Two-stage snow blowers have more power but also require more muscle to move them through the snow. Turning 200 pounds or more of these beefy models can quickly tire the operator. Ariens hopes to take the aches and pains out of clearing snow with “Auto-Turn,” a feature the manufacturer is introducing on new models on display this week at the Green Industry & Equipment Expo in Louisville.
In addition to the levers used to move the snow blower forward and operate the auger and impeller, some higher-end two-stage snow blowers have an additional set beneath the handlebars that allow free-wheeling for easy turning. But while you’re operating the drive and auger controls on top, it can be awkward to reach down to engage the wheel releases.
On the Ariens 921030, $1,000, and Ariens 921032, $1,300 (shown), we’re testing, you need no levers to turn the machine, even from a complete stop. When you turn, the differential on these models lets one wheel move forward while the other moves back. And when you’re turning while going forward, one wheel simply turns more slowly than the other, as on a car. This speeds up the job, important if you have to clear the driveway to get out to work.
Both machines have electric start, 14-inch impellers, a cast-iron gear case, and a three-year warranty. The Ariens 921030 has a 28-inch clearing path; the Ariens 921032, 30-inch. Besides these two-stage models, single-stage models we’re testing include two 16-inch units from Ariens’ new Path-Pro line: the $600 Path-Pro 938033 and the $450 Ariens Path-Pro 938033. We’ll be reporting soon on how all four machines fared, along with other new models from Cub Cadet, Greenworks, Husqvarna, Toro, Troy-Bilt, and Worx.
Before you spring for a new snow blower this fall, be sure to read our buying guide. Then view our snow blower Ratings of almost 90 models.