Snow blowers (or snow throwers) provide rapid and efficient snow removal. If you live in snow country, one of these machines can be a time- and labor-saving alternative to shoveling snow. Use this guide to get familiar with snow blower types and features and to find the machine that's best for your snow-clearing needs.
The main types of snow blowers are single-stage electric, single-stage gas, two-stage gas and three-stage gas. Since more than one of these types may be able to handle your typical snow-clearing job, it’s important to consider the advantages of each.
Single-stage snow blowers are lighter and easier to handle than two-stage models. These blowers are best for clearing mid-size areas with a snowfall of 8 inches or less. An auger directs the snow through a discharge chute. Although the wheels aren't engine-driven, the auger contacts the surface, providing limited forward-drive action. Since the auger does make contact with the surface, single-stage blowers are best for use on paved surfaces where they won't pick up rocks or gravel.
Two-stage snow blowers are gas models capable of handling snowfalls in excess of 8 inches. These powerful blowers are the best for clearing large areas and have engine-driven wheels to better handle uneven terrain and reduce operator fatigue. An auger first collects the snow and an impeller fan then discharges the snow through a chute. This two-stage process moves snow faster and farther than single-stage blowers. Skid shoes on a two-stage model elevate the auger slightly so you can use it on unpaved surfaces. You can find a greater range of features on two-stage blowers.
Three-stage snow blowers are gas models capable of handling more snow in less time. Operationally similar to the two-stage model, the three-stage blower features an accelerator that moves 10 times faster than the augers to clear more heavy snow quicker than a two-stage model.
Use our chart to determine which type of snow blower may work best for your needs.
Ask these questions to ensure you get the snow blower that's best for your needs.
In addition to narrowing your choices with the questions above, look for a snow blower with helpful features. Two- and three-stage snow blowers will typically have the most features.
Always follow the device manufacturer's operating, maintenance and safety instructions, including instructions on safety gear.