Rated 4.7 out of 5 by 957
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by jmo Love the home delivery service
I selected the free home delivery from homedepot.com, and glad I did. The snow blower came fully assembled. It had been tested prior to delivery so it came with oil and a half tank of gas. Delivery person was on time and professional, and I got a five minute training session of the controls.
I used the snow blower for the first time today on four inches of fluffy snow. The unit started easily with the electric starter on the first try after sitting for several months in the garage. The two-stage thrower throws the snow an average of 15 to 20 feet. The unit is heavy and takes a moderate amount of strength to operate, but not more than other units of similar size. I was able to clear the driveway and walkway without much trouble. The chute did not jam, though as I said this snow was fluffy.
I see no point in using reverse gear. It is quite easy to manually pull the unit backward. Using reverse gear seemed a little dangerous because the unit is coming at you, and might push you over on a slippery surface. Other than that, I like all the features of this model.
I had one significant problem, which was that it pulled strongly to one side while going forward. If this happens to you, look for a YouTube video called, "Ariens Sno-Thro housing adjustment process to correct erratic auto-turn performance". In my case it turns out that the "shoes" needed to be adjusted to raise the housing up 1/8" off the ground. After I made that 2 minute adjustment this morning, the problem went away.
January 18, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by snowblower Great Machine
This machine just dug me and three neighbors out of the Blizzard of '16 here in New Jersey. I measured 20 inches of heavy snow after it had packed-down some in the sun for several hours. This smallish snowblower didn't like that very much, especially where it had drifted up to four feet, and where the plows had left walls of hard-pack. A machine this size is designed more for 6-12 inches of snow. But it powered through it all, albeit slowly. You could hear and feel the strain on the engine at times, it huffed a bit, but it never quit.
This is a basic machine. You get several forward speeds and two reverse. Snow aiming is done with two separate controls, not a fancy joystick. Once you push down the auger lever, it will latch down until you release the drive lever, freeing your right hand to adjust the chute. There is no power steering, no heated handles, no bluetooth quadrophonic stereo, or any other gadgets that can break down. What you get is solid simple construction, with an all-metal snow chute, and a quality Briggs engine designed for cold weather operation. Everything works the way it should, and the engine starts reliably by hand. It also has an electric starter, although I've never used it, and a headlight, which I have never found useful, but it does no harm.
Without all the extra features, it is fairly lightweight for a machine its size, which makes it easy to maneuver. Ariens machines tend to be lighter in weight than same-sized competitors. At times that light weight worked against it - in huge piles of snow, it would tend to climb up until it lost traction. So just pull it back down and have another go. This was a huge storm, and the day after was sunny and above freezing, so it wasn't 20 inches of powder. This was well beyond what I think the machine was designed for, and it chugged through it. For more normal snowfalls, it powers right through everything at a good clip.
I like the size of this machine. I deliberately didn't get a larger one for several reasons. This smaller machine is easier to handle. It fits right through the back door to the garage, and doesn't take up a huge space there during the snow season. And the rest of the year, it doesn't take up a huge space in the back of the shed. At the same time, I wouldn't get a snowblower that was any smaller. I don't know how people with single-stage machines got through this latest mess, but I guess they did.
For first-time buyers, here is some general advice:
Get all the spare parts you'll need to keep it running. That includes an extra spark plug, extra 'shear pins', engine oil, and for me, some extra fuel line tubing. Also, whatever tools you might need to make use of these parts. These are all things you may find very difficult to get the day after the big storm. You can keep it all in a small toolbox or a shoebox, along with the manuals.
The spark plug is a critical part in an engine that only has one. In my experience, swapping out the plug is the first thing to try on a engine that won't start or runs poorly, and will usually do the trick. A can of starting fluid is also a good thing to have on hand.
A snowblower uses a lot more gas than a lawnmower. Have a 2 gallon can can for it, and make sure it is full. You can easily use a gallon a day or more, especially if you are going to be a snowblower hero like me.
Have some way to inflate the tires, especially after the long off-season.
Snowblowers and newspapers do not get along at all. Suck in one of those free local rags that they always seem to throw onto your driveway the night before the storm, and you can be over an hour picking frozen pulp out of the auger before you can get back to work. This is also why you want those extra shear pins. Clear the driveway and walks of booby-traps before the snow starts.
Don't throw the shovel away, you'll still need it to clean around the edges and tight spots. The snowblower won't do everything.
A snowblower is going to spend most of the year idle. Invest in a cover to keep it clean, or at least an old bed sheet. Don't leave it outside, invest in a shed if you have no place to keep it indoors. Those DIY plastic sheds are surprisingly nice and affordable nowadays, and can be installed anywhere.
Before you put it away in the spring, make sure you drain the entire fuel system, both the tank and the carb, and then run it dry until it sputters out from fuel starvation. That is good advice for any small engine, and is actually the standard way to shut down an airplane! Most small engine problems stem from storing them fueled-up.
I've said a lot here, but I'm resting up after a long hard day. Today, this little machine performed above and beyond, and I couldn't be more pleased with it.
January 24, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Ronu540 Excellent product. Warning: Make sure all adjustments are correct before using.
This piece of equipment was a life saver. We had a large winter storm this year and this purchased saved my Butt! However, 5 hours in my unit stopped throwing snow and quit pulling. Upon further investigation I learned that the belts were toast. When I called the repair facility at Ariens, they explained that they had a few calls that day just like mine and that the set up man, an outside source contracted by Home Depot, had not set cables correctly before sale. After replacing the belts at my expense because I refused to load it up in my Expedition and deliver it to the repair facility for warranty, the unit is working perfectly after proper adjustment.
February 10, 2016
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by YellaFella A Back Saver
I've used it extensively, about 6 times, in the last two weeks. It's worked very well. I have a long gravel driveway, and the Ariens has kept it clean. It's easy to start, and really throws the snow. One caution: get extra shear pins when you buy this. I got an extra pack of three, and have already used two of them (I would guess because of the rocks in my driveway and some ice I hit). Note that it comes with two extra pins.
It's plowed through eight inches easily. I'm confident it would handle a foot of snow the same way. Beyond that, I'd make sure I was using it multiple times, to keep it manageable.
I love not shoveling any more. My back thanks you, Ariens.
February 16, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Ed One of the best investments I have made
This well crafted piece of machinery is quite the blessing. I purchased it in October of 2015 and had my first chance to use if during Snowmageddon 2016 in Pennsylvania. With the drifts I had as much as 40" of snow to clear in my drive way and sidewalk surrounding the house. The snow blower made this job bearable. If I had one complaint it was that it did not clear all the way to the pavement the way I use to when shoveling but I chalk that up to one of two things; since it was my very first time using it, I have not mastered the maneuvering yet, or because there was so much snow to remove,, that may have affected things. But all in all, I am very pleased.
February 3, 2016
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by Blizzard2016 Harpers Ferry WV
just dug out of 40 inches of snow. Blizzard of 2016 was no match for this snow blower.
Had to use it twice during storm to keep up.
Next day dig out saw about 30 inches left on ground where we blew snow the day before.
Ran about 2 .5 hours each time, on one tank of fuel.
Worked like a charm. doesn't need chains.
Blows powder snow about 20-25 feet max. Never clogged blowing powder.
Only complaint: Vibration in the grips. After using for awhile, my hands were uncomfortable from the vibration. Needs more padding on the grips. Easy fix. I cut some foam off sleeping /camping pads and wrapped around grips then used zip ties to secure. Much better.
January 30, 2016
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by Guy18 Extremely unhappy
I bought this snow blower one week ago on 1/17/16 at the Home Depot in Totowa, NJ. Firstly it came missing a cotter pin so had to go back to Home Depot for a replacement pin. Last night we got around 16 inches of snow where I live in NJ and went out to fire it up this morning to start clearing my driveway. It started with the electric start but the self propel didn't work and the blade did not spin! I tried everything that was suggested in the troubleshooting section of the manual but nothing worked. I had to hire someone to come and plow my driveway. Needless to say I'll be returning to Home Depot next weekend, very disappointed.
January 24, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by chilly Can't find better
If you want a slightly narrower machine, this is it. Quality is excellent. Like all Ariens, this should be around for many years. Unlike the Chinese made products, you have this fixed instead of throwing it out. Well worth the extra money. If blows lighter snow a good twenty five feet, heavy and wet snow at least 10 feet. Chews through the heavy snow from the plow with no problem. 24" of snow and it keeps going. Move the pin to lock the wheels for hills and ice. Raise the height of the auger deck for gravel drives.
March 8, 2016