque which is what really counts.

Sorry I can't help you more with your decision. Whatever choice you make, I'm sure either machine will handle whatever this winter has in store. BTW, last winter here was the worst since 1898 so who knows what's in store for 2014-2015.
 

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I think that "frowned upon" is not necessarily a complete picture of the consensus here, but rather "been disappointed at a very inconvenient moment, numerous times," is. When you look at the comparative costs associated with the fleet of machines available, versus the downtime and repair costs, they all tend to level out. In the end, you either pay for it now, or later.
 
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