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Snow Blower

  • Jeffrey Trapp
    Participant
    Milbank, SD
    Posts: 249
    #2162730

    Looking at buying a snow blower. I was just curious which brands you guys have found most reliable and what features are good to look into. I will probably be buying from runnings since we have one in town so a brand they carry would be a plus. Thanks!

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 9822
    #2162731

    From there it would definitely be Ariens.

    JoeMX1825
    Participant
    MN
    Posts: 8822
    #2162732

    Single or Two Stage? I have a 6 car suburban driveway so my single stage 21″ wide Toro works fine for 99% of the snows we get in MN…best things I like about it are it’s easy to start and it fits under my garage house entry staircase in the summer months…two stage machines take up alot of garage space when storing…

    bigcrappie
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 3056
    #2162733

    Ariens hands down, the 28″ Deluxe of SHO model are the best. There is a FB group just for Ariens owners.

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 5829
    #2162734

    I am looking too. Found a slightly used Cub Cadet 2 stage for a good price. Anyone have one?

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 16556
    #2162735

    I have an old SB and a new SB so I can speak about features.
    My old machine is a 7hp Cub Cadet. (1999) No frills, just power. Its a pain changing the chute direction using the hand crank and elevation with a lever. Otherwise its not super heavy and I can move it around pretty easy. I never use the reverse setting because its so easy faster to just pull backwards. But for 23 years it just keeps running like new. Changed the belts once.
    My newest is something like 13 HP. They dont label them by horsepower anymore but its a huge Troy Built. Even with multiple forward and reverse speeds its a pain in the ass to move around in tight spaces or a small job. It does have steering assist so doing a 180 is easy. Heated grips are surprisingly nice. Not needed but they certainly come in handy. The chute control is electronic with a tiny joystick to adjust spin and throw. VERY NICE.
    In my view bigger is not always better because lugging it around and any small positioning change is harder. The reverse on my big one is so slow I end up pulling it backwards and that alone makes me break a sweat because its so massive. Unless you have a very long driveway I would lean towards a lighter 2-stage. Those 24″ Ariens at Runnings look nice.

    3Rivers
    Participant
    Posts: 418
    #2162737

    Honestly, they way these things are built there isn’t much difference in brands.

    I would suggest saving a ton of money and picking one up on marketplace. I was recently in the same boat and honestly wanted to pick up the EGO battery powered 2 stage since I purchased a new mower last year. However they want $1700 for their 2 stage, even though they look pretty dang awesome I just couldn’t do it, Instead I went on marketplace and found a “like new” 8hp 26″ Craftsman for $400. I bet that thing will give me another 20 years of good use.

    I would recommend getting one with an elec starter. If you get lazy on maintenance, the elec starter will sometimes overcome hard starting/minor carb issues and it will save a lot of pulling and swearing.

    Jon Jordan
    Keymaster
    St. Paul, Mn
    Posts: 4412
    #2162738

    My 24 inch two stage Ariens has treated me well.

    -J.

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 16556
    #2162740

    I would recommend getting one with an elec starter. If you get lazy on maintenance, the elec starter will sometimes overcome hard starting/minor carb issues and it will save a lot of pulling and swearing.

    Great point. Both of mine are almost impossible to pull start after summer storage. Electric start fixes that problem. After that its one pull for the season.

    Bassn Dan
    Participant
    Posts: 939
    #2162741

    The major brands all make good snowblowers. I was shopping for one last year and went with a 24″ Ariens Deluxe. Bigger engine and narrower width = less clogging to my thinking. Ariens are also heavier duty construction. It weighs 30 or so pounds more than competitor’s comparable units which means more METAL and less plastic.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 6978
    #2162742

    Going on year 3 of my 60v Toro electric, and love it! Zero Maintenace, and one battery/charge does my average size 3 car driveway 98% of the time, and since I also have the 60v Toro Lawn mower I have 2 batteries and never run out of juice snowblowing.

    tswoboda
    Participant
    Posts: 3684
    #2162744

    How big is the driveway? That’ll play a role in what you need or want.

    I’m a big fan of the little single stage machines – I have a 4stroke Toro that’s been great, and was cheap. I can hammer out my 30′ wide driveway just about as fast as my neighbors with big 2-stage machines. And then I can pick it up, carry it through my house, and snowblow the deck off too. And then pick it up and set it on a garage shelf for storage if I want.

    The only time I ever think about a 2stage is for the end of driveway plow berm if it freezes hard.

    Alagnak1
    Participant
    Posts: 56
    #2162746

    I have a Cub Cadet 3 stage blower. This is the 3rd winter. It’s only 26” wide but very tall and you really can’t stop it- it really throws it a long ways into the yard and completely across the driveway so I can play the wind instead of going down the middle and blowing it to each side like I had to do with my old one (4 car wide). Nothing’s perfect of course and the one and only flaw I have found is the stupid cable driven up/down adjustment for the shoot freezes up so I disconnected that and just adjust it manually the little bit that I use it.

    Gitchi Gummi
    Participant
    Posts: 1226
    #2162747

    Under rated snowblower feature = headlight. Not all of them come with one stock but you can wire one in pretty easily. It sure beats using a headlamp.

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 2883
    tswoboda
    Participant
    Posts: 3684
    #2162750

    If you wanna save money just buy a used one that needs work and bring it over to Grouse’s garage right before the next storm.

    Gitchi Gummi
    Participant
    Posts: 1226
    #2162751

    Get yourself a magnetic work light and any machine can have a headlight.

    that’s definitely a good alternative to wiring one in. thanks for sharing Coletrain

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4153
    #2162752

    Honestly, they way these things are built there isn’t much difference in brands.

    I would suggest saving a ton of money and picking one up on marketplace. I was recently in the same boat and honestly wanted to pick up the EGO battery powered 2 stage since I purchased a new mower last year. However they want $1700 for their 2 stage, even though they look pretty dang awesome I just couldn’t do it, Instead I went on marketplace and found a “like new” 8hp 26″ Craftsman for $400. I bet that thing will give me another 20 years of good use.

    I would recommend getting one with an elec starter. If you get lazy on maintenance, the elec starter will sometimes overcome hard starting/minor carb issues and it will save a lot of pulling and swearing.

    I’d go used as well. Many people think the newest, biggest, most powerful snowblowers are an absolute necessity living in the Midwest. I’d encourage you to chart out the number of 6″ + snowfalls in a year for your property. It’s shockingly lower than most people assume. Some years in the metro it is a few at most. If you’re living anywhere in the Southern 2/3 of MN, most of WI, and aren’t somewhere in the flat country where wind is unchecked…you’d probably come out way ahead buying an older reliable single stage Toro and flipping a guy with a plow $25 the 2 or 3 times a year where that wouldn’t handle it.

    If you are somewhere outside of suburbia with no wind checks and drifting, that’s probably worse than any snowstorm. Since we’ve moved we deal with more snow as a result of blowing than new precipitation. If that’s you, then go the IDO route and find something huge and seemingly overpowered.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #2162756

    Something not mentioned yet is if the driveway is tar/concrete or gravel. A single stage machine will pick up rocks and gravel and send them flying whereas a two stage with a “bucket” will not nearly as much. Obviously the size of the driveway too is a big item to consider as tswoboda stated.

    Single stage units are also “operator propelled” too aren’t they? Meaning the operator must push it along to make it blow the snow whereas a two stage is self-propelled on its own once you engage it. That might be something to think about if your wife or kids might be using it.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 9822
    #2162768

    Single stage units are also “operator propelled” too aren’t they? Meaning the operator must push it along to make it blow the snow whereas a two stage is self-propelled on its own once you engage it. That might be something to think about if your wife or kids might be using it.

    If you get the ones with the rubber belt for an auger they actually pull you along. I have a 2 stroke toro and that thing will clean my driveway in a hurry but its so dang loud I dont like using it. They really clean the driveway nice though.

    xplorer
    Participant
    Cloquet, MN
    Posts: 530
    #2162769

    I’ve been using a Ariens 8524 (8.5 hp, 24″) for about 20 years and other than a few sheer pins, and a couple of new set of belts, and a new (non-OEM) electric starter, its been great for our winters here around Cloquet.
    My in-laws live in Iron Belt, WI (about 7 miles from Hurley) and in the heart of the snow belt. The FIL ran Ariens blowers since I met him back in 1987, so when I had to buy new, I went with Ariens. The blower I had for the 10 years before I bought the 8524, was an ancient 6 hp Ariens that was my Grandfather in Laws until he passed.
    Use good non-oxy fuel (I add an ounce of seafoam/gallon with it for the blower) and change out the oil yearly, grease the zerts, and your ready to roll.

    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 368
    #2162771

    I got an 80s 2 stroke toro . Suckers will wake the neighborhood up when that two stroke sings !

    bigstorm
    Participant
    Southern WI
    Posts: 982
    #2162772

    I bought a new Toro 2 stage before last winter and Im certain thats why we didnt have much snow last winter in southern WI (Im ok with that, would rather have the cold than a lot of snow). I only used it a total of 2hrs but it worked great. I bought it from a local Toro dealer rather than our local Home Depot as it was the same price, the local dealer assembled, tested and delivered it and ran a special if I bought the maintenance kit (oil, fuel stabilizer and a new plug), they added 3yrs onto the warranty

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 9822
    #2162774

    I got an 80s 2 stroke toro . Suckers will wake the neighborhood up when that two stroke sings !

    Yep, but they sure throw snow! It works awesome on my decks too!

    mojo
    Participant
    Posts: 315
    #2162775

    If you wanna save money just buy a used one that needs work and bring it over to Grouse’s garage right before the next storm.

    applause
    Or in the event you’re not a nearby neighbor to Grouse, just have him stop by your place. I’m sure he’d be delighted to do house calls.

    tswoboda
    Participant
    Posts: 3684
    #2162777

    Single stage units are also “operator propelled” too aren’t they? Meaning the operator must push it along to make it blow the snow whereas a two stage is self-propelled on its own once you engage it. That might be something to think about if your wife or kids might be using it.

    As Musky said they’re paddle propelled. I can literally run behind mine if I’m in a hurry and it’s fluffy snow. And for the wife/kid factor a SS is way simpler to operate than a DS. I think it’s really similar to a push mower vs. riding mower. Speaking from experience my wife can use the SS but wouldn’t touch a DS – just like she likes to use our push mower, but won’t touch the rider.

    Rodwork
    Participant
    Farmington, MN
    Posts: 2427
    #2162789

    I just bought an Ariens. They are top of the line. What model depends on what you need to clear. I am very happy with my purchase. I was able to clear off my driveway in ½ the time it took before and I double the size of my driveway. Not looking forward to the Visa bill. Buy once, cry once.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #2162790

    I can literally run behind mine if I’m in a hurry and it’s fluffy snow.

    Haha. Now the question is…DO YOU RUN behind it!? chased

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9541
    #2162791

    Looking at buying a snow blower. I was just curious which brands you guys have found most reliable and what features are good to look into.

    Ariens, Simplicity, Toro, Honda. That’s all you need to know. Good machines, well built, parts are easy to find,

    Size the machine correctly for driveway size and terrain. Resist the IDO urge to massively overkill it. As has been mentioned, giant snow dumps are very uncommon unless you’re in the UP. Buy for 90% the uses, which means 1-2 inches.

    Totally agree with Gitchi, a headlight is a must-have. Wish my blower had that.

    If you wanna save money just buy a used one that needs work and bring it over to Grouse’s garage right before the next storm.

    Or in the event you’re not a nearby neighbor to Grouse, just have him stop by your place. I’m sure he’d be delighted to do house calls.

    Thanks for the recommendations. coffee Now please go away.

    Gitchi Gummi
    Participant
    Posts: 1226
    #2162796

    Totally agree with Gitchi, a headlight is a must-have. Wish my blower had that

    Does your machine have a stator with the wire thing hanging out? I installed a light on mine and it was easy. Run the power off that wire and add a ground and you’re all set. If you want, you can get fancy and wire in a switch but mine is just always on.

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