With so many types of snow blowers on the market, just how do you know which is the one for you? From single stage to commercial, here I will explain all.
Whether electric or gas, the stages are the same. To make it easy, I will only refer to the different types of gas snow blowers and what the stages are.
So lets get down to it.
Snow Blower Versus Snow Thrower
Firstly, the question of a snow thrower vs snowblower, this is really down to how much clearing power you need. Different types of snow along with the amount of snow make it important that you get the right machine for the right job.
For example, a snow thrower (or single stage snow blower as it is often referred to), is a simpler less powerful machine. This will handle light powdery snow, using the rotating auger only, but it will struggle with the wetter white stuff.
Now, the more powerful two stage snowblower will be able to handle the heavier wet and more compacted snow. This is due to the fact that it uses the auger to gather up and push the snow onto a spinning impeller, which then shoots it through the discharge chute.
Different Types Of Snow Blower
The different types of snow blowers are categorized by how many stages they have, single stage, two stage and three stage snow blowers. These can be either electric or gas models, but having said that, two stage snow blowers and above are usually gas powered options.
Each works differently and has its own advantages and disadvantages. You have to consider the type of snow you are dealing with, how large the area is, and what kind of surface you are clearing.
It is important that you consider all these factors. The wrong model could damage your yard and driveway or won’t power through the layer of white.
Snow Blower Stages
Single stage: This has just the rotating auger to gather up and throw the snow.
Two stage: The second stage is the addition of an impeller. I will go into more detail a little later.
Three stage: Now we are talking, the third stage is the addition of an impeller accelerator. Again, I will give more information in the next section.
What Is A Single Stage Snow Blower?
Single stage snowblowers work well for moderate snowfalls of lighter snow of a maximum of 8-10 inches deep. They also have the benefit of being lightweight and easier to maneuver.
The rubber auger gathers up the snow, usually with a clearing width of 16-22 inches, and sends it through the chute in one action.
What Is A Two Stage Snow Blower?
What does a two-stage snow blower mean? In addition to the rotating auger at the front, the second stage is the addition of an impeller system. The spinning impeller allows you to clear heavier wet snow and a larger amount as it can throw the snow faster.
Thanks to their 22-26 inch clearing width, which is wider than most single stage blowers, you can get the job done much faster.
Which Is Best: 2 Stage Vs. 1 Stage Snow Blower?
2 Stage vs 1 stage snow blowers: which is best I hear you ask? Well, if you usually receive a low to moderate snowfall a single stage will suit you fine. However, since two stage snow blowers are more powerful, they are better for the heavier wet snow, and snow that is above 10 inches deep.
It’s worth noting that two stage blowers are the best options for driveways and gravel surfaces as the auger shouldn’t actually touch the ground when set correctly.
What Is A Three Stage Snow Blower?
For the heaviest snowfall and large areas, nothing competes better than a three stage snow blower. These are the most powerful equipment for snow removal, by far.
In addition to the auger and impeller, a three-stage snowblower has the extra stage of an accelerator for the impeller. This allows you to speed up the impeller and ensure that wet compact snow is discharged through the shoot quickly and efficiently.
Unless you are in a high snowfall state you can leave the three stage snow blowers for the professionals.
Snow Blower Types: Electric vs Gas Snow Blowers
I cannot really say which is best when it comes to talking gas vs electric snow blowers, as this will depend completely on your circumstances. But here is a little summary of each to help you decide.
Gas Powered Snow Blowers
Gas powered snow blowers are much stronger and best for clearing larger areas. They work faster and can run longer than an electric snow blower.
If you need a 3-stage snow blower then I’m afraid the gas models are your only option.
Electric Snow Blowers
Electric can either have a power cord or be cordless snow blowers. Generally, when people refer to an electric snow blower they mean a small electric snow blower. They are a great affordable and easy to maneuver alternative for driveways and paths that have less than 8 inches of snow.
Cordless Snow Blowers (Battery Powered Snow Blowers)
Most cordless snow blowers I review are usually small 1-stage models and great for clearing smaller areas that the larger two stage blowers may not fit. As they are also lightweight, they’re great for steps or a smaller paved path after a light snowfall.
Snow Blower Buying Guide
Now that you understand the basics, let’s get into which is best for you.
How To Choose A Snow Blower
When deciding what size snow blower you need, the three most important factors to consider are space, snow depth, and the type of surface. Each of these factors has a big influence on your decision.
Size Of Area To Be Cleared
The clearing width of blowers ranges from under 22 inches on a single-stage to up to 26 inches on a three-stage. Electric single stage snow blowers can handle a walkway or small patio but for a larger gravel driveway and lawns, it is best to go for a two-stage gas snow blower.
Depth Of Snowfall
Less than 8 inches of light snow, a single-stage snowblower is good. However, anything above that needs the power of a 2 or 3-stage snow blower.
Pro tip: clear snow after every 4 inches if possible, since deeper layers are harder to tackle.
Type Of Surface
Most single stage blowers scrape the ground making them unsuitable for a gravel driveway or lawn (unless outfitted with special skids). Check whether the specific model can handle slopes or awkward angles as only larger track models handle slopes well.
What Kind of Snowblower Do I need?
So, now you know what type of snowblower you need depends on your circumstances, you can work out which is best for you. Keep in mind how much power you need for the kind of snow and whether the machine’s design is appropriate for the surface underneath.
All blowers have their own pros and cons so the best snowblower is the one that suits you.
It is important that you understand gas-powered snowblowers will require regular maintenance for both performance and longevity. In comparison, electric snowblowers are more user-friendly.
That being said, a properly maintained gas powered blower will last longer. So, any maintenance costs even out over the snowblowers lifespan.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
I hope this blog has helped you fully understand how to compare snowblower against needs. Below I have answered a few commonly asked questions to help you further in your quest for snow clearing happiness.
How long do snow blowers last?
Basic snow blowers may last 3-5 years but better quality models and brands can last as long as 10-15 years – even longer with proper maintenance.
How often should I service my snow blower?
A snow blower should be serviced at least once a year, at the end of season. Or, after approximately 25 hours of use if that comes first.
What is the best time of year to buy a snowblower?
The best time of year to buy a snow blower is in early autumn. This not only ensures you have ready for the first snow, but the chances are you will find a bargain before the winter rush.