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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

Looking for some advise from those that have Honda machines and possibly people who have upgraded to Honda from another machine. I currently own a Ariens Deluxe 24 (5 years old) that I am happy with but I am considering an upgrade to a Honda HSS724ATD for a few reasons. First I am a big fan of Honda Power Equipment and already own lots of other Honda products that I am very happy with the quality and durability of them. I also would like the additional traction that a tracked unit provides as my machine will slip and freewheel sometimes on my sloped driveway when we have a lot of ice or slush. Second I like the hydro-static transmission and speed variability the HSS series offers as well as the easy steering for the track machines. I also like that the auger has a gas strut to raise and lower the bucket to a desired height. This would be a lot easier than having to push down on the handlebars to lift the bucket that I currently have to do. Finally the battery electric start feature and easy starting procedure and feel it would be a lot easier for my wife to use if she needed to clear snow. I am impressed with the build quality of the Honda machines and some other simple features such as an easy to drain carb bowl and gas tank level meter. Has anyone upgraded from anther machine to a Honda? Was it worth the price increase? I also see that Honda has a 198cc engine on this unit vs my Ariens with a 254cc AX engine. I am sure the Honda engine is built better an will likely outlast the Ariens AX but I don't want to downgrade on power.
 

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Sounds like you have already convinced yourself to jump, and just need someone to push you off the side of the cliff. I have an ariens track professional model, amd i do like thr tracks. I have a newly paved 550' driveway amd don't feel a need for either hydro static transmission or the rsdy tsise bucket. Mone has 4 notches, and works fine. I have a 10 hp briggs, and plenty of power.
 

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I've owned lots of different brands including Yamaha and Ariens. Both my single stage and two stage are Hondas now. Up here in Calgary my go to machine is a single stage Honda 720, but my bigger machine is the HSS724ATCD. I don't use it as much, but love it to death. It doesn't have the new chute design on it, but it's never been an issue in Calgary as most of our snow is dry. I love the tracks because I do a lot of properties as a snow angel and need to blow snow on the grassed areas between houses so people can get their garbage, compost, and recycle bins out to the curb. Only a tracked machine can do that well. They are, however still less agile than a wheeled machine so do consider that when evaluating your needs.

While Hondas always start and they are my favourite machines, there is nothing wrong with some Ariens. If you are in Minnesota you'll get wetter stuff than us so you need to think about power as a bigger issue. So are the Hondas worth the extra money? That's debatable. For me yes, as I do fewer repairs to them than other machines I have owned over 30+ years. But I bet there are Ariens owners out there who say the same.

I bought the tracked 724 before I retired in 2016. I likely wouldn't have the money to buy it now, so would either make do with the single stage or buy a cheaper brand. Likely make do with the single stage as I like the Hondas so much now I'm biased, and don't want the hassle of cheaper machines not starting as both mine are kept outdoors in a shed...and it can get to -40C here easily.

Best of luck with your decision.
 

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Do you like the ergonomics of Honda? I think Toro has the best ergonomics, then Honda is a close second. Ariens ergonomic somewhere down there. It is a mixed bag of confusion. Overtime, this may no longer be problem as people get used to it.

The other consideration is that Ariens have larger impeller and larger engine. So in theory, this should have higher throughput. Ariens just seem to eat through like a hungry dog. Honda, on the other hand, has a tight and well controlled stream of snow out of the chute. The throughput may be lower, but It's easy to place the snow exactly where you want it to land. I also think the electric chute control on the Honda is way better.
 

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Do you like the ergonomics of Honda? I think Toro has the best ergonomics, then Honda is a close second. Ariens ergonomic somewhere down there. It is a mixed bag of confusion. Overtime, this may no longer be problem as people get used to it.

The other consideration is that Ariens have larger impeller and larger engine. So in theory, this should have higher throughput. Ariens just seem to eat through like a hungry dog. Honda, on the other hand, has a tight and well controlled stream of snow out of the chute. The throughput may be lower, but It's easy to place the snow exactly where you want it to land. I also think the electric chute control on the Honda is way better.
Valid points you've made. WRT to ergonomics, I wish the Honda handlebars were made for North Americans, as they are too short for me at 6'-2". But I have learned to live with this. All machines have their quirks of course, so when I say I like Hondas best, that's not everything vs. other brands; it's more of a "all things considered" rating. High on that list is, "Does it ALWAYS start?" In fact this is a deal breaker for me. You're dead right about the Honda chute control: you can thread a needle with that thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you like the ergonomics of Honda? I think Toro has the best ergonomics, then Honda is a close second. Ariens ergonomic somewhere down there. It is a mixed bag of confusion. Overtime, this may no longer be problem as people get used to it.

The other consideration is that Ariens have larger impeller and larger engine. So in theory, this should have higher throughput. Ariens just seem to eat through like a hungry dog. Honda, on the other hand, has a tight and well controlled stream of snow out of the chute. The throughput may be lower, but It's easy to place the snow exactly where you want it to land. I also think the electric chute control on the Honda is way better.
Yes I do prefer the ergonomics of the Honda. I have not used the HSS series in the snow but have driven one at a local shop. I also used my neighbors wheeled HS724 so not the same as the HSS with the tracks and electric chute but both provide a good idea. I would like to be able to use both my Ariens and the new HSS Honda in the snow and compare but that is really not an option. I would agree though I think Ariens has poor ergonomics. The controls layout could be improved.
 

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The chute crank on the HS model is one thing I don't like. I would prefer the crank to be above the handles so I don't have to stretch to reach. Crank left to rotate chute right, crank right to rotate chute left. Dyslexic design if I say so but I've gotten used to it.

The HSS models fixed all that nuisance with joystick electric chute on the control panel and it is great. Everything is where it should be. I think Toro Quickstick is simpler and straight forward but Honda's implementation works well.

One thing I would stress is that most things about the Honda is positive. The tracks, however, is something you either hate or love. I didn't have good experience with the tracks in the beginning because there is a rigid axle between the left and right tracks. There is no differential steering so the HS1132 that I have is a heavy beast that resisted my effort to turn. I can't rotate it standing still, I can't control the turn when it's going too fast. So now I know what to do with this beast, I love it. The HSS have trigger steering so most of the issues are resolved.

So if you are jumping the fence, be prepared to adapt to the tracks. Its advantages don't shine in nice fluffy snow and moderate temperatures. However, those nasty storms with 3 foot wall at the end of driveway, it is the time when I say this is a great machine. For all the other snowfall , my Toro 421 single stage is just awesome.
 

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The chute crank on the HS model is one thing I don't like. I would prefer the crank to be above the handles so I don't have to stretch to reach.
Here's how you fix the chute crank (and the HS handle height):
 

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Havent read all the comments but my question is have you test drove each machine?

I dont know much about Ariens. I do know one of the main complaints is that the handlebars are too low for taller operators. There are good points for each machine so almost being equal it could come down to which is more user friendly?

Something as simple as handlebar height could make a big difference.

Will be interested in what you decide and why. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Havent read all the comments but my question is have you test drove each machine?

I dont know much about Ariens. I do know one of the main complaints is that the handlebars are too low for taller operators. There are good points for each machine so almost being equal it could come down to which is more user friendly?

Something as simple as handlebar height could make a big difference.

Will be interested in what you decide and why. Thanks.
Very true, I am about 5'10 so about average height but don't have an issue with the new HSS Honda snowblower handlebar height. I have tested a HSS1332 in a local shop a few years ago and used my neighbors HS724 and noticed the new HSS series have a higher handlebar height. The height can also be an issue though with the tracked machines when tipping them back with the gas strut. I am going to be checking the HSS machines out again at my local dealer once they get some in stock in a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Whats your budget constraint and snowblower width size?

Toro has the TRX HD Commercial 1428 new for this year.

Wow that looks like a beast. I would rather not spend $3300 on a machine though and was thinking the 24 would be about the right size for me anyways.
 

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The hss724 seems like a nice machine. Post the pics when you get it
 
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