2 Stage vs 3 Stage Snow Blowers: What’s the Difference?

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If you live in a city where snow falls heavily every winter, then few investments will be as worthwhile as a snowblower. But buying one can feel a little overwhelming, especially when comparing 2-stage and 3-stage models.

Luckily, you don’t have to spend hours researching and finding out everything about these two snow blowers.

We will disclose all their differences between 2 stage vs 3 stage snow blowers in this article to learn precisely what you need before making a final choice.

So, are you ready to learn more about snow blowers and possibly end up with the right option at home? Then check this article up!

What is a Two-Stage Snow Blower?

A one-stage snow blower operates with an auger that collects the snow. 

With a two-stage snow blower, you get the same auger but with an auxiliary impeller motor. This adds up extra power to the piece, making the whole process a lot more efficient.

The two-stage name comes from the way it works.

In the first stage, the machine gathers and breaks the ice.

Then, in the second stage, the impeller throws the snow away when it’s broken down.

This is the standard of snow-blowing machines. It gets through the ice like almost no other tool can. So it is a must-have machine in winter.

Advantages of Two-Stage Snow Blowers

What makes two-stage snow blowers excellent machines to have? Here are a few reasons:

  • The affordability and low-cost maintenance 
  • They’re light and easy to maneuver with
  • Provide a decent clearing width and height
  • Throw the snow very far away 

Disadvantages of Two-Stage Snow Blowers

Sure, two-stage models are superb. But they also have a few drawbacks. Here are some of them:

  • They’re pretty slow, so they can’t break thick ice
  • Don’t move smoothly in heavy snow
  • Have a gigantic and difficult-to-store design

What is a Three-Stage Snow Blower?

Like the name says, this snowblower uses three stages to break down and throw snow away, instead of one or two.

This makes them not only efficient at removing ice but also a lot easier to use.

The first stage consists of breaking the ice or snow in front with an auger.

Then the second stage uses the impeller to shift through the snow and throw the snow way. But then a third stage enters into action, an accelerator or two-auger set that pushes the machine forward for extra strength.

When it comes to going through heavy and difficult-to-break snow, a three-stage snowblower comes like a perfect choice.

Advantages of Three-Stage Snow Blowers

So, why should you get a three-stage snow blower for your ice-cleaning chores? Here are some things to consider:

  • They shift through dense ice with the extra augers
  • Can work on slightly inclined areas
  • Often offer tons of additional features 
  • The small design fits almost anywhere

Disadvantages of Three-Stage Snow Blowers

Sure, three-stage snow blowers are excellent. But they’re not perfect. Here’s why:

  • They’re super-expensive (In the thousands for a decent model)
  • Require tons of maintenance 
  • Repair costs tend to be costly
  • Are often hefty and difficult to handle
  • The clearance is limited 

2 Stage vs 3 Stage Snow Blowers: Factors to Consider

 Snow Blowers

Now that you have a better idea of what these two types of snow blowers offer let’s dig a bit deeper into how they differ.

Here are some factors to think about where we talk a bit more about each:

1. Power

Which one offers the highest amount of power? But first, how is the force measured on a snowblower? 

You calculate the power by looking at how smoothly it moves through the snow. And sure enough, the three-stage is the best one at that.

Because it uses two extra augers in their mechanism, they can work on denser areas of snow.

This makes them a bit more powerful, allowing the user to clean more challenging areas that a two-stage model can’t.

2. Speed

How fast will you be blowing snow away? Here, it depends.

If you’re working on thick and wet areas that a two-stage blower struggles at, it will be pretty slow. In this case, a three-stage model would be your best bet for speed.

But if you’re blowing snow on flat or tricky areas with thin or low snow layers, then a two-stage model will be the fastest.

For example, if you’re going through more than 30 inches of snow, a three-stage model is the way to go.

But if you only need to clean 5 to 20 inches in a flat area, then a two-stage model will be faster. 

3. Throwing

Will a two-stage machine throw snow farther than a three-stage model?  

Yes. A two-stage blower usually offers between 20 to 60 feet of throwing capacity.

With a three-stage snow blower, you have a maximum throwing capacity of 50 feet.

This happens because the extra augers on a three-stage blower reduce the capacity of the impeller.

So the snow goes out of the machine with less power than in a two-stage model.

4. Size & Handling

You also need to think about the size of the machines, their weight, and how easy they are to handle or store. Here, you will find that both offer advantages and disadvantages.

For example, a 2-stage snow blower is typically small at about 24 to 45 inches of width. So you’re likely to find them at about 200 to 350 pounds in most cases.

They’re easy to handle nonetheless, but can be tricky to use in steep areas and in dense snow.

Storage is usually straightforward.

In contrast, 3-stage snow blowers can reach 50 inches of width and are often a bit bigger. You may find them at about 250 to 400 pounds.

But they’re still decently easy to use, especially with the extra augers that allow faster operation in dense areas. When it comes to storage, they can be slightly problematic. 

Overall, we can say that two-stage snow blowers are easier to handle. But three-stage snow blowers are too far behind. 

5. Maintenance

What’s the difference in maintenance? Do they need the same, or is one more maintenance-demanding than the other?

In this case, the slightly more complicated mechanism of a three-stage snow blower is often more challenging to maintain.

Because they usually boast higher engine power and more parts, the maintenance (cleaning, lubrication, etc.) requires more effort, time, and money. 

A two-stage snow blower is not necessarily easy to maintain. But being a more straightforward machine, it is not as problematic or time-consuming. 

6. Costs

snow blower

A snow blower is not an affordable machine. Whether you get a two-stage or three-stage model, you will have to get your wallet moving.

But even then, you will find that 3-stage blowers are more expensive.

This happens because they have more parts and require more maintenance over time, which means more money on upkeep.

A 2-stage model is not necessarily affordable. But it can be between 10 to 20% cheaper than a 3-stage model of the same size and power. 

Bottom Line: Which One to Go For?

It won’t be easy to pick one over the other. Luckily, there are two considerations to make before making a final choice between 2 stage vs 3 stage snow blowers:

  1. Are you looking for something decently affordable, easy-to-handle, and that works neatly on small and flat areas? Then you should go for a 2-stage snowblower.
  2. Need a more powerful machine that can handle lots of ice and snow without stopping or slowing down? Then a 3-stage snow blower is your best bet.

Either way, you’ll have an excellent product to get rid of that snow in the winter. Still, think about this deeply, and you’ll end up with the right machine with no regrets.

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