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View Full Version : Single or 2 stage snowblowers????



Joe Tonich
10-09-2006, 2:48 PM
Lookin into snowblowers and can't figure which would be best. I have a small single stage that plugs up a lot and can't deal with what the plows leave in the apron. I was told the newer bigger single stages are better than any 2 stage under 8hp. Clog up less and easier to maintain, but with having a small one thats a PITA, I'm thinking the 2 stage HAS to be better.

Any opinions on the 2 kinds would be helpful, looking for pro's n' con's of both kinds. Would like to keep it in the $500-$600 price range.

Thanks,

Art Mulder
10-09-2006, 2:53 PM
Dunno about the two-stage/one-stage idea, but my friend has a long driveway, and a snowblower, and he gave me an interesting perspective on snowblower sizes: So often, people get talked into "supersizing" their tools, and snowblowers are no different. A bit more gets you a bigger/wider machine and thats good, right? Not necessarily. He considered the width of his driveway. With the blower that he bought, he does 2 or 3 cycles (once up, and once down is one "cycle".) to clear his driveway. If he'd bought the next size up, he'd only gain half a cycle. So he'd still end up having to walk the machine back down the driveway, and it wouldn't really gain him anything.

Food for thought. Bigger doesn't always mean better.

Dennis Peacock
10-09-2006, 3:10 PM
Don't know.....with all the snow we have here, it's often times better to just use a square point shovel. :p :p :D Why not just drive by your place during lunch at work and clear the driveway the easy-way? :rolleyes: :D

David Wilson
10-09-2006, 3:47 PM
Joe
Definately go with a 2-stage blower. In a 2-stage machine the cutters turn at a fairly low RPM which cuts the snow and need a lot of torque.
The second stage turns at much higher RPM to throw the already broken up snow out of the schute. A 1-stage machine has to run at a fairly high RPM to blow the snow out of the chute but sacrifice the torque needed to break up the snow. A single stage machine will work great in light fluffy snow but is almost useless in wet heavy snow.

An observation from Minnesota where we know about snow.

Joe Pelonio
10-09-2006, 4:14 PM
We too have no need for a snowblower, I've never seen them for sale. In the last 13 years I'd say we average 3-6 snows a year, most less than 3" and lasting less than 2 days before turning to rain. I did once experiment with the leafblower on dry powder, that was a lot of fun and worked pretty well.

I did ask a friend who is from Minn. and he says if you get a two stage make sure it's self propelled, they are really heavy. He had a 9-hp Sears 28-inch and said it was about $1,000.

Tim Burke
10-09-2006, 5:46 PM
Joe,

My Deere TRS 21 single stage 2 cycle has served me well with Iowa winters for about 10 years now.

I researched at the time, and remember that a decent single stage moves as much or more snow than a smaller 2 stage. The main difference was that a 2 stage is heavier duty. Since I have a typical size lot, I wasn't concerned with a 2 stage.

Does your snow thrower have the old flapper style impeller? My Deere has a screw type impeller that works much better than the old Toro flapper that it replaced.

Tim

Wes Bischel
10-09-2006, 6:02 PM
2-stage for the reasons David points out is the way to go. I only have a 1-stage here in southeast PA, but back home in Chicago, we used a two stage to clear the alley.

Wes

Greg Ladd
10-09-2006, 7:19 PM
Joe,

I live over in Lima. I am sure that we don't get anywhere near the amount of snow that you get over by Cleveland but...

I have a 2 stage that I purchased at Sam's Club about 10 years ago for around $600. I believe they still sell them for a similar price.

Most (actually all) of the 2 stage units I have seen all use a Tecumseh Snow King engine. That being said, I am sure I haven't seen all of the brands.I have done absolutely nothing to my snowblower but change oil and add gas since I bought it. I cannot imagine that the maintenance on a single stage could be any less.

I would wholeheartedly recommend a 2 stage.

Check Sam's Club, You might be surprised.

Greg

Andy Hoyt
10-09-2006, 7:21 PM
I've got a really old Deere two stage unit that only takes a 24" wide cut. I've blown away five foot high drifts with it - although it takes a while. Twelve inches of light powder or wet heavy spring snow are what it gobbles up best.

Don Baer
10-09-2006, 7:27 PM
Whats a snow blower...:D

Doug Shepard
10-09-2006, 7:33 PM
My 30-some year old 2-stage 32" 7HP Ariens finally died last winter. I've got a rather long drive and up by the garage it widens to about 4-5 cars. I didn't want to go with anything narrower which limited my choices. I ended up with another Ariens. Tried looking for another 7HP but they dont seem to exist now in that width. I ended up with 13HP which seems to be about the norm for that size now. What i really noticed right away: the extra power seems to give that 2nd stage a lot better throwing distance. The older machine meant the 2nd half of the drive at the wide part was catching the blowoff from the first half. So by the time I got to that side, the snow was much deeper than when I started and took more time to clear. The newer machine can throw it completely off the drive at the wider end unless the wind is working against me. And even then it will almost clear the drive. So even though it's the same width, I actually decreased my clearing time just due to the better throw distance. Just one more thing to think about.

Glenn Clabo
10-09-2006, 7:38 PM
Two stage here...wet snow is the normal snow storms. Actually thrown slush 6 feet. I also love electric start (not battery)...just plug it in and push the button.

Matt Warfield
10-09-2006, 7:44 PM
I went through this debate a couple of years ago and was surprised with the obvious choice for me. I have a 98 foot long driveway that's 24 feet wide. That's a lot of snow during an Iowa winter. For me, a plow for the lawn tractor made the most sense. It was cheaper. Takes up less space. And, I can plow my driveway faster than my neighbor can snowblow his 35 feet long 20 feet wide driveway. Actually, it takes me half the time it takes my neighbor. That, and I never have snow blow in my face. Oh yeah, the kids love playing on the mountain!! :D

Wes Bischel
10-09-2006, 7:56 PM
Whats a snow blower...:D

Oh, now that's just mean!:eek: :D :D :D :eek:

Wes

Curt Fuller
10-09-2006, 11:29 PM
I also have a 25 year old Ariens 2 stage 8hp, 24" swath. I've gone through a couple bearings and shear pins but other than that it's been very dependable and is a real workhorse. I usually end up doing most of the neighborhood on big snow days too so it gets a lot of use. The single stage snowblowers are pretty good in the showroom and when they're new but I would have gone through a dozen or so over the life of my big orange machine.

Peter Stahl
10-10-2006, 7:25 AM
Got my sears 9HP 2 stage a couple years ago when we got about 21" of snow. Nothing stopped it, went though slushy snow too. I also never had a clog and it will throw the snow a good distance.

Larry Conely
10-10-2006, 10:10 AM
I must be the exception here. I had a two stage that was OK. We moved overseas and I sold it. When we moved back to Michigan, I purchased a Toro single stage paddle snow blower. We average 38" of snow a year, mixed dry and wet. The single stage does everything the two stage did, with a lot less effort, expense and moving parts.

Al Willits
10-10-2006, 11:02 AM
Another Minnesota resiedent here, and if you have much snow at all a two stage is a given.
Or if you have a driveway like our neighbor to the south, a plow might be in order.:)
But I've found that for the Minn winters and my 60'x 8' driveway, a 8hp 2 stage Arians has worked pretty well.
But I think the $500 limit on funds is gonna get you a 5hp version, still not all that bad, a 5hp 2 stage unit worked well for many years for me, just like the added power and ability to toss snow a bit futher with the 8hp

Al

Rob Russell
10-10-2006, 11:50 AM
I must be the exception here. I had a two stage that was OK. We moved overseas and I sold it. When we moved back to Michigan, I purchased a Toro single stage paddle snow blower. We average 38" of snow a year, mixed dry and wet. The single stage does everything the two stage did, with a lot less effort, expense and moving parts.

We average a bit more than you do at 50" per year, although it certainly seems as if we get more than that. A single stage would be fine for most of it and could even be used for the real 'dumps' that we get if you got out and kept up with the storm. The one thing that the single stage won't do well (as has been mentioned) is to deal with the stuff the snowplow packs into the end of the driveway, especially around here where they use salt. On a cold storm, that stuff at the driveway apron can even be a challenge for my 'blower, and it's a 32", 11 HP Ariens.

Were I to buy a new blower now, I would not get the 32". I'd get something a tad smaller because it'd be easier to handle and the narrower width would make it a bit easier to get into and out of the garage past the cars. I'd look at their 28", 11.5HP model - but that's a $2K machine. All the machines I would consider for our driveway are 2-stage machines because I have to throw the snow clear over a 2-car wide driveway (prevailing winds blow it back into my face if I try to blow "uphill").

Rob

Jerry Clark
10-10-2006, 11:54 AM
Originally Posted by Don Baer
Whats a snow blower...:D

Don-- I saw one on TV this morning-- they were making snow in the mountains in Colorado. :D Maybe that is what they are talking about! LOL:rolleyes:

Al Willits
10-10-2006, 12:24 PM
They're prediciting 6" of snow in the northeast corner of our state, all this talking of a snowblower reminds me to get mine up and running...:D

Al

Andy Fox
10-10-2006, 2:06 PM
If I had a snowblower, it would mean I would lose the space for the one car that fits in my "two car garage" now.

Therefore, my own 2 stage snowblower is wind-powered and works like this:

1. Wait for windy day, then throw snow into air with snow shovel.
2. Wind blows away snow.

I get lots of laughs when people drive by, but need to be careful to watch where the snow is blowing to.

Lee Schierer
10-10-2006, 2:18 PM
We live in heavy snow country both in quantity and density. Almost any snow thrower will handle the light fluffy stuff. Only a two stage will handle the heavier varieties. My mother has a two stage 5 Hp honda that works great. I have an 8 Hp Simplicity that will literally throw the snow over the house. Do they ever clog? Yes maybe once or twice per winter . You can cut down teh clogs significantly if you spray the auger and chute with WD-40 or silicone spray before each use. Also if you store the blower in a warm garage and take it out side and start blowing most likely it will clog. Let it get cold before you start blowing snow throught it.

I've had a snow blower for nearly 28 years ( Toro for 25 and Simplicty for 3) and always used a two stage. I was given a single stage once and I spent more time clearing clogs than actually blowing snow.

Steven Wilson
10-10-2006, 3:32 PM
I have a relatively short driveway, 3 lanes wide, and either a very good single stage (Toro in the $600-$700 range that one of my neighbors use) or smaller two stage works well. I have the smaller Sears two stage and the motor is great, it works ok, the construction of course is below par (sheet metal is too thin) but it still runs very well and isn't close to dying so I can't complain. With very heavy snow I will get bogged down and need to go over some areas a few times but eventually it all clears which is ok for a $600 blower. Of course I could step up to a much more power 2 stage and blast right through the snow but at $1500 I have better things to spend my money on and I just don't need the extra capacity.

Mario Lucchesi
10-10-2006, 4:59 PM
Having grown up in the Very Upper Michigan and made a living moving snow for a few years it is no contest. Go with a two stage.

Joe Tonich
10-10-2006, 6:06 PM
Thanks all! Looks like a 2 stage is the winner.

Thanks again,

Mack Cameron
10-10-2006, 7:38 PM
Joe; you won't be sorry you went for the 2 stage, just make sure you get an electric start. They probably only come that way.

From the Land of the Big Snow.

Fred Voorhees
10-10-2006, 8:53 PM
Joe
Definately go with a 2-stage blower. In a 2-stage machine the cutters turn at a fairly low RPM which cuts the snow and need a lot of torque.
The second stage turns at much higher RPM to throw the already broken up snow out of the schute. A 1-stage machine has to run at a fairly high RPM to blow the snow out of the chute but sacrifice the torque needed to break up the snow. A single stage machine will work great in light fluffy snow but is almost useless in wet heavy snow.

An observation from Minnesota where we know about snow.

Have to absolutely agree with Dave. Two stage is the ONLY way to go. Single stage has to accomplish both jobs with a single operation. I have had a two stage Simplicity thrower for over twenty years and have never really had a problem with it. In fact, I think I had it tuned up for the first time just a few years ago. Two stage man, the only way to go!!!!!!

Rick Gibson
10-11-2006, 9:14 PM
Definitely a 2 stage. I have a 8 horse Ariens I bought about 15 years ago after my son moved out, when I lived in Oshawa and have had no problems with it. It usually did my driveway and a couple of the neighbours on bad days and now it does mine which is 3 times the size of the previous one and usually 3 of the neighbours. My neighbours are all old (I don't even turn 60 till December) and besides all I have to do is steer it.

My neighbour in Oshawa used to pay me in jars of dill pickles since I wouldn't take any money (she made awesome dill pickles) Haven't had to buy dills for nearly 15 years now. Gave the last of them to my son in law last summer after my dr. put me on a sodium restricted diet. Some were 5 years old and still good. So spend the money get a good one you will be doing some of your neighbours driveways and there are side benefits.

Phil Thien
10-12-2006, 12:52 AM
I must be the exception here. I had a two stage that was OK. We moved overseas and I sold it. When we moved back to Michigan, I purchased a Toro single stage paddle snow blower. We average 38" of snow a year, mixed dry and wet. The single stage does everything the two stage did, with a lot less effort, expense and moving parts.

I'll 2nd that. I have two Toro single stage. They both use 2-cycle engines. The older one actually uses a Suzuki engine, I'm told. I've never confirmed that. I live in Milwaukee. I've owned the first one for ten years and have never had any amount of snow it couldn't handle. OTOH, many of my neighbors struggle w/ the two-stage units. They don't maneuver as well and I'm able to do my long driveway and sidewalk in less time than they can accomplish w/ their two-stage.

Last year I purchased another one for work. Works equally well.