A three-stage snow blower is a gas powered machine that can move 50 percent more snow than a two-stage blower in the same amount of time. A more powerful engine, auger and impeller also make it easier to remove the snow/ice drifts that are left behind by city snow plows.
The three-stage model has two augers that collect the snow and move it to the middle of the plowing pan. An induction accelerator chops the snow up and sends it to the discharge impeller. The impeller further chops up the snow at a high rate of speed and then sends it to the high-impact discharge chute, which can toss the snow up to 50 feet away.
The three stages refer to the augers, the accelerator and the impeller. Two-stage snow blowers only have an auger, which removes the snow, and the impeller that chops it up and sends it to the discharge chute. Two-stage snow blowers can comfortably handle snowfalls around 8 inches deep, while the three-stage model can handle 18 inch drifts.
Operationally, the two- and three-stage blowers are both push models with wheels to carry the weight. The three-stage blower has trigger control power steering, making it easier to push and turn the machine.