what makes the Ariens better than the other 2 ??
Much bigger engine, OHV, all-steel construction, cast-iron gearcase with a 5 year warranty and, most importantly, hand warmers!
Really, it's about the controls. I HATED the controls on the Poulan Pro I was using (the black one in the photo). They fought every change, didn't engage in detents. It was a belt-drive with a non-adjustable belt, so when offered the slightest resistance, the wheels would stop. Not spin...as if they were making an attempt...but simply stop spinning so I'd have to push it all the time to go forward.
Using it was like having a shopping cart with four bad wheels and a 200 pound load. You just fought with it constantly and I think I was often more sore than if I had just shoveled.
We'll see how the Ariens does today. I was prompted to buy it by the forecast of a heavy, wet 12~18" this weekend. It ends up that we're likely to get half of that, but since it's not the powdery snow we normally get, it'll at least be a little bit of a test.