Best Leaf Blowers of 2018
A leaf blower can clear leaves and accomplish multiple other tasks. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best leaf blower for your specific needs.
Which Leaf Blower Is Right for You?
Do you want to maintain a pristine yard while simultaneously saving yourself time and labor? A leaf blower is one of the most efficient power tools you can own.
Yes, a leaf blower clears leaves. But it also performs multiple other tasks. This tool is not a one-season wonder that serves its purpose only in the fall. A leaf blower can also clear lightweight snow in winter, dry a vehicle after a wash, and sweep debris from a gutter.
But the market offers so many different leaf blower choices, it can be difficult to know which one is best. You can choose an electrically powered leaf blower or a gas-fed leaf blower. You can choose a handheld leaf blower, a backpack-style leaf blower, or a wheeled leaf blower. How do you decide which leaf blower is right for you?
Just ask BestReviews. We analyze product data, grill the experts, and poll existing customers to learn all we can about a product. And we never accept free samples or other incentives from manufacturers. In this way, we ensure that our recommendations and reviews remain unbiased and honest.
If you already know what you need, check out the matrix above to learn more about three of our favorite leaf blowers. If you'd like to find out more about your options in general, simply keep reading for our full shopping guide.
Handheld, Backpack, and Wheeled Leaf Blowers
The best leaf blower design for you comes down to personal preference. The market offers handheld, backpack, and wheeled leaf blower styles.
Handheld Leaf Blowers
As the name implies, you carry a handheld leaf blower in your hands. Most of the weight is borne by your arms and hands. However, some handheld leaf blowers have a shoulder strap that helps distribute the weight more evenly across the body.
Backpack Leaf Blowers
If you want a bit more blower power than what a handheld unit provides, consider a backpack leaf blower. You wear the power source on your back and hold the hose in your hands to direct the airflow. Most backpack leaf blowers are gas-powered units.
Wheeled Leaf Blowers
If you have a large area to clear, a wheeled leaf blower is the most efficient choice. Wheeled leaf blowers are highly powerful, and they can get the job done in a hurry. These gas-powered units are extremely heavy, weighing anywhere from 75 to 125 pounds. To use a wheeled leaf blower, you push the unit across the area, blowing the leaves forward.
Choosing a Power Source: Corded Electric Leaf Blowers
There are three different types of leaf blowers. Each type uses a different power source.
Corded Electric Leaf Blowers
A corded electric leaf blower obtains power from a cord plugged into a wall outlet. This configuration may be suitable for small jobs, but if you need to clear leaves over a large area, a corded electric leaf blower may prove inconvenient. For one thing, you'll need a long extension cord, and that extension cord could end up getting tangled in the trees and bushes that dropped the leaves in the first place.
Battery- and Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
Battery-Powered Leaf Blowers
You don't need to worry about a power cord with a battery-operated leaf blower. Instead, you attach a manufacturer-supplied rechargeable battery to the leaf blower and proceed with your tasks. When the battery drains, simply place it on its charger. Once the battery is fully charged, the leaf blower is ready to go again.
Conveniently, you may be able to use the same rechargeable battery on multiple outdoor power tools from the same manufacturer. Mind you, the battery will add weight to the tool. Battery-powered leaf blowers are heavier than corded electric leaf blowers. But cordless leaf blowers grant greater freedom of movement, and for some users, the trade-off is worth it.
Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
Gas-powered leaf blowers deliver more power than leaf blowers powered by electricity. Consequently, they get the job done much faster than both corded and battery-operated leaf blowers.
However, gas-powered leaf blowers weigh a lot more than the other types. They also create more noise and require more maintenance. If you're interested in a gas-powered leaf blower, you'll have to choose between a two- and four-cycle unit. Two-cycle leaf blowers run on a mixture of gasoline and oil, whereas four-cycle leaf blowers run on gas alone.
Leaf Blower Features
Although many leaf blowers look alike, some sport extra features that set them apart from the pack. Here's a look at some of the bells and whistles you can get with a leaf blower.
A leaf blower with a variable-speed setting is a versatile yard tool. You can use a higher speed when moving a pile of wet leaves and a lower speed when clearing out a delicate flower bed. To adjust the speed on an electric leaf blower, you manipulate a knob or lever. To adjust the speed on a gas-powered leaf blower, you use a variable throttle.
A leaf blower's air-intake area may be located on the bottom or side of the device. An air-intake area on the side of a leaf blower tends to pull at your clothing more than a bottom-mounted air-intake.
More Leaf Blower Features
Some handheld leaf blowers feature a second handle at the back of the unit. When used with the handle on the top, this second handle makes it easier to control the leaf blower. The extra handle distributes the leaf blower's weight more evenly between both arms, enabling the user to work comfortably for a longer period of time.
Because gas-powered leaf blowers can be extremely loud, some models have mufflers on them. These mufflers dampen the sound output, although it still can be quite loud. Some mufflers can be added to a leaf blower after purchase.
Other Leaf Blower Considerations
Some leaf blowers have round, wide nozzles; others have flat, narrow nozzles. A round leaf blower nozzle is better for moving wet or matted leaves. A flat leaf blower nozzle gives better directional control.
Some leaf blowers have an interchangeable nozzle. This gives you the best of both worlds.
For safety reasons, we highly recommend that you opt for a leaf blower with a shut-off.
Both electric and gas-powered leaf blowers are sold with shut-off switches.
All leaf blowers create vibration that you feel in your hands and arms. The more powerful the leaf blower, the stronger the vibrations will be. However, some manufacturers include a vibration-reduction feature that works to dampen the vibration.
What Else Can a Leaf Blower Do?
You can use a leaf blower year-round. Some "off-season" tasks may require extra parts or features, however.
● Blowing Light Snow: A leaf blower works well for removing lightweight snow from steps or sidewalks. However, leaf blowers aren't designed to clear heavy, wet snow. We recommend a snow blower for heavier snow.
● Cleaning Gutters: Rather than cleaning gutters by hand, you can use a leaf blower to blow out debris. It may not work well to clean wet debris out of the gutter, but a leaf blower can handle dry debris easily.
● Sweeping Driveways and Sidewalks: You can use a leaf blower to clean gravel or mowed grass off a driveway or sidewalk.
● Vacuum and Mulch: Some leaf blowers have a vacuum-and-mulch feature. When you reverse the motor, the leaf blower sucks in leaves and small debris. The refuse is chopped up and dispelled into a collection bag. If you want to vacuum and mulch debris with your leaf blower, make sure you own one with metal parts for mulching, rather than plastic or nylon parts.
Leaf Blower FAQ
Q. How much do handheld leaf blowers typically weigh?
A. The weight of a handheld leaf blower depends on the type you use.
● If you want the lightest handheld leaf blower possible, pick a corded electric model. These usually weigh five to 10 pounds.
● Battery-powered handheld leaf blowers usually weigh between seven and 12 pounds.
● Gas-powered handheld leaf blowers tend to weight the most—between 10 and 20 pounds. Two-cycle gas leaf blowers sit at the bottom of that range; four-cycle gas units sit at the top.
Q. How much do leaf blowers typically cost?
A. Not surprisingly, the most expensive leaf blowers are also the most powerful. A gas-powered wheeled leaf blower will cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000. If you'd prefer a gas-powered backpack leaf blower, expect to pay $150 to $500. Although they are rare, electrically powered backpack leaf blowers are available at a similar price.
For handheld leaf blowers, you can expect to find gas-powered units in the $75 to $250 range. Electric handheld leaf blowers typically cost $25 to $100 for corded units and $50 to $200 for battery-powered units.
Q. How do I know how much power a leaf blower will generate?
A. To determine a leaf blower's power output, look at its numeric rating. The power output of corded leaf blowers is rated in amps (A). The power output of battery-operated leaf blowers is measured in volts (V). And the power output of gas-fed leaf blowers is measured by the engine's cubic centimeters (cc).
Q. How do I know how much air a leaf blower will move?
A. When looking at the specification list, you may see two measurements regarding air movement. The speed of air movement is listed in miles per hour (mph), and the volume of air that the leaf blower can move is listed in cubic feet per minute (cfm). Higher numbers for both measurements indicate a leaf blower with more power.