- Best Gas Leaf Blower
- Best Electric Leaf Blower
- Best Backpack Leaf Blower
- Best Cordless Leaf Blower
Best Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers are essentially an air broom made to blow leaves out of the way. The more powerful blowers convert to a leaf vacuum so the leaves can be sucked up, chopped into pieces, and deposited into an attached bag.
There are three types of power sources for leaf blowers: gasoline, corded electricity and battery powered. Both gasoline and corded leaf blowers provide comparable power, and these types often convert to leaf vacuums. Modern battery-powered leaf blowers are almost as powerful as their gas powered cousins, and the newest Li-Ion batteries give them comparable run time too. They're highly portable, and will readily take the place of fossil fueled and corded blowers for most blowing tasks.
For additional information, consult our leaf blower buyer’s guide listed below.
Best Gas Leaf Blower:
Handheld gas leaf blowers have traditionally been the workhorses for blowing leaves as they’re able go anywhere as long as there’s gas in their tank. They also have the highest rated cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating of any handheld powered leaf blowers with every one of these blowers featuring a CFM rating of between about 300 and 400.
Truthfully, handheld gas powered blowers have become dinosaurs in the blower world. Corded blowers offer nearly twice as much air speed as a gas powered blower, and comparable cordless blowers offer more air speed with the same run time and portability for about the same cost. The only real advantage to a hand held gas blower is if you have blowing chores lasting about an hour or more. But then again, you could get a cordless, buy another battery and you'll be good to go.
Most of these units have plastic or polymer fan blades, so they don't make the best leaf vacs. Plus, the best leaf vacs only mulch down leaves from 10 bags to 1 bag, which is equal to cordless blowers, and nearly half as much as corded types. With 2-cycle type blowers, there’s the hassle of mixing gas and oil, hard starts if the mixture isn't right, and of course the air pollution, so we won’t be won't including these types.
Ease of use was our main criteria when selecting blowers for this list, meaning only 4-cycle engines will be included here. Exceptional mile per hour (mph) blower speeds are one of the main criteria, with light unit weights, ease of starting, and affordability also given consideration.
The Sears Craftsman 4-Cycle 25cc Handheld Leaf Blower w/ Speed Start Capability is C.A.R.B compliant and the spring assisted speed starter makes starting easy with an optional electric starter. It weighs 11 pounds and puts out a 150 mph air flow. Read Full Review
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The Ryobi 155 mph 4-Cycle Handheld Gas Blower weighs 10.5 pounds with an ergonomic and balanced handle for comfortable use. It has a 155 mph air speed, and is fully C.A.R.B. compliant. Read Full Review
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The Cub Cadet BV 428 Handheld Leaf Blower offers a three year warranty and 150 mph air speed. It’s C.A.R.B compliant, and has a specially engineered exhaust system to make it one of the quieter on this list. Read Full Review
The Dolmar 4-Cycle Hand Held Leaf Blower comes with user friendly features like a spark plug door and a decompression valve for easy starting. Powered by a reliable Makita engine, it’s the most fuel efficient pick on our list, weighs 10 pounds and protected by a two year warranty. Read Full Review
The Husqvarna 125BVx Leaf Blower/Vacuum features steel knives attached to the fan impeller make this unit a very capable mulching vacuum, reducing 16 bags of leaves to 1 bag. An air purge button makes for easy starting, and it will blow at an air speed of 170 mph. Read Full Review
Best Electric Leaf Blower:
Leaf blower design is fairly straightforward. A big fan sucks air in one side and blows it out of a nozzle on the other side. The main airflow rating is calculated by miles per hour (mph) which equals the more blowing power there is. By concentrating the airflow out of a nozzle, you can get some serious air movement.
The bottom line is this. If a blower is lightweight and practical, you'll use it more often and you'll keep the leaves out of places where they don't belong. But just remember, a leaf blower only works as long as they are plugged in, and the maximum recommended cord length is 100 feet.
The best electric leaf blower selections on this list were based on their high MPH airflow along with being lightweight and practical to use since you just plug them in and get to blowing. Also, since every one of these units is a leaf mulching vacuum, a specification will be added to show how much volume of mulched leaves will fit into one bag.
Toro Ultra Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum Model 51609 weighs only 7.5 pounds for easy maneuvering and comfort. It blows at 235 miles per hour, will mulch 16 bags of leaves down to 1 thanks to a metal impellor blade, and comes with a two year warranty. Read Full Review
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The GreenWorks 12-Amp Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum w/Variable Speed is the best bang for the buck blower yet it comes with an amazing four year warranty. It comes complete with all the basic accessories, such as a bag, extension tube and nozzle, yet remains one of the lower priced units on this list. Read Full Review
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The Worx TriVac Deluxe All-in-One Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vac weighs about 8 pounds and comes with a two year warranty. The ergonomic design is the best on this list. It blows at 210 miles per hour and will reduce 16 bags of leaves down to 1 bag of mulch. Read Full Review
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The Black & Decker BV5600 High Performance Blower/Vac/Mulcher has two blowing speeds and is the most powerful blower on this list. It comes with all of the accessories like an extension tube and concentrator nozzle, and features a metal impeller for mulching leaves. Read Full Review
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The Craftsman 12 amp Electric Leaf Blower/Vac Model 24031 has two speed settings and reduces 14 bags of leaves down to 1 with a metal impeller blade. Weighing in at 9.5 pounds, this affordable electric leaf blower comes with a two year warranty. Read Full Review
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Best Backpack Leaf Blower:
Backpack blowers are separated into three distinct categories; home, mid-grade and commercial. Home models are smaller and suitable for blowing off driveways or leaf deposits around the house, and designed more for weekend use than anything else. Mid-grade units have a bit more power and are more suited to larger areas, like the suburbs and farms, where running times will be longer and more frequent. Commercial grade units are made for large expanses of property and heavy duty continual use.
Unlike handheld blowers, backpack leaf blowers allow you to strap a unit onto your back while keeping the weight off your hands and arms; from there, all you need to control is the blowing nozzle. This arrangement generally allows a leaf blower to be heavier, which equates more power and performance. However, too much weight will cause fatigue in your upper back, so when selecting the blowers for this list, we looked at lightweight models.
Many of these blowers will be the 2-cycle variety although they aren’t the best choice when it comes to blowers. While the gas/oil mix, fouled spark plugs and smoky exhaust are a hassle, they do keep the weight down of comparable 4-cycle engine blowers.
Airflow, in miles per hour (mph), is the single most important feature of a leaf blower. The slower the air speed, the less blowing capability it has, but these best backpack leaf blowers each offer a higher mph exit rate at the nozzle. Lastly, each blower on this list was chosen for their easy-start systems, overall reliability and powerful air flows.
The Husqvarna 570BFS 65cc Backpack Blower tops out at 236 mph of blowing speed. It weighs about 25 pounds and protected by a two year consumer warranty and a one year commercial warranty. It also features a 2 stage filter, a hip belt and wide shoulder straps for stability. Read Full Review
The Ryobi 42cc 2-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower puts out 185 mph air speed yet weighs only 18 pounds. It meets California C.A.R.B emissions, features a contoured back and shoulder harness, and comes with a three year warranty. Read Full Review
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The Troy-Bilt TB4BPEC 32cc 4-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower weighs about 22 pounds but has a padded hip belt and shoulder harness to distribute the load. It is the easiest unit to start on this list, and since it's a 4 cycle there’s no gas or oil mixing. Read Full Review
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The Husqvarna 356BT 52cc 2-Cycle, Low Noise Backpack Blower has the lowest exhaust noise of any trimmer on the list. It features a carburetor purge button for easy starts and blows at 177 miles per hour. Weighing about 23 pounds, it comes covered by a two year warranty. Read Full Review
The Dolmar 75.6cc 4-Cycle Back Pack Leaf Blower is a commercial grade 4 cycle blower with a 2 year consumer warranty and a 1 year commercial warranty. It blows at 195 miles per hour and comes with an automatic decompression valve for easier starting. There’s also a sliding spark plug cover and an easy access air filter making it the most user friendly unit here. Read Full Review
Best Cordless Leaf Blower:
Cordless leaf blowers are powered by a battery pack, they’re lightweight and very portable. In the past, they’ve only been considered for smaller blowing jobs but advancement in battery technology has turned these machines into powerful blowers, with mile per hour (mph) air speeds rivaling, and even surpassing, gas-powered units.
Corded blowers make better vacuums, because chopping up leaves into mulch takes a lot of power, and that function uses up power far quicker than just blowing. Also, the best cordless blowers cost more than corded or gas powered units. However, what you get for that extra cost is no gas or oil hassle, and a machine that starts with the flip of a switch. You can take a cordless blower almost anywhere, and you'll never pollute the air with exhaust. If you absolutely need to double the run time, you just get an extra battery.
The reality is that, for about 95 percent of all leaf blowing duties, a cordless blower is just the thing you need. Although run time was an important factor in choosing these blowers, additional criteria included their long running times, their lightweight frames, versatility in functioning as a blower and/or a vacuum, and their ease of use. Price was also considered as well as practicality because do you really want to pay double or triple for a blower that isn't 2 or 3 times as good?
The Greenworks G-Max DigiPro 40-Volt-4.0Ah Lithium-Ion Cordless Leaf Blower/Vacuum blows at an amazing 185 miles per hour and comes with a four year warranty. It weighs 12 pounds, comes with a three hour charger, and although priced higher than comparable gas and corded blowers, this is the best blower out there period. Read Full Review
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The Ryobi Jet Fan 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Leaf Blower is the best bang for the buck blower here. It's light at about seven pounds and comes with a three year warranty. It features a 90 minute charger, a variable speed trigger, 150 mile per hour air speed and will last up to 20 minutes at full power. Read Full Review
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Weighing about seven pounds, the Kobalt 40-Volt Max 140-MPH Light-Duty Cordless Electric Leaf Blower is the lowest priced 40 volt blower here. It comes with a five year warranty, and has a one hour battery charger. It blows at 140 miles per hour and gives 20 minutes of run time at full power. Read Full Review
The Makita UB360DWB 36V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower Kit blows 208 miles per hour of airspeed and can run up to 30 minutes on high speed. The unit cost may be prohibitive as it runs at least double what the top rated blower costs, and is 5 times more than the best bang-for-the-buck model. Read Full Review
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The Earthwise LB21018 18 Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Electric Single Speed 140 MPH Blower is the least expensive blower here with a single speed trigger which offers 140 mph air speed for up to 15 minutes. Lightweight at six pounds, this blower has a one hour battery charger and comes with a two year warranty. Read Full Review
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Leaf Blower Buyer's Guide
The original leaf blower was a device invented in the 1950's to spread insecticides and herbicides. However, one enterprising person removed the chemical tank and began using the blower as a way to blow grass and leaves from sidewalks and driveways, giving birth to the leaf blower concept. It wasn’t long before manufacturers began manufacturing dedicated leaf blowers for commercial and household use.
Leaf blowers have become one of the most popular home and garden appliances available for blowing leaves, grass and snow out of the way as well as blowing dirt and debris off of patios/decks; they're even used by some individuals to clean out rain gutters. Most leaf blowers are also convertible leaf vacuums that will suck in and chop up leaves, turning 10 or more bags of unchopped leaves into 1 compressed chopped bag.
Although leaf blowers are some of the more versatile and handy home and garden equipment to have around, they are also very noisy due to their high fan speeds. In fact, many major cities have banned the use of leaf blowers because of their noise levels. Before you decide to purchase a leaf blower, always check with your local regulations regarding their use.
Leaf Blower Types
This is the most common leaf blower type in use because a 2-cycle engine puts out the most power to the size ratio of the engine. They must run on a gas and oil fuel mixture which if not precisely measured, the engine will not run correctly. These powerful engines spew oily smoke every time they’re running, and some communities have been banned 2-cycle engines due to air pollution concerns.
Modern 2-cycle engines give off less smoke than those of years past, and more tolerant to an incorrect gas and oil mix. However, they’re still a hassle to use by being difficult to start, they foul spark plugs regularly, and if left sitting for a season with lingering fuel in the system, the carburetor can plug up and render the engine useless unless an expensive carburetor rebuild is done.
These are the newest powered leaf blowers around, and modern metals and materials have finally made a 4-cycle competitive, in both size and weight, with a 2-cycle engine. In years past, a 4 cycle engine that put out the power of a 2-cycle would have been twice as heavy and almost twice as big. In essence, that would have made them a difficult sell for the average homeowner. However, it has now gotten to the point that 4-cycle engines are nearly the equal of 2-cycle engines in both power output yet remaining lightweight.
The biggest selling points are they only take straight gasoline for fuel, since like all 4-cycle engines, the oil is contained in the crankcase and used for lubrication. That means there’s never any mixing of gas and oil for fuel. Also, 4-cycles run at a lower RPM, meaning less wear and tear on the pistons, rings, and seals, so they last longer. They also don't foul the spark plug, they don't smoke, and virtually every model for sale is certified for use in all 50 states.
Even though they’re a bit more expensive in the short run, their inherent durability means they’ll last longer and perform better than the average 2-cycle powered leaf blower.
Electric Leaf Blowers
There are two types of electric leaf blowers, plug-in models and battery operated models. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages as will be seen.
Plug-in leaf blowers rival the fossil fueled blowers for power, and many of these actually have a higher blower rating. These are the least expensive blowers available, but you will always be tethered to an outlet with a long cord, and virtually every leaf blower is only recommended to be used with a 100 foot cord or less.
What you give up in versatility you gain with a no hassle machine. They are literally plug-in and go, with never any worry about gasoline, oil or mixing. Virtually anyone can use them, and they are perfect for city or suburban dwellings that only have a limited amount of land.
Battery operated models are just as versatile as gasoline powered types. They can be taken anywhere at any time, and just like plug-in models, they activate at the touch of a switch. The problem with these types of blowers has always been the battery. Early units would last a few minutes before the battery was exhausted; you may have only been able to blow a driveway clear before the battery gave out.
Modern battery powered leaf blowers have come a long way, and the newest Lithium-Ion batteries will literally last as long as a tank of gas. The higher the voltage of the battery, the longer the run time on the blower. These are the most expensive leaf blowers available, and they’re a bit down on power to both the plug-in and gasoline powered types, but no leaf blower is as reliable or as easy to use, plus, they are the most environmentally friendly leaf blowers made.
Leaf Blower Styles
Most consumer home-use leaf blowers come in this style. They feature a top-mounted handle that maintains a balance between the blower motor and the nozzle. All of the features are generally within easy reach and can be easily be swept in a side-to-side action or moving them up and down.
These blower types are the heaviest to carry due to their engine size, but they are far and away the most powerful types made for consumers. The engine is strapped to your back with a control arm throttle jutting out at your side. The only thing your carry in your hands is the nozzle, and once strapped in, these are the easiest leaf blower types to maneuver.
Although generally made for the commercial market, there are consumer types which are either pushed/attached to a lawn tractor or ATV. These are the largest and heaviest of the leaf blowers and expel massive volumes of air to clear large areas quickly.
This basic feature is usually positioned directly where the thumb rests on the handle. Gas powered units may have a switch, mounted to the side, that is flipped down to turn the engine off. In general, every on/off switch is easy to find and use with one hand activation. On electric leaf blowers, this is the only switch or adjustment, besides the throttle, that will be present.
All gas powered leaf blowers have a choke to help in starting a cold engine. In general, the choke is switched to full “on” during every cold start and gradually eased off once the engine is running. Some higher end designs feature an automatic choke which activates automatically when the engine is cold and then releases as the engine begins to warm up.
All modern gas powered leaf blowers have a primer button. Usually used to prime the engine during a cold start, it may also be used to prime the carburetor after the blower runs out of gas, once the tank has been refilled, or to aid in restarting if the engine dies.
The throttle is usually a variable trigger switch which controls the engine speed. It’s always placed on the underside of the handle so a finger or your hand can grasp and squeeze it for more or less power when needed.
This plastic tube channels the air from the blower fan in the direction that you want it. It reduces the air volume of the fan motor which gives it a greater airflow speed as it leaves the nozzle end. The end can be turned either vertically or horizontally, depending on how you want the air to escape. For example, when blowing leaves or grass from a driveway, you would orient the nozzle end in a horizontal position for maximum airflow width. If you were blowing out a rain gutter, you would orient the nozzle end vertically to maximize the airflow within the confines of the gutter width.
Many leaf blowers are also convertible leaf vacuums. They suck leaves up into the fan blades and blow them into an attached vacuum bag. The best leaf vacuums will have metal chopping blades that shred the leaves fully before entering the bag. If choosing a leaf blower and vacuuming leaves is a priority, always choose a blower with metal chopping blades. Just remember that leaf vacuums only work when the leaves are completely dry. Sucking up wet leaves will potentially jam the fan and possibly ruin the engine in the process.
What Blower is Right for You?
There are a wealth of factors that will determine what type or style of leaf blower is right for you. The simplest, easy and least expensive leaf blowers are the plug-in electrics. For most city residents and suburbanites with smaller properties, and who don't mind dragging a cord around, these will be the best choice. Plus, because they are so simple to use, virtually anyone in the family, who helps out with yard work, will be able to use one of these.
Gasoline powered hand-held leaf blowers are the most common types available. If you want power over all and don't mind mixing gas and oil, a 2-cycle leaf blower is the way to go. If you want the convenience of just adding gas with no mixing, with durability over the long run, than a 4-cycle is your choice.
Backpack blowers are best suited for large suburban properties, farms and commercial settings. Certainly, if you want bragging rights around your neighborhood, strap on a backpack blower and clear your driveway faster than anyone else. The same can be said for wheeled blowers which are made for larger properties and will need to be towed around while in use. That makes them wholly impractical for city properties and most suburban properties too.
Battery powered leaf blowers are the latest innovation to hit the scene, and the newest units with the most voltage last as long as a tank of gas while having nearly equal blowing power. They are the most expensive of the hand-held blowers, but they are eco-friendly and offer the same versatility as their gas powered brethren. If you’re worried about blowing time, simply get another battery and keep it charged. They are as simple and easy to use as any plug-in blower, without the attached cord.