What Is A Two Stage Snow Blower?

person pushing a two stage snow blower across a snow covered lawn

As you shop for a new snow blower you have undoubtedly heard some strange terminology thrown around.  Yes, there are the easy to understand terms like ‘clearing width’ and ‘clearing height’.  But what about ‘track drive’?  And what is a two stage snow blower?  In this article we’ll address these questions and give you a little better understanding of just how a snowblower works, and why these measurements and features matter.

How To Evaluate A Snow Blower

Let’s start with the simple ones, clearing width and clearing height.  These are the basic measurements of snow blowing and its machines.  How much width will your path through the snow be, and what depth of snow can your snow blower handle?  You may think initially you will want the deepest snowblower, and the widest.  But before you get too far ahead of yourself it’s important to think about what areas you’ll be clearing.

Much like a lawnmower, you can get snowblowers the width of your driveway if you want to get extreme.  However, the larger the snow blower, the more difficult it’ll be to maneuver.  Usually, you want to keep your snowblower size to somewhere around a sidewalk width or slightly less.  This makes sure you can clear your walkways with a single pass, and go between parked cars if need be.  

If you have too wide of a snowblower, you will find yourself needing to do a lot of shoveling whenever the spaces get too tight to fit the snowblower.  Shoveling is the exact opposite of why you have the snowblower to begin with. The snowblower in our opinion should be helping you minimize the amount of shoveling you are doing.  

New Snow Blower Advancements

A relatively new feature which has shown up in regularity lately is the ‘track drive’ snowblower.  Instead of tires, these have a track, much like an excavator or bulldozer. Theoretically, these will have better grip in the snow, and will slide around less.  This is a great theory, and if you live on a steep incline and you need to show blow the hill, this may be a great feature for you.  For the majority of people however, this is a gimmick.  

With most flat driveways, your snowblower’s weight will be enough to keep it moving in the snow.  After all, you are removing snow from the path the snowblower’s tires travel on, so you really aren’t going to find yourself having traction problems most of the time.  However, like I mentioned above, if you have a steep incline, or want a fun feature, the track might be the best bet for you.  Just keep in mind the track will require service in the future.

homeowner showing what is a two stage snow blower by pushing a large red blower with a top shute

What Is A Two Stage Snow Blower?

And then there’s the two stage snow blower.  What is a two stage snow blower anyhow?  The first snow blowers invented were single stage.  This means the augur would spin, come into contact with snow, and force the snow to the chute.  The spinning force of the augur will keep the snow blowing out of the chute, assuming enough new snow was entering the snowblower at all times.  

Additionally, with a single stage snowblower, the snow texture and temperature has a huge impact on how far the snow blows.  If the snow is extremely wet or even slushy, the single stage snow blower will simply squirt some snow out the chute and much of it might land on the snowblower or only a couple feet away.  

The two stage snow blower solved the trajectory issue found with single stage snow blowers.  By adding an impeller to the chute, now the snow enters the chute from the augur. However, the impeller ‘pumps’ the snow at a high velocity out the chute, regardless of what temperature the snow is or how wet it is.  A good two stage snow blower can send slushy wet snow flying to the top of the nearest snowbank with ease.

What Is A Two Stage Snow Blower Summary

If you are considering a snowblower we’d recommend the two stage snowblower.  Now you understand the answer to what is a two stage snow blower. There shouldn’t be much argument as to whether you should go single stage or two stage.