Winter wonderland, building snowmen, having snowball fights with family and friends, there is a lot of fun to be had when winter comes, and the snow starts falling. However, it’s not all fun and games during this season since it also brings news of excessive snowfall, extremely low temperatures, and even ice-related accidents.
Perhaps the most common problem faced by people during this season is waking up stranded inside their own homes because the front door, front yard or even the road outside is filled with snow. What follows can easily seem like hours and hours of having to shovel all that snow to at least get some way of getting around. Then, of course, another snowstorm happens the next day, and the cycle continues.
During those times, a snow blower can prove to be a very worthwhile investment.
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What is a Snow Blower?
In essence, a snow blower is a machine made to clear fallen snow using a blowing mechanism that propels or moves them to the side, to facilitate its removal. Others prefer to call it by its other name, “snow thrower” since they argue that ‘blowing the snow away’ is technically wrong. After all, the machine does not blow the snow using air but using an impeller or an auger. This argument, of course, ended when the two-stage snow blower was introduced, since it finally correctly embodied the name.
Types of Snow Blowers
Understanding what a two-stage snow blower is and how it works will be much easier if we first look into the various types of snow blowers. Currently, there are four general types: electric, single-stage, two-stage and three-stage snow blowers.
Electric Snow Blowers
Instead of using gas to power this snow blower, it is powered by electricity and often comes in a lightweight, cordless design that can be moved and stored easily. They are often seen in areas that rarely have problems with snow accumulation, but would still come in handy during those few times when the snow falls and leaves behind a larger than normal load. Clearly, they are made for small and easy snow clearing jobs, even seniors and young kids can handle them.
Single-Stage Snow Blowers
Compared to the simple electric snow blowers, single stage snow blowers, are heavier and made for clearing larger areas, such as paved driveways and sidewalks. However, since they only have one auger, they are still lightweight, compact and easy to maneuver. They are ideal for clearing light to moderate accumulations of snow.
The name “Snow thrower” definitely applies to this type, since it works by simply sucking up the accumulated snow then throwing it out. That’s why it is sure to fall short when dealing with high volume of snow, especially when it is in a more compact form.
Two-Stage Snow Blowers
This time, the term “snow blower” applies to this type. A two-stage snow blower is built using a pair of collection augers that break up even frozen or heavily-packed snow, and an impeller that chucks the collected snow out through a chute. Those are the two-stages referred to in the name: the collection of the snow and its discharge. You will find this type of snow blower used in clearing jobs for sizable snow drifts, even in areas with uneven terrain.
They are also considerably larger than electric and single-stage snow blowers, therefore requiring more space for storage. For homes in areas that often experience heavy snowfall and snow accumulation, they are essential.
Three-Stage Snow Blowers
Considerably more expensive and oversized, a three-stage snow blower is made for heavier and bigger snow clearing jobs. It is built with a third auger that works as a drill and crusher, turning frozen ice into slush before chucking it out through the throw chute. This third auger makes the process much faster since they are generally ten times faster than the impeller found in two-stage snow blowers.
When to Choose a Two-Stage Snow Blower
Usually, the toss-up would be between a single-stage and a two-stage snow blower, and the final deciding factor is the size of the job; more specifically the amount of snow accumulation to be cleared and the area to be cleared.
Single-stage blowers can only clear so much snow. In the face of heavier than usual snowfall, there is a high chance that a single-stage blower won’t be able to do the job. Worst case scenario: it can break down, sending your investment of several hundred dollars down the drain.
Compared to a single-stage blower, a two-stage snow blower can handle so much more. It is also the more practical choice when getting a three-stage snow blower may seem too big, too expensive, or simply, too much.
The Top 5 Two-stage Snow Blowers in 2018
After considering what you need, you have probably decided to purchase a two-stage snow blower. You will find many reviews online on the best models you should choose from, but if you are still confused, we will narrow things down by listing the top five two-stage snow blowers for 2018. These models give the best return on investment, and they are capable of working in reasonably heavy snowfalls.
5 Power Smart DB7651 24 inch 208cc LCT Two-Stage Snow Thrower
This two-stage snow blower from Power Smart combines powerful performance and convenience in one compact, ergonomic design. It features a professional LCT 208cc snow engine, aided by 12-inch serrated augers made from premium steel, so it effortlessly pulls snow into the unit.
With an electric starter and remote chute direction control, it boasts a clearing width and depth of 24 inches and 20 inches, respectively. Its push-button mechanism also comes with a drive speed and direction control panel for easier operation.
4 YARDMAX YB5765 Two-Stage Snow Blower
Don’t you just hate it when a machine you are using refuses to start when you really need itThat won’t be a problem with this unit from YARDMAX since its 6.5 HP 196cc engine comes with a recoil-start system that is easy on the user. It is self-propelled, with five forward and one reverse speed, to help you get the job done quickly.
Its ax-shaped housing and serrated augers made of stainless steel will easily slice through considerably large amounts of hard-packed snow. Its high-speed impeller and extended chute also work together to enable the unit to throw snow far, with the least amount of snow blowback. To facilitate handling even in the coldest and harshest weather conditions, it is built with heated hand grips, giving you an easier time in the process.
3 Poulan Pro PR241-24-Inch 208cc Two Stage Snowthrower -961920092
Poulan designed this snow thrower with its powerful and durable PRO engine, which guarantees that it will work even in harsher than usual weather. Its 12-inch diameter augers that resemble a ribbon are powerful enough to break through hard-packed snow and ice, and then easily throw it wherever you want, using the remote chute deflector and rotator controls.
You won’t have any trouble starting this unit, because you just have to plug it in, push the start button, and it’ll get on the job right away. This unit is also covered by a 2-year limited warranty and a 4-year warranty on the engine.
2 Briggs & Stratton 1696610 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower
Do not underestimate this Briggs & Stratton snow thrower, with its powerful 950 snow series 208cc engine. Starting this unit is also very easy, thanks to its electric starter, and operating it is further facilitated by its free hand control, left side crank rotation and manual deflector controls.
Even in very heavy snowfall, it can work effortlessly at clearing jobs, thanks to its friction disk drive transmission system. Snow clearing jobs are going to be much more efficient, with a clearing path as wide as 24 inches and an intake height of 20 inches. Purchasing this unit will also entitle the new owner to a 3-year limited equipment and engine warranty.
1 Husqvarna ST224P – 24-Inch 208cc Two Stage Snowthrower
At the top of the list is this 24-inch Snowthrower from Husqvarna, equipped with a powerful and durable 208cc engine that will serve you even in the coldest weather. It also comes with a 180-degree remote chute deflector and remote chute rotator, power steering, and an electric starter.
It can clear snow accumulations of 2 to 12 inches high and as wide as 24 inches. The 12-inch ribbon augers and friction disc transmission system also ensure that even hard-packed snow and ice are worked through and thrown out.
You will also appreciate its heated grip handles for more comfortable handling during the snow clearing process. Along with this unit, you also get a 3-year limited warranty and a 5-year engine and auger gearbox warranty.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Two-Stage Snow Blower
There are several considerations to be made when buying a two-stage snow blower. However, since there are so many options and models available on the market today, choosing one is going to prove to be quite the challenge. Here are some pointers for you:
Find Your Perfect Match
We are referring to the one that perfectly matches your needs more than what you want. Of course, no one is stopping you from buying a three-stage snow blower, especially if you have the budget for it, but keep in mind that it is ideal for large areas with a lot of wet and very heavy snow.
If you want to make the most of the money you spent, you’d best stick to the unit that is most suitable for your needs. Imagine spending a few hundred dollars more on a unit that you’ll only end up using for a few months, then keep it stored in your garage for the rest of the year. That’s not necessarily a good indicator of spending your money wisely.
Consider Actual Snow Conditions
Snow conditions vary, depending on the region you live in. There are places that get a lot more snow, so snow accumulation will also vary. You have to take this into consideration when buying a two-stage snow blower. In this case, you have to look into the clearing depth and height.
Then you need to consider the kind of snow to be cleared. Two-stage snow blowers are made for heavy, wet snow and hard-packed ice rather than light snow, so what comes into play is the quality of the serrated augers.
Augers are usually made of stainless steel, but you have to make sure you get the highest quality ones if you are dealing with hard-packed snow and frozen ice most of the time. Otherwise, your snow blower may bog down in the middle of a snow clearing job.
Look at the Terrain
If you expect to use the snow blower only on the sidewalk, pavements and similar flat terrain, then that won’t be a problem. However, if you are going to deal with slopes and uneven terrain in general, you have to be sure the snow blower will be able to handle the transitions well. There are also models with skid shoes for enhanced traction on unpaved surfaces, so you might want to look into that as well.
Key Features to Look For
Electric starter: You don’t want your two-stage snow blower to fail you even before it starts its clearing job. While a manual recoil starter is not entirely bad, an electric starter is generally preferable.
Engine or motor: Clearly, a snow blower with an electric motor is recommended if your area doesn’t experience heavy snowfalls. However, two-stage snow blowers with gasoline engines are usually more powerful than those with an electric motor, so if your area receives heavy snow, a gasoline engine will most likely serve you better.
Auger, Impeller, and Chute: This is the triumvirate responsible for the two-stages of the snow blower. As mentioned earlier, the augers must be of high-quality metal. The impeller, or the turbine of the unit, should also be heavy-duty for it to be able to discharge the snow that has been collected. Finally, since the chute acts as a chimney where the discharged snow passes through, it should be wide enough to be able to offer enough room for the discharge.
Snow clearing capability: You want a snow blower that can clear as much snow as possible. After all, isn’t that the reason you chose to have one. Thus, you have to look for a unit with a greater clearing width and taller intake height. That way, you can finish the job faster, even when you are dealing with tall drifts.
Controls: There are snow blowers that are designed for single-hand operation, and they are generally preferred because they allow you to make adjustments easily during the process. A snow blower is also easier to maneuver with power steering, and if it has speed controls, it becomes easier for you to choose the pace that the machine will take when doing the, whether forward or in reverse.
Chute controls are also important. Having a remote chute control is especially helpful in adjusting the direction that the snow blower will throw the collected snow.
Tires and treads: The larger the tires are, the better the traction is. Larger tires also mean an easier time steering. There are models that come with dual tires, so if you want even better traction, try to look for one. Having treads or tracks will also come in handy on difficult terrains.
Heated hand grips: If you thought that a soft and comfortable hand grip is all you need, you’d be wrong. Looking for a snow blower that comes with heated hand grips will help give you an easy time. Do not forget that you will be working in the snow, out in the cold. You do not want your hand freezing while you are operating the machine. Heated hand grips will keep your hands comfortable and warm for the duration of the clearing job.
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Last update on 2021-02-27 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API