How Do Snowblowers Work

How Do Snowblowers Work?

Most people do not really care how snowblowers work as long as they manage to, you know, blow snow. However, understanding the inner workings of a snowblower provides you with the information that you need to:

  • buy the right snowblower for your circumstances
  • to operate it in a way that ensures its longevity
  • to not get fleeced when taking your snowblower in for repairs

Both new purchases and repairs can cost significant amounts, so understanding how snowblowers work can lead to some major savings.


Basic snowblowers are known as single-stage. These snowblowers have an auger that turns as it collects the snow and fires it out of the discharge chute. In addition, the auger helps to propel the machine forward as it spins against the surface that is being cleared. Therefore, single-stage blowers only need to be guided by the handler, while the snowblower will more or less propel itself in the direction that it is facing. This also means that single-stage snowblowers only work well on smooth and hard surfaces.

Most single-stage snowblowers are one to two feet wide, which makes them ideal for areas that are narrow or small. However, this also means they are only really effective for clearing light snowfalls.


Dual-stage snowblowers feature an impeller that rests behind the auger, and propels the snow up and out through the chute. The impeller allows the auger to more effectively clear wet or heavy snow. Dual-stage snowblowers will also throw the snow farther, so you will not have huge snowbanks build up around your driveway. Most dual-stage blowers also feature much larger clearing widths, which means a lot less time spent clearing snow.

Dual-stage snowblowers are designed with engine-powered wheels so there is not a lot of pushing or heaving involved when clearing. This design also frees the auger from needing to make contact with the ground to propel the machine, which means that its height is freely-adjustable. The adjustable height of the auger allows you to use dual-stage snowblowers to clear any type of surface without fear of damaging that surface and/or your snowblower.


The auger is the spiral, rotating metal blade sitting at the snowblower’s front that chops up the snow and pushes it toward the back of the machine. In single-stage machines it also sends the snow up and out through the chute, whereas in dual-stage snowblowers it is the turbine or impeller that propels the snow out. It is very important that your auger is made from high quality and durable material, since it will take significant punishment over years of use.


The turbine is the second part of dual-stage snowblowers, residing right behind the auger. It grabs snow and propels it up through the chute. Occasionally known as an impeller, this snowblower component should be made of durable materials so that it is able to deal with any rocks or chunks of ice that your snowblower picks up.


Right behind the housing for the auger will be the chute, which is basically a chimney that directs where the snow goes. Chutes should be easily adjustable so that you can ensure the snow goes where you want it to. Purchase snowblowers with chutes that you are able to turn with one hand while still directing the snowblower with your other hand, since this will save time and effort.

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