We know that fall has arrived when milder temperatures start to set in and we notice the leaves are beginning to turn red. Unfortunately, this can mean the fall of thousands and thousands of leaves, especially in residential areas. The wind scatters them around, along with all the dust and weeds built up over the summer. This can quickly get out of hand, if you don't keep on top of the situation.
Luckily, these days we can use a leaf blower to make the once difficult task of raking leaves, a simple and even enjoyable chore. If you don't know much about these garden tools, don't worry, we have you covered. In this shopping guide we will tell you everything you need to know about leaf blowers, so you can find the best one to suit your needs. There are a few different types of leaf blowers, and a wide-range of models currently available on the market, so it's a good idea to have some background knowledge before making your final selection.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Leaf Blowers
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Leaf Blowers
- 4.1 What is a leaf blower exactly?
- 4.2 What is a leaf blower used for?
- 4.3 How does a leaf blower work?
- 4.4 How long do the batteries of a cordless leaf blower last?
- 4.5 What other tasks can leaf blowers be used for?
- 4.6 Are leaf blowers noisy?
- 4.7 Do I need to wear hearing protection when using a leaf blower?
- 4.8 Is the weight of a leaf blower important?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Leaf blowers are power tools that offer a very effective solution to the tedious chore of raking fallen leaves. They are also great for sweeping away dust and dirt built up in your yard, driveway or garage. They blast air at great pressure, and can clear debris lodged in cracks more efficiently than a broom. They are the perfect tool for keeping the outside of your house tidy, with the minimum amount of effort.
- The three main types of leaf blowers are: electric, cordless and gas. Some models have extra features, such as a shredder or vacuum cleaner mode, making them even more versatile.
- When deciding on a leaf blower, there are several factors to take into account, especially the power rating (which will depend on the engine and its power source), the noise level, the weight, and any included accessories that can make tidying up even easier.
Our Selection: The Best Leaf Blowers
If you need to tidy your yard, but you don't seem to have the time, a leaf blower may be just what you need to get motivated. These power tools are perfect for maintaining the outside zones of your house, and make a wide-range of tasks much less time consuming. In order to give you an overview of the different types of leaf blowers currently available on the market, in this section we show you the best leaf blowers:
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Leaf Blowers
Due to their popularity, leaf blowers have dominated the garden tool market for decades. The wide-range of different models currently available on the market means that there is definitely something for everyone. However, this also means that choosing the one that is best for you can be a little overwhelming. How do you know if you should buy an electric or gas blower? Do you need one that also works as a shredder and a vacuum cleaner? To help you find out everything you need to know to make an informed choice, in this section we answer the most frequently asked questions about leaf blowers.
What is a leaf blower exactly?
A leaf blower is a powerful gardening tool that blasts out air from a nozzle to clear away debris such as leaves, dirt and cut grass. They are most typically portable units, or else backpack-mounted with a handheld wand. Larger leaf blowers may rest on wheels and even use a motor for propulsion.
What is a leaf blower used for?
Leaf blowers were invented to deal with the abundance of leaves that hit with the arrival of fall. In some cities in the US, the piles of leaves from all the different trees and plants are so large that they can even cause accidents. These power tools are most commonly used for the following tasks:
- For cleaning up fallen leaves around your yard or on your porch.
- To sweep away weeds or debris from sidewalks or streets.
- For tidying up cut grass from a traditional,ride on, or even a robot lawn mower.
- To unblock sewers that have been covered by leaves.
- To clean away the dust and dirt accumulated in garages or other outdoor spaces.
- Certain models can also work as an outdoor vacuum cleaner or a shredder.
How does a leaf blower work?
The different types of leaf blowers are classified according to their power supply. There are the models that run on gasoline, which are called gas blowers. Then there are two types of electric leaf blowers. They can either be powered by an internal battery (known as a cordless leaf blower), or use a power cable (known as an electric leaf blower). All of these three types of leaf blowers are best suited for different purposes. In the following table we detail the characteristics and uses of each type:
|Type of leaf blower||How it works||Maintenance||Power||Best suited for|
|Gas||Utilizes a two or four stroke engine with recoil start.||Requires periodic maintenance of the engine, and special care when handling gasoline.||Very high power and air flow||Large areas|
|Electric||Cable must be connected to a power outlet. Has an electric start button||Requires very low maintenance||Moderate power and air flow||Houses with a small outdoor area, porches and driveways. Must be near a power outlet.|
|Cordless||Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Has an electric start button.||Requires very low maintenance, but the performance of the battery can be reduced over time or due to prolonged exposure to the sun.||Depends on the battery, but usually more limited.||Small areas, where there is no access to a power outlet|
How long do the batteries of a cordless leaf blower last?
Rechargeable batteries for most garden power tools, such as a leaf blower, usually last somewhere between 45 to 60 minutes. If you are planning on starting some big projects, or if your yard is very large, consider buying a backup battery. Lithium-ion batteries are the latest and most innovative way to power cordless leaf blowers.
- Lithium-ion batteries are up to 50% lighter than a comparable Ni-Cad battery, which means your leaf blower will be easier to handle and less tiring to use over long periods.
- They do not cause a drop in power as the battery runs flat. The performance of the leaf blower will remain constant.
- Can be recharged three times more than a comparable Ni-Cad battery, before it will need to be replaced.
What other tasks can leaf blowers be used for?
Although leaf blowers were invented for clearing away leaves and other garden debris using a high-speed air flow, over time many manufacturers have started releasing models with extra functions that are also very useful for gardening work. The two most common extra features are the shredder and the outdoor vacuum cleaner.
|Functions||What it does||What is doesn't do||What it uses|
|Leaf blowing||Blasts air at a high speed, for clearing away fallen leaves.||A head with a narrow nozzle should be used to better concentrate the airflow.||Only the leaf blower.|
|Vacuuming||Sucks in air||The widest nozzle should be used to increase the suction.||Uses a collection bag|
|Shredding||Shreds certain types of leaves, cuts up grass and weeds, and sucks them up.||Metal impeller must be installed for crushing.||Uses a collection bag and metal impeller|
Are leaf blowers noisy?
Noise level is a very controversial issue associated with leaf blowers, due to the growing concern about noise pollution. It is difficult to make a general statement about the amount of noise generated by these machines, since every model is different. However, by and large, gas blowers are much louder than electric or cordless models.
A good idea is to look for a leaf blower that is not louder than 89 decibels, in order to save your hearing from damage, and to not cause too much of a disturbance to your neighbors. A balance between adequate power and a tolerable noise level must be reached, since louder units are generally more powerful.
Do I need to wear hearing protection when using a leaf blower?
If you are using an electric or cordless leaf blower, you don't have to worry about wearing hearing protection. On the other hand, if you are using a gas blower with a powerful two-stroke engine, it is highly advisable to wear ear plugs or muffs. This is especially true if you have a large yard and plan on working for several hours at a time.
Is the weight of a leaf blower important?
Considering that in order to use a leaf blower you will need to carry it around either by the handle, or over your shoulders if it is a backpack model, the weight is a very important aspect to consider. Electric leaf blowers are the lightest, and can easily be used with one hand. Cordless models are a little heavier due to the internal lithium-ion battery, and gas blowers are even heavier again.
The major manufacturers of leaf blowers are aware that weight is a deciding issue for many consumers, which is why we are constantly seeing lighter and more ergonomic models coming out on the market with new types of harnesses and backpacks. Rotating wheels are very useful for operating larger leaf blowers, which may otherwise be impractical to use.
If you are tired of the leaves piling up around your home in the fall, and you are over raking and sweeping, it is probably time to buy a professional leaf blower. As there are so many different options to choose from, it's important that you consider a few important factors, so you can find the model that best suits your needs.
The first specification you should check when you are looking at buying a new leaf blower is its power rating. A low power rating will make you spend twice as long to do the same job, which is very frustrating. If you are looking for a gas blower, don't settle for less than 2500 watts of power, if you want to make light work of clearing your yard of leaves and accumulated dust.
For anyone leaning towards a cordless leaf blower, it is important to ensure that it has an internal lithium-ion battery, rather than a Ni-Cad battery, as the newer technology has been proven to last longer and require less maintenance. As for the battery life, it is best to look for a cordless blower that can run for at least 45 minutes with maximum power.
Collection Bag Capacity
If the leaf blower includes vacuuming and shredding functions, you need to have a look at the collection bag it uses. It must be made of resistant material, since branches or sticks can easily damage it, and it is highly advisable that you ensure it has a capacity of at least 12 gallons, so you don't have to empty it as often.
Portability and Handling
Using a leaf blower can be hard work if you have a very large garden, that requires you to work for several hours at a time. A key specification is the total weight of the unit, and it is important that it has a compact and ergonomic design, and that it is comfortable and easy for you to handle.
Due to the issues around noise pollution these days, it is important to consider the noise level that a leaf blower generates before making your purchase. It is still possible to find powerful units that do not exceed 89 decibels, which will be less annoying to your neighbors and won't damage your hearing.
A leaf blower is the perfect tool for the care and maintenance of all the outside areas of your house. Using different propulsion systems, they blast air at high speed and pileup or clear away garden debris. They are very useful for getting rid of fallen leaves, cut grass, branches and other weeds.
The types of leaf blowers are divided according to their power supply: gasoline, battery or electric (with a cable). Each has its own benefits and is used for different types of work. Many models, in addition to being blowers, have the function of vacuuming and shredding, which makes tidying up more efficient. The best leaf blowers are light and ergonomic.
(Source of Featured Image: Anna Bizoń: 95554221/ 123rf.com)