There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to snow blowers and snow throwers. If the truth be told, the two terms are used interchangeably and many people don’t distinguish between the two. A snow blower is the most commonly used term and these can be divided into two categories.
A single-stage snow blower only uses an auger to lift and throw the snow in one action. Hence the phrase single-stage. Because these machines don’t actually blow the snow (the auger literally throws it out of the chute), single-stage snow blowers are often referred to as snow throwers. All electric snow shovels are snow throwers. A snow thrower, or single stage snow blower, is less powerful than a two-stage snow blower. This means that a snow thrower will generally have a narrower clearing path and won’t go as deep as a two-stage machine. They also won’t be able to move such a large volume of snow, meaning that a snow thrower will move fewer pounds per minute.
A two-stage snow blower won’t usually be referred to as a snow thrower. Though I often see them advertised as snow throwers. The difference between a two-stage snow blower and a single-stage snow blower (snow thrower) is a simple one and lies in the technical details. In addition to the auger, that scrapes the snow from the ground, a two stage snow blower uses an impeller to blow the snow out of the chute. So there’s a logical reason for the different terminology. A snow thrower uses the auger to throw the snow and a snow blower uses an impeller (like a fan) to blow the snow.
There are a number of advantages to using the two-stage action. For one thing, the auger isn’t performing a dual function and is, therefore, more efficient. A two-stage snow blower will be able to move a larger volume of snow in less time. It will also, usually, clear a wider path and go much deeper.
The second reason why two-stage snow blowers are preferable is that the impeller allows it blow the snow higher and further than the auger would. A two-stage snow blower also has the advantage of being self-propelled – it uses the power of the motor or engine to move it forward or (in most cases) backward too. A single-stage snow thrower does assist you in moving forward (but not backward) because the rotation of the auger naturally pulls the machine forward as it works. Because a single-stage snow blower is moving a lower volume of snow as you work, you won’t need as much assistance to move it. This means that a snow thrower is just about as easy to move as a two-stage snow blower.
When it comes to choosing between a snow blower and a snow thrower, you need to consider whether you intend moving heavy snow and ice or light snow. You also need to look at what size area you want clear.
A two-stage snow blower is designed for heavier tasks. They come in different sizes, depending on how large the area is that it needs to clear but will generally have greater capacity than snow throwers. Larger two-stage snow blowers will have gas engines, some of the smaller models will be electrically powered. Because of their more advanced technology and power, two-stage snow blowers will be more expensive.
If you’re only going to be clearing light to medium snow from a relatively small area, a snow thrower is going to be your best option. This is mostly because they’re much cheaper than two-stage snow blowers. They don’t get as big as two-stage snow blowers and are always lighter and easier to store. Smaller snow throwers or electric snow shovels are also better to use where space is restricted, like along walkways and on decks or porches. A large two-stage machine won’t fit in where smaller snow throwers can.