The Best Snow Blowers and Snow Throwers For 2014-2015

Welcome to MovingSnow! This page covers the latest Snow Blower reviews and my picks for the best for this year!

Remember! It’s not what I think is best, it’s what you and I think is best for you!
If you think we made a good match please tell all your friends to come to movingsnow.com

There are new snow blowers this year but no 2015 snow blowers…

 Manufactures of snow blowers do not use model years to designate the latest snow blowing equipment in their lines. They use model numbers and only change those numbers when they significantly change that machine. 

Don’t be fooled by the hype. The “snowblowers-R-Us” sites want you to think they have the 2015 snowblowers that are better than snow blowers at other sites. I will keep the current model snow blowers on this page. If a snow blower is discontinued you will still be able to read the review – but the review will be in the searchable archives. For example, Husqvarna completely rebuilt their line this year but there may still be a few older units left at some dealers. If you have a specific model in mind you can read my reviews of them by using the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page you are on.

The Current Brands of Two Stage Snow Blowers:

Ariens, Craftsman, CubCadet, Honda, Husqvarna, Jonserd, Poulan Pro, PowerSmart, Remington, Simplicity, Snapper, Sno-Tek, Stanley, Toro, Troy Bilt, Yard Machines.

There are around 150 two-stage snow blowers and 100  single stage snow blowers currently for sale from these brands. I am going to write reviews of the best and most popular first. Then as I have time I’ll write reviews of the rest. I will not write reviews of the 10,000 or so Far East Snow Blowers that are trying to get into the U.S. market. If you have questions though please leave a comment below and my readers and I will answer it.

Canadian Eligible Snow Blowers & Accessories:

Canadian Snow Blowers are different than those in the U.S. and Europe. Not better or worse, just different models and features. Here are three popular places to buy your new snowblower. If you have questions on Canadian Models please leave a comment below and my readers and I will answer it.

Sears.ca Snow Blower Prices-Reviews Sears Canada
 
Lowes.ca Snow Blower Prices-Reviews
 
TheHomeDepot.ca Snow Blower Prices-Reviews homedepot.ca

New Items For Fall 2014! I’ll add them as they are announced.

  • Husqvarna: Husqvarna has completely rebuilt the snow blower line for 2014-2015! This change was over 3 years in the making and I am very excited with the changes in price, capacity, sound levels, and quality in the new machines.
  • Ariens: The Auto-Turn is a proven winner. Introduced last year it will Zero Turn without levers or triggers. New this year SHO (Super High Output) motors
  • Craftsman: Craftsman is introducing Quiet Technology to snow blowers. Gas motors that are up to 45% quieter than the one you now own.  
  • Cub Cadet: Introduced the 3X Line in 2014. 50% more capacity than their 2 stage line.
  • Troy-Bilt: It looks like Troy-Bilt at Lowes is getting a few of the 3X models too.
  • Toro: Introduced the Power Max Compact Line in 2013. Introduced their own engines in 2014.
  • Jonserd: A new name in the U.S. but a long standing, dependable name worldwide. Tractor Supply will be selling these made-by Husqvarna snow blowers.
  • Craftsman/MD: Sears Canada is coming out with a large number of new high horsepower snow blowers. It looks like most are made by Husqvarna.
  • Remington: You know the name and it is know for inexpensive lawn & garden tools. Home Depot will carry these made-by MTD snow blowers

Shear Pins Replacement Shear PinsIgnition Keys Replacement Ignition Keys, Skid Shoes

Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower Reviews

Single Stage snow throwers are easy to maneuver, transport and store. But they only work on hard surfaces like cement, blacktop and patios. Because they clean right down to the surface they will not work on gravel and may scratch your wood decks. Gas powered single stage snow throwers will easily move up to 6 inches of snow and throw it 15 feet or so. A few will clear up to 9 inches.

I will add residential single stage reviews as I get time.

Go here for single-stage commercial snow throwers: Professional Commercial Business Single Stage Snow Blowers/

Two-Stage Snow Blower Reviews

Depending on the model, two-stage snow blowers will move snow up to 22 inches deep and throw it up to 50 feet. They work well on hard surfaces and you can adjust them to clear your gravel driveway and the spot on your lawn for your dogs without throwing rocks and grass. Wider models clear large areas faster. Larger impellers and motors on some units throw the snow farther. Power steering, Auto-Turn, heated hand grips, remote chute controls make deluxe snow blowers easy to use.  The two-stage snow blower market is very competitive and you do get what you pay for. More expensive models have more features and many are better built. The best units I will rate you will be able to put in your will for the kids to fight over :)

Cheap 2 stage Snow Blowers – There are a few good ones. Go Here: Cheap 2 stage Snow Blowers – There are a few good ones

I am giving ALL Power Smart and Snow Devil snow blowers a “don’t buy” rating again this year. The short warranty and lack of repair centers are the main reason I can’t yet recommend these units. Go here to read my review: Power Smart – Snow Devil Snow Blowers – Great Deal or Great Ripoff?

20 to 23 inches Residential 2-Stage

A good size for single car driveways. (10 X 40 feet) Works well for light to heavy snow. 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review: Sno-Tek 20 in Model 939401 Review  Great for Urban areas, small driveways that get lots of snow.

Review:  Ariens Compact 22 in 205 cc Model 920013 Snow Blower Review Best overall residential 22 inch snow blower

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a few years

Review:  Craftsman 22 in Model 88170 Review If you live in the city this may have a place in your garage.

Review:  Amerisun – PowerSmart DB7659 Don’t Buy This 22 inch Snow Blower

24 inch Residential 2-Stage

This size is the most common because it works well for 2 car wide by 3 car long driveways. (16 X 60 feet)  Works well for light to heavy snow. 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review:  Craftsman 24 inch 208cc Model 88173  Best Value 24 inch Snow Blower. Good for Heavy Snow!

Review:  Ariens Compact 24 in. 205 cc Model 920021  MY Second choice for Best Value 24 inch Snow Blower

Review: Toro Power Max 724OE Another Great 24 inch snow blower!

Review:  Husqvarna 200 Series (208cc Two Stage) ST 224 It’s hard to impress me, but they did this year

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Compact Track 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower Best Traction Over priced but – Track Drive King Of The Hill!

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Review:  Cub Cadet 24 in 524 SWE  Easiest To Use 24 inch Snow Blower

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower This one is the highest capacity 24 inch under $1000. Extremely easy to use.

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components.

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Platinum 24 in. Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering Everything you could possibly want on a 24 inch machine yet easy to use.

Review: Husqvarna 300 Series (254cc Two Stage) ST 324P Landowner Everything you could want on a 24 inch snow blower. Is this the best 24 inch or is the Ariens Platinum?

Buy: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers. 3X 24 in. 277 cc Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Heated Grips. 50% more capacity than a Cub Cadet 524 SWE

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a few years

Review:  Craftsman 24 inch 179cc Model 88172 Least Expensive 24 inch Snow Blower I recommend. Before you buy, please check out the Best Value Craftsman 88173

Review: Ariens Sno-Tek Snow Blowers. 24 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower Another Inexpensive 24 in Snow Blower. A good choice if you don’t like Craftsman.

Review:  Power Smart DB7651 Power Smart is getting there, but not this year. Don’t Buy This 24 inch Snow Blower

Remington RM 2410 and Troy-Bilt 2410. Just 2 inexpensive MTD made snow blowers.

Review: YardMan 24 in Model-31as63ee701 Another Don’t Buy The snow blower is ok, it the price they want for it that’s the problem.

26 inch  Residential 2-Stage

A larger snow blower that will still get through the side door on your garage. Works well for 2 car by 4 car drives. (16X80 feet)  Works well for light to heavy snow. 

Ariens does not make a 26 inch snow blower.

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review:   Craftsman 26 inch Model 88970 Good Value 26 inch No Power Steering. This snow blower has been replaced in Oct 2014 with a new quiet model

Review: Craftsman 88972 quietest 2-stage snow blower

Review: Toro 726OE 26 inch 205 cc Easy to use chute control (Toro Power Max 726OE 38614 )

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Review:   Craftsman 26 inch Model 88691  This snow blower has been replaced in Oct 2014 with the new quiet model 88694

Review: Craftsman 88694 Review The Best Overall 26 inch Snow Blowerquietest 2-stage snow blower

Buy Here Cub Cadet 526 SWE:Cub Cadet Snow Removal 26 in. 243 cc 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering 2X 526 SWE. This model appears to be going away and is replaced by the new 3X snow blowers.

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components. Some have track drive for hills and off roading.

Review:   Husqvarna 300 Series (291cc Two Stage) ST 327P Landowner 27 inch Snow Blower

Review: Toro 826OE 26 inch 250 cc A Toro if you live in a snow belt (Toro Power Max 826 OE 37772)

Review:   Cub Cadet 26 in 357cc 3 Stage! Model Cub Cadet 31AH55T, Cub Cadet # 3X 26, Cub Cadet 31AH55S  Highest Capacity 26 King Of The Hill!

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a year or so.

Review: Power Smart Snow Devil Don’t Buy – This 26 inch Snow Blower is horribly  underpowered

27 to 28 inches Residential 2-Stage

Most of these have larger motors to handle heavy, wet snow well.  For 2 to 3 cars wide, 5 cars long and larger. (24 X 100 feet) 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

Review: Ariens Deluxe 28 Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Model Ariens AX254 921030 Best Value, Easiest To Use, The Best Overall 28 inch Snow Blower. 

Review:  Craftsman 28 inch Model 88395 with Power Steering Good Value 28 inch Snow Blower with all the extras! My No.2 Choice for best 28 inch. If the tires on the Ariens 28 Deluxe scare you away then look seriuosly at this snow blower.

Review:  Husqvarna 200 Series (254cc Two Stage) ST 227 It’s hard to impress me, but they did this year

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe Track 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower (Review Coming Soon!) Best Traction 28 inch Snow Blower

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components. Some have track drive for hills and off roading.

Buy: Ariens Snow Blowers. Professional Series 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower (926038)

Buy:  Cub Cadet Snow Blowers. 3X 28 in. 357 cc 3-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Heated Grips

Buy: Toro Snow Blowers. Power Max HD 1128 OXE 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower

Buy: Toro Snow Blowers. Power Max HD 1028 OHXE 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower

Buy: Toro Snow Blowers. Power Max HD 928 OHXE 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower

Buy:  Ariens 926056 Professional Pro Hydro Pro 28 inch (420cc) Two Stage

Buy:  Ariens 926042 Professional Pro ST28DLET 28 inch (420cc) Pro Series

Buy:  Ariens 926053 Professional Hydro Pro Hydro Pro 28 inch (420cc) Two

Buy:  Ariens Snow Blowers. Professional Series 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower (926038)

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last a few years

Review:  Ariens Sno-Tek 28 in.   Least Expensive 28 Snow Blower

(Review Coming Soon!) Don’t Buy 28 Snow Blower

30  inches Residential 2-Stage

One of these will cut your snow blowing time in half over a 24 inch. Most have large motors, power steering, remote chute controls and heavy duty gears. 

Residential: Good Value Units. No extra features and without power steering may be hard to use for some people

There are no residential units I recommend. Just about all 30 inch snow blowers have power steering and other options to make your snow blowing easier. 

Deluxe: More features like power steering. Bigger motors for heavier snow falls.

Review: Craftsman 30 inch Model 88396 Best Value For 2014! Easiest To Use 30 inch Snow Blower in 2014. Best Chute Control

Review: Ariens Deluxe 30 Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Model Ariens 921032 My Second choice for Best Value 30 inch Snow Blower

Review:   Husqvarna 200 Series (291cc Two Stage) ST 230P Deluxe 30 inch Snow Blower

Snow Belt: Heavy duty models. Largest motors, heaviest components. Some have track drive for hills and off roading.

Review: Ariens Platinum 30 SHO Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Dealer Only! Biggest, baddest, most powerful 30 inch Snow Blower. You can throw snow anywhere you want with this snow blower!

Buy Here: Ariens Snow Removal Platinum 30 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering 921029 Smaller motor than the SHO but still plenty for most of us.

Review:  Cub Cadet 31AH57S 3 Stage!

Review:  Cub Cadet 930SWE 31AH95SU Note: This review is for the 933. Everything in the review applies to this model

Review:   Husqvarna 300 Series (369cc Two Stage) ST 330P Landowner 27 inch Snow Blower

Review:   Husqvarna 300 Series (414cc Two Stage) ST 330T Landowner 30 inch Track Drive Snow Blower. Biggest Motor! Best Traction for Slopes.

Review:  Husqvarna 1830EXLT 30 inch Track Drive Biggest Motor! Discontinued but there still may be a few left.

Cheap: If you only use your snow blower once or twice a year these models may last one season

Beast Snow Blowers. Don’t Buy 30 inch Snow Blower

31 and over inches Residential 2-Stage

These snow blowers in general are heavy-duty machines capable of handling any type of snow. Most have heated hand-grips and remote chutes. There are hydro versions that will last for years. 

Review:  Craftsman High Capacity 33 in Model 88397 Best Value 31 to 36 inch Snow Blower. This puppy moves snow!

Review:  Craftsman High Capacity 45 in Model 88398 This snow blower is too big for you! These are great for large, flat areas like parking lots and miles of sidewalks. Commercial operators love them, but most homeowners say they wish they would have bought a smaller machine. 

Commercial Snow Blowers 2-Stage

Go here for two-stage commercial snow throwers: Professional Commercial Business Two Stage Snow Blowers

Please give your city and state when you comment

  1. @David, All 4 of these snow blowers are dealer only models. You can’t get them at the box stores or online.

    The best snow blower for you in your price range is the Ariens Platinum 30 SHO but they may be impossible to find right now. About 12.5 HP.

    There are 2 other models that will also do the job well – just not quite as fast that still may be available.

    Ariens Platinum 30 – Same machine a little less power. About 11 HP.
    Husqvarna ST 330P – Same engine as the Platinum 30. About 11 HP

    I am going to mention the Cub Cadet 3X™ 30″ HD. A lot of people including consumer reports like this snow blower and it appears to work really well for owners that get a lot of snow. But be aware that if you try to run really hard chunks of snow/ice through it – it has a habit of breaking shear pins. The inside auger shear pin is a real pain to change.

    Last, snow blowers are getting really hard to find, especially in the northeast. If you have been getting by this long you may have to wait until next fall to get the snow blower you really want – instead of what’s available right now.

  2. Paul,

    I live in tropical Orchard Park, NY and we’re being pummeled by snow again this yr. I need to clear a driveway that’s 60×30 and more importantly a path/walkway that’s approx 100×5.

    The snow here as you know goes from dry to wet to ice to wet to dry to etc..and can come down upwards of 3-4ft in a 24hr period. I know that I need at least a 30inch model and my budget is in the $1500-1800 range. Currently I have a driveway plow service and hand shovel approx half of the walkway but it’s time that I take the next step, I’m not built for the rigors of shoveling up here in the snowbelt.

    Thanks again for the help, the site looks great.
    David (40yrs old)

  3. @Bruce, There are two ways to go. If you have an electrical outlet up there a corded snow blower like the Snow Joe Snow Removal Ultra 21-Inch 14-Amp Electric Snow Thrower SJ624E is small, lightweight and can handle about 6 inches of snow easily. It’s also light enough that you can grab it and use it like a shovel if the snow is too deep. You can leave it in the shed and never worry about it starting next fall.

    The other option is a single stage snow thrower. They handle up to about 9 inches well and will work satisfactorily for a foot. A Toro Snow Removal Power Clear 518 ZE 18 in. Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower 38473 is very similar to the ones I used to keep in the back of my snow plow trucks for just the type of work you want to do. The Craftsman 21″ 208cc* Single-Stage Snowblower w/ Electric Start is heavier but has a light on it for night work.

  4. Paul, I live in suburban Boston in a home with a flat rubber roof. When we have over a foot of snow, we have to shovel it off. Is there a small, lightweight machine that I could use up there? I doesn’t have to go right down to the ground as I wouldn’t want to risk damaging the roof. There’s a small shed on the roof where I could store it.

  5. Paul,
    thanks for all your work and the the excellent resource

    i went with the craftsman 24″ 305cc (model 52441 in canada), as you had mentioned in mid sept 2014

    the reason i needed a 24″ was for ease of moving between locations,
    but i also wanted something with a little more oomph for our (sometimes) heavy wet snow in salmon arm, bc

  6. @Mike, The minimum I suggest is the Craftsman 24-in. 208cc Dual-Stage Snowblower. It will do the job. There are a few other 208 cc 24 inch snow blowers that will also work – Cub Cadet 524 SWE Cub Cadet Snow Removal 24 in. 208 cc Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering 2X 524 SWE – Husqvarna ST224 – Ariens Compact 24.

    But the best for your situation is the Ariens Deluxe 24. Right now the only place to buy it is at your local Ariens Dealer. It has enough power to to always throw your snow up and over your walls plus it will handle those 18 incher’s with ease.

  7. Hi Paul. Great site! I live in suburban Boston, but get a lot more snow than Boston proper. We get 12″ storms somewhat frequently, occasional 18”. My issues are two-fold; our driveway is only 30’ long, but has 4’ retaining walls on either side as it is below grade. So snow needs to be thrown up high, and a decent distance. We also utilize for parking a paved area between the street and our front (shorter) retaining walls. This area is about 60’ long and a car-width wide, and it usually gets filled with fairly heavy plowed snow from the street (we live on a fairly main road, though there is no line down the middle). The driveway is 1.5 car widths wide; there is always a car in it during snowstorms, so there is only 4’ or so feet on either side before you hit the retaining wall.
    I have never owned a snowblower (just a crappy hand me down snowthrower) so I am a newbie. So my issues are that I might not have the largest area to clear, but I need something that will throw snow high, is not too wide (or too big, frankly), and can handle a good deal of heavy plowed snow from the street (essentially 60’ of plowed frontage).
    I am 44, male, and will be using it almost exclusively. Ideally my wife could use in extremis, but that probably isn’t going to happen (or be needed). Price is an issue, money is a little tight.
    Thank you very much! – Mike

  8. @BSchrank, If you like the old MTD a good replacement is the Craftsman 88395. Go to that link to read my review. It has power steering so it is easy to use and the 277cc engine has about the same power as your old machine.

    If you want a smaller machine (24 inch) with the most power and a snow blower that can handle that wet heavy stuff the Cub Cadet Snow Removal in. 277 cc 3-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Heated Grips 3X 24 is a good choice. It also features power steering and is very easy to use.

    Feel free to ask any other questions so I can help you decide.

  9. Hi Paul, up here in Winthrop Harbor, IL (thanks for your advice on the tractor last spring) I think our 28″ MTD that our previous owner of the house sold to us has officially retired. My wife and I are looking for something that will still have the power to clear a 100′ x 2car driveway that needs to throw about 30′ but will be a little less intimidating. The Craftsman 26″ with the 208cc quiet motor seems like it would fit the bill (model #31AS58TF799) but I am concerned about power, especially the heavy first 8″ from this past weekend. The MTD has a 10.5hp Tecumseh motor – it’s loud, and thanks to some mods by the previous owner, not the best at it’s job. Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance, Bob

  10. @mcvit, The direct replacement for your John Deere is the Simplicity H1730E.

    Track drives give you great traction and are great for slopes and clearing a path across a lawn or lake. You can also adjust the front off the ground so you can clear gravel without digging in. For you there are really only 3 models that will work. A Cub Cadet 30 inch that is dealer only, An Ariens that is $2900 and the Husqvarna. Amazon still has a couple of 2013 27 inch Husqvarna Track drives at a really great price. These snow blowers will go through anything, have every feature, and are way over powered so they will blow 24 inch snow just as well as a 4 incher. Husqvarna 1827EXLT 27-Inch 414cc SnowKing Gas Powered Two Stage Snow Thrower With Electric Start, Power Steering & Trac Hydro Drive

    Homedepot.ca still has the Ariens deluxe 30. It is built heavier than your old Deere and will do a great job for a wheeled snow blower.Ariens Deluxe 30 Electric Start 30 Inch Two Stage Snow Gas Snow Thrower With Auto Turn

    Lowes Canada has the Cub Cadet 420cc 30-in Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight This wheeled unit is a little lighter than your old Deere but it has a big motor and heated handles.

  11. hey paul- I live in northern Ontario where our snow falls can change from 2-4 inches to 24 inches, I do a small amount of snow removal 5-8 drives ways a snow fall I currently use a john deere 1130se. I am in the market for a new blower I was just wondering what you would suggest? also track or no track?

  12. @Shane, You have a large enough area to clear that you might as well go with a 30 inch machine. I finally got to use the Ariens SHO today and it is really a smooth, powerful machine. I had about 5 inches of wet snow. The plow drift was over a foot of wet slush and it did a great job. I can’t wait to use it on 14-16 inches.

    I feel the SHO will be the best investment you could make. It will do the job well and last more than 15 years.

  13. @Paul,

    I am still on the fence about the Ariens Platnium SHO ($1350) vs Ariens Deluxe 28 with the AX414cc ($1350) vs the Craftsman 30 with 357cc (now on sale for $1199). I have a 4 car by 4 car base to my drive plus about 75 yards of 1.5 car width paved drive. I live in New England with a good deal of wet snow in the 6-12″ range with a few 24″ snows a year. Any advice? Also want a machine that will last a good 10-15 years.

  14. @Ana, What you want does not exist but. If you want an electric this is the only snow blower that will do a respectable job. It has the most power of all the electrics and has actual rubber paddles that will chew through most of the wet, heavy snow. The SnowJoe Ultra 18 Inch 15 Amp Electric Snow Thrower with Light. You have to order it through this Home Depot link and it is shipped to your home.

    I’ll be frank. It will throw the snow maybe 15 feet. It will only handle about 6 inch snows so if you are going to get 8-12 inches he will have to go out a couple of times to clear the drive. Finally it won’t throw slush more than a few feet.

  15. My 70 year old Dad recently had a stroke and has lost feeling in his right thumb so we need to get a snow blower now. Driveway is small-medium size with short stone walk way on the side. Nothing large. We need something electric as he won’t be able to fuss with changing oil and hates gas lawnmowers for this reason ,so think anything with electric cord is better. We are in Toronto, so very wet snow happens a lot along with City snow remover dumping thick snowy/ice at end of driveway. Any recommend’s for seniors?

  16. @JohnB, I was through there last month and didn’t see the signs for the animal preserve on 474. I took my daughter there every few years when she was growing up. I miss Steak & Shake!

    I want to highly discourage you from getting a three stage. You don’t get enough snow for one of those. (The 3X works best on 8 inches or more of snow and just makes a mess with 2-4) And even though I like the Ariens AutoTurn a lot I also don’t think you will be happy with that on your hill. (Ariens Deluxe 28 at Home Depot)

    So, I suggest a 28 inch with power steering. I have 3 in mind. The first one you can get at Sears or a Sears Hometown Store.

    1. A craftsman 88395 28 In 277cc* Dual-Stage Snowblower w/ EZ Steer.

    The next 2 are at Tractor Supply. You can order them online and pick them up at your local TSC. (The Cub Cadet is also at Home Depot)

    2. A Cub Cadet 2X 28 Cub Cadet 2X 528 SWE
    3. A 30 in Jonserd Jonsered ST2376. Now, you may never have heard of the Jonsered – but it is the new 200 series Husqvarna painted red and I like the machine a lot. (Tractor Supply had to have their own brand name). You can read about it here: Snow Blowers at TSC

    After using your new snow blower you may find you need chains for the wheels. Look at the tire and write down the size, go to an Ariens dealer and get the chains.

  17. Hi Paul,
    We live in Peoria, IL. Last winter was a killer for us. We had been hand shoveling 200 foot single lane driveway that goes up a hill, with a climb of 60ft vertical. Yes, it is steep. Hand shoveling, we usually do it in a 8″ storm in less than an hour. But, this winter we will not shovel anymore. I am so confused as to what we should buy. Obviously, 2 stage, at least 26inch. Should we look at 3 stage? We really don’t want to spend more than $1400. At this time, last year, we already had 3 snow storms, so I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as last year. Maybe the snow will just go to Buffalo, NY, this year. LOL. Any help would be appreciated.

  18. @Mark, And the Craftsman prices are the lowest of the bunch. You can add $500 to $1000 for the other brands. Cost of the Craftsman 42 inch with weights and chains is about $1600.

    The Craftsman 88395 I suggested is about $1000.

    It’s hard to find a Garden tractor under $5000 with power steering. The new Cub Cadet XT3 GSE and GSX will have it. The Simplicity Conquest is the only other one.

  19. Paul-thanks for the promptness to my question. Ironically, I am looking to buy a new garden/lawn tractor. I have looked at the blower attachments for the Craftsman and they seem high for the product. Considering that cost and the attachment would you agree that I am better off going the separate route even if I go high end on a tractor?
    By the way, I admire your passion!

  20. @Mark, for that large of an area I suggest a 28-30 inch machine. The Craftsman 88395 is a decent machine that is balanced well, has power steering and can handle both the 3 inch and 10 inch snow falls. There are others, but this one is a good value.

  21. @Phil, about 3/4 of an inch works well. Any of the 2-stage snow blowers that I review here will go that high. I suggest a 24 inch snow blower with a 208cc engine or larger.

    The Craftsman 88173 is a good value snow blower. Ariens, Toro, Husqvarna all make good 24 inch machines that will do this for you.

  22. I live in Taylorstown, VA (western Loudoun County). After a heavy snowfall, I need to clear a walking path about 100′ long from my front gate to my tractor shed across a lawn. How much clearance do I need to avoid gouging up the turf? And what snow blowers are available that have sufficient clearance? Phil

  23. Paul-thanks for all the advice. As a virgin to this type of equipment, it is a bit overwhelming. I live in the southern Mid-Atlantic area . We get 3-4 snow falls a year of 3-6 inches and every other year get a 8+ inch dump. I have a flat surface that is 175×15 feet long with a 30×40 parking pad. I am getting on in years ( aren’t we all) and would probably want power steering. Considering the paucity of events and volume, for the most part, what suggestions do you or your community have?
    Mark from Middle River, MD

  24. Thanks Paul. I originally set it for an 1/8″ as stated in their manual. They also say to raise it up to 7/8″ for gravel. I settled for a 1/4 inch as my path from the shed is not long and is level grass and I want as much as possible off the driveway.

    Today we already had 8″ of heavy wet snow. Only one pull to get it fired up. The auto turn is supreme. The hardest part is getting out of the old habit of using effort. Being able to zero turn a snowblower this large is priceless. First I was unimpressed by the throwing distance. Then I hit the snowplows pile at the end of the driveway….. Holly ****…. It ate it up and threw it so far that it made my neighbors stop their snowblowing to watch. I then realized I could take it out of “second” and let it run (old habit once again). The faster I let it move the stronger this machine got. The driveway was cleared so fast I was kind of sad.

  25. @Troy, That is an interesting question about the octane. I know less BTU’s in ethanol but if that is enough to feel a difference in a 12 hp engine….

    Have you lowered the skid shoes? I suggest at least 1/2 inch between the scraper bar and the ground, 3/4 of an inch if you path to the shed is rough. I am finding that the Auto Turn works the best when the snow blower is riding on the skids instead of the scraper bar.

  26. Excellent website. I purchased the Ariens deluxe 30″ for my tightly packed 2×3 6 car slightly pitched end of cul-de-sac driveway. I figured for the extra $299 over the 28″ deluxe, the extra power, couple of inches of clearing width, heavier weight and better tires will make this winter a little bit easier. I also plan to use this on the lawn to create a pathway to/from the driveway to the shed where the snowblower will be kept.

    I have been practicing on the cold days to get use to having an auto turn, idle control, and fuel cutoff switch. I do find the auto turn to be harshly jerky but compared to always having to muscle a snow blower around it’s not bad. I might think differently once I have snow to eat through.

    It probably is not necessary, but I used a car wax sealant on the snow blower. I also pulled the spark plug and applied some anti-seize and on the cap end applied some dielectric grease. After the first couple of hours of use and before the real cold winter sets in, I will change the oil to a full synthetic because it will be kept in the cold shed.

    My shed has electricity and I have yet to try the electric start. After a couple of practice sessions it now fires up with a single pull.

    I already fortified the 87 octane gasoline with marine stabil, but according to the Ariens user manual, it states you can use any gas with an octane greater than 86. As many know the higher the octane the lower the percentage of ethanol and also more stability in high heat and compression running engines. Being these engines do at least get really hot, even in the cold weather, will there be enough of power advantage using the higher octane, maybe a ft.lb. or two in torque?

    (Location Albany, NY)

  27. @Paul. Oh, I didn’t realize the model 31AS58TF799 is the same as the 88694. None of their ads or specs mention power steering (I do now see that it says “Steerable: Yes”) It is only about $10 more. 45% quieter for that price is certainly worth it. I guess that makes my decision easy.

    Thank you very much

  28. @Jeremy, Craftsman keeps parts for a good 20 years. Cub Cadet is about the same.

    You may have problems finding a 88691 up here. If you can’t the new 99694 is readily available. The Cub Cadet 526 has a little larger motor (243cc). Other than that the only difference is the skid shoes.

    The new 88964 has the new 208cc quiet motor. Same HP but larger motor and gas tank.

  29. @Boris, The snow blower comes with the handles folded down and the chute off so the box is not that tall. You will not need to lay it down. Assembly is easy. Just lift up the handles and tighten two wing nuts. The chute goes on with one wingnut and pin. 5 minutes and it’s ready to go.

  30. Hi Paul, Excellent website for those looking for blowers. I am from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. I have narrowed my search down to the Cub Cadet 526 SWE and the Craftsman 88691. Those are the best values (with power steering) right now at about $900. Is repair a big problem for these since they have been phased out by newer models? Is there any significant difference between the two? It is supposed to be as snowy this year as it was last so I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to clear 12″. Do either of these units perform better in deep, wet snow? Thanks.

  31. Thanks Paul, ye I read about the 88172, features look pretty much the same but I feel like I’m OK paying the extra 50 bucks for the additional power. Related question, it seems that the snow blower will not for in my car in the box/crate standing up, I want to lay it down but was told that’s not a good idea as oil and other fluids might leak, is this a valid concern or should I not worry about it?

  32. @Adam, I’m not a big fan of single stage snow blowers but they do have a place in some owners garages. If you can get out and move your snow when there is less than 6 inches of snow they work well. They also do a great job of cleaning right down the the hard surface. They don’t work for gravel and cleaning a spot off the lawn for your dogs. They only throw snow 15 feet or so. I have one for just cleaning off those 2 to 4 inch snow falls that the 2-stage snow throwers don’t work well on.

    That said.

    I suggest a single stage with a 208cc engine or larger. It never runs out of power and will throw the snow the farthest. Electric start is a given in my book. I’ll show you 3 that I like that are mid-priced. If you want remote chute it is usually $50 more.

    Honestly, The 3 I like are the Toro 700 series, Ariens Path Pro and the Husqvarna . If I put them all in a row and used them on the same snow storm you couldn’t tell the difference in throwing distance, cleaning, and ease of use. All three are the top-of-the-line for single stage.

    The Toro Snow Removal Power Clear 721 RC Commercial 21 in. Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower 38751 has been around longer. More contractors throw one of these in the back of their plow trucks than any other brand.

    The Ariens Snow Removal Path-Pro SS21 21 in. 208 cc Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower 938031 is the easiest to work on. Contractors like it because you can quickly change spark plugs or change the drive belt. It has an engine guard in the back that makes it a little difficult to pull up stairs.

    The Husqvarna 961830004 208cc Single Stage Electric Start Snow Thrower, 21-Inch
    is the quietest. The Husqvarna has an adjustable bottom scraper. You can set it for cleaning well or throwing deeper snow well. The Husqvarna comes with all the extras like HID LED lights and remote chute for the same price as the mid-level Toro and Ariens.

    The Honda is over priced.

    The Briggs/Snapper/Simplicity Briggs & Stratton 1696506 Single Stage Snow Thrower with 900 Snow Series 205cc Engine and Electric Start, 22-Inch with the metal blade looks like a gimick at this point. Do you really need a metal serrated blade on a single stage snow thrower?

    Craftsman/MTD/Troy-Bilt/Remington/Cub Cadet are ok – nothing special. They are all the same snow thrower.

    If you don’t buy online I suggest going with the dealer you like the best. Trusting your dealer goes a long way to making the purchase great for years to come.

  33. I am looking for a single-stage gas snowblower, I don’t think I need a dual-stage. I live in SE Michigan and a flat 45′ x 16′ driveway. We did get over 100″ of snow last season, but that is rare (I hope!). I owned a single-stage Simplicity that died after more than 15 years. I know you haven’t reviewed any residential blowers yet. Do you have any advice on models that would work for me? I have seen Toro, Snapper, Ariens, Craftsman, Honda and Troy-Built in my area. Other than the different specs, electric vs. pull start, handle mounted vs. non-handle mounted controls, is there anything else I should look for? Are all these makes basically the same in terms of reliability and durability? Would a dual-stage be overkill? I realize a bigger machine will make the work take less time but I am not sure I need or want that big of a blower. Thanks.

  34. @dino, The B&S is the same as the Snapper H1528E except it does not have power steering. Here is a link to the Snapper Snapper H1528E Specs.

    We generally refer to these as “Simplicity” snow blowers. This design was introduced by Simplicity back in 2005 or so and Briggs didn’t change it a bit when they bought Simplicity and Snapper. The only change has been they switched from a friction disk transmission to a more reliable General Transmission unit. It looks like this one uses the HR300 CVT. It a rugged machine, a little heavy, and most of use are still leary of the electric chute control down by the impeller.

    The Cub Cadet 357cc 28-in Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight is actually a better deal. The Cub Cadet has a larger engine and power steering for the same price.

  35. @May, Good track drives are expensive but worth every penny if you need the traction.

    I like the new Husqvarna ST 330PT. I also like the Ariens Pro Track 28. These track drives are larger than your old one so it will take you a lot less time to clean your drive. They have power steering so they are easy to use. These machines will blow your driveway clear in the first pass. No need to rethrow

  36. I am replacing a 17 year old White Snow Boss 24″ which is failing now. I live in Mt Kisco NY in northern Westchester County. My driveway is long 200 ft plus and inclines down to the road, which is why we had a track snow thrower. It is very wide at the top and has an island in middle. We usually have to throw the snow a couple of times in order to clear the driveway at the top. Any recommendation for a replacement track snow thrower would be welcome. Thanks.

  37. @Alex, I don’t know the actual manufacture but they also make the Ryobi and Craftsman 40 volt. Auger is hard plastic. No one rates electrics in HP anymore. You need a 14 gauge extension cord 100 ft or less.

  38. awho manufacturesgreenworkssnow blower ?what is auger made of ? lookingat13amp 20in.elec. snow blower mod#2600202. what H.P.is moter? Alex.

  39. @Nick, Picking the best is a hard choice. They both have the same size motor, same size impeller and auger. They should throw snow up to 40 feet.

    The Ariens Compact is all metal including the dash. The new Husqvarna has a very unique feature – you can adjust the height of the handles for tall or short people.
    I just wrote a complete article on the new Husqvarna. See the home page to read it.

  40. Hi Paul, great article. It has definitely helped get me into the right models. I’m torn between the new 24″ Husqvarna with heated grips and the Ariens Compact 24″. Our Home Depot has the Ariens that I can see in person, but no where around here has the Husqvarna. Can you give me your thoughts between those two? I’m basically clearing an alleyway and packed gravel driveway. Altoona, PA.

  41. @Brad, Seriously look at the Platinum 30 SHO. It will have the most power per inch so you will never have to wait on it. The gear drive with Auto-Turn just is a simple and very effective drive system. I actually like it better than a hydro. A set of tire chains will give you enough traction. Since you are saving so much money over a hydro-pro consider a snow cab and you will have a great machine.

    If you have problems keeping the front end down trying to go through those hard packed drifts buy the 10 lb weight kit for the front.

    Don’t get rid of the Quad plow. For 2 to 4 inch snows it will still be a lot faster than a snow blower. Make a couple of passes with the quad and then finish the last round with the snow blower.

  42. I grappled with the chute rotation aspect of the Ariens the most. I figured Ariens couldn’t use the method that the Compact 24 incorporates due to the larger size and weight of the chute on the 24 Deluxe. Of any of them, I did feel that it would be the most reliable but that just an opinion.

  43. I really appreciate your website and feedback… I live in Northern Minnesota and I am looking to purchase a larger snow blower for a 300’ sloped driveway with a budget up to $3000. The snow can get up to 2-3’ deep overnight and packs very hard with the wind. I am looking at an Ariens however not sure if I should go with the Platinum 30”, HydroPro 36”, Professional 32” of Hydrotrack 32”. They all appear to have the same engine but have heard the Hydrotrack is very slow. I am looking for a wide machine that has good speed/power and have no sidewalks to worry about. The unit will be parked in a heated garage so there is a not size limitation. Get tired of using a quad plow that creates 5-6′ drifts from snowbanks and a $7000 ATV snowblower is not an option. Appreciate your thoughts…

  44. @Brett, You are going to have to toss a coin, I like them both. I like the console on the Husqvarna and I like the dependability of the Ariens Corporation.

  45. Paul – Really helfpul info, thank you! Looking to buy my first snow blower, live in the mid-Atlantic (Northern VA) where we don’t always get multiple dumpings, but when we do it’s a lot lately…and I’m done with the shoveling. Not a ton of driveway (25 x 40), but we live on a corner so I have a looong sidewalk that goes all the way around. I’m standing in the showroom looking at the Husqvarna or the Ariens 24″ (they have to fit through my 26 inch shed door)…which do I go with? Thanks!

  46. That’s how I was looking at it Paul. I like the price. I know that Husqvarna is going to be a wonderful machine but some dealers might not have them until into November. I’m also asking myself if it’s going to be $400 better than the Ariens or Cub Cadet. I just ordered the Ariens with heated hand grips that will be ready no later than Monday.

    Thanks again for this helpful and unbiased website. I will be directing people in your direction as you were more helpful than any other website I’ve found when it comes to snow blowers.

    Don – Rochester, NY

  47. @Don, Either one is on my short list but I do like the price of the Ariens. It’s a tough, high capacity machine. The extra 2 year warranty makes it an exceptional deal right now.

    The Ariens AX is the LCT. The LCT is a great engine and the best thing I like about it is if there is a problem, Ariens supports it fully. (Briggs has a separate warranty from the snow blower and is only 2 years)

  48. Hi Paul, I love your site. Thanks for providing so much information. I’m interested in the Ariens Deluxe 24 or the Husqvarna ST 324P. I can get the Ariens locally for $979 with an additional 2 years added to the warranty which brings the warranty up to 5 years. This promotion is until October 31st. The engine brand is listed as Ariens AX. Is that a B&S or LCT engine?

    Thanks,

    Don from Rochester NY.

  49. Don’t worry about parts. The 357, 28 inch and 420, 30 inch are made by MTD. The 24 inch is made by Husqvarna. Parts are readily available from them if Sears tanks. But I think Sears.ca has many, many years left.

    My choice, for your size drive I would pick the 28 or 30 inch. The price difference is about right between the 2. One last thing to consider. If you want to take your snowblower out back the 28 inch barely goes through a 30 inch door, the 30 inch needs at least a 32-33 inch door.

  50. @Paul

    Thanks Paul,

    Over all, considering your like of the new 305cc 24″ vs the width of the 357cc 28″, which would you go for?

    I just noticed that the Craftsman 420cc 30″ is also on sale at the moment for $1399. Is this worth consideration? pros? cons?

    Also, I have heard various rumours over the last few years regarding the financial stability of Sears. Should the company fold\, would you imagine parts for these machines to continue to be available?

    Thanks,
    RJ

  51. @RJ, With that long of driveway it will take you 25% longer to clear it with the 24 inch.

    I really like the new 24 in 305cc. It’s basically the new Husqvarna ST 224 with power steering and a huge engine.
    The 28 inch, 357cc has been around for a few years now and is a dependable machine made by MTD. The engine has plenty of power and is sized about right.

    I have no problem with either the CRAFTSMAN®/MD 24” 305cc Dual Stage Snow Thrower or the CRAFTSMAN®/MD 357cc 28” Steerable Snowblower

  52. Hi Paul,

    Thank you very much for sharing your expertise. I have found your site extremely informative.

    I live in Ottawa, Canada, and after 6 years of shovelling my 200 foot driveway I have finally accepted the fact that I should really invest in a snowblower. I would appreciate your advice. I have no brand or retailer attachments, but would like to avoid spending more money than necessary.

    My driveway is circular, just over 200 feet long and about 10 feet wide. I also get large regular deposits of icy crud by the city snowplows of 2 to 3 feet in height.

    At the moment, based on your reviews and comments, I am considering the Craftsman 357cc 28” (for $1299 CND), or Craftsman 305cc 24″ (for $1399 CND). Would these be appropriate for my needs, is there another machine you would recommend?

    Thanks,
    RJ

  53. @Sab, everyone has an opinion and my opinion is the B&S snow blowers are way overpriced. You can get the Ariens Snow Blowers. Deluxe 28 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering and the Craftsman 28 In 277cc* Dual-Stage Snowblower w/ EZ Steer both with power steering for the same price. The 28 inch 2 stage Cub Cadet
    icon at Tractor Supply is a really great deal. That’s $100 less than any other 28 inch.

    My concerns for the B&S are:

    1. It’s the same snow blower as the Brute at Menard’s
    2. This snowblower has not been updated for years. (John Deere used to sell it, Craftsman used to sell it) It still has the problematic electric chute motor down in the high moisture area at the bottom of the chute. 10 years ago this was “state-of-the-art” but there is no indication that B&S has made any improvements to the machine including the problems it has always had.
    3. This snow blower has been painted many different colors and when it was the Craftsman 88618 they had a lot of issues with the dash cracking.
    4. It also has a history of the front gearbox failing more than any other brand.
    5. I’m not sure if the engine has a throttle.
    6. Right now the B&S snow motor has the worst service repair record of all the snow engines. I need to verify but I’m also told this engine is not U.S. made.
    6. Who is going to service it? You will need to find an authorized B&S dealer that can get parts.

  54. @Mark, Somewhere buried in this blog is a post on tractor mounted snow blowers. But I’ll recap it here for you.

    With that long of a drive I would definitely consider a garden tractor mounted snow blower. They work well for 2 to 14 inch snows and many owners tell me they will take even deeper snow attached to the right tractor.

    Besides the snow blower you will need tire chains, wheel weights or back weight and I also suggest a cab. Always have an extra drive belt (from the snow blower to the jack shaft) as these tend to break when you least want them too.

    There are only two important manufactures of snow throwers for garden tractors – Agri-Fab and Bercomac. If you buy a snow blower from Craftsman, John Deere, Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, etc. it actually comes from either of these manufactures.

    Agri-Fab makes a 42 and 50 inch

    On the Brand side – Craftsman (made by Agri-Fab) has the best support and available accessories. You can equip any cast iron front axle Craftsman with a 42 inch snow blower, weights, chains and cab. The Garden tractors will also take the 50 inch. You can see the complete list of accessories here: Craftsman GT Accessories

    Husqvarna (made by Agri-Fab) supports throwers through their dealer network. You can equip any cast iron front axle Husqvarna with a 42 inch snow blower, weights, chains and cab. The Garden tractors will also take the 50 inch.

    Cub Cadet, Dixon, Ariens and Columbia also use Agri-Fab

    Bercomac makes a 40, 44 and 48 inch model.

    John Deere uses Berco. Bercomac also makes kits to mount their snow blowers on most cast iron front axle lawn tractors from 2006 on. Here is the list of tractors they support: Berco Snow Blowers. All Berco kits are available and supported by your local lawn equipment dealer.

    Simplicity, Snapper and Craftsman Premium Tractors also use the Berco

    Now, Agri-Fab is the most popular because their price is the best and Craftsman supports their own branded units so well. If you keep you the skid shoes adjusted and don’t hit too many curbs these units last the life of the tractor.

    The Berco units are considered heavier duty units but they also demand a premium price. John Deere has used these units for years and they also last longer than the tractors. John Deere also supports their own branded snow blowers well through the dealer network.

    Finally, The Full-Line Sears/Craftsman stores and your local lawn equipment dealer (Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, John Deere, etc) are the only two places to consider when buying a tractor mounted snowblower. All the other retailers like Lowes Home Depot, Menards, and Tractor Supply just don’t have the experienced staff to get you the right snow blower, get it mounted correctly and get you the parts when you break something.

  55. Have you ever reviewed snow blower attachments for garden tractors? I am moving to a place with a 500+ foot gravel driveway with some hills and will be buying a garden tractor for mowing. I’m thinking of adding a snow blower, as well, but have not seen any reviews on how well they work. Would you recommend a front mounted tractor blower or a walk behind for this?

  56. @Jason, You really don’t have large area to clear. You can easily be happy with a 24 inch. But there are few 24 incher’s that have the power to handle 2 to 3 feet of snow. Before you make your final decision look at the Ariens 24 Deluxe and the Ariens Platinum 24 SHO. Both of these snow blowers are overpowered by U.S. standards but for you they will move any snow that you get and throw it up to 50 feet.

    If you really want a Craftsman or Cub Cadet. The Craftsman and the Cub Cadet are basically the same snow blower. I suggest you go to the Cub Cadet dealer and then Sears and base you decision on who has the best service and price.

  57. Hi Paul,
    I live in Sarnia Ontario and have never owned a snowblower before, but after last winter have decided that I’m done shovelling snow.
    I’m in a small residential are with a concrete driveway that can hold 2 cars wide and about 2 1/2 cars deep at the end corner of a cul de sac not too far from lake Huron and we end up with some pretty good drifts at one end of the driveway (2-3 feet deep sometimes) and depending on the snow plow driver, can get quite a lot of packed snow at the end of the driveway.
    Your opinion would be appreciated on narrowing down my search. I’ve been looking at the Ariens ST28LE deluxe, the Craftsman MD 357cc 28″, the TORO Power Max 826 OE 26″, and the Cub Cadet 357cc 28″.
    I was originally thinking the TORO, but it seems to be lacking some features that the others have, but I’m not sure that I need a 28″ (maybe a 24″ would even be sufficient), I don’t want to have to buy something bigger at a later date though.
    Something easy to operate would be helpful as my wife may also use it if I’m away.
    Thanks very much!
    Jason

  58. @Richard, The MD28 is made by MTD. The MD24 is made by Husqvarna. The 24 is a heavier built machine and the design is brand new. The 28 has been around in one form or another for 8 or 9 years. The MD 24 uses a Briggs & Stratton, the MD 28 uses MTD’s own engine. Both engines have a great reputation.

    I thought I understood you wanted a smaller machine. You would use it for clean-out now but later on needed one to do sidewalks and cleanup. The 28 will be slightly more difficult for clean-ups than the 24.

    The price is right though on the 28. Myself, I probably would buy it.

  59. Paul,
    Thank you for your recommendation to purchase the Craftsman MD 24 Dual Stage 305cc Snow Thrower product # 71795244110. When I went to the Sear.ca website I notice that the Craftsman MD 28 357cc Snow Blower # 715952416 is on sale for the next 6 days for $200 LESS than the 24″ 305cc model. Unfortunately, the website is blank for the specifications on the 28″ model so I could not make an intelligent comparison. Is more for less $ a better buying decision or do the benefits of the 24″ at a $200 premium still outweigh the benefits of this particular 28″?
    Richard

  60. @Richard, Click on this link: Find it @ Sears.ca and then search for “CRAFTSMAN®/MD 24” 305cc Dual Stage Snow Thrower”

    I picked Sears.ca because you have a store in Owen Sound and this snow blower has the features that will work well for you. If you would rather shop at HomeDepot.ca or Lowes.ca let me know and I can give you different selections.

    I picked this snow blower because you don’t need a large snow blower but you do need a heavy one that will chew through the plow drift. This Craftsman is overpowered so it won’t plug even with wet snow and the open serated auger will chew through even the frozen stuff. This model is made by Husqvarna and features adjustable height handle bars. Everything on this snow blower has been redesigned this year and I am very confident it will be one of the best snow blowers on the market.

  61. Paul,
    I have a weekend property on a country road near Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. I blow the snow from the 1,200-foot lane way with a seven-foot snow blower attached by 3-point hitch to the back of my tractor stored near the house. However, if I arrive on a Friday night after a heavy snowfall, the snowplows have already been by and completely filled in the entrance way with heavy packed snow. I leave a shovel near the entrance way and often spend 45 minutes just clearing a path wide enough to pull my vehicle off the road. If the snow isn’t too deep, I can drive my AWD vehicle back to the house. If the snow is too deep, I must walk in and then use my tractor to blow the snow off the lane way before I can drive my vehicle up to the house.

    This winter I intend to purchase a snow blower and store it in a small shelter near the entrance way to clear that first twenty feet of heavy snow deposited by the county plow. And if the snow is too deep to drive my vehicle back to the house, then I intend to use this new snow blower to blow out a 1200-foot path to the house so i can walk in. Once I have moved to this property full-time, the arrangement will change and this snow blower would then be used just to clear walking paths from the house to various sheds and to tidy up areas where the 7-foot blower cannot access.

    Can you suggest the most appropriate snow blower model and size for the task?

    Thanks
    Richard

  62. @Chad. You have done your research well. I highly recommend the Ariens Snow Blowers. Platinum 30 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering. Why?

    The Craftsman and the Troy-Bilt have a 12 inch auger and impeller and one belt that drives them. This works for normal snows, i.e., 6 to 15 inches of normal medium density snow. Sometimes with heavy, wet snow this system doesn’t always work perfectly. I like the Craftsman and recommend it to many people but in your case I don’t feel it is right. The Troy-Bilt is new, but the 3-stage was on the Cub Cadets last year. It is supposed to have 50% more capacity (than what?) but it’s still a 12 inch system. The Cub Cadets tended to be very “dirty” meaning when they were moving 6 inches or less snow the snow blower tended to throw more out the front than out the chute. Finally the Craftsman and Troy-Bilt are lighter and I think you would appreciate the heavier Ariens for going up your drive and pushing through the snow plow drift. But you need to always get your snow up and out of the way.

    The Ariens Platinum is heavy-duty all the way through. Cast iron gearbox, extra bracing keeps the gearbox in place. The ribbon auger will chew through frozen snow better than the flights in the other two. The 14 inch impeller will throw snow farther and I know many times it will throw snow 50 feet. The chute controls are positive and lock in place. I like the LCT engine. I haven’t had a chance to compare it directly to the 357 in the MTD’s but it has a lot of torque. The LCT engine really work well under heavy loads. The auto-turn works and works well. Yes, the hand warmers are nice:)

    If you buy through The Home Depot a local Ariens dealer sets up the machine and tests it before it’s delivered to you.

    (I don’t review many Troy-Bilts because unless you have a good local dealer repairs have been spotty at best.)

  63. I appreciate your site. It’s nice to see detailed reviews of reasonably priced machines. I’ve always liked Honda, but frankly can’t justify the cost.

    I’ve got a 120′ paved driveway on a 3 or 4% grade with 6 foot walls on each side. I also live at the end of a cul-de-sac and the snowplow driver will regularly leave a decent icy berm at the end of my driveway. We’ll get a number of heavy storms dropping 12-18 inches. I’m looking for a good machine that will quickly clear the driveway, throw over the walls and cut through the icy slush at the bottom. I’m not too concerned about bells and whistles but wouldn’t turn down hand warmers if they came with the right machine. I’m wanting to spend under $1500 and wonder what you think would be a good option. Would you get the Ariens Platinum 30 inch or would you go with the Craftsman. Also, I noticed you hadn’t reviewed any Troy Bilt models and wondered what you thought of their new 3-stage machine (link below).

    http://www.troybilt.com/equipment/troybilt/three-stage-snow-thrower/vortex™-3090-xp-snow-thrower-vortex-3090

    Any advise would be appreciated.

  64. @Jim, You didn’t tell us where you are from but I have to assume you are from Canada. Yamaha Snow Blowers are no longer sold in the U.S. but there still a half-dozen places up there where you can buy one. If you would like you can go my canadian site mowingsnow.com and comment about them there.

    I am not reviewing Honda snow blowers because I only have access to a couple of the single stage units. The 2-stage units are too expensive for my area of the country. For example, the base model HS724WA 24 inch two stage without electric start or power steering retails for over $2200. Ariens, Toro, Husqvarna or Cub Cadet all have similar units around $799, Craftsman for $679. A directly comparable Ariens Platinum 24 with additional features including electric start, auto-turn, 4 way chute, cast iron gearbox, heated handgrips, new HID LED light and 291 cc engine is only $1399.

    When you get into the big units the price is even more inappropriate for a Honda. A Husqvarna 1830 EXLT with hydrostatic transmission, Simplicity Pro or Ariens Pro and all the additional features mentioned above is $1000 less than the HS1332TAS. They all have larger motors, larger tracks and are over 100 lbs heavier which is a good indication that they are built with thicker steel, heavier transmissions and gear trains.

  65. Does anyone notice that some of the big name machines are not mentioned on these “rewiew” sites ? Is it because there is just no comparing the run of the mill manufacturers to names like Yamaha or Honda ? They do cost twice as much but the quality and faultless attention to mechanical detail makes them ten times the machine of those mentioned here. From someone who has without prejudice owned, operated and repaired a lot of the good name units. Bottom line: you get what you pay for when it comes to snowblowers.

  66. @David, It’s all about time. Would you rather be spending time with your family or watching the game, or outside in the bad weather snow blowing your driveway? Yes, a 24 inch, 5 hp is enough for my 16 ft drive and I can get done in about 30 minutes most of the time. With the new 208 cc engines I can get it done in about 20 minutes. My neighbor on the other hand has a 2-3 car 150 ft drive and can it take him up to 2 hours with a 24 inch. I let him use a 28 inch last year and he went out that afternoon and bought himself one. He was so happy that he didn’t have to spend all that time blowing snow anymore.

  67. Not sure I understand why you need a 28 inch snow blower for a 100 foot driveway. Mine is about 120 feet long, and I’ve been using a 24 inch snow blower quite nicely for years.

  68. I do snow removal in LakeTahoe for a living. I use an Ariens st1028 that I got used a decade ago. The blower was made in the late 80’s and is by far stronger than anything built today, even by Ariens themselves. It is just a base model without bells and whistles, the way I like it. If you are looking for something that won’t cost a fortune to maintane stay away from blowers with all the remotes and cables. They seem easy to use, however just like everything made today, it all fails to last. When those cables break, and they will you will start spending a lot more than you expected. Go to your local dealer and ask for the prices of them for yourself. If you keep up with motor and drive maintenance, manual equipment a good lower price blower will last most a lifetime.

  69. @Deb, Personally if I am going to spend $2500 on a snow blower I would like it to have electric start, hand warmers and a remote chute control. I would also like to go to my local Honda snow blower dealer and get parts. My last time I talked to my local dealer they tried talking me out of the machine. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about these machines to make an honest review. The leading consumer reporting machine just gave the Honda no higher rating than the $1000 machines. In reality there are not enough of these units around for anyone to get a handle on the longevity.

  70. With all that is said about the Honda units being a pricey machine does this mean that reviews are done on price and not cost for value?
    What about longevity of these machines? What is the life expectancy of them if they are properly maintained?
    What I expect to see is a variety of units being equally evaluated so that I may make a more educated guess. As we have learned over time if you buy furniture at wally world (Walmart) or ikea it does not last you, in other words you get what you pay for.

  71. Most people are quite happy with their Ford, Chevy or Dodge pickup. No everyone needs a Mercedes Uni-Mog at 3 times the price. The same is true with snowblowers. The Honda may be a great machine (and the most expensive). The majority of us don’t need a hydrostatic trans to clear the snow from their 2 car drive. The Honda snow blowers don’t have the features that most American consumers have come to demand at a price that we can afford. In fact a 9HP, pull start, 28 inch is more than 3 times the cost of an Ariens Deluxe 28.