The choice between an electric, single, two, or three stage snow blower can be confusing. Here's how to find the one that best fits your abilities and the needs of your home.
To find your ideal match you need to consider your property size, typical snow accumulation and the benefits of each type of snow blower. Here's a great article about how snow throwers work.
Electric and Cordless Snow Blowers
For light-duty clearing of 2 to 4 inches of snow, a corded electric or cordless snow blower can be the best solution. Some, like this , are the size of a vacuum and can be stored in a closet. While others such as this , are as large as a single-stage thrower but with have the convenience of being electric powered—no gas required. These can be great for the young and old who simply do not want to shovel.
Single-Stage Snow Blowers
The single-stage snow blower is ideal for clearing sidewalks, walkways, and driveways from light to moderate snowfall. They are compact and lightweight which makes them more maneuverable, but in heavy and wet snow conditions they can bog down quickly and be ineffective.
If you only get occasional light snow and have a short driveway and path to clear, then a single-stage snow blower will be your best option. It takes up the least amount of storage space and is a step above shoveling.
Single-stage snow blower have a clearing width of 20 to 25 inches and range in cost from $300 to $700. Check out these models from and .
Two-Stage Snow Blower
Two-stage snow blowers utilize two mechanisms to break-up heavy snow and propel it through a discharge chute. They can be significantly larger than single-stage snow throwers but they are much more capable of clearing large and heavy snowdrifts.
If you have a larger two car driveway that needs clearing and your area receives above average snowfall, then a two-stage snow thrower is a good choice. They take up more space so you'll need to find storage, but they are a necessity after a big storm blankets your home.
A two-stage snow blower has large wheels and high ground clearance so it's able to clear gravel and paths and uneven terrain much better than a single-stage blower. They are available in 24 to 45 inch clearing widths and range in price from $400 to over $2,000.
Husqvarna's highly rated is a great value and works in all snow conditions.
Three-Stage Snow Blower
The three-stage snow blower is targeted for more commercial use or for homeowners with very large property that they need to clear quickly. We checked out the mechanics of the , which features oversize tires, headlight, and a monster chute for collecting snow. It's rated to clear snow 50 percent faster than a two-stage snow blower but you'll almost need a dedicated shed to store it come spring. Three-stage snow blower are available for $1,000 to $2,000.
A snow blower can be a great investment that will save you time and the wear and tear on your body from shoveling. If they are out of your budget, consider splitting the cost with a neighbor so you can both enjoy the benefits of a clear driveway at half the cost.