The last two weeks, we here at Snow Blower Source took a look at single stage and two stage snow blowers and how you can decide which one is right for you. But there’s still a segment of the population for whom neither type will do. And for them, the ones who need to clear a lot of snow without spending all day on it, a three stage snow blower is the one to look at. How do you know if you fall into this category? Let’s take a look.
You Live in an Area Where Snow Dominates Its Reputation
There are some cities in this country that are just known as really snowy cities. Year after year, these places reliably get feet and feet of white stuff dumped down and it’s never a matter of it it’ll snow, but how early and how much.
We’re talking about the likes of Buffalo, NY; Anchorage, AK; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Erie, PA; Denver, CO; Fargo, ND; and pretty much anywhere in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Thanks to an assembly of geographical factors, like proximity to bodies of water or mountains, latitude/longitude positioning and climate, these — and many other places — tend to get a ton of snow each year. Just look at the snow storm in Buffalo last year as proof, where thousands of people were snowed in when the city got several feet of snow in a short period of time.
If you live in an area like this, then chances are a simple electric snow shovel is going to be nothing more than an oversized ornament. You need a machine that’s big, strong, powerful and capable of clearing anything Mother Nature throws your way.
You Live on a Property That’s Pretty Darn Big
This can be a pretty subjective category because what “big” means differs from person to person. But generally, if you’re sitting on an acre or more of property, you’ve got a yard big enough to warrant a heavy-duty snow blower — and possibly even a three stage snow blower.
Where it gets tricky is combining property size with snow type and amount. In a pinch, most people could probably make do with a decent two stage snow blower. But when you’re dealing with residential properties out in the middle of nowhere or commercial properties not quite big enough to warrant a snow blower truck, then a three-stage can be a nice compromise.
You Live on a Property That’s Square or Unusually Shaped
Similarly to the category above, two stage snow blowers are generally more than good enough for big properties and/or heavy snow. They’ve got powerful engines capable of clearing snow from a variety of different types of surfaces and you generally don’t have to worry about anything else.
It’s when you’ve got wide open pieces of land or obstacles in your way that you might want to think about a three stage snow blower. Their engines are so powerful, the heavy-duty steel augers can whip snow away as far as 50 feet away — something that the majority of two stagers can’t do. Plus, they’re more efficient than two-stagers, capable of gathering up to 50% more snow and leaving a cleaner surface behind.
You Have the Budget For It
It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but generally speaking, the bigger the snow blower, the higher the price tag. If your home falls into that slightly ambiguous gray zone of “maybe a two stage might work, and maybe a three stage would also work”, then let your finances make the final decision.
You’ll be spending upwards of a couple thousand dollars on a three stage snow blower, but it’s like an investment (especially if you can take the time to learn some basic maintenance techniques). And the cool part of it is that, unlike single and two stage snow blowers (but, funnily enough, not snow shovels), you can fairly easily turn around and sell your three stager to a commercial enterprise. Buying a snow clearing truck is a pretty expensive option, so a lot of business owners — if they don’t have the luxury of getting the city to clear snow for them — are usually pretty happy to entertain an offer about a reasonably-priced snow blower.