The number of augers and impellers in a snow thrower is crucial. A single-stage model has only one auger, while a two-stage has both augers and an impeller. On the other hand, a three-stage model features augers and two impellers. The more impellers a model has, the more snow it can clear and the faster it can do so.
A single-stage model can only handle dry, powdery snow up to 6 inches deep, and it can only eject snow up to 20 feet away from the operator. This means there is a higher risk of snow blowing back into the clearing path or onto the operator. In contrast, a two-stage model uses front augers to break up snow drifts and feed debris into the impeller, which can throw snow up to 40 feet away.
A three-stage snow thrower is capable of handling wet, heavy snow up to 2 feet deep, as well as thin layers of ice. This is due to the side augers feeding snow and ice into the center impeller, which then accelerates debris into the final impeller, allowing the snow to be thrown up to 60 feet away from the operator, depending on the specific model.