snow blower, two stage, snow removal, winter, snow, Husqvarna, Kent Equipment

Part Two -Snow Blowers- Should I buy a single stage or a double stage?

Part Two -Snow Blowers- Should I buy a single stage or a double stage?

Posted by Bryan Buskard on 9 December 2016 | Comments

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To begin this segment, here is a great video for a two stage Husqvarna snow blower = Easy peasy!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmXZaVLzcN4

You remember, the single stage has the paddles in the middle with the three fins. Instead of these rubber fins, a two stage blower has a spiral of sharp metal blades that rotate forward. These blades, or metal fins, gather up the snow and push it to the back of the unit so it can then spew it out the chute. In the simplest of terms this second part looks like a cork screw which turns the snow up and out the chute at the top.

Two stage snow blowers are much bigger units, with a wider and taller box out front to capture the snow, and large engines to power the wheels and throw the snow. With all this added power the price goes up as well. Now, my driveway is 500’ long. With a single stage it would take me about 2 hours. With a 28” wide two stage it would take me about 45 minutes, maybe 30 based on how deep and wet the snow is.

The two stage excels in deep, wet snow, and it does the work for you with minimal effort to due to the drives system. Often these units come with power to the chute head where you just press a button to move the shoot to the right or to the left. Also with the metal paddles up front with serrated edges, you can run your two stage into hard and crusty snow banks and it will chew them right up. Some blowers have drift cutter arms on the top of the snow box that stick up and forward. These arms also dig into snow banks and serve to break up the packed snow and ice so it falls to the ground and you can blow it away.

 

CutterArms

Cutter Arms

Unlike the single stage where you lift up and let the paddles hit the ground, you do not want to do that with you heavier 2 stage and the more aggressive metal fins. In fact, at the bottom of the snow box there are skid shoes that allow you to adjust the bottom of the box so it doesn’t scrape on the bottom and suck up rocks and gravel. Many people don’t ever realize these skid shoes are even there and if you don’t adjust them you increase the chances of chewing up something that is going to either break your blower or break the window of your car when your blowing snow over it. During the course of a long winter the two stage is also nice because it throws the snow considerably farther than a single stage so you don’t get the large build up right next to your drive.

Here is a video of how to replace your skid shoes and how to adjust them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2Hwzkropao

***Caution if you have a dog**** Remember dog doo-doo becomes a rock when it is close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Speaking of dogs, when you do have a large snow accumulation and your dogs struggle to get away from your house it is a nice option to just fire up your two stage, adjust your skids plates to the highest position and then take a run around the perimeter of your yard. With the skid plates fully extended you shouldn’t hit any grass (well unless you have moles), and your dogs will love the new access they have to your yard. My large breed dogs liked to use these runs like a race track, a fun time was had by all. J

Things to look for that will make your life easier:

  1. A blower that runs on regular gas (no pre mixing).
  2. A light, but why would I need a light? How often do you blow snow so early or so late you can’t see anything if you didn’t have your yard lights on?
  3. Electric start- (hey, we’re not getting any younger).
  4. Nice for a two stage- a plastic paddle to clean out the chute with in case there is a jam. (My Grandpa Colver used to spray the inside of the snow drum and chute with Pam to make it slipperier. I honestly don’t know if this works, but I still do it because I loved my grandpa and getting the chute jammed just sucks!)

Bonus add-ons if you can afford them:

Some two stages come with power everything: [ower chute control, power turning where one wheel locks while the other spins, heated handle bars, an X Box…(not really) but you get the idea. All these things make life a bit easier. My final recommendation is to get a snow cab. This is a three sided plastic shield that keeps the snow from blowing in your face. No matter how careful you are, the wind will always change and you will end up blowing snow in your face (which I always figured was a good way for me to get a frees heart stress test). If I didn’t get a heart attack with the bitter cold snow bashing me in my face so hard I could hardly see or breathe, then I was going to live long and prosper… wahoo!!!

In conclusion, the single stage is great if you have a small drive with limited snow fall. The two stage costs more but it is the king of the hill.

 Oh, and if your neighbor tells you that they are a genius because they use their riding lawn mower to blow snow with, well that is just nuts!! Their blower costs on average $1,500. You have to unhook and take that heavy awkward deck off and store it someplace in your garage, where the mice can use the old grass to build a nest with. Then you have to drag out the big honking blower that also weighs a ton, is so complicated it takes you three tries to get the belts on, and then you end up smashing your knuckles again, and again. If I sound bitter, it’s because my dad and I would go thru this exercise every year. Each time we would be so frustrated we would not talk to each for days afterward. I think he was sick of it as well, as shortly after I bought my own home and moved out, he bought a nice two stage. Think about  a possible 2 to 4 hours of back breaking misery and instead, grab your two stage, add gas and go. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Have a happy white winter! Bryan