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I'm researching my first snowblower. And I think I've basically settled on Ariens due since it seems to have one of the better reliability records. I'll actually go try some in a couple months when they show up at stores.

I'm basically looking at 20" - 24" 2 stage gas snowblowers. I'm in Northern VA so we get a big snowfall once every few years. We got about 14" or so this past winter.

But I saw that Ariens makes a lower end line called Snowtek. Can anyone comment on the reliability of the Snowtek line? I see that the Snowtek also has smaller engines. Will the engines on the snowtek be powerful enough for the occasional 12" snowfall?

Thanks!

Joo
 

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hello jchung, welcome to SBF!! if the snowtek's haven't changed i would stay away from the 20" model. they say it has one speed foward and one reverse, it can make for some slow going
 

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The Sno-Tek line has been out for 5 years now, no one seems to be complaining about them..they seem to be perfectly reliable machines.

I agree about keeping away from the single-speed..Not because its a Sno-Tek, but because it likely be underpowered for most peoples needs..

which reminds me..we have no idea what your needs are! ;)
The number one most important factor in choosing a snowblower is..where you live.
What your winters and snowfall amounts are like..
so let us know where you live! ;) (just a city and state is fine) and we can help fine-tune things to suggest, and avoid, from there..

Scot
 

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I'm in Northern VA so we get a big snowfall once every few years. We got about 14" or so this past winter.
Will the engines on the snowtek be powerful enough for the occasional 12" snowfall?
Scot, I don't think those tri-focals are getting it done !! :rolleyes::rolleyes:

But what kind of driveway, sidewalk, gravel, cement, double wide, mile long ...

Welcome to the forum !!
 

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Scot, I don't think those tri-focals are getting it done !! :rolleyes::rolleyes:

But what kind of driveway, sidewalk, gravel, cement, double wide, mile long ...

Welcome to the forum !!
'doh! I totally missed it! :rolleyes:
good catch..

Joo,
oh yeah, a smaller Sno-Tek is more than a match for your snowfalls..when it comes to snowblowers, you are basically in single-stage territory, any 2-stage is probably overkill for your needs..but if you do get the occasional 12" snowfall, then you might want a small 2-stage then..Its better to go slightly larger, and be prepared for your largest potential snowfalls, then go too small and not have the snowblowing power when you need it the most!

The 24" Sno-Tek is plenty for your environment..even a bit too much probably. even the single-speed is probably fine. although personally I would go one step up and get the Sno-Tek 24..

You should also consider a quality single-stage however..like a larger Toro single stage..A single stage is really better suited to your environment than is a 2-stage..2-stage machines dont handle smaller 1" to 3" wet slushy snowfalls as well as single-stage machines do..

I would get either the 24" Sno-Tek, or a larger Toro single-stage..
either will be great for you..

Scot
 

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Yup, been there, done that and I'm still missing stuff in threads :eek::eek:

jchung - What Scot said, "I would get either the 24" Sno-Tek, or a larger Toro single-stage".
 

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Discussion Starter #8
All,

Thanks for the info!

I was going to ask about minimum snow requirements for using the 2 stage vs the 1 stage gas snow blowers as well.

If its only 1" - 3" of snow, I'll most likely just shovel it instead of breaking out the snow blower.

Some more info about my needs...

I'm going to use it mostly just on my driveway. Its about 3 cars wide and about 6 cars long. So I would guess about 20' x 75'. If its reasonably light snow... I can shovel it in about 30 minutes to an hour. Heavy snow and I'm out there all day long. So I'd mostly use the snow blower only when its about 4" or more probably.

My concern with a single stage snow blower is whether it would be able to handle the snow I got this past winter and the double blizzard I was hit with in early 2010 (they called it Snowmageddon here in the DC area).

Thanks!

Joo
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just some more info... Snowmageddon dumped about 32" of snow in my area according to NOAA. But that was split between two back to back storms that hit in the same week. So maybe up to 20" with one storm, although thats rare.
 

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Welcome, and if you have the time to go out and attack the snow fall in stages, rather than post event, then a single stage should suffice. The obvious advantage that most two stage machines has, is their ability to process more material at a faster pace. So, if time is not a concern, or if it is then I hope it helps. Just remember, that there is point of diminishing returns with regards to size.

I would also take into consideration the amount of space needed for storage of your machine.
 

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The only reservation I would have about a single stage compared to a 2 stage is the pile at the end of your driveway the snow plow leaves. I used a single for a number of years and usually it wasn't a problem but when it was, was it ever. For the main part of the driveway it was quick and easy.
 

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Dude, definitely get the single stage.

1. Your normal snow fall seems to be perfect for it. Instead of 30-60 minutes breaking your back with a shovel, you'll be out there half of that time.

2. It will save your back.

3. For those occasional storms that are too much for the single stage, you can head out there as the snow is still falling several times to handle the total accumulation incrementally instead of all at once. I used to do that all of the time.
 

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Another thing to consider is how smooth your driveway is. If its smooth a single stage should do an I think they do a better job cleaning to the pavement. If its rough, or has loose rocks or gravel, get a 2 stage. For lighter snows with my 2 stage I find it helps to use a higher ground speed.

Unfortunately my driveway is very rough and uneven. My single stage threw rocks everywhere and it was harder to use than shoveling. I almost broke a window on the car with a flying rock. Not only that but the paddles took a serious beating in only one season.
 

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I would also take into consideration the amount of space needed for storage of your machine.
DB brings a very valid point to the table. Storage can be frustrating if you have space limitations.

I have seen some guys, or gals, just hang single stages from the wall with a couple of reinforced hooks. What I mean buy reinforced hooks is, they went to a fabricator and had some 1/4" steel hooks made and then installed with 3-4 lag bolts per hook.
 

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the nice thing about 2 stages is you have an adjustable scraper and skids, so you can adjust for rocks. when we had our gravel driveway all we had was a craftsman 521 single stage wjhick chucked rocks everywhere
 

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All,

Thanks for the info!

I was going to ask about minimum snow requirements for using the 2 stage vs the 1 stage gas snow blowers as well.

If its only 1" - 3" of snow, I'll most likely just shovel it instead of breaking out the snow blower.

Some more info about my needs...

I'm going to use it mostly just on my driveway. Its about 3 cars wide and about 6 cars long. So I would guess about 20' x 75'. If its reasonably light snow... I can shovel it in about 30 minutes to an hour. Heavy snow and I'm out there all day long. So I'd mostly use the snow blower only when its about 4" or more probably.

My concern with a single stage snow blower is whether it would be able to handle the snow I got this past winter and the double blizzard I was hit with in early 2010 (they called it Snowmageddon here in the DC area).

Thanks!

Joo
I've done more than a few blizzards with my toro 2450 when it was the only snowblower I had. my neighbor across the street has an ariens two stage probally 5hp and watching him in deep heavy snow convinced me to get a two stage
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sorry its taken a couple days to reply. As noted by others, storage space is a concern. Its why I'm focusing on the 20" - 24" 2 stage machines. I know 22" and smaller will fit without any issues. I'm pretty sure 24" machines will fit.

Also, as mentioned by Kiss4aFrog, the snow at the end of the driveway can get fairly big and dense after the snow plows go through the street.

There are times when the snow falls in the middle of the night while I'm sleeping and I wake up to a bunch of snow. So not always able to go out and clear the snow in the middle of the storm.

For these reason, I'm still leaning toward a 2 stage snowblower instead of a 1 stage.

Now... I noticed Ariens has a 22" snow blower. Other than size, its specs seem to match up well with the 24" Snowtek but will be about $100 more.

The Ariens would fit in the garage better. But will it be noticeably less efficient at clearing the snow than the Snowtek?

Also, the Ariens has the cast iron gearbox. IIRC, cast iron will rust. But I think the aluminum on the Snowtek gearbox won't. Is this correct?

Thanks!

Joo
 

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rather than buying new how about an older unit in good condition like a toro 421, 521, 522, 622. I think ariens made some 4 and 5hp 20" units also
 

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ive never seen a heavily rusted ariens cast iron gearbox, they are more durable then the aluminum boxes if yo hit something and are designed to be servicable
 

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All,

Thanks for the info!

I was going to ask about minimum snow requirements for using the 2 stage vs the 1 stage gas snow blowers as well.

If its only 1" - 3" of snow, I'll most likely just shovel it instead of breaking out the snow blower.

Some more info about my needs...

I'm going to use it mostly just on my driveway. Its about 3 cars wide and about 6 cars long. So I would guess about 20' x 75'. If its reasonably light snow... I can shovel it in about 30 minutes to an hour. Heavy snow and I'm out there all day long. So I'd mostly use the snow blower only when its about 4" or more probably.

My concern with a single stage snow blower is whether it would be able to handle the snow I got this past winter and the double blizzard I was hit with in early 2010 (they called it Snowmageddon here in the DC area).

Thanks!

Joo
unless you want the exercise, the HECK with shoveling LOL. I would look for a 22-24 inch wide ariens compact. You can find them used this time of year dirt cheap! I have seen some 2013-14 models on Cl for $250-$450 take a look. I found a ariens 7524 on CL last winter in excellent condition for $275 (no rust, no dents, no scratches). The dealer wanted over $800 for a smaller ariens plus tax...

If the skids are set right these work well even for an inch of snow... if we get less than an inch i grab my leaf blower :cool:
 
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