Single vs Two Stage Snow Blowers: Which is Right For You?

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two or single stage snowblower

If you’re shopping for a snowblower online, you know that the differences between models are not always straightforward. If you’re confused about what makes single stage and two stage snow blowers different, you’ve come to the right place.

The Difference:

The big difference between single-stage and two-stage snow blowers lies in how they collect and move snow. A single-stage snow blower uses a single rotating part to both collect the snow ahead of the machine, and to move the snow up a pipe and blast it out to your desired location.

A two stage, on the other hand, uses one rotating auger to collect the snow, and then uses a secondary part called an impeller to blast the snow elsewhere. This means that two stage snow blowers will generally be able to blow snow farther than their one stage counterparts. It also means that two stage snow blowers will generally be better at dealing with tougher snows that are slushy, icy, or compacted.

Two stage snow blowers also often come with motorized wheels, which means you’ll do less pushing relative to one stage models. One stage models do tend to be lighter and smaller, though, which can be major plusses if you have a bad back or limited storage space.

Overall, the most important thing to consider is the kind of conditions in which you will be using your snow blower. If it’s light, fluffy snow, a one stage snow blower will work just fine. If you deal with a lot of heavy, compacted, slushy, or icy snow, then you’ll probably be better served with a two stage model.

Our recommended Two Stage Snow Blower Picks:

Our favorite – Husqvarna ST224 24-Inch 208cc

The Husqvarna ST224 is our favorite two stage snow blower. Compacted, slushy, or tall snowbanks don’t stand a chance against this model. And when you have optimal conditions for snow clearing, light, powdery snow, you’ll get the task done unbelievably fast.

This self-propelled unit means that the days of having to strain to push a snow blower are over. Multiple forward gears allow you to set the pace that’s right for you. Unfortunately, there’s only one reverse gear, and it’s on the slow side.

The LED lights on this model mean that not even darkness can stop you. Nor can the cold, since it comes with an electric start and heated handlebars, which can make ab big difference when it’s below freezing outside. You can’t go wrong with this model, especially if you have a lot of work to do in suboptimal conditions.

Pros
  • Power
  • Heated handle grips
  • Electric starter
  • LED headlights
Cons
  • Slow reverse gear

Best for the money – YARDMAX YB5765

YARDMAX Two-Stage Snow Blower – 22”, 24”,...
126 Customer Reviews
YARDMAX Two-Stage Snow Blower – 22”, 24”,...
  • 18" snow clearing width
  • Removes snow up to 11" deep
  • Powered by an 87cc 4-cycle engine

The YARDMAX YB5765 is the best two stage snow blower for the money. It has the power you need to get through difficult snow conditions, and it features an all-steel frame, which means it should last you a long time and be more resistant to bumps along the way. The 22-inch model doesn’t come with an electric start option, something that should be expected on higher-end snow blowers, but, the good news is that it generally starts just fine, even in colder conditions. If you can’t live without an electric start, you can always upgrade to the 24-inch or 26-inch models, which have it.

Depending on your ability, assembling this model will take between 30 minutes and an hour, which is far more than other units. It’s not that big of a deal, but you should be aware that it’s going to take a bit more time to get started. Given all the upside to this model, it would be hard to find more value for the same price anywhere else.

Pros
  • Power
  • Easy to assemble
  • All-steel frame
Cons
  • Difficult assembly

Our recommended Single Stage Snow Blower Picks:

Our favorite – Troy-Bilt Squall 208cc

Troy Bilt Squall 2100 Single Stage Snowblower...
49 Customer Reviews
Troy Bilt Squall 2100 Single Stage Snowblower...
  • Powered by a dependable 208cc 4-cycle OHV Electric Start engine and a push button electric start...
  • Clears snowy walkways up to 21" wide and 13" deep in one pass
  • The polymer chute is equipped with a 2-way remote chute control with 190 degree rotation for...

Our favorite single stage snow blower is the Troy-Bilt Squall 208cc. One of the best things about this model is how compact it is. If you’re in a situation where you have limited storage space, but need a snow blower, then you can’t go wrong with this model. It features a comfortable gull-wing handle which gives you multiple ways to position your hands during long snow-clearing sessions.

Not all one stage blowers are great with more difficult snows that are icy, slushy, or compacted, but this model plows through them without any problems. The one downside is that this model only has one motorized wheel, and the other wheel is prone to icing up, which will require you to stop and clear it.

Overall, the fact that this one stage snow blower deals with difficult snows well would be enough to recommend it, but this model also has so much more going for it. You can expect to get a long, pleasant life out of this unit.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Comfortable handle
  • Good for tough snows
Cons
  • One motorized wheel

Best for the money – Snow Joe iON18SB

Sale
Snow Joe iON18SB 18-Inch 40 Volt Cordless...
1,238 Customer Reviews
Snow Joe iON18SB 18-Inch 40 Volt Cordless...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Lightweight design (Only 32 lbs) to easily clear sidewalks, driveways and decks
  • CORDLESS: 40V 4.0 Ah iONMAX rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 50 minutes of...
  • AUTO-ROTATE CHUTE: 180° auto-rotate directional chute throws snow up to 20 feet

The Snow Joe iON18SB is something you want to check out if you’re looking for “something different” in a snow blower. It’s almost unfair to compare this to other models since it’s a battery-powered, electric snow blower. What this means is that you get the maintenance-free convenience of an electric model without having to deal with a cord, which is the major downside to other electric models. This is also a very lightweight model, good for places where you may have to carry it around. It’s also an extremely quiet model, the value of which can’t be underestimated.

It also comes with an LED light, which will come in handy if you ever need to clear snow in the dark. The one downside is one common to electric units, which is that the power sometimes isn’t sufficient to clear slushy or icy snows. It’s a problem that gets worse as the battery starts to run low on charge.

However, if you’re looking to clear lighter snows and work in generally smaller areas, there’s a lot of upside to this model for you.

Pros
  • Cordless
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • LED light
Cons
  • Power

Conclusion

The Husqvarna ST224 is our favorite two stage snow blower due to its power and excellent features. The YARDMAX YB5765 is the best two stage snow blower for the money, with easy assembly and an all-steel frame. Our favorite single stage snow blower is the Troy-Bilt Squall 208cc, which is compact and handles tough snows well. The Snow Joe iON18SB is a cool, battery-powered electric that provides great value for the price.

Hopefully, we’ve cleared up some of the differences between single stage and two stage snow blowers. Armed with this information, you should be able to choose the model of snow blower that is right for you.

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!