The Great Snow Blower Debate: Toro Vs Ariens, Who Comes Out On Top?

Ariens and Toro logos

Forget ‘to be or not to be’, the real question is are Toro snow blowers better than Ariens?

Of course, the debate is entirely subjective,

Both brands have their own devoted set of fans, who will tell you why they favor one manufacturer over the other.

But what is clear, is that, on the whole, both Ariens and Toro are recognised for making very good snow blowers.

So who does make the best snow blowers, Toro or Ariens?

Let’s take a closer look.

Are Toro Snow Blowers Better Than Ariens?

It depends who you ask! Both Toro and Ariens have a very devoted fan base. Ariens snow blowers tend to be more heavy duty with all metal controls, but at a slightly higher price point. Toro snow blowers are still very well made, and their Quick Stick joystick control is very popular, but they tend to have more plastic in their construction. Both make excellent snow blowers.

Toro: An Overview

Toro was established way back in 1914, building tractor engines for The Bull Tractor Company.

That is how the company got its name, Toro is Spanish for bull.

Perhaps the pivotal moment in the company’s history came in 1948, when it bought out Whirlwind Corp to enter the push mower market.

This move helped consolidate Toro’s position in the home and garden market and by the 1990s, it was focused on the maintenance of golf courses, sports fields, parks and properties.

In 1951 Toro entered the snow blower business when it introduced the industrial-grade Snow Boy. A year later it added the Snow Hound, the first Toro homeowner snow blower, to its roster.

In 2014 Toro acquired Boss Products, a snowplow and snow removal equipment company.

As of 2020, Toro employed 10,300 people with retailers in 125 countries and generated $3.4billion in revenue.

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Toro: The Case For…

Man snow blowing

Probably the most universally approved design feature on Toro’s snow blowers is the controls.

The one-handed ‘Quick Stick’ chute control design means you don’t get a mouthful of snow when you change the direction of your snow blower.

With Toro’s Quick Stick system you can change the direction of the chute and deflector with one-hand movement.

All you do is move the Quick Stick in the direction you want the snow to go, and that is it, job done.

It makes things a lot easier than having to deal with two control levers as is the case on most snow blowers.

Toro’s snow blowers also don’t have shear pins that can break. So no fumbling around in the cold if you accidentally hit a large chunk of ice or rock.

On its two-stage models in particular its gears and gearbox are very robust, with thick steel bolts that can withstand A LOT.

What this does tend to mean is less maintenance and repair costs on Toro snow blowers.

Toro’s snow blowers also come at a lower price point than Ariens, so if cost is a factor, they will most likely come out on top here for you as well.

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Toro: The Case Against…

One issue that did seem to come up for Toro a few years back was problems with rusting.

In all fairness, this does seem to possibly have been resolved now, it certainly doesn’t seem to be as much of an occurrence as it was previously.

Whilst the controls are intuitive and easy to use on Toro’s snow blowers, they are more plasticky and the chute probably isn’t quite as smooth as comparable Ariens machines.

Again to give Toro its dues, there are signs that they are moving away from this heavy use of polymers in its machines and back towards steel in recent models.

Parts also tend to be slightly harder to find for Toro machines, although this will vary depending on where you live and the retailers around you.

Finally, any snow blower is only as good as its engine, and who makes Toro snow blowers engines I hear you ask? They are made by the Chinese company Loncin.

They are well respected and a huge company, but if you like things to be made in the USA, then Ariens by contrast have either Briggs or Stratton Polar Force engines or AX series engines.

The AX series engines are made in China too, but by an American company.

Ariens: An Overview

Ariens were founded just under two decades later than Toro.

Their beginnings can be traced back to 1933 when Henry Ariens and his three sons developed the first American-made rotary tiller.

In 1958 Ariens moved into the home and garden market when it sold its first riding mower.

Just a couple of years later, at the start of the 1960s, Ariens started selling snow blowers. Its inaugural snow blower, the Ariens Sno-Thro, began production in July 1960.

By the end of the following decade, Ariens was producing over 100,000 Sno-Thro machines each season.

The Ariens Sno-Thro has proved the company’s most enduring creation. In 2005 its two millionth Sno-Thro was produced, in 2012 its three millionth rolled off the production line and in 2018 its four millionth went on the market.

As of today the company still remains in the Ariens family with original founder Henry Ariens’ great-grandson Dan Aries being CEO and Chairman of Ariens.

It employs more than 1,500 people across the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway.

Ariens: The Case For…

Ariens snow blowers do feel more solid.

This isn’t meant as an insult to Toro snow blowers, but Ariens uses all metal for its control and chute and as a result, they feel much more heavy-duty.

Ariens also redesigned its chute controls back in 2005, as previously they were cumbersome and a weak spot in its snow blowers.

They can now be moved quicker and locked in place more swiftly. The rotation is very precise, and they can be swiveled more than the standard 200 degrees.

However, the snow blower pitch is still a separate control.

Where Ariens also distinguish themselves is with attention to detail on parts that at first glance don’t seem important, but when you have used a snow blower for a while you realise they actually make a significant difference.

For instance, unlike most of its competitors in a similar price bracket, its snow blowers have all metal hand grip levers, and use a double belt system.

For areas that get regular, heavy snow these additions are particularly beneficial.

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Ariens: The Case Against…

As a result of its solid metal construction, the Ariens line of snow blowers does tend to be more expensive than its Toro competitors.

The Auto Turn feature is a bone of contention on the Ariens models. Some people really like it, others (my self included) don’t and prefer the one-hand steering lever Toro uses.

Even with the improved chute design, I still find adjusting it clunkier and not as easy as a Toro machine.

Final Thoughts

Are Toro Snow Blowers Better Than Ariens infographic
Click infographic to enlarge.

The bottom line is that both Toro and Ariens are well-respected brands that build quality snow blowers as shown on the infographic above.

This is best illustrated in a poll on the Snow Blower forum, that asked users which manufacturer made the best snow blowers.

At the time of writing Toro and Ariens stand head and shoulders above every other manufacturer, with Honda in a distant third.

Oh, if you are wondering Ariens come slightly ahead of Toro.

Of the two brands, I think we can say that Ariens are made better and very heavy duty, but are more expensive.

Toro snow blowers are still very well made and will last you a long time with the right care and attention. They are at a slightly lower price point too.

Perhaps you shouldn’t focus on the brand name, as both are very good, instead consider the features, size, dealer support and price point and make a decision based on those factors.

The truth is you will most likely be happy either way.

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