How Does a Snow Blower Work

If you live in a place where snowfall is regular or is surrounded by accumulated snow, one can understand how mesmerizing the beauty of the place is. What one overlooks is the fact that regular cleaning of the accumulated snow is important. Well, we know how you do the task without any difficulties using snow blowers. You may or may not know the working, but a novice doesn’t. So today, let’s look into how does a snow blower work. It will blow your mind!

How Does a Snow Blower Work

A snow blower is a machine use to clear the snow. Oh no, the snow is not blown all of a sudden! The main task of the snow blower is to clear the snow from the road. They are pushed through the ice and snow to scrape them and in return, they clear the path and discharge them through the chutes. They are fitted with power sources that drive them.

Before anything, let’s know what augers are. They are a set of blades, always in rotation. Augers are fitted at the front end of the blowers. They do the main task of clearing the snow. They are made of steel, plastic or other metals. The blade design varies from model to model.

Helix is the most common design, although many models use a corkscrew design. Light-duty snow blowers use a plastic auger, whereas heavy-duty snow blowers use a metal one. Most of the snow blowers use one auger but some use two also.

Snow blowers vary from model to model, but they follow the same working principle. They are mainly classified as single-stage and dual-stage. So what are they, and what is the difference between them?

Single-Stage Snowblower:

Single-stage models use a single auger to collect and throw the snow and are the simplest and cheapest of all. They work best on snow that is less than or equal to six inches deep and tackle light to moderate snow in a single step. The single-stage snow blowers are best for driveways and sidewalks. 

Single-Stage Snowblower - How Does a Snow Blower Work

The auger of the single-stage blowers lifts the snow and throws it out through the discharge tube after breaking it up. They are the least effective and, thus, are often powered by electric motors. This type of snow blowers have an advantage; they clear the whole surface. But, they can only be used on a paved surface.

Of course, they are not very powerful, but it is completely fine if you live in a place where you face fewer blizzards. 

Dual-Stage Snowblower:

If you live in an area with frequent snowstorms, you will have a larger area to clean and you will need dual-stage snow blowers. They are more versatile. As the name suggests, dual-stage snow blowers use an auger and an impeller.

They can handle larger amounts of snow. They use the auger to collect the snow and the impeller from throwing it. Oh wait, we forgot to tell you what an impeller is. An impeller is basically like a fan blade. It works like a fan. It picks up the snow from the auger and then it throws it to the chute.

Thus, the snow removal process is quickened. Quite fancy, isn’t it? It clears a greater amount of snow as the auger only has to scrape the snow from the ground. Here, the auger doesn’t touch the ground. Steel augers are used more often here. 

It is not difficult to guess that these blowers are heavier and larger than single-stage blowers. They clear wider surfaces; they can go up to 30 inches in a single go.

As you can understand, they need more power to operate and thus, most of them are gas-powered. The user only needs to steer the machine, no need to push it. They are fitted with power wheels which make them easier to move.

Engine Operation:

The heart of the machine is the engine. Most of the commercial grade snow blower have a four cycle engine. They run on gasoline and have a separate sump for oil. They provide power to the rotating auger, impeller and the wheels. Smaller engines require a starter rope whereas larger engines have a button or a key. The gasoline should not contain more than 10% ethanol as higher levels make the machine corrosive.

Depending on the need, users opt for single stage and dual stage snow blowers. As you might have understood, the basic working principle is similar in both of them.

Both have their own pros and cons. The single stage ones are compact and are easy to control. Thus, they are preferred by many. Three stage blowers are also available. They have a much complex operation principle. 


That's a wrap for the "How does a snow blower work" article. We have explained about the main types of snow blowers and its operation. We hope we could help you and answer your questions regarding the working principle of snow blowers!

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About the Author


I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.