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Best For Your Buck Product
Best bang for the buck
Toro
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Best Of The Best Product
Best of the best
Husqvarna
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Pros
Cons

How We Decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds—we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

101
Models Considered
42
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
173
Consumers Consulted

Note: The above product recommendations were updated August 2017. The products below were our original choices and have yet to be updated.

Best Leaf Blowers

You can buy a cheap leaf blower for around thirty-five dollars, but as you might expect, it's not likely to provide much power or last very long. That doesn't mean you must pay an arm and a leg for a good blower, as our ratings will show.

We've included electric and gas-powered leaf blowers but not cordless models. (Battery-driven models often weigh a lot and don't run for very long between charges.) Each of the leaf blowers on our shortlist delivers considerable performance for the price. The finalists are:

Products we Considered

  • Husqvarna
    50.2cc Gas Powered
  • Black & Decker
    12-Amp Blower
  • Toro
    12-Amp Variable-Speed
  • Greenworks
    G-MAX 40V Variable Speed
  • Hitachi
    23.9cc 2-Cycle 170 MPH

Considerations

Motor Type & Power

The gap in performance (and noise) between electric and gas-powered leaf blowers isn't what it used to be, but there are still differences to think about. In terms of output, potential buyers should take ratings for volts, horsepower, and miles per hour into consideration.

Operational Features

Some leaf blowers function as reversible vacuums. Others offer mulching options with impellers. In this part of our ratings, we examine the various operational features each blower provides.

Ease of Use

In this section of our ratings, we examine factors that affect the user experience such as weight and balance.

Price

Although our ratings steer clear of the cheapest leaf blowers on the market, several models on our shortlist provide an affordable solution to your garden-clearing requirements. We've also included a premium alternative so you can make a fully informed price/performance comparison.

Considerations

Motor Type & Power

Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum

Like the Black & Decker, the electrically powered Toro 51609 Ultra boasts a 12-amp motor. However, this machine offers greater flexibility than the Black & Decker with variable speed available from a conveniently mounted control on top of the casing. Output ranges from a relatively gentle 112 mph to a top-end figure of 235 mph. At that maximum, the Toro makes almost exactly the same amount of noise as the Black & Decker. As such, its noise output should be within many municipal limits.

Greenworks 24012 7 Amp Single Speed Electric 160 MPH Blower

With a motor rated at just seven amps, it's natural to think that the electrically powered Greenworks 24012 Blower might be a bit under-powered. It runs at a speed of 160 mph, which is indeed slow compared to some other products on the market. Its decibel level can reach 97, which seems high for an electric blower.

Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower

The gas-driven Hitachi RB24EAP Handheld Blower is powered by a 23.9cc, two-stroke engine that delivers just over one horsepower. In terms of output, it's a single- speed model with a ceiling speed of 170 mph. If you compare that speed to the Black & Decker or Toro, the Hitachi seems a bit on the slow side. The Hitachi RB24EAP sports an engine that's clean enough to satisfy the strict CARB Tier III standards. Our research allows us to offer two decibel ratings: Hitachi say it produces 107, but at the 50 feet away, sound output has been measured at just 68 decibels.

Husqvarna 350BT 50.2cc 2-Cycle X-Torq Gas Powered 180 MPH Midsize Back Pack

The gas-fed Husqvarna 350BT Blower sports a CARB-compliant motor with a 50cc, two-stroke delivery that is slightly over two horsepower. That's a powerful engine by any standard! Interestingly, even with variable throttle control, the Husqvarna only hits 180 mph. It does so at a relatively low 7,500 rpm, which helps explain its comparatively quiet, 104-decibel output. Within 50 feet, that higher decibel level is likely to fall below the 70 dB limit enforced by many municipalities.

The gas-fed Husqvarna sports a CARB-compliant motor with a 50cc, two-stroke delivery that is slightly over two horsepower. Indeed, it's a powerful engine by any standard!
Considerations

Operational Features

Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum

With a rating of 390 CFM, the Toro 51609 Ultra Electric Blower is similar to the Black & Decker in many ways. It offers vacuuming, mulching, and blowing at the same effective 16:1 ratio as the Black & Decker. One of the only differences between the two products is the fact that the Toro offers variable speed. This makes it easier for owners to adjust its power for various conditions.

The little Greenworks 24012 leaf blower isn't what you'd call a big, powerful blower. This light-duty machine is for clearing leaves and small amounts of debris. For many people, that's all the functionality they really need.

The Hitachi RB24EAP Handheld Blower's capacity of 440 CFM is a great indicator of its performance in real-world terms. It is, however, only a leaf blower --no vacuum or mulching options are included with this model.

The big Husqvarna 350BT leaf blower is rated at over 690 CFM. This is a huge figure, but pretty much what you'd expect from a commercial-standard machine. That's not to say you can't use it around the home. (As we'll see in the next section, it offers some unique, household-friendly features.) However, the Husqvarna's main focus is clearing large quantities of leaves, twigs, grass, and so on. Much like a weed whacker, trigger control is infinitely variable, but when you get it where you want it, you can set the Husqvarna on cruise-control just like a car! Vacuum and mulching options aren't included.

The Toro 51609 offers variable speed, making it easy for owners to adapt its power to various conditions.
Luke
Expert Consultant

Luke owned and operated his own lawn and landscaping business for over a decade. Founding the business and growing it prior to an acquisition, Luke led all procurement decisions, from the purchase of blowers and lawn mowers to weed whackers and tillers. Luke uses all of these machines regularly.


Luke  |  Landscaping Professional
Considerations

Ease of Use

Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum

The electric Toro 51609 Ultra leaf blower shares advantages (or disadvantages, depending on your point of view) with the Black & Decker, including tool-free mode changing. The versatility offered by the variable speed is backed up by a greater range of tubes and nozzles, allowing more precise arrangements to suit different tasks. A few owners initially thought this might be more complexity than necessary, but in the end, almost all consumers found that they appreciated the flexibility. With a weight of 7.5 pounds, you would think it felt similar in use to the Black & Decker. However, the Toro's design is quite different and, overall, it's much more manageable than its competitor.

Greenworks 24012 7 Amp Single Speed Electric 160 MPH Blower

If ease of use is an important criteria for you, the Greenworks 24012 leaf blower will probably be the only machine you look at. Put simply, it's a "point and shoot" machine. Getting the Greenworks to start is a straightforward process. It may not be overly powerful, but it's just 4.5 pounds and particularly good for those with reduced physical ability. Owners love this item and say that it "packs quite a punch."

Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower

If you're looking for a relatively light weight, two-stroke machine that runs on gas, the Hitachi RB24EAP Handheld Blower is well worth considering. At 8.6 pounds, it is only a little heavier than the Black & Decker -- and you're not restricted by cord length. Manufacturers like Hitachi are well aware of consumer complaints about how tricky it can be to start a gas-powered machine. (Actually, while they're not just switched on and off, gas-powered appliances are far easier to turn on than they used to be!) The Hitachi includes an "auto-return" function on the starter, so it's always ready to go (although some owners did say this didn't always work properly). With a two-finger trigger and low-slung action, this model is relatively comfortably to use.

Husqvarna 350BT 50.2cc 2-Cycle X-Torq Gas Powered 180 MPH Midsize Back Pack

Given that it has a 50cc motor, you might expect the Husqvarna 350BT blower to be a bit heavy. At 22.5 pounds, it is. However, it could be argued that the Husqvarna is actually among the most comfortable blowers on our shortlist because the whole thing is contained in a supportive backpack. Consumers wear this tool and only carry the weight of the nozzle and the handlebars in their hands. This is a big, powerful too that is very focused on doing a professional job. (That's not to say it's only for contractors and experienced owners; many homeowners say it's easy to start and use.) With a fuel tank capacity of over 42 ounces, it's made to work all day long if you need it to. The only slight negative we encountered in our research was a bit of vibration at idle. However, this vibration subsides at working speeds.

The 22.5-pound Husqvarna is conveniently contained in a supportive backpack that distributes weight evenly.

Our expert landscaping consultant, Luke, advises that if you're worried your extension cord isn't long enough for your corded blower, you may prefer to use a backpack-style leaf blower instead. This type of tool is often used by professionals.

Considerations

Price

Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum

There are initially quite a few similarities between the Black & Decker and the Toro 51609 Ultra leaf blower. The Toro's top speed and CFM are just a fraction lower -- not enough to make a big difference in performance. However, with the $89 Toro, customers enjoy variable speed and a slightly wider range of tubes and nozzles. This flexibility is reflected in the Toro's extreme popularity. A few customers have had problems with switches and durability, but literally thousands of other owners find it to be lightweight, well-balanced, and surprisingly powerful.

Greenworks 24012 7 Amp Single Speed Electric 160 MPH Blower

You'll pay $23 for the for the Greenworks 24012 Blower. When compared to the Black & Decker or Toro, the Greenworks' price might seem expensive. After all, it only offers one speed, and it can't compete with the speed and air volume of the other two electric contenders. However, making those comparisons is missing the point of the little Greenworks -- and we emphasize the word "little." It weighs just 4.5 pounds -- nearly half the weight of its supposed rivals -- and this is its strength. It's ideal for small yards and perfect for those with reduced physical ability. Interestingly, our research turned up virtually no user complaints. A few did think it slightly under-powered (although we think the manufacturer's description makes this clear), but the majority appreciate its light weight and think it's great for yard use.

Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower

Gas-powered machines typically cost a bit more than their electric counterparts, and at $129, the Hitachi RB24EAP leaf blower is no exception. However, gas models are often seen as more durable, and $129 is not an unreasonable price if you get extra life for your money. The Hitachi doesn't offer the versatility of the Black & Decker or Toro, but then, this is "old-school" leaf blowing -- the machine's primary purpose is simply to blow debris into a pile. One of its biggest advantages is the freedom you enjoy with no cord to worry about. There is a noise penalty, but it's not a horrendous one. The Hitachi Gas-Powered Handheld Blower is quite a popular machine. It's relatively powerful and considered to be comfortable during long periods of use -- although a minority of owners did experience problems with build quality, and a few were dissatisfied with the quality of Hitachi's customer service.

Husqvarna 350BT 50.2cc 2-Cycle X-Torq Gas Powered 180 MPH Midsize Back Pack

The step up to the Husqvarna 350BT leaf blower is a big one in every sense -- including price, which is $272. How do you justify that kind of monetary difference? It depends entirely on the kind of leaf blower you want. Husqvarna doesn't compete with the other machines here; it blows them into the weeds! This machine is large and heavy, but it's purpose-built to mount comfortably on your back. Firing it up is actually no more difficult than any other gas-powered leaf blower, and once fueled, it yields an output close to 700 CFM all day long. Construction quality is high, and critics are few. It's not flawless, and some owners have experienced starting problems, but most agree that if you've got large areas to clear, this is the tool for the job. An added bonus: it's surprisingly quiet, too.

Toro 51609 owners appreciate its light weight, variable speed, and flexible range of tubes and nozzles.

Best of the Best

A product has to be particularly excellent to make our top five, and all of the blowers on our shortlist have their strengths. However, the best leaf blower is, without a doubt, the Husqvarna 350BT.

The Husqvarna sits head and shoulders above the competition in every important area -- with one proviso. If you've just got an "ordinary" yard or small plot, any of the other contenders on our list would probably be sufficient. However, if you've got space to roam and you want a tool that isn't restricted by cord length or run time, this blower is the ultimate solution.

The Husqvarna 350BT sports an easy-starting, 50cc, two-stroke motor that puts out a fraction over two horsepower. While speed rating is only 180 mph (for reference, the Back & Decker's speed reaches 250 mph), volume of air moved is an even more important figure, and the Husky's output is a tremendously impressive 690 CFM. Combined with a 42-ounce fuel tank, Husqvarna owners find themselves with a machine that's capable of handling tough conditions like wet leaves all day long.

Thanks to the backpack harness and shoulder straps that support the weight comfortably, most people can handle the 22.5-pound Husqvarna just fine. Owners rave about how maneuverable it is thanks to the handlebars and how controllable the power is thanks to the trigger setup and cruise-control option.

The Husqvarna won't vacuum up your garden debris, and it doesn't mulch it and stow it in a bag for later disposal, either. (Frankly, you couldn't get a bag big enough if it did!) Rather, the Husqvarna is a focused leaf blower, and it does its job exceptionally well.
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If you've got space to roam and you want a tool that isn't restricted by cord length or run time, the Husqvarna 350BT is the ultimate solution.

Best Bang for your Buck

All of our contenders possess great strengths, and the Black & Decker came very close to winning our Best Bang for your Buck title. However, the Toro 51609 shades it for several important reasons.

It's clear from sales figures that more and more people prefer electrically powered leaf blowers. They're generally quieter. (At 67 decibels, the Toro comfortably beats the common municipal restriction of 70 decibels.) Power cords aren't usually an issue because most yards aren't that large. In addition, electrically powered leaf blowers are often easier to start.

To those general advantages the Toro adds variable speed that ranges from a breeze-like 112 mph to a hurricane-like 235 mph. It backs this up with a solid air flow of 390 CFM. When in vacuum mode, a steel impeller compacts material to as little as one sixteenth of its original size. (In this state, the debris is mulched and ready for composting!) At just 7.5 pounds, the Toro is also very light and, according to owners, easy to handle. The Toro's final defining element is its convenient and useful selection of tubes and nozzles.

For a budget price of $89, the Toro is an overall package that simply can't be beat. Not all owners are happy with the product; there have been reliability complaints and some issues with component fragility. However, many of these problems should be covered by the industry-standard, two-year warranty. Most owners are completely satisfied with their Toro 51609. It's a smart economic choice and the Best Bang for Your Buck.
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The Toro 51609's variable speed ranges from a breeze-like 112 mph to a hurricane-like 235 mph!
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    Writer
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    Product Analyst
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