I did a lot of research and lots of shopping between local dealers before settling on an Ariens product. I live near St-Jerome, which is a 45 minutes drive north of Montreal, Quebec, so I got TONS of snow. My driveway is only 2 cars lenght, but I also need to clear a walkway to the flot door, and paths to the shed in the back of the house, etc.
The Ariens 1130DLE is a consumer-level machine that clears a 30" path uisng a 11HP Tecumseh engine. one of the big selling points of the ariens is that it's all steel, while others use a plastic chute. Also, the ariens is reasonably priced compared to other products of the same grade. It comes equipped with automatic traction control, so there is no unlocking mechanism for the axle. It also has a fancy chute remote control that replaces the traditional crank and remote chute deflector control as well. There is also a very efficient halogen light on the unit.
- The deflector and chute rotation levers are easy to operate and work well.
- The one-handed traction/auger controls are very efficient.
- The shifter is easy to operate. Note that it is in vertical position whereas comparable MTD products have the shifter placed horizontally. I definitely prefer to have it placed vertically, as I find it MUCH easier to operate that way!
- This machine's job is to clear snow, and so it does! We had a couple of major snowstorms this year, the biggest one leaving us with a good 14-15 inches of fresh powder. The 1130DLE ate it all up and spit it over 50 feet away! Ariens specs claim that this machine throws snow 50feet, and believe me, it does! My neigbor owns a Craftsman 11/31, and he just couldn't believe it, so now he wants to get an Ariens 1130DLE for himself.
On Christmas eve, we had a small storm that left about 8 inches of snow, and that was followed by rain and freezing rain, creating a mix of snow, water and ice that was as heavy as concrete. The 1130DLE was still able to throw that mixture 20-25 feet away.
I live in a narrow dead-end street, so when the snow plow comes by to clear the street, I get the highest snowbank on the street. When we got that 15 inches of snow, the snowbank was 4 feet high. Of course, I needed to break down the snow pile woth a shovel to ge the snowblower through the first time, but once I cleared a path through that, I was able to blow that whole compacted snowbank away in a couple of passes.
- The automatic traction control works really good. The unit turns on a dime, and there is no messing around with that annoying finger lock thingy.
- The unit is very easy to control in general. I can perfectly control it using only my left hand while I use my right hand to adjust the chute rotation and deflector as I go.
- The halogen light is very bright and is actually very usefull. Being encased in the frame of the unit, it's also very stable, unlike other models where the light is standing on a post that become all wobbly after a while.
*** The bad ***
- There is only one thing which I really hate about this unit, and it's the fact that the control cables keep freezing. If you look above, I said that the chute rotation and deflector controls work well, and that is absolutely true... Until the control cable freezes. Once the cable has frozen once, you're done. It will always freeze, and you'll need to disassemble the cables and bring them inside to let them thaw and dry thoroughly. They will be okay until the next snowstorm, when water finds its way in the cable again. That is really the only annoying point I can find for this usint.
Date Purchased: 10/2008
Price Paid: $1300
- EXCELLENT snow throwing capacity
- The machine turns on a dime and is very easy to maneuver, thanks to automatic traction control.
- Powerful engine, very easy to start even at -20C (-4 F).
- Controls are easy to operate.
- Efficient and useful halogen light.
- Control cables that keep freezing repeatedly.