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Snow Blower Buying Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Snow Thrower

By Jake Woltman  |  Snow Blower Expert
When you get to a certain age, you're more likely to throw out your back than successfully throw snow with a shovel.

That's why we need a snow thrower to do the heavy lifting for us.

Snow blowers come in four distinct styles:


Electric snow blowers are capable of clearing light snow from sidewalks and small driveways. These extremely lightweight machines are commonly used on decks and steps where larger gas-powered models simply don’t fit.

Best of all, electric snow blowers are maintenance free, eliminating the need for oil changes and fill-ups. All you need is a cold weather extension cord and a nearby electrical outlet to get started.

How to Pick the Perfect Electric Snow Blower


In very basic terms, single-stage snow blowers only throw the snow once. A gas-powered engine spins an auger that scoops up the snow and throws it out the chute.

Since the auger actually contacts the ground, you should not use a single stage snow thrower on gravel surfaces, unless your goal is to hurl small rocks at your neighbors.

Single-stage snow blowers are typically 19 - 22 inches wide. The limiting factor, however, is their height – not the width. If you’re frequently battling 12-inch snow drifts, go with a two-stage snowblower instead.

How to Pick the Perfect Single-Stage Snow Blower


Two-stage snow blowers, on the other hand, throw the snow twice. First, a metal auger scoops up the snow and ice. Then, a high-speed impeller throws it out through the discharge chute.

The auger on a two-stage snow blower doesn't touch the ground, so they can be used on gravel and concrete. Plus, they feature taller buckets capable of inhaling snow drifts.

If you need to clear large, deep expanses of snow, you’ll appreciate the wider and more powerful two-stage snowblower.

How to Pick the Perfect Two-Stage Snow Blower


Three-stage snow blowers are the most powerful and efficient snow blowers on the market. First, two metal augers scoop up the snow and ice. Then they move it toward the center of the unit where an accelerator chops and pushes the snow through the impeller, launching it out of the chute at high speed.

If the city plow leaves frozen compacted heaps of snow at the end of your driveway, this machine will crush through the frozen wall of snow and ice while launching it 50 feet away.

How to Pick the Perfect Three-Stage Snow Blower