Feb 14

What Are Single-Stage and Two-Stage Snow Blowers?

You have decided to use a snow blower to remove the snow from the outdoor traffic areas on your property. I can assure you that this is a good decision which you will not regret. I have been using such machines for years to maintain the driveways and walkways which are part of my hotel in the mountains of British Columbia and I am more than happy with the results. Choosing the right model is not difficult at all. You need a little bit of knowledge and some practical advice. Now I will introduce you to the two types of machines – single stage and two-stage ones.

I will explain what single stage and two-stage snow blowers are and what the differences between them are. I will also outline the pros and cons of each option. I am sure that this will help you make the best choice.

Single Stage Snow Blowers

Single Stage Snow Blower

Single Stage Snow Blower

The single stage snow blowers consist of three main features motor, auger and chute. The motor drives the auger. As the auger turns, its blades break the snow apart and throw it directly through the chute. The snow gets expelled from the chute and the job is done. Even though the single stage machines have wheels, their purpose is to help the user with steering and control. The machines are actually propelled forward by their augers, which touch the ground in order to perform this action.

There are two types of single stage blowers. The electric models use an electric motor. They are typically quite compact. There are also models which have gas engines. These are bigger and heavier than their counterparts, but they are still fairly compact. They often have a slightly wider and deeper cleaning path.



  • Compact and Light

    • This is a great benefit of the singe stage snow blowers as it allows any adult in the family to do the snow cleaning job. You do not need particular strength and skills to use the machine. The compact size and the small weight make these machines suitable for the elderly who will be able to clean their driveways and walkways without assistance.
  • Great Mobility and Maneuverability

    •  The single stage snow blowers are super easy to operate. They turn easily and quickly. Steering will be a breeze.
  • Less Care and Maintenance

    • The electric single stage models do not require any maintenance whatsoever. You just need to connect the machine to an electric outlet with the use of a cord and it will start working. This is certainly great news for all busy homeowners. The models with gas engines typically require less maintenance than their two-stage counterparts especially when it comes to oil changes.


  • Not able to Cope with Deep Heavy Snow on a Regular Basis

    • The widest and deepest cleaning path that a single stage snow blowers can have is 20 by 12 inches. If you take a careful look at the depth, you will see that such a machine will have a hard time removing heavy snow which is very deep. This is most obvious on hilly terrains which get a much thicker snow cover. The single stage models are suitable for areas with mild to moderate snowfall.
  • Not Suitable for Cleaning All Types of Outdoor Surfaces

    • The auger propels the single stage snow blowers and touches the ground. As a result, if the surface is not paved, the machine can pick up small pieces of gravel or stones and expel them out of the chute. This can be potentially dangerous for people, pets and property. That is why the single stage models should be used on paved surfaces only.

2-Stage Snow Blowers

2-Stage Snow Blower

2-Stage Snow Blower

The two-stage snow blowers have the same main features as their single stage counterparts – motor, auger and chute. However, they have an additional element which is set to augment the work of the auger. This is the impeller – a machine which closely resembles a fan and works to suck in the snow and then blow it out of the chute.

The work of the 2-stage snow blower is fairly easy to understand. The auger breaks the snow and positions it under the impeller. This is the first stage of the snow-removing process. Then the impeller sucks the snow in and blows it through the chute. This is the second stage of the process.

The two-stage snow blowers come with powerful gas engines. They have driven wheels as well and this is a major difference between them and their one stage counterparts. These machines use their wheels for moving forward and backward as well. The auger does not touch the ground. As a user, you will be able to control the direction and speed of the machine which you are using.


  • Capable of Coping with All Kinds of Snow and Terrains

    • There are two-stage models with a cleaning path which is 30 inches wide and 23 inches deep. You can be certain that such a beast can cope even with huge accumulations of wet and heavy snow. Thanks to its driven wheels, it will be able to work on all sorts of terrains from flat to fairly steep. Since the auger does not touch the ground, you can use the machine even on unpaved surfaces such as gravel ones.
  • More Sophisticated User Controls

    • You can choose the running speed of a two-stage snow blower and this allows you to do the cleaning more efficiently. If you have difficulties with cleaning a certain area, you can steer the machine backwards and go over it again. In most cases, the chute and the deflector are adjusted remotely as well so you do not have to stop the work even for a second.
  • More Productively Efficient

    • Thanks to the wider and deeper cleaning path of a 2-stage snow blower you can clean even the longest driveway fairly quickly and without much effort. You will always get the job done efficiently irrespective of how heavy the snow is and how steep the area is. You can control the machine effectively and use the most productively efficient and time efficient cleaning strategy.


  • Big and Heavy

    • You need some strength and some steering skills to be able to use a two-stage blower. You have to be certain that you will be able to use this machine before buying it.
  • Frequent Maintenance Required

    • The gas engine will require frequent oil changes to run. You will have to clean it regularly. These tasks require time and effort.


Now you know everything about the single stage and two-stage snow blowers and their benefits and drawbacks. This allows you to make a well-informed decision based on your individual needs and requirements.

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