So, it’s that time of year again, 2019 is coming to an end and winter is calling. Snow and ice are on the way and that means hauling out the snow blower. If you’re in need of a new or replacement snow blower, we’ve sought out some of the best track snow blowers for this review.
- Starting System : Recoil (AT); Electric (DC)/Recoil (ATD)
- Drive Mechanism : Hydrostatic, Infinitely variable
- Clutch type : Hydrostatic
- Steering System : Steering Clutches
- Stages : 2
- Auger Height Adjustment : Thumb Operated Gas Strut with Infinite Adjustment
- Chute Deflector Articulation : Single Articulated
- Work Light : LED – 12V-6W
- Chute Adjustment System : Remote Electric Joystick
- Chute Turning Radius : 198°
- Warranty : 3 years / Residential & Commercial
Best Track Snow Blowers
Why buy a track snow blower, when wheeled models are generally cheaper? Simple, tracks provide better traction on snow and ice. This makes a track snow blower the best in heavy snow and ice. They also they perform better on an incline. Turning your track snow blower may be more cumbersome, but you won’t get stuck as easily in heavy snow and you have much better control on a slippery ice surface.
VIDEO | HSS928ATD : Witness the Power!
For this review, we’ve looked at the real top guns. Honda, one of the undisputed champions in the outdoor equipment business, offer some of the very best track snow blowers and we’ll be reviewing a few models. Essentially, these are two models in different formats: the smaller Honda HSS928ATD (and HSS928AATD variant) will kick off the review, followed up by the HSS1332AT (and HSS1332ATD variant) as a larger capacity option. As an alternative to the top-rated Honda machines, we’ll also be reviewing the mighty impressive Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890. These are all, most certainly, top contenders for the best track snow blowers this winter.
Review — Honda HSS928AAT & HSS928AATD
Best Track Snow Blower — 28″ / 270cc
Along with so many others, I maintain that Honda manufacture outdoor power equipment that can easily be seen as the best there is. In my experience, paying extra for Honda products makes for great long term value. These machines just don’t quit on you. So the Honda HSS928AAT seems like a start to this review.
You’ll notice that two models are grouped together here. So let’s start by noting the difference between the Honda HSS928AAT and HSS928AATD track snow blower models. Both are the same basic machine, the difference being electric or recoil starting. The Honda HSS928AAT only has a recoil starter, while the HSS928AATD offers an electric starter. The latter model (HSS928AATD) will cost around $200 more than the standard HSS928ATD. When reviewing these two snow blowers, you can view all specs and features as being the same, with the obvious exception of the starting methods.
This is a 2-stage, track drive snow blower with a clearing width of 28” and a removal capacity of 1900 LBS/Min. Maximum clearing height is 21.7” and the powerful blower discharges up to 52’ from the chute. The Honda HSS928AAT/AATD is powered by the ultimately reliable Honda GX270, 270cc OHV engine. The AATD model is fitted with a DC starter motor. Anyone familiar with Honda power equipment will attest to the proven durability, efficiency, and easy starting of any Honda GX engine. This is a tried and tested engine over many years. With a conveniently large 1.3 gallon gas tank, the super-efficient Honda will give you long working times between fuel stops.
The controls are wonderfully easy and it’s quite comfortable to use. At each of the rubber clad handles, you have the left and right control levers – like motorcycle handles. You simply squeeze these levers to activate the skid steering in the direction that wish to turn. A control panel is laid out between the two handles, providing power assisted easy adjustments for speed, chute angle and auger height adjustment.
The hydrostatic clutch system offers smooth infinite speed control. The lever is clearly marked and easy to use. The central Neutral position is indicated by the familiar “N”. Push forward toward the “F” decal to increase forward speed or pull back toward “R” to reverse the machine. Immediately to the left of the hydrostatic control lever is a simple throttle control. To the right, you have a joystick that electrically controls the chute rotation up to 198°.
Easy fingertip controls allow you to raise and lower the auger with the touch of your thumb. A Pneumatic strut controls the auger height, giving infinite control of the auger. Interlocking drive is also at your fingertips, allowing for easy one-hand operation when needed. The front dashboard, just below the horizontal control panel has the choke, a digital hour meter, and a key start for the HSS928AATD electric start model.
Durability and great service life is something we’ve all come to expect from Honda, it’s what makes the brand worth paying extra for. To this end, the HSS928AAT/AATD models are fitted with a heavy duty serrated auger with bearing support on the shaft. The auger housing is also fabricated from ultra-durable metal and an auger cleaning tool conveniently clips to the top of this housing. Reversible skid shoes also maximize operational lifespan. The auger is protected by shear bolts which will shear to protect the drive shaft and impeller when encountering an obstruction that would otherwise damage these components. They’ve fitted a high-power LED headlight, improving visibility in dark conditions.
Such a large and tough track snow blower has an obvious downside, it’s monstrously heavy. The HSS928AAT weighs 265 pounds. When you add a starter motor, it becomes even heavier, the HSS928AATD weighs an extra 9-pounds (276LBS)
If you want the best track snow blower, you will be paying for the privilege. Honda machines are far from being the cheapest. With that said, you can be sure that you’re getting top quality and durability, along with the Honda reputation for, arguably, the best service and dealership repairs. Because of their proven reliability, Honda are able to offer one of the best warranty agreements: 3-year residential and 3-year commercial warranty. Need I say more.
Review : Honda HSS1332AAT / HSS1332AATD
32″ Clearing Width / 389cc — Honda HSS1332AT
The Honda HSS1332AAT and HSS1332AATD track snow blowers are a step up from the HSS928AAT and HSS928AATD models reviewed above. This is a larger, more powerful option, with pretty much the same features and specs. With it’s larger engine, the Honda HSS1332AAT/D has a greater capacity across the board. So we’re looking at a larger clearing width, and an improved throw distance. The clearing capacity is drastically higher, making this machine ideal for clearing large volumes in short time period.
Like the smaller Honda models, the differences between the HSS1332AAT and HSS1332AATD are minor. The Honda HSS1332AATD has an electric starter, whereas the HSS1332AAT requires manual staring by means of a conventional recoil starter. There’s one additional advantage to the Honda HSS1332AATD, which is unique to this model, you won’t find this on any of the other Honda snow blowers in this review. The Honda HSS1332AATD has a torque sensor for added auger protection. This is in addition to the shear bolts that feature on the other models.
The beefy Honda HSS1332AAT/D utilizes a formidable powerplant, the Honda GX390 (389cc) engine. With around 30% more power than the smaller Honda equivalent, this model shows some pretty impressive capabilities. Clearing width is up to 31.9”. Clearing height remains the same, 21.7” – the auger is wider but has the same diameter. The impeller benefits from the extra engine power, taking the maximum throw distance to an incredibly impressive 56’. Clearing volume is a mighty 2750 LBS/min.
When it comes to convenient easy controls, the Honda HSS1332AAT/D is identical to its smaller brother. Smooth hydrostatic speed control is managed with a lever, as is the throttle, and it has the same electric joystick for chute rotation (198°). The wonderfully easy pneumatic strut for infinite auger height control is also identical. It has the same reversible skid shoes and LED light.
As the Honda HSS1332AAT is made from the same durable metal components as the smaller model and has a lager engine, as well as a wider intake, it is obviously going to be even heavier. The HSS1332AAT weighs in at a whopping 276 pounds, with the electric start HSS1332AATD weighing 298 pounds.
The Honda HSS1332AAT/D will cost a little more than the smaller models in the series. This extra cash buys you a noticeably more powerful machine. This could be the ultimate track snow blower for a large yard, close to commercial specifications. It’s a Honda product, so quality, reliability, and durability are a given. It is covered by the noteworthy 3-year residential and 3-year commercial Honda warranty.
Review | Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890
The Honda track snow blowers may make you the envy of the neighborhood but let’s face it, they’re quite expensive. So, what’s the alternative? I think that the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 is the next best option. It compares exceptionally well when pitted against the Honda HSS928AATD 28” track snow blower. As a brand, Troy-Bilt is a renowned American manufacturer of power equipment and can be taken seriously. In terms of performance, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 perfectly matches the Honda equivalent.
With its 272cc OHV 4-stroke engine, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 delivers the same kind of power that you get from the smaller Honda snow blower, featured at the beginning of this review. It has the same clearing width (28”), and the intake height is basically the same at 21”. This model offers both electric and recoil starting, placing it alongside the more expensive Honda HSS928AATD. Yet costs considerably less.
Controls are more conventional than the sophisticated Hondas. The Troy-Bilt has 6-forward speeds and 2 for reverse, operated by a lever on the control panel located between the dual handlebars. Chute rotation and pitch are mechanically controlled, also using a lever. You steer the snow blower in the usual way with levers that you pull at each handle. A three position lever also allows you to shift the weight distribution to maximize traction from the D-Track drive system.
The Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 has not skimped on luxury items. You have heated grips and an LED headlight. In all respects, this snow blower is as easy and comfortable (if not more) than the Honda models. It also allows for one-hand operation.
This machine is built tough, making it a worthy competitor to the Honda snow blowers. Quality metals and 12” serrated auger offer outstanding durability. This can be confirmed by the hefty 250 pound shipping weight.
In my opinion, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 is second best to the Honda track snow blowers. Though I must a admit a good degree of bias here, Honda is usually my number one brand for any form of power equipment. Even as a second place contender, I wouldn’t rank the Troy-Bilt far behind the sophisticated Honda HSS928ATTD. When you consider the price difference (the Troy-Bilt is almost half the price), It’s not all that easy to say that Honda is the really the best option. The Honda may last longer, but will it last twice as long? I’m not too sure. Troy-Bilt offers a more standard warranty (2-years). Which may be an indication that they aren’t quite as confident about the long term durability. When it comes down to it, the Troy-Bilt Tracker 2890 is certainly one of the best track snow blowers and the price is more than reasonable for the level of quality that you’re getting.