1 Stage vs. 2 Stage Snow Blower

January 19, 2021

If you live in an area of the country that gets heavy to moderate snow, purchasing a snowblower machine is critical to keeping your driveways, walkways, and entry points clear after heavy snowfalls. In fact, making sure your snow machine is working well and ready to go, should be part of your winter planning activities.

Snowblowers are more convenient than shovels and require a lot less effort to use to clear snow. There are several different types of snow blowers on the market. You can get snowblowers in 1 stage, 2 stage or 3 stage.

In this article, we will compare a one-stage snowblower vs. a two-stage snowblower and help you choose the best type of snowblower based on your needs.

1 Stage vs. 2 Stage Snow Blower
man pushing a snow blower

What is a Snow Blower?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s recap for the newbies in the room. A snow blower is a machine, usually gas-powered, that will remove snow from an unwanted area, such as driveways and sidewalks.

The snowblower works by throwing the snow into the air and onto one side, providing a clear path for walking or driving.

1 stage Snow Blower:

A 1 stage snow blower is available as gas or electric powered and is best suited for small jobs such as sidewalks, walkways, and small driveways.

Generally speaking, if you want an electric snow blower, you will only find these as 1 stage or single-stage snow blowers.

When making your decision, it is worth considering how much it will cost you to run a gas or an electric snowblower. An electric snow blower requires little maintenance and is better for the environment. Generally, electric snow blowers are more affordable too.

They are lighter and more compact than stage 2 snow blowers, but they can usually only handle 8-inches or less snow.

If you live in an area used to heavier snow, it is worth opting for a larger 2 stage snowblower. Their lightweight design does make them great for lifting onto decking or porches to clear a safe path for you.

A single-stage snow blower will place the snow up to 30 feet away from the path, providing you with ample space. Thanks to their small size, they are great for narrow paths and can maneuver tight spaces better than the larger 2 stage snow blowers.

One-stage snow blowers cannot work on wet snow easily either; it will be a lot of hard work on your part and can be quite time-consuming. A 2 stage snow blower is usually better to use on wet snow.


An auger is the blades seen in front of the blower that direct the snow into a discharge chute. It is a corkscrew style component, a 1 stage snow blower responsible for sucking and discharging the snow.

The auger will make contact directly with the surface to do this. A 1 stage snow blower should only be used on paved surfaces.

A 2 stage snow blower’s auger does not contact the surface, making it appropriate for use on gravel or dirt. The auger in this style of snow blower will work solely to remove the snow.

A 2 stage snowblower features an impeller, which discharges the snow out of the chute. Having a separate component allows the snowblower to blow the snow to a greater distance, especially on gas 2 stage snow blowers.

These are great for a range of driveways or if the surface was not clean before the snow fell. It is worth considering the surfaces you wish to use the snowblower on when making your decision.

2 stage Snow Blower:

A 2 stage snowblower features power-assisted wheels making them better suited to clearing slopes and larger areas. The powered wheels make the snowblowers easier to use and handle, great when you want to complete the job quickly.

As we mentioned earlier, a 2 stage snowblower does not contact the ground to remove the snow. While this allows you to work on different surfaces, it does leave a thin coating of snow behind. Many users follow with a shovel or snow brush to remove the remaining snow.

Compared to a 1 stage snowblower, a 2 stage offers a greater width, ranging from 20-36-inches depending on the model you opt for. The increased width allows you to cover larger areas quickly and work in heavier snow to deliver outstanding results.

A 2 stage snowblower can work with wet and icy snow with ease compared to 1 stage snowblower. Compared to a 1 stage snowblower, it can handle up to two feet of snow and move it up to 50 feet away from the area you are clearing.

These machines can be heavy, especially compared to 1 stage snow blowers. To combat these, many are self-propelled, allowing them to be handled with ease.

Power-assisted drive systems are often used on the rear wheels to enable you to move in the direction you want. They are also bulkier than 1 stage snowblowers, although they have become more compact in recent years.

As 2 stage snow blowers are gas-powered, they are not the most environmentally friendly option. Those concerned about this should opt for a 1 stage snowblower, as these are better for the environment and require less upkeep, such as changing oil, filters, etc.

How much?

The cost will vary depending on which stage snow blower you opt for. You can get electric snow blowers at a very reasonable price, with high-end 2 stage snow blowers becoming quite costly purchases.

When it comes to purchasing your snow blower, it is a good idea to set a clear budget and stick to it as closely as possible to avoid any nasty surprises when your statement arrives.

It is worth considering how much use you will get out of the snowblower and the running cost, depending on if you have opted for an electric or a gas-powered snowblower.

Final word

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when it comes to purchasing your snowblower. 1 stage snow blowers are the cheaper option and are great for those moving minimal snow on small or narrow paths and areas.

These electric machines are easy to use and lightweight. However, for those in areas with heavy snow, a 2 stage snow blower is your best option for removing larger quantities of snow quickly.

Consider the area, snow levels, and terrain you wish to use your snowblower on before making your purchase today!

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