Let me start by saying that this is not my first snowblower and that I have been snow blowing for 50 yrs. Indeed this is the 6th one. The first one was a Gravely (no longer in business) multifunction machine that was VERY heavy, a challenge to start and dangerously powerful with minimal safety features. It did a wonderful job following the blizzard of "78 in the Boston area. But it was too tricky and dangerous so I moved to a more popular machine. Had several of these however as I aged the physical effort to handle these machine became a challenge and a chore especially as there are several elderly people on our street that we clear following a snow event. So... when my last snowblower began to show signs of failing I decided that a replacement was in order. As luck would have it the day prior to a big snow event I drove past a Honda dealer on the way to a big box store to purchase the more popular and less expensive machine similar to the one I had been using for decades. On a lark I went in saw the HS1336iAS now called by everyone on our block "Big Red".
This is a big machine. Beautifully made. Powerful and while expensive a machine that you can walk behind for hours and never get tired. There is no lifting or pushing. The tracks work wonderfully allowing it to turn while in place. Turn the key, hold the clutch, push a button to start the auger and a joy stick hydraulically adjusts the chute angle and direction while another joy stick hydraulically raises and lowers the blade. It is hard to imagine an easier to operate machine.
This in my third season with this Big Red. It has yet to meet a snow that it can't devour! Light and fluffy or heavy and wet this machine with it's track drive system just keeps moving forwards doing what it was built to do - clear snow!
Before closing I like the fact that I purchased this from a Honda dealer. He did a wonderful job showing me how to use the machine and how to use the track drive system. If something goes wrong (and I hope it does not) the dealership is there with a full service department to fix the machine. Again the cost of Big Red is clearly an obstacle for many but considering that if this machine is cared for the cost can be amortized over 20 yrs of service as my elderly Honda mower has done and will continue to do come summer.
In the final analysis it is not the cost but the function of the machine that make it worth every penny.