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Snow Blower Two Stage vs Single Stage: Which is Best For Your Job?

Depending on where you live, you may have been considering purchasing a snow blower to help speed up and take the stress out of snow removal this winter. If you have begun your search for the best snow blower for your needs, then you probably are already aware that you will be faced with many choices that go well beyond just what brand of machine you need. Size and configuration, meaning the construction behind what a snow machine works the way it does, is a detail you cannot afford to pass up on your decision-making process.

Knowing the differences surrounding these can help you determine which product will best clear the size of the area you need cleaning up, as well as how well it will handle the amount of snowfall you typically receive. Dual stage snow blowers vs single stage blowers are very different tools, and it’s important to understand the differences so you can make the best investment choice.

Snow Blower Two Stage vs Single Stage Comparison Table

ModelSnow heightElectronic choicesTossing distance
Two Stage12 inches +noup to 50’
Single Stage8 inches -yesup to 30’

Dual Stage Pros & Cons


  • Can handle large amounts of snow
  • Throws wet snow more easily
  • Can use over gravel


  • Not available in electric versions
  • Cost
  • Leaves behind a thin layer of snow

Single Stage Pros & Cons



  • Limited to 8 inches or less
  • Wet snow does not move as easily

Dual Stage: No Job too Big

In short, a dual stage, or two stage snow blower is a much stronger piece of equipment in comparison to a single stage version. It can handle more snow, but is larger, bulkier, has fewer variations available, and can cost a bit more money that it’s simpler counterpart.

How They Work

Two-stage snow blower is called such because they use two augers to help assist in cutting, chopping, and taking in snow; and another auger, often called in impeller, to launch the snow out and away from your path. The auger that helps take in snow and ice can often come in a variety of choices depending on your needs.


These machines can handle quite a bit of snowfall, often up to 12 feet (or more) in depth, and more than 20 inches wide. Because of the dual action augers, you also can get through heavy, wet snow and ice easily, and in some cases toss it up to 50 feet away from your path. These are tools specific for clearing large areas of snow quickly and efficiently. Plus, because the first auger doesn’t touch the ground and is slightly angled, you can clear uneven ground surfaces, such as gravel. This is very handy because it ensures you don’t compromise the blade if you do have an uneven surface along your property, and also lets you clear out more areas throughout your yard, including pathways across your lawn.


The heaviness of these machines also dictates that they are self-propelled by the auger chomping its way through whatever is in front of it. The rear tires of these products generally have a power-assisted drive system to help get you moving in the direction you are going.


Although there are many variations of dual blowers available, these are all gas powered. The electric versions are simply not strong enough to handle what they are made to do. This means you will have to deal with the maintenance of a gas powered engine, including spark plugs, oil changes, air filters, etc…

Dual blowers are also very heavy and bulky, and do not get into small spaces well, nor are they usually very easy to lift onto porches or steps to help with clearing- leaving you with the physical task of shoveling out certain areas. Also, the same tilted auger that allows you to clear uneven surface also means that a slight skim of snow will be left behind and not completely cleared. If you are looking for a clean surface after you complete your snow blowing job, be prepared to run a wide snow shovel or snow brush over what is left over.

Single Stage: No Job too Small

Although not as powerful as a two stage blower, a single stage snow blower is very effective in clearing your driveways and walks. It may not be able to handle as much snow as its larger counterpart, but it does have many options available in design, is lightweight, can get into more hard to reach places, and is often more affordable.

How They Work

Like a dual stage snow blower, the single stage is named because it only has one auger at work to both take in the snow and help toss it out of your path. This also helps self-propel the machine as it eats through the snowfall in its path.


Although a single stage blower is made to only cut through about an 8-inch snowfall or less at any given time, they are offered in more of a variety of a dual-stage version. For starters, the single auger system doesn’t require quite as much power, so they are available in a variety of gas and electric choices to better meet a wide span of needs. Electric blowers require very little maintenance too, making your job that much easier. Able to toss snow up to 30 feet, many of the gas-powered (and even a few electric ones) are capable of clearing fairly heavy snowfalls rather effectively. Plus, since they are lighter, they are also easier to maneuver in tighter to reach spots and may be lifted on to decking or porch surfaces as well. The front auger also sits more flush on the ground, making your clearing of snow look crisp and clean as not layer of snow will be left behind. These are awesome machines for smoother concrete, brick, and tile walks and drives to help show off the detail of the landscaping through the winter.


The size and power of these versions do limit their power. Heavy, wet snow, or larger amounts of snowfall exceeding 8 inches is a regular occurrence then this would not be a good choice. Plus, any gas version does require maintenance, and an electric version is limited by the length of the cord, as well as outlet placement. Since the auger sits flush with the ground, you will most likely nick the auger blade from time to time against uneven surfaces. It also will not clear uneven ground or gravel as the auger will dig into, or worse yet, through the gravel through the chute which could result in damage to whatever it hits. Many of the single blowers toss snow between 20 and 30 feet. Not all throw it quite as high as a dual-system. Areas that receive heavy snowfall may have banks of accumulated snow you need to clear, making your job more difficult if the machine doesn’t have the capabilities to do so.

Your Best Choice Explained

Your best choice of machine, whether single or dual staged, is entirely dependent upon the specific climate you live within. A dual-blower is definitely the more powerful, durable of the two, but it also costs much more, is more limited in choices, and is built specifically for areas of heavy snowfall. The single blower has many more choice options and is very capable of clearing quite a bit of snow as well, especially if you regularly keep on top of your snow removal. Of the two, the single stage blower is a more practical choice altogether concerning cost and efficiency, but it is important to take into account that they are not built to handle long winters of heavy, wet snowfalls. Personally, I have used both in areas that receive regular snowfall, and have had good luck with a single stage blower even in northern climates if I made sure to clear snow at every snowfall. But I did find the dual stage to work excellently on heavier, packed snow that I couldn’t always get to right away.

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!