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How To Choose Between 2 Stage vs. 3 Stage Snow Blower

Are you trying to choose between buying a 2 Stage vs. 3 Stage Snow Blower. Both types of machines use a series of rotating spiral blades (called an auger) to break up snow and ice. The snow blower then propels the snow up and out the discharge chute. The main difference between the two types of snow blowers is the volume of snow they can deal with.

Man Using 2-Stage Snow Blower

Typically, two-stage snow blowers are popular with homeowners who need to clear snow from large areas. Three-stage snow blowers are much larger machines and are often used in commercial settings. However, both a 2-stage model and a 3-stage blower are suitable for commercial areas.

Buying a snow blower is a significant investment. Therefore, its vital to choose the right type of gas snow blower for your needs. This article looks at the features of these powerful machines to help you decide which type to buy. At the end of the article, you should know which is best—a two-stage gas snow blower or a three-stage blower.

What Does 2-Stage Snow Blower Mean?

As the name suggests, a two-stage snowblower clears snow in two stages. First, the auger rotates, churning up snow and breaking up ice. Then the angle of the blades and rotation along with the impeller create a force, sending snow out the chute to create piles of snow.

Therefore, the two stages are the auger that sucks up the snow and the impeller forces snow out of the chute.

Two-stage gas snow blowers usually have a 4-cycle gas engine. The best two-stage models also have self-propelling tires to help make clearing snow easier. However, the rotating auger provides some propelling action. In addition, it usually is possible to rotate the cute while operating the machine.

Features of the Best 2-Stage Snowblowers

  • LED headlights for working in the dark,
  • Heated hand grips,
  • Dual-trigger steering
  • Push-button electric starting.

Two-stage blowers are typically suitable for large residential properties. They are usually up to 24 inches wide, making them relatively easy to store in a garage or outbuilding.

2-Stage Blower — Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of buying a 2-stage model depend on several factors. These are the size of your yard, the type of surface, and how many inches of snow you get during winter. Also, you should consider storage space, fuel type, and any noise restrictions in the neighborhood.

2-Stage Snow Blower Pros:

  • Clear snow faster than a single-stage snowblower
  • Ideal for snow clearing from concrete and gravel driveways and unpaved surfaces
  • Throws wet and heavier snow easily
  • A wide choice of models, including auger and gear-driven models
  • Cheaper price point than three-stage blowers
  • Effective for residential and commercial use
  • Deals with snow up to 12 inches deep
  • Blows snow between 25 and 50 feet away
  • Clearing width of between 20 and 38 inches (depending on model)
  • Easier to store than a sizeable three-stage snow blower
  • Efficient for snow removal from moderately steep inclines

2-Stage Snow Blower Cons:

  • It takes longer than a 3-stage blower to clear snow from large yards
  • Engines tend to be noisy
  • Challenging to clear snow from tight spots

What’s a 3-Stage Snow Blower?

As the name suggests, a 3-stage blower throws snow in three stages. The snowblower’s primary function is like the two-stage model. Stage one and two is where the auger and impeller collect and throw snow. However, the third stage includes an accelerator to drive snow through the impeller faster.

The three-stage snowblower’s advantage is that the accelerator collects snow 50 percent faster than the two-stage counterpart. This means you can clear heavy snowfall in less time, saving you money and time during a winter clear-up.

Three-stage snow blowers typically have the same features as two-stage models. Most professional-grade snow clearing machines have a LED headlight, a gear system to drive the powerful machine forward, and an adjustable chute.

The most notable difference between the two models is the size of the snowblower. Three-stage blowers are larger and have a greater capacity to shift large volumes of snow fast.

Three-Stage Blower — Pros and Cons

Whether a three-stage model is for you depends on the same factors for a two-stage blower. These include the size of the area to clear, the amount of snowfall, and the frequency of snow storms. But then, it’s also vital to consider storage space and your overall budget to buy a high-quality snowblower.

3-Stage Snow Blower Pros:

  • The powerful accelerator clears snow up to 50 percent faster
  • It typically has a more powerful engine than a 2-stage blower
  • The best type of snowblower to clear heavy, wet snow
  • Clears snow up to 18 inches deep with one pass
  • Better for clearing hard-packed snow from unpaved surfaces because the auger works at a lower speed
  • Perfect for clearing heavy snow from large commercial properties
  • Throws snow up to 50 feet
  • Clearing width up to 45 inches (depending on model)
  • Works well on a gravel, concrete, or paved surface
  • Self-propelling models are standard with most three-stage machines

3-Stage Snow Blower Cons:

  • Higher price tag than two-stage snow blowers
  • Limited choice of models
  • Heavy to maneuver and hard to get into tight spaces
  • It takes more room for storage

Difference Between 2-Stage vs 3-Stage Snow Blower

The accelerator and size are the primary differences between a two- and three-stage snow blower. The accelerator increases the operating speed of the snow blower. As a result, this unit speeds up the snow clearing process. Because the 3-stage unit operates faster, its clearing width is usually broader.

1-Stage vs. 2-Stage vs. 3-Stage Snow Blower

2 Stage vs 3 Stage Snow Blower

Now you know the difference between a two-stage and three-stage blower, what about a single-stage snow blower? As you’ve guessed, single-stage models only clear snow in one stage—the rubber auger creates the force. A single-stage blower doesn’t have an impeller or accelerator.

Single-stage snow blowers are typically the “go-to” choice for most homeowners with small to medium-sized yards. The auger usually connects with the surface, meaning it doesn’t leave behind a thin layer of snow. Therefore, this type of snow blower is unsuitable for gravel or unpaved surface.

Additionally, an electric snow blower is cheaper than a gas-powered model. And suppose you want to clear snow without being tied to a cord. In that case, several battery-powered snow blower options are available.

What Is Better 2-Stage vs 3-Stage Snow Blower?

Choosing which is best between a two-stage and three-stage snow blower comes down to your requirements.

Who is a 2-stage blower for? Typically, homeowners with large driveways or sidewalks to clear snow from. Also, the two-stage gas models are suitable for small to medium-sized commercial properties.

Who is a 3-stage blower for? These are professional-grade machines for clearing massive amounts of snow from extensive areas. Usually, the units are too large for a typical homeowner.

Should You Buy a 2-Stage vs 3-Stage Snow Blower?

Now it comes time to answer that all-important question, “should I buy a two-stage snow blower or a three-stage model?” You may already have an idea of which type is best. And it’s a no-brainer for homeowners with limited storage space that a two-stage—or even a one-stage—snowblower is fine.

However, if you’re still undecided on a two- or three-stage model, here are some helpful tips for making the right decision.

Size of yard:

A three-stage snow blower is an excellent option if you have a huge area to clear large amounts of snow. Do you have a large parking lot to clear? Then the three-stage model is the obvious choice. However, a two-stage blower is also suitable for driveways up to 60 feet long.

Clearing width and scoop size:

The intake systems and size of the scoop determine how quickly you can remove significant amounts of snowfall. Two-stage models are ideal for most residential areas and have a typical clearing width of around 20 inches.

Amount of Snowfall:

Do you only get light snowfalls a few times in the year? If so, you don’t even have to consider buying a two-stage model. A single-stage snow thrower is sufficient. But suppose you get moderate to heavy snowfall regularly through winter. In that case, you need a two-stage or three-stage model to remove deeper snow. But again—a two-stage blower is ideal for residential neighborhoods.

Snow Throwing range:

Most gas-powered snow blowers have a throwing range of around 50 feet. However, make sure the blowing angle is adjustable. The last thing you want is to create large piles of snow in your neighbor’s yard. Also, ensure the snow blower’s chute rotates 180°.

Fuel Type used by Snow Blower:

Most two-stage and three-stage snowblowers have a 4-cycle engine. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about mixing oil and fuel for a 2-cycle model.

However, suppose you want to ditch the dirty gas engine for something more Eco-friendly. In that case, you can check out some of the top corded snow blowers or go for a cordless option with rechargeable batteries. However, remember that the power cord restricts the range of a corded snow blower. And snowblower batteries tend to run out of juice after 30 minutes or so.

Additional Features and Accessories for Snow Blowers:

The best gas-powered two and three-stage snow blowers come with a range of accessories. Some may be standard, or some may be additional add-ons. Here are some features you can look for to make snow removal more enjoyable (if that’s possible in freezing cold, driving snow):

Three-Stage Blower
  • LED headlights—Ideal for snow clearing on those dark winter mornings and evenings.
  • Windshield—The shield protects your skin from biting cold winds and icy snow.
  • Heated steering controls—No need to freeze your hands while clearing snow when the temperature drops to -20°F.
  • Power-assisted tires—Make sure that the tires have excellent tread to increase traction and drive through heavy drifts of snow. Adding a gear system and power steering will make your life much easier.
  • Cup holder—Ensure you get that extra caffeine fix when clearing frozen snow on cold winter mornings.

How To Choose Between 2 Stage vs. 3 Stage Snow Blower in Conclusion

Whether to buy a two-stage or three-stage snow blower depends on the size of yard, amount of snow fall, and budget. If you are a homeowner, then a two-stage model is probably sufficient. However, for snow removal from extensive areas, a three-stage blower is the logical choice.