Two Stage vs. Three Stage Snow Blowers

Snow is an enigma. When we’re young, we love it. It’s fun to build a snowman and play out in the snow with friends, and it also means Christmas is on the way. To be fair, snow does make everything look beautiful, and many parents enjoy it with their kids, but when it comes to shifting it from drives, patios and paths, that’s another story! This is especially so if you have to clear the drive early in the morning to get the car out, and it’s freezing cold!

You may have struggled for years with a shovel, piling up the snow at the side of the drive-in an untidy heat, but it’s the only way to move it. Well, not any more, because we’re talking about snow blowers, the latest devices to clear your land of snow quickly and easily. Let’s have a look at what they are and why you need one.

Two Stage vs. Three Stage Snow Blowers

What Is A 3-Stage Snow Blower?

Let’s start at the beginning, and talk about the original, single-stage snow blower. This is a machine that is powered by either a gas or an electric motor. The latter is more popular for domestic use as you simply charge the battery, switch on and get started. The machine itself resembles an over-sized push-along lawn mower and is fitted with handles that have the controls attached. The motor, via a set of gears, powers the wheels (although not in all models) and a device known as an auger.

The auger is a central part of all snow blowers, no matter the type. The auger is a rotating axle which has blades attached. These blades scoop up the snow and throw it via a chute to a distance away. They can clear large amounts of snow in a surprisingly short time. So, what’s the added benefit of a two-stage snow blower?

The design of a single stage machine means that the auger spends a lot of time in contact with the ground. This can be a problem on the ground that is not paved, where there may be rocks, or where it may be uneven. If it hits an obstacle, it can damage the auger.

So, with a two-stage model, a second implement is added, known as the impeller. This is a large rotor that receives the snow from the auger and throws it across to where it needs to go. As the auger does not throw the snow, it does not need to touch the ground. These machines are great for uneven ground, and for heavier snowfall and – while more powerful – are also a bit more costly.

That brings us on to the 3 stage snow blower, which is the most powerful type of all. One of the problems with the two other models is that heavily compacted ice can jam the machine or break the moving parts. Those of us who live in areas which have heavy snowfall will have experienced compacted snow and ice, and it can

be difficult to move.


The 3-stage machine overcomes this problem by way of a third device called the dicing auger. This supplements the original auger and works by breaking up these blocks into smaller sections before they enter the machine. The effect is greater efficiency, more moving capacity and the ability to tackle not only uneven and unpaved surfaces, but also areas where the ice is solid and compacted, and otherwise very difficult to move.

So, the three-stage snow blower is clearly the most impressive of these machines, as well as being the one that does the job of getting rid of more difficult snowfall and ice, but is it for you? Do you need a 3-stage snow blower, or will one of the lesser models be sufficient? Let’s finish by considering the options.

Do I Need a 3-Stage Snow Blower?

A single-stage snow blower is a great machine if you live somewhere the snowfall will be light and infrequent. It will easily clear a path or driveway of, say, half an inch of snow and perhaps more, but beyond that – and if you have ground that is uneven or not paved – you need to consider one of the bigger models.

If you have medium snowfall and perhaps need to clear land that is uneven, you certainly need to look at the two-stage model at the very least. These will clear a decent amount of snow quickly and will not be troubled by smaller rocks.

If, however, you know that you are in an area where heavy falls and freezing snow and ice are imminent and commonplace, we advise you to consider the three-stage class of snow blowers. You may pay more for what is a bigger and powerful machine, but you will find the benefits are more than worth the investment from the very first snow of winter.

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