The most popular type is the two-stage snow blower, and for good reason.
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about two-stage snow blowers.
What Is A Two-Stage Snow Blower?
A two-stage snow blower uses an auger assembly and an impeller to deal with moderate to heavy snow over large residential driveways and yards.
They usually use metal augers to break up the snow and ice, with the impeller handling the ejection of the snow through the chute. This differs from single-stage models, which use rubber augers to perform both jobs simultaneously.
The separation of the two tasks is where the name “two-stage” comes from.
If you want a quick rundown of the mechanical differences between single-stage and two-stage snow blowers, check out this video:
Two-stage snow blowers are a step up in terms of power, clearing width, clearing depth, and throwing distance.
Advantages Of Two-Stage Snow Blowers
There are a few key advantages to two-stage snow blowers:
Compacted Snow & Ice
Two-stage snow blowers can deal with compacted snow and ice much more effectively.
The steel augers can cut through with ease, breaking up the compacted snow and ice before throwing it.
Clearing Width & Depth
Two-stage snow blowers have larger intakes than single-stage models. The amount of time you spend clearing snow will be drastically reduced. It can also handle far deeper snow.
The addition of an impeller as a second stage means that the snow can be thrown much further, often up to 50 feet.
Two-stage snow blowers can handle gravel and dirt terrain due to their slight elevation from the ground.
Two-stage snow blowers often come with additional features. These include self-propulsion, heated handles, dual-throttle, and a joystick-controlled chute.
All of these make the job more comfortable.
Limitations Of Two-Stage Snow Blowers
There are also some limitations of two-stage snow blowers:
Compared to single-stage snow blowers, two-stage snow blowers are more expensive.
However, they are not nearly as expensive as three-stage snow blowers, so they represent a mid-range price point.
Two-stage snow blowers have some ground clearance.
While this allows them to operate on uneven terrain, it does mean that a small amount of snow will remain after clearing.
Maintenance & Storage
Two-stage snow blowers are gas-powered machines, which means that you will need to perform engine maintenance to keep them in working order.
They are also larger than single-stage models, so need more storage space.
Pricing Of Two-Stage Snow Blowers
The table below shows the price range and clearing widths available for the common engine sizes found in two-stage snow blowers.
Power Clearing Widths Price Range
|Power||Clearing Widths||Price Range|
|200 CC||22" - 26"||$425 - $980|
|250 CC||26" - 28"||$900 - $1200|
|300 CC||28" - 30"||$1400 - $1950|
|420 CC||36" - 60"||$1600 - $3150|
The most variety comes in the 420 CC category, which includes some large machines comparable to three-stage snow blowers.
The high end of each category includes extras such as heated handles, joystick-controlled chutes, and more.
Honda, with its high-efficiency commercial engines, is also priced at a premium respective to engine power.
When To Buy A Two-Stage Snow Blower
Two-stage snow blowers are best suited to people who need to clear moderate to heavy snow from a large driveway or yard a few times a year.
They are particularly useful for clearing compacted snow and ice, though they do not have the depth or crushing power of three-stage models.
If you have a gravel driveway or need to clear snow off of a dirt surface, a two-stage snow blower will do the job just as well as a three-stage model. A single-stage model cannot clear from these surfaces.
A two-stage snow blower is not worth the extra expense if you only need to clear a small paved area of light to moderate snow.
We hope this guide has helped you to understand what a two-stage snow blower is and what it is good for.
The wide variety of two-stage machines means that there will be a suitable model for most people.
If you have any questions or comments about this guide or two-stage snow blowers in general, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.