Is A 2 Stage Snow Blower Worth It?

Picture this: it’s a chilly winter morning, and you wake up to find a thick blanket of snow covering your driveway and walkways. As you sip your steaming cup of coffee, you ponder whether it’s finally time to invest in a 2 stage snow blower. But is it really worth it? Will it make your life easier and save you time? In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of owning a 2 stage snow blower, helping you make an informed decision that will ensure a smoother winter season. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, a 2 stage snow blower can be a valuable investment. These machines offer several benefits over their single stage counterparts, making snow removal easier and more efficient. In this article, we will explore the various advantages of a 2 stage snow blower, factors to consider before purchasing one, maintenance and durability tips, cost comparison, features and specifications, versatility, tips for safe use, customer reviews, and alternatives. By the end of this comprehensive guide, you will have a better understanding of whether a 2 stage snow blower is worth it for your needs.

Increased Throwing Distance

One of the key benefits of a 2 stage snow blower is its increased throwing distance. Unlike single stage snow blowers, which rely solely on an auger to propel snow forward, 2 stage snow blowers have an additional impeller that throws the snow even farther. This allows you to clear snow from your driveway, walkway, or any other area with ease and accuracy. You won’t have to worry about snow piling up near the machine or in inconvenient spots.

Better Handling of Wet and Heavy Snow

Another advantage of a 2 stage snow blower is its ability to handle wet and heavy snow. The dual-stage design, with its auger breaking up the snow and the impeller propelling it out, ensures that even wet and compacted snow doesn’t clog the machine. This means you can effortlessly tackle any type of snowfall, whether it’s light and fluffy or wet and heavy. No more struggling to clear the heavy snow at the end of your driveway!

Ability to Clear Larger Areas

If you have a larger property or need to clear a significant amount of snow, a 2 stage snow blower is your best bet. These machines come with wider clearing widths and higher intake heights compared to single stage snow blowers, allowing you to clear larger areas in less time. This can be a game-changer, especially during those early mornings when you need to get your car out of the driveway and head to work. With a 2 stage snow blower, you’ll have less time spent on snow removal and more time for yourself.

Efficient on Gravel and Uneven Surfaces

If your driveway or walkway is made of gravel or has uneven surfaces, a 2 stage snow blower is ideal. The dual-stage design helps prevent rocks and debris from getting picked up and thrown, ensuring a clean and safe snow removal process. Single stage snow blowers, on the other hand, tend to pick up and throw gravel, which can damage windows, cars, or even people. With a 2 stage snow blower, you can have peace of mind knowing that your property and loved ones are protected.

Less Fatigue for the Operator

Snow removal can be physically demanding, especially if you have a large area to clear or if the snow is heavy. However, with a 2 stage snow blower, the workload is significantly reduced, resulting in less fatigue for the operator. The machine does most of the work for you, allowing you to focus on maneuvering it and clearing the snow efficiently. This means you can spend less time and energy on snow removal and more time enjoying the winter season.

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of a 2 stage snow blower, let’s consider the factors to consider before buying one.

Size and Type of Property

The size and type of your property are essential factors to consider before purchasing a 2 stage snow blower. If you have a small driveway or walkway, a single stage snow blower might be sufficient for your needs. However, if you have a larger property or need to clear snow from commercial areas, a 2 stage snow blower is more suitable. Consider the amount of space you need to clear and choose a machine that matches the size of your property.

Amount of Snowfall

The amount of snowfall in your region is another crucial factor. If you experience frequent heavy snowfall, a 2 stage snow blower is worth considering. These machines are designed to handle large amounts of snow efficiently. On the other hand, if you live in an area with lighter snowfall, a single stage snow blower may be sufficient. Analyze your local weather patterns and the average snowfall amounts to determine which type of snow blower is most suitable for you.

See also  What Is The Difference Between 2 Stage Vs 3 Stage Snow Blower?

Budget Constraints

Budget is always a consideration when making a significant purchase. 2 stage snow blowers are generally more expensive than single stage snow blowers due to their additional features and capabilities. However, they also tend to last longer and provide better performance in heavy snow conditions. If you have the budget for a 2 stage snow blower and prioritize efficiency and durability, it may be worth the investment. However, if budget constraints are a concern, a single stage snow blower can still be an effective option for lighter snowfall.

Storage Space

Before purchasing a 2 stage snow blower, consider your available storage space. These machines are typically larger and bulkier than their single stage counterparts. Ensure that you have adequate space in your garage or shed to safely store the snow blower when it’s not in use. Leaving the machine exposed to the elements can lead to rust and other damage, reducing its lifespan. Measure your storage space and compare it to the dimensions of the snow blower to ensure a proper fit.

Noise and Emissions

It’s important to consider the noise and emissions produced by a 2 stage snow blower, especially if you live in a residential area or have close neighbors. While modern snow blowers are designed to be quieter and more environmentally friendly, they still generate some level of noise and emissions. If noise and environmental impact are concerns for you, consider electric snow blowers as an alternative. They produce less noise and zero emissions, but they may have limitations in terms of throwing distance and power.

Now that we have considered the factors to consider before purchasing a 2 stage snow blower, let’s delve into the maintenance and durability aspects.

Regular Oil Changes and Fuel Stabilization

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your 2 stage snow blower, regular oil changes are essential. Consult the manufacturer’s manual for the recommended oil change intervals and type of oil to use. Additionally, fuel stabilization is crucial, especially if you plan on storing the snow blower for an extended period. Use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from deteriorating and causing damage to the engine. These simple maintenance tasks can go a long way in preserving the lifespan of your snow blower.

Cleaning and Lubrication

After each use, it’s essential to clean your 2 stage snow blower thoroughly. Remove any caked-on snow or debris from the chute, auger, and impeller. Pay attention to the discharge chute, as it can get clogged with snow and ice. Use a brush or scraper to clean the chute and ensure smooth operation. Additionally, lubricate any moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer. This will prevent rusting and ensure smooth operation during the next snow removal session.

Replacement of Worn Parts

As with any machine, parts of your 2 stage snow blower may wear out over time. It’s important to inspect your snow blower regularly and replace any worn or damaged parts promptly. Common parts that may require replacement include belts, skid shoes, shear pins, and scraper bars. Consult the manufacturer’s manual for guidance on proper replacement procedures and recommended parts. By keeping your snow blower in good working condition, you can maximize its durability and efficiency.

Storage During Off-Season

When the snowfall season is over, it’s crucial to properly store your 2 stage snow blower. Clean the machine thoroughly, removing any snow, debris, or residual fuel. Ensure that all moving parts are lubricated and that the machine is in good working condition. Store the snow blower in a dry and secure place, protecting it from moisture and potential damage. Covering the snow blower with a fitted cover can also help prevent dust and dirt from accumulating. Proper storage during the off-season will extend the lifespan of your snow blower and ensure it’s ready for the next winter.

Now, let’s compare the costs of 2 stage snow blowers versus single stage snow blowers.

Initial Purchase Cost

When it comes to the initial purchase cost, 2 stage snow blowers are generally more expensive than single stage snow blowers. The additional features and capabilities of 2 stage snow blowers contribute to their higher price tag. However, it’s important to consider the long-term value and performance of the snow blower. While a single stage snow blower may be cheaper upfront, it may not provide the same level of efficiency and durability as a 2 stage snow blower. Consider your budget and long-term snow removal needs when making your decision.

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs also play a role in the overall cost of owning a 2 stage snow blower. These machines typically run on gasoline, which means you’ll need to factor in the cost of fuel during the snow removal season. The fuel consumption of a 2 stage snow blower will vary depending on its engine size and the amount of snow it needs to clear. Generally, larger engines consume more fuel. However, advancements in engine technology have made snow blowers more fuel-efficient. Consider your anticipated fuel consumption and the cost of gasoline in your area when assessing the fuel costs.

Repair and Maintenance Costs

Repair and maintenance costs should also be considered when comparing the overall costs of 2 stage snow blowers and single stage snow blowers. While both types of snow blowers require regular maintenance, 2 stage snow blowers may require additional maintenance due to their more complex design. It’s important to budget for oil changes, replacement parts, and any potential repairs that may arise. However, it’s worth noting that in general, 2 stage snow blowers are built to be more durable and long-lasting, reducing the likelihood of major repairs.

See also  What Is The Best Shoveling Technique For Snow?

Resale Value

When assessing costs, it’s important to consider the potential resale value of your snow blower. 2 stage snow blowers tend to hold their value well due to their reputation for durability and efficiency. Should you decide to upgrade or sell your snow blower in the future, a 2 stage snow blower may fetch a higher price compared to a single stage snow blower. This can offset some of the initial purchase cost, making a 2 stage snow blower a more worthwhile investment in the long run.

Now that we have compared the costs, let’s explore the features and specifications of 2 stage snow blowers.

Engine Power and Throw Distance

When selecting a 2 stage snow blower, the engine power and throw distance are crucial considerations. Engine power is typically measured in horsepower (HP) and determines how effectively the machine can break up and throw snow. Higher horsepower engines can handle heavier snow and throw it at longer distances. The throw distance is the distance the snow blower can propel the snow away from the cleared area. Consider the average snowfall in your area and the distance you want the snow thrown when assessing the engine power and throw distance of a 2 stage snow blower.

Clearing Width and Intake Height

Another important feature to consider is the clearing width and intake height of the snow blower. The clearing width refers to the width of the path the snow blower can clear in a single pass. The wider the clearing width, the fewer passes you’ll need to make to clear a given area. The intake height refers to the maximum height of snow the snow blower can handle. Consider the amount of snowfall you typically experience and the size of the area you need to clear when choosing the appropriate clearing width and intake height for your needs.

Drive System Options

2 stage snow blowers come with various drive system options, including manual, electric start, and self-propelled. Manual start snow blowers require pulling a cord to start the engine, while electric start models have a push-button ignition. Self-propelled snow blowers have an additional drive system that propels the machine forward, reducing the effort required by the operator. Consider your physical capabilities and the ease of operation when choosing the drive system option that suits you best.

Extra Features and Accessories

Many 2 stage snow blowers come with extra features and accessories that enhance their performance and convenience. Some common additional features include headlight for improved visibility during early morning or nighttime snow removal, heated hand grips for added comfort, and drift cutters for tackling challenging snow buildup. Additionally, certain accessories like snow cabs or covers can protect the operator from the elements and extend the lifespan of the snow blower. Consider the available features and accessories and assess their usefulness for your specific snow removal needs.

Brand Reliability

When investing in a 2 stage snow blower, it’s essential to consider the reliability and reputation of the brand. Look for brands with a long history of producing high-quality snow blowers and providing excellent customer service. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from friends, family, or trusted sources can give you valuable insights into the reliability of different brands. Choosing a reliable brand ensures that you’re investing in a snow blower that will perform well and last for years to come.

Now that we’ve explored the features and specifications of 2 stage snow blowers, let’s discuss their versatility.

Ability to Handle Different Snow Conditions

One of the most significant advantages of a 2 stage snow blower is its ability to handle different snow conditions. Whether you’re dealing with light and fluffy snow or wet and compacted snow, a 2 stage snow blower is designed to handle it all. The dual-stage design effectively breaks up the snow, preventing clogs, and propels it out of the way. This versatility ensures that you can rely on your snow blower regardless of the type of snowfall you’re facing.

Clearing Snow on Driveways and Walkways

2 stage snow blowers are particularly effective when it comes to clearing snow on driveways and walkways. Their wider clearing width and higher intake height allow you to clear large areas in a shorter amount of time. You won’t have to spend hours shoveling or pushing a smaller snow blower to clear the entire driveway. With a 2 stage snow blower, you can efficiently clear the snow and get on with your day.

Removing Snow from Decks and Patios

In addition to driveways and walkways, 2 stage snow blowers can also be used to remove snow from decks and patios. The ability to adjust the chute’s direction allows you to accurately throw the snow off these surfaces without causing damage. Whether you enjoy spending time outdoors on your deck or need to ensure the safety of your customers on a commercial patio, a 2 stage snow blower can make the snow removal process quick and hassle-free.

Usage on Commercial Properties

2 stage snow blowers are not limited to residential use; they are also popular choices for commercial properties. If you own or manage a business with a parking lot or large paved areas, a 2 stage snow blower is essential for efficient snow removal. These powerful machines can handle the increased demands of commercial snow removal, ensuring that your customers and employees have safe and accessible areas to park and walk. Investing in a 2 stage snow blower for commercial properties can improve the overall safety and appearance of your business.

Now that we’ve explored the versatility of 2 stage snow blowers, let’s discuss some tips for their effective and safe use.

Read the Manual and Understand the Operating Instructions

Before using a 2 stage snow blower, it’s crucial to read the manual provided by the manufacturer. Familiarize yourself with the operating instructions, safety guidelines, and maintenance requirements. Understanding how to properly operate the machine will help you maximize its performance and ensure your safety. Additionally, consult the manual for troubleshooting tips or any specific features of your snow blower.

See also  Why Are There Snow Blowers In Ariens?

Proper Clothing and Safety Gear

When using a 2 stage snow blower, it’s important to wear proper clothing and safety gear. Dress in layers to stay warm and protect yourself from the cold weather. Wear waterproof boots with good traction to prevent slipping on icy surfaces. Don a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris or snow. Consider wearing earmuffs or earplugs to reduce the noise generated by the machine. Taking these precautions will help keep you safe and comfortable during the snow removal process.

Clear the Area of Debris and Obstacles

Before operating your 2 stage snow blower, clear the area of any debris, obstacles, or potential hazards. Remove any rocks, branches, or other objects that could get picked up by the machine and cause damage. Be aware of any buried or hidden obstacles, such as tree roots or uneven surfaces. Clearing the area will prevent any accidents or damage to the snow blower.

Avoid Overworking the Machine

While 2 stage snow blowers are powerful and efficient, it’s important not to overwork them. Avoid pushing the machine beyond its limits by taking smaller passes when clearing heavy or deep snow. Trying to clear too much snow at once may cause strain on the engine or result in clogging. Take breaks as needed to prevent overheating and allow the snow blower to rest. By respecting the machine’s capabilities, you’ll ensure its longevity and performance.

Store and Winterize Properly

When the snow removal season is over, proper storage and winterization are essential to keep your 2 stage snow blower in good condition. Start by cleaning the machine thoroughly, removing any snow or debris. Drain the fuel, or add a fuel stabilizer as recommended by the manufacturer. Store the snow blower in a dry and secure location, protecting it from the elements. Proper storage and winterization will help extend the lifespan of your snow blower, ensuring it’s ready for use when the next snowfall arrives.

Now, let’s explore customer reviews and satisfaction regarding 2 stage snow blowers.

Positive Experiences and Benefits

Customers who have invested in a 2 stage snow blower often report positive experiences and numerous benefits. The increased throwing distance, ability to handle wet and heavy snow, and efficient clearing of larger areas are frequently mentioned as major advantages. Many users appreciate the reduced fatigue compared to shoveling or using a single stage snow blower. Additionally, the versatility and ability to adjust the chute’s direction are highly valued features. Overall, customers are satisfied with their 2 stage snow blowers’ performance and the ease with which they can clear snow from their properties.

Common Complaints and Challenges

While 2 stage snow blowers are generally well-regarded, some common complaints and challenges have been noted by customers. One common complaint revolves around clogging, particularly when trying to clear heavy or wet snow. However, this issue can often be alleviated by adjusting the machine’s speed and angle of attack. Some users have also mentioned difficulty in maneuvering the snow blower in tight spaces or around obstacles. However, careful planning and practice can help overcome these challenges. Despite these minor complaints, the overall satisfaction with 2 stage snow blowers is evident.

Reliability and Longevity

In terms of reliability and longevity, 2 stage snow blowers are often considered to be worth the investment. Brands with a reputation for quality and reliability are frequently praised by customers. Users have reported that their 2 stage snow blowers last for many years, with proper maintenance and care. Many customers praise the durability of 2 stage snow blowers, noting that they can withstand heavy use and challenging snow conditions. When properly maintained, a 2 stage snow blower can be a reliable and long-lasting tool for snow removal.

Now, let’s discuss some alternatives to 2 stage snow blowers.

Single Stage Snow Blowers

If the benefits of a 2 stage snow blower do not align with your needs or budget, a single stage snow blower can be a suitable alternative. Single stage snow blowers are generally more affordable and easier to maneuver in smaller spaces. While they may not be as efficient at handling heavy snow or clearing larger areas, they are still effective for lighter snowfall and small properties. Consider your specific snow removal needs and weigh the pros and cons of both types before making a decision.

Electric Snow Throwers

For those seeking a more environmentally friendly and quieter option, electric snow throwers are worth considering. These machines are powered by electricity and offer several advantages, including zero emissions and reduced noise levels. Electric snow throwers are typically smaller and lighter than gas-powered snow blowers, making them easier to maneuver. However, they may have limitations in terms of throw distance and power. If you have a small property and prioritize sustainability, an electric snow thrower can be a viable alternative to a 2 stage snow blower.

Snow Shoveling and Manual Clearing

While snow shoveling and manual clearing can be physically demanding, they are still viable alternatives to snow blowers. Shoveling allows for more precise control, especially around delicate areas like flower beds or stairs. It also provides an opportunity for exercise and fresh air. However, it’s important to consider your physical capabilities, the amount of snowfall, and the size of your property before relying solely on manual clearing. For larger areas or heavy snowfall, a snow blower, whether single stage or dual stage, may be a more efficient option.

Contracting Snow Removal Services

If snow removal is not a task you wish to handle yourself, contracting snow removal services is an alternative worth exploring. Many professional snow removal companies offer comprehensive snow clearing packages, including plowing, salting, and shoveling. Hiring a professional ensures that the job is done efficiently and reliably, without the need for you to invest in a snow blower or spend time removing snow yourself. However, it’s important to consider the cost of these services and ensure they align with your budget.

In conclusion, the decision of whether a 2 stage snow blower is worth it depends on your specific needs and conditions. We’ve explored the various benefits of a 2 stage snow blower, factors to consider before buying one, maintenance and durability tips, cost comparison, features and specifications, versatility, tips for safe use, customer reviews, and alternatives. By weighing the pros and cons, considering your budget, and assessing your snow removal needs, you can make an informed decision that will ensure efficient and hassle-free snow removal for years to come.