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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New user here. Fairly new to New England and snow. I moved to the Boston MetroWest area a couple of years ago and have been through two winters, both of which I'm told were quite moderate (though each year we got at least one 15" storm). When I arrived, I bought a slightly older Troy-Built Storm 2410 with the 179cc engine as a hand-me-down. It has worked decently well for two seasons, but the gear that turns the chute is plastic and has separated from the chute control. To adjust, I have to grab the chute itself and rotate. The transmission also has some issue - I can only put it in the the 2 slowest forward speeds, so turning/maneuvering requires some manhandling. It also struggles with the snow that gets piled at the end of my driveway.

So, I'm looking to upgrade to something more sturdy and capable. My driveway is about 130' long; two-thirds of it is 12' wide (single car width) but the last third expands to the width of a two-car garage + entryway. It's flat (no incline), straight, and paved (with some cracks); the walkways + area near the house are brick. My neighborhood has no sidewalks, but the street gets salted and plowed during/after each snow storm. The fill pipe for my oil tank is on the other side of the house from the driveway, so I also have to clear a path over part of the lawn to make sure that's accessible.

I've recently spent some time at Lowe's, Home Depot, and my local power equipment dealer. I've looked at Cub Cadets, Toros, Craftsmans, Ariens, and Hondas. I'm partial to the latter two manufacturers after some touching and feeling; the others all have too much plastic for my liking. The local dealer doesn't have many blowers (pandemic supply chain issues are real); he suggested I look at the following models sitting on the floor:

Deluxe 28" SHO (Ariens)
Deluxe 24" (Ariens)
HSS724AATD (Honda)

The Honda is almost twice as expensive as the 28" SHO - why? The salesman said he almost never has to work on Hondas, so apparently they're really well built? I like the hydraulic height adjuster. I own a driving lawn mower with a hydrostatic transmission, and having one on a snow blower seems cool, though I don't know how practically useful it is. I like the idea of steering with levers (though in practice I may find I think differently). I wonder if the track drive is overkill for my needs. I also wonder if the 196cc engine is too small.

Each of the Ariens seems well built, though I'm a little leary of an auto-turn mechanism that doesn't require me to actively activate it. The bigger machine has a bigger engine compared to the smaller machine, which seems to be the way it should be. One of my neighbors has an older Ariens (ST927) that he likes pretty well, but says it occasionally feels underpowered and is generally less solidly built than the Ariens he had before that.

A 24" blower fits easily in my garage. I'm confident a 28" will too; I don't want to go larger than 30".

What do you all recommend?
 

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Welcome to SBF, glad to have you aboard.

New machines are of course very nice indeed, but some of the older models were built to a much higher standard and hold up very well even after many years of use.

Do you have the wherewithal to do a little wrenching from time to time, or do you require something that's plug 'n play?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you have the wherewithal to do a little wrenching from time to time, or do you require something that's plug 'n play?
I have lots of tools but not a lot of experience. Both would be good, I know, but generally speaking if it's on YouTube or if someone shows me how to do something, I learn decently quickly.
 

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Hi Phen. I'd be proud to have any of those three machines in my garage. At the intersection of form following function and bang for buck, I would go Deluxe 24. YMMV, and maybe 28" swath is an important one in your case. Good Luck.
 

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Hi phendric, and welcome ...

Many enlightened individuals here with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the use and maintenance of snowblowers.

I am pretty well versed in the operation of and the maintaining of various snowblower makes, as well as have had the opportunity to tear down and completely restore many different machines, including my vintage Ariens Tiller as well as my Ryan Core Plug Aerator, as well as go through and refurbish many different brands of snow blowers as well.

The fact that you have tools, and the interest and ability to learn, in my opinion is key to not only repairing a machine, but to keep it well maintained. Regardless of what you decide on a machine going forward, I would keep that Troy-Built you have now and use it as a learning project, go through and adjust and repair it, and keep it as a backup as well, as in my opinion, just about everything can be adjusted and repaired ... Maybe with a 160 foot driveway, etc., you could even teach the significant other to operate one and help out as well in a big storm ... :)

The majority of my equipment is older, and some even vintage, as over 50 years old ... Everything I own is in top operating and running condition. I currently have 6 units in my personal fleet line-up, including a new Cub Cadet with all the bells and whistles that I just acquired, which will be getting its first use this year, as well as the JD 826 which I just finished restoring, and a newer Ariens 724 which I just put an engine on. I have sold many machines in the past, that I picked up for free or was gifted that were not working, went through them, and then sold them for cheap, basically for the parts I had put in and a small pittance for time and shop supplies, to assist others and get these classic units back into another life. (Being retired now helps ... :) ) Without a doubt, the older units were mostly just built better, with thicker gauge metal, rods instead of flimsy wire cables, etc.. Many older units had slip differentials that actually worked better than some of the so called zero turn units of today. I have never bought a new snow blower in my entire life, as I never had a need for one.

Whatever you decide, keeping them maintained and cared for is key. I never owned a Honda unit, as I don't see many here in CT, but no doubt, I am sure they are a good machine, but I never had a need for a tracked machine ... Of course Ariens has built a good reputation over the years, and many of their older units are still in operation today, due to the build quality of years ago. I personally would keep under 28 inches, as the 30 inch and above can be a bit of an undertaking to operate in my opinion ... but with a 160 ft driveway, that would be your call for sure. I have two 26 inch machines, all others 24 inch, and never felt anything more is needed, even with my double driveway EOD, as well as doing other driveways in my neighborhood as well.

My current personal fleet line-up ....... ( we all like photos here ... :) )

Two of the Ariens 10000 series (one fully restored, both with new engines) appx 50 years old
YardMan 7100 series appx 50 years old ( my Dad bought new)
John Deere 826 - older, just fully restored
Cub Cadet - repaired
Ariens 724 - picked up with no double shaft engine on it ... put on a single shaft Tecumseh

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OP, your driveway sounds exactly like mine, but I am in Detroit…sounds like similar weather the past 2 years. Last year I upgraded to a HSS724AWD (wheels). With no incline on my drive I like the wheels for increased maneuverability and higher speed to motor back to the garage when I finish blowing at the far end of the property down the drive then down the sidewalk. No issues with deep thick hard EOD stuff… I even now plow out a parking spot on the curb in the street :). What I like about the HSS is I have some tight spots and the hydrostatic transmission allows me to be very precise. I also spent the extra $150 or so to buy the parts for the articulating chute mod. I figure it will help me place snow exactly where needed in tight areas… was a fun Spring afternoon installing, but not yet used in the snow. I also added a larger main jet which provides both a more immediate start and I am anticipating a reduced bog feel of the engine for the EOD this coming year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Phen. I'd be proud to have any of those three machines in my garage. At the intersection of form following function and bang for buck, I would go Deluxe 24. YMMV, and maybe 28" swath is an important one in your case. Good Luck.
Thanks. I have exactly 0 experience with 28". I haven't been unhappy with 24", though, especially given the manhandling I've had to do with my current machine (ie smaller = lighter).

I see some folks say "get the biggest displacement/torque/HP that you can for the size," though, which is why I'm considering the larger SHO model. (As an example of this, see my neighbor, who has a 27" Ariens with a 318cc engine and says it sometimes feels underpowered.)

...I would keep that Toro you have now...
Does Troy-Built == Toro?

Maybe with a 160 foot driveway, etc., you could even teach the significant other to operate one and help out as well in a big storm ... :)
Yes. I also have kids...and a lot of snow shovels (for that reason).

Whatever you decide, keeping them maintained and cared for is key.
Yes. Lots of things in life are like that, not just things with engines in them.

I personally would keep under 28 inches, as the 30 inch and above can be a bit of an undertaking to operate in my opinion ... but with a 160 ft driveway, that would be your call for sure. I have two 26 inch machines, all others 24 inch, and never felt anything more is needed.
Thanks.

OP, your driveway sounds exactly like mine, but I am in Detroit…sounds like similar weather the past 2 years. Last year I upgraded to a HSS724AWD (wheels).
What did you upgrade from?

The local dealer only had 4 or 5 Hondas. All of them except 1 has track drive and I don't remember how big the wheeled one was.

Have you ever wished the Honda had a larger engine?

With no incline on my drive I like the wheels for increased maneuverability and higher speed to motor back to the garage when I finish blowing at the far end of the property down the drive then down the sidewalk. No issues with deep thick hard EOD stuff… I even now plow out a parking spot on the curb in the street :). What I like about the HSS is I have some tight spots and the hydrostatic transmission allows me to be very precise.
Thanks. So a) wheels give you speed and agility, b) with a flat driveway, there's no need for the extra traction of tracks, and c) if I don't have tight spots I probably won't need hydrostatic? Is that a good summary?
 

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" Does Troy-Built == Toro? "

Thanks for noticing my type-o ... all corrected ... :) Guess I had Toro on my mind ... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for noticing my type-o ... all corrected ... :) Guess I had Toro on my mind ... :)
🤣

I'll probably end up doing what someone did for me when I moved in, and pass the Troy-Built onto someone new to the state....unless someone here tells me I should really keep and repair it. I have room for a single blower, not more than one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update: I just called the local dealer. They have 24" Hondas (both wheeled and track) and they have a 28" track. No 28" wheeled. They've also received word from Ariens that they'll be getting a platinum 24 SHO or two in the next couple of weeks.

I add this just because any recommendations will need to be matched to local supply.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Bonus points for doing some research and getting hands on the actual machines.

With a snow blower, you want/need it to work perfectly every time you need to use it, especially after a big snow storm. I am a fan of the older machines (I have two 50 year old Ariens) and agree, many were better built than the machines of today. I also have a Deluxe 28 SHO, which I purchased after we moved to our new home which has a large (+200') U shaped driveway, I wanted a larger machine than 24". I also blow a path in our yard around the house and our fenced in dog run. We average 130" of snow annually.

If you are not planning on keeping a back up machine, and have little experience with snow blowers, I would probably go with a new machine, especially with a larger driveway that would be difficult to shovel if you had a break down. The used market is heating up and starting to thin out, and new machines may be limited this year, so you will want to make a decision ASAP on your new purchase.

I would recommend Deluxe 28 SHO, it is a great bang for the buck machine. If your budget allows, the tracked 28" Honda is a great choice, the Rolls Royce of walk behind machines. The Platinum 24 SHO is a beast with the big HP to width ratio. Any of these machines will handle whatever size snow fall you get.

If your budget allows for one of these new machines- great, if not look for one of them on the used market in good, well serviced condition.

Check all the machines out again in person, and go with what your gut tells you, remember it is better to buy more snow blower than you think you need and have no regrets.

My Deluxe 28 SHO has handled all types of snow conditions flawlessly without issue for the past 3 winters.

Snow Automotive tire Tree Vehicle Wheel
 

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For that size I'd be looking at Ariens Platinum. More powerful engines, more snow throwing capability. When I went with a Platinum 24 SHO over a Deluxe 28 SHO. No replacement for displacement. 369cc > 308cc
 

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28 sho install impeller kit and a 10 buck led light
hot coco or gold schalger after blowing at midnight
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you are not planning on keeping a back up machine, and have little experience with snow blowers, I would probably go with a new machine, especially with a larger driveway that would be difficult to shovel if you had a break down. The used market is heating up and starting to thin out, and new machines may be limited this year, so you will want to make a decision ASAP on your new purchase.
I share the same concern about shoveling a long driveway. I haven't yet experienced a heavy winter but figure one's gonna come sooner or later. And I agree about the concern about limited inventory this season.

remember it is better to buy more snow blower than you think you need and have no regrets.
This would be the conservative-leaning strategy, yes.


For that size I'd be looking at Ariens Platinum. More powerful engines, more snow throwing capability. When I went with a Platinum 24 SHO over a Deluxe 28 SHO. No replacement for displacement. 369cc > 308cc
I would recommend Deluxe 28 SHO, it is a great bang for the buck machine. If your budget allows, the tracked 28" Honda is a great choice, the Rolls Royce of walk behind machines. The Platinum 24 SHO is a beast with the big HP to width ratio. Any of these machines will handle whatever size snow fall you get.
I'm not so worried about budget; I want to get the right thing and not worry about it for another decade or two (except maintenance).

So, it seems folks generally recommend one of the smaller Ariens SHO machines or the Deluxe 24. On the Honda side, there's a smattering of recommendations for either 24" or 28".

What I'm struggling with is why Honda's are so much more expensive, and whether the added expense is worth it. I've never owned a Rolls Royce, but I'd guess their high price has as much to do with marketing and image as it does with practically useful things.

How much of the cost of a Honda is image/marketing vs build quality/materials/etc?
 

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Does Troy-Built == Toro?
No, modern Troy-Bilt=Cub Cadet=MTD... The Toro/Ariens/Honda lines are a better choice, I believe.
Have you ever wished the Honda had a larger engine?
I have the HSS1332AATD, so plenty of width, good size engine and tracks (which I personally adore). Some have taken the GX390 from the HSS1332A and put it onto a 28" body, making a HSS1328A.
Thanks. So a) wheels give you speed and agility, b) with a flat driveway, there's no need for the extra traction of tracks, and c) if I don't have tight spots I probably won't need hydrostatic? Is that a good summary?
I would tend to disagree...
a) My tracked HSS1332AATD goes 3.44MPH forward & 2.38MPH in reverse. The trigger steering and auger height piston make it very agile for a large machine.
b) Tracks come into play when you tackle the snowplow pile at the end of the driveway, as well as when you want to vary auger height on the fly for grass or gravel surfaces.
c) Infinitely variable hydrostatic drive (rather than just a few preset speeds) is truly wonderful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
a) My tracked HSS1332AATD goes 3.44MPH forward & 2.38MPH in reverse. The trigger steering and auger height piston make it very agile for a large machine.
That's....fast for something that moves snow.

Also, I love your sig.
 

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What I'm struggling with is why Honda's are so much more expensive, and whether the added expense is worth it. I've never owned a Rolls Royce, but I'd guess their high price has as much to do with marketing and image as it does with practically useful things.

How much of the cost of a Honda is image/marketing vs build quality/materials/etc?
[/QUOTE]

For a better apples to apples comparison, you should be comparing the Ariens Professional series snow blowers with Honda machines.

 

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Just the status they have earned for dependability , other makes from Japan were pricey too I think like Yamaha ?
 
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