One-stage snowblowers are lighter and more manageable for most people to use than two-stage snowblowers, which are more powerful and slightly more difficult to handle. There are gas and electric versions of one-stage snowblowers. Two-stage snowblowers, however, are only available as gas-powered models.
One-stage snowblowers are best used on paved surfaces where they are less likely to pick up gravel. They are capable of clearing snow 8 inches deep or less. The electric versions require significantly less maintenance than the gas-powered models. However, gas-powered versions are easier to use, because they are not restricted in movement by a power cord.
Two-stage snowblowers are capable of clearing snowfall deeper than 8 inches. Their engine-driven wheels make them more powerful and able to clear snow on uneven terrain. The engine-powered wheels also make the machines, which are considerably heavier than one-stage snowblowers, easy to maneuver.
They are also faster than one-stage snowblowers. They work by collecting the snow with an auger and impeller fan and then discharging the snow through a chute. Skid shoes on the two-stage models lift the auger slightly allowing it to be used on unpaved surfaces without picking up rocks and other debris. These snowblowers require more maintenance than either electric or gas one-stage snowblowers.