Snow Throwers

Well this is the closest group I could find, so I hope it's on-topic:). I'm planning on buying a snow thrower very soon and looking for one in the 7-8hp range.
I live in southern New England so not many major storms (plus I'm near the ocean) and it will be for home usage (short driveway & a couple of short walkways).
I'm looking at the 'Ariens' model (724-7hp) sold at 'Home Depot' but Lowes has a 'Troy-bilt' 8.5hp for a lesser price. Also Sears has a 'Craftsman' model with more HP than the Ariens in the same price range.
I wasn't happy with my last Craftsman snow thrower so basically my choice is running between the Ariens and the Troy-bilt.
So between the Ariens and Troy-bilt does anyone have any recommendations? Esp for long-term reliability (engine, drive train, thrower train, etc)? Thanks...Regards, Walter
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Compare the size of the worm gear drive for the auger-bigger is better. The controls for the chute should fall right to hand and allow the operator to make changes while under way. And a lever to unlock a drive wheel for easier tight turns is really nice. For your limited use, any of these models should last a while if cared for. I live in SE PA and have 200' of driveway to clear, so I bought a Simplicity 8hp. The blowers from the box stores are too lightly constructed for my use.
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If you weren't happy with your Craftsman, it's unlikely that you will be happy with the Troy-Bilt. I have a 7hp Toro 726 that I bought new 3 years ago. It's been an excellent machine for me so far. It's gone through 15 inch drifts easily and the joy-stick chute control is great. Some folks wouldn't want a two-cycle engine, but I like this one. Starts easily with the cord and also has a plug-in electric start, and no worries about checking the oil level.
Ariens makes a good product. You should also check out Simplicity. Shop around a bit at your local dealers, not just the big box stores.
GrtArtiste
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Poetic Justice wrote:

I just bought a 5.5 hp Troy-bilt. Salesman said it would have handled the 22" snow we had last winter and almost gave out my back. I shy away from Craftsman as friend said they are adequate but break down more often. Hear Ariens is a top brand but have not compared. I have a Troy-bilt string trimmer that I like and we had bought our son a Troy-bilt mower for his new home and he is happy with it. Frank
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I've got a Craftsman 5/22 that's about 9 years old now and I love it. No problems, but then living in NJ we don't get as much snow as many places.
And I got a sweet deal on it. They had a returned unit sitting on the floor being sold for $150 less than a brand new one. So, I bought it. When they delivered it, I got a brand new one in a box instead.
One feature I recommend is getting the electric start, which most better units usually have.
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the airens 8 hp 2 stage is a very good unit.
http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm
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I live in Eastern MA (Weymouth) and love my 11 HP Ariens. The biggest challenge for Snow blowers in my area is with the plowed snow at the end of the driveway.
There are several other satisfied Ariens owners in my neighborhood.
You can't go wrong with the Ariens 8 HP.
Bill
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I want to thank everyone for their responses, you've been most helpful. Still undecided but looking for a good store sale too sway me:).
Regards, Walter
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Poetic Justice) wrote:

Does Sears have inflatables in that section? <j/k of course>
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