Powerful, easy to start Honda GX engine
The commercial grade Honda GX200 OHV engine offers plenty of power to churn through the snow. Starting is easy - even in cold weather.
(HSS724AAT / HSS724AATD )
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The commercial grade Honda GX200 OHV engine offers plenty of power to churn through the snow. Starting is easy - even in cold weather.
Automotive-style DC electric key starting makes your snow blower even easier. These models also come standard with recoil pull-start, for back up purposes. Available on the HSS724ATD.
Two-stage snow blowers use a fast spinning impeller in the discharge duct to throw snow faster and farther. The HSS724 has a larger impeller diameter for increased snow removal - offering throwing distances that exceed many competitors.
The combination of Honda 's GX series engine, optimized impeller pulley, and 90 degree impeller wing dramatically optimizes Honda's HSS series snow throwing capacity.
The HSS724 can handle large snowfalls with ease.
Dual track drive provides exceptional traction through most snow conditions. Pliable, low temperature rubber tracks with sure-gripping cleats, providing solid traction and ideal balance. Perfect for complete control on inclines, rough or uneven ground, and icy conditions. Provides a stable platform for attacking hard packed snow and ice.Learn More
The all-new auger height control lever allows you to easily adjust auger housing height with just the press of a thumb. Variable positions let you choose the best height for different surface conditions. Raise the auger for uneven clearing surfaces. Or lower the auger to clear down to the pavement or cut through hard packed snow - without riding up on the snow being removed. The auger height control gives you the ability to match the snow blower to your needs.Learn More
Control of forward and reverse speed is simplicity itself with Honda's hydrostatic transmission. Just move the lever forward or backward to go in the direction you want, at the speed you want. Infinitely variable speed means it's easy to pick a speed to match your snow conditions and personal preference. There's no shifting, and the ground speed doesn't affect the auger rotation speed. It's easy to control, and virtually maintenance free.Learn More
The all-new electric 4-direction joystick chute control lets you reposition the chute on the go. With up to 198 degrees of rotation, the joystick chute control allows you to clear snow faster and more efficiently.
Left and right control levers provide easy and intuitive steering control. The steering control levers also provide easy movement and transport, even with the engine off. Just pull and hold both levers for neutral, then easily roll the snow blower.
The HSS724 offers ergonomically-designed controls for operator convenience and safety. Controls are conveniently laid out and easy to reach.Learn More
Honda's snow blowers are equipped with ice breaking, heavy-duty, serrated augers. To enhance performance and durability, the auger shaft is bearing supported.
The HSS724's auger drive shaft and impeller blower are protected by easily replaceable offset shear bolts. Should the auger engage a solid object, the shear bolt will break to prevent auger or impeller shaft damage.
Honda's addition of a pneumatic gas strut to the auger height control system gives the user smooth and accurate auger housing adjustment.
One hand drive control allows you to easily adjust snow direction and distance with the chute controls.
The throttle control lever provides manual control of the engine speed.
A powerful built-in LED work light makes the HSS724 easy to use, even in the dark. Provides exceptional lighting and high visibility in all conditions. The LED light offers performance and a lifespan that competitors' incandescent bulbs can't touch.
Reversible, heavy-duty skid shoes provide twice the wear of regular skid shoes.
The articulated discharge chute offers precise direction and distance control of snow.
Enjoy Honda durability with automotive-grade steel side auger housing and discharge chute.
The HSS724 offers a large, easy to fill gas tank with a built in fuel gauge and a glove-friendly gas cap.
Conveniently located clearing tool in the unlikely event the chute becomes obstructed with slushy wet snow or ice.
You can rest easy, knowing your snow blower is covered from top to bottom for 3 full years.
|Starting System||Recoil (AT); Electric (DC)/Recoil (ATD)|
|Fuel capacity||0.82 gal|
|Drive Mechanism||Hydrostatic, Infinitely variable|
|Steering System||Steering Clutches|
|Wheel / Track||Track|
|Auger Overload Protection||Shear Bolts|
|Auger Height Adjustment||Thumb Operated Gas Strut with Infinite Adjustment|
|Work Light||LED - 12V-6W|
|Chute Adjustment System||Remote Electric Joystick|
|Chute Deflector Articulation||Single Articuled|
|Chute Turning Radius||198°|
|Clearing Width||23.8 in.|
|Clearing Height||21.7 in.|
|Max. Discharge Distance||49 ft.|
|Max. Discharge Capacity||1500 lb./min|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||58.5" x 24.8" x 43.5"|
|Dry Weight||231 lb. (AT); 243 lb. (ATD)|
|Residential Warranty||3 years|
|Commercial Warranty||3 years|
New Hartford, CT Type of use: Residential
Amherst, NY Type of use: Residential
I bought this machine in 11/15 and have used it for 3 1/2 seasons. I added an hour meter when the machine was delivered and I currently have 11.9 hours of use clocked - not much really. The winters have been mild lately. You can find my original review under the same name "Tommy" from Amherst, NY that I wrote in 2016.
One problem has appeared in 3 seasons. The motorized chute rotation left to right control became non-functional today while I was using the machine after a 12 inch snowfall (I live north of Buffalo, NY - we know snow!). The top diverter/flipper still worked. There are no fuses that I saw in the wiring diagram so it was either the joystick or the motor.
The joystick is far easier to access than the motor so I followed the service manual instructions (required resource - purchase it with the machine) for continuity checks. I went to unplug the switch connector and test for power to L/R rotation continuity. Typically these connectors have a tab that needs to be disengaged with a small screwdriver. to pull them apart. My connector just came apart so I pushed it back together and heard a "click". I fired up the machine and the problem was fixed. Someone missed that at the factory or dealer but I'm happy it wasn't the switch or motor.
That said, I'm NOT a fan of the motorized chute, hence the 1 star deduction "overall", "ease of use" and "feature". The power chute is slow to turn L/R relative to a hand crank, prone to problems like i described above and it introduces a litany of potential long term service issues down the road because you now have a joystick, wiring harness, motor and power flipper assembly to screw around with that can all potentially fail always at the worst time like today.
Other deductions are for the difficulty maneuvering the machine, even with the power track controls. This machine is heavy and beastly - it's a workout even for a 220 pound life long weightlifter. It also pops shear pins far too easily but I guess that's required to protect the transmission.
Bottom line is that this is still a great machine but I think Honda out thought themselves with the power rotating chute. Maybe it's a "keeping up with the competition" mindset but for me, the hand crank on my old 928 worked fine and was bulletproof.
seaford, NY Type of use: Residential
Houlton , ME Type of use: Residential
Koodos to Honda USA. However Honda Canada says they have not heard tell of this model clogging. I don't believe this to be true. I have complained about it as well as others. I live in Atlantic Canada and am sure we receive by times the same slop as the Boston area. These are pricey machines why not stand be hind the product and replace the shoots. Its time to make this right. If some one from Honda USA would like to reach out....
Signed very disappointed.
Nikiski, AK Type of use: Residential
Cary, IL Type of use: Residential
Auburn, ME Type of use: Residential
Long Valley, NJ Type of use: Residential
Beverly, MA Type of use: Residential
I purchased this blower to replace a 20 year old Honda 624 Track. The old on went to a friend to continue its service life. This new machine is far easier to turn and place where I want, plus the electric shute is wonderful. I like that it gives me more throw distance from the same frame size. I am limited where I store it in the garage so I needed something no wider than the old machine. We just got a major nor'easter with heavy wet snow. We live 10 miles north of Boston right on the coast. This blower ate up the plow mound and everything else I pointed it at including digging its way into 5 feet of snow to uncover the drain at the end of my street, which is where the plows deposit all the snow from the street.
To summarize, I love the trigger steering, electric start, adjustable height, throw distance (30+feet even with heavy snow), and incredible traction the track drive provides. It's stronger and quieter that the machine it replaced. The only thing I don't like is how fragile the shear bolts are. I broke two, but both were operator error. I didn't realize that you can angle the nose too far and if you do the auger will drag on the ground and sheer a bolt. The other was when I clipped my rock wall thinking I was further over than I was (couldn't see it under all the snow). Nothing to take a point away about especially since both were replaced in not more than 5 minutes. I just need to get used to this model and not operate it exactly as I did the old unit. Not to mention avoiding piling into walls. :-)
Overall I am very pleased. It moves an incredible amount and depth of snow for a 7 hp blower and just claws through everything. I am looking forward to the next 20 years or so with this great little machine.
Naugatuck, CT Type of use: Residential
Bangor , PA Type of use: Residential
Island Falls, ME Type of use: Residential
There's nothing that Honda forgot with this machine. It performs beautifully. Snow conditions here in Northern Maine vary greatly. Using the blower with common sense is all that is required. Heavy wet snow requires the same approach as when shoveling it. TAKE IT EASY ! A Blower has a Heart too.
I like this Machine very much.
Marblehead, MA Type of use: Residential
Traded in my 22 year old Ariens for this amazing looking machine with all the bells and whistles. First snow of the year I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. Cant wait to get out and tackle the snow. It starts right up, no problem, and I spend a few minutes familiarizing myself with the controls. There’s a lot more than I’m used to, raising/lowering the auger, forward/back, a handle each to make it go left and right, and the lever to engage the auger. It will take some practice but I don’t mind because it looks and sounds like a beast!
I roll out of the garage and hit the snow full speed. It quickly stalled. There’s about 15 inches and its a little heavy so I back it out and try again slowly. It’s blowing a little snow, but seems to be pushing more than churning through the snow. I back it into the garage and notice that both shear pins are gone. I’m convinced the placeI bought it from forgot to install them, and I’m mad. I find extra shear pins attached to my owners manual and install them per the manual instructions. NOW I’m ready to take this bad boy for a spin! It works as advertised, but you have to slow it way down in deeper snow or it stalls. And when it stalls, I soon learn if you don’t get it going quickly the shoot clogs as another reviewer mentioned and it is difficult to clear with the stick they attach to the machine. It’s a nuisance for sure. Another potential negative, maybe I will improve with more usage, is if you have to maneuver around cars or into tight spaces, it is not very easy to move around.
So I’m cruising along, getting the hang of it, and again it seems like I’m pushing snow. I have a look and low and behold I have no shear pins again! I don’t believe I hit anything, like a stick or ice, its just plain old heavy snow. Luckily, or maybe because they know, there is another set of shear pins and I quickly put them in. I finish up the driveway and put it away. I check the shear pins when I’m done and unbelievably one side is missing! This is ridiculous! How can Honda sell such a fragile product to people in the northeast? This was typical snow, that my old Ariens would have had no problems with. Extremely disappointed to have spent $2500 for a supposed upgrade that I guess will need to have the shear pins replaced every time I use it. Having serious buyers remorse!
Sycamore, IL Type of use: Residential
Anchorage, AK Type of use: Residential
Wenatchee, WA Type of use: Residential
Prineville, OR Type of use: Residential
Chantilly, VA Type of use: Residential, Other [Neighborhood]
I hope I'm frugal with my money, believe I research big purchases thouroughly, and consider long-term value over almost everything else; that is why I tend to buy Honda small engines; buy Apple computers, smartphones, and iPads; have a 35-year old ShopSmith; and am a life-long USAA member. I've had first hand use and ownership of many a snow shovel and coal shovel and flat-bladed garded shovel; a Toro one-stage (owned by a neighbor and used by me); an old old Ariens 8-HP two-stage (owned by a neighbor, used by me); a much newer Airens 7-HP two-stage (I owned/used for 8 years); and wisely traded that all in for what I believe will be my last snowblower ever. OK, you do need to hold on to one snow shovel... for steps. Here is a rather lengthy "why" answer based on my research, reading of hundreds of snowblower reviews, and first hand ownership and/or lengthy experience with those noted above.
Where I'm coming from: My last 724 snowblower was an Ariens, small-frame, 2-stage wheel drive that was a good/very good machine over 8 years. I had rebuilt the major drive mechanism once and again as I handed it off to my son-in-law. As good as it was, I had to move up after a few large storms (names like Snowzilla, Snow-ma-gedden, etc.). First, the Airens had a much vaunted friction drive. In heavy snows I found myself doing more pushing than the 2 stage drive did even after a friciton plate tune-up and replacement of the drive wheel. Not infrequently I had to use my flat-bladed shovel to "chop" loose snow ahead of the snowblower and then drive/push into it. The wheels lost traction either through the slip plate or by spinning on top of the snow. The heavier/bigger 8 hp Ariens had similar problems albeit they showed later because of the heavier mechanics and the larger wheels. But I still whipped myself to death in heavy snows that demanded a snowblower. Part of that I'm sure was my graduation from 54-62 years of age... but if you spend several hundred dollars on a blower you expect it AND YOU to work for a dozen years or more. The snow blower did, but at more aggravation every year. I too worked, but almost to the point of being just as whupped as years earlier I had been when strictly a shovel pusher. As for the one-stage... in my mind there is a correct market for them but its not for those with lots of property (sidewalks and out by mailboxes, just as much as driveways), a driveway that the plows pile high at the road edge, etc. I should mention I love to blow snow... there's never enough doing my own property, I have to do about half the neighborhood. I've blown 16-30 hours of snow after the most significant snow falls so I have experience over long hauls and long periods and different properties. However, I wouldn't impose that on any of you and relay my opinions and thinkng here just on the basis of clearling my own driveway, loooooonnnng sidewalk (its a corner lot), and that huge pile at the end of the drive each time a plow comes through and around the mail box (if my pride can't get to her mail my name is mud).
Last year I told my bride I needed to graduate to a track drive, and promised her I needed to make the last snowblower purchase of our lives... anticipating another 20+ years of blowing snow along the Mason-Dixon line... usually not too bad, but sometimes really, really bad. Surprisingly, she said go for it. I told her the price. She found one on line that could be shipped to us and arrive within 72 hours. I was stunned and couldn't move fast enough. The Ariens was overhauled this summer with my son-in-law and I'm now a Honda HSS 724 ATD (2016 version... the one with the black sprockets driving the tracks... not the 2015 and earlier white drive sprockets) man. I received the machine in time to have a couple hours out in the aftermath of Snowzilla clearing 4-foot high snowdrifts (icedrifts?), packed sidewalks, and opening up several sewer drains around the neighborhood.
Track Drive (combined with a 240 lb machine): I have NEVER had to "push" (nor pull) this machine. With the track drive and the machine weight it "just goes". I'd be sweating like a hog trying to do the heavy cleanup I performed with this machine in which it did ALL the work and I simply enjoyed leading it.
Power: With the infinitely adjustable speed I've not had a situation that I couldn't plow through (without pushing and providing some/much of the drive effort like every other machine). At times I would like a little more power and a faster speed into the work however, I would not change that for extra weight, reduced manueverability, small footprint for storage, etc. What I have is exactly at the sweet spot for me.
Hydrostatic Drive: I work at my pace (really the machine's pace since its doing the chewing). The half a dozen speed options on my former machines were never the "right" speed and frankly the slowest was really 0 mph and the fastest was seldom usable or, in the rare cases where it was usable it just wasn't fast enough. No problem with this hydrostatic variable speed. Even better, you can change speeds in an instant unlike those where you may have to declutch first and move it from one "gear" (or slot) to another. The constant gear shift effort of a non-hydrostatic was tedious... the variable hydrostatic is simply beautiful... speed changing done right. And the speed range is terrific. Oh, I could quibble and ask for just a little more forward (for when simply transitting and not blowing) and perhaps ask for a little faster reverse (although someone will undoubtedly drive the machine over their own feet). But its far, far superior to any other of the dozen or so other blowers I've owned or used.
Steering/Manueverability: Under power, the track drive clutches for the left and right make this much more manueverable than any previous blower despite the weight and overall large size (at least as compared to a 7/24 small frame Ariens). I can make the machine turn left and right instead of being the "rudder" (and energy) with any other blower I've used. I think I understand this was not the case in earlier Honda track drive models... but it is for the 2016 (black sprocket) version. I wouldn't accept anything less... manuevering previous models around tight turns, etc., wore me out pretty quickly. This, is a pleasure in comparison. When not under power (like pushing it in the corner of the garage after draining the last of the gas) takes some effort... you're pushing about 240 lbs. However, for that little bit its not too difficult for a rather whimpy, non-athletic mid-60's kinda guy like me. But, you will NOT clear snow without power to the tracks. I'm entirely happy with the speed, controls, turning ability forward and back, etc., with this machine both under power (working) and without power (storing). My bride could use this machine (but won't, that's why she says she has me).
The remote control chute: Again, its the same discussion as the hydrostatic drive... this is how chute aiming/distance should be controlled (not unlike a remote control for a TV... remember when we had to get up to change the channel or the volume?) as opposed to all of my other experiences where one hunched over the handle to furiously turn a handwheel of some sort while trying to drive, steer, and not grind up newspapers. While the hydrostatic track drive was my objective, I find that the remote control electrical 3 dimension chute control is just so much of a force multiplier. I'll be honest, I'm spoiled and could not go back. And Honda's advertising of a 50-foot snow throw... I've not measured but it has to be at least that. Better, you can also push the snow just a few foot to pile it between the road and a sidewalk for example. The control is fabulous.
Battery Start: if there is something I didn't need, but won't give back, its the battery start. Its a Honda engine and through the use of gas stabalizer and never allowing gas to sit in the tank I've never had any blower (or mower) over the last 20+ years fail to start in one (mostly), two (sometimes), or three (rarely) pulls of a chord. But then, I'm in my 60's now and pulling that chord, while not really a challenge, is something I'm just as glad to not have to do. Its similar to not having to routinely change a tire on a car which seemed to be the routine 40 years ago; I haven't changed but one tire in the last 20+ years and am glad for it. I'm glad to have the battery start. I will confess to getting the Honda recommended Battery Tender and wiring in the permanent connection to the battery. I suspect it will be about 5 years before I have to consider replacing the battery... but they are standard replacements.
Snow Clearing: It just works! Packed snowblow debris 2' or higher will cause me to slow down to a crawl. But it doesn't stop and I've not have it choke. There have been a couple times when I've back out a bit and headed back in for a better angle... but I didn't have to... it was just more fun. I can't say I couldn't stall it. I think I could if I went too fast into too dense of a drift. And I can imagine I could stop the tracks from propelling the machine forward. But I haven't when I routinely did on every/any other machine. Note, this is as much a function of the track drive as any/all other features. And I'll presage my recommendation below... don't scrimp for a few hundred bucks when you're already spending thousands and get the wheel drive. So much of my experience and satisfaction comes from the track-drive feature. I don't know that was always the case before Honda put in the hand-controlled declutch capability and one had to "muscle" a track drive machine around (either under power or without power). The "declutch" feature does make all the difference with the track drive.
Gas Assisted Auger Height Control: I've only minimally used this. Its wonderful to raise the auger up an inch or so at the edge of the road where there is a "hump" between the road and gutter and the center of the auger on a machine that rides on the auger will dig into the concrete. I raise the auger an inch a... just... go. Couldn't do that with the wheel drive models; I had to ride the handle bars and try and raise the auger with me doing the work. Raise it a little more and go plow out the grass lawn without ever diggin up the grass and leave a sign for a "puppy-relief" area (many of the neighborhood dogs really don't like "going" in a foot of snow... its something I do; I suspect many would "poo-poo" the idea... get it?:-). What I have NOT tried but will, and is amply demonstrated in a couple YouTube videos is raising the auger to its highest position and with the benefit of track drive and a very responsive hydrostatic control is driving the blower up on too a deck to clear snow and then later, driving it back off. Love the concept, seen others do it, not exactly sure I'm comfortable trying it. That said, I'm entirely convinced if I throw a couple 2"x6"s across the span of the deck I'll drive it up and down without a problem. Thats what I'm thinking but I can't yet confirm. Maybe this year. However, in that vein and as with blowing snow of the yard... the ability to blow a pathway around the house, over grass, to rear entrances, to facilitate heating oil delivery, etc., is a wonderful thing that I could only partially accomplish with a wheel drive.
Light: OK, I don't need this. My suburbia development has lots of street lights; I can see in the middle of the night which I'm often blowing through on the big storms (remember, I love this... if it will snow, I'm will blow; grab 4 hours of sleep and back at it). It do think it may have a slight benefit/value that I am so much more visible to the occasional car whizzing through. I will probably continue to wear a head-banded LED light to help keep me visible... but not to light up my work area.
Hand Warmers: OK, this machine does NOT have hand warmers. I'm OK with that. However, I've noted others indicate there are after-market handwarmers that can be added for those that want it and the ATD model, with the battery, has a more robust generator that might support 3rd-party hand warmers. I make no representation if the electrical system will support it, if Honda will warrant the system if you add such equipment, etc. Those who add additional equipment... buyer/modifier beware.
Ice-clearing Tool: Nice to have, haven't used it. Wish I had it on my previous blowers where I needed it. I think its only here because potential customers that don't really know what they are looking for see its absence as problematic when compared to other machines. I may find it more important after the first time or two I find I need to use it... should that happen.
Size: I had originally gotten the small frame Ariens 7/24 blower years ago to minimize storage space in my garage. I have lots and lots of toys/tools, and love 'em all. This blower is larger. But it doesn't take up but an additional inch in width and about 15" more in length than the Airens. However, I could break the Ariens handle down and gain more space (the mentioned 15")... you can NOT do that with the Honda. I point out that storage space is the primary reason I went with the Honda 724 (and previous Ariens 724) vice the 928 or even larger (1332) machines. I've used the 4" wider machines and have to say, I think this Honda is faster than any non-track drive/hydrostatic drive machine I've ever used. I can take a full 22" width and plow through anything and at higher speeds whereas non-track, non-hydrostatic drives I would routinely find myself only able to take a 12", 16" or perhaps18" swath... and usually at a slower speed. So, for me, I would not get the 28" or 32" wide machine unless I never had to go up or down a narrow stair/deck, never had to go through a smaller garden gate, never had to manuever narrower sidewalks with 90 degree turns, etc. I like the mobility and smaller storage footprint of the 724. Some will want the wider augers hopefully with more storage or less competing toys/equipment for the space.
Maintenance: Minimal, straight forward. Ensure you use the CORRECT oil drain plug (and two wrench approach as recommended in the manual) and 5W-30 oil, and drain the gas (there is a dedicated gas drain plug) when stored. You need a grease gun. No tire pressure to check/inflate! Let me repeat... no tires to fill in really bad weather:) Immediately buy extra shear bolts (they provide an extra of one set and 2 extras of another set... recommend you have 4 or more of each unless you've never chewed up a newspaper, board, or rock burried under 12-30" of snow at your neighbor's house).
Accessories: I mentioned the Battery Tender (probably not needed initially, likely helpful after a couple years, not expensive and easy to install/use). I also got and installed the drift breaker (for those tall snow piles left by the plows)... I like it, can recommend it, but frankly you could manufacture your own out of some strap metal; its not essential. I use a moving blanket to cover the machine off-season (recommend you do keep the dust, dirt, grime off it)... just make sure its breathable (hence the blanket instead of a tarp) to avoid mold/mildew and faster rusting. I know some people who wax their painted surfaces... thats going a step too far for me. Wherever the paint rubbs off, it will rub off the wax again and I'll never fully stay ahead of the rust. I'm convinced that care in use will ensure this toy lasts 20+ years.
Rating: I'm a very stern grader and I give it an A (say 96%). I've seldom given anything more than a B+ and some A-'s. I've only given one or two A+'s in my life. So this is a remarkable machine... for me. It may be for you. If I was spending this much money (and I did), I would NOT try and save a couple bucks and get a machine without the battery start (although that is really unnecessary but pretty cheap) and I definitely would NOT get the wheeled drive instead of the track drive. If you are even considering any of the Honda 2-stage machines then get the one you'll likely never need to replace... get the track drive. If you don't need the track drive now; will you when your a generation older? after you have a crushed lumbar spine? when you move to a drive on a steeper hill? Etc., etc.
Why only 4-Stars for Features? No handwarmer (although I'm just as happy without), the second wrench requirement to drain the oil so you don't unscrew the extension (unnecessary aggravation), I wish the chute would give me another 15 degrees of motion (7 1/2 degrees either side) but none do and I suspect there is a very good reason). I wish this smaller model had the double-articulated chute end for better short-distance control of snow throwing, and Honda should simply include a Battery Tender with their battery models. Really its the 2-wrench oil drain and the missing Battery Tender. Frankly, I could still justify a 5-star feature rating because aside from the drain plug issue... these are all quibbles. Some out there may wish the included LED light produced more light; but it was not an issue for me and a good LED head lamp fills any perceived hole better than more/additional light on the blower... it will always shine wherever I'm looking and my moving makes it more visible to cars slipping around a corner.
West Townsend, MA Type of use: Residential
Amherst, NY Type of use: Residential
I've owned a Honda HS 928 track drive snow blower for well over ten years. It's a great machine but I needed it at a location with a larger area to clear so I bought the HSS 724A ATD (track drive model). I needed a machine more maneuverable than the older 928 track drive which is a beast to spin 180 degrees because the tracks only go forward or backward and "spinning" the old machine required a weightlifter mentality.
I live north of Buffalo, NY and a snow blower or a plow service is required most winters. Plow services are notoriously unreliable and charge extra for walkways and sidewalks - when they show up. I prefer to have a machine in my garage that can handle big snow. The 928 track drive could handle ANY snow fall. After one winter's use with the HSS 724 track drive I have a few observations:
Far easier to control due to the newer counter-rotating tracks that allow the machine to spin like a ZTR mower
The hydraulic height adjustment is excellent - far better than the former 3 step manual system
The transmission disconnect lever used to be down low on the older machines so you could push the machine around on the tracks. On the HSS series, you simply hold the handlebar levers and they disconnect the tranny allowing you to push the machine around when the engine is off.
I never had any chute clogging issues, even with heavy wet snow and if that ever occurs, just spray the chute with WD 40 or a Teflon spray and it's fixed.
The LED headlight is really nice but it needed an on/off switch which I installed so it wasn't running pointlessly in daylight - cost me $10 from a cycle parts store and 15 minutes to install but Honda should put one from the factory along with an hour meter that I also installed.
Dual auger shoes available. The older 928 machine only had a single set of auger shoes on the back of the auger and the sides of the auger housing got a little mangled. There is an optional set of shoes (about $35) that go on the sides of the auger housing - highly recommended for protection and easy movement.
The carb bowl drain is an excellent design allowing you to spin a thumb screw and empty any older gas from the carb bowl without using a wrench or running the engine until the carb is empty for off season storage
The new electronic auger control works well but takes some getting used to after ten years of using the old hand-crank auger. It's a little counter-intuitive and reminds me of the electronic transmission gearshift levers in the newer BMW's.
Honda quality, parts available for decades, on-line sources for parts and a solid dealership network
The advantage of tracks over wheeled models is that the track machine will climb a ramp onto my deck to clear the snow. Wheeled machines are far more maneuverable but lack the climbing power of a track model
Heavy machine that requires some muscle to move about, but far less than the old 928 that lacked the counter rotating tracks
It took Honda nearly a year to get the service manual published and main stream parts like some shear pins are not available on-line yet
TOO MANY shear pins! The augers use one type of easy to remove shear pins and there are two or three other shear pins on the primary and secondary auger requiring an investment of about $30 just to cover all the required shear pins. This does not include the shear pins in the track drive. The only pins I have ever popped are the actual auger pins but I inspect all of them every year and change any beginning to bend.
A drain and refill screw on the top and bottom of the hydraulic transmission in the auger would be a massive step forward. I can snake a small line from a Mity Vac into the cavity now, but it would be better with a simple drain and refill screw.
I wish the forward speed was a little faster for lighter snow.
In summary, if you need a beast machine, get the new HSS 928 track drive. If a balance between snow clearing power and powered maneuvering is your goal, get the HSS 724 track drive. If you don't get a lot of snow, have a smaller driveway or really need a maneuverable machine, get a wheeled model.
The HSS 724 does NOT have the clearing power of my older HS 928 but it makes up for that with it's agility in a smaller driveway and gives up nothing in the traction department. It takes me a few more minutes at the bottom of my driveway in a really heavy, plow packed snowfall but Honda's will outperform any other machine on the market in really heavy snow. I've used Cub Cadet, Toro, Ariens, Husqvarna, MTD and Yardman and none matches a Honda for shear clearing power or overall build quality. My neighbor bought an $1,100 Husqvarna the same time last year than I bought my Honda HSS 724 and the Husky is 50% plastic, even the discharge chute. I once hit a fist sized rock with my Honda 928 and it shot out 50 feet like a cannon ball. It would have destroyed the Husky plastic chute.
I would not own anything but a Honda snow blower and I learned that along the way through various "starter models" mentioned above that none match Honda. That being said, Honda can still make the improvements I cited and even more to make their machines the best on the market.
North Attleboro, MA Type of use: Residential
Looks great - but that's where it ends. Used last night for the first time in heavy Southern New England Snow. Purchased on advice from very happy Up-State New York father-in-law when my 24' Ariens started to leak oil. He has a 2015 HSS724 wheel based model with manual controls.
Notable points on my HSS724AATD;
* Shoot clogs incredibly fast due to very small exit channel AND it's square??? Moreover, when it does clog, you have to fight to clear the clog as clearing stick is almost useless because it keeps hitting the shelf created between the square opening and the round top chute. Also, chute is so small I had to take my gloves off to clear and ended up cutting up my knuckles on interior nuts. Bloody and cold is not what I expected after spending twice what I would have spent to replace my former Ariens.
* Engine underpowered as it bogged down / struggled under only moderate 7 inch road plow snow at the end of the driveway. Perhaps more traditional 8.5hp would work better. Although, this could be due to the significantly small / constrained square chute design??? - as I have always been a fan of the Honda engines.
* Way too clunky / very tough to maneuver and far too many gadgets need to be engaged for normal use.
So disappointed and upset I'm considering taking a $1,000 loss to trade in for another Ariens (if I can).
My advice would choose the Honda models with manual chute controls.
Saco, ME Type of use: Residential
I recently bought a house at beginning of 2015. Previously, I had lived in a condo, so I needed all the power equipment to maintain my own property. I needed a lawnmower and had heard such good things about Honda, so I purchased one of their more feature-rich self-propelled mowers and I absolutely love it. So, of course, when it came time to purchase a snow blower, I wanted a Honda.
There were certain features I definitely wanted:
- At least a two-stage (I live in Maine, so I needed something more powerful than a single-stage)
- A way to easily adjust the auger height (I have to snow-blow over grass terrain to a propane tank and I didn't want to tear up my grass, so an auger height adjustment was pretty much a must have)
- A light (There are going to be times where I'll need to snow blow in the dark since it gets dark early in the winter time in Maine)
- Self-propelled/aided turning (my drive way is fairly long and inclines enough where I don't want to be trying to push a heavy machine)
- Metal auger that can handle icy conditions (It's fun to dream that all snow is light and fluffy and stays that way, but that's simply not the case. The machine has to be able to handle some chunks of ice)
Additionally, I was hoping I might get the following features, but not a requirement:
- Electric control of the chute direction (This feature just rocks. At lot nicer than doing it manually)
- Heated handle bars sadly not available (This was the only feature I didn't get with this machine. Would have been nice on really cold days, but not a huge deal)
- Electric Start that doesn't use a plug (I have this on my mower and can't express enough how awesome it is to have. Especially on a snow blower where you're starting it in cold conditions).
- Tracks vs wheels (This was more minor, but I really love it. It offers superior traction while never having to worry about deflated tires)
This machine came with a few extras I really enjoy as well:
- Large gas tank (one tank easily lasts the entire job)
- Variable throttle control (easy to adjust the movement of the machine for the right speed; reverse too!)
- Oil and Gas drainage bolts (easy changing of oil and draining of gas for storage)
- Wand for removing any icy build up that may get stuck to the machine
- Sheer bolts break rather than the auger breaking when striking solid objects (a lot less costly)
- Double-sided skid pads for twice the life.
As with the Honda mower I purchased, I absolutely love this machine so far. It has everything I really wanted and more. The engine runs great (starts up easily) and does an excellent job removing snow. I've only use the machine twice so far on about 6-12 inches of snow, but I'm incredibly happy with its performance. For normal residential use, I think it can handle pretty much anything you'd need it for. I do have a few minor complaints just to be fair, but they are just that, minor:
- The process of turning the machine basically uses like a brake that you apply to either the left side or right side depending on what direction you want to turn the machine (basically it puts that side in neutral while the other side moves. For the most part it works well, but at times it seems like it's not completely removing the power from that side even though I have the handle completely squeezed. It's possible that it's my imagination and the moving side is just dealing with some slipping while turning, but in those cases I'll have to guide it a bit to help it through the turn.
- Just a tad more powerful engine on this size machine would be nice. Don't get me wrong, this machine so far has handled everything with no problem, but on taller mounds of snow that are a little bit icy (like clumps of snow the city plow leaves at the end of your driveway), you have to go really slow to let it work through it; otherwise, the machine struggle at too fast a pace.
- Price. Don't get me wrong, I don't think any machine is going to beat the quality, durability, and features of the Honda, but for a snow blower it is very expensive. Sometimes 700 or more than other comparable machines that also have more powerful engines. For the price, I would expect maybe a little more power (not that it can't handle any job at the proper speed). However, after using the machine, I still feel like I made the right decision and I know it will last me a long time.