2 Stage Snow Blower Vs 3 Stage: Since its invention in 1844, snow blowers importance has risen over the years due to a drastic change in the weather and climate. If you live in snowy areas, you can witness that having a snow thrower is of utmost importance, especially for those who drive to work. It has been used to resolve the major problem of snow heaps blocking roads and driveways. But when it comes to which to buy between the 2 stages and 3 stages, confusions ensue.
We can all agree on the usefulness of snow blowers, but another area of frequent contention is the specification of the needed blower. It has always been a tie for optimal performance between the 2 stages and the 3 stage type blower since they are both obviously better than the single-stage type. Are you wondering about the difference and which to go for? 2 or 3? Well, it is why we have written this article. Pretty sure by the time you are done reading, all your questions will be answered.
Also Read: Best snow blower for Gravel driveway
Types of snow blowers in the market
There are several types of snow blowers today, and for easier understanding, we have classified the different types based on their power source and th number of stages.
Regardless of the class a snowblower finds itself in, it could possess all of the common features seen in most of these machines today.
Classification According to the Power source
- Gas-type Snowblowers:
As the name implies, the gas type of snow blower is connected to a cylinder that contains compressed gas. The gas is combusted, which generates energy to run the snowblower.
This type of snow blower is the most powerful, making it very suitable when dealing with quite a large heap of snow occasionally.
They are pretty expensive to run due to the cost of gas refill/purchase, and like every snowblower, they possess an auger that takes in and thrusts out snow to the side.
Depending on the stage, this could be dangerous, though, but we would talk more about that at the stage snowblower classification.
- Electric snow blower:
The primary source of power generation here is electricity. Though they aren’t nearly as powerful as the gas type, this machine energy source helps ease running costs, unlike the gas type, which is pretty expensive.
Electric-type can be cordless or with cord. Hence one has a rechargeable battery while the other doesn’t. The cordless types are more convenient to use because one does not have to deal with long-distance problems, as well as cord entanglements or twists.
The electric snow blower is mostly suitable for light work and should be used cautiously, especially in places like gravel floors.
Classification of Snowblowers According to stages
When you hear of the 1, 2, or 3-stage blower, they are all under a single energy generation source: the gas-powered type. Therefore the electric type is just the electric type (single-stage), while the gas-powered can be further classified into three stages.
- Single-stage snowblowers:
This type of gas blower is one of the most common and is suitable for light domestic usage. They could be gas-powered or electric and aren’t as powerful as the other stages, but have an auger that is pretty close to the ground.
Despite this, it still does a good job of dispensing snow from the area. The machine contains just a single stage in which the auger is present for both taking it and thrusting out snow, and due to a single auger performing both these functions, it cannot really throw the show really far away.
Another major disadvantage of this unit is its auger closeness to the ground, allowing it to pick up stones and other objects, especially when used on a gravel floor. Throwing it out along with the snow is a real hazard and can cause damage to equipment or harm to people around.
- The 2 stage snowblower:
The 2 stage type is much more powerful and convenient than the single-stage snowblower. It contains two chambers beneath, wherein one is occupied by an auger which does the primary job of drawing in the snow, while the other harbors an impeller with the primary job of thrusting out what was drawn in by the auger.
If you have wide areas with pretty large snow heaps, we recommend you go for the 2 stage type.
- The 3 stage snowblower:
This machine comes with three different stages, with two augers sitting at each stage and the third stage an induction accelerator, plus an impeller. The design of this machine makes it very powerful, the most powerful of the three, as it is able to move the thickest of snow with relative ease.
The first two augers do the job of driving the snow into the machine, giving it better efficiency and making it the only blower that would completely rid the ground surface of snow. Others tend to leave just a small layer on the floor.
So, What is the specific difference in the stages of snow blowers?
There are major distinctions between the several snowblower stage designs, ranging from the amount of actual stage to performance and all. We will be discussing these differences below:
Firstly, the 2 stages and 3 stage snow blowers could be similar in design, while the single-stage type is far from the two.
The obvious major difference between the three is the stages they contain. The single-stage comes with just a stage where both the snow is taken into and expelled from, while the 2 stage type comes with two different stages, one for taking in snow and the other for independently expelling it.
A 3 stage blower comes with three stages, with the first 2 in charge of taking in the snow (which is responsible for higher efficiency), and the last one gets rid of the snow.
The demarcations of stages, and hence load work, differentiate the performance of the different stages of snowblower machines.
What to Know about the 2 stage snow blower
- How they work:
The 2 stage, like every snow blower out there, makes use of an auger, which does the job of just taking in the snow into the machine. A separate impeller in the next stage then pushes it out to any specific direction, which explains its higher efficiency and performance over the single-stage type. They are mostly self-propelled due to their heavyweight,
- Benefits of using the 2 stage Snowblower
The first major benefit of using this device is due to their high efficiency and performance for both domestic and commercial uses.
When it comes to gravel or concrete floor, this machine also performs admirably, cleaning off the snow without the problem of throwing rocks or stones alongside it. The 2 stage machine is able to handle quite a high amount of snow due to the drawing in and expelling job being done by different parts of the machine (the auger and impeller), and it is capable of throwing this snow as far as 50ft away.
The bottom of this machine is designed to avoid the problem of taking in stones alongside snow, as it is slightly angled and not touching the ground, unlike the single stage type. This design also has the benefit of preventing the auger blade from contacting the floor, which could reduce its life span. Being self-propelled due to its heavyweight, you are sure to experience ease while using this device
- Major concerns of 2 stage snow blower
However, the downside to this device is that it is much more expensive than the single-stage, though less than the three stages.
Another disadvantage includes its unavailability in an electric version, hence a higher running cost for money spent on gas, and its inability to completely clear snow off the ground, as it is known to leave just a little layer behind. This leaves the user sometimes having to manually shove out the remaining snow layer if you want a completely clean sweep.
If you purchase the 2-stage machine, you should also be ready to carry its maintenance burden, from regular cleaning to changing spark plugs and filters and constant topping up of oil levels.
What you need to know about the 3 stage snow blower:
- How they work
This machine comes with three different stages, containing two augers, an induction accelerator, and an impeller.
The first two augers do the job of driving in the snow into the machine, giving it a better efficiency in the process of doing so, and making it the only one of the blowers that would actually rid the ground surface of snow completely. Others tend to leave just a small layer on the floor.
The presence of 2 augers ensures that the machine does a clean sweep of the snow on the ground, and the inductor accelerators break the ice, which is then kicked out by the impeller.
- Benefits of 3 stage snow blower
The awesome thing about this device is its ability to sweep cleaner the snow surface on the ground than the 2 stage type, as well as the fact that you are sure to experience little or no “getting stuck” while using the device, due to the machine breaking the snow before releasing it.
It can handle snow as far as 12ft in depth and 20 inches wide, which is pretty amazing, making them perfect for clearing really large snow areas over a short period.
Like the 2 stage type, the auger is slightly angled and a distance from the ground, hence avoiding the problem of picking up stones and snow. It also prevents damage to the auger blade due to a collision with the floor.
They are also self-propelled, and most times come with so many cool features like power steering, being self-propelled, having headlamps, electric start, and a whole lot more.
- Major Concerns of 3 stage snow blower
This machine also encounters the problem of being simply gas powered like the 2 stage type, due to electricity not being able to handle the workload of such a huge machine, hence bringing into play once again the necessity of frequent maintenance acts like topping oil levels, spark plug check, and cleaning. They are also very expensive to purchase.
It is unsurprising that this device comes in huge sizes and weighs due to its capacity. Therefore you should be willing to spare a huge chunk of your garage to harbor them in summer. Their huge sizes also mean that they cannot fit into tight or small spaces to rid it of snow, leaving you with the option of manually digging those parts out.
Factors to consider when selecting which snow blower to choose
- Snow quantity/ ground type:
The most important factor to consider when picking a snow blower is the quantity of snow you intend using it for, as well as the type of ground it is on.
Getting a 3 stage blower for snow quantity that can easily be shoved away doesn’t make much sense, except you have a lot of money to throw around. Purchase what would be just right for you and the type of floor.
- Drift cutters/ Chute control:
This allows the user to control where the snow ends up as it is propelled from the machine. You would want control over where the snow would end up, wouldn’t you? The drift controls make your job less tasking, as it helps the user clear a large number of snowdrifts, making your work easier and faster.
- Electric start/ Headlamps:
Although they are not such important features when it comes to the final impact on the snow, concerning ease of usage on the customer’s side, they are pretty handy. Electric start basically helps you turn on and off your device all at the push of a button, while headlamps allow one to use the device in really dark conditions.
- Heated handles/ self-propelled:
While clearing snow in your area would always be considered as a good task; the case of frozen blower handles has always been a problem over the years. This forces users to wear a protection kit like gloves to avoid hand freeze during or when finally done.
The problem is overcome by the presence of heater handles, which keeps your arms warm while snow blows. For heavier devices, being self-propelled is a must due to their weight. Especially the 2 and 3 stage blower. Imagine having to push them around, which obviously wouldn’t make sense. Self-propelled equipment can move independently and would only need your direction and operational input.
Bottom line: Which is better: 2 stage or the 3 stage snow blower
Giving an outright answer amongst the different types could be misleading for the question of which is better. If you live in a place where it snows pretty light and your pave way isn’t filled with gravel or stones, then it is best you get the electric type, whether with cord or cordless, depending on your budget, though cordless would be better. This is due to not much needing to be done and a low running cost.
As for more frequent or heavy snowy areas, the 2 and 3 stages are recommended, which are gas-powered, as the electric type can’t deal with this snow volume.
The 2 stages are generally seen as the standard machine to purchase, but it has its limits. Though it can do a good job, it is not as clean snowblower as efficient as the three stages.
Based on performance, the 3 stage is obviously best. But weighing budget and all, it may be better to get the 2 stages as 3 stages is expensive and mostly used for commercial purposes. If you live in really heavy snow areas like Canada, you might just need to save up for a while to get the best 3 stage snow blower out there.