When considering the type of leaf blower to purchase, there are several factors to that need to be considered. First, one must look at the size of the area that needs to be cleared. Second, one must determine how much they are able to and/or desire to lift. Next, one must figure out if a corded model would be acceptable or if an unencumbered battery or gas-powered model would be easier to use. Finally, what price range are you willing to invest, as well as, what storage space do you have available. Once you have an understanding of these factors, now you are able to make the correct choice for you.
Before considering which leaf blower would be the best fit for your needs, you need to know some terminology. Many manufacturers like Sears and MTD promote their products using mile per hour (MPH) ratings. These MPH ratings indicate how fast the air escapes out of the end of the blower tube’s nozzle. The MPH rating can be decreased with a larger nozzle and increased with a smaller nozzle. Other manufacturers, such as ECHO, Shindaiwa and STIHL, promote their products using cubic feet per minute (CFM) ratings. These ratings are much more accurate for how powerful a blower is and will be a much better indication of its strength. Also, look carefully at the nozzle types: flat and round. While flat nozzles will have higher MPH ratings and lower CFM ratings, round nozzles will have lower MPH ratings but higher CFM ratings. You’ll find that the leaf blowers with higher CFM ratings start with high-end handheld blowers and increase drastically with backpack and walk-behind blowers.
Now that we’ve learned some terminology, the following are the four main types of leaf-blowers available:
Electric Handheld Blowers
This type works well for small areas. With its more compact size comes the advantage of a lighter weight than many gas-powered blowers. Users will also enjoy an instant start up and a quieter sound. Electric blowers come with corded and battery powered options with varying degrees of power, though most are less powerful than gas powered blowers. When considering which electric blower to buy, evaluate the area to be cleared for obstacles in which a cord could get tangled and whether an outlet is convenient to your work space.
Gas-powered Handheld Blowers
If you would like more power than the electric handheld blower can provide, but plan to buy the blower for mainly residential use, a gas-powered handheld may be ideal. With no cord to consider, this handheld is more maneuverable. This type is slightly heavier and more expensive than the electric handheld blowers and it may require engine maintenance and fuel mixing.
For commercial use or residential users with larger areas, a gas-powered backpack blower may be best. These are the most popular blowers on the market because of their power and ease of maneuverability. They usually weigh nearly two times as much as gas-powered handhelds, and therefore are carried in a harness to allow the user’s back to handle the weight. While originally designed for the commercial landscaper, more residential customers are purchasing gas-powered backpack leaf blowers to reduce the amount of time it takes to clean up their yards. Before choosing this type of blower, compare the weight, engine size and CFM output to that of handheld blowers or other backpack blowers. A higher CFM output will decrease the amount of time spent cleaning up your yard.
A push or self-propelled leaf blower is the most powerful blower you can buy. Designed for large residential or commercial use, this type of blower is pushed like a lawn mower and blows debris with high power and speed. Because of its heft, this type of blower can be difficult to maneuver. This is also the most expensive and would require a significant amount of storage space, but due to the high CFM output, this is the best option for large residential properties (more than an acre).
Evaluate the size of the area and the amount of power needed for the weight of the debris to be cleared against the amount of weight the user can handle comfortably, and the right choice for you will be as clear as your freshly blown driveway and yard.