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edge10


Joined: Oct 21, 2011
Points: 2

Input on a new Snowblower
Original Message   Mar 6, 2013 10:03 pm
I would like to get some input on a new snowblower  for home use. I have a 20 x 50 ft drive with and 10 deg incline halfway up that goes level, and 100 ft of walk. Maneuverability is an issue, since I have to  blow snow between cars. I have limited storage space too.  My area gets about 25 inches of snow per year,  but sometimes we get a dump of a foot of wet snow.

The Ariens Compact 24  920014   and  Sno-tek 24 920402 are on my short list.  Others I should consider? Are the upgrades for the steel chute, cast iron gear box and Briggs Ariens orange models worth it in this price point? How about the Briggs 250 cc and dual belt auger  on the Ariens 24  921031 which is a step up in $$? LCT snow engine reliability and parts availability?

I am concerned about some of the  poor online reviews of the Ariens Compact 24  920014 that cite problems with Briggs engine, carb and friction disk.  It is surprising the Sno-tek reviews seem to  have much fewer problems.  As many of you may know , it is the similar to the Compact 24  with the LCT engine and without above upgrades..




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radarsfriend


Joined: Mar 7, 2013
Points: 3

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #9   Mar 7, 2013 9:59 am
I see that you have somewhat of a dilema because you do have  limited storage space.  I have a similar driveway as yours that is shared with the house next door.  I have to be able to park behind my house or inside the garage in the winter months.  The first few years in the house I shoveled which became to labor intensive. I bought a used MTD and refurbished it. Had it 5 years but the 26 inch 8 hp setup was $#%*bersome to steer and the shute operation required extra labor. I bought the Ariens deluxe 28 inch with the USA made Briggs 250 cc motor.  This machine works well for me as I'm able to lay waste to heavy snow and send to another area. No one in my area has a blower that blows the snow as far as this machine.  There is a reason why Ariens has the patent on a two belt impeller drive. There is also a reason why Ariens uses a 14 inch impellar instead of a 12 inch. I paid $1050.00 for my machine which included delivery and setup. It has been worth every nickel.
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #10   Mar 7, 2013 10:56 am
edge10 wrote:
My area gets about 25 inches of snow per year,  but sometimes we get a dump of a foot of wet snow.


Last year, I got 19 inches of snow for the whole winter.  This was not a typical snowfall, but a low one.  My single stage Toro 421QE did all the work, the big 2 stage didn't even see any action.  No need to bring out the big gun when I can zip around with the Toro SS.  The most snowfall at one time was 8 inches, which I was able to handle with just the single stage and a shovel.

With a SS, one has to be diligent and go out and take care of the snow before it overwhelms the machine.  Pretty simple and not a bad practice.  My neighbor only has the Toro SS and he does fine with it.  We typically get 50 inches of snow per year.  One or two times, we get blizzard that dumps 12-20 inches.  He does what he can with his driveway and I come over and help dig out the EOD with my large 2 stage.

Sounds like a single stage would work for you.  25 inches isn't a whole lot of snow.  An occasional 1 footer isn't a strong reason to get a big machine.  You'd be surprised what a good SS and a shovel can handle, provided that you are physically fit.  Just break down the big pile into small pieces that the machine and you can handle. 

Now that's the practical advice.  I myself have 4 snowblowers, not that I need all four.  I'm just a gearhead, likes OPE and power, and I have room to store them.  :)  But my advice to you is still applies, in a pragmatic sense.  If you're an OPE fanatic, then I recommend the Ariens Pro 28.  No faults on that machine except the price of $2000. 

But let's not forget that 25 inches isn't a whole lot of snow.  No need to get an elephant rifle to hunt rabbits.
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #11   Mar 7, 2013 11:02 am
sscotsman wrote:
Or..just one machine that can handle anything that may come your way! ;)


"just one machine" will get the budget passed by the CFO, but that won't last long...

That's what I started out with, a monster 32" wide 11 HP snowblower.   Then I got 3 more SS.  :)  Now I can handle anything, big and small. 
GreatCanadian


Joined: Mar 5, 2013
Points: 15

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #12   Mar 7, 2013 11:32 am
aa335 wrote:
 No need to get an elephant rifle to hunt rabbits.



But you shouldn't use a .410 on a moose either.

The point is, a single stage may do him MOST of the time but not all of the time. A 2 stage will do him ALL of the time. So for the difference in price, I think it's much more sensible to get the 2 stage. I certainly don't want to depend on my neighbor to clear the snow out of the end of my driveway because I bought a single stage.

This message was modified Mar 7, 2013 by GreatCanadian
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #13   Mar 7, 2013 3:26 pm
GreatCanadian wrote:
But you shouldn't use a .410 on a moose either.

The point is, a single stage may do him MOST of the time but not all of the time. A 2 stage will do him ALL of the time. So for the difference in price, I think it's much more sensible to get the 2 stage. I certainly don't want to depend on my neighbor to clear the snow out of the end of my driveway because I bought a single stage.


You have a valid point.  There's nothing wrong with being self sufficient and equipping yourself with the right tools for the job. 

A good single stage isn't going be rendered useless for the original poster's area.

One thing to add is that a single stage is so so much easier, cheaper, and quicker to service and maintain.  I can replace all paddles, scraper bar, belt, lube and adjust cable tension, clean carburetor within two hours.  No special tools needed.  An assessment / troubleshooting of what needs to be done requires no more than 5 minutes.  Also, a $600 single stage is not the same as a $600 2 stage when it comes to cost of ownership.  With a 2 stage, there are friction disc, skids, scraper, belts, cables, shifter mechanism, auger shear pins, impeller pins.  Lots of things to keep an eye on to make sure they are in good shape and not let you down during a big storm.
This message was modified Mar 7, 2013 by aa335
hirschallan


If it aint broke don't fix it !!


Location: Northern Hills of NY
Joined: Aug 25, 2005
Points: 327

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #14   Mar 7, 2013 5:04 pm
edge10 wrote:
I would like to get some input on a new snowblower  for home use. I have a 20 x 50 ft drive with and 10 deg incline halfway up that goes level, and 100 ft of walk.






My take on this,with a similar slope on my drive is: I wouldn't go with an SS because I have been where you are heading meaning, that slope is going to be difficult with the SS. It will pull you down that slope faster then you can get traction with your feet. Up hill is also an issue and not what you think. It will go where it wants and give you a workout. Just ask me how I know. I've been on my a$$ more than once because of it and will never go that route again. I also have a 2 stage Ariens model 7524e for the last 7 years with only praise. I have had snow bucket high and yet some without any trouble. Just my two cents, Allan.
This message was modified Mar 8, 2013 by hirschallan


MN_Runner


Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Joined: Dec 5, 2010
Points: 622

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #15   Mar 7, 2013 8:40 pm
aa335 wrote:
No need to get an elephant rifle to hunt rabbits.


At least, no suffering for poor rabbits.  SS snowblowers, such as Honda HS520 or Toro 621, are a great choice.  I really like the way SS can really clean it up the driveway and my pond.  For my small driveway, my 2-stage is an overkill but you don't get the satisfaction of snow blast (i.e., a clean kill of a rabbit with the 357 magnum) when it snows more than 6 inches.
borat


Joined: Nov 10, 2007
Points: 2692

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #16   Mar 8, 2013 9:20 am
GreatCanadian wrote:
I don't think that buying a single stage for 600, and borrowing a neighbors 2 stage when the going gets tough is a sensible idea at all! Especially when he can get a 2 stage Ariens or Toro for 6 to 8 hundred. What if neighbor is away? Or what if it's an emergency and you need to clear your driveway at 3 o'clock in the morning? To me, it doesn't make sense to buy a single stage where there is a real good probability that a 2 stage will be needed.

Edit to add:

This is the first time I have ever seen one of these!! Have any of you ever seen this??!!

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/arctic-wolf-wheeled-snow-shovel/807150


I don't recall advising to "borrow" anything.  I suggested reciprocating work. 

Don't know how you operate but I get along fine with my neighbours and strangely enough, I've never seen a day when at least one of my nearest neighbours with a dual stage wasn't home after a snow storm.  
We take care of each other around here. 

I have four SS machines and one large frame Simplicity dual stage.   In the last two years, the dual stage has seen about 1/2 an hour of work.   Anyone with any experience with a decent SS machine knows what they can do.  From your response, it sounds like you may not have had the pleasure to use a good SS snowthrower.   I will agree though that with  the slope of the OP's driveway involved, a small dual stage might be a better choice in order to maintain control.  If the driveway was flat, I'd go with a Toro SS. 
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #17   Mar 8, 2013 10:10 am
borat wrote:
Don't know how you operate but I get along fine with my neighbours and strangely enough, I've never seen a day when at least one of my nearest neighbours with a dual stage wasn't home after a snow storm.  
We take care of each other around here. 


In my neighborhood, almost every 3 houses has a 2 stage snowblower.  I can pretty much tells who hasn't been home or late to take care of the snow on the apron.  In all my 5 years here, I've never seen anyone's driveway blocked in that they can't get in or out. Both of my adjacent neighbors do not have a 2 stage snowblower, but between the 3 nearby houses that do have them, the whole block is taken care of.  On one side, my neighbor has two useless teenage boys and a father that never does any outdoor work to clear their driveway, I just clear their apron when it's more than 18 inches high.  Less than that, they just drive their car through it.  On the other side, a new neighbor just moved in, so I knew they were not equipped to handle their driveway, plus they just had a 3 month old baby.  So I take care of them too.  I don't think anyone ever asked for help, it just happens.
borat


Joined: Nov 10, 2007
Points: 2692

Re: Input on a new Snowblower
Reply #18   Mar 8, 2013 10:28 am
aa335 wrote:
  I don't think anyone ever asked for help, it just happens.

That's the way we roll in this neighbourhood too.  

We actually all enjoy getting out and "showing off our wares".   Because I'm the only one on the street with SS machines, it's an oddity that the neighbours seem to enjoy watching.  Especially when I crank up the old Tecumseh machines and actually out-throw a number of, lets say, less than premium snow blowers on the street.  

I used to have "attitude" about SS machines.  The reason was because I had never owned or used one before.   Now that I've seen the light, I've learned to appreciate and respect their capabilities. 

Looks like we've got about ten inches of wettish snow coming our way tonight and tomorrow.  Got the old Murray gassed up and ready to go!
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