If you have a large yard to clean up, a backpack-style leaf blower can help make the job a little easier, with less strain on your arms as you work for a longer amount of time. "Backpack blowers are perfect for big jobs, where the weight of a handheld blower would become challenging," agrees Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt’s gardening partner, master gardener, and creator of The Impatient Gardener blog and its YouTube channel. "Since the weight is carried on your back in a more ergonomic configuration," she adds, "you're able to blow a bigger area without fatigue."
As we evaluated backpack leaf blowers, we looked at factors including power source, maximum air speed and power, weight, noise level, and additional features. After we tested several at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, putting them through a variety of performance and endurance tests, we sent several to volunteers to test at home over a three-month period. You can read their insights in the product roundup that follows.
Echo PB-580T Backpack Blower
See-through fuel tank
The Echo 2-Stroke Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower is a well-priced gas model that can handle virtually any task around your yard. It’s powered by a 58.2cc two-stroke engine, and it offers air speeds up to 216 mph and airflow up to 517 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm). Leaf blowers with a higher cfm rating can move larger amounts of debris, but they might not push the leaves as far as a unit with a high air speed.
While this backpack leaf blower weighs more than 20 pounds, it’s well-designed to keep you comfortable during operation. It features a deluxe padded backrest and harness, with a vented backrest to dispel heat on summer days, and it also has a four-point vibration reduction system. The throttle is mounted right on the blower tube for easy operation, and it has a cruise control setting for consistent operation.
The Echo Backpack Leaf Blower has a translucent fuel tank that lets you see when you’re running low on gas, and a leaf guard prevents overheating by stopping leaves and other debris from blocking the blower intake. The tool has a manual startup, but it’s easy enough to get going once you get the hang of it.
Price at time of publish: $390
Power Source: Gas | Weight: 22.7 pounds | MPH: 216 | CFM: 517 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 70 decibels | Runtime: Unlimited
Best with Vacuum
BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 VACPACK Electric Leaf Blower
Three-in-one design vacuums and mulches
Not only is the BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 VACPACK Electric Leaf Blower a budget-friendly choice, it’s also extremely versatile, and it can be used as a leaf blower, leaf vacuum, or mulcher. It weighs just 11 pounds, making it easy for anyone to operate, and it delivers air speed up to 250 mph and airflow up to 400 CFM. In fact, when we tested it in our Des Moines Lab, we found all that power too much, blowing our focused cache of leaves well past the target seconds after turning on the machine.
The tool's backpack design allows you to carry its collection bag on your back as you move around your yard. But our lab tester found it a little ungainly. "The blower was heavy and hard to use for an extended period of time," he said, adding that the extension cord kept getting in the way and even fell out of the onboard socket. That is not unique to this model; we have found this to be true with many such corded products. The upside, however, is that you have unlimited runtime, and the power never fades.
Our tester did appreciate the product's vacuum ability, however. In fact, he said, "The vacuum worked better than the blower!" That is omething we don't often see in combination products. The reusable debris collection back's roll-and-clip closure has a wide opening, making it quick and easy to empty. And when the product is used as a mulcher, it cuts debris down to 1/16 of its original size.
Its flexible tube gave our tester more room to maneuver while vacuuming, and a boost button on the handle was handy when needing an extra bit of power to suck in clumped-up or wet leaves. However, as with similar products, the tube can clog fairly easily, so it's always good advice to avoid trying to suck up sticks and other larger debris with these machines.
The only specific-product downside our tester reported was the instructions in converting the machine from blower to vacuum, which involves some swapping of parts. We have seen that other similar products instruct users better, but that's a small hurdle which shouldn't overcome this machine's versatility, power, and affordability.
Price at time of publish: $90
Power Source: Electric | Weight: 16.05 pounds | MPH: 250 | CFM: 400 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 75 decibels | Runtime: Unlimited
EGO Power+ 600 CFM 56V Lithium-Ion Cordless Electric Backpack Blower
Comfortable and secure
Chute could be longer
A backpack leaf blower that our testers found to be "fun to use," the EGO Power is effective, easy to operate, and powerful. And it lasts and lasts on a single charge of its 7.5 Ah lithium-ion battery: up to 180 minutes, depending on the power level.
"I like how long the battery lasts," our at-home tester confirmed, saying that it far out-performs a similar model she has used for a while. "I can go through clearing off sections of my yard without needing to re-charge mid-process." On the highest "turbo" speed, she reported: "The leaf blower lasts for a solid 20-25 mins. If I didn’t have it on the highest setting, it would last longer."
Unlike some backpack models we tested, the EGO Power was more comfortable despite its 12.5-pound weight. "The security straps make it easy to handle the heavier weight of this blower with ease," our at-home tester reported. "The backpack also helps with arm fatigue that we usually feel from our other handheld blower." The adjustable harness has a waist belt to keep the tool secure.
This leaf blower has a variable-speed throttle, with a maximum air speed of 145 mph and airflow of 600 CFM. It’s extremely quick and easy to start, using the pushbutton. And although you can push a button while operating, our at-home tester especially appreciated the option to set a dial to let it blow at a specific speed or strength. That helped cut down on fatigue, she noted; a necessity, since her expansive yard has over 20 leaf-dropping trees.
In addition to being relatively quiet and free of emissions, the battery-powered design also requires very little maintenance—all you have to do is recharge the battery as needed, and you're good to go. We would prefer a longer chute to target hard-to-reach areas, but for a large yard, we can easily recommend this product.
Price at time of publish: $260
Power Source: Rechargeable battery | Weight: 12.5 pounds | MPH: 145 | CFM: 600 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 64 decibels | Runtime: 180 minutes
Greenworks Pro 80V Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower
Rapidly charging battery
Built-in cruise control
Extremely short runtime
"This was the easiest year of picking up leaves I've ever had!" our at-home tester exclaimed after three months of trying this product to get grass and leaves out of her walkways, lawn, and everything else nature deposits in her Des Moines, Iowa, yard.
"I thought having a backpack leaf blower would be annoying and would be big and hard to use," she reported, "but this leaf blower isn't that big, once you get it on your back. It's not that heavy [under 15 pounds], and having the backpack holding the battery pack helps alleviate the weight on my arm, so this is very easy to use."
The Greenworks also was quieter than some other backpack leaf blowers we tested. It has a trigger-activated variable speed throttle, and a cruise control option that provides constant airflow, as needed. Our Lab tester appreciated the variety. "There were multiple ways to control the power—one was like a trigger," she reported. "I used that the most so I could turn it off easily to improve my accuracy." You can get an extra boost of power with the tool’s turbo button.
The manufacturer estimates that the fully charged 2.5Ah battery lasts only around 18 minutes if run continuously on its highest speed, but our at-home tester noted it ran far longer. "The battery last a long time," she emphasized. "I was able to leaf-blow my backyard multiple days on a single charge." The included rapid charger replenishes the battery in just 45 minutes.
The Greenworks isn’t the most powerful leaf blower—its maximum air speed is 145 mph, and maximum airflow is 580, below many models we tested—but it works well in smaller yards. Our tester was enthusiastic: "The control I had over the power would make doing yard work more fun and certainly quick!"
Price at time of publish: $300
Power Source: Battery | Weight: 14.6 pounds | MPH: 145 | CFM: 580 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: Not listed | Runtime: 18 minutes
Makita EB7660TH 75.6 cc MM4 Backpack Blower
Extremely powerful engine
Vented back panel
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line leaf blower that can easily move just about any debris, this model from Makita has a powerful four-stroke 75.6cc engine. "Four-cycle engines run cleaner with more torque, and there's no need to mix oil in the gas," notes Schanen, whom The Spruce contacted for expert advice. Its maximum air speed is 206 mph, and its top airflow is a whopping 706 CFM, allowing it to push around wet leaves, sticks, and other heavy debris that other leaf blowers can’t handle. Plus, despite its size and power, the backpack leaf blower is surprisingly quiet during operation, maxing out at around 76 decibels, thanks to its large-capacity muffler. For comparison, some similar-sized models operate at 100 dB or higher.
Power Source: Gas | Weight: 31.1 pounds | MPH: 206 | CFM: 706 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 76 decibels | Runtime: Unlimited
Poulan Pro PR48BT Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
Built-in cruise control
Loud during operation
Many people prefer gas-powered leaf blowers for their unlimited runtime and higher power, and the Poulan Pro PR48BT is a moderately priced option that’s ideal for mid-sized yards, up to half an acre. It has a 48cc two-stroke gas engine, a maximum air speed of 200 mph, and maximum airflow of 475. The blower features a variable-speed throttle control on the tube, as well as cruise control for extended operation. "It can be nice to have a throttle with cruise control, so you don't need to have a finger on the trigger at all times," says expert Ern Schanen.
To keep you comfortable as you clean up your yard, this leaf blower has adjustable shoulder straps and padded load-reducing harness. The contoured handle has a soft-grip finish, and it pushes through wet leaves and other heavy debris on its maximum settings. Be aware that it’s quite loud during operation, with a noise level around 97 decibels, which means you need to use hearing protection.
Price at time of publish: $290
Power Source: Gas | Weight: 22 pounds | MPH: 200 | CFM: 475 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 96.7 decibels | Runtime: Unlimited
Best for Large Yards
Husqvarna 150BT 50-cc 2-Cycle Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
Built-in cruise control
The Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower makes quick work of even the largest yards, thanks to its powerful 51cc two-stroke engine. This backpack leaf blower delivers air speeds up to 270 mph, and airflow up to an impressive 765 cfm, allowing you to move more debris in less time. It’s suitable for cleaning up leaves, yard debris, grass and hedge clippings, and even sticks, and its variable-speed throttle has a cruise control feature for easier handling.
To keep you comfortable while you work, this leaf blower is equipped with a padded harness, hip belt, and weight-leveling load management system. However, it is extremely loud, and you definitely want to wear hearing protection while using it.
Price at time of publish: $349
Power Source: Gas | Weight: 22.5 pounds | MPH: 270 | CFM: 765 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 110 decibels | Runtime: Unlimited
RYOBI 40V Whisper Series Cordless Battery Backpack Blower
Uses one or two batteries
Air speed attachment
Built-in cruise control
Runtime not listed
Your neighbors won’t even know you’re leaf blowing with the RYOBI Whisper Series Cordless Battery Backpack Blower. This battery-powered model runs on either one or two 6Ah lithium ion batteries, and it operates at just 59 decibels—one of the quietest options you can find today. It delivers air speeds up to 165 MPH and airflow up to 730 cfm, and you can adjust its settings to your needs using the variable-speed trigger and/or cruise control.
The RYOBI leaf blower comes with two batteries and has two active battery ports for extended runtime, but the manufacturer doesn’t specify how long each battery lasts. However, the included rapid charger powers up a drained battery in under 60 minutes. There’s a turbo button for those times you need extra power, and the tool comes with a nozzle attachment to help maximize air speed.
Price at time of publish: $449
Power Source: Battery | Weight: 30 pounds | MPH: 165 | CFM: 730 cubic feet per minute | Noise Rating: 59 decibels | Runtime: Not listed
You can clean up virtually any yard
debris with the ECHO 58.2cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower, which has a convenient tube-mounted throttle and vented backrest for added comfort. If you’re looking for a combination blower-vac on a budget, the BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum and Mulcher is a surprisingly versatile and well-priced tool, but it must be plugged into an electrical outlet for operation.
What to Look For in a Backpack Leaf Blower
As most yard tools, leaf blowers can be powered by gas engines, rechargeable batteries, or power cords. There are benefits to each of these power sources:
- Gas: Typically, gas-powered leaf blowers are the most powerful, and you have virtually unlimited runtime. (If you run out of gas, you can simply stop and refill the fuel tank.) However, they’re generally louder and require more maintenance than electric models, and they can also be harder to start.
- Battery: Leaf blowers that run on rechargeable batteries tend to be quiet and easy to operate, often starting with the push of a button. Many are also significantly lighter than gas blowers, as well. However, the major downside is that they have a limited runtime, which can be quite short if you’re using the tool on a high setting.
- Corded: Electric leaf blowers that run via extension cords offer many of the same benefits as battery-powered models, but they have unlimited runtime. The main downfall, however, is you’re limited to the range of your extension cord.
Because backpack leaf blowers are designed to be carried on your back, it’s important to select a model that you can comfortably lift and support for an extended period of time.
"Consider the strap configuration, and look for padded straps and a harness that helps distribute the load," recommends Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt gardening partner and creator of The Impatient Gardener.
Leaf blowers can be quite loud during operation, and most models fall somewhere between 60 and 110 decibels. Not only can this loud, continuous noise be irritating, but it can also be harmful to your hearing above a certain level. Exposure to noise above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss, so you’ll need to invest in hearing protection, such as ear plugs or earmuffs, if you select a leaf blower that’s at or above this noise level.
As you shop for leaf blowers, you'll see each unit's maximum airspeed listed in miles per hour, or mph. This indicates the maximum speed of the air coming out of the nozzle, and leaf blowers with higher air speeds can move heavier objects and debris.
Leaf blowers also have an air volume or airflow rating, which is measured in cubic feet per minute or cfm. This measurement indicates how well the leaf blower can keep objects moving—a unit with a low cfm won't be able to push debris very far. Ideally, you'll want to look for a leaf blower with a fairly high maximum mph and cfm, which will be able to push heavy debris across your yard efficiently.
How do you start a backpack leaf blower?
The steps required to start a backpack leaf blower depend on the tool's power source. Battery or corded leaf blowers typically have a push-button or trigger start that you can simply press and go. Gas-powered leaf blowers, on the other hand, often have a few additional steps. You'll likely need to push the primer bulb several times, adjust the choke, and pull the starting cord to get a gas motor running.
How does a backpack leaf blower work?
"A backpack blower works the same way a handheld leaf blower works, except you carry the engine on your back," Schanen explains. "The blower arm comes out of it with an easy-to-hold handle that allows you to control where it blows."
When should you use a backpack leaf blower?
Backpack blowers are preferable to other types for big jobs, advises Schanen. "Since they tend to be more powerful than handheld models," she notes, "they are also good for blowing larger material, such as blowing mulch back into a garden bed."
Why would you prefer a gas backpack leaf blower or a battery-powered backpack leaf blower?
There are benefits to both types of leaf blowers, so it's really a matter of your priorities. "The big advantages that gas-powered backpack blowers have over electric battery-powered blowers is power and longevity," explains Schanen. Gas-powered models are often more powerful and have an unlimited runtime, but battery-powered leaf blowers are generally lighter, quieter, and easier to maintain.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. While researching backpack leaf blowers for this article, she spoke with Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt’s gardening partner, master gardener, and creator of The Impatient Gardener blog and its YouTube channel. Schanen offered insights on what to look for in a leaf blower, as well as information on how these tools work.
While evaluating different products, Rabideau considered factors such as each blower's weight, maximum MPH and CFM, power source, and noise level. She also looked at the runtime of any battery-powered models, prioritizing options that last long enough to clean a sizable yard.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all of these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.