For those who live on properties where there’s a lot of trees, it’s the same story every year. Trees lose their leaves, and you end up with a carpet of dead leaves on the ground. Getting them out with a shovel or rack can be annoying and painful. That’s why a lot of people opt to buy a leaf blower instead. It’s much quicker and easier to use, and the job is done in no time. But there’s a lot of brands and models out there. Here’s 4 things you should know before you buy a leaf blower.
First, there’s the type of power used in your leaf blower. Currently there’s two popular types, gas powered and electric leaf blowers. Each have their own positive and negative features. A gas powered leaf blower will typically be heavier and vibrate more. You’ll also need to carry the gas tank, usually a backpack unit that you have on your back. Also, you will need to fill it up every time you want to use the device, and some brands require specific mixes of gas and oil. However, the advantage is that you can go much further with it, and they are much more powerful, so you can blow your leaves away in a quicker fashion. The electric ones usually have a cord, so you’re linked to the nearest plug, or you have to rely on rechargeable batteries. But they are lighter, vibrate less, and easier to use.
Most leaf blowers are simply blowers, meaning they blow away the leaves. This can be fine for a front yard where you can send all those leaves to the street, and the city workers clean them up. However, you may have a large land where you don’t have anywhere to send them. Some higher end models offer a combo of blowing and vacuuming. They come with a backpack unit that can store leaves that you vacuum up with the device.
While many of these models have backpacks added to them, but another model available are the wheel units, which are mounted on two wheels and can be dragged behind you. This makes them easy to use and carry around, since you simply drag them over the leaves like a lawnmower.
Finally, once you’re set on the type of power, model, and price of your next leaf blower, don’t forget to check if your town has noise ordinances. Some of these devices, especially the gas powered ones, can be quite noisy, and you may get complaints if you don’t respect the rules. Make sure you inform yourself before you go out and buy one for yourself. Once you know everything there is to know about leaf blowers, then feel free to make your purchase, and enjoy getting rid of those leaves in a much easier fashion.
The task of selecting the best leaf blower can be exasperating, even for the most adept and conscientious homeowners. This is mainly because over the decades a large number of brands, designs and varieties have come to the market. This is why this site is dedicated to helping you get the best varieties for your needs and budget.
We provide you a detailed guide on the different types in the market, objective reviews of the best products in each class and then we provide you with a step by step shopping guide on how to select the best blower for your yard.
Understanding Leaf Blower Vacuum Specifications
The following will be helpful for somebody who does not typically have an idea of power tools and what the specifications on a blower vacuum mean.
Vacuum Capacity In CFM
This indicates how quickly air is sucked in by the blower vac. CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) is a unit of measurement that basically tells you how much volume (measured in cubic feet) passes by a particular point in exactly one minute. For a blower vac, higher the CFM vacuum value, the better. Higher the number, the suction capacity gets better.
Blow Speed In MPH
The blow speed of a blower basically tells you at what speed the air is being blown by the blower. This is typically measured in Miles in Per Hour (MPH). Again higher the blow speed, better the performance of the blower.
Mulching Rate Ratio
This is a very important number to look for in a blower vacuum that also mulches the leaves. This ratio tells you how much the leaves are being compressed before they are mulched. The number of bushels of leaves that the blower vac mulches is indicated by the first number of this ratio and the number of bushels they are chopped into is indicated by the second number. For example, if the mulching ration is 10:1, it simply means that 10 bags of leaves will be eventually turned into one bag of mulch. A bushel is approximately 2,150.42 cubic inches of volume.
Types of Leaf Blowers
Over the years, leaf blowers have evolved and morphed into four distinct classes:
- Backpack leaf blowers
- Gas leaf blowers
- Electric leaf blowers
- Cordless electric leaf blowers
1. Gas Leaf Blowers
Gas leaf blowers are the more traditional of teh four types above though they have been falling out of favor in recent years as environmental consciousness becomes a rallying cry for consumers and equipment manufacturers around the world.
Advantages of Gas Leaf Blowers
- More powerful
- Have more options
- User not restricted to a limited area as the blower does not have a cord
Disadvantages of a Gas Leaf Blower
- Usually loud
- Costly to run and maintain as they require gas and oil to operate
- Much heavier than alternatives
- Release harmful emissions to the environment
2. Electric leaf blowers
Electric leaf blowers are designed to operate when plugged directly to a mains power source. As such, they require a power connection cord, restricting the range of operation to areas where an electric connection is within easy reach.
Advantages of Electric Leaf Blowers
- Works quietly
- No dealing with messy oil and gas
- No need to maintain engine or recharge battery
- Does not emit environmentally harmful waste products
Disadvantages of Electric Leaf Blowers
- The cord limits the range, can be a safety hazard and also makes for a somewhat clumsy operation
- Less powerful compared to gas powered leaf blower
3. Cordless Leaf Blowers
A cordless electric leaf blower operates under the power of a rechargeable and often removable battery. It is the least powerful of the varieties in this guide but comes with more convenience in terms of operation compared to the other 3 alternatives.
Advantages of Cordless Electric Leaf Blowers
- Does not require messy oil and gas to work
- More lightweight than gas powered alternatives
- Not limited in range
- Quiet operation
- Does not emit environmentally harmful waste products
Disadvantages of Cordless Electric Leaf Blowers
- The electric battery lasts for a very limited time after a recharge
- Not as powerful as alternatives
- Battery needs charging
4. Backpack Leaf Blowers
A backpack leaf blower is powered by a relatively more powerful gas engine and is intended for heavy duty leaf blowing tasks. It is a favorite for landscapers but is also suited for homeowners who have to deal with large heaps of dead leaves and other debris in the compound of their homes.
Advantages of Backpack Leaf Blowers
- More powerful than other varieties
- Convenient to use anywhere
- Has more power and speed options compared to electric powered varieties
Disadvantages of Backpack Leaf Blowers
- Much heavier than other varieties
- Needs oil and gas to run
- Emits environmentally harmful compounds
How to Choose the Best Leaf Blower for the Money
Many homeowners agonize when it comes to selecting a leaf blower that is suited to their home and requirements. To be fair, there are many competing offers from the world’s best brands and therefore settling on the best leaf blower is not an easy task, even in the best of times.
That said though, there are factors you can consider as you evaluate each offer in a bid to determine the one which best fits your requirements. Here we have compiled a list of considerations, first of all, those which apply to leaf blowers in general and then those which apply specifically to gas powered leaf blowers and lastly for electric powered ones in isolation.
GENERAL BUYING CONSIDERATIONS FOR LEAF BLOWERS
1. AIRFLOW AND SPEED
The airflow and speed are the two single most important performance indicators when shopping for the best leaf blower. Airflow is usually indicated in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A leaf blower’s CFM gives you a good idea of how much debris the blower will clear at a time. Of course, the higher the CFM rating, the more powerful the blower is. Air speed on the other hand is a measure of how far and how quickly the blower will sweep fallen leaves and debris in the yard. A leaf blower’s airspeed is given in miles per hour.
Unless you are looking for a pretty basic blower for the purposes of say, blowing leaves off the deck every once in a while, you will want to buy one with a variable airspeed. A device with variable speed will let you blow off laves on a dry smooth terrain on a low speed setting and enable you perform the task better at a higher speed setting if the surface is moist or uneven. It is also pretty clear to see that the task of blowing leaves off a paved surface will require lower speed than what you would need when the leaves are spread over a flower garden.
As a piece of equipment you will need to lug around in your hands or strapped to your back, the fewer the pounds, the better the leaf blower will be suited for you. As a general rule, gas powered leaf blowers will be heavier than their electric cousins owing to the added weight of the gas engine and the fuel itself. The weight of handheld leaf blowers is a bigger consideration than is the case with backpack varieties. With the former, all the weight will be borne by your arms while in the case of backpack leaf blowers, the harness helps distribute the weight across your back, shoulders and upper arms.
As with all types of mechanical devices you are likely to buy, there is always a danger that your leaf blower will give up the ghost an hour after you have powered up. To protect your interests, manufacturers of the best leaf blower brands sell their products with adequate guarantees.
4. ERGONOMIC DESIGN AND COMFORT FEATURES
A good leaf blower should be designed in such a way that it conforms to your natural working posture rather than forcing you to assume a stance that can cause fatigue and, at worst, work related injuries. The device’s engine or motor must operate with just the right amount of vibration as well. High vibrations not only imply energy inefficiency but can also cause unwelcome sensation during work. When it comes to handheld leaf blowers, you should also look out for designs which have a nice and comfortable grip handles.
5. NOISE LEVEL
If your leaf blower makes too much noise, this represents a number of handicaps and inconvenience. Noise is not only an irritant in the environment but can also cause your hearing. What is more, you may end up on the wrong side of local authority regulations about noise. To be certain if a particular blower’s noise level is safe, check if the device is compliant with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor.
6. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Whether you are talking of a gas powered leaf blower or one which runs on electric power, energy efficiency is a premium consideration either way. Inefficient leaf blowers will end up costing you more money in the long run and may have other disadvantages such as high noise levels, discomfort due to vibrations as well as carrying a higher risk of breaking down. It is always important to establish if a leaf blower has a quick shut off valve so you can switch off power when not actively using it to blow leaves.
While it is important to hunt of a good deal when shopping for leaf blowers, the best leaf blower is rarely the cheapest one. As such, the price in and of itself should never be the guiding factor. A properly priced device should represent good value for money. In other words, if you spend a considerable amount of money purchasing the blower, this should prove a good investment in the long run. The leaf blower should provide good service over time and require little, if any, maintenance along the way.
BUYING CONSIDERATIONS FOR GAS LEAF BLOWERS
1. ENGINE CYCLE
In general gas leaf blower engines are available in either of two specifications: 2 cycle and 4 cycle. Some people prefer 2 cycle leaf blowers are more lightweight and easy to work with. However, there is a solid case for buying a 4 cycle engine leaf blower as it will produce lower carbon emissions, operate more quietly and with lower vibration levels. Moreover, 4 cycle engines do not require messy mixing of gas and oil to work.
2. FUEL EFFICIENCY
With gas prices shooting through the roof in recent years, you cannot afford to have a gas guzzling leaf blower in your garage. If a certain gas powered blower is sold as CARB compliant, that is all the indication you need to establish that it meets the strictest energy efficiency guidelines.
3. EASE OF STARTING
A great gas powered leaf blower should be equipped with an engine that starts effortlessly. A light tug and the engine should start. There is no need to work with a leaf blower which will rip off your arm before the engine roars into life.
4. MONITORING FUEL LEVEL
The best designs of leaf blowers come with gas tanks made of a clear material. As such, you can easily tell the fuel level at any moment. In this way, you will never have to suffer the irritation and disappointment of the gas tank running dry while you are in the middle of an absorbing task.
BUYING CONSIDERATIONS FOR ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWERS
1. ELECTRIC POWER SETTINGS
It is important to ensure that your electric leaf blower is compatible with your domestic power supply. It would be a disaster of sorts if the blower could only work with a 240 volt electric system if yours is a 110 volt type for instance. The power plug should also be compatible with the power sockets you have at home.
2. BATTERY RUNTIME (RECHARGEABLE LEAF BLOWER)
If you have just bought a battery operated leaf blower, all its convenience of use and lightweight advantages can be easily undone if the battery dies off within minutes of switching it on. A good rechargeable leaf blower should be capable of operating at full power settings for at least half an hour before it becomes necessary to either change the battery or plug it back for a recharge. It is also important to establish if a spare battery is available and if you can order for one at a discount from the manufacturers when you buy the new product.
THE FINAL WORD
As you can tell from the foregoing discussion, there is more than meets the eye when you go in search of the best leaf blower. For starters, there is no one variety or brand which meets the needs of all homeowners and landscapers. To identify the one which is perfectly suited to your needs you need to look at factors such as volume of work, energy efficiency, budget as well as the cost of running and maintaining it. This guide has all the vital information you need for that purpose. After differentiating between different types of leaf blowers and enumerating their advantages and disadvantages, we have provided a set of objective reviews base on the highest quality leaf blowers from the different categories. Lastly, we have given a treatise on the factors you need to keep in mind as you embark on shopping for the best leaf blower. We hope the guide has proved informative and well worth your time.
THE BEST LEAF BLOWER BRANDS OF 2020
The following reviews will serve to illustrate the best leaf blower in each of the categories above. After careful analysis of features and performance, each of the featured products was identified as the best leaf blower in that category.
1. BACKPACK LEAF BLOWER: HUSQVARNA 350BT
For the most challenging, spellbinding and incontrovertibly heavy duty leaf blowing tasks, you have little recourse but to depend on the irrepressible power of a backpack gas powered leaf blowers. As these go, there is none as powerfully efficient as the Husqvarna 350BT. The blower fits in to the requirements of landscaping specialists and homeowners who have to clean up accumulated layers of dead leaves and other types of yard debris. The Husqvarna 350BT has a 2.1 horsepower engine capable of running at speeds of 7,500 RPM. Whatever way you look at it, this is all about leaf blowing taken to the industrial scale.
Husqvarna 350BT’s Important Features
Powerful 2.1 Horsepower Engine
The 2.1 horsepower gas engine which powers this leaf blower places it well ahead of the rest of the pack. Capable of driving off air at speeds of up to 7,500 revolutions per minute, the workhorse nature of the Husqvarna 350BT cannot be overstated.
Efficient Fuel Consumption
It is not for nothing that Husqvarna has considerable pedigree in the development of high efficiency gas powered engines for many garden and yard equipment including their industry leading line of gas powered chain saws. Husqvarna has leveraged this unequaled pedigree in the design of this leaf blower, equipping it with the patented Husqvarna X-Torq 2-stroke engine, powered to deliver just the right amount of energy when you need it. Nothing more nothing less. This exquisite design as such results in a blower that produces up to 60% less emission while offering a performance coefficient that is around 20% higher than what conventional equipment powered by 2-stroke engines can lay acclaim to.
Ergonomic, Comfortable Design
Husqvarna has made it clear that the Husqvarna 350BT is perfectly suited for lengthy hours of work, considering how convenient it is. Top of the list in this regard is a redesigned shoulder harness which is secured by as set of fast holding yet comfortable straps. Add to this an ergonomic grip handle and you have a truly revolutionary piece of gardening equipment…Read More Our Reviews
2. GAS LEAF BLOWER: HITACHI RB24EAP
The Hitachi RB24EAP gas powered leaf blower has all the essential features to make light work of sizeable yard cleanup tasks and it is , by a variety of measures, the best leaf blower in the gas powered category. It is powered by a robust yet low emission 29.3 cc commercial grade gas engine. In order to make the blower as convenient as possible in actual use, the manufacturer has fitted an auto return stop switch and a 2-finger throttle to the device. The blower is capable of blowing leaves at speeds of up to 170 MPH, displacing up to 441 cubic feet of air per minute. In other words, you could not invest in a better piece of equipment in a bid to rid your yard, driveway and paths of those unsightly dead leaves and other loose debris.
NOTABLE FEATURES OF THE HITACHI RB24EAP
Powerful and Efficient yet Low Emission Gas Engine
If you have had ever to deal with the problem of clearing away an expanse littered with leaves and other waste, you need no reminding that the power behind your leaf blower is the most crucial factor in determining how successful you will be in your endeavor. The Hitachi RB24EAP was designed by people who were fully cognizant of this fact. This is clearly borne out by the blower’s 1.13 horsepower, 23.9 cc high performance gas engine which drives the device. But power aside, the suitability of the engine is further enhanced by features such as the super efficient FureFire low emission two-stroke technology. For buyers in California, there is no reason to fret as the blower is designed to comply with tier II specifications of the CARB low emission standard.
High Air Volume and Velocity for Efficient Sweeping
In order to attain the pretty impressive air blowing speeds of 170 MPH, the Hitachi RB24EAP comes with a taper nozzle attachment. The nozzle attachment comes in handy when you have to sweep pretty dense layers of leaves and yard waste. Not a piece of loose debris can withstand the onslaught of such a powerful jet of concentrated air. The result is that your yard will remain cleaner and tidier than ever after just a few minutes of work with minimal exertion on your part.
Lightweight Design Guarantees Comfort for the User
Every misconception you may have had about the weight of gas leaf blowers in general will fly out the window once you get to take this Hitachi product for a test drive in the yard. Weighing a barely conceivable 8 pounds fully loaded, the leaf manufacturers have used a selection of lightweight materials and parts to ensure you have as lightweight a yard equipment as you would ever expect.
Comprehensive Warranty Guarantees
Hitachi sells the RB24EAP with one of the most well thought out warranty system in the industry. As a basic residential consumer, the leaf blower is covered by an unmatched seven year warranty. If used on a commercial but non-rental applications, the consumer enjoys a two year warranty instead. For those using it in a rental commercial business, the warranty period only covers one calendar year….Read More Our Reviews
3. ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWER: TORO 51585 POWER SWEEP
The Toro 51585 Power Sweep 7 Amp has earned the nod for being the best leaf blower in the electric powered category as it is designed for efficiency and ease of use in blowing leaves. It works equally well for blowing leaves from sidewalks as it does on pathways and decks. It is yet another product from Toro, the well known Turf and Landscape Maintenance brand. Since 1914 Toro has been designing award winning home improvement products which have earned the trust of homeowners down the years.
Important Features of Toro 51585 Power Sweep
Lightweight but Powerful
Weighing a mere 4.6 pounds, this leaf blower is as lightweight as they come. In spite of this, it is still capable of generating powerful air speeds of up to 160 mph, making use of its robust 7.0A electric driven motor.
Intuitive and Versatile
The Toro 51585 is designed to fit the way you work, not forcing you to assume an unnatural body posture in the process. The blower has two variable speeds. The minimum 130 mph lets you do lightweight jobs without consuming too much electricity in the process. The lower speed is also convenient as it lets you keep the amount of dust low if you are blowing dirt and leaves in close proximity with other people. At the higher 160 mph speeds, there is scarcely any amount of leaves and loose debris you cannot sweep off, even when the ground beneath is uneven.
Comprehensive Manufacturers Warranty
The blower is sold with a comprehensive two year warranty covering parts and workmanship. It is all the assurance you need that it will continue performing according to the manufacturer specifications and that over the years it will represent value for money…Read More Our Reviews
4. CORDLESS ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWER: BLACK AND DECKER LSW36
If you were to list down a couple of adjectives to describe the Black and Decker LSW36 cordless electric leaf blower they would have to be hassle free and elegant. The rechargeable Black and Decker 40 volt lithium ion battery powers this cordless electric leaf blower assuring you of a piece of equipment that is adept enough to deliver excellent results for light to medium leaf sweeping tasks. Moreover, the blower is still lightweight enough to allow you to work without fear of fatigue. Its battery is also versatile and cab be used equally well on other cordless garden equipment manufactured by Black and Decker.
Black and Decker LSW36’s Important Features
All Round Application
Provided the leaves you are sweeping off are spread on a hard surface, the LSW36 Lithium Sweeper will prove more than equal to the task. It will offer flawless performance on your deck, patio and pathway as well as the driveway.
If you have experienced the exasperating difficulty of working with corded electric leaf blowers, it is time you upgraded to LSW36 Lithium Sweeper. No longer will you have to be restricted in range to the nearest power socket and the length of your home’s extension power cable. This cordless electric leaf blower lets you move anywhere around your home, sweeping away without worrying about any cantankerous and potentially hazardous electric cables.
Powerful Lithium Ion Battery
The ultra efficient Black and Decker 40 volt lithium ion battery at the heart of this leaf blower is designed to be as powerful and lightweight as possible so as to offer high performance without compromising on your working style. You will find it as good as a breath of fresh air if all along you have been using gas leaf blowers or rechargeable ones powered by heavy inefficient batteries. What is more, you get a custom made and Energy Star rated electric charger within the package.
Lightweight and Comfortable to Use
As featherweight as they come, the LSW36 Lithium Sweeper only weighs 4.7 pounds even with the battery installed. You will be hard put to find another leaf blower, cordless or otherwise, that is as lightweight. Even if you use the blower for extended periods of time, falling down in fatigue will be the last of your worries. For even greater convenience, the blower is finished with such smooth curves and lines that it is as ergonomic as you would expect of any equipment in its class. Another notable feature in this regard has to be the grip handle which is sizable enough to give you freedom to use it with gloved hands on top of being comfortably smooth in your hand’s grip.
Easy to Use Controls
Many users have heaped praise on this electric leaf blower owing to its set of convenient and easy to use controls. With the handy Power Command button for instance, you can set your blower at just the right power setting to meet the leaf blowing challenge confronting you at the present. But even more convenient is a LED display panel next to the control providing you with all the feedback you need such as the amount of charge remaining in the battery so you can complete the task with the greatest amount of ease