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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys,

Just bought a house and am researching snowblowers for the upcoming winter. (I live about a hour north of Minneapolis for reference.) I am pretty set on a 2-stage Ariens for the big stuff and heavy drifts. However, It seems silly to get out the power 2-stage for these smaller snowfalls when it might be slower and less fuel efficient than a much cheaper single stage where I control the speed.

The driveway is too long to shovel it all. Do most people get a less expensive single stage for those more frequent snowfalls?

Thanks!

Scott
 

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Not here in the UP - the 2 stage does everything just fine from 1-2 inches on up. (Heck, in 50+ years here, I can't honestly say that I have ever seen a single stage . . .).
 

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Fuel efficiency is a non issue as even a big blower uses little fuel but there are a few who do keep a single stage for the light stuff, however most of us who do get them cheap and repair them, Buying a new one just for light snow would be a little wasteful as it would take 50 yrs to save that much fuel to justify the cost lol but if you find a used one cheap in good shape they do work well for the light snow falls we get.
 

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I have both, and you'll find out that many on this forum have multiple machines. And like many, I get used machines for cheap or free and fix them up. But I do like having a small single stage, not for fuel efficiency, but rather for cleaning the snow down to the pavement. I sometimes use the single stage after the 2 stage just for that reason.

So there is a difference I think between having 2 machines and buying 2 machines new. I'm all for having both.
 
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I am very partial to toros as I have had them for 40 years now and I need a bigger one.

Don't discount the larger Toro 1428 OXE or its smaller OXE brothers as they have the patented anticlog system that meters snow into the impeller housing.

The more power you have in the snow mules engine the more reserve power you have to use in the event of a huge snowfall or dealing with the END OF DRIVEWAY MONSTER.

Buying the largest Toro snow blower like the Toro 1428OXE would be considered an investment and essentially power money in the bank as you will have 14 horsepower to use through the belt drive system for the wheel drive and the impeller and cross auger drive. having the Toro cab and heated handles and steering brakes will be an asset.
A large engine frame size 2 stage like the Toro 1428 OXE will cost you less to own overtime as it has 14 horsepower to use and it will take less time to clear snow and also enable you to do it faster in smaller snow falls.

Buying the largest Toro snow master personal pace single stage is an option but if you have huge drifts and THE END OF DRIVEWAY MONSTER has been sitting all night and packing down it will take you longer to clear and it will really make more work for you and you will be out there more often if you have a storm coming off the lakes.
 

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a $650 Ariens Pro21 SR and a $1350 Ariens SHO 28 checks many boxes

It wont clean as well as a paddle model but a good alternate is the Snowmaster 724 because it handles the EoD better
 

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Factor in how easy it is to get the blower in and out of the garage. I have a two car garage that I would have to back a car out to get a 2-stage out. But wait, I want to clean the driveway before I drive on it....

Then pull the car in so I can clean where it was parked. Then pull it back out to put the blower away. Finally put the car in the garage.

No thanks.

Your question is situation dependent. I can easily push a single stage between my two cars, but I can't get a 2-stage out without moving a car out.

Sounds like you have a reason to have two. Single stages can be had quite cheaply. I pick them up all the time for < $50 and fix them up to sell. I suggest doing the same if you are handy on these things. Or, if you have the cash and don't care, get a brand new single stage Toro!
 

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Here in MA, I've had a 2-stage for years, and wouldn't be without my Ariens. If I could keep only 1 machine, it'd be the 2-stage.

But this season I added a nice Toro single-stage (221R, a 2-stroke, 21" machine, ~6hp). I really like it, for smaller storms. It's light, maneuverable, fast (in suitable storms), and clears all the way down to pavement.

They were small storms, under 6". But doing one with the 2-stage took me about a half-hour, and I was rushing, and left some areas uncleared. Then with the single-stage, I did a similar storm in about 10 minutes, it was less-tiring, and it did a better job of clearing everything down to the ground (plus I did the entire area this time).

You can use a hammer to drive a nail, and squish a fly (2-stage, can do big storms, and little storms). You can't use a fly-swatter to drive a nail, but it does a better job with flies (single-stage, *can* gradually clear bigger stuff, but excels at smaller storms).

I'll hopefully get more time with the single-stage this winter, but I'm hopeful that it can handle the storms under maybe 8-10", and use the 2-stage for deep/heavy snow, and icy/solid conditions. The combination of the 2-machines is very versatile.

I was fortunate enough to snag my single-stage for $25, but if you can get one for a good price (being the off-season helps), and you have the storage space, I think it's nice to have one available. I like mine for the speed, better clearing, and being less-tiring than my differential-equipped ~300lb 2-stage. Reduced fuel use is nice, but not much of a factor, given how much I use in a season.
 

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I live in St. Paul. Hi Neighbor!

I tried with 2 blowers a few years ago - an older MTD 2 stage model I've had since I owned my home. And I was thinking same as you. Saw a deal on CL for a little single stage (some Toro model). I was also thinking my spouse and son (who was about 10 at the time) may be able to use the single stage as the big MTD needs some muscle to move it around and steer and such.

I kept the single stage 2 seasons. The second season I used it once.

I found that I was better off just shoveling the light stuff. My son and spouse never used it.

I gave the single stage to my mom, who loves the thing. She uses it for 4-5 inches or less and calls the local plow guy for the deep stuff. So a win there. But having 2 wasn't worth it for me.
 

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I live in the mitten state and we get quite a bit of snowfall. But a majority of it is < 6" as I suspect is the norm for most of us. My neighbor had a monster 2 stage 10hp+ with headlight (possibly heated hand-grips...). We had the same standard 2 car garage/driveway. He could have a 1/3 of his done when I would start with my single stage. I could actually jog (fast walk) with mine and finish and he would still have 1/3 of his left. Mine would also be cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the advice, everyone! I'll probably start off with a single stage, but what seems to be a quite powerful one, the Toro Snowmaster 824 QXE. If I need something more powerful, I'll get a 2-stage Ariens. Hopefully this single one will be enough.

Scott
 

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I started out with just single stage snowblowers ( i'm in S.E. Michigan ) and use them for years in any amount of snow that we had. when I bought this house about 20yrs ago my neighbor had an older ariens st524. what i found was that if the snow was 8" or less my toro 2450 ran circles around his machine but as the snow got deeper or heavy his 524 ran circles around my machine. I still love my 2450 but I blow a lot of snow between my neighborhood and my mom's. my toro 521 ( two stage) and 2450 ( single stage ) are both 5hp machines but i'm not as tired using the 521
 
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One of my neighbors has a Snowmaster and I was very impressed last season by how well it worked. Still a bit too pricey for me. I will have to stay with a big single stage that I use every time and a two stage that gets used once or twice a year for now.
 

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Good call on the choice, IMO. The Snowmaster is an interesting machine, I'd like to try one. I've seen a lot of good feedback on them.

And getting the 824, vs the 724, is probably money well spent. You'll never regret having extra power.
 

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The snow master single stage works differently than other single stage machines. It is a balancing act. It has 2 small wheels in under the front that are connected via a frame to the rear wheels. The whole red machine pivots on this frame When you pull on the clutch bail it pivots the weight of the whole unit so the front cutting edge and paddles contact ground and clutches the paddles. It is a harder pull on the bail than a standard single stage that only clutches the drive belt. If you will be using machine a lot this can be straining on your hands. My 2 cents


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Central Ct here. In last 9 years, I've had everything from several inches of snow with rain making pure slush, a 2.5" sleet storm, to 36" Blizzard. The single stage is wonderfully for the messy wet storms, and handles 6" slower but adequate. The 4 stroke engines really give them almost same power as a 2 stage. But we absolutely need a big 2 stage for the big snow years.
 

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I have both, and you'll find out that many on this forum have multiple machines. And like many, I get used machines for cheap or free and fix them up. But I do like having a small single stage, not for fuel efficiency, but rather for cleaning the snow down to the pavement. I sometimes use the single stage after the 2 stage just for that reason.

So there is a difference I think between having 2 machines and buying 2 machines new. I'm all for having both.
Ditto
 
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