Snowblowers are the key to keeping one’s sanity during extreme snowfall, especially in places where harsh winters are a normal part of life. In fact, snowblowers are lifesavers during heavy snowfall since digging through snow and ice can be such a tiring and heavy task.
Two of the more reliable models in the market now are the Toro Snowmaster 724ZXR and the New Ariens Crossover 20.
Both are said to be quite efficient. They also are equally priced, making it quite difficult tp come up with a decision on what can be a better buy. While almost similar at a first glance, these two machines do have some main points of difference. Going through the next paragraphs will give you a better understanding of how one is different from the other.
Design and Build
In terms of design, the exterior of both snowblowers turns out to be quite similar. In terms of construction and certain details, there is still quite a difference between the two.
The Ariens crossover features a simpler design. It is also made almost entirely of lightweight steel. This makes the Crossover more durable as compared to the Toro.
The Ariens Crossover has a big intake housing at the front that has an auger attached to it. At the base, right behind the housing, are two wheels. The gas engine of the snowblower is located right above the wheels. The Ariens Crossover also has an adjustable snow chute that can be found between the engine and intake housing. The handlebar of the Crossover is directly attached to the base of the snowblower.
The Toro Snowmaster comes with a design that looks a bit heavier than the Crossover. It also is constructed using more plastic parts, such as in the case of the engine cover and snow chute. Plastic parts can also be found on the handlebar, including the joystick, which is actually one of the special features of the Snowmaster.
The size difference of the augers of the Snowmaster and the Crossover is not much different.
The Toro Snowmaster’s auger is 10 inches in diameter with a clearing width of 24 inches. Its auger has rubber paddings located towards the center which help in snow clearance. The edges of the auger have metal blades which make it easy for the snowblower to cut through snow.
The Crosover 20 has a slightly larger auger which measures 11 inches in diameter.
It has a shorter clearing width at 20 inches, which may mean lesser coverage. The blades themselves come with rubber paddings. These rubber paddings are meant to aid in the auger propel system. The lack of exposure of metal blades, however, seem to be a disadvantage when the need to cut through ice comes up.
The Toro Snowmaster makes use of pneumatic tires that measure 11 inches in diameter, The wheels have large tread lugs which are meant to provide better traction. Traction is needed for the Snowmaster since the wheels make it possible for the Snowmaster to move forward,
The Ariens Crossover comes with solid plastic tires that have shallow treads. Although these may not seem to provide much traction, they do make the snowblower more lightweight making it easier to maneuver.
One of the special features of the Toro Snowmaster if known as the Quick Stick. This is a joystick controller that is located at the handlebars. It is meant to change the direction and pitch of the snow chute without having to move it manually. This is definitely an added convenience compared to the snow chute of the Ariens Crossover which can only be controlled manually.
Power and Performance
In terms of power and performance, the Snowmaster and the Crossover have quite a difference.
The Toro Snowmaster has a powerful 212 cc 4-cycle gasoline engine that is capable of throwing snow up to a distance of 40 feet.
The Ariens Crossover has only a 179 cc engine that is capable of throwing snow up to a distance of 35 feet.
In terms of operational comfort or convenience, there are three factors that should be considered: the propel system, chute control and ease in stirring.
The Propel System
The propelling system of a snowblower contributes much to operational comfort. The propelling system aids much on how one can maneuver the snowblower in different kinds of terrain.
The Toro Snowmaster makes use of a drivetrain for its propel system that connects the engine to the wheels. This system aids in moving the snowblower forward. As for speed adjustment, the Toro Snowmaster makes use of what they all the Personal Pace System. With this system, the speed of the machine is controlled through a push of the handlebar. The pushing motion transfers power from the engine to the wheels. A stronger pushing motion delivers more power which results in a faster forward motion for the snowblower.
The Crossover 20 makes use of its auger to propel the snowblower forward. The rotation of the auger is what moves the snowblower forward. Rubber paddings are added to the propel system for added traction. The Crossover 20 though does not have any mechanism for speed control, unlike the Toro Snowmaster.
The ability to control the direction and pitch of the snow chute eases up much of the work in terms of operation.
In this aspect, the Toro Snowmaster has a clear advantage due to the Quick Stick Feature which enables the user to control the chute from the joystick controller on the handlebar.
The ease in which one can stir the snowblower helps much when you want to lead the snowblower to a certain directions, especially in difficult or narrow paths like driveways or sidewalks.
The Toro Snowmaster makes use of an automatic stirring system. With this system, the machine is able to detect the slightest change in direction in a given path. When the machine needs to make a slight turn, one wheel automatically disengages to allow for that pivot to happen. This is called “triggerless steering” or “automatic steering”.
The Ariens, on the other hand, makes use of manual steering. Although this may seem to be difficult, the Ariens is pretty lightweight so steering isn’t much of an inconvenience.
The Bottom Line
Given the fact that the Crossover and the Snowmaster are practically at the same price point, the Toro Snowmaster definitely has a clear advantage. The power that it carries is enough to make a solid argument as to why it is a better buy as compared to the Crossover. Besides this reason, you would also have to consider added features such as automatic steering and the Quick Stick.
If you are, however, looking for a simple setup and a more durable machine that can serve you long term, then the Crossover would be a better buy given its full metal design.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the Toro Snowmaster have an electric ignition switch?
Although higher end models do have electric ignition switches, the 724ZR does not have one. Instead, what is has is recoil ignition.
2. What kind of fuel should be used for the Ariens Crossover 20?
An ethanol-gasoline blend with a rating of up to E10 can be used for the Ariens Crossover 20.
3. How much does the Toro Snowmaster weigh?
The Snowmaster weighs a total of 117 pounds.