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What Snow Blower Should I Buy?

1/16/2019 6:00:00 AM


By: Aaron Abler, Email Marketing & Content Specialist,

How do you choose which snow blower is right for you? Maybe you only need something for a small clearing with lighter snowfalls, or maybe you need a snow blower to clear large areas in a region that receives apocalyptic snowfalls. Whatever your case, you can find small snow blowers for clearing decks, roofs and narrow spaces, or bigger snow blowers for clearing large spaces or multiple driveways at Ariens retailers and dealerships nationwide.

Small snow blower for compact areas

Not all snow blowers are large, heavy machines. Single stage type snow blowers are compact and lighter, making them ideal for clearing decks, narrow areas and even flat rooftops. But don’t think that means they’re limited. Single-stage snow blowers clear large areas with lighter snowfall amounts up to six inches very effectively.

In the Ariens® single stage lineup, there's a choice of the Path-Pro® for homeowners, or the Professional 21, a single stage for contractors.

Ariens Path-Pro

  • 136cc or 208 cc engine options
  • Spring-loaded scraper blade for more effective clearing
  • Large, semi-pneumatic wheels
  • Folding handlebars for storage
  •  

    Ariens Professional 21

    • High-wear paddles
    • Remote chute option
    • All-steel construction
    • Easily accessible engine
    • Smart lift handlebars for easy, single-person loading onto a truck bed
    •  

      To learn more about single stage snow blowers, click here.

      Popular snow blowers of 2019

      Need a snow blower for moderate snowfalls? If you live anywhere within North America’s snow belt, a medium sized snow blower may be your answer. As Mother Nature has taught us, heavy snowfalls of greater than six inches or more can fall as far south as Kentucky, Oklahoma, Virginia and New Mexico and push into the nether regions of Canada. Just last week, 12 inches fell on St. Louis, so don’t think that you’re protected because of your location – it can happen in more places than you think.

      Though there is no definition for a midsize snow blower, industry standard would classify these common, popular snow blowers as a two stage snow blower with a clearing width from 20 to 30 inches. With housing heights up to 23 inches, these machines are built to confront winter’s hardest punches.

      To learn more about two-stage snow blowers, click here.

      Like single-stage snow blowers, two-stage snow blowers are designed for varying needs. Whether you’re clearing an alleyway in Chicago, a long driveway in suburban New Haven, Connecticut, or a steep path in Banff, Alberta, Canada, the Ariens Sno-Thro® lineup has a machine that’s sized right and spec’d with features that fit your driveway.

      Let's use the Chicago scenario. I lived in the Windy City once and I can say from experience that there's nothing more frustrating than trying to dig your car out of its parking spot after the snowplow passes. All the snow that was spread across the street has not barricaded your transportation. Swell. And don’t forget, you'll need to move your car within about 24 hours before the city fines you at least $75.00. Super. Oh, and don't forget the sidewalk, too.

      In densely populated areas like Chicago, there's hardly any space left for snow, which is why Ariens Compact series snow blower is best for that situation. With housing widths as narrow as 20 inches, but the height and power to redirect snow across the street, the Ariens Compact is the right choice for maneuvering in the big city. Standard with a top-filled, cast-iron gearcase, remote chute controls and a halogen headlamp, it's dependability gives you confidence long after the sun sets.

      Ariens Compact Series

      • All-steel construction
      • Limited 3-year warranty
      • Top-filled, cast-iron gearcase
      • In-dash chute controls
      • Halogen headlamp
      • 15-inch directional tires

       

      To learn more about the Ariens Compact series Sno-Thro, click here.

      For those living in more rural or suburban areas, with larger driveways or sidewalks to maneuver through, you might want to consider a step up into a unit that has at least 24 inches of clearing width. The name of the game here is time, and if you don’t have the engine power or clearing width to tackle big snowfalls in short order, you’re spending your weekends away from things you’d rather do.

      The Deluxe series of units come with the same features as the Compact, but with enhancements like Auto-Turn™ for easier turning, a larger auger and impeller diameter for faster snow processing ability, larger engines and an EFI option for easier starting, storage and better fuel efficiency.

      Ariens Deluxe Series

      • 254cc and 306cc engine options
      • 24, 28 and 30-inch clearing width options
      • 16-inch directional tires
      • Auto-Turn steering
      • EFI engine option
      • 14-inch auger and impeller diameter

       

      To learn more about the Ariens Deluxe series Sno-Thro, click here.

      Let's say you have a clearing area similar to the last example, but you need something with more power to throw the juicy stuff. Though "packing" snow is great for building a snowman, it's bothersome to clear from your driveway and potentially dangerous to move with a shovel. For those wet and heavy snowfalls, you'll want a powerful snow blower that can toss it as effectively as the lighter variety.

      All models in the Ariens Platinum lineup come standard with an SHO engine, meaning super high output. There's no replacement for displacement, and with 369 or 414 cubic centimeters, you can be certain the throwing distance will clear some of the widest driveways.

      Besides bigger engines, Platinum series models include Quick-Turn™ chute control for easy redirection of snow discharge, and heated hand grips to work in comfort. And for those clearing steep or sloped surfaces that demand superior traction, the Platinum lineup includes a patented RapidTrak track-drive option.

      Ariens Platinum Series

      • 369cc and 414cc engine options
      • 24, 28 and 30-inch clearing width options
      • Heated hand grips
      • Quick-Turn chute rotation
      • RapidTrak option

       

      To learn more about the Ariens Platinum series Sno-Thro, click here.

      Biggest snow blowers of 2019

      A few years ago, an old college friend of mine asked which snow blower would work best for him to clear his driveway, a wide path to his shed and an area around the shed. The answer was a snow blower with a clearing width of at least 28 inches, a large engine and drift cutters that could clear open areas prone to blowing and drifting snow. Same goes for professionals clearing multiple properties.

      When you're talking very large clearing areas, a slightly larger housing and engine combination can make a big difference. Consider this. If a larger snow blower can process snow just 10 minutes faster per job than another snow blower and you have 12 jobs to complete, you banked two hours. That’s either more time for yourself, or more capacity to do more jobs.

      In the Ariens lineup, our largest is aptly named the Professional series. Models in this family are available with 28, 32 or 36 inches of width, come standard with drift cutters to tear down snow piles higher than the housing and chew them up with an auger and impeller combination powered by a 420cc engine. This is also the snow blower with the most options. Among its bells and whistles include a RapidTrak option, an EFI engine option, and a hydrostatic drive option. Hydrostatic drive is an infinitely variable transmission, meaning it allows operators to change ground speeds without stopping to shift like with traditional friction-drive models.

      Ariens Professional Series

      • 420cc engine
      • Drift cutters
      • 28, 32, and 36-inch clearing width options
      • RapidTrak options
      • EFI engine options
      • Hydrostatic drive options

       

      To learn more about the Ariens Professional series Sno-Thro, click here.

      The snow blower lineup this winter is extensive, and it might seem tough or intimidating to figure out what's best for your driveway. There's no specific science or calculation that can determine exactly what you need, especially with weather as volatile as it is, but we got close with our snow blower selector tool.

      Crunch the numbers to see which snow blower is best for you this winter:

      Snow Blower Selector

How to improve snow blower performance

1/10/2019 6:00:00 AM


By: Aaron Abler, Email Marketing & Content Specialist,

Are you getting everything you want from your snow blower, or is something lacking? Maybe your snow blower isn’t throwing well or maybe your snow blower isn't scraping the driveway properly. But before you become frustrated and rush to the snow blower repair shop, we suggest making some quick, easy adjustments. In many cases, performance issues can be solved by completing an adjustment in your own garage.

As always, review the safety information and the instructional details in your operator’s manual before performing service or adjustments.

1. Adjust snow blower scraper blade

Depending on frequency of use, contact with your pavement can wear a scraper bar. As it wears, it won’t clear snow as effectively, however, it can be adjusted to compensate for wear.

  1. Carefully tip your snow blower back so its weight rests on the handlebars and secure the unit so it will not tip unexpectedly. [see photo of service position]
  2. Loosen scraper blade hardware at the bottom of housing.
  3. Pull the scraper blade down as far as possible.
  4. Tighten the scraper blade hardware.

After adjusting your scraper blade, you'll need to adjust your unit’s skid shoes. If your scraper blade is worn too far, you can get a replacement at your local Ariens dealer or online at parts.ariens.com.

2. Adjust snow blower skid shoes

The position of the unit's skid shoes regulates the gap between the scraper blade and the clearing surface. As the scraper blade wears or is adjusted, the skid shoes will need to be reset so an effective clearing gap is maintained.

  1. Position a spacer under the left and right sides of the scraper bar.
    • Use a 1/8-inch-thick spacer if clearing paved surfaces
    • Use a 1/2-inch-thick spacer if clearing gravel surfaces
  2. Loosen all skid shoe hardware.
  3. Position skid shoes against clearing surface.
  4. Tighten skid shoe hardware.

If you prefer non-abrasive skid shoes to standard steel skid shoes, you can find them at your local Ariens dealer or online at parts.ariens.com​.

3. Snow blower tire pressure recommendation

Underinflated tires can affect how your snow blower drives. To help ensure the unit maintains grip and drives in a straight line, inflate the tires to adequate, equal tire pressures. On Ariens® Sno-Thro® models, there is no tire pressure recommendation other than the pressure range listed on the tire sidewalls.

4. Adjust snow blower chute cable

Adjust chute deflector
All newer Ariens Sno-Thro models are equipped with an identical chute deflector, or chute cap lever that controls the height of snow discharge. If the deflector doesn't stay at its selected height, tighten the nut on the chute deflector lever under the dash panel.

If the deflector doesn't follow its full range of travel, adjust the chute cable nuts on the deflector.

  • To adjust the deflector lower, loosen the lower nut and tighten the upper nut.
  • To adjust the deflector higher, loosen the upper nut and tighten the lower nut.

After adjustments are made, test the lever to make sure the deflector follows its full range of travel.

Adjust chute rotation
If the discharge chute doesn't remain in the desired direction while throwing snow, adjust it. Depending on the snowblower model, the discharge chute rotation will be adjusted in one of two ways.

Ariens Compact and Deluxe models:

  1. Tighten the nut under the discharge chute gears.
  2. Test discharge chute rotation and repeat adjustment, if necessary.

Ariens Platinum and Professional models:
If discharge chute does not stay in position:

  1. Remove chute gear cover.
  2. Loosen rear adjustment nut and tighten forward adjustment nut until lock arm engages gear teeth.
  3. Test discharge chute rotation and repeat adjustment, if necessary.
  4. Reinstall gear cover.

If discharge chute does not rotate freely:

  1. Remove chute gear cover.
  2. Loosen forward adjustment nut and tighten rear adjustment nut until there is no cable slack and lock arm engages gear teeth.
  3. Reinstall gear cover.

5. Adjust snow blower auger cable

If your snow blower's throwing ability is diminished, the issue could be resolved with one or two simple adjustments. Remember, details and illustrations for the procedures can be found in your operator’s manual.

Check auger clutch cable

  1. Check for slack in auger clutch cable that extends from the right clutch lever to the rear of the frame.
  2. Loosen the jam nut on the cable adjustment barrel and turn barrel down until slack is removed.
  3. Tighten jam nut against adjustment barrel.

Adjust idler position

If the auger cable is already taut or has just been adjusted, you may need to reposition the idler on the attachment arm.

  1. Rotate unit into the service position and remove the bottom cover. [See photo of service position]
  2. Check the distance between the attachment idler arm roller and the frame.
  3. Loosen the adjustment nut on the attachment idler (located under the belt cover) and reposition the idler.

6. Adjust snow blower drive cable

If your snowblower isn't driving correctly, it could be corrected by adjusting the drive clutch cable, which extends from the left clutch lever to the rear of the unit’s frame.

  1. Loosen jam nut on the adjustment barrel of the drive cable.
  2. Turn the adjustment barrel down to shorten cable slack.
  3. Tighten the nut against the adjustment barrel.

7. Adjust snow blower track

Snowblower track tension should be within specification and equal. If your track snow blower is pulling to the left or right, adjust the track tension.

  • If snow blower drives to the right, tighten the left track adjuster
  • If snow blower drives to the left, tighten the right track adjuster

If these adjustments don't correct the issues you're experiencing, you can always get help from your local authorized Ariens servicing dealer. Replacement parts like new scraper blades or skid shoes can be ordered online at parts.ariens.com or ​from a snow blower repair shop like your local Ariens dealer.

The Best Snowblowers of 2019

12/12/2018 6:00:00 AM


By: Aaron Abler, Email Marketing & Content Specialist,

What makes a quality snow blower? Through thousands of testing hours and design verifications, Ariens® learned the best snowblowers have all steel construction, are easy to operate and are snowblowers made in the USA.

Since the first Sno-Thro® was manufactured in our Brillion, Wisconsin factory in 1960, we've been known throughout world as the King of Snow. It’s been 58 years, a test of time that's allowed us to not only build a reputation, but to also evaluate, learn and perfect so we can continue delivering the strongest, most innovative and best-performing snowblower for your driveway.

Types of snowblowers

You’ll see two types of snowblowers on the shelves of your power equipment dealer or national retail chain store, like Home Depot or Lowe’s, this winter. Those types are single-stage and two-stage snowblowers.

Best single stage snowblowers

The best performing single-stage snowblowers use paddles to ingest snow, scrape it off the clearing surface and throw it out the discharge chute in a single motion. There's no wheel drive, however, the rotation of the paddles pulls the machine forward into more snow while scraping the clearing surface clean. Single-stage snowblowers are both lightweight and very maneuverable. Simply push the handlebars down slightly to lift the front of the unit off the pavement, pivot the unit, lower and continue clearing.

Single-stage snowblowers are small in clearing height and width, which makes them ideal for clearing snow in regions that get lighter snowfall totals. However, single-stage snowblowers are still very useful for clearing narrow spaces or small areas in regions that get heavy snowfalls. The size and weight of a single-stage snowblower is practical for sidewalks, patios and decks.

Residential single stage snowblowers

Both homeowners and professional landscape contractors use single-stage snowblowers to clear snowfall. The 21-inch clearing width and the powerful 208cc engine in Ariens Path-Pro® make it the number one choice for residential users who want to clear snow quickly from their driveway, deck or sidewalk.

Commercial single stage snowblowers

The Ariens Professional 21 is a durable, commercial-grade single-stage option for professionals or homeowners who use their equipment more frequently. In fact, the Professional 21 is the only single-stage on the market designed specifically for contractors. Professionals work their machines hard, which is why Ariens equipped the Professional 21 with longer-lasting, high-wear paddles, built it with steel, made the engine area accessible for more frequent routine maintenance and designed the handlebars for easy, single-person loading and unloading onto a truck bed.

Advantages of a 2 stage snowblower

Two-stage snowblowers are very different than single-stage units due to their size, technology, features and application. A two-stage snowblower uses an auger and impeller combination to ingest snow and throw it out of the discharge chute. As the wheels drive the unit forward, snow gets collected in the housing, is chewed up by the augers and pushed into the impeller fan at the rear of the housing. The impeller then hurls the snow out of the discharge chute to distances of up to 50 feet.

A two-stage snow thrower is a great option for fast clearing in regions that experience snowfalls of just a few inches to areas that lie in the crosshairs of epic Lake-Effect snowfalls. Additionally, two-stage snowblowers have an economic advantage. They’re less expensive than purchasing a truck plow or hiring a landscape service, and their user-interface makes them easy for anyone to operate.

Top performing 2 stage snowblowers

The performance of dependable two stage snowblowers relies on several variables, such as the quality of the materials and the workforce that builds them. For example, all Ariens Sno-Thro models are manufactured using quality, all-steel construction that's cut and fabricated by American workers. Unlike other brands, Ariens builds its two-stage Sno-Thro models with a cast-iron auger gearcase made from a top-filled design, which is less prone to leaking oil and helps ensure our gearcases last far beyond their 5-year warranty.

When exploring snowblower brands, familiarize yourself with how their functionalities differ. Technological and user experience features are important characteristics that can separate one brand from another. The ability to control snow discharge height and direction or change drive speed with easy-to-use, accessible in-dash levers are valued features, which is why they’re included in the best two stage snowblowers.

The Ariens Deluxe family of snowblowers is the best-selling series of the best-selling snowblower brand because of its balance of features, options, capability and user interface. Choose between housing widths of 24, 28 or 30 inches and enjoy innovative Auto-Turn™ steering that helps operators maneuver more easily when clearing. Combined with 16-inch directional tires, a 254cc or 306cc engine, a 14-inch impeller fan and a low starting price, the Deluxe series is the best value snowblower this season.

Smaller 2 stage snowblowers

Don’t confuse small with less. The Ariens Compact series Sno-Thro models are just as durable and include most of the features as the Deluxe series, such as all-steel construction, serrated steel augers, a standard in-dash halogen headlamp and accessible discharge chute and ground speed controls in the dash panel.

Compact series models have everything and more needed to clear a snowstorm. These units are equipped with a powerful 223cc engine, have an auger diameter of 11 inches and have options for clearing widths of 20 or 24 inches. Directional, 15-inch tires offer solid stability, but a track-driven configuration for superior handling is also available.

Snowblowers with the most features

The Ariens Platinum series is a step-up from the Deluxe. There's a lot that similar, but the differentiation is in the enhancements. Incorporating patented Quick-Turn chute control allows users to effortlessly change discharge chute direction with a short pull and left or right movement of the lever. It's a superior user experience, especially when paired with the comfort of heated hand grips.

The Platinum's muscle is also an enhancement. All models are designated as SHO, or super high output, thanks to their 369cc engines, or the 414cc engine on the Platinum 30 model. New for 2019, the Platinum comes available with Ariens patented RapidTrak, the most innovative track-driven snowblower technology on the market.

Best track snowblowers

Track snowblowers offer superior clearing stability, however there's still a lot to be desired from other brands' designs in terms of speed and maneuverability, which is why the engineers at Ariens developed a solution. RapidTrak is a revolutionary track-drive system that combines the superior handling with the speed and maneuverability of a wheel-driven model in one unit.

Squeeze the trigger under the handlebar to change the pitch of the housing to one of three modes. Digger mode pitches the housing down to clear packed snow, track mode keeps the housing level with the tracks for maximum grip, and wheel mode lifts the tracks up for clearing with easy maneuverability in areas that don’t require high traction.

Professional 2 stage snowblowers

The beasts of the Ariens snow lineup are designed to reroute blizzards and put Mother Nature in her place. With 420cc engines and an auger diameter of 16 inches on all models in the Ariens Professional series lineup, these units move anywhere from 79 tons to 102 tons per hour, depending on your choice of a 28, 32 or 36-inch housing. It’s a lot of snow, but nothing you can't chew through when piloting the machine with its large, robust handlebars. RapidTrak technology is also available in two of the models in this lineup.

All models are available with Quick-Turn chute control, and some Professional models are available with hydrostatic drive for changing ground drive speed without the need to stop and shift.

The most efficient snowblowers

Smarter engines sip fuel, and that's why EFI, or electronic fuel injection, is the best choice for fluctuating fuel prices. Ariens was the first and remains the only brand to offer an EFI option in its snowblower lineup. Benefits of EFI don't stop at efficiency, either. The technology behind EFI makes it easier to start the engine, keeps the engine performance consistent through various snow depths, and because of its sealed fuel system, is less prone to fuel-related maintenance issues.

Electronic fuel injection options are available on certain Deluxe, Platinum and Professional-series models.

Choosing a 2 stage snowblower

There's endless options when buying a new snowblower. As you may know, there’s different brands to choose from, but how do you know which one is right? Perhaps the most indicative measurement of selecting the best snowblower by brand can be found by looking at buying trends. As mentioned earlier, Ariens has been known as the King of Snow, not just because we think so, but because we’re the best selling snowblower brand in the world.

Our lineup is designed to be extensive because Ariens offers an option for a variety of needs. For help selecting the right snowblower for you, try using our snow blower selector tool.

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