One of the most versatile tools you can have in your outdoor power tool arsenal is a leaf blower. Not only can it be used in lieu of a rake in many instances, but it can be used to move snow. It can be used to clear dirt or debris from a walkway. Some even act as a combination blower/vacuum. There are a wide variety of models available, so choosing one for your landscaping needs may be overwhelming. Leaf blowers can be purchased at most major home improvement stores and can vary in size and capacity. The amount of power a leaf blower has is typically measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute as well as MPH or miles per hour. Today’s leaf blowers generally offer anywhere between just over 100 CFM for electric handheld models to over 3000 CFM for walk behind gas-powered blowers. Choosing which one will meet your landscaping needs best is based on several variables, but we are here to help you research your choices.
Gas Powered and Battery Powered
While leaf blowers can be narrowed down into dozens of subcategories, they can also be divided into two main categories: gas powered or battery powered. Each type has its own list of benefits and disadvantages.
Gas Powered Leaf Blowers: As the name suggests, gas-powered leaf blowers are run on gasoline. They tend to be more powerful than their electric counterparts. Your coverage area for a gas powered leaf blower is not limited by the length of an extension cord or the life of a rechargeable battery, which makes these types of blowers a bit more versatile. However, there are also some drawbacks to gas-powered leaf blowers. They tend to be heavier than electric leaf blowers. They are also usually louder than the electric ones on the market.
Price Range: Gas leaf blowers have a vast price range. The least expensive ones can be found at major home improvement stores for around $80. The most expensive ones are around $700 for a walk behind blower.
Battery Powered Leaf Blowers: These blowers rely upon electricity to run. They can either run on a battery or a cord. While not usually as powerful as gas-powered leaf blowers, they are lighter weight and quieter than gas-powered blowers, although hearing protection is still recommended during use. The downside of this type of blower is that you are often limited by either the life of the battery or the length of the cord. Some battery packs are also actually rather heavy, which can add some heft to an otherwise lightweight machine.
Handheld, Backpack, or Walk-Behind
We can further divide leaf blowers into three more subcategories: handheld, backpack, or walk-behind. Handheld blowers are the most common types. They are reasonably priced and perform most light-duty clearing jobs. They are usually the cheapest ones available and the least powerful but are capable of many of the tasks needed for around the home. Backpack leaf blowers are next in line. They are more powerful than handheld leaf blowers. Most backpack leaf blowers are gas powered and are great for larger jobs and larger areas–around an acre or more. The backpack style makes them easier to manage for bigger and more time-consuming jobs. Finally, walk-behind leaf blowers are generally the most powerful of the three types. They can push close to 3000 CFM and are capable of moving large piles of debris, wet or dry, and can even push some small rocks. These are ideal for really large jobs like parking lots.
What to Consider Before Buying
Think about what types of jobs you are looking to get done with a leaf blower. Are you looking to keep leaves and debris off your front walkway and nothing more? Then one of the less expensive and less powerful electric models will likely suit your needs beautifully. However, if you live in an area with heavy foliage and are looking to keep an entire lawn clear, you will probably want to opt for one of the more powerful gasoline blowers. People also need to consider if it would just be easier to hire a lawn care service and forget about it.
Making an informed purchase is critical when making any significant purchases. When you are considering the possibility of laying down hundreds of dollars for an outdoor power tool, you want to be confident that you are getting the best one you can for the money. We have compiled reviews from some of the most reputable names in the business so you can have all of the information you need for your purchase in one place.
Popular Mechanics tested eight handheld leaf blowers under $160. All the leaf blowers tested were 2-stroke engines, though they range in power, price, and noise level. You can read their results for yourself, and the winner may surprise you.
Are you looking for a more comprehensive guide to finding the right leaf blower for your outdoor landscaping needs? Consumer Reports has compiled a detailed leaf blower buyer’s guide. They tested close to 60 different machines at all different price-points and models. Their buyer’s guide gives a good description of some of the most popular blowers along with a list of each model’s pros and cons.
On another page, Consumer Reports puts a handful of the best of each type of blower against each other. Through this channel, they offer their expert advice on which ones are the best models for the money and why. They also give some advice on which ones to avoid along with the reasoning behind not recommending them. It takes several factors into consideration including price, sweeping ability, and noise level.
Last but not least, Top 10 Reviews rates some of the best-selling machines and categorizes them for an easy-to-follow guide of the best leaf blowers of 2017. It takes into consideration factors such as the best warranty, the most portable, best size for specific jobs, and a variety of other useful information. It also gives details about what was evaluated and what is important when choosing a leaf blower. Ultimately, this guide takes a lot of the guesswork out of purchasing an outdoor blower.
Leaf Blower Manufacturers
When making a big purchase, you want to be confident in the product. You expect it to do the job you’re paying for it to do, and for that, you want to have some faith in the manufacturer to have the consumer’s best interests in mind.
America Lawn Mower Co. – Another lawn tool company whose focus is on providing environmentally friendly tools, Earthwise offers five different types of blowers. Most of their line of cordless and electric blowers are also budget-friendly, coming in under $100. The company has been in business since the 1890s when it began selling lawnmowers and has a long history of manufacturing products with the earth’s future in mind.
Black + Decker – Black + Decker is one of the United States’ most recognized brands of consumer goods. Headquartered in Maryland, Black + Decker produces everything from fasteners to coffee makers. Their 16 models of leaf blowers are all handheld and run on Lithium batteries.
Craftsman – Now a subsidiary of Black + Decker, Craftsman tools have long been recognized as one of the most long-lasting hand tools on the market. You will be hard-pressed to find a single workbench in America without at least one Craftsman tool somewhere on it. Registered by Sears as a trademark in 1927, Craftsman tools manufactures a wide variety of both hand tools and power tools. They have several blower related products on the market today.
Cub Cadet – Another well-known American brand, Cub Cadet has been manufacturing outdoor lawn and garden equipment since 1961. With several manufacturing facilities across the United States, the company refers to all of its plants combined as “Strongsville.” They offer two models of gas-powered leaf blowers–a handheld and a walk-behind model.
Dewalt – Known for its contractor tools, Dewalt is recognized as a producer of rugged, high-quality tools. The company was started in 1924 in Maryland and is owned by Black + Decker. Dewalt offers both cordless electric blowers as well as gasoline-powered models.
Echo – Echo offers many different types of handheld and backpack style blowers. The company was founded in the early 1970s in a Chicago suburb and has been a leader in professional-grade power equipment since then.
Ego – Ego produces several models of both handheld and backpack style blowers for home and commercial use. Their products are designed to be environmentally friendly, and all of them are electric. The company is committed to providing products that are battery-powered and eco-friendly while still offering the power of gas-powered equipment.
Greenworks – Greenworks offers a large line of handheld leaf blowers based on different individual needs. Its operating headquarters are located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they focus on eco-friendly tools that are energy star friendly.
Hitachi – Most people have heard of Hitachi because it is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company. Their holdings are vast and include everything from electronics to consulting services. And of course, tools. The company has a history of manufacturing leaf blowers.
Homelite – Homelite is an American power equipment manufacturer. Originating in Port Chester, New York, Homelite boasts producing the world’s first one-person operated chainsaw. Their line of leaf blowers contains both 2-cycle handheld models and electric handheld models.
Husqvarna – Husqvarna is one of the oldest companies in the world. They have been manufacturing goods for 325 years, and the first Husqvarna plant was established as a weapons foundry in Sweden. In 1978 when Electrolux acquired Husqvarna, the outdoor product range was composed mostly of chainsaws but has dramatically expanded. Today they own several brands such as PoulanPro and Weed Eater. In addition to mowers, trimmers, and chainsaws, they offer many different leaf blowers.
Kobalt (Lowe’s Brand) – This line of tools was created by Lowe’s in 1998. They offer hand tools, mechanics tools, and a line of power tools as a means of competing against Sears and Home Depot (Craftsman and Husky tool brands, respectively).
Makita – Makita sells a variety of powerful handheld and backpack style leaf blowers. Their product line offers a variety of different kits, as well, which contain various accessories and blower nozzles to enhance individual tool performance. The company was initially founded in 1915 as an electric motor sales and repair company, and after branching out into developing and selling electric planers became one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of power tools.
Milwaukee – Milwaukee is known for being a manufacturer of heavy-duty power tools, hand tools, and accessories for professional use. Founded in 1924 in Wisconsin, Milwaukee Tools offers trade tools that are affordable and easily accessible. They offer a wide variety of power tools, but only one model of a leaf blower.
Poulan – Owned by Swedish Husqvarna, Poulan was originally an independent American company whose roots are in Shreveport, Louisiana. Poulan often shares its technologies with its parent company and offers a large selection of both home and commercial grade outdoor power equipment.
Powermate – Powermate is part of the Coleman Company, which is known for manufacturing outdoor equipment. The company began in 1986 and sells a variety of lawn care products.
Remington – Their full line of leaf blowers and vacuums contain many different models for consumers to choose from. Started in 1921 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Remington manufactures chainsaws, pole saws, gas trimmers, cultivators, and blowers.
Ryobi – Ryobi manufactures leaf blowers including handheld gas and electric as well as backpack and walk-behind blowers. The company originated in Japan as a leader in the manufacturing and sales of die-cast products. Their only manufacturing location in the United States is in Shelbyville, Indiana. Ryobi power tools are sold exclusively at Home Depot in the United States and Canada.
Stihl – One of the biggest names in power tools, Stihl is most commonly known for its line of chainsaws. Founded originally in 1926, Stihl International is headquartered in Germany. Stihl Incorporated, however, is based out of Virginia. They offer a full range of both gas and electric leaf blowers for both home and commercial use. With around 20 different models and blower accessories to choose from, there is a leaf blower to fit just about every need and budget.
Tanaka – Offering a few models of handheld leaf blowers, Tanaka has been in business since 1918. Originally founded in Japan, Tanaka is the company that introduced the world to the 2-cycle engine, which is one of the most common types of engines for outdoor power equipment. In the 1970s, Tanaka opened a subsidiary in Kent, Washington. It is now a division of Hitachi Power Tools and is based out of Georgia.
Toro – Founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Toro has long been a well-known name for lawn and garden needs. Their handheld blowers are both battery operated and gas-powered and range in price from around $60 to $180.
Worx – Worx offers 16 different models of leaf blowers. All are handheld machines which run on either batteries or electricity. The company was founded in 2004 in China with its North America headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.