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Winter can be tough for many reasons. The cold temperatures and wind can make it difficult enough, but with the addition of cleaning up the snow, the season can seem like a never-ending trail. The worst part for many of us is not only the cold winter conditions but all the extra time it takes to dress the kids up for the weather, warm up the vehicles and clean the snow that fell the night before. It really helps to have all the right equipment to get you through every snow flurry, storm, and blizzard. I’m going to list for you a few reasons why adding a single stage snow thrower to your winter arsenal can greatly speed up your snow clearing chores.
Most of you reading this already have a good 2 or 3-stage snow blower and if you live north of Interstate 80 that should be your primary machine. I know you are very happy with the 2 or 3 stage snow blower I helped you choose, but I also know that many of you will also wish it was faster – especially for those pesky 1-6 inch snows.
While three-stage snow throwers and two-stage snow throwers are suited for heavier, deeper snow and used for mid- to large-sized cleanup spaces, gas-powered single-stage snow throwers are a great timesaver for accumulations up to 6 inches or so of snow. I’ll list a few other reasons in this article where a gas-powered single stage snow thrower can greatly reduce your snow clearing duties, making it less of a chore.
FYI: Single-stage machines are usually called snow throwers instead of snow blowers because they grab the snow and throw it out of the machine using just one paddle.
15 Reasons Why You May Also Want A Gas Powered Single-Stage Snow Thrower
The following is a list in no particular order of reasons why you may also need a single stage snow thrower to compliment you 2 or 3-stage machine.
- If you live in an area that gets a lot of 2-6 inch snows. Here in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin we usually get three or four 8-20 inch snows but we also get another 20 inches of snow – one to four inches at a time. So after the 3rd or 4th time that 2 inch’er shows up overnight you are dreading having to dig the big snow blower out of the garage and clearing that small amount. A gas-powered single stage is perfect for that type of snow. It will clear your drive as fast as you can walk and clean it right down to the pavement – even if your spouse or teenage has already driven over it going to work or school.
- Most of your family can use it. If your family members are old enough and mature enough to use a push mower they can use a single stage snow thrower. Since the rubber paddles touch the ground they also pull themselves through the snow making them self-propelled. Models with electric start are also very easy to start. They are also lightweight so almost anyone can drag one up or down a step or two and even with a helper can load it into the back of a car or SUV to take over and clean Grandma’s driveway.
- You travel a lot and your spouse may have to use the snow blower. Single stage snow throwers are not only easy to use but very lightweight and maneuverable. Your smaller spouse will feel confident using a single-stage snow thrower while you are away. It won’t help them with the heavy snows or blizzards but it will work great for the smaller snows.
- 2 or 3 stage snow blowers are overkill. Single stage snow throwers I recommend at the end of this article will clear up to 6 inches of snow as fast as you can walk. When clearing these small amounts of snow they are much faster than 2 or 3-stage snow blowers.
- Your tracked snowblower is too slow. Tracked snow blowers are great when you have to clear rough areas and really deep snow but they can be agonizing to walk behind when clearing 2 inches of snow off a 200-foot blacktop driveway. It feels like you will never get done and you begin to wonder why you ever bought that track drive powerhouse.
- You live in an area that gets a lot of snow but your driveway/sidewalks slope and your family can slip and fall if snow is left on the driveway. Or, You insist on having all the snow cleared off the driveway or sidewalk. This may be for public safety or just a personal preference. With all the single stage snow throwers I’ll list the front, rubber paddle touches the pavement. This clears all the snow. In most cases, this makes the area much safer to walk on.
- You want to clean up your driveway the day after a storm. You used your big snow blower to take care of the deep stuff but since then the wind or city snow plow has blown a little more snow here and there. A Single-stage snow thrower makes the cleanup fast. They also work well for that last pile fo slop the city snow plow let you overnight. (They won’t throw it very far but they will clean down to the pavement.
- You want to clean snow packed down from vehicles or foot traffic. One of the real advantages of gas powered single stage snow throwers is their ability to clean right down to the pavement. If you lift up on the handles just a little the rubber paddle will clean even packed down snow.
- You have your 2 or 3 stage snow blower adjusted for gravel or turf. If you clear your cement or blacktop driveway and a gravel area, a few paths out to outbuildings and an area on the lawn for your dogs you probably have your big snow blower adjusted so the gap under there is a 3/8-1/2 gap under auger housing. If you don’t like that your big snow blower leaves snow on the pavement a single stage can quickly clean that off.
- Your driveway or sidewalks have a lot of edges sticking up that catch the 2-stage scraper bar. Similar to #9 if your old cement drive or sidewalk have a lot of edges sticking up you most likely have your big snow blower raised up so it doesn’t catch on all those cracks. The rubber paddle on a single stage rides right over those cracks.
- You have to go up or down more than two steps to your deck, patio or sidewalks. I know many of you have steps to get to your deck or patio. A single stage snow blower is relatively light (70-90 lbs) so it is easy to pull up multiple steps. Of course, make sure you have your balance when moving it up the steps.
- You have a large deck or patio. You may have steel skid shoes on your 2-stage snow blower and you don’t want to scratch your nice deck or patio with them. A single stage snow thrower won’t harm those delicate surfaces.
- Your 2 or 3-stage snow blower is too big to go through the door out to your deck or patio. Ok, you bought that 30-inch snow blower for your 200-foot driveway but it’s too wide to fit through the side door out to your deck or patio. A single stage snow thrower is a much better choice than installing a wider door.
- You have handicap ramps and access area that have to stay clean. As mentioned before a gas-powered single stage will take all the packed on snow off quickly.
- You don’t want to use snow melt or salt. Last but not least. I don’t like to use salt or chemicals on my cement driveway or around my landscaping. Having a gas -powered single stage snow thrower around lets me clear areas all the way to the pavement so I don’t need to use salt or chemicals to keep those areas free of packed down snow.
Before I leave the list I would like to point out two types of single stage snow throwers that are different than gas-powered single stage snow throwers.
- Gas powered single stage snow throwers versus electric single stage snow throwers. Electric corded and cordless snow thrower paddles don’t touch the ground. Because of that, they will not clean snow that has been walked on or driven on. The cordless versions like the EGO are as wide as the gas-powered versions so they are also harder to push through the snow. Many owners of the EGO are finding clearing snow down their sloping driveway is fine but they can’t safely push it back up the slope.
- Gas Powered single stage snow throwers versus the Toro Snow Master. The Toro Snow Master is a wonderfully fast, self-propelled machine. Technically a single stage snow thrower but it acts like a 2-stage machine. What that means is the front paddle does not touch the ground and it has skid shoes and a scraper bar. It will not clean down to the pavement like a gas powered single stage snow thrower.
My Best Picks For Single Stage Snow Throwers.
There is a huge selection of single stage gas powered snow throwers for use as a second machine. All the major brands carry two or three good models. The majority I’ll show you are 21 or 22-inch snow throwers. There are three basic engine sizes.
- 123-160 cc for light clearing
- 179-208 cc for “normal” clearing
- 250 cc’ish for more power than you need with a single stage.
All machines are 4 cycle so there is no need to mix oil and gas. Unless noted all have a plugin 110v push button electric start
The machines are rated below by first how well they clean the surface, second how far they throw heavy, wet snow, and third other factors like headlight, chute controls, etc.
Electric Start Models:
Here are my picks in order of the ones I like best. Note: I make a little commission when you buy through the links below.
- Toro Power Clear 721 QZR Model 38744. Best cleaning, best throwing, best long life. Best Chute Control. This model has all the features including remote chute. Home Depot Link: Toro Power Clear 721 QZR Model 38744. Free Shipping at ACME Tools: Toro Power Clear 721 QZR Model 38744
- Toro Power Clear 721 E Model 38742. Same Snow Thrower as above without the remote chute. Home Depot Link: Toro Power Clear 721 E Model 38742. Free Shipping at ACME Tools: Toro Power Clear 721 E Model 38742
- Troy-Bilt Squall™ 208XP Snow Thrower Model No. 31AM2T7G766. This is basically the same snow thrower as the Cub Cadet below with a new dual-LED headlight and handle design. And a better price! FYI: Amazon’s Protection Plan is inexpensive and includes most anything that could go wrong with your snow thrower. It’s well worth the money Home Depot: Troy-Bilt Squall™ 208XP.
- Cub Cadet 1X™ 21 LHP. Consumer Reports gives this single stage snow thrower one of the highest ratings. I like it too! Home Depot Link: Cub Cadet 1X™ 21 LHP.
- Honda HS 720AS. Highly recommended – very overpriced. If you have to buy a Honda this is the only one with electric start. Cleans the pavement very well. Throws snow well. Home Depot Link: Honda HS 720AS. Free Shipping at ACME Tools: Honda HS 720AS
- Briggs & Stratton 22 in. 205cc Single Stage Electric Start Gas Snowthrower with Snow Shredder Auger. This snow thrower gets a lot of press. It does clean the pavement well and throws snow a little better than the rest of the list below. I like the price! Home Depot Link: B&S Snow Shredder. Amazon: B&S Snow Shredder
- Ariens Path Pro Model 938032. The Ariens cleans well and throws snow well. I like it because the engine is exposed so you can change the oil and spark plug easily. I like the price! Home Depot Link: Ariens Path Pro
- Toro Power Clear 518 ZE 18 in. This is the smallest and lightest snow thrower with electric start. I recommend it for paths, patios, decks, stairs and going up and down stairs to clear snow. It doesn’t throw snow as far as the rest on this list but it does a great job of cleaning those small areas that are hard to clear with your big machine. Home Depot Link: Toro Power Clear 518 ZE 18 in.
- Husqvarna ST 151 21-in Single-stage Push-button Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight. It doesn’t clean as well as the rest of this list but it throws snow well and far for a single stage. I especially like the chute controls and the six LED headlights. It’s a great snow thrower for working in the dark. Amazon: Husqvarna ST 151
Recoil Start Models
- Ariens Commercial SS 21 in. 208cc Single-Stage Remote Chute or Ariens Commercial SS 21 in. 208 cc. These are commercial snow blowers so they have heavy duty frames and steel side panels. They are designed to slide easily into your pickup. Home Depot Link: Ariens Commercial 21.
- Toro Power Clear 721 RC. Toro’s commercial version of the 721 above. Very rugged snow thrower. No frills – it just works and meant to take a beating. Home Depot Link: Toro 21RC.
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