Three vs Two Stage Snow Blowers: Powerful How-to Snow Removal Made Easy

Struggling to clear snow through the winter months is often the bane of northern residents, which is why many look to the products that can help make their jobs both easier, and quicker, to complete. Snow blower and throwers are popular machines to invest in simply due to the amount of power they lend to your outdoor snow clearing chores.

Dual-stage and three stage snow blowers are excellent options if you live in a climate that receives regular moderate to heavy snowfalls. They also both provide options surrounding residential, and commercial usage to help make your job, no matter where it may be, that much easier. If you’ve been curious about the difference between a three-stage vs two stage snow blower, read on below for a brief overview of what these products may be able to do for you.

Three Stage Snow Blower vs Two Stage Comparison Table

Craftsman 88874 Three Stage Snow Blowers
  • Maintenance: professional
  • Snow removal depth: over 16 inches
  • Engine size: largest
  • Tossing distance: 50 feet
Troy-Bilt Storm 2625 Two-Stage Gas Snow Thrower Two Stage Snow Blowers
  • Maintenance: residential
  • Snow removal depth: over 16 inches
  • Engine size: variable
  • Tossing distance: 25 - 50 feet

Three – Stage Pros & Cons


  • Powerful accelerator to work faster
  • Efficient designs means less cleanup
  • Work can be cut in half
  • Can handle large snowfalls and all conditions


  • Leaves behind a thin layer of snow
  • Gas- engine maintenance
  • Can be heavy and hard to get into tight spots

Two – Stage Pros & Cons


  • Versatile range of sizes for varying needs
  • Great for concrete and gravel drives
  • Both auger and gear driven choices
  • Efficient residential and commercial use


  • Requires consistent maintenance
  • Noisy
  • Have to pay for oil and gas

Three Stage Blowers: Power Through the Worst Winter Can Through at You

Craftsman 88874

Many people are familiar with the differences between single and dual stage snow blowers but are somewhat unsure of how to define a three-stage blower. This is because a three-stage design is often sought after by professional outfits, and overlooked by residential owners. But, this doesn’t mean they aren’t accessible to homeowners, or shouldn’t be considered as long as what they offer is beneficial to your specific snow moving needs.

How They Work

Three stage blowers use an impeller and auger to take up, and move snow- but they also include an accelerator to mix and chop snow at a rate of speed 10 times more than the auger. This helps to provide more air and create material that is easier for the blower to throw further. This addition also allows these machines to get through heavy, wet, and icy piles of snow and move it more quickly due to the overall mix of air and winter materials.

Because of this they usually have larger engine sizes to handle this heavier work, as well larger housing bodies. Three stage blowers are usually self-propelled due to the power the accelerator and auger lend to forward movement, although some do come with a rear wheel drive system.


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This unique design helps throw snow 50 feet or more, which is especially helpful when faced with wide driveways, or large snowfalls to avoid snow pileup. You also are able to increase your work efficiency by up top 50%, meaning you can get the job done in half the time of lesser design models.

The auger driven system combined with the accelerator is super powerful and pulls the machine forward with ease, making your work less, and essentially enabling you to simply guide it to where you need it.

The massive housing sizes also mean deeper snow piles, drifts, or icy buildups can be removed in one pass, opposed to multiple passes. This efficient design also cuts down on overall maintenance since it can move more easily through the machines, leaving behind less buildup on the augers and impeller, as well as your driveway.


Because of the complexity of the design, a three-stage system requires not only 4-cycle, gas-powered engine maintenance, but usually needs to be worked on by a professional if anything goes wrong. Plus, many of the designs are auger driven only and do not include reverse gears- which could become problematic in some situations and impedes overall maneuverability.

Although generally easy to control, the balance of the machines can sometimes cause them to ride up onto the snow, requiring your weight and energy to keep it cutting into the snow.

They almost always are specific to more professional use, with fewer model choices available overall, and few for use residentially. Plus, due to this commercial marketing, the costs have a tendency to be much higher as well than comparable dual stage designs.

Troy-Bilt Vortex


Dual Stage Blowers: Versatile Power for Home and Business

Briggs & Stratton 1696610 Dual-Stage Snow Thrower with 208cc Engine and Electric Start

Two-stage vs three stage blowers have more than just a marked difference concerning what jobs they are created for. Both are made to move snow efficiently and make your job easier, but where most three stage blowers are made specifically for professional use and have a limited amount of models to choose from- two-stage blowers have a large variety of model choices for both residential and commercial use.

How They Work

A two-stage blower uses both an auger to help cut and aerate snow, as well as in impeller to throw snow. These are driven by varying sizes of engines and housing sizes depending on what use they are designed for. Compact versions are available for easy storage and mobility in smaller residential areas that get small to medium snowfalls, and larger sizes for large properties and heavier snow drifts.

Differing auger sizes, including serrated versions, can be found and used as well to help with the movement of snow. Plus, these machines are an engine, rather than auger driven, and may include a series of gears for both forwards and reverse controls.


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A large selection of choices is certainly helpful in allowing you to find exactly the product you need with the details you want to help you get the job done in comfort. These choices also allow you to control your price range for snowfalls that may be lighter in nature versus areas that see deep, icy, and heavy winter precipitation.

Many of these machines can throw snow 30 to 50 feet away as well, making them very versatile to property sizes and needs. They are also popular for uneven terrain and gravel drives as the auger is slightly angled, allowing for it to be raised above the ground and providing space between its rotation and the ground surface.

Power assist to tires allows for gear shifting and further control for terrain and snowpack differences. X-track tires and even treads can often be seen to help with traction to better meet the needs of large property owners. All of these options also result in differing costs to meet the budgets of a wider variety of consumers.


Like a three-stage blower, two stage blowers are all powered by 4-cycle engines and need to be maintained, although this is generally fairly easy to do at home as they are built more for residential use. Many have very powerful engines which are incapable of doing all that they are built to do basically because they are limited in overall constructive size and design. Meaning they could handle heavier work if the model was built big enough and tough enough to handle it.

Also, that auger placement that allows you to use over rough terrain and gravel drives without causing damage also leaves behind a layer of snow. Therefore, if you are looking for a clean surface after moving snow, you will need to follow up with a shovel or other tool to help clear it off.

Yard Machines 24-Inch 179cc OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Two Stage Snow Thrower


Your Best Choice Explained

When considering the purchase of a powerful snow blower model, you should research the differences between the dual stage and three stage models to see which is best for your particular situation. Three stage series are almost exclusively built for serious snow removal and are more popular with commercial businesses, and usually, carry the price tag to match.

Dual-stage designs have a larger variety to choose from including smaller, compact models. This includes a wide range of more professional choices to span the many needs of a larger audience of those looking to move snow quickly and efficiently. Because of its greater degree of model choices, ease of maintenance, and power for all but the absolute worst of packed, icy snow.

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