(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)
Powerful and well-built, but not perfect
Eats Through Snow Banks
Tire Tracktion Excellent
Doesn't Always Track Straight
This review is for model 921037 Ariens Deluxe 28 Plus Sno Thro, which is the same as 921030 but with a slightly bigger engine.<br />I did a lot of research before buying this machine. Second runner-up was the Craftsman with electronic joystick chute control, however that only came in 30 which is too wide for my garage door and fence gates openings.<br />The Ariens Deluxe 28 has many great features. The stand-out feature is of course Auto-Turn. This generally works as claimed, but I've concluded that it's highly dependent upon the surface being cleared. Uneven pavement, cracked asphalt, cement sidewalk gaps, will cause the machine to frequently waver off course when trying to go in a straight line. Ariens has apparently received a lot of complaints about Auto-Turn because they created a YouTube video showing how to properly align the bucket to the frame, and then the skid height. These are things I would expect a reputable dealer to prep before selling it, but it may also be something that needs to be revisited at least once per season. Bottom line? Yes, it's much easier to turn because of Auto-Turn. However, it may also be more difficult to keep in a straight line. At times I miss the trigger steer of my previous Craftsman. <br />The metal chute and throwing power are among the best available at this price point. I only wish the controls for aiming were laid out better. This model has the drive control handle on the LEFT, which means that to adjust the chute aim while moving, you need to reach across with your right hand, which is a bit awkward. Perhaps Ariens will add joystick control at some point.<br />The tires are absolutely great, with deep treads and a tall stance that rarely gets stuck.<br />There is a nice spring-tension adjustment nut under the chute control gear, which allows very fine-tuned control of how difficult it is to turn the chute. One small improvement by Ariens that could make this even better would be to replace the nut with a larger, tool-less hand knob, which would be easier to adjust in the field.<br />This Ariens is heavy, and also front-heavy. That is to say, it's not effortless to pivot the unit back on its wheels. This has a beneficial effect of more weight on the front, so the bucket does not ride up onto snow as much. The downside is that the skids and scraper bar will wear out a lot faster. I recommend buying extras of both to keep on hand. Even better, replace the steel skids with the Poly Skids that Ariens sells. They'll wear our even faster, but they don't mar the surface and they help improve the Auto-Turn skittishness a bit.<br />Overall a great snow thrower with impressive throwing power and many great features. Still some room for improvement.
How long have you owned it:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.