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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I am considering a new snowblower to replace my old Toro 421. I need something more reliable, with electric starr.I am looking for something in the 26" range. I have been considered Toro, Ariens, or Cub Cadet, but open to other suggestions.
Any pros and con of these three brands?
 

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I would place Toro and Ariens way above the cub cadet. They are made better, and more heavy duty. How much snow do you get, what composition is your driveway, and how big.
 

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How much snow do you get. How much area do you need to clear. How far do you need to throw it.
Toro and ariens make some tough machines. You may be able to get away with others. Honda, yamaha, .... make excellent machines that are also pricey. Maybe a lighter machine will work for you. What type of surface.
 

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Being a fifty plus year user and owner of Toro snow removal products
lets me say that you should stay with Toro and keep your existing
snow mule as a back up machine.
 

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In terms of quality, Toro and Ariens are similar and CC is much lower,
However, the price of CC is pretty close to Toro and Ariens,

IMO, CC is hoping consumers will assume that if the price is almost the same then quality must be almost the same

In graph form...

 

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I don't know where that above graph came from .... but the older machines were solid units.

The newer machines are not the older quality for sure, but maintenance, storage, operation goes a long way to how a machine will last.

I have many units, and also just picked up a new Cub Cadet, and I must say, I am impressed with the features, including zero turn, and look forward to putting it through its paces this winter.
 

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OP says: "I am considering a new snowblower"

So not sure why you are bringing up quality of older units?
 

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To make a recommendation, we need to know your location or expected annual snow fall, do you get many 8-12" snowfalls, wet heavy snow or fairly dry fluffy snow and size of driveway, sidewalks etc.

What is your budget?

I agree that CC is not in the same league as Ariens and Toro. The Cub Cadets are made by MTD and are priced higher than MTD labeled machines. I think you get a better value with a MTD machine than a CC.
 

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" OP says: "I am considering a new snowblower" So not sure why you are bringing up quality of older units? "

To point out, as the OP stated, he has an older Toro, and as he is looking for a brand new machine, not to expect anything like his old one, as the brand new ones are not like any old one.

The new machines are all thinner gauge metal, thin cables instead of steel rods, and not built like the older units in general.

When it comes to brand new machines, it is all on how you treat it, maintain it, work it, store it and to use it as intended. Proper care will last any machine a long time. Which is how you should handle any unit, whether its new or old. Just look for one that has what you are looking for, and feels comfortable to you working it, and appeals to you.

People buy different makes of cars because of many reasons. Looks, price, features, quality, etc., etc..... bottom line, the sell many brand cars, like blowers, and you will get many people that swear by them being good, bad, etc.....

Many times I see people over pay for a unit that removes snow, just because they want to spend a lot of money on something new and have some bragging rights or something. .... Hey, if that's what you want to do, and you have the money, than by all means, go for it.

Myself, I would take an older one any day, and have restored many older ones, and most are still in my possession, unless I choose to sell and make more room for more restore/refurbishes to work on......

Just my 2 cents ... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I live just outside Boston Ma. Our winters can be really bad, but sometimes kind of mild. Its not uncommon to have several 18" or larger storms per year. I own 3 Toro machines, a 421 with a Harbor freight predator motor, which actually throws snow like a champ, and 2 smaller 2 stroke machines. My driveway is roughly 50x25. I have the biggest driveway on my street, but smallest snowblower.
I eyeballed the 24" Toros at HD today and judging by the width they dont seem like much of an upgrade. I agree that some of the older machines are built better, and i am the kind of guy that usually gets something old and fixes it, which i am still not opposed to.
At this point, id like something that clears a wider path, and had electric start (i cant pull the starter the way i used to), and something i dont have to put a lot of work into.
I wouldn't mind spending $1000-$1500.
 

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New or used, you can get a lot of machine for 1000-1500 smackers.....

Start looking now if your going for new, as I understand the production and stock is down all around on many companies.

When spending that kind of money, you might want new, then you know what you get, and don't have to worry of how it was handled..... Unless of course you can turn a wrench, and are keen as to what to look for, as there can be some real used steals out there. All depends on a lot of factors, with your knowledge and skill set being among the top of the list.
 

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If you would not mind spending that much money, go nuts for an Ariens or a Toro.

Since you have quite a few blowers already, I would not be in a rush to pick one up. (Incidentally, the "Snowblower anonymous" group meets here every other Wednesday from 7pm-9pm, coffee and donuts provided.)

Seeing as how you say you can turn a wrench, it might not be a bad idea to look for a used one that you can fix up. I've turned to the dark side and have been picking up machines to restore or part out (depending on condition). I recently picked up a 10hp / 29 inch Noma with electric start for free at the curb. Granted, it is in pieces and will probably take about $100 (maybe) to get it running good again, but then I will have a pretty decent blower. Start keeping an eye on craigslist or Facebook marketplace. It is not uncommon for people who are moving south (Florida / another no-snow environment) to be selling stuff real cheap or even giving it away. You may be able to pick up a good running machine in nice shape for $200. Just keep your 421 as backup.

Some of the newer craftsman blowers do not look bad, but I would not be inclined to buy one. I question their durability. Anything sold at the big box stores today is usually not extremely durable, but will last for a while if you don't abuse it and keep it maintained.
 

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Newer Craftsman and Troy-Bilt are made by MTD, I have owned all. They will do their job but are on the lower quality end, parts are available. The older Craftsman are Murray made and are good machines except the exit chute are rectangular and tend to clog.
 

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If buying new, I would check out the Toro Power Max HD 828 OAE, Power Max 826 OXE, Ariens Deluxe 28 or the Ariens Deluxe 28 SHO at your local dealers. They should be close to your price range. Get hands on them, compare build quality, chute mechanisms, different features etc.

If a used machine is also a consideration, consider Toro, Ariens, some HD Simplicity models, Honda. Look for a machine in good condition, that has been well maintained, stored indoors etc. There are some good deals out there, but they usually go fast, so check craigslist and Facebook often. Prices go up the closer you get to winter.

 

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my machines are older, i've been using a toro 521 and a toro powerthrow 824 for a few years now. the 824 moves way more snow and gets the job done quicker than the 521 but the 521 is easy to move around and transport seeing that i have to go over to mom's and blow snow. if i were in the market a Toro 824 or one of the Ariens with a 24" bucket would be on my list of machines to buy
 
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Yeah Boston can get huge storms lately. Course other times not much at all. If I had a chance it would be a very powerful machine that I can trust in.
 

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Inside the meaty part of the bell curve is the "good" two stage units for "most" people. This is a happy place for us in terms of quality, durability, value and capability.
  • Toro Power Max and HD's
  • Ariens Deluxe and Platinum Series
  • and a few others
To the left you've got the cheaper but still decent units
  • Husqvarna's
  • the CC's
  • Briggs/Snappers/Simplicities (if they are still making them???)
  • Ariens SNo Teks
  • and maybe a few others
To the right are the very expensive, exclusive units such as
  • Honda's
  • Yamaha's
  • Ariens Hydro Pro Commercials
  • and a few others
Then there are some that shouldn't be on the chart at all
  • Beasts
  • Powersmarts
  • Stanleys
  • and anything else that is 100% straight out of China.
I'm tired of them and they dont deserve our $ anymore
 

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What about brands like Craftsman, Troy Built, Briggs and Stratton?
Both of my Troy-Bilts have been kinda okay (I work snowblowers really hard) but they both had pressure pins either break or fall out which affected moving the chute. I couldn't figure out an easy way to replace these particular pressure pins so I've been using cotter pins which buys a little time until they break. They don't throw as far as I would like but other than that they've been dependable for 10-12 years now, and I really do work them to death. The Craftman blowers I've owned were never quite up to the job. The two I had were both on the lower end of quality, IMO.
 
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