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Last updated: March 14, 2022
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When the snow starts falling and you still need to be able to get out to work or run your errands, a 2-stage snow blower can be an essential tool. Two-stage snow blowers can break up wet, frozen or heavy snow, jettisoning it to clear large snowdrifts. These models can even clear snow on uneven terrain or gravel, to make light work of this winter task.
Our team of researchers has reviewed 12 snow blowers to assess how well and efficiently they operate. Our editor’s choice the Husqvarna ST224 has a high snow throwing capacity, LED lights and even hand grip warmers to make it practical and easier to use. However, we’ve also listed other models at different price points to offer the best 2-stage snow blower under $1,000 for every budget.
Our research team spent a great deal of time researching the options. First and foremost, we’ve looked at the power source and engine capacity to ensure that the snow blower has the power to cope with any conditions, but we’ve also assessed the weight, clearing width and depth and other features to help you to find the best 2 stage snow blower for your requirements. We’ve presented our data with a simple overview table and a list of detailed reviews. We’ve also included a buying guide to guide you through making your purchase decision.
Anyone familiar with the Husqvarna brand will not be surprised that the ST224 is sitting at the top of this chart. This is a company that’s renowned for manufacturing great equipment and the ST224 is no exception. If you’re new to snow blowers the Husqvarna ST224 is very user friendly and it’s packed with features to make the unit comfortable and efficient to use.
This Husqvarna snow blower features a quick start butting that will get the machine up and running quickly on the coldest of mornings. It may be dark outside, so the ST224 has headlights and heated grips to help you deal with the cold dark mornings. The unit has a total of six speed settings to give you a range of options for different weather conditions. The ST224 has a ribbon auger to manage the snow efficiently and a high throwing capacity to speed the job along.
The main downside to choosing the Husqvarna ST224 is the higher price. This unit is a significant value proposition, you really get a lot of machine for the money, but it is one of the most expensive machines on our list. So, if you’re on a tighter budget or you need a more basic snow blower you may want to keep looking.
Other features: electric start, remote crank chute rotation, 6 forward/2 reverse speeds, 13″ x 4″ Snow Hog tires, polymer skid shoes, 12-in. auger and impeller
The Yard Machines 31AS63EE700 is snow blower that’s ideal for heavy snow clearing duties. This unit features a powerful OHV 208cc 4 stroke engine that has six forward and two reverse speeds and a clutch lock to operate the machine with one hand. This is a durable and easy to handle snow blower that can clear a 24” wide path in a single pass. It also can handle deeper snow up to 21” in depth.
This machine has an electric mitten to keep your hands warm when it’s cold outside. The Yard Machines 31AS63EE700 sits on a set of 13”x4” Snow Hog tires for excellent traction on ice and heavy snow. This machine is the ideal size for clearing sidewalks, patio areas and smaller walkways.
Another key feature is the EZ Chute which allows the user to control the exact direction of the cleared snow. The EZ Chute can be rotated 180º allowing for a controlled cleanup when you’ve finished. The Yard Machines 31AS63EE700 also features a handy gas start so there is no need to run power cords when it’s wet outside.
What makes it special?
Easy to handle one handed even on ice and deeper snow
EZ Chute makes cleanup a breeze
A perfect choice of single pass clearance in tighter areas
Cheap parts that are readily available
Good value for money
What cons did we find?
This machine lacks a headlight
An annual oil change and light maintenance is required
Other features: recoil start + 230V electric start, friction disk drive system, left side crank rotation, manual deflector controls, steel reversible skid shoes, 12” steel scroll auger, steel chute, throwing distance 35’
The Briggs & Stratton 1024 is a basic snow blower that we like for more basic snow clearing tasks. It features and electric start function that will get the machine up and running quickly in cold conditions. The motor is fine for milder snow conditions and it ships with a 3-year warranty that will provide you with plenty of cover if you need it.
However, this is a more limited machine compared to others on our list and it less suited to heavier snow clearing. The main problem is the lack of maneuverability and moving the machine around in poor weather will be a real chore for many people. This is also a tricky machine to assemble after delivery and this could be a real drawback for some users.
The motor on this Briggs & Stratton snow blower is underpowered for heavy duty snow clearance. When the snow plow has passed by the snow buildup at the end of the drive is too much for this machine to realistically handle. If you’re looking for a more basic snow blower this could meet your needs, but many users with more demanding needs should look at some of our other choices on this list for better alternatives.
What are its best features?
A good albeit light motor
An electric start
A solid 3-year warranty
What could be improved?
Some users find this machine difficult to assemble
Other features: electric/recoil starting system, a heavy-duty auger system and steel frame, 180º chute rotation, 4 forward and 2 reverse speed variations, throwing distance 40’
The PowerSmart DB72024PA is an efficient two-stage snow blower with a push button electric or manual start. The electric start is guaranteed to start the machine in lower temperatures down to -20ºF. This machine has a 212cc engine, it can clear to a depth of 21” and it has a 24” clearing width. The chute can rotate 180º and the snow can be thrown up to 40 feet for easier cleanup.
The DB72024PA is fitted with inflatable 13” tyres that offer plenty of grip on ice and snow. The machine has four forward and two reverse speeds and power assist steering making it very maneuverable. This is a durable snow blower due to the heavy duty steel frame and the auger system.
We have selected the PowerSmart DB72024PA as our top budget machine pick because it has an excellent range of features for the modest price. The machine arrives 90% assembled, but it doesn’t take long to assemble the rest and all the screws need to be checked and tightened. There is a solid 2-year warranty in place, so you’re covered if an unforeseen incident occurs.
What stands out?
Great value for money
Easy to maneuver is poor weather conditions
Simple to assemble in 20-30 minutes
What cons did we manage to find?
Some users have reported loose screws that need tightening before the first use.
Other users have experienced a light oil leak when starting for the first time as the new gaskets expand but this disappears when the unit has been running for a short while.
Other features: Electric start, remote chute deflector/remote chute rotator, 12” auger and impeller, powerful ribbon augers, adjustable handle height, new friction disc transmission, single hand interlock
Poulan have a solid reputation for well-made products and the PR241 is no exception. This snow blower has a 208cc, 2-stage gas powered engine with six forward and two reverse settings and a power assisted wheels to make short work of heavier snow. The ribbon auger is made of tough serrated steel and it’s bolted to the housing unlike many machines that use welded joints.
The auger has 12” blades to tear a 24” wide path through the snow to a depth of 23” using a single pass. The snow is passed in a set of 12” impeller blades where it’s mixed with air before being blown out of the chute. This clever system reduces the chances of clogs and it allows the PR241 to collect snow more efficiently.
The PR241 has push button electric starting for subzero mornings and adjustable skid shoes for working across uneven surfaces. The power steering system provides high maneuverability at the twist of a lever and one handed steering is easy. A great deal of thought has gone into the control panel, every control is easy to access and within hands reach. This snow blower packs a lot of power into a small package making it easy to store when the cold season is over.
What makes it special?
Plenty of control, torque and traction to dig out of holes
An excellent 4-year engine warranty and 2 year limited manufacturer’s warranty for parts
In harsh winter weather, a snow blower is a crucial piece of kit. Unfortunately, with so many different models, making your purchase decision is a little challenging. Here we’ve provided a buying guide with the things to consider and features to search for, in addition to answers to common questions to aid you to make your purchase decision.
What to expect from a 2-stage snow blower under $1000
A two-stage snow blower is a powerful machine that can clear snow to a depth of more than 18” with ease. These machines can outperform a single-stage or electric thrower and they have heavy and durable frames that allow you to tackle deeper snow without needing to slow down. If you need to clear a lot of deeper snow you will appreciate a two-stage snow blower to help you complete the task quickly and efficiently.
The machines throw the snow twice; hence the two-stage name and the snow can often be cleared in a single pass making the process more efficient. At the first stage a metal auger fitted with blades tears and scoops up the snow and ice. This material is then moved to a high speed impeller unit that throws the snow up and out of the discharge chute. This keeps the snow and ice moving into and out of the machine without clogs forming in the intake.
A two-stage snow blower auger does not touch the ground at any time. This means that these machines can be used on concrete and gravel surfaces without causing damage. Most two-stage blowers feature a tall bucket that can quickly tear through a snow drift without creating a pileup at your mailbox or at the end of your driveway.
Features to consider when purchasing a 2-stage snow blowing machine under $1000
With so many products on the market, it can be difficult to choose the best snow blower for your requirements. Here we’ll explore the important features to consider to help you find the best model for your requirements.
Most snow blowers are fitted with a gasoline engine and these machines perform better than other models. There are electric models available, they have a cord that typically extends out to around 100 feet from an external power output. But, these machines don’t perform well and dealing with a power cord in poor weather conditions can be frustrating.
In recent years battery powered snow blowers have become available but they are underpowered to clear any heavier snow.
The main difference between many gasoline engines used for yard work is whether they are two or four stroke engines. The term “stroke” refers to the number of cylinder and crankshaft movements or stages that a combustion engine requires to complete a “power stroke” to create power. The number of stages needed to complete a power stroke in a two and four stroke engine are as follows:
A two stroke engine needs one full revolution or two stages to complete a power stroke.
A four stroke engine needs two full revolutions or four stages to complete a power stroke.
In a two stroke engine the gasoline and oil must be mixed in an exact ratio because the oil is the lubricant for the crankcase. In a four stroke engine there is a separate tank for the gasoline and the oil and this is easier to monitor and fill as needed. A four stroke engine is more fuel efficient making it cheaper to run and environmentally friendly. Compared to a two stroke unit a four stroke engine has more torque available to tackle deeper snow.
Clearing width and depth (intake height)
The intake height at the front of a snow blower or shovel will determine how deep the snow can get before you cannot clear it with that machine.
If the intake height is smaller you may have to clear an area multiple times as the snow falls to keep the area clear. This is especially true if the weather report is predicted heavier than expected snowfall for the season. If the intake height is taller, the machine can accumulate snow deeper and this can often be achieved with a single pass depending on the depth. For example, the Husqvarna ST224, can clear most snow in one pass. The wider the clearance width the more efficient the snow clearing efforts will be and this will limit the amount of time spent outdoors.
Fuel tank capacity
There is a fine balance to choosing the right fuel tank capacity for a snow blower. It may seem like a simple choice, carrying more fuel will allow you to work for longer outside without needing to stop. But, a larger fuel tank makes the machine heavier and it may be harder to control unless it has power steering and other handling features. Another key consideration is the fuel that’s left in the tank when the cold season has finished. Some unused fuel will simply evaporate and this can lead to sticky residues that can cause clogs in the carburetor and prevent the snow blower from starting. If the fuel tank is large it’s more likely that fuel will be left in the machine for months until it’s needed when the cold weather returns. For example, the Yard Machines model has a 1-gallon tank, which makes it ideal for larger areas, but if you have a small yard, it may create issues.
It may seem that a light snow blower is a good idea, but these types of machines have a tendency to tip up in heavy snow and this creates extra hard work for the user. If you have a heavier snow blower it can stick to the ground better and cut at the snow at the base of the pile. The size and weight of the snow blower you choose should be based on the type of snowfall that you get in your area. A 200lb snow blower with a 28” intake would be overkill if you only get a couple of light snowfalls annually. But, if you live in an area with regular heavy snowfall you may want to consider choosing a snow blower with plenty of weight and power. Some people even have a lighter and a heavier snow blower to deal with different types of snowfall.
Two-stage snow plowers have power-assisted wheels that can help clear larger areas and slopes. The auger collects snow and a fan discharges the snow through a chute for faster, more efficient clearance.
It is best to store your snow blower in a dry, clean area. If you don’t have a shed or garage, you should consider storing it inside a storage unit.
In conclusion, while there are some excellent snow blower options on our list, there are some stand outs. The Briggs & Stratton 1024 features a three-year warranty and offers a good, light motor, while the Yard Machines may lack a headlight, but provides an easy to handle machine with easy clean up. However, the stand out as the best 2-stage snow blower under $1,000 has to be our editor’s choice, the Husqvarna ST224. This machine is user-friendly with fast start up and a high snow throwing capacity to clear any yard or driveway.