What to Consider
Corded vs. Cordless
Types of Leaf Blowers
Choose the Right Type for Your Needs
The Most Important Features
Check Local Regulations
A Leaf blower is a piece of outdoor equipment that can help you with leaf cleanup. Advanced models can also work as a sidewalk sweeper, snow remover, and debris remover. There are a lot of brands to choose from, so don't forget to consider all the important factors listed below when selecting the one or you will end up buying something that cannot get the job done.
An advanced leaf blower is worth its money if you have a large garden; a walk-behind or a backpack model will be perfect here. However, if your yard is small, a compact cordless electric model can do just fine. If you need to clean up around and blow leaves, look for a light leaf blower that maneuvers easily and is suitable for many tasks. If you need to gather up debris, you will need a model that can work as a vacuum.
You will need safety glasses which can prevent leaves, sticks and other debris from damaging your eyes. Tie back long hair. You can also use noise-cancelling headphones. Consider getting a dust mask to cut down on everything you could accidentally be inhaling.
If you use a cord, make sure it is not a trip hazard. And always use the right outlet - don't modify it in any way.
If you opt for a corded leaf blower, be prepared to get a huge extension cord suitable for an outdoor use. Using a small cord can damage the leaf blower and reduce safety. Many manufacturers recommend using 14-gauge extension cord up to 100 feet long. However, you can get a 12-gauge cord if necessary.
If you are going to get a cordless leaf blower, think about other garden tools that you have. You will need to buy expensive batteries. However, these models can use the same batteries as other garden tools (trimmers and so on). If you own a lot of tools, you can save a lot by using the compatible rechargeable battery you already have.
Sweepers: Sweepers are the lightest and the smallest leaf blowers you may find. They are available in cordless, electric and gas varieties and have low CFM ratings. They are great for cleaning small areas such as driveways and decks. They can also remove light debris. However, they cannot clean the huge yard.
Light Duty: Light duty leaf blowers are a little bit more powerful than sweepers. Just like the previous type, they can be used for simple tasks and run on electricity and gas. They are perfect for small yards, up to a quarter of an acre. But they don't have the power to clean larger areas.
Medium and Heavy Duty: Medium and heavy duty leaf blowers are powerful devices that mostly run on gas. They are great for cleaning large yards though you can use them for smaller tasks. They can even be used to clean commercial properties but because they are heavy they are uncomfortable to hold.
Professional: Professional models are usually worn on the back and have the highest CFM ratings. These blowers are used on commercial properties, large yards and long stretches of sidewalk. They can also perform smaller tasks, but their noise output and power requirements make them less suitable for residential use. They only run on gasoline and are the most expensive.
Cordless Battery-powered Leaf Blowers: If you are ready to spend $200 on a cordless leaf blower, then almost any model from renowned brands will do the job. Cheaper options are better for patios and blowing leafs around pots, and they never destroy your plants with a strong blast of air. Advanced large leaf blowers are also simple to use and some of the models are pretty convenient. In both cases, cordless leaf blowers are perfect for delicate and precise jobs. They are easy to store and can really help people with complicated gardens with many crannies and nooks to clear. They can also clean dust from sheds. However, batteries are still pretty expensive. Small models don't have much power so if you have a lot of damp, heavy leaves to clear, they will not be able to do the job.
Leaf Blower Vacs and Corded Electric Models: Leaf blower vacs and corded electric models are the cheapest you can possibly find on the market, and there are a lot of designs and models to choose from, with multiple features. The cheapest models have tubes and you can change them using a switch. This is quite handy because you can quickly change from a vac to blow mode to clear blockages. However, the cheapest models also have drawbacks. They often lose power when you switch from vacuuming to blowing or vice versa. They are also not the most convenient when used in a blow mode because dual tubes make them heavier and bulkier. If you have a huge garden where leaves get caught in crannies and pots, they will be a pain to use.
More expensive models need to be manually reconfigured to change between different modes. They are more powerful and don't lose power between modes.
Petrol Leaf Blowers and Leaf Blower Vacs: These expensive machines can cost you $600 or more, and unless you have a large garden where you will clean more often than twice a year, they are not worth the hassle of maintaining the device. The backpack models are more expensive than the handheld models, they put less strain on your arms and are more convenient to work with. Thus, if you are going to use the leaf blower for longer periods of time it may be worth it to spend more on a backpack model. Petrol leaf blowers and vacs do not have a power cable and can easily get around objects such as ponds or trees. However, they are heavy and noisy. You will also need to take care of a petrol blower to keep it working properly.
Narrow Nozzle: All leaf blowers can blow leaves into piles but the ones that do it efficiently and quickly without putting a lot of time and effort into it are those with narrow nozzles. They can direct blasts and let you control the speed of the air jet.
The Access to Mulching Blades: No one wants to manhandle lots of heavy, damp leaves so having a leaf blower than can vacuum up everything is a big advantage. However, most models can quickly clog. Check that you can easily access the mulching blades and clear everything quickly and safely. Look for a model that has metal (and not plastic) mulching blades as plastic ones can easily break or chip if you accidentally suck up a stone. You may also need a waterproof collection bag because you would also collect wet leaves and there are leaf blowers with this feature. Ordinary bags can leak and leave you with wet legs.
Comfortable Handles: The comforts of straps and handles are crucial because your back and hands have to support the weight of the device. Look for models with padded shoulder straps and soft-grip handles.
Weight: Consider the person who is going to use the leaf blower - can he or she handle 10 lbs. with a handheld? The typical gas-powered backpack model weights around 18 lbs, but it is easier to carry because the weight is distributed across the shoulders and the back. Walk-behind leaf blowers can weigh over 100 lbs but have wheels and can get the job quicker.
Storage Space: Leaf blowers are often stored undercover for many days. Leaf blower vacs take more space, so if you have a small garage or storage look for the one with a nozzle that can be taken apart or with a telescopic nozzle.
Some neighborhoods forbid using leaf blowers during certain hours, and they can prohibit anything louder than a certain decibel range. Other neighborhoods can prohibit gas leaf blowers and sometimes leaf blowers are prohibited altogether. So check with the local regulations.
For many shoppers, price is the crucial point on what leaf blower to buy. You should know that the range starts at $60 for the cheapest and smallest electric corded leaf blower, $100 for the cheapest gas handled, over $200 for gas powered backpack model and $400 or more for an advanced walk-behind. All models can be more expensive depending on weight, power, and extra features.