Best 3 Stage Snow Blower [Review & Buyer’s Guide]

Is it winter? If yes, it means the time has come for battle against the giant snow pile at the end of your driveway. I hope you are able to connect, what I am talking about – those frozen mountains at driveway or/and sidewalks, just before you are about to leave home. 3 stage snow blower comes to your rescue in such situations. Throwing away snow at a higher thrust is necessary and 3 stage snow throwers make it very easy.  Shoveling snow is a tedious process and this is where such snow blowers come into the picture.

Get the right three stage snow blower to handle winter’s worst snow by clearing the snow from your way with the best tool. The speed and performance of a three stage snow blower will make your work easy by saving your time and energy. For such types of 3 stage snow blowers, clearing large drifts is like a cakewalk.

Top Two 3 Stage Snow Blowers

1. Troy-Bilt Vortex 2490 277cc Three Stage Gas Snow Thrower



  • Engine: 277cc
  • Clearance width: 24 inch
  • Clearance depth: 21 inch
  • Throw distance: 30 feet
  • Gross Torque:
  • Weight: 215lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years


The Troy Bilt Vortex (2490) is a three stage snow blower which will provide you the clearance of snow at some different level. This three stage snow blower includes Touch ‘n Turn to steer, heated handgrips, one hand operation, and many three stage snow removal features. Now, 3 stage process can be done with the new 12 in. accelerator that has the ability to spin at 10 times the speed of the augers. It can break down the heaviest and wettest snow before throwing it out from the high impact and clog resistant polymer chute.

There are large X-Trac tires to provide extra traction while breaking through barriers of snow left at the bottom of your driveway or large property. In order to break the ice and removal of snow in an effective manner, 12 inch serrated steel augers are sufficient enough to do the task. As this 3 stage snow blower, includes a 277cc OHV engine with a push button, the electric start will eliminate pull starting a cold engine.

With the help of Touch ‘n Turn power steering it will allow you to turn with the help of a touch of your finger. This three stage snow blower model enables, just a one hand operation in speed and freeing the other hand in order to operate chute and also pitch controls. As usual, this 3 stage snow blower also includes heated hand grips for more convenient work and comfort during early winter mornings. With the help of 4 way joystick control, changing pitch and direction of snow can be done easily and quickly.

The skid shoe with this three stage snow model is of the deluxe polymer. It also features headlights of premium quality, in-dash headlight. This machine includes speed such as 6 forward as well as 2 reverse. It has been claimed that such type of models has 50% more capacity than their 2 stage snow blowers. From the operator’s seat, it has a clear view of what is happening up front even this can be noticed by the shortest people.

Dash is made of plastic but then it is made of the same tough polymer as a chute. The vortex is considered greet for people that are less than 6 feet. The handle height will be 28 and 30 inches with 16-inch tires, which is ideally a little higher.

The engine of Troy-Bilt is considered premium as it has many advantages over competitive engine models. Some of the premium features are: overhead valves (OHV), cast iron cylinder sleeve, low tone muffler, ball bearing supported crank shaft, and large fuel tank capacity. You are not supposed to worry about the Troy Bilt Vortex as it has engine controls that you are used to. Like throttle with a stop, multi position choke, primer bulb, and removable safety switch there is also a separate button for the electric start.

The engines are designed to run on unleaded fuel up to E10 (10%) ethanol blends. One should never use E15, E20, or E85 in small gas engines. The tank threads, as well as the cap threads, are machined with the help of a vent in the cap.


  • 277cc motor
  • 4 way snow chute
  • Large deep treaded tires
  • Can clear of almost any depth of snow
  • It can easily muscle through the snow as well as the frozen piles at the front of the longest driveway.


  • Highly expensive
  • Heavy and Bulky

Pro Tip

Are you looking for a powerful and fastest three stage snow blower in order to clear the snow? Well, Troy-Bilt Vortex 2490 will be ideal for you and it won’t destroy your gravel driveway and it will be best for you.

2. Cub Cadet 357cc Three Stage Snow Blower



  • Engine: 357cc
  • Clearance width: 26 inch
  • Clearance depth: 21 inch
  • Throw distance: 40 ft (max)
  • Gross Torque:
  • Weight: 309lb
  • Warranty: 3 years


This type of model of Cub Cadet stands right in the middle of the three stage machines as well as offers the largest engines offered by the company is 357cc displacement. It is considered effective because of the 12-inch steel auger, super powerful 12-inch serrated induction accelerator in order to help aerate, chops snow quickly, and then after throws out of the way.

It is capable and efficient enough to remove massive amounts of snow, can cut heavy and bulky snow in order to toss it well over 50 feet whenever needed. This machine also includes bells and whistles, and 8 gear drive system, remote chute control, one handed steering, power steering triggers, heated handgrips, and dual lights system, this machine is a complete package, to easily remove the snow.

TRAC drive helps for 1 finger controlled power steering and provides solid traction even during an early winter morning. There are also 6 forward and 2 reverse self propelled speeds in order to give utmost comfort during clearing snow at your place. However, newly 3 X technologies are specially designed in order to cut through deep snowfall up to 50% faster than 2 stage snow blowers.

Just because of the 357cc cub cadet OHV 4 cycle engine, there is an electric start that can be easily started, no need for mixing of gas and oil, and high power during the early winter mornings. This effective 3 stage system makes your snow blower up to 50% more throughput than a 2 stage snow blower. A heavy-duty steel auger can gather the snow and moves to the center. Also, the newly induction accelerator helps to chop up the snow and pushes the snow to the impeller.

The snow is thrown out through the discharge chute with the help of 4 blade impeller. It is considered ideal for clearing what actually city plows leave at the end of your driveway. With the help of single hand joystick deflector control, one can change the direction and also the pitch of the chute from the operator position. Also, it consists of 190 degree crank chute rotation and remote pitch control with Hi-Arc steel chute.

Just because zero turn posi-steer, there is fingertip trigger control that allows effortless single hand turns. There is large and perfect 16-inch X-Trac tires provide superior traction. The heated grips are of enhanced red heated handgrips that provide a more comfy and soft touch grip.


  • Wet snow can be easily cleared.
  • The clearance of snow at steep driveways will be a cakewalk for such a type of three stage snow blower.
  • It can easily start during an early winter morning.


  • Through chains, only better traction can be done.

Pro Tip

It consists of the most powerful engine that is efficient enough to tackle heavy snowfall, constant cold temperatures, and clearance of snow from wide properties.

Buyer’s Guide

What Maintenance Does 3 Stage Blowers Need?

1. Lubrication

To make the three stage snow blower series efficient not only during the current season but also into the future then lubrication is highly essential. Also, if you wish to get started with regular lubrication then you have to be sure of the two key areas which are most in need of regular lubrication and double checking throughout the season.

2. Shave Plate and Skid Shoes

Practically, the shave plate and skid shoe come into contact with the snow and at times come into the contact with the ground. When this procedure is continued for a longer period then they become worn down and highly ineffective during the routine use. As both the parts are essential during the snow clearing so it should be checked at least once per season in order to stay ensure that no excessive wear takes place.

For instance, in the case of three stage snow blower skid shoes, worn edges to be solved are a cakewalk. That is all because the company ships its skid shoes with two edges in order to clear the snow. All you need to is rotate the skid shoe for 180 degrees which will then reveal a new and unworn edge that is ideal to be used for the upcoming season.

3. Auger Shaft

The three stage snow blower includes auger shaft which contains shear pins that generally, requires lubrication at least once per season in order to have smooth routine work. In order to perform lubrication, all you need is to remove the shear pins from the auger shaft and also spray a mild lubricant at the resulting openings. One can also spray this lubricant at all the spacers and any flange bearings or if bushings are located in the auger shaft. Then you should replace the shear pins after lubrication is completed.

4. Snow blower Wheels

It is of utmost necessity to have lubrication of the three stage snow blower’s wheels at least once per season and it should be done either before or after a specific period of storage or inactivity. Secondly, it will be beneficial if a light coating of multipurpose automotive grease to the axles just before reattaching each wheel. This process will help to reduce the excessive noise and friction, also eliminate wear on the wheels that will turn into savings of long term expenses.

5. Gear Shaft

Lubrication is considered draconian for the gear shaft. But instead of lubricating the gear shaft once per season, the operators should make sure that they are lubricating at least every 25 hours of operation. In order to do so, the 3 stage snow blower should be run until it has run out of fuel then the equipment should be lifted upward slightly and a coating of engine oil should be applied to the gear shaft area.

Pro Tips for Proper Use of 3 Stage Snow Blower Machine

  • The control levers should be disengaged and also engine should be stopped before cleaning, repairing, or maybe during an inspection of the three stage snow blower.
  • An operator is supposed to wait until the auger or impeller comes to a complete stop.
  • A spark plug wire should be disconnected and also ground it against the engine in order to prevent unwanted starting.
  • Bolts and screws should be checked properly in order to have proper tightness and it should be done often so that the machine runs safely.
  • But the natural vibration of the machine can also lose the bolts and screws during the winter season.
  • It is not ideal to change the engine’s governor setting and over the speed of the engine.
  • The governor will help to control or maintain the maximum safe operating speed of the engine.
  • Ideally, all the components should be checked and if required replaced with the original equipment manufacturer’s OEM parts only.
  • This three stage snow blower includes shave plates and a skid shoe which has maximum chances for wear and damage, so proper inspection and repair is mandatory for the smooth working of the machine.
  • If usage of parts that do not meet the OEM’s specifications will surely lead to unwanted performance and also risk safety.
  • Verification of the control levers periodically is necessary in order to ensure they engage and disengage properly and should be adjusted if it is not perfect.
  • Instructions label should be maintained or replaced if needed, it is necessary because any operator should be well informed about the procedure.
  • Disposal laws and regulations for oil, gas, etc should be performed in a required manner so that the environment remains in safe hands.
  • The fuel line, tank, cap, and fittings should be checked frequently so that there are no cracks or leaks and it should be replaced if needed.
  • The engine should not be cranked by the removal of a spark plug.


Exclusive Design

It is considered unique because of two heavy duty steel augers, as they collect and move the snow to the center, where actually the induction accelerator is supposed to chop and push the snow directly into the high performance impeller and then launching or throwing it up 50 feet.

Snow Throughput is 50% more

Ideally, throughput describes how much snow can be moved out of the three stage snow blower at a given time. Generally, three stage snow blower is efficient enough to move the snow up to 50% more snow than a two stage snow blower. That results in the least snow left and also higher efficiency.

Quick Clearance

Just because of the quick and effective throughput of three stages, it is efficient enough to handle more snow at once. Such types of snow blowers can clear large drifts of snow in a little time. The best feature is that it has the power and efficiency to handle in a perfect manner with good speed.

Cleaner Results

Innovative design and best performance of three stage snow blowers make less snow behind. But it makes more snow moving all the way to the impeller and the ultimate result will be a cleaner driveway as well as cleaner augers.

Track Drive in Three Stage Snow Blowers

In order to move a tank across the snow, it can be done with a track drive snow blower. During such a situation, the tracks will be in contact with the ground on steep terrain and providing maximum traction during harsh environments. But the track driven blowers are considered best as they provide safe work at steep paved or unpaved surfaces and it is also available with two stage snow blowers as well.

Most of the track drive snow blowers on the market would fail to allow you to turn the blower until there is a handle mounted trigger which will help for safe steering and many models even consist of variable speed control for best operation.

2 Stage Vs 3 Stage Snow Blower

For instance, if there are a light snowfall and relatively small paths to clear the snow then single stage snow blower is efficient enough to complete the work. But it is not ideal to be used for clearance of heavy snowfall from your sizable driveways and walkways.

Now, are you confused about which type of snow blower is ideal for you? In order to help you to make the right decision, below given content is an ultimate guide that includes the difference between a 2 stage VS 3 stage snow blower.

2 Stage Snow Blower

This type of snow blower is called two stage snow blower because the snow clearing process is done in two stages by a durable serrated auger and an impeller. During the first stage, it involves the gathering as well as breaking down the snow and ice into smaller pieces before they are passed to an impeller. The second stage includes the throwing of snow and ice at a distance reaching as far as 50 feet by the discharge chute.

A two stage snow blower is considered more powerful than a single stage snow blower because of moving parts and a better engine. However, with the help of an auger, the speed of snow gathering becomes faster.  Secondly, due to high horsepower engines, a two stage snow blower becomes capable enough of removing snow that is 24 inches deep.

Though such types of snow blowers can collect more snow and effective throwing process still it can be handled with one hand. The chute can easily rotate even if the machine is already moving around the driveway or sidewalk. Ultimately, it will save you time because then you do not have to stop it for chute adjustments.

The best part of having a 2 stage snow blower is that usually, a 2 stage snow blower has a self propelling feature that will make the snow bower move automatically around the steep pathways with the help of tracks or tires. Then to keep the owner warm despite the cold weather, hand warmers are featured with such type of snow blower on the handle.

Another noteworthy difference can be is how the 2 stage snow blower and the 3 stage snow blower are maintained. Just because of the sheer power of its engine and the complex parts, maintenance of a 3 stage snow blower cannot be done without any professional assistance. Whereas, you will be spending more money and time on 3 stage snow blower rather 2 stage snow blower.

3 Stage Snow Blowers

Although, it is one of the most powerful snow blowers still it came into the market back in the 1970s. The famous American Machine and Foundry had designed a 3 stage snow blower that was having a disk auger. Whereas, the Craftsman Company used a bar in the place of a disk auger.

There is also a third manufacturer known as Lambert Company, which installed an auger just above the snow clearing bucket. Lombard Company was the one who placed double auger systems. In this way, the companies made a different type of product and also increased the competition. And now, after more than four decades, we know to refer to them as vintage 3 stage snow blowers. They all are unique at their place and effective enough to clear the snow drifts.

Just like a two stage snow blower, even three stage snow blower is self propelled. Still, you should prefer having a three stage snow blower in order to clear a large amount of snow in the fastest possible manner. The best part of having a 3 stage snow blower is that it includes an accelerator, which can be called the third auger.

For instance, if we consider a single stage blower then it includes one auger, whereas, a two stage snow blower features a collection of augers working together with an impeller and 3 stage snow blower has a best third high-speed auger, which can easily be considered ten times faster than those snow blower includes impeller.

With such a great high velocity third auger, it makes it easy to gather all the snow and ice with the help of dual collection augers, it will churn and reduce to tiny pieces in less time. As soon as the snow reaches the impeller when it is thrown as far as 50 feet away.

Ideally, a 3 stage snow blower works just like the 2 stage snow blower but more speed and horsepower make them stand out. Secondly, both of them use the collection of augers as well as the impeller in order to throw the snow away up to 50 feet away but three stage snow blower has an accelerator.

Just because of the accelerator, a 3 stage snow blower can gather snow 50% faster than a 2 stage model. During clearance of huge snow drifts, it is not supposed to slow down unlike two stage snow blowers and single stage snow blowers. Also, it will leave cleaner paths as the left snow is immediately taken into the impeller chute. Ultimately, one can say that it is superior in terms of snow clearing quickly.

Difference Between Troy-Bilt Vortex 2490 and Cub Cadet 3 Stage Snow Blower

Features Troy Bilt Vortex 2490 Cub Cadet 357cc
Stage Three Stage Snow Blower Three Stage Snow Blower
Engine 277cc 357cc
Weight 215lb 309lb
Clearance Width 21 inch 26 inch
Clearance Depth 30 inch 21 inch
Throwing Distance 30 feet 40 feet

You might not use your snow blower so often but when there is a need then your snow blower should work well and last for a very long time. However, all the new Troy Bilt Gas Snow Blower is the most reliable machine that will satisfy all your checklist and because of this reason only it is our best overall pick as per the situation and needs.

There are a lot of great high-end snow blowers on the market, so it is going to be a bit tough to pick any one snow blower. But Cub Cadet 26 inch 357cc is another best option for clearance of the snow quickly and lets you get back at work faster. A cub cadet snow blower is highly convenient to use during the worst early winter mornings. It is 26 inches wide by 21-inch high clearance and it is ideal enough to complete your work in less time.

No matter if you are clearing a small driveway or a long walkway but you can throw your snow with accuracy if you are using troy bilt gas snow thrower. It also includes 2 way polymer chute that can easily spin 190 degrees in order to toss your displaced snow exactly where you want it. On the other hand, the whole machine can be easily operated with a simple and ergonomic gull wing bar. With this model of Troy Bilt 3 stage snow blower, you can impressively clear snow 21 inch wide by 30 inches high in less time.

The Bottom Line

At the end of this blog, one can easily conclude which 3 stage snow blower is perfect for them as per the need and weather conditions in their surroundings.

Ricky Shah
Ricky Shah

Ricky started GeniusGeeks in 2009 and there's no turning back since then! His flair of writing Windows OS related technical articles has been his hallmark! When not writing, he's often found exploring productivity and project management tools!

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