Exceptional performance. Can be worn like a backpack for easy maneuvering. A powerhouse machine with a large gas tank.
Slight vibration during idle. Heavy (22 pounds), but weight is distributed evenly inside backpack.
Variable speed settings. Easy to use and manipulate.
On the higher end of the budget-price spectrum.
An electrically powered blower with variable speeds. Affordable. Can blow up to 110 miles per hour. Lightweight, easy to use, and powerful for its class.
Not ideal for large yards or huge piles of leaves. Highest speed setting is loud. Some lemons reported.
Lightweight (3.3 pounds). Battery gets up to 45 minutes of use per charge. Comes with battery and charger.
Not good at moving heavy leaves; best for small to moderate jobs like blowing grass clippings.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Even if you only have a modest-sized yard with a few trees, when those leaves fall, it can be a formidable task to get them all gathered and bagged. That's why, in autumn, a leaf blower becomes invaluable to the average homeowner. Additionally, a leaf blower can serve as a time-saving cleaning tool in places such as your patio or shed.
Picking a leaf blower involves a great deal of decision making. Corded models are limited by the cord, cordless models are limited by the battery time, and gas-powered models are heavy and environmentally unfriendly, but powerful. A balanced leaf blower with less vibration and a second-hand grip produces the least amount of hand fatigue.
There is a great deal more to learn about leaf blowers, so if you want an in-depth education, keep reading. If you already have an idea of what you're looking for and are ready to buy now, consider one of the models we've evaluated and determined to be the best.
If you’ve glanced at the leaf blower market lately, you know that there are handheld, backpack, and wheeled leaf blowers to choose from. Which type of leaf blower should you buy?
The answer to that question rests primarily on two factors:
How many leaves you need to blow
How quickly you want to accomplish the task
If you have a large yard with lots of leaves, you’re going to need a more powerful leaf blower than a person with a small yard and few leaves.
As you’re deciding which leaf blower to buy, keep in mind the volume of leaves and debris you’ll be contending with.
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.
Handheld leaf blowers work for most people. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver and store. Some handheld leaf blowers can vacuum and mulch leaves as well as blow dirt and debris off your driveway, porch, or patio.
There are three different types of handheld leaf blowers: corded electric, cordless electric, and gas-powered.
These start easily and are lightweight; most weigh about eight pounds. Many models come with a vacuum attachment and do a good job of mulching leaves. They are relatively quiet.
The cord may cause you some grief, however; you are limited in range because you must stay within a certain distance of an electrical outlet, and it’s easy to get tangled in the cord.
There are some communities and areas where leaf blowers are banned because of the noise level. Be sure to check with any residential or city regulations before purchasing a leaf blower.
These run on either lithium-ion (Li-ion) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries. Li-ion batteries hold a charge longer and tend to be smaller and lighter, with the leaf blower weighing anywhere from eight to ten pounds.
Battery-powered leaf blowers can handle most yards, driveways, and patios, but after 30 to 45 minutes, you have to recharge the battery.
These are powerful and fast. They can take on dense leaves, dirt, and debris. The gas engine and tank add a bit of heaviness, causing them to weigh in at around 10 pounds. Two-stroke engine models require a special mix of oil and fuel that you can either mix manually or purchase premixed from a home improvement store.
While there are a few gas-powered handheld leaf blowers that come with attachments for vacuuming and mulching, they tend to be slow and not as effective as electric models. They are also noisy and require careful engine maintenance.
Backpack leaf blowers are gas-powered and weigh anywhere from 13 to 25 pounds. This type of leaf blower works best in large yards with a high volume of leaves.
If it takes you an hour or more to clear your yard of leaves, a backpack leaf blower is probably a good choice for you.
Special care must be taken when using a backpack leaf blower. With the engine mounted on your back, it is closer to your ears, so ear protection is extremely important.
Like other gas-powered engines, these leaf blowers are loud, but they can make quick work of job too difficult for a handheld model.
There are shop vacs and trimmers that can be used as leaf blowers. Trimmers may require an extra attachment, and shop vacs must be put in reverse. They work well in small areas such as a porch or patio.
If you need a professional-grade leaf blower, consider a gas-powered wheeled leaf blower.
These monsters make quick work of leaves, dirt, and debris. They work best on large, flat landscapes, as their 100 pounds of weight can be difficult to maneuver uphill.
Their four-stroke engines do not require any mixing of fuel.
But you’ll need to make sure you have enough storage space for these giants, as they can take up from six to eight square feet of space.
If you aren’t regularly using your gas leaf blower, you’ll need to flush old fuel from the gas tank or consider adding a fuel stabilizer to prevent damage to the engine when it’s not in use.
Leaf blower nozzles are either flat or round. Flat nozzles are great for blowing loose leaves in a sweeping motion. Round nozzles excel at loosening dirt, debris, and wet leaves. Some leaf blowers come with both types of nozzles.
The ability to control a leaf blower’s speed allows you to tailor your leaf-blowing approach to the task at hand. A gas-powered leaf blower with a variable throttle allows you to control the speed in the same way that you might control speed with a dial on an electric leaf blower.
For example, you can turn the speed down in order to safeguard delicate areas such as flower beds and gardens. Concrete patios and similar open areas may not need as much power as grass.
A cordless leaf blower with a Li-ion battery will be lighter and smaller than a cordless leaf blower with a NiCd battery. Li-ion batteries can hold a charge for several months between uses without damage to the battery.
A leaf blower’s air deflector directs where the leaves are blown. An adjustable deflector gives you better control over where the leaves fly.
The air intake is the place on the leaf blower where air is sucked in. In general, a bottom-mounted air intake is preferable to a side intake, as a side intake could inadvertently suck in your clothing or other items.
Some gas-powered leaf blowers have a primer bulb. These leaf blowers are easier to start than some other varieties.
If you purchase an electric cordless leaf blower, you may want to check the battery types on your other battery-powered tools. Some manufacturers use interchangeable batteries with their products. If you can make this work for you, you’d have a handy backup battery if needed.
Two-stroke engines are less expensive and offer an excellent balance of weight and power.
However, they require a mix of oil and gasoline to fuel them. You’ll either have to mix it yourself or buy a special pre-mixed blend for a leaf blower with a two-stroke engine.
Four-stroke engines don’t require mixed fuel.
However, a leaf blower with a four-stroke engine is likely to be heavy, and it will require more overall maintenance than a leaf blower with a two-stroke engine.
With handheld leaf blowers, balance plays an important role in how quickly your arm becomes fatigued.
Machines that are imbalanced can put undue pressure on the hand, wrist, and arm as you compensate for the extra weight.
If you’re worried that your extension cord isn’t long enough for your corded leaf blower, you may prefer to use a backpack-style leaf blower instead. This type of tool is often used by landscaping professionals.
Handheld leaf blowers with a second grip are easier to control and balance, especially when you have a big job to complete.
For the sake of safety, it makes sense to have a leaf blower with easy access to the shut-off switch. No matter what type of leaf blower you have – electric, gas, wheeled, or backpack – quick and easy shut-off is a must.
A clear, or transparent, gas tank allows you keep an eye on your gas level while you work. Tanks with wide openings are easier to fill as well.
Some leaf blowers have vibration-reduction technology that can reduce user fatigue.
Many corded electric leaf blowers fall within this price range. The low price is appealing, but a corded leaf blower of this caliber may not have enough strength to clear a yard in a reasonable amount of time.
Many gas-powered handheld leaf blowers fit into this price range; you can find them with both two- and four-stroke engines. Notably, leaf blowers with four-stroke engines tend to cost and weigh more.
Gas engines must be properly maintained. You’ll need to clean the carburetor and fan blades as well as check and replace the spark plugs occasionally.
Battery-powered leaf blowers tend to cost about this much, though the price varies depending on the type and size of battery required. In turn, the battery specs affect the leaf blower’s power and runtime.
Gas-powered backpack leaf blowers span this wide price range. A product’s weight, size, and engine type account for the biggest price differences within this category.
A gas-powered, wheeled workhorse of a leaf blower can be found within this pricing spectrum. The higher prices are attributed to engine size, power, and self-propelled features. Gas-powered wheeled leaf blowers consume lots of storage space when not in use, but if you have a lot of property or need a leaf blower for commercial use, the extra cost might be worth it.
Leaf blowers are loud, powerful pieces of equipment. You should always wear the proper safety gear when you use a leaf blower.
This includes the following:
Always read your user manual thoroughly before using your leaf blower, and be sure to keep children and pets a safe distance away when you use your machine.
Q. Are there any leaf blowers that would be quiet enough not to disturb my neighbors?
A. Cordless electric leaf blowers are the quietest models available. But even with a cordless leaf blower, you should perform a noise check to see how loud the machine gets. To avoid irritating your neighbors, it’s best to refrain from using your leaf blower early in the morning or late at night when neighbors are most likely to be disturbed.
Q. My yard is surrounded by large trees that cover my lawn with leaves every year. What type of leaf blower would work best for me?
A. Depending on the size of your yard, you’ve got several options. A large yard plagued with a high volume of leaves requires, at the very least, a gas-powered handheld leaf blower. If you have a little more cash to spend, consider a backpack leaf blower or a wheeled gas-powered leaf blower.
For those with relatively small yards, there are some corded electric leaf blowers that might suffice. These leaf blowers are fairly quiet and lightweight, yet they are powerful enough to blow a high volume of leaves off the yard.
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