Various trees like maple, oak, or birch provide great shade and natural ambience for your yard, but they can really mess it up every morning by shedding hundreds, if not thousands, of leaves every day. Even if you’re very determined to clear the leaves using your garden rake
, you’re bound to burn lots of elbow grease. A powerful leaf blower can make your work easier by collecting the mess within a few minutes.
A leaf blower is not just a once-in-a-season landscape machine; you can make use of it all year round. These versatile devices come in handy for spring’s windblown walkways, summer’s sandy decks, as well as for clearing light snow during winter. It’s great since it works on pavements and narrow sidewalks as well as lawns, unlike a lawn sweeper
that may be limited to wide lawns, not to mention that most models are heavy in weight and may need tractor towing.
There are numerous leaf blower types on the market, but they basically fall into three categories: gas-powered, battery-powered, and corded electric models. They also come in a variety of styles such as handheld units, wheeled models, and backpack models. If you choose to go with a corded electric model, it’s important to consider the length of your yard and get an appropriate extension cord
to reach every area. Some leaf blower models incorporate extra features and attachments you can use to clean upholstery and carpets, wash the car, scrub the floor, and much more.
Now, how do you choose the right leaf blower for your home or commercial building? We’ve ventured far and wide to review five of the best leaf blower brands that you can’t go wrong with. We’ve also posted this guide to inform you of the critical features to look out for, so you can choose a perfect machine that suits your needs as well as budget.
One final word: when using a leaf blower, be mindful of your neighbors. These machines can be quite loud so, if you’re an early riser, your neighbor may not be amused. Some communities have established rules to restrict the use of leaf blowers within some hours of the day, and some have totally prohibited gas leaf blowers due to their noise. Always check with your neighborhood as well as your town’s regulations before you purchase a leaf blower.
With that said, let’s go straight to some critical features to consider before you make your final decision on which leaf blower model to pick, then you can check out our top picks.
Although our review steered clear of very cheap leaf blowers, the cheapest model on our list is still affordable and provides great functions and quality you can rely on. A good-quality, modest leaf blower will cost about $70, while a premium model will cost around $350, depending on the features and the mode of operation (gas, battery, or cord). Anything that costs below $50 could just be some low-quality imitation that won’t give you value for your money.
It’s important to note that all machinery made for yard work will generate some level of noise and vibration. Some manufactures have designed their high-end leaf blowers with mechanisms to reduce vibrations and noise, hence cutting down on the discomfort of your ears as well as your wrists. These models will come at an extra cost.
Beyond mulching and vacuuming capabilities, there are several features you can look for when choosing a good leaf blower for your landscape needs. Here are a few features we consider critical:
- Engine Type – A two-cycle engine offers a good balance of weight and power, but they operate on a combination of gasoline and oil. You can mix the fuel yourself or buy it pre-mixed. A four-cycle engine runs purely on gasoline, which eliminates the need for mixing fuel. However, they are relatively heavier than comparable two-cycle engines and need regular oil changes.
- Power Rating – The power output of a leaf blower is indicated in amps (A) for corded blowers, volts (V) for cordless blowers, and cubic centimeters (cc) for gasoline-powered blowers. For gasoline-powered leaf blowers, the startup is made easier with simplified choke operation. The speed of air exiting the unit is measured in miles-per-hour (MPH) ratings and this is another measure of the device’s power output. Additionally, the volume of air moved by the blower is indicated in cubic-feet-per-minute (CFM) ratings. A blower with a higher CFM rating will move more debris while larger diameter chutes enable the unit to collect more leaves – this is applicable for units with vacuum capabilities.
- Optional Features – While most leaf blowers function to clear debris, some models have extra vacuum settings. These models suck up debris and direct it to an attached bag for simplicity in disposal. Some even have shredding functions to turn the debris into mulch that can be used in gardens and shrubs. The shredding also reduces the volume of debris, making it easy to dispose of.
Construction and Design
In terms of design and construction, leaf blowers fall into three major categories: electric blowers, gasoline blowers, and corded blowers.
Electric leaf blowers are relatively low-maintenance machines that are lighter and quieter compared to gasoline blowers. They are also easy to start. Light-duty electric leaf blowers are used on driveways, patios, and decks, while higher-power electric leaf blowers are great for yards stretching to a quarter of an acre.
Corded blowers, on the other hand, offer a steady power output without the weight of extra battery packs. However, the cords restrict mobility and may not be effective for long stretches. They are, however, great for blowing areas around the house. Always check the manufacturer’s specs for compatible extension cords and follow the power cord safety tips.
Cordless blowers offer better mobility. These blowers use high-voltage batteries to provide power and run time. The battery bank means additional weight on the unit, making them heavier than the cordless counterparts. The batteries require periodic recharging so, depending on your landscaping needs and how long you’re going to run the blower, you may need a spare battery pack.
Gasoline-powered leaf blowers offer maximum mobility and run time, hence suited for large areas – usually more than a quarter of an acre. Depending on the model you choose, these units can offer prolonged use. These blowers are started by pulling a manual crank while some models may allow for an extra power device that can be purchased separately. Always ensure that you use the right fuel for gasoline-powered blowers and regularly change the oil for maximum efficiency.
Performance and Ease of Use
Leaf blowers are relatively easy to use. The most common type of leaf blower is the handheld model. However, you can also find the backpack models and wheeled walk-behind models. The wheeled leaf blowers provide extra power and comfort for extended use in wide areas.
Leaf blowers that convert into vacuums for collecting light debris, such as small leaves and twigs, and channel it into an attached bag make it easy to dispose of debris without having to follow with a collecting bin. Some models even convert to vacuum/mulches and operate by collecting and grinding the debris, making it easy to dispose of the debris or use the mulch in the garden or other landscape areas.
If you’re not constrained by budget, it can be fulfilling to get a machine that handles a variety of landscape maintenance tasks through additional attachments for leaf blowing, pressure washing, snow blowing, lawn mowing, and much more. This reduces maintenance and storage need to a single unit.
The best leaf blowers come with variable speeds, which is important for controlling your speed to suit the task at hand. This may come in the form of a knob near the leaf blower’s handle or sometimes by how much you squeeze the hand lever.
We have chosen brands that are known for reliable products and excellent customer satisfaction. Consider the amount of debris you have to clear and the size of your yard to find the leaf blower with the best functionalities for you. Here are our top five picks!
Whether you have a small yard or a huge lot, we are confident that you will find the best leaf blower from one of these brands to get the job done. If you didn’t find a perfect fit for your situation from our selection, feel free to sample other models from these brands. So, go ahead and buy a leaf blower that suits your needs and budget!