Three-Stage Snow Blowers Are Quicker at Clearing. Here Are the Best From CR's Tests.
If you need to move piles of snow in a hurry, a three-stage snow blower is for you
Raise a frostbitten hand if you like clearing snow. We thought not. Fortunately, three-stage snow blowers, sometimes called snow throwers, tackle that woeful winter chore up to 30 percent faster than two-stage models, in part because they can clear deeper snow with a single pass.
“Upgrading from a two-stage to a three-stage snow blower adds an accelerator, boosting the power with which snow can be discharged from the chute,” says Misha Kollontai, CR’s test engineer in charge of snow blower testing. Kollontai is referring to a third auger, perpendicular to the collection augers, which corkscrews into drifts and zips snow, ice, and slush into a discharge impeller to be jettisoned out of your path. Two-stage blowers have the collection augers and impeller but don’t have the accelerator, and single-stage models rely solely on a quick-turning auger.
Here’s a look at how CR evaluates snow blowers and other snow-moving equipment as well as the top-rated three-stage snow blowers.
How CR Tests Snow Blowers
It’s fascinating that no two snowflakes are alike, but that presents a problem for Consumer Reports’ testing protocol. “We need to run our tests with something we can standardize, for consistency,” says Dave Trezza, who performs much of our hands-on snow blower testing. “That’s the reason we use a mixture of a certain type of sawdust, saturated with water, instead of snow."