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single-stage or two-stage snow blower?

Posted by David • November 27, 2018

If you live in an area where you get heavy snows during the winter and if you have large driveway or sidewalk that need to be cleared, I'm sure you thought about purchasing a snow blower after hours of back-breaking shoveling.

Snow blower, also known as the snow thrower, comes in variety of models, options, and prices.

If you are shopping for a snow blower, you will quickly learn that there are so many different variations of snow blowers. Not only there are electric and battery powered snow blowers but among gas powered snow blowers, there are single-stage, two-stage, and now even three-stage snow blowers.
So how are they different? and which one should you buy?

First thing first, let's eliminate all electric-powered and battery-powered snow blower and shovels. These are useless and waste of your time and money. You must buy a gas-powered snow blower if you are going to purchase one. I've seen people use the electrical one and I think it takes longer time than shoveling by hand.

One stage vs Two stage

There are single-stage (aka one-stage) and two-stage gas snow blowers (we will get to the three-stage gas snow blowers later). The price between the two are pretty significant but you get so much more bang for your buck from the two-stage snow blowers.

The single-stage snow blowers basically have one mechanical part that pulls/breaks the snow into the machine then blows/throws out the snow through discharge chute. The two-stage snow blowers, by comparison, have a separate mechanical part that breaks and pulls the snow into the machine from the part that throws the snow out (impeller) from the discharge chute.

This doesn't seem to justify the price differential but the two-stage snow blowers are more powerful and they also usually have self-propelled wheels. This is a big plus since you don't have to push the snow blower, unlike the most of the one-stage snow blowers.

The biggest downfall of one-stage snow blower compared to the two-stage is noticed during a heavy or a wet/frozen snow. The one-stage snow blower is not powerful enough to break the heavy/wet/frozen snow or even throw them. If you have really heavy/wet snow, you will not be even able to push the one-stage snow blower since it can't handle this type of snow.

Three-stage snow blower

The three-stage snow blower is relatively new and it basically adds a mechanical part called "accelerator", which breaks and pulls the snow perpendicular to the existing auger.

The accelerator helps break the wet and packed snow better and feeds directly to the impeller, which throws the snow out the chute.
Obviously, three-stage snow blower is more powerful than two-stage snow blower but I think this feature is an overkill for the price unless you live in an area where you constantly get more than a foot of wet snow.


In conclusion, I'm guessing you are reading this article because you are tired of shoveling snow so if you are going to invest your hard earned money on a snow blower, you should look no further and just buy a two-stage gas snow blower.
If you can spend little more money then look for these nice-to-have features:
  • electric start - if you don't like yanking to start the engine
  • variable speed - both forward and reverse
  • single-hand operation - for easy adjustments while operating the blower
  • remote/joystick chute control - to change the direction of the chute more easily
  • built-in head light
  • heated hand grips
Here are some snow blowers you can order from Amazon with free shipping

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