There has to be a better way to clear your sidewalk and driveway of snow, right? Shoveling is exhausting and time-consuming. A snow blower can help make the job go more quickly with less effort. If you have a relatively small area to clear and don’t get deep snow, a single-stage snow blower could be the perfect type for you.
What A Single Stage Snowblower Can Offer
A single-stage snow blower is the most basic type. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not enough to get the job done. It all depends on the amount and type of snow you expect.
This type of snow blower has a single auger that picks up and throws the snow. However, it’s still sufficient for up to six inches of snow. Its smaller clearance and lack of self-propulsion also make it suitable for a two-car driveway, patios, and sidewalks. The machine is smaller and lighter which can make it easier to move around obstacles or handle on slopes. On the other hand, you’re putting all the energy into it yourself.
Light, powdery snow is the specialty for this type of snow blower. The machine will be able to pick it up easily and hurl it aside. The wetter and heavier the snow, the more the unit will struggle. But if you expect the kind of stuff that they make for ski slopes, you’ll be set. Most single-stage blowers can blow your snow about 30 feet away.
You also have the advantage of a variety of power sources. There are corded and cordless electric models as well as gas-powered units. Of course, if you have a corded unit, you’ll need to be sure to stay in range of an outlet. You’ll also need an extension cord that will hold up to the cold weather!
A single-stage snow blower is a good choice for a paved surface. However, you should avoid it if you have a gravel driveway. Since the auger reaches the surface, it can easily pick up an throw the gravel about.
To sum it all up, if you have a small area, powdery snow up to about six inches deep and a paved surface underneath, a single-stage snow blower is perfect for your needs.
Remember that a snow blower can only get so deep. You’ll probably need ice melt to finish the job. Check out these top choices.
Features Available With Single-stage Snowblowers
Some of the features you’ll find on more powerful snow blowers are also available on single-stage models.
Headlights can make it easier to see when you’re forced to work during early morning or evening hours. Both halogen and LED types are common.
Among gas models, electric start is also a common feature, making it easier to push a button and go.
We haven’t come across models with remotes for chute control. However, most do offer joystick control or easy-to-reach handles. In fact, the handles can be easier to reach than on the higher-end units, since the machine itself is smaller.
Augers may be plastic or metal. Metal should be your preference. However, the plastic used is generally durable enough to resist most unexpected collisions with rocks or other hidden obstacles.
Reviews Of The Best Single Stage Snow Blowers
Let’s look at a few of the best single-stage models, broken down according to their power source.
Single-stage Electric Corded
To get it out of the way, we just want to mention the importance of getting an appropriately-rated extension cord. For the models we’ve listed here, you’ll need a 12-gauge, cold-weather cord. A fifty-foot maximum length is recommended, although you may get by with 100 feet.
This model from Snow Joe offers a great small snow blower that works wonder for light snow and can handle some wet snow as long as you have patience.
This unit is about 19 inches wide overall and has an 18-inch clearance. That has its pros and cons. It means you have to make more passes to get the job done. However, it also makes it more maneuverable around your garage door or the edges of the sidewalk or driveway. The entire unit weighs just under 33 pounds, so it’s not too difficult to handle.
While it isn’t wide, it can handle up to 10 inches of snow depth. That’s a maximum, of course; 4-6 is probably the ideal range.
This is a good value at a great price point and it gets the job done. Still, it’s not as powerful as some other units in its class.
It will throw snow about 20 feet. That’s probably enough in most cases. It’s important to be aware of it, though, so you don’t end up creating more work for yourself.
The chute can pivot 180°. It’s relatively easy to adjust.
The auger has steel blades that are tipped with durable rubber. There is also a clear bar that helps get right to the surface. Again, this is a positive that can be a negative. You want to be sure you only use it on a smooth surface.
To use this device, you’ll need a 12-gauge extension cord at a maximum of 100 feet (although we’ve seen other places where the manufacturer says 50 feet).
A great plus is the 20-watt halogen headlight.
NOTE: At the time of publication, only refurbished models were available. The link above will take you to a refurbished model available and warrantied through Home Depot.
Greenworks offers a great addition to this class of snow blowers. With a 20” width, it will make quicker work of your snow removal. It can also handle snow up to 10 inches deep – not optimally, but it can handle dry snow. Four to six inches of light sow is the sweet spot.
The unit is available either with or without an LED headlight (both available at the link above). The price difference between the two seems a bit large, but the extra light can come in handy.
The adjustable chute will throw snow up to 20 feet – again, not great, but not bad either. The chute is adjustable within a 180° range.
The starter is battery-powered. Greenworks recommends storing the battery at room temperature – that means you have to remove it and store it in your house after each use. It can get rather annoying to remember, although it’s not a huge hassle to do the removal itself.
The 7-inch wheels make it decent for getting over small bumps and curbs. Coupled with its light weight (32 pounds) it’s not too hard to push around.
For storage, the handle folds down.
If you want a smaller, more affordable model, the Earthwise SN70016 could be right for you. There are also other versions available (see link), including widths up to 22 inches and cordless versions of each size.
The link takes you directly to the 16-inch corded model, though. This is pretty small, but if you only have to worry about sidewalks and walkways and perhaps a porch or patio, it will do a great job. It will work on a driveway, of course, but it will take longer to get it done.
This model is high enough to handle 8 inches of snow; however, don’t rely on it for that regularly. Like other electric models, it should be expected to handle up to 6 inches.
The 6-inch wheels are ok, but nothing to write home about. Larger wheels would be a substantial improvement.
At just 16 pounds, it’s easy to move and even lift when necessary.
When used as intended, this is a great machine. Issues we’ve heard about mostly had to do with missing parts or shipping damage rather than poor performance. Of course, this is a light-duty machine for powdery snow and smaller areas. As long as that meets your needs, you’ll find this to be a good product.
Single-stage Electric Cordless
EGO 21 in. Single-Stage 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Electric Snow Blower with Two 5.0Ah Batteries and Charger Included
This battery-operated snow blower from EGO runs on two batteries with an estimated run time of 45 minutes, so you’ll get a good amount of use from them. They have an estimated recharge time of 30 to 40 minutes.
You’ll be able to clear your surface in 21-inch swaths, helping the work to progress quickly. The steel auger is tough and coupled with the metal body, it should hold up from season to season. Of course, that brings it in at a heavier weight of over 60 pounds.
We recommend this for up to about 8 inches of snow, although it’s high enough that 13 inches can enter at a time.
This model will blow your snow about 35 feet, easily clearing most driveways and landing it where you want it. The chute is controlled by a handle-mounted lever and can turn through a 180° range.
Two LED lights make it easier to see what you’re doing when light is dim. The handle does fold down easily when you want to store it.
EGO offers a five-year limited warranty on this product.
Ryobi almost always offers a good product, and this cordless snow blower doesn’t disappoint. It has a 21-inch clearing width and 13-inch clearing depth to help get you through the chore quickly and easily.
The chute has a 180° range and is controlled with a lever just below the handle. Not a perfect setup, but not too bad either.
A wide LED headlight help make it easy to see the path in front of you.
Eleven-inch high, two-inch-wide tires make it pretty easy to handle, and it only weighs 52 pounds.
This works best on dry, light snow up to about half a foot deep. It’ll throw the snow up to 35 feet.
A huge drawback is that the batteries are slow to recharge. While they run 40 minutes and will get you through small jobs, you’ll want multiple batteries and chargers if you have a large space to cover. The good thing is that two batteries and a charger are included. But the bad news is that it takes 2.5 hours to charge a battery.
Both the auger and the body are made of plastic; that helps account for the light weight. They are reasonably tough, but not ideal.
Ryobi offers a five-year warranty on this product.
Snow Joe 21 in. 100-Volt Brushless Lithium-iON Single Stage Cordless Electric Snow Blower Kit with 5.0 Ah Battery + Charger
This cordless snow blower from Snow Joe offers a good width and high intake to help the work go quickly, even with deeper snow. It can handle 21-inch strips at a time. It can also manage 12 inches of depth.
Battery life is a bit limited with the manufacturer reporting just 30 minutes and a two-hour recharge time. So you’ll likely want to get at least one extra battery unless you can get everything done in just half an hour. We didn’t try it, but you can apparently connect two batteries at the same time for a longer running time.
The body and chute are plastic. The auger is rubber. Despite that, it’s still a solid piece of equipment.
This Snow Joe entry has two 5-watt LED headlights. Remember that LED lights are far brighter than older bulb types, so 5 watts still provides a decent amount of light.
There is a two-year warranty on this snow blower.
Toro earns another entry on our list in the gas-powered snow blower category. This is an updated review to our earlier one for the ZXR.
It’s also the only variable-speed, self-propelled snow blower on our list. It could easily be the best machine overall in this article.
This unit also has the widest clearance on our list, clearing two feet at a time. It can also handle a foot of snow easily with an 18-inch intake height.
The tires are 11 inches in. tall and 4 inches wide, making this machine easier to maneuver even if you have to go over obstacles. It can handle slopes and obstacles without much problem despite weighing 125 pounds. (A couple of extra inches of intake compared to its predecessor only added about 8 pounds to the weight!)
This tool uses Toro’s “Personal Pace” system, which allows you to control how fast it will go. It is a variable-speed system but there are no reverse speeds.
The auger is steel and measures 10 inches in diamater. The body is metal. Only the chute is made of plastic. It turns about 210° and is controlled conveniently from just below the main handle.
The engine is 212cc, which explains how this unit manages to throw snow 40 feet. That’s comparable to two-stage units that have an impeller!
This snow blower has a three-year limited warranty.
The Toro Power Clear 518 ZE is a gas-powered, single-stage snow blower that provides ease of use and decent power to help you get your snow removal done quickly.
This machine can clear a strip 18 inches wide and a maximum of 12 inches deep. It’ll toss the snow 25 feet while it works its way through the powder. And you can aim that throughout the chute’s 210° range. The recommended snow depth to work with is from 2 to 9 inches.
This unit uses non-ethanol fuel to run its 99cc engine. It does have an electric starter to make things a bit easier. You’ll need a 16-gauge extension cord to take advantage of the electric starter.
It weighs in at 58 pounds. With only 6 inch wheels, it can be a tiny bit difficult to turn at times.
Toro says the unit is “rotor propelled” so it does help itself move forward a bit. It’s not at the level of a true self-.propelled unit, but it’s still a little helpful.
One of the complaints we did see, though, was opening the gas cap. It can be tough at times and may even require tools for it.
Other than that, though, this Toro snow blower gets good marks for ease of use and overall functionality.
It has a two-year warranty.
Honda makes its way into our suggestions for best snow blowers with the HS720AM.
This model can cut a path 20 inches wide and has a maximum clearing height of 12 inches, although 2 – 8 inches is the recommended depth to work with. It’ll take that now and throw it up to 33 feet across your lawn.
You can plug it in to start it more easily.
This is a self-propelled model. It’s only got a single speed, but it’s still helpful.
The chute control is somewhat convenient although it’s a bit low on the machine. The chute can turn through 204°.
This machine comes in at a respectable 82 pounds. The wheels measure 7 inches in diameter. The auger and chute are steel but the body is plastic.
The fuel tank boasts a glove-friendly top. The tank holds about 5 ounces of gasoline.
There is a two-year warranty on this Honda snow blower.
When you have a small driveway or just a sidewalk to clear snow from and your snow is generally powdery, a single-stage snow blower is probably the best choice for you. Most models will throw snow 30 feet. They have many of the same features as more expensive and more powerful models. But why pay for something that you won’t need? Whether you choose corded, battery-powered, or gas, a single-stage snow blower can help you get the snow out of the way fast.