The Ariens Deluxe line has become one of the most popular consumer options in the snow blower market. It’s a perfect match for residential owners by mixing a quality build, strong performance, and fair price into one. These are one of my top picks for homeowners in need of a two-stage snow blower.
254cc Ariens AX Engine
Driving the Deluxe 28 (STL28DLE) is a 254cc Ariens AX 4-cycle gas engine. It’s strong enough for most parts of North America. They start up better than most engines on the market and offer features like idle speed control and a dual belt drive. There’s an easy fuel shut off valve which makes draining the carburetor before Spring easy.
The AX engines are manufactured in China by LCT. While I consider the engines good, they aren’t on the same level as Honda. Then again, you’re paying considerably less for an Ariens.
I’ve seen some issues with metallic dust from the fuel tanks making their way into the carburetors. But LCT seems to have corrected that since I haven’t seen this pop up in more recent models. Ariens does offer a strong 3-year warranty and are great at honoring it.
If you need more power, the Deluxe 28 SHO has a 306cc AX engine. Frankly, I don’t think it’s necessary for most people (getting less than 80 inches a year) and not worth the extra $150.
14-inch 3-Blade All-Steel Impeller
Considering most impellers come in around 12 inches, the extra size here is a welcome find. This along with a larger discharge chute allows the Deluxe to push out considerably more snow.
A throwing radius of over 40 feet can be expected in ideal conditions while churning out 70 tons/hour (according to Ariens). Serrated blades do an excellent job of cutting through compacted snow and ice.
The gear case is made of cast iron and alloy steel gears. They’re lubed up with synthetic gear oil and carry a 5-year warranty.
The Ariens Deluxe 28 does use shear pins. They rarely ever break from what I’ve seen. Unless you’re reckless hitting a flower pot or curb, you shouldn’t have an issue.
28-inch Clearing Width
As the name suggests, the Ariens Deluxe 28 has a clearance width of 28 inches. The intake is 21 inches, which is more than adequate for handling a foot of snow. With a little lubricant in the chute, there should be no issues with clogging here.
The housing is composed of all steel. And it’s thick to boot. It would take a lot dent and I believe will hold up for a long time. A great choice for gravel driveways.
Like other Ariens Deluxe models, this self-propelled snow blower comes with 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds. It’s unlikely you’ll need to shift above the 3rd gear unless you’re looking for a workout. Shifting gears on the fly is easy and can be done single-handedly.
Their auto-turn steering takes a little getting used to, but once you do, is a pleasure to operate. The machine will sense when you are switching directions and will lock the inside wheel. This makes tight turns simple to make. It’s worth noting that older Ariens models (before 2017) had issues with drifting. This will pop-up in some online reviews, but has been remedied in newer models.
Despite its considerable size, this is an easy snow blower to operate. I think most adults and even kids could handle it without a problem.
Easy to Operate Discharge Chute
The steel discharge chute works on its own controls on the dash. Using a shifter, you can adjust the angle of the chute to determine distance.
A crank in front rotates the chute in a 200 degree radius. It turns smoothly and easy to operate when switching directions on your driveway. It’s not in the most ergonomically correct position in my opinion as I’d prefer it situated more to the right. A small shovel is included that attaches to the housing which help with any clogging.
Good Tires, Bad Skid Shoes
The Ariens Deluxe 28 comes with 16-inch directional snow tires. There’s good tread on them and you should be able to handle some minor inclines. They work well on ice and I don’t think you’d need to worry about adding chains.
On the other side, I’m not a fan of their stock steel skid shoes. They cause too much friction which can make steering more difficult than it needs to be. Ariens sells a polyurethane skid shoe that is easy to install for around $30. I highly recommend purchasing those. Hopefully Ariens starts using them on their snow blowers out of the box.
Electric Start and Headlight
The Deluxe 28 comes with your standard electric start option. This is a nice backup for the coldest weather or if your recoil cord breaks (I’ve seen this happen). There are no heated handlebars which is disappointing at this price point. But Ariens does offer them as an add-on and I’ve heard are easy to install.
The in-dash halogen headlight is another minor disappointment. I much prefer the newer LED lights that produce a better, more targeted stream of light.
Ariens Deluxe 24 vs Deluxe 28
When people decide to go with an Ariens Deluxe model, this is ultimately the question they have. These machines are identical outside of the width. Same engine, same impeller, same tires, and so on. So is 4 inches in clearance width worth $200?
My opinion is that it comes down to length of your driveway. Driveways that are 800 feet in length or less should go with the Deluxe 24. Anything longer and I’d look to the Deluxe 28. You’re talking about saving 1-2 passes on a standard two-car driveway with those 4 inches. So if you’re driveway is not that long, save the money. The value is why I rate this slightly below the other model.
Ariens has a 3-year warranty on all Deluxe model snow blowers. There is an option to purchase an extended 5-year warranty directly through the company. Repairs must be made at authorized Ariens service centers.
Just like the Ariens Deluxe 24, this is one of the best economical two-stage snow blowers on the market. A perfect choice for those getting 80 inches or less of snow a year. It works well whether you’re using it on the dryer Midwest powder or the heavy, wet snow out East. And the 28 inches is particularly helpful for those with long driveways to tackle.
If price is not an issue, you may want to take a look at the Toro Power Max HD 928 OAE. It has a slightly better engine. But it’s $200 more and I don’t think most residential users would notice the difference.
Model: 921046 (Operator’s Manual)
Stage Type: Two-Stage Gas
Engine: 254cc 4-Cycle OHV
Fuel Capacity: 0.725 gallons
Plowing Capacity: 2333 lbs/min
Clearing Width: 28 inch
Intake Height: 21 inch
Throw Distance: 50 feet
Tires: 16 inch (5 inch width)
Weight: 250 pounds
Recommended Oil: SAE 5W30
Warranty: 3-year limited (gear case is 5 years)
Starting Method: Recoil and Electric
Speed/s: 6 Forward and 2 Reverse
Power Steering: Yes
Chute adjustment: Remote (Shift and Crank)
Headlight: Yes (1 Halogen)
Heated handlebars: No (can purchase separately)