Choosing a Snow Blower: 1-stage, 2-stage, or 3-stage?

We know Canadian winters are tough. Now that you’re finally ready to hang up the shovel and let a snow blower do the work, it turns out, picking the right snow blower is not that easy. Single-stage, two-stage, three-stage; what’s the difference and which one is right for you? If you’re left scratching your head, we’ve got the answer for you.

Simply put, the number of ‘stages’ tells you how many augers/impellers the snow blower has to scoop and throw snow. The more stages it has, the more powerful the snow blower and the quicker that snow blower can clear snow.

Single-Stage Snow Blowers

A single-stage snow blower has one auger that breaks, scoops and throws snow. They are usually the least powerful, but also the lightest and easiest to maneuver. They are ideal for smaller jobs like a paved, short driveway in an area that doesn’t get a lot of wet, heavy snow. If you only need your snow blower occasionally to clear snow that is up to about 12” (30 cm) high, this may be a great choice for you.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers

A two-stage snow blower is more powerful and can take on a large amount of snow. It has an auger and an impeller (2 stages). The auger breaks and scoops up wet and heavy snow, then the impeller throws snow out and away from the path via the chute. This division of labour means more power and a much further throwing distance compared to a single-stage. A two-stage snow blower can clear larger piles of snow (even if it’s wet and slushy) and a great balance between power and performance. They come with different price points depending on features, but an electric start, heated handle, and a great warranty should be at the top of the list. Make sure to check the details of the particular models you’re considering for how much snow they are able to clear.

Three-Stage Snow Blowers

A three-stage snow blower is the most powerful of them all. Think of this one like a turbo-charged two-stage. Two augers and one impeller (3-stages) work in unison to pull in the most snow, ice and slush through the system — perfect for areas with a huge amount of snow and busting through those ice chunks at the end of your driveway. The three-stage system is an industry-exclusive to snow blowers from Cub Cadet. With the ability to finish clearing up to 50% faster than a two-stage snow blower, a three-stage snow blower can handle winter’s absolute worst, and will become your new best friend during those hard winter months.

In summary, the more stages a machine has, the more powerful and efficient it will be at clearing more snow in less time. Single-stage snow blowers are ideal for smaller jobs like walkways and short driveways. Two-stage snow blowers will generally give you a good mix of performance, power and maneuverability. But if you need a snow blower that’ll clear through absolutely anything, a three-stage will help you conquer winter this year.