What are the Different Types of Snow Blowers

Welcome! You will learn how to choose a snow blower and which snow blower is best for you in this section. There are many different types of snow clearing machines on the market, and it can be difficult for someone who has never used one to choose one for his or her driveway or open space.

Simply relax and find a comfortable seat to read through this article, as you will find all of the answers to your questions here. 

Before diving into the various types of snow blowers, you should be familiar with the various parts of a snow blower in order to better understand this machine.

Key Parts of Snow Blowers:

1. Auger:

First off is the Auger, which is a corkscrew-shaped part that sucks up all the snow; in single-stage snow blowers, the auger does all of the work, sucking in snow and channeling it to the discharge chute.


2. Discharge chute:

Second is the chute, a discharge chute is situated right above the auger from where the snow is thrown off. It shoots, blows, and throws snow away from you.

Discharge Chute

3. Impeller:

The third and last basic part is the Impeller, this part is used in two-stage and three-stage snow blowers. It aids in the movement of snow to the discharge chute. The additional assistance from the impeller provides more power and efficiency when clearing snow and is better for heavier jobs.


Key Vocabulary Terms:

When buying a snow blower, you'll want to understand some key vocabulary terms, and we will start off with a term called stages. All of these machines operate in single-stage, two-stage, or three-stage systems. When we talk about stages, we're referring to how the materials enter and exit the machine.

(A) First, we will look at the most basic distinctions between the types of snow blowers.

1. Single-stage Snow Blower:

On your single-stage machines, snow enters this auger and is pushed up and through the chute before being evacuated. That's a one-stage machine.

2. Two-stage Snow Blower:

When it comes to two-stage snow blowers, there is a metal auger that pushes the snow to the back. If you look closely, you will notice what is known as a high-speed impeller, which directs the snow up and out the shoot. This allows for more snow to be pushed through and shoots it much further than a single-stage system.

3. Three-stage Snow Blower:

Three-stage setups are similar to two-stage setups, as in that they both have a high-speed impeller and an auger, but there are some other features included.

4. Snow Thrower:

Another category to consider is what is known as a snow thrower. You'll notice that there is no chute; it simply takes the materials from the ground and throws them, hence the name snow thrower.

(B) A two-cycle or four-cycle system is another vocabulary term you should be very familiar with.

1. Four-Cycle System:

The four-cycle systems are very similar to your car. You put oil in your car in a separate compartment from where you put the gas. It is very convenient to be able to go to the store, grab the gasoline you require and put it in.

2. Two-Cycle System:

The two-cycle systems require you to use an oil solution and mix it with gasoline at the same time. The benefit of this is that every time you start the engine, it has clean gas and it also lubricates the engine. It's almost like you're doing an oil change every time you start the car.

You might want to consider the place you want to clear. Deck size matters no matter what people tell you. A bigger deck does the job better. The height of the deck determines the amount of snow, or the capacity of snow, that each of these machines can handle. You will also hear many different opinions about how much snow you can tackle as there are a few factors to consider.

Types of Snow Blowers:

Now that you're familiar with the most basic machine parts and terms, you're ready to move on to the next step, which is learning about the various types of snow blowers. Take note of this because it may assist you in selecting your ideal model.

1. Battery-powered

A battery-powered snow blowers works well for about four inches of snow before it begins to struggle because the bottom layers are always denser than the top layers unless the snow is shoveled immediately. A power shovel has a clearing width of only 12 inches, making it unsuitable for large driveways. 

This machine's battery life is equivalent to a two-to-four car driveway area. As a result, if you have a larger driveway, you may want to select a larger machine. Power shovels are ideal for condos, townhomes, smaller areas, and walkways, and they cost around $250 or less.

2. One-stage/Single-stage Snow Blower

Price always plays a factor, and single-stage units range between $300 and 900 dollars. The main difference between the 300 dollar unit and the 900 dollar unit is the amount of snow that it can take. As a result, the $300 units are typically smaller in width and height. They are great snow blowers too but they can only handle up to six to eight inches of snow at one time.

Whereas, the $900 units can handle a much broader range of snow, easily up to 14 to 18 inches. You may not need something this large, but in my area, we get freak snowstorms about once a year that ranges between 8 and 12 inches in height.

So having a machine that can handle the additional snow height and have a larger clearing width is a little bit of a deal for me. If you live in an area where the average snowfall is two to four inches, and even if your freak snowstorms are up to six inches, the cheaper single-stage units will suffice.

Single-stage Snowblower

3. Two-stage Snow Blower

The entry-level two-stage systems can handle snow heights of up to 16 inches, and the professional stages can handle snow heights of up to 18 inches. Two-stage setups have more bells and whistles, but they also have more power. It may surprise you, but the clearing snow height isn't as important, but ideally between 12 and 18 inches is where it thrives.

It works best in dense snow with a little ice and snow mixed in. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about where snowplows come through and build up a 3-foot wall of solid chunks of ice; that's where your three-stage systems come in.

The average price for a two-stage system will range between $600 and $2,000; however, as with the others, the more you spend, the more features you get.

Two-stage Snowblower

4. Three-stage Snow Blower

As mentioned before the three-stage setups are similar to two-stage setups, as in that they both have a high-speed impeller and an auger, but the three-stage snow blower has an added accelerator (looks like a mini fan) to the front that helps break down the materials faster. Several brands sell snow blowers that are marketed as three-stage models with an additional accelerator or impeller.

The way this type of setup is built allows the machine to process more dense snow and more amounts of snow while also providing the longevity that it requires. This design has the potential to improve performance, particularly when it comes to blowing through plow piles.

Three-stage Snowblower

Things to Note While Buying the Different Types of Snow Blowers

Most of us will choose a single-stage or two-stage setup. You'll notice that a lot of the single-stage systems have an auger with a rubber paddle on the outside. That rubber paddle allows you to brush the surface of the concrete.

Whereas in the two-stage and three-stage systems, the lack of that rubber paddle means that you'll have to calibrate the machine so that the auger does not scrape the concrete and end up chipping it.

You don’t need to worry about it, because if you're meticulous about it, they have skid plates on both the single-stage and two-stage units that allow for proper adjustments.

If you own property in an area with a gravel driveway or a driveway other than a paved driveway, you will want to go with an auger system that does not have the paddle on it so you can make proper adjustments to be above the gravel and you won't have to worry about that paddle hitting the gravel, uprooting it, and putting it through the machine.


Now, my point is that there will be a lot of hidden features that will give one product an advantage over another. My advice is to read all of the online reviews before making your final decision. In my experience, you will want to buy once and cry once, and the cheapest unit isn't always the best option. I hope that this types of snow blowers article was insightful. Thanks for scrolling through!

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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.