The weather is something in life we simply can’t change. For those of us living in the Snow Belt, snowfall is a fact of life. And can cause significant disruption to our daily lives.
Even the lightest of snowfalls can cause chaos if we are unprepared for it. By far, the worst consequence is those early morning starts to clear walkways and the driveway. It’s probably the last thing anyone wants to do on a cold, dark morning!
Early alarm calls are just one reason why snow blowers are rapidly becoming a must-have power tool for so many people.
Commercial-grade machines have been on the market for years. But there are models available for householders for residential and domestic use.
What is a snowblower, and how does it work? Two great questions that we are here to answer for you!
Snowblower or snow thrower?
First, let’s clear up this confusion. In reality, a snowblower and a snow thrower are practically the same. They both do the same job – but with a few small distinctions.
Snow blowers come in three different types: one-stage, double -stage, and three-stage. Single stagers throw the snow to the side. The other staged machines do blow the snow out of the way. But first, let’s talk about the simplest of all.
The motor of a one-stage machine, or snow shovel, is usually electrically powered. They have power cords to connect to a regular power outlet. Ones that use rechargeable batteries are typically known as cordless snow shovels. However, it is powered; they drive a rotating set of blades known as an auger.
In a single-stage unit, the auger churns the snow and throws it away. You can vary the direction by adjusting a chute. Typically, you can get snow thrown ten to twenty feet away.
This type of blower is best for light to medium falls of snow. Auger length determines the cutting path, so this is something you should consider. Lightweight machines tend to be fitted with plastic blades. More massive machines are more likely to sport metal blades.
While the auger length determines the cutting footprint, the diameter dictates the cutting depth. Product details will show these figures, but bigger machines have a broader and deeper cutting capacity as a rule of thumb.
Double and triple stage snow blowers
If you live in someplace with severe winter weather, a single-stage blower is unlikely to cope with your snowfall volume. Instead, focus on two and three-stage machines. What’s the big difference? Let’s find out.
Two-stage units, as their name hints, have two tasks to do. They have augers just the same, but instead of throwing the snow, the auger is used for clearance only. The result of splitting the workload means you obtain better efficiency from the auger. And can have a wider auger.
The snow is deposited into a chute as normal. But there’s an impeller fitted. This device provides the force to blow the snow out of the chute.
So what are the benefits of a 2-stage blower? Firstly, your cutting path is broader and deeper. And snow clearing is faster. Secondly, being impeller-powered, the chute can throw snow to a much greater distance. So you will have much less work to do.
What are 2 and 3 stage snowblowers?
Because larger machines are heavier than their smaller models, they are self-propelled. The motor drives the wheels, so you don’t have to push it around. Much easier, for sure.
These multi-stage machines, though, are more expensive than one-stage models. Bigger blowers also tend to be gas-powered rather than battery-powered or corded electric. However, for more massive snowfalls, a bigger unit is required.
The 3-stagers are the most effective snowblowers of them all. These units deploy two augers that push the snow inward to the midpoint of the cutting path. This motion enables very wide augers to be fitted. A mechanism called an induction accelerator collects the snow.
The induction accelerator breaks down the snow and feeds it to the impeller. This partnership means snow can be thrown an amazingly large distance, up to 50 feet. A three-stage model’s big bonus is that it’s the only blower that will leave an entirely clear path. The others tend to leave a thin covering of snow as their augers don’t touch the ground.
For heavy snow – or when you want complete clearance – the one model guaranteed to do the job is a 3-stage blower. They are the biggest and heaviest and are generally self-propelled. Some even have power steering. But prepare to dig deep to meet their heftier price tags.
Which snowblower is best?
Without a doubt, snow blowers make life easier. Regardless of your level of snowfall, there’s a snowblower for you. There is no comparison between a snowblower and manual snow clearing with a shovel. To get the job done, you power up your snowblower and let it do all the heavy lifting. It’s way less tiring with a snowblower – and much faster too.
Conclusion: Winter is coming!
A one-stage snowblower – that one that chucks the snow away – is perfect for a modest snowfall area with only light or medium snow most of the time. Single-stage models are compact and can be easily stored away during the off-season months in a shed or garage.
For heavier snow falls or large areas you have to clear regularly, a two or three-stage machine is your best option.
These multi-stage machines will make short work of snow, clearing snow away much faster than a one-stage model could manage. You may be surprised and impressed by how much snow they can shift in a relatively short timespan.
We could wax lyrical about snowblowers all day. But suffice to say they are straightforward machines that are very effective at what they do. Therefore, we have no hesitation in recommending that you check out what is available on the market. A snowblower is simple yet powerful. And can make cold, miserable winter mornings that little bit more bearable and safer for you and your family.