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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be moving into a new house soon and will be looking to pick up a snowblower for next winter. I've narrowed my choices down to something from Ariens and I'm planning to buy new, as a lot of the used stuff I see around here is either small or pretty well abused and would need a lot of TLC (I've got enough other projects to take up my time, so I'd rather not need to rehab a blower this summer). Considering the amount of snow we get in upstate NY (Rochester area), I'm looking for something beefy.

The total area I'll have to clear is about 2600 square feet (driveway + sidewalk). Driveway is about 100 feet long and varies between 11 and 32 feet wide along its length (wider towards the garage, narrower towards the street). The sidewalk is about 6 feet wide and I'll have to clear about 90 feet of it. It's all flat except for a short sloped bit between the sidewalk and the street (which will likely catch a lot of plow slop and make for a very big, nasty EOD pile). And due to the placement of the driveway relative to the house and a fence, the snow in the middle section of the driveway will have to get blown down the driveway and then moved a second time, I won't be able to blow that area directly into the yard.

I'm looking at the Platinum 30 SHO (haven't talked to any of the local dealers yet, so I'm not sure what they'll do for pricing). From what I'm finding online, it looks like it'll cover my needs pretty well. Only concern I have is the small fuel capacity, as I'd prefer to clear the whole area without needing to stop and refuel. Fuel capacity shouldn't be a dealbreaker though, as it looks like a few have swapped larger tanks onto these.

What does everyone here think? Is the 30 SHO the right choice or should I be looking at something else (like maybe the Pro 28)?
 

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The Platinum 30 SHO and Pro 28 are very similar. You can get a hydrostatic trans in the Pro 28 which is very nice if money is no object. Either way, both are very powerful and capable machines. Price and availability are likely going to be your deciding factors.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I looked at the idea of the hydro, but it's more money than I want to spend. And the Hydro 28 doesn't have the big fuel tank either. One of the local dealers lists that they've got the Pro 28, 32 and the Platinum 30 SHO in the 2017 models, so I'm planning to see what they're willing to do for price.
 

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I have the 2015 model Platinum 30 SHO and I like it very much. At the time I bought it I was doing 6 driveways for neighbours that needed help and now I am doing 8 so the machine gets a lot of use. I have the plastic Ariens skid shoes to protect paver driveways and the Auto Turn works perfectly. The drive is very strong with the rubber tired disc system. Both wheels drive forcefully except when turning where it is so easy to manoeuvre. It does not get plugged with snow even in the wettest EOD situations with standing water and that is for over 270 ft of EOD. It starts first time every time with the pull starter although it has the 120 volt electric starter. All the controls are easy to use and work quickly.

The gas tank does not hold much and I never could put 3 liters in, 2.5 liters was the most. I changed that tank for the Ariens Pro (B&S engine) gas tank that holds more than 6 liters. Easy to mount with the included mount bar for two of the 4 mounts. Made a mount for the rear right but left the front right unmounted. No problems. The skirting around the tank is needed to keep snow away from governor and other controls, so I modified the Platinum shielding. No problems with carb icing or anything else in the 2 years since installation. It has more room for the oil dip stick access now, so that is a big plus.

The way the governor main spring is setup attached to the air cooling shielding is not consistent across machines due to variation in final position. My engine was running at 3,450 rpm which is spec but way too slow for me. I reattached the spring to the governor arm in the outside hole (rather than bend the other mount). This produced 3,700 rpm which is spec (3,600 +/- 150 rpm). This made a huge difference in performance so that it blows any kind of snow at any speed comfortable for me without clogging. The Platinum and Pro use the same size pulleys for auger/impeller with the dual belts so impeller speed is the same and throwing distance (up to 60 ft) is the same.

The only problem I had was a leaking impeller seal at the gearbox and my dealer fixed that and also replaced the auger shaft seals at the gearbox. Otherwise the Platinum is bullet proof.

I would recommend buying from a dealer and asking about swapping the gas tank and shielding and have the dealer ensure the engine is running at 3,600 rpm or whatever. The 2017 model may have less weight on the bucket than mine, I like the heavy bucket weight more than the light bucket weight on the Pro.
 

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What does everyone here think? Is the 30 SHO the right choice or should I be looking at something else (like maybe the Pro 28)?
A member here has previously made a very good case why the Pro 28 is an excellent choice and would go with that having the large fuel tank and beefier handlebars.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
A member here has previously made a very good case why the Pro 28 is an excellent choice and would go with that having the large fuel tank and beefier handlebars.
Was there more to it than that, or just a bit beefier and holds more fuel? And in real-world pricing, is the difference between the 30 SHO and the Pro 28 usually the full $400 or is it less? And what about the cost for the step up to the Pro 32 if I wanted the extra size?

On top of all of that, is there a significant difference in noise output between the Briggs on the Pro 28/32 and the LCT on the 30 SHO?
 

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the reason to get the pro is the 23.5 tall bucket and 16 inch rakes also the fuel capacity
I have the 28 inch with the 414cc and3/4 gallon fuel tank its not been issue for me
the 414 cc 20 ft lbs motor is stout as town has said
town gave you all the right points
You are buying 1 time get the pro over 20 yrs its not much more
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alright, I guess I've got one more question before I head to the dealer. If I'm looking at the Pro models, should I give the 32 a look (depending on their price) or will I not miss the extra couple inches if I go with the 28 (considering the driveway in question)?
 

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thats personal choice the 28 pro is a steal at around 2100
the 30 sho is a steal at 1600
the 28 sho for 1200 is the best bang for the buck on the market imo
i would buy a used 28 pro for 1300 or 1400 they do come up for sale and be happy
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One more question. Engines: The 30 SHO has the LCT engine, the Pro 28 / 32 have the Briggs. Is there any significant durability difference between the 2? Or should I just look at both machines, decide if the extra beef and fuel of the Pro is worth the $$$ and go from there?
 

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I used to have a machine with a 8 hp engine and 26" bucket and noticed a huge improvement in clearing speed going to a 11 hp engine and 30" bucket. Then I upped the hp to 12.5 or 13 with the Ariens and kept the 30" bucket and clearing speed improved. I would not go back to a 28" bucket. For the Pro the 32" bucket would be the way to go for me.

If I was going to spend more than the price of a Platinum 30 SHO then I would get the Rapidtrack 32. I think that machine offers worthwhile extra features for the money.

The LCT is a quiet engine and there are no unpleasant noises from the rest of the machine. There are two new Ariens Pro machines (with the B&S 420 engines) across the road from me and they are just as quiet. The LCT engine in a Husqvarna down the street is also quiet. I think both engines are very durable
 

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The beginning of this season I traded in a 2015 hydro 28 for a Honda hss1333.

In my opinion the 28 is a great machine and will serve you well (endless power). However I have been running two Honda’s for a season now and it’s night and day. These machines have reduced my route time by a third and I am actively looking for new customers.

If you are planning on continuing to expand how many driveways you do look at the Honda 1332 it’s a monster.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you are planning on continuing to expand how many driveways you do look at the Honda 1332 it’s a monster.
Fortunately I'm only looking to deal with my own driveway (just a good size one) and sidewalk, so future expansion beyond a possible slightly bigger driveway someday isn't much of a concern. And no need for track drive or anything, as all but the last 6 feet of the driveway is dead flat.
 

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I'm going to add 2 cents here regarding auger width. If the requestor is only dealing with their own property and don't expect to increase usage, then whether it's a 28" machine, 30" or 32" isn't a big deal IMO with a couple of exceptions. The wider the auger housing the better chance of extending beyond the sidewalk and chewing into the lawn. If doing a drive, you might save a single pass with the widest machines, is your time worth that extra expense to save maybe 1 pass? You'd still have to bring it back so what have you really saved. Another thing to consider is your access points. Do you have any gates or doors that you have to go through that will restrict your passage if you get the biggest machine? Typically a bigger machine means more weight to handle, are you up to that?


I am not going to make a recommendation of a particular model as I'm not up on them. What I am suggesting is you wait until you have a place then start looking at it objectively and make your list. Once you have your list then start looking at machines that fulfill your needs. Better to wait a little and get the right machine rather than jump into something now and find it inappropriate for your situation.
Additionally if you buy off-season you likely will be able to do a little better deal overall.


Just some thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The off-season buy is why I'm starting to look now. I'll be moving into the house in about 2 months, so I won't need anything until next winter, but can buy this spring / summer (no rush). But I do know exactly what I've got for a driveway and such to work with. No issues with width for storage, the doors to the shed and garage are plenty wide to get a 32" blower through and I won't have to go through any gates with it.

As far as width, my concern is for time. The driveway is 11 feet wide at the narrow section, so 4 passes with a 30 or 32 will still leave a bit on the sides, but not enough to worry about (and plenty of space to get cars through). Going down to the 28 gets me under 9 feet cleared in 4 passes (assuming some overlap between passes), which might mean I have to make 6 passes. Sidewalk is about 5.5 - 6 feet wide, so that's 1 pass down and 1 back regardless of 28, 30 or 32 inch width.

For weight, the difference between a 280 lb blower and a 330 lb blower isn't a big deal to me. Either one is heavy if I need to move it not under power, but that's going to be the nature of any beefy blower, so I don't think it's worth worrying about.
 

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Also think about storage. Where might you put it. For instance, I might benefit from a 32 inch machine, however the 28 that I have really just fits where I keep it in the garage. I could squish a 32 in there but it would really suk for a whole raft of reasons.

Thumper
 

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I owned a Platinum 30 SHO, traded in for the Hydro Pro 28, and now have the Honda HSS1332ATD. I will tell you that the Hydro Pro 28 is a better machine over the Platinum except for the weight distribution of the bucket. When I added weight to the Platinum it stayed put. I added twice as much weight to the Hydro Pro and it made almost no difference, it simply would not stop floating and Armor Skids exacerbated the problem. The large fuel tank of the Pro with the Briggs is not to be taken lightly, as the Platinum has a joke for a fuel tank. Even the new Pro models with EFI have a tiny fuel tank which I can't understand for the life of me. My Platinum would burn through friction discs like candy and the dealer gave up trying to fix it and gave me full value for the Pro. The Hydro is worth every penny over any friction disc setup. Now the Honda is a different story. It will embarrass the Platinum and Hydro Pro all day long and is vastly superior, but under the right circumstances the Ariens Hydro Pro series can be just what the doctor ordered.
 

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your burning up friction disk are not the norm
3200 bucks it should be better
imo spending 3k on a blower is foolish unless you get 100 inches a yr plus or you get paid to blow snow you can get a cheap plow truck for 2k
the plat machine is quite capable for his needs
i woudnt want the auto turn with new axle location moved forward myself
my 2015 28 deluxe 414cc w/impeller kit clears anything I do wish i had the 23.5 tall bucket the rest is a wash
 
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