Maple, birch, or oak. As fast as a tree can shed its leaves, a leaf blower is there to make short work of amassing the mess. But a leaf blower is not just a once-and-done seasonal landscape machine; it’s useful year-round. Leaf blowers come in handy for summer’s sandy decks and spring’s windblown walkways, as well as light snow.
There are lots of leaf blowers on the market, including gas, corded electric, and battery-powered. They also come in a variety of styles, from handheld units to backpack and wheeled models. It’s tough to know which type is right for you.
Top 10 Gas Blowers
- Class leading air volume at 441 CFM for excellent debris movement
- Lightweight (only 8.6 lbs) & well-balanced for comfortable use and less fatigue
- POWERFUL ENGINE: High performance 25cc 2-cycle engine with air volume and air speed up to 430 csm/200 mph.
- EASY-START TECHNOLOGY: Faster starts with 3 simple steps: prime, choke, and pull.
- Air volume: 430 CFM, air speed: 190 mph
- 2-Stroke 26cc gas engine with standard choke
- 48CC 2-stroke engine
- 200 mph/475 cfm
- 2-CYCLE GAS ENGINE: Powered by a 25cc 2-cycle gas engine.
- HIGH SPEED BLOWING ACTION: Air Stream speeds up to 180MPH and clearing power up to 400 cubic feet per minute...
- Blower with Vac Included 16:01 Mulch Ratio
- Powerful 680 cfm and 230 mph
- INDUSTRY LEADING AIRFLOW: Powerful 27cc 2-cycle engine blows air efficiently with an industry leading air...
- DUAL BEARING DESIGN: Dual bearing design and comfort over-the-mold handle absorbs and reduces vibration.
- X-TORQ ENGINE: The X-Torq engine design reduces harmful exhaust emissions by up to 60% and increases fuel...
- UTILIZE FULL BLOW FORCE WITH MINIMAL ARM STRAIN: The offset handle makes the blow forces easier to control by...
- 2-CYCLE GAS ENGINE: Powered by a 25cc 2-cycle gas engine
- HIGH SPEED BLOWING ACTION: Air stream speeds up to 200 mph and clearing power of up to 430 cubic feet per...
- Weighs only 8.1 pounds
- Generates air speed up to 170 mph and air volume up to 290 cfm
Gas vs. Electric: Picking the Right Leaf Blower
Speed, convenience, budget—all are important considerations when weighing gas vs. electric. In the handheld category, gas blowers are still the fastest way to clear a yard full of leaves. But the best corded-electric blowers are powerful enough for many big jobs, though you’ll have to stick within 100 feet of a power outlet (most outdoor extension cords top out at that length).
Gas handheld leaf blowers go anywhere, but they weigh and cost more than corded electrics—and they’re noisier. They also require fueling and maintenance. Cordless-electric versions offer less power than gas models and limited runtime per battery charge. But these units are light, typically weighing in at less than 10 pounds.
A Word About Noise
As anyone with an early rising, the yard-obsessed neighbor can confirm, a running leaf blower can get really loud. Product labels list decibels, so you can compare noise levels as you shop.
Some communities prohibit leaf-blower use during certain hours; others restrict gas blowers altogether because they tend to be louder than electric models. In California, some communities ban all leaf blowers, no matter how quiet their operation.
Check your town’s regulations or go to the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse for a nationwide list of guidelines. Then check the 50-foot noise scores in our leaf blower ratings. Models that scored Excellently should meet the toughest limits, and those that scored Very Good or Good are likely to meet most restrictions. But keep in mind, blowers that are relatively quiet at a distance can prove to be deafening up close.
How Does a Leaf Blower Work?
Leaf blowers work by taking advantage of something called centrifugal force. Centrifugal force (also called pseudo force) is the pressure and force that is exerted on objects when viewed in a rotating frame of reference. To put it simply, when the fans inside the blower turn, they create a centrifugal force that helps to power the machine. The rest is done by directing that force to create air flow at impressive speeds.
When the blades spin, they suck in air from the outside. This air is forced out through an opening smaller than the one it came in, causing the air to speed out of the tube at speeds up to 250 miles per hour! This is applicable to all types of leaf blowers, regardless of what they are powered off of.
What’s the Best Leaf Blower Brand to Buy?
Finding the top brand to buy will be dependent on what your needs in a leaf blower are. However, in our opinion, it would be Toro. Toro produces a number of great products, but the Toro 51619 Ultra seals its place on the market as a reliable brand for several reasons. First, they are incredibly thoughtful in their designs.
When they crafted the Toro 51619 Ultra, they made sure to think of every cleaning and clearing step the consumer would have to go through and made sure that they included a feature that will help you accomplish that task.
Are Cordless Leaf Blowers Any Good?
They’re also much quieter than their gas operated counterparts, so if you live in an area that has a noise restriction this could be a great option for you. However, even though they can generate great speed, their power usually cannot match the speeds attained by gas or electric models. You’ll have to weigh out the pros and cons with this one before deciding if battery operated is right for you.
Are Battery Leaf Blowers Any Good?
Battery operated blowers have made some noticeable gains in terms of advancing their technologies and are steadily becoming an even better seasonal cleaning tool. They are a great choice for people who want to be able to effectively clear leaves out of their yards while using green certified machines and limiting their carbon footprint. Additionally, they are often much quieter than gas operated blowers and are good for areas that aren’t very tolerant of noise.