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Most of us have a love/hate relationship with snow! It’s beautiful to look at and is at the very heart of what we expect in the festive season, but it’s also cold, wet, and can be dangerous.
Heavy snowfalls are not unusual in the USA, and there are some places that are hit harder than others. Snow tends to freeze during the night so while it might be soft on top, underneath is a sheet ice surface waiting to catch you out!
The simple fact is that snow needs to be cleared as soon as it can be. You need to get the car out to go to work and do the school run, and you don’t want the problem of anyone falling on your land and injuring themselves, whether family or otherwise.
So, it’s out with an old snow shovel and works away for ages clearing a path.
It’s at this point, while you’re struggling away, that your neighbour appears with a snowblower, and clears his path easily! You need a snowblower, especially if you live in an area with heavy and frequent falls.
What are the different types, and why might a 3-stage snow blower be the one for you? That’s what we’re going to tell you right now, so let’s talk first about what a snowblower is.
What is a Snow Blower?
A snow blower is a powered machine that is designed to suck up the snow and then throw it a distance in the direction you want. Some of these machines can send snow a good 60 ft from where it is picked up. There are 1, 2, and 3-stage snow blowers.
The single-stage machine would be great for light falls, but we’re talking about heavy snow cover, so we’re looking at the big boys – the 2 and 3 stage blowers. What are the differences, and why are they called such? Here’s an explanation of a 2-stage snowblower.
2-Stage Snow Blower
All snow blowers use what is known as an auger to lift the snow from the ground. You can think of this as a sort of powered shovel. The auger rotates as the device moves, powered as it is by a gas or electric motor. It resembles a lawnmower in many ways and works in a similar fashion.
The second stage of a 2-stage snow blower is known as an impeller. This resembles a large rotary fan, and its job is to propel the snow as far as you have decided, and in the direction, you have chosen. It also enables the machine to move snow better than a 1-stage blower, which simply picks up the snow.
This type of snow blower is often used where the ground underneath this snow could possibly be lifted – gravel paths, for example, or over a lawn. They will usually clear snow up to 2ft in depth and come with a clearing width of anywhere between 20″ and 40″.
They can clear a lot of snow surprisingly quickly. Now let’s look at the bigger version, the 3-stage snowblower.
3-Stage Snow Blower
The difference between 3 stage snow blowers and the alternative models lies in the addition of two extra augers. These are also known as accelerators, and they are placed one in front of the main blade and one behind, each at a 90-degree angle. What is its purpose?
The 3-stage snow blower is designed for use where there is very heavy snowfall that can easily become compacted ice. The extra augers are there to break up the ice or solid compacted snow that comes about by the sheer weight as the snow gathers.
Once they have done their job they deliver the snow and ice to the impeller which forces it to a distance of up to 50ft from the working point. According to these snow blower reviews, these machines are very powerful, but they can also be surprisingly heavy and are only available as gas-powered models. These machines are very powerful, but they can also be surprisingly heavy and are only available as gas-powered models.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each.
2-Stage vs. 3-Stage Snow Blowers
The pros of the 2-stage snow blower are as follows:
- Not as costly as a 3-stage blower
- Available as an electrically powered machine
- Lighter than the 3-stage model
- Greater clearing height and width
- Can throw snow up to 60ft
The downside of the 2-stage design is that it will not shift the compacted snow and ice that comes about with every heavy fall in extremely cold areas. For this, you will have to resort to a shovel and pick which defies the purpose of having a snow blower.
The pros of the 3-stage snow blower are:
- More powerful than the 2-stage
- Able to pick up and throw compacted ice and snow
- Built with many accessories such as headlights, hand warmers, and full-powered drive systems.
The downsides are greater weight – these are very heavy machines – a smaller cutting width and depth, and higher cost. They also require more maintenance, being more complex than the 2-stage blower.
Having read all of that, you might well be thinking that a 2-stage snow blower is a better choice, and for some people, it will be. However, not for all, as our summary should help you understand more clearly.
Summary – When a 3-stage Snow Blower May Be for You
It’s as simple as this: if you live in an area where there are moderate snowfall and the occasional heavy fall, a 2-stage snow blower may well be the machine for you.
It will easily clear large swathes of snow, is great for uneven terrain, and is capable of doing a good job. But, and it’s a big one that needs consideration, there is no point buying a 2-stage machine if you experience very heavy falls and frequent compacted snow and ice.
In these circumstances, only the 3-stage machines are capable of doing the job properly, and you don’t want to be getting your shovel out after all! Check out 3-stage snow blowers now and make this winter much easier.