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Reviews of Two-stage Snow Blowers

Snow can be beautiful – at least until you have to get rid of it. Then, it becomes a backbreaking nightmare. As with most tasks, though, having the right tools can make it go more smoothly. Here, we’ll examine whether a two-stage snow blower is what you need to get the snow off your driveway and sidewalk. We’ll also review some of the best models on the market.

How A Two-Stage Snow Blower Works

This type of snow blower is a “mid-range” option. It’s more powerful than a single-stage model but not as great as a three-stage one. Whether you need this type depends on the type and depth of snow you normally face. How big the area is also matters.

Like a single-stage snow blower, a two-stage blower has an auger and an impeller. However, the two-stage version has a slower auger, allowing it to handle deeper and heavier snow. The impeller blows the snow out the side.

Two-stage snow blowers are usually self-propelled, making it much easier for you to move it. Of course, they’re also larger and heavier. That means that propulsion is important for getting the job done.

This type of machine can handle heavier snow, but it’s still not good once things have frozen over. For that, you need the power of a three-stage mower. But if you’re planning to get the work done as soon as possible when the snow comes down, a two-stage model will work.

The area you have to plow is also important, of course. A two-stage snow blower can handle over 1400 square feet. That’s about the size of a driveway that can accommodate six cars.

Almost all two-stage blowers are gas-powered, although a few battery-powered options are starting to appear. Still, for the heavy-duty work you’ll be doing, gas seems like the better option.

Need less power? A single-stage snowblower might work for you.

What To Consider When Making Your Choice

There are a few factors to consider when buying a snow blower. The first is the number of stages it offers. If you’ve gotten this far, though, you’re likely set on a two-stage.

Be prepared to invest a good amount of money. We’ve come across some for under $500, but many are also over $1000. In the long run, it can be worth it because of the time and labor you save, but it’s still a rather large investment.

Almost all two-stage blowers will clear a 30-inch wide strip of snow at a time. 

Now let’s discuss some of the features to look for that might not be available in all models. 

Electric start makes it easier to get down to business. This is the norm nowadays, but you may come across a model that doesn’t have it.

A variable-speed motor is another fantastic option. It allows you to go more slowly where the snow is harder to remove, or speed up when the work is easy.

Check out these awesome tips for running your snow blower!

a man blows snow along his driveway

Chute controls are a key item to making the task go smoothly, too. At times you’ll want to shoot the snow in a different direction. That could be when you turn around or when you get close to the house, for example. Easy controls mean you can adjust the chute without a lot of trouble.

If your snow blower can be operated with one hand, so much the better! It will allow you to switch from hand to hand as necessary. This will slow fatigue and allow you to work more comfortably.

A great luxury feature is a headlight. It wasn’t the first thing we thought of when we got ours, but it comes in handy! You may often find yourself trying to clear the walkway in the early morning or the evening. Even when it snows hard during the day, some extra light comes in handy.

Heated handgrips may seem like another luxury, but they do make the work less taxing. Trying to manipulate the controls with frozen fingers is no easy chore.

Ice and snow melt will help you finish the job and give you a safe, clean surface.

Reviews of the Best Two Stage Snow Blowers 

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to look at what’s available. We’ve rounded up some of the best models available.

Remember that if you buy from Home Depot, you can choose delivery or store pickup. Amazon, of course, will have to be with delivery. In either case, you’ll need to be prepared to receive a heavy piece of equipment.

Ariens Deluxe 28 in. 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Auto-Turn Steering

Ariens Deluxe 2-stage snow blower

This model from Ariens scores high marks, especially for its ability to handle wet snow. It can also through snow about 50 feet, which is great for making sure it doesn’t end up on the other side of the driveway. 

This model can also handle a snowfall up to about 16 inches deep, although the “ideal” depth is listed at 16 inches. It has a 28-inch-wide clearance width and 21-inch-high height.

The 254 cc engine also provides you with 6 forward speeds and 2 reverse speeds. It also has auto-turn steering, making it more maneuverable. It works best on a flat, paved surface but can maneuver relatively easy around obstructions. It can also handle normal driveway slopes.

The chute rotates 205° to allow for good aiming of the ejected snow. However, the controls for the chute only rate a “so-so.” They can be a bit difficult to manage since you have to manage them in two parts of the controls.

Overall, this is a great machine. It won’t handle ice, but it gets through wet or dry snow easily. It’s one of the more pricey models on our list, but it’s worth it, all things considered.

When used for consumer purposes, it offers a three-year warranty.

Troy-Bilt Storm 2625 243cc Electric Start 26-Inch Two Stage Gas Snow Thrower

2 stage snowblower from troy-bilt, Storm model

Troy-Bilt offers another great snow blower that offers a lot of power and great features, too.

This machine has a 243cc engine. Its 26-inch intake helps get the job one quickly, although it’s not the widest available. (If you go to the link, you can see various similar models that Troy-bilt offers, including smaller and larger engines as well as wider units, up to 30”.)

There are 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds.

The linked model doesn’t offer power steering, but there is a version with that feature as well.

This can handle the white stuff even when it gets deep – it boasts 21 inches of clearance that will be churned through and out the chute. And that chute pivots 200 degrees with a convenient control that requires just one hand.

It doesn’t offer heated grips, but it does have a headlight.

The manufacturer’s warranty is good for 2 years of residential use.

Husqvarna ST224 24-Inch 208cc Two Stage Electric Start Snow Blower

Snow blower by Husqvarna, 2 stage model

Husqvarna has a well-established name. This model mostly lives up to expectations, despite a few common issues. Overall, we can recommend it but it’s important to be on the lookout for potential flaws.

This unit has a 208cc motor, a relatively common size. That also means you get a decent level of power. It has 6 forward speeds and one reverse.

It can throw snow about 20 feet, perfectly fine for most uses. And it’s easy to aim the chute with the two controls. 

One issue is that the impeller seems subject to damage if you catch small stones (bigger than gravel, though) in the system. This piece is not made of the same quality metal as the rest of the unit. 

It can clear close to 28” inches at a time with snow up to a foot deep. 

This snow blower can work well on gravel, and the propulsion even allows you to handle normal slopes with ease. 

This model isn’t quite as expensive as the Ariens above but is still an investment.

Briggs & Stratton 24″ Dual-Stage Snow Blower w/Electric Start and 208 Snow Series Engine, 1024 (1696610)

briggs & stratton dual-stage snow blower

Another 208cc engine is found in the Briggs & Stratton Two-stage Snow Blower. It’s a quality machine that will help you get rid of deep snow quickly.

This model clears a 24”-inch wide strip and handles 12 inches of snow with ease. 

It has an electric start system (like most snow blowers, it has to be plugged in to start; then it can be unplugged).

It’s a 6-speed, 2 reverse speed units. You can adjust the skids to use it on gravel so that it stays high enough not to gobble up the gravel itself.

The chute is controlled with a crank and a separate deflector control. It requires a bit of a reach to control them, but it’s relatively easy to handle.

There aren’t hand warmers on this model, but that doesn’t detract much from the overall quality. 

There are reports of issues with customer service access and trying to find an authorized service center. They are available, but not common.

We give it high marks – it seems to work well normally with both wet and dry snow, even if the snow is already packed hard. Some buyers also claim they have difficulty getting authorized agents to honor the warranty, but Briggs and Stratton has responded that the warranty is valid.

YARDMAX 24 in. 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower

yardmax 196cc 2 stage snowblower

This Yardmax snow blower also has a 212 cc motor with 4 forward speeds and 1 for backing up.

It can handle depths of snow up to 21 inches that will be expelled through a crank-controlled chute that can pivot 180°. It can throw the snow as far as 35 feet. It even handles heavy snow relatively well.

The electric starter works well and lets you get right down to business.

There seem to be issues with customer service as well. As is the case with some other brands, it seems it’s tough to get in touch with Yardmax and to get them to honor the 2-year warranty they offer.

The assembly instructions could be better written, which can be a frustrating experience. However, once you manage to work through that, you’ll be satisifed with this workhorse of a machine.

Conclusion

A two-stage snow blower is the most-searched-for type, and its features and power explain why. Although they can be costly, a good one will help you take care of snow removal around your house much more easily. Be sure to cover up and stay warm, still, but you’ll love how much time and energy you save with this investment!