I did quite a bit of research before deciding on this model snow blower. I have been using a Garden Way by Troy-Built, 26" snow blower for the last 13 years and it was becoming less reliable under difficult conditions. Though it gave many years of good
service, handling all storms to date, more and more parts were wearing out resulting in more downtime, repair, and maintenance.
The Ariens is powered by a very nice OHC engine which is quieter in operation than the old flathead-type engines of the past. I particularly like the greater use of steel and stronger parts that are engineered into the Ariens machines. The chute is steel
instead of plastic, the controls operate easily and solidly. The cables, connections, and rods are all of high strength and durability. Controls for the chute rotation and angle are easily controlled w/o having to stop the machine or reach down for a lever,
The Auto-Turn Steering is probably the greatest new feature on snow blowers. Instead of relying on locked drive wheels which make turns and U-turns very tiring from wrestling with the machine, these models feature a well-engineered solution that functions
in a similar effect as Positraction on cars. You always have both wheels driving the machine but when you make the slightest turn or even an immediate U-turn, the auto-steering releases the driving on the pivot wheel to make that turn effortless. Other brands
of snow blowers use levers or paddles on the handles that the operator must activate in order to make a turn w/o wrestling with the machine. I was very, very impressed with the ease of handling this machine. It's even easier to roll forward and backward
in neutral than my old snow blower.
The super high output of this model is also a big plus. We recently got about 14" of snow and the Ariens Deluxe 28" SHO handled it with ease and it quickly powered through the snow at the end of the driveway left by the street plow. This machine reminds
me of the long plumes of snow thrown by a George Snow Bird snow blower we had back in the 1960's. Many of the current-day snow blowers throw snow 15'-25' from the driveway (as did my Garden Way machine) but this model throws it up to 50' or more away, ensuring
that no matter which pass you are making on the driveway, the snow will be thrown far enough off the driveway that you won't be removing it on further passes.
This model has one headlight which is OK but I am thinking of adding some supplemental LED floods as the chute tends to block a bit of the light. I think it could be helpful to have supplemental lighting mounting on the front of the machine so that the
discharging plume of snow won't interfere with night vision plowing. I don't know of any machine that places lights on the front but that would provide superior illumination at night.
With this snow blower, it also features interlocking controls so that once the drive control and auger/impeller are actuated, the operator can release the grip of the right hand to adjust the chute or free that hand with the machine still advancing and
Of note, the engine came filled with oil but I noticed that the gearbox for the auger/impeller appeared dry or contained little if any, lubricant. Operating the snow blower under those conditions would result in significant damage to the machine's gearbox.
The special lubricant was not included in the shipping box and I had to travel to a nearby dealer to purchase a container. Home Depot and other such stores do not stock/sell the product, L3 Synthetic Severe-Duty Gear Lube. It cost $19.95 at the dealer/service
center but is available for less at Jack's so it might be best to add that to your order when purchasing the snow blower to avoid having to pay additional shipping for the lubricant.
I'm very satisfied with the design and performance of this model and recommend it as a very sturdy and dependable and efficient machine for snow removal.
The machine is shipped by freight truck delivery. They will not go onto residential driveways and always unload the delivery at the street. You will need to pay for lift-gate service unless you have several people waiting with you to help unload the
box/crate from the truck. Drivers are often willing to get the box/crate from the ground to your garage if their hand truck or portable pallet truck can operate on that surface. At those times, it's nice to tip the driver as it is not part of their job to
move the item from the end of your driveway to the house/garage.