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As fall winds down, a good leaf blower can make much quicker work of those messy yards than a rake. But potential buyers should consider what kind of power and features they really need. While gas machines have the most power, a small yard could likely make do with a corded or rechargeable option. You'll also want to pay close attention to the weight of the model—a long running time won't do you much good if your leaf blower is too heavy to carry for more than 20 minutes.
Not sure how to find the right one for the job? We've done the research to help you choose the best leaf blower to keep your yard and driveway clear.
Easy to maneuver
Quick and effective
Gets heavy after extended use
Loud at higher settings
Using a leaf blower can be cumbersome. For an electric blower that delivers powerful airflow and is easy to use, it’s hard to beat the Worx Turbine Corded Leaf Blower. Our tester said, "The variable speed really allows you to respect your plants and landscaping while blasting out when you want to." It delivers air at speeds up to 110 MPH with an impressive 600 CFM (cubic feet per minute), which is enough to corral even wet leaves and gravel.
You'll find plenty of videos showing this leaf blower's power, including one where it moves a brick. And though the machine can get heavy for larger jobs, our reviewer noted that "the weight is balanced well so it's easy to hold onto."
Powerful and efficient
Battery charges quickly
Short battery life
On the heavier side
Roam free chasing down rogue leaves and debris with the 56-volt Ego Turbo cordless leaf blower. Equipped with a 2.5-Ah, lithium-ion battery, the blower runs for close to an hour in regular operation and about 20 minutes in turbo mode. Inside the unit, a brushless motor reduces friction and increases the durability.
As for power, the Ego Turbo has top speeds of up to 110 MPH and a respectable 530 CFM. Weighing in at 9.8 pounds, it certainly isn’t the lightest leaf blower on the market, and users suggest purchasing the shoulder strap for added comfort. While some reviewers wish the battery lasted longer in its max mode—since that offers the most efficient clearing ability—most people are satisfied with the overall effectiveness.
Light, compact design
Perfect for small jobs
Short battery life
Long charge time
If you’re looking for the convenience of a cordless blower in a light-as-a-feather package, the Worx Cordless Hi-Capacity Blower is our recommendation. With the blower itself weighing under 4 pounds, the compact unit makes it ideal for small yards.
While its 80 CFM isn’t a match for moving larger debris, people report that it’s great for removing leaves, pine needles, and dirt off hard surfaces. The included 20-volt battery lasts for somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes in real-world use, although some noted over time the battery life gets shorter. So, it may not be enough battery to tackle serious square footage, but it’s definitely enough to clean your garage floor. Plus, users like the eight included attachments that help reach hard-to-get areas and perform other tasks like blowing up an air mattress.
Cruise control feature is perfect for long jobs
A gas leaf blower offers plenty of power and no limitations when it comes to battery life or cord length—making it well suited for extended work sessions.
The Ryobi Gas Jet Fan Blower is powered by a 25-cc gas motor and a three-stage fan system that gives more wind power and speed. This blower reaches top speeds of 160 MPH and 520 CFM.
At over 10 pounds, it's on the heavier side, but the combo of the variable speed settings with a "cruise control" option and comfortable shoulder straps make it easy enough to maneuver for long periods of time.
Durable metal impeller works great
Easy to use and maneuver
Vacuum bag rips easily
In addition to blowing leaves, the Toro Ultra also gives you the option to vacuum and mulch grass and leaves in one easy step. Powerful in both blower and vacuum modes, the Toro Ultra can move air up to 350 CFM with speeds up to 250 MPH. In vacuum mode, this corded device will suction leaves before mulching most of them to be smaller than half an inch.
While some leaf vacuums use plastic components, this model has a durable metal impeller, which grinds up and spits out everything from leaves to twigs. Variable speed control helps with precision, and the debris bag has a zippered closure that makes it easy to empty mulched leaves when your work is done. However, a few people experienced holes or zipper failures after letting the bag drag on the ground.
Battery compatible with other Greenworks products
Heavy and cumbersome
Short battery life
The 80-volt Greenworks Pro Cordless Blower with its rechargeable 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery doesn't fall short when it comes to power and performance. Air speeds reach up to 125 MPH, and while the 500 CFM is slightly lower than other blowers in this mid-range class, most reviewers rave about its ability to tackle any job, including wet leaves and rocks.
However, the unit is on the heavy side at nearly 10 pounds, and a few people say the battery in the back leaves it feeling unbalanced. And while the manufacturer claims up to 70 minutes of run time on a fully charged battery, most people find they can only get around 15 to 20 minutes. On the plus side, the battery charges in about 30 minutes and it stays pretty quiet at 60 decibels (on low).
Powerful enough for commercial and residential use
Easy to start
Setup instructions are confusing
Featuring a two-cycle engine and convenient variable speed throttle on the blower tube, Echo Gas Backpack Leaf Blower gives you whopping speeds up to 215 MPH and 510 CFM. Reviewers consistently comment on how easy it is to use and they love how quick it gets jobs done. The only complaint, which isn’t uncommon with backpack blowers, is the fact that you can’t restart the blower without taking it off. And while the backpack design distributes weight to the shoulders and back, it weighs 22 pounds and can start to feel heavy after extended sessions. However, several users say it's relatively quiet compared to other gas-powered models.
Lightweight and maneuverable
Easy to assemble and use
Lots of power for size
Can't adjust direction of airflow
The Ryobi Gas Walk-Behind Blower with wheels offers an easy-to-maneuver alternative to carrying around or strapping a leaf blower to your back. Buyers are impressed with its power considering that it's relatively lightweight and compact.
It has an onboard 42cc gas engine and a powerful fan capable of moving air up to 520 CFM. Variable speed control is positioned on the handle and lets you speed up or slow down to concentrate on areas with more debris. An air discharge tube sends leaves, dirt, twigs, and more flying, but know that the tube isn’t adjustable—so it only blows in one direction.
Extremely effective for light debris
Only one speed
No cord, must purchase extension cord separately
Blast leaves without blowing your budget by picking up the affordable Greenworks 7 Amp Electric Blower. It isn’t the mightiest machine, but it can clean light debris in a hurry. It offers air speeds up to 160 miles per hour, but the 150 CFM rating is low in comparison to more robust models. Still, people love this budget leaf blower for what it is—a quick and handy way to clean leaves, dirt, and sticks from your porch, driveway, or garage. It also weighs less than 5 pounds and plugs into your basic home extension cord (not included with purchase) so it's super easy to use.
What type of leaf blower should I get?
There are several types of leaf blowers with advantages to each depending on your specific needs and budget, but the two main categories are gas and electric. In general, gas-powered leaf blowers tend to be more powerful, but they’re also typically heavier, more expensive, and louder. Electric leaf blowers, whether corded or cordless, are often easier to maneuver and less expensive, but you’ll sacrifice power and will also be constrained by either the battery life or how far your extension cord reaches.
What does a leaf vacuum do?
Leaf vacuums contain fans that create suction to pull leaves, pine straw, and other debris into a collection bag. Some also have a mulching feature, which turns the collection into mulch or compost that you can then use in your yard or garden. Most leaf vacuums also feature a blowing component. Leaf vacuums are better suited for smaller jobs or hard-to-reach areas of decks or porches because they tend to have small capacities for holding the debris.
Is CFM or MPH more important in a leaf blower?
CFM, or cubic feet per minute, measures the volume of air that the leaf blower can move, whereas MPH, miles per hour, measures the speed at which the air moves. It’s important to look at both numbers because they work together. However, a higher airspeed does nothing without a large push power—the volume of air coming out every minute (CFM)—and therefore, large differences in CFM between models can often make a bigger difference in how quickly you can complete a job.
A leaf blower is an essential piece of yard equipment. As its name implies, it’s useful for wrangling leaves that fall into your yard or onto your deck and driveway. But a leaf blower is also handy to have around to clear dirt, gravel, and debris from your yard or garage. Some people even use leaf blowers to clear a light dusting of snow from the sidewalk or porch during winter. Leaf blowers are easy to operate and versatile enough to be used for an array of different tasks.
Leaf blowers draw on a power source (like an engine or battery) to channel a flow of powerful air out a nozzle. Direct the nozzle toward the leaves or debris and blow it in the direction you want, which will create neat piles for later disposal or quickly blast away dirt, sand, or snow for a cleaner surface.
There are a number of different types of leaf blowers on the market, including handheld, backpack, and walk-behind models on wheels. Decide whether you want the power of a gasoline leaf blower or the quieter operation of an electric model. You should look for a leaf blower with enough CFM to tackle the tasks you have in mind and pay attention to the battery life if you opt for a cordless electric model. Leaf blowers cost as little as $30 for a light-duty handheld version to $300 or more for professional-grade backpack or walk-behind models.
The CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating of a leaf blower refers to the volume of air that the leaf blower can move. The higher the CFM, the greater the air movement and ability the blower has to keep leaves, sticks, twigs, and more moving.
Some leaf blowers are rated by MPH, or how fast the air moves in miles per hour. Faster speeds give increased ability to move yard debris and reduce how many passes it takes to clear a section of your yard, driveway, or deck.
Measuring the power output of a leaf blower will give you some idea of the model’s capabilities. When taken into consideration with CFM or MPH, the output power will tell you how much of a workhorse the leaf blower is. Power is measured in cubic centimeters (CC) for gasoline engines, amps (A) for corded electric models, and volts (V) for battery-operated leaf blowers.
Noise is a critical consideration since some leaf blowers can be loud enough to disturb the neighbors—or even violate local noise ordinances. The noise rating of any leaf blower is rated in decibels. Electric leaf blowers are likely to be the quietest, followed by gasoline models, and loudest of all are walk-behind leaf blowers.
Get the facts on whether your community or municipality limits the decibels of yard equipment like leaf blowers, or outlaws the use of them altogether. Also be sure to use hearing protection when operating a leaf blower, since sustained use can lead to hearing damage and loss.
While some leaf blowers only operate at one set speed, others include variable speed control. The benefit of adjusting the speed is that you can increase the power to tackle tougher messes, like wet leaves or muddy sticks, then turn it down to keep from wildly blowing lighter debris in all directions. A few models with variable speed control include a lock feature (sometimes called "cruise control") that will let you select a speed and maintain it without having to keep the speed throttle engaged.
If you’re opting for a cordless electric leaf blower, battery life is an important consideration since your clean-up time could be cut short by a dead battery. If you have a small yard, a standard lithium-ion battery may suffice. However, if you have a lot of ground to cover, you might want to invest in a model with longer battery life or keep a back-up battery on hand to swap in when the first battery dies.
The airspeeds generated by a leaf blower cause a lot of vibration through the nozzle and body of the machine. Holding onto the blower for any length of time can start to take a toll on your hands, wrists, and arm—especially with handheld models. If comfort is a priority or you plan to use the leaf blower for an extended period of time, be sure to look for a model that is designed with vibration-dampening features.
Sometimes you just want to blast away debris, but other times you might want to vacuum up leaves, pinecones, and more for a tidier yard or to create mulch. Some leaf blowers include a vacuum attachment that collects debris into a bag or includes a mulching feature to turn suctioned items into a mulch you can spread around your trees or garden.
Gas Engine Type
If you opt for a gas-powered leaf blower for its power, consider whether you want a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. The two-stroke engines are typically less expensive than more complex four-stroke engines, but they will require you to blend gas and oil at the right ratio for proper operation. On the other hand, a gasoline leaf blower with a four-stroke engine makes life easy by accepting straight gasoline into its fuel tank—but it will need regular oil changes. If you don’t mind pre-mixing fuel, then a two-stroke engine is likely adequate for your leaf blowing needs.
The most common type of leaf blowers on the market are handheld models. There is also the widest variety in this type of leaf blower, with models that are better suited for light-duty use or more professional-grade equipment for serious lawn care.
The biggest differentiator among handheld leaf blowers is the power source. There are both gasoline models and electric handheld models, which come in two subtypes: corded or cordless. Handheld blowers cost anywhere from $30 to $300, depending on the power and features you choose.
Corded electric leaf blowers are typically an economical choice and skip the hassle of gasoline or recharging batteries. Just plug this type of leaf blower into a proper extension cord and you’re ready to blow leaves and debris out from flowerbeds, walkways, and more.
The convenient operation of a corded electric leaf blower is offset by the fact that you can only work in areas within reach of your extension cord. So this type of leaf blower isn’t a good match if you have a lot of property to keep up. However, corded electric leaf blowers are typically lighter in weight and easy to operate, so they make a good option if you just need a leaf blower for casual use close to a power source.
One of the more popular leaf blowers on the market, cordless models offer the convenience and quiet of an electric model without the shortcomings of a cord. Just make sure you have a live battery onboard and you are free to find leaves and debris anywhere and everywhere.
The battery itself can sometimes add weight to a cordless leaf blower, but it’s still significantly lighter in comparison to a handheld model with a full tank of fuel. As long as you don’t expect to use the leaf blower for extended run times (or you have a spare battery as a back-up), you’ll likely be happy with the flexibility of a cordless leaf blower.
Handheld gas-powered leaf blowers are equipped with a motor and offer the greatest amount of power among handheld blowers. However, they also produce the greatest amount of noise and fumes. The extra weight of the engine and fuel tank also can make handheld leaf blowers heavier and more cumbersome to use over an extended period of time.
The advantages to a gas handheld leaf blower are the power and portability it offers. You get plenty of wind speed and airflow from these models and you aren’t restricted by a cord or limited by the battery life as you are with other types of handheld leaf blowers.
These leaf blowers are usually gasoline-powered models that package power and convenience into a backpack model. While this type of leaf blower is usually far from lightweight, the weight is evenly distributed with the help of thick shoulder straps, and a padded back plate allows the blower to rest relatively comfortably between your shoulders.
These leaf blowers are often used by professional landscapers to cover large areas. However, even residential users find backpack leaf blowers offer advantages. While they’re not "hands-free"—you’ll need to direct the nozzle and control the speed trigger with one hand—they do reduce the burden of carrying around a heavy gas-powered leaf blower with one arm. You’ll typically find between 500-700 CFM in backpack leaf blowers, which is more than the average handheld blower but lags behind most walk-behind blowers.
Backpack leaf blowers require more of an investment than handheld models. Typically, these leaf blowers start around $200. They’re available in both two-stroke and four-stroke engine configurations. Newly available cordless electric backpack blowers add a quieter option for anyone seeking a backpack-style leaf blower without the noise level and fumes of gas-powered backpack blowers.
The biggest leaf blowers are walk-behind models. This type of leaf blower is best suited for commercial applications or professional landscaping teams, but you might opt for a walk-behind model if you don’t want to carry a blower. Walk-behind blowers vary in price depending on whether it’s a commercial or residential model; this type of blower starts at about $250 but climbs quickly to $1,000 or more.
The advantage to a walk-behind leaf blower is superior CFM—anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 or more CFM is typical. Newer residential models have more limited power in the 500 CFM range. Just about all walk-behind leaf blowers are gasoline-powered, with the exception of a few very light-duty electric models.
The onboard gas engine and high CFM mean that walk-behind blowers tend to be some of the loudest leaf blowers on the market. This is another reason these blowers aren’t popular picks for residential yard work. However, if you don’t have nearby neighbors and have a large area to clear, then a walk-behind blower may work for you.
Focusing on the residential small tool market, Ryobi offers leaf blowers in all major categories, including handheld, backpack, and walk-behind models. The heaviest concentration of products and value is in the handheld sector, but Ryobi stands out for offering a battery-powered backpack blower and a light-duty walk behind blower suited for residential use.
Echo focuses on mid-to-professional grade leaf blowers that offer plenty of power. All Echo leaf blowers are gas-powered, and the company currently offers only handheld or backpack models. Considering the focus on power and quality, you’ll pay more for an Echo leaf blower but can expect robust MPH and CFM in return, along with comfortable ergonomics.
The line-up of Worx leaf blowers is focused exclusively on corded and cordless electric models. The brand carries entry-to-mid level blowers that will suit the needs of most homeowners but probably aren’t suited for intensive professional-grade use.
The ubiquitous yellow-and-black power tool company only focuses on one thing when it comes to blowers: handheld electric models. You can pick from either corded or cordless options, and there are also compact versions designed with job site use in mind (rather than just leaves and yard debris). Dewalt handheld leaf blowers offer substantial CFM by model and have a lightweight design, so they’re an option worth considering if you’re sold on an electric leaf blower.
When you invest in a leaf blower for yard care, you want to be sure that your initial investment is protected. Most of the major tool manufacturers' back their blowers with a three- or five-year limited warranty. Echo and Ryobi are two popular leaf blower brands that carry a five-year warranty, though you should note that Ryobi’s five-year warranty only applies to certain models (other models fall into a three-year warranty period). Budget leaf blowers may only have a two-year warranty out-of-the-box but will sometimes extend it to three years with product registration.
When deciding on a leaf blower, weigh the warranty period against the investment you’re making in the tool itself. If you’re opting for a light-duty model with a price tag to match, you might need to replace it in a few seasons outside of warranty coverage. On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend more upfront for a higher-end leaf blower, you should look for warranty terms that will offer you peace of mind that your investment is protected at least for the next few years.