How Many Inches of Snow to Use Snowblower

When winter comes, we all start preparing for snow-removing activities, whose difficulty depends upon the amount and type of snow you need to clear. Removing dry snow is easier than wet snow because they are more solid and heavy. You may require a larger snowblower to do this job.

Therefore, to use a snowblower effectively, it is important to learn how many inches of snow to use a snowblower. What type of snowblower works on both wet and dry types of snow? Which snowblower will work on a gravel driveway? Knowing all these additional factors will make your job easier and quicker.

How much Inches of Snow Require to Use Snowblower?

Snow BlowersElectricSingle StageTwo StageThree StageTrack Drive
Snow HeightUpto 12"Upto 18"Upto 23.5"Upto 23"Upto 23.5"
Snow TypeLight/FluffyLight/WetWet/HeavyWet/HeavyWet/Heavy
Clearning Width12-18"18-12"20-38"24-30"24-32"
InclineLevel SurfacesSlight InclineMid-Steep InclineMid-Steep InclineSteep-Icy Incline
Throws SnowUpto 30'Upto 35'Upto 60'Upto 50'Upto 60'

Snow blowers are classified into different types based on the depth of snow they can handle. Therefore, your first task is determining how much snow depth your driveway or walkway acquires during winter.

How Many Inches of Snow to Use Snowblower

Snow depth less than 3 inches:

Suppose you are living in an area that receives light snowfall and has snow depth at a maximum limit of 3 inches. Then using a snow shovel might be better than purchasing a bulky machine like a snowblower.

A snow shovel is an electric shovel that does the heavy lifting on behalf of the user. They are less labor intensive because it has blades attached to the paddle, which scoop the snow by rotation and throw it away.

Snow shovels are available in both corded and cordless models. The cordless model has more run time than the cordless, but if you prefer mobility, the cordless is for you.

Remember a snow shovel is not a snowblower. It has no self-propelled mechanism. However, it has an ergonomic design that allows you to hold it more comfortably.

Have a look on When is the Best Time to Buy a Snowblower.

Snow Depth Less than 8 inches:

Handling moderate snowfall of depth 8 inches or less is the job of a single-stage snow blower or electric snowblower. The main difference between these two is one is operated on gas and the other on electricity. To clear any doubts, let’s discuss them in detail.

Electric Snowblower:

Electric snowblowers get their power from a battery that needs to be charged. Although they have existed for a long time in the market, now, with technological improvements in lithium-ion batteries, they are more powerful than before.

Even though there is improvement in their power, electric snowblower can only handle snow up to 8 inches, unlike gas snowblower, which comes in a different capacity.

They are made up of basic components like a chute and auger. Where the auger sucks the snow and throws it away from the chute. Moreover, they come in two models cordless, with a mobility option, and corded, which you need to plug in the outlet.

Single Stage Snowblower:

Single-stage snow blowers work on gas, that is why they have more powerful engines and mobility. Further, they can handle snow more efficiently because you do not have to worry about battery drainage on repeated use.

Any single-stage blower consists of an auger and chute. It sucks snow from the auger and sends it to the chute to throw it out.

Additionally, they are small and easy to maneuver on a flat surface. Plus, it is the most cost-effective model type in the gas-operated blower.

Snow depth up to 15 inches:

The next category of the blower is which can handle snowfall from moderate to high. Two-stage snowblowers are ideal for this type of snow as they can run from dry to wet snow. Their power engine sucks snow from the auger and sends it to the impeller that throws it away from the chute.

Arguably they are the best snowblower that works on smooth and gravel surfaces. Its design comes with a self-propelled machine which they are easier to handle the snow. This machine can throw snow 50 feet away.

Two-stage blowers are made to handle a large amount of snow in a small amount of time. Additionally, they have a wider width and larger intake height than the single-stage snowblower.

Therefore, they can handle a large expanse of the area in a few passes. So, if you regularly hassle with large snow drifts in winter, you can completely rely on a two-stage blower.

Snow Depth up to 20 inches and above:

If you are dealing with a 20 inches layer of snow, not every snowblower can handle this difficult task. You will need a heavy-duty machine like a third-stage snowblower. It has an engine power of 200 cc -450cc, which takes a load of clearing a large area in little time.

What makes a three-stage blower special is its additional part, the accelerator, which is attached to two auger blades. This auger blade is so powerful that it can cut the toughest of snow by chewing them, and its impeller is responsible for throwing it out. This accelerator plays its part by speeding up the process, making this stage snowblower 50 times faster than a two-stage blower.

Additionally, it has a wider width and intake height than a two-stage blower making it able to handle large snow at a time, thereby clearing a large area only in a few passes.

Nevertheless, its many advantages come with a hefty price. Also, it is far more costly than single-stage and two-stage blowers, and you may even need to pay a technician for its maintenance because of its complex structure.

Therefore, the third-stage blower is only good when the homeowners live in a place that suffers from extremely heavy snowfall; otherwise, a two-stage blower can also work efficiently without clearing your pockets.


Snowblower is an extremely special tool for removing snow from any surface, whether a driveway or pathway, but once you learn to differentiate it on its uses, you can take work ten times more than it is worth.

Therefore before purchasing a snowblower, make sure you have learned about all its features and whether they provide the additional quality which will make your work more comfortable.

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