If you have ever tried to manually move a two-stage snow blower, you likely understand why this type of snow blower needs to be equipped with a self-propelled option. The larger blowers are simply too difficult to push for even a small snow removal task. As an example, the weight of this Craftsman dual-stage snow blower is approximately 250 pounds. Moving this type of snow blower, even while operating in self-propelled mode, can be a chore because of the weight.
The smaller single-stage snow blowers are much lighter (commonly under 100 pounds) and typically do not require the extra cost of a self-propelled feature that turns the wheels when the mechanism is equipped. Rather, these snow blowers are commonly assisted forward by the auger. The auger is what sits at the front of the snow blower and spins over the snow to scoop it up into the chute for discharge. Keep in mind that the auger is not technically a self-propelled feature of the machine and will only help the snow blower forward minimally.
Single or Two-Stage?
Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to a snow blower. A lightweight single-stage machine can be preferable for someone who has an average size paved driveway and lives in an area that does not receive a large amount of snow (less than 8 inches per snowfall).
Additionally, they tend to be much less bulkier than two-stage snow blowers which makes them easier to store. Having had both single-stage and two-stage snow blowers, I can confirm that the two-stage snow blower can take up a lot of valuable space in a standard two car garage. You should ask yourself if you really need the extra power with a two-stage if you are working with a tight storage situation.
As explained in the above video, a big disadvantage of a single-stage snow blower is that it cannot be used on gravel or other areas where there is loose material present. The augers will kick up the gravel and shoot it out of the chute, which, of course, can be dangerous to all that is around.
If you live in an area that has a lot of snow accumulation of 8 inches or greater during the year, a two-stage snow blower may be ideal for you. This type of snow blower is called a “two-stage” because it contains two components to handle the snow: an augur and the impeller.
The augur (stage 1) has saw-like blades that break up the snow and then moves it to the impeller (stage 2). The impeller then works to pushes the snow out of the chute.
It is possible to clear up to approximately 12 to 16 inches of snow with this type of snow blower. For most people, there should be no problem removing most snow accumulation with this type of machine.
Again, two-stage snow blowers can be difficult to maneuver even when using the self-propelled option. However, these snow blowers typical have a speed control with various setting to allow the user to operate the blower at their chosen pace.