If you thought that leaf blowers are only useful in autumn, you need to think again. These versatile leaf blowing machines have long been used to remove leaves, debris and grass clippings. Some people even use them to remove light snow in the winter.
If you're looking to speed up your lawn cleanup, it is time you discover the different kinds of leaf blowers and see how they can best suit your needs.
Leaf Blower Is Not Just A Seasonal Machine
Many people think of leaf blowers as something only for the fall, when maple, oak and birch trees shed their leaves. If you live in a southern climate, you may think of all those live oak leaves that shed in the spring. The good news is that a leaf blower is not a seasonal machine; it can be used all-year round.
As stated earlier, leaf blowers can clear debris in the summer, leaves in spring as well as light snow. If you have a quick look around, you’ll find that there are many leaf blowers on the market including battery-powered models, cordless ones and of course leaf blowers that are powered by gas.
The overwhelming choice of leaf blowers can blow your mind literally, buy this post has been put together to help you determine the right kind of leaf blower for your needs.
Electric Leaf Blower Vs. Gas Leaf Blower: Which Is Better?
Speed, convenience, affordability are just some of the important considerations when picking the right leaf blower.
Electric leaf blowers like other battery powered lawn tools are preferred by customers because they’re lighter and comparatively quieter. Electric blowers can be powered by a cord or a battery but you need to remember that they don’t have the same power and productivity as gas powered models.
Gas powered leaf blowers are the most traditional type of leaf blower, and they are still the fastest way to clear walkways or a backyard full of leaves. However, leaf blowers powered by gas come with added weight, noise, fueling responsibilities, maintenance and they are usually more expensive. Electric leaf blowers have to be distinguished as to whether they are corded or cordless. With corded models, you don't have to worry about battery issues, but plugging into different outlets as you move around your house will inevitably slow you down. You may also find yourself investing in an expensive 50 or 100ft extension cord.
Cordless electric leaf blower models have evolved over the years, and these now provide more power and longer battery lives. They also tend to be less expensive than gas powered leaf blowers, and they certainly require less maintenance. Typically, however, they still can't provide the same air thrust as a gas powered model.
Leaf blowers powered by gas have always been the staple in every landscaper’s arsenal.
As you can guess, the bigger the gas leaf blower, the more powerful it will be. Gas blowers can be powered with a two or four-cycle engine. Also known as the two stroke engine, two cycle engines are powered by a mixture of gas and fuel. These types of engines are also lighter and simpler to maintain in comparison to a four-stroke engine. Unless you really have a special application, we strongly suggest you stick with a two stroke engine. It is just way easier to buy pre-mixed engine fuel.
Possibly the biggest advantage of two stroke engines is their weight. They have the potential to pack about twice the power of four-stroke engine into the same space. Being powerful and lightweight, two stroke engines have better power to weight ratio compared to four stroke models.
If you do want to consider a 4 stroke gas leaf blower, these can be more fuel efficient (similar to the car you drive) and you can get more blowing time from each fuel-up.
Perhaps one of the more popular new entries are backpack gas blowers. They are customers’ favorites for being ergonomic and they are quite useful in transferring the weight from your arms to your back and shoulders.
Backpack gas blowers are designed to complement the human anatomy and its movement to prevent repetitive stress injuries. The specially designed support system distributes the leaf blower weight evenly across your back and shoulders, which prevents fatigue and aching muscles from extended use.
The throttle controls you find on backpack blowers are also designed to keep your hand and wrist in the most comfortable, natural position. You can use backpack leaf blowers to remove piles of leaves, twigs and other debris without straining your neck, shoulders or back.
If you have tons of leaves in your backyard, the huge and bulky gas wheeled leaf blowers are also an option to consider. They have the most power, but they also take up lots of storage space. Some homeowners say that wheeled leaf blowers are heavy and tough to push and control, but for the right application, a wheeled leaf blower may be what you need to get the job done. Another important thing to keep in mind is that wheeled leaf blowers can cost more than backpack leaf blower models.
There are a number of handheld gas leaf blowers that also function as handheld vacuums. These blowers are lightweight and can suck garden and walkway debris via a powerful vacuum. However, the relatively small size of many of these units can limit how much debris and leaves you can suck up at one time. Some handheld leaf blowers have a metal impeller, which makes the unit sturdier than versions with nylon impellers.
Should I Worry About Gas Engine Differences?
You absolutely should. Both engines will require a little bit of maintenance, which can be annoying, but two-stroke engines require less. With a four-stroke engine, you'll be having to change the oil at the beginning and end of every season. Two stroke engines are also usually quieter, lighter and most importantly, more affordable.
An important thing to remember is that all 2-cycle engines require a mix of oil and gasoline instead of pure gas. The easiest way to do this is to buy some pre-mixed 2-stroke fuel and oil. It is slightly more expensive to buy premixed fuel, but definitely worth the convenience. It's not like leaf blowers take a ton of fuel anyway.
If you want your product to last for a long time, do yourself a favor by reading the owner’s manual and performing regular maintenance on the machine.
Are Leaf Blowers Too Noisy?
There are chances you had to wake up early on a Sunday morning thanks to your neighbor’s leaf blower. Well, leaf blowers are loud, especially the ones that are powered by gas. Because leaf blowers create a great deal of noise, their use has been restricted in some communities.
What’s important to note here is that the use of leaf blowers is governed by state laws, so if you have close neighbors, you might want to make sure you check with the authorities before using the leaf blower too early or too late in the day. Just remember the sound is far less irritating to you than to those around you.
In addition to checking your state’s laws and community guidelines, you should use protect yourself while using leaf blowers and be kind to those around you. It is recommended that you:
- Always wear hearing protection
- Use protective goggles and a dust mask
- Never operate leaf blowers when children and pets are around
- Always avoid operating leaf blowers very early or too late in the day
What Are The Different Types Of Leaf Blowers
Selecting the right leaf blower comes down to your personal needs – your lawn or garden space, how powerful you want the leaf blower to be and of course, your budget. Some of the lightest battery powered leaf blowers you find have the power and capacity to blow away leaves and loosen debris as good as the best corded electric models.
Corded Electric Leaf Blowers
These no hassle electric leaf blowers can be operated by push of a simple button. Because the unit runs on electric power, there are no toxic fumes or exhaust. There is also no battery that you have to worry about going bad. The primary disadvantage of corded leaf blowers is that they can limit your mobility.
You may have trouble around trees and other obstacles such as garden furniture, or find yourself moving the plug a lot. Also, you need to make sure you have a long enough extension cord. I usually recommend that you have at least a 100-ft cord.
Cordless / Battery Powered Leaf Blowers
These lightweight models are preferred by people who don’t want to spend money on maintenance issues of gas leaf blowers. The good thing about cordless leaf blowers is that you are no longer restricted by a power cord.
Most cordless electric models are run by rechargeable batteries. When fully charged, these batteries can operate for about an hour and you can relax while your blower clears the debris and leaves. Just don't forget to plug in the battery to recharge after you're done.
Handheld Gas Blowers
These gas powered leaf blowers can sweep and loosen more leaves and debris than the best electric leaf blowers. The only problem with handheld blowers is that they make a great deal of noise. All you have to do is pull the cord to start the gas engine and let the blower do the rest.
Most handheld gas leaf blowers run in two stroke engines and generally weigh less than 10 pounds. However, you can find handheld models with four stroke engines and these require more fuel and maintenance. Not to forget, four stroke models also weigh more.
Gas Backpack Blowers
These leaf blowers are an improved version of handheld blowers. Most backpack models weigh roughly around 15 to 18 pounds and you can carry them easily on your back and shoulders. While backpack gas blowers are powerful and do their job really well, they can get noisy and some models cost more than handheld blowers.
Gas Powered Wheeled Blowers
These blowers are the heaviest and the most powerful type of leaf blowers. They can easily cover a large area and majority of wheeled blowers use large 4 stroke engines. If you’re thinking about investing in gas powered wheel blowers, you need to remember that these machines are bulky and some of them can weigh more than 100 pounds.
The powerful engine and bulky construction make wheeled blowers harder to move and push around. Furthermore, you should have plenty of storage space in your backyard before bringing a wheeled blower home.
What’s interesting is that some of the modern wheeled blowers are surprisingly quiet and they meet even the toughest noise limitations.
Demystifying The Specifications – Finding The Best Leaf Blower
Anyone who wants to take care of their backyard and walkways knows why finding the best leaf blower is so crucial. You want to find a product that is affordable and high performing and at the same time, you want to get hands on a machine that can tidy up your landscape within the shortest possible time.
Comparing Leaf Blowers – What Does CFM And MPH Mean?
Whether you are interested in buying a backpack gas blower or want to get hands on a corded electric leaf blower, you will have to look at CFM and MPH specifications as part of the comparison. How does CFM and MPH affect blower performance? Do you know which feature is better for comparison? Continue reading to find out more.
If you look at the advertising claims, you will find that manufacturers want to take full advantage of advertising high MPH values or air speeds. It’s not surprising that the higher the MPH value advertised the higher will be the product price tag.
What does CFM rating mean? Well, before we have a detailed look at how CFM and MPH specifications compare, here’s something you need to know. While choosing the best leaf blower, you would find that picking the model with higher CFM and lower MPH can easily be the best decision you have ever made.
CFM Vs. MPH: Why Does It Matter?
MPH means miles per hour and you can easily guess that a leaf blower with higher MPH has a high blowing speed. CFM or cubic feet per minutes basically describes the volume of air that is pushed out of the blower nozzle when you turn on the unit.
Let’s say you buy a product that claims to have a CFM rating of 85. This simply means when the blower is in use, at least 85 cubic feet of air will be coming out of the nozzle. If you find a product that is rated at 120 MPH, it means the air escapes the end of the tube at 120 miles per hour. However, faster blowing speeds does not mean better blowing or performance.
The bottom line is that it is the power of CFM that you need to look at. That’s right. A higher blowing speed is no use unless your machine has the power to push debris, leaves and twigs out of the way. If you select a product with a greater CFM, you can be more productive and even push a greater quantity of leaves and debris in less than half the time taken by a unit with lower CFM and higher MPH.
Most cordless electric blowers have a CFM rating of 120 or less. Corded electric and battery-powered models tend to have the lowest CFM values. While doing your research of different product specification, you should always look at the CFM value, as it will tell you more about the kind of performance you can expect.
You can find battery operated leaf blowers and there are rechargeable leaf blowers, backpack leaf blowers and cordless leaf blowers. While selecting the blower that would work for you, look at the power source that makes the most sense for your backyard and walkways.
There are three main types of power sources – electric, battery powered and gas powered. Corded electric leaf blowers require a power cord to run. These blowers are lightweight (weigh not more than 8 lbs) and cover a maximum area of 0.5 acres.
Cordless electric leaf blowers are lightweight, durable and strong. You no longer have to look out for the extension cord running through your backyard as you do the work. This saves time and you can reach even the narrowest spots in your garden with great ease.
Like corded electric models, battery powered blowers are also toxic fumes and exhaust free. However, things can get complicated if your battery runs out of charge at the wrong time.
Gas powered leaf blowers are also cordless – all you have to do is the supply the required mix of gas and oil to the engine. There are three main types of gas powered leaf blowers – handheld, backpack and wheeled. Gas models have longer run time and they are quite powerful as well. The only downside however is that they have an annoying smell, and can be slightly pricey.
Size Of Your Backyard
Now that you know about the different types of leaf blowers and the available power sources, it’s time to consider the layout and size of your backyard. How long will you use your leaf blower? Do you need a powerful blower that can clean a dense, wooded area? Do you have a larger lawn or a smaller lawn?
Remember that if you have a large area to clean, you can consider investing in a stronger, durable and high-performing gas engine that is powerful enough to clear the toughest lawn debris.
Handheld Or Backpack
There are two main styles of leaf blowers and choosing between the two really comes down to the level of yard work you want to do. If you have a smaller backyard, a portable battery powered leaf blower may make more sense.
Most handheld versions include a light two-stroke engine as well as a curved pipe for better control. If you have a larger backyard or you want a blower that delivers professional performance, you can think about buying a gas powered wheeled model.
Most customers say that backpack blowers are the best kinds of products to own. You can easily take care of the yard work thanks to easy tube rotation, even distribution of equipment weight.
Real World Performance Characteristics
When it comes to comparing leaf blowers, the most important specifications are CFM and MPH numbers. As stated earlier MPH tells you the speed at which the air leaves the tube. CFM on the other hand refers to the total volume of air that moves when the machine is turned on.
The higher the CPM ratings, the better your leaf blower will be at removing heavy debris including leaves and twigs that are tightly embedded in the grass.
To accurately measure how well your leaf blower will perform, you need to look at two additional characteristics – sweeping performance and loosening performance.
Loosening performance measures whether or not the leaf blower you choose has the power to loosen twigs, debris and leaves that a weak blower just won’t be able to do. Sweeping performance as the name suggests describes how well the leaf blower can sweep your sidewalks and driveways.
Conclusion: The Safest Way Of Using Your Leaf Blower For The First Time
Leaf blower is one item that can handle hours of raking, mulching and sweeping in much less time. The machine was first introduced in the 1970s and the models have evolved greatly over the years. You can now find portable battery powered leaf blowers and then there are machines with heavy four stroke engines that are capable of clearing your backyard within minutes.
While leaf blowers are convenient, it is important that you use them correctly in order to prevent injuries. If you are using an electric model, make sure you don’t use it when young children and pets are around.
It is important that you check your state laws for using leaf blowers especially if you intend to buy a gas-powered unit. Remember, gas leaf blowers can be really noisy and not all states allow their use at all times.
It is also wise to look for leaf blower models that come with additional safety tools such as non-slip handles, wide mouthed gas tank and emergency shutoff switch. Experts also recommend that you should always buy an electric leaf blower that is double insulated. The presence of double insulation layer can reduce the risk of electric shocks.
When you are operating your leaf blower, make sure you are using the machine when you’re not fatigued, sleepy or under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Make sure you remove loose clothing and wear protective gear such as goggles, noise cancellation earphones and a dust mask. It’s always a good idea to wear non-slip gloves for a more secure grip (this is important if you are using a powerful leaf blower) and prevent cuts and blisters.
Last, you should always do a quick evaluation of your sidewalks and backyard to see and clear rocks, stones and other debris that could become a potential source of injury. Remember, the last thing you want is to be hit by a rock when you are trying to blow away leaves strongly or suck them into the unit.