When leaves start falling in autumn, you can minimize the elbow grease that comes with keeping your lawn neat and tidy by relying on a quality leaf blower and vacuum.
One of the most important specs to consider when buying a leaf blower is airflow capacity, which is measured cubic feet per minute (CFM). According to Deane Biermeier, “For most residential uses, 500 CFM is a good middle-of-the-road power level. Small cordless models with 300 to 400 CFM airflow work just fine for small yards with few trees."
We tested 27 leaf blowers in The Lab, evaluating their ease of assembly and use, battery life, noise levels, and effectiveness at clearing debris in various landscape conditions. The main portion of our effectiveness test involved us dropping dry leaves on grass and concrete, as well as damp leaves on grass, and timing how quickly each leaf blower cleared each leaf pile. We also tested to see if we could easily round up leaves into a chalk-drawn box on concrete and if each blower could move a 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1-ounce fishing line weight.
The Ryobi ONE+ 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower is our top pick, since it offers an impressive and useful amount of power at its price point and has a lightweight design that we found easy to maneuver with one hand.
Based on our lab testing, here are the best leaf blowers.
Best Overall: Ryobi ONE+ 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower
Compact and lightweight
Great power and control
The Ryobi ONE+ Cordless Leaf Blower packs power into a compact, easy-to-maneuver design. While we found the model operates on the louder side, its well-rounded performance in our test and value-friendly price earns it the top spot in our roundup.
Our tester found the leaf blower “light enough to hold with one hand” and claims the unit “had an easy time getting up to full power and cleared everything that needed cleared.” Plus, it offers variable speeds, so you can adjust the settings as you see fit, and a straightforward setup process that only requires you to snap the two pieces together. Handling it is undemanding as well — it’s cordless, so you don’t need to worry about cord management, and we found it easy to control the direction of the unit's airflow, as we were able to successfully round up a pile of leaves into the box we drew with chalk on concrete in under 22 seconds.
Our tester noted the blower requires two to three hours to fully charge and had a 30-minute run time. This leaf blower is powerful enough to clear plenty of debris in that amount of time, thanks to its airflow capacity of up to 280 CFM and airflow speed of up to 100 miles per hour. With this model, we cleared the patch of grass from dry leaves in just under 29 seconds and from damp leaves in just under 37 seconds, while we cleared the patch of concrete from dry leaves in just under 20 seconds. We also had no problem blowing the fishing line weights a 10-foot distance on concrete. Overall, this model proved to be very efficient and effortless to use under a variety of circumstances.
Price at time of publish: $119
Best Budget: Greenworks 7 Amp 160 MPH/150 CFM Single Speed Electric Blower
Less powerful than other models
Airflow could be easier to control
The Greenworks 7 Amp Electric Blower is our top budget-friendly, corded option. It only weighs 4.5 pounds, and we found it was lightweight and easy to carry. Plus, it has a simple, two-piece setup and a handy cord lock. Our tester appreciates how secure the plug remained for the duration of the test. Compared to our top pick, this model was slightly slower at moving leaves from the patch of grass, clearing the dry leaf pile in just under 40 seconds and the damp leaf pile in just over 41 seconds. However, it was quicker at moving leaves from the patch of concrete, clearing the dry leaf pile in under 16 seconds.
While we were able to successfully move the 0.25- and a 0.5-ounce fishing line weight a 10-foot distance using this leaf blower, we were only able to move the 1-ounce fishing line weight at approximately a 5-feet distance, so it doesn’t match the strength of our top pick. We also found the airflow to be tricky to control, as we struggled to precisely round up the pile of leaves into the chalk-drawn box. Despite these comparative shortcomings, this model still offers great power for its price point and is very capable of effectively clearing leaves with its 150 CFM airflow capacity and 160 MPH airflow speed. Our tester’s assessment was that it “got the job done” and did a “great job for the value.”
Price at time of publish: $43
Best Splurge: EGO Power+ LB6003 600 CFM Variable-Speed 56-Volt Cordless Leaf Blower
Quickly clears leaves
May offer too much power for smaller yards
The EGO POWER+ 600 CFM Backpack Blower lets you choose between a 260 CFM or a 600 CFM setting and has an airflow speed of up to 145 MPH, making it great for a range of tasks. However, you may find splurging on this range in power to be superfluous if you’re working with a smaller yard. It has an easy two-piece setup, including a backpack component. We found the backpack to be comfortable and lightweight, and it was easy to move around while wearing it. This model has an adjustable tube, too, and our tester appreciated that “the wand was flexible and moved with ease.”
While using this leaf blower on the patch of grass, we were able to speedily clear out the pile of dry and damp leaves, finishing each job in 17 seconds and 15.2 seconds, respectively. On concrete, this unit cleared the pile of dry leaves in an impressive 7 seconds. It was also quick to move the fishing weights a distance of 10 feet, and our tester didn’t have to stand super close to the weights to get them to move. The unit manages to offer substantial power without being too loud, which is a great bonus, and our tester describes using this leaf blower as being “fast, effective, and fun.”
Price at time of publish: $419
Best Corded: WORX WG520 12 Amp TURBINE 600 Electric Leaf Blower
Light and easy to carry
Powerful and effective
Different speed settings
Lack of precise airflow control
Too powerful for certain uses
Who else recommends it? The Strategist, BestReviews, and Reviewed all picked the WORX WG520 Leaf Blower.
What do buyers say? 95% of 9,700+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The WORX WG520 12 Amp TURBINE 600 Electric Leaf Blower is a corded model that offers a lot of power in an easy-to-carry design. It gives you the option to choose between a 600 CFM airflow capacity with a 110 MPH airflow speed or a 320 CFM airflow capacity with a 110 MPH airflow speed. While this range in power can be especially handy in larger yards, our tester warns that it may offer too much power to be appropriately used on flower beds. The cord fell out during the testing process, even while using the retainer, and our tester had to create a knot in the cord and rely on the guide to ensure it didn’t happen again. However, compared to other models our tester used, they found this model’s power switch to be easier to operate and appreciated its lightweight design.
We struggled to move leaves in particular directions with this leaf blower, as our attempt to blow a pile of leaves into our box we outlined with chalk on concrete was unsuccessful. We were able to wrangle the leaves into the box with other models, so if you’re looking for precise movement, this may not be the model for you. That being said, we were able to quickly clear the patch of grass from the pile of dry and damp leaves, with each task taking us around 30 seconds to complete. We were able to clear the concrete patch of a pile of dry leaves in just 10 seconds and had no problem moving the fishing line weights a 10-foot distance with the leaf blower, so what this model lacks in precision it makes up for in power and effectiveness.
Price at time of publish: $65
Best for Small/Medium Yards: Toro Power Sweep 160 MPH 155 CFM 7 Amp Electric Leaf Blower
Lightweight and compact
Two speed settings
Efficient and easy to control
Limited to small and medium tasks
The Toro Power Sweep Electric Leaf Blower is compact and lightweight, standing 11.5 inches tall and 28 inches long and weighing 4.7 pounds. You can choose between two speed settings, with the highest mode offering a 155 CFM airflow capacity and a 160 MPH airflow speed. According to our tester, it offers “a lot of power with little kick back.” The unit is made up of only two pieces, and the setup process took less than a minute to complete. It’s a corded model, and it includes a cord lock to help secure the plug. We appreciate how it manages to store a good amount of power in such an easy-to-maneuver, easy-to-manage design.
On a patch of grass, we were able to clear out the pile of dry leaves in 16 seconds and a pile of damp leaves in 27 seconds. On concrete, this unit cleared the pile of dry leaves in a speedy 8 seconds and, despite its small size, it had no problem pushing the fishing line weights a 10-foot distance. And while the power and efficiency is great for small and medium yards, precision is where this leaf blower really stands out. With this leaf blower, we were able to wrangle a pile of leaves into the box we drew with chalk on concrete in just 9 seconds. Compared to how long it took us to successfully round up the leaves using the other leaf blowers on this list, this unit’s 9-second time was the quickest. Our tester’s verdict was that this unit has “great value for such a compact, light, efficient, sleek blower.”
Price at time of publish: $57
Best Powerful: Makita XBU03SM1 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Blower Kit
Different power levels
Easy one-handed control
Difficult to control airflow direction
The Makita XBU03SM1 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Blower Kit is a cordless unit that offers adjustable power levels, with its maximum airflow capacity being 459 CFM and maximum airflow speed being 116 MPH. We appreciated that this model allowed for easy one-handed operation — we had no problem using one hand to grip the handle and another hand to adjust the speed settings. The assembly is straightforward, but takes a bit of time, despite it only being a two-piece unit. We finished setting it up in a little over 11 minutes. Please note that the tool required for the screws is included.
We were able to clear the patch of grass of dry leaves in 50 seconds and of damp leaves in 42 seconds. And, we were able to clear the patch of concrete of dry leaves significantly faster, completing the task in 18 seconds. Our tester wished the leaf blower’s airflow was easier to control and noted that “the shape of the blower didn't allow for precise direction.” We were unable to round up the entire pile of leaves into the box we outlined on concrete, no matter which speed setting we used. However, it’s not lacking in terms of power, since it was able to speedily move the fishing line weights a 10-foot distance. Plus, our tester was pleased that they didn’t have to get too close to the ground for the leaf blower to effectively complete the tasks.
Price at time of publish: $204
Best Variable Speed: WORX WG584 40V Turbine Cordless Leaf Blower Power Share with Brushless Motor
Very fast at clearing dry leaves
Long battery life
Easy to maneuver with one hand
Effort needed to attach final piece
Slower to move damp leaves
Difficult to blow leaves precisely
The WORX 40V Turbine Cordless Leaf Blower Power Share with Brushless Motor has a lightweight build and a long battery life, which are two qualities that are particularly handy if you’re working with a larger yard. Our tester noted that they were able to operate the unit using only one hand and that they didn’t feel any strain in their arm while using it. The setup process was straightforward, though while many of the other leaf blowers on this roundup are two-piece models, this is a three-piece model, and attaching its final piece required a little more effort than usual. However, when all was said and done, we were still able to finish setting up the leaf blower in just under two minutes.
Also compared to the other leaf blowers in this roundup, this Worx model was the quickest at removing dry leaves from our patch of grass, finishing the job in just 12.9 seconds. It cleared dry leaves from the patch of concrete in a similar amount of time — namely in 12.7 seconds. The unit did take a bit longer to clear the patch of damp leaves from our patch of grass, finishing the job in just under 52 seconds. The leaf blower has various power modes, and you can choose to operate the unit with an airflow capacity of 300 to 470 CFM and with an airflow speed of 60, 69, 80, or 95 MPH. Our tester dubbed it a “very effective leaf blower” and noted that “the first setting cleared most conditions including wet leaves.” Since it was so powerful, we were unable to precisely blow the leaves into the chalk-drawn box, but we had no difficulty at all blowing the different fish weights a distance of 10 feet.
Price at time of publish: $191
Best Quiet: RYOBI 550 CFM 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Whisper Series Jet Fan Leaf Blower
Light and easy to maneuver
Control of airflow could be better
The Ryobi 40V Brushless 125 MPH 550 CFM Cordless Battery Whisper Series Jet Fan Blower with 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger impressed us with its quiet operation. While the product description lists the unit as having a noise rating of 59 dB, our noise level test showed it to only have a noise rating of 40.2 dB — so it’s a great option for anyone who is worried about finding an especially neighbor-friendly leaf blower. We also appreciated how easy it was to operate. Our tester said this unit is “very easy and light to transport” and claimed they didn’t feel fatigued after operating it for the duration of the test.
This model has an airflow capacity of 550 CFM and an airflow speed of 125 MPH. On the patch of grass, it cleared the pile of dry leaves in 27 seconds and the pile of damp leaves in 28 seconds. It cleared the dry leaves from the patch of concrete in only 11 seconds. We weren't able to fully wrangle all the leaves into the chalk square we drew on concrete, but our attempt wasn’t a complete failure either, which means that while the control this unit gave us over the blowing direction of the leaves could have been better, it also wasn’t the worst. It offers a lot of power, and we were able to move the various fishing line weights easily, with our tester noting the 0.25 weight moved the 10-foot distance in a single blow. There’s even a Turbo mode if you really want to kick the power up a notch.
Price at time of publish: $155
Best Backpack, Electric: Greenworks Pro 80V Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower
Comfortable to wear
Substantial airflow capacity
Fast recharge time
Long setup process
Could be awkward to maneuver
The Greenworks Pro 80V (180 MPH / 610 CFM) Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower is a backpack model, so it distributes a significant amount of its weight onto your back, consequently lightening the load placed on your arms and wrists. Our tester said that despite being heavier than some other models, they found this unit “fun to use” and thought “the backpack fit nicely and made it easy to carry.” Our tester also said that while the long tube was great while operating the leaf blower, it would sometimes interfere with their endeavors when they’d reach down to pick something up. However, our tester noted that they are 5’4”, so they aren’t sure the tube length would be an issue for taller operators. Despite the occasional gawky operation moment, we appreciated that there were multiple power control options, and we especially liked the user-friendliness of the variable speed trigger.
This model has an airflow capacity of 610 CFM and an airflow speed of 180 MPH. Of all the leaf blowers on this list, this one cleared the patch of concrete from dry leaves the fastest, finishing the job in just 6 seconds. On grass, it cleared the pile of dry leaves in 25 seconds and the pile of damp leaves in 17 seconds. The fishing line weights moved with ease as well. However, we spent 25 minutes getting the unit together, making it the leaf blower in our roundup with the longest setup time. The process required a screwdriver, and we struggled to figure out the correct order in which to attach the tubes. Once it’s up in running, though, this cordless unit can run for up to 18 minutes while on its highest setting, and it has a quick, 45-minute recharge time — which is convenient since any last-minute charging won’t delay your yard work too long.
Price at time of publish: $317
Best Cordless: Dewalt 20V MAX 125 Mph 450 CFM Brushless Cordless Battery Powered Handheld Leaf Blower
Different speed options
Worked well on garden bed
Difficult to precisely move leaves
The Dewalt Brushless Handheld Blower is a cordless unit with an airflow capacity of 450 CFM, an airflow speed of 125 MPH, and a three-piece assembly process that we quickly completed in just over two minutes. It also has a variable speed trigger and a speed lock. The model’s easy-to-use controls are what really made it stand out to us, with our tester claiming “the adjustable power buttons with two-ways to control makes it worth it.” We also didn’t find it to be particularly loud while operating and were able to use it in a garden bed without damaging any of the plants.
This leaf blower cleared the patch of grass from dry leaves in 52 seconds and from damp leaves in 43 seconds, though we did experience a minor delay when clearing the dry leaves because we incorrectly attached the tube during the setup phase and it fell out mid-use. It was much more effective on the patch of concrete, clearing it from dry leaves in just 10 seconds. While we were able to gather the pile of leaves near the box we drew on concrete, we were unable to actually get the leaves inside the box. Our tester said getting the leaves near the box required “pulsing the power button on and off” and noted that they had “little control as to where leaves ended up,” so this model could perform better in terms of airflow control. It performed well power wise, though, easily moving the various fish line weights.
Price at time of publish: $199
Best Gas: Echo 2-Stroke Cycle Handheld Leaf Blower
Different speed settings
Translucent fuel tank
Shoulder strap must be purchased separately
Requires regular gas-model maintenance
With a 2-stroke engine, maximum air flow capacity of 453 CFM, and a maximum airflow speed of 170 MPH, the ECHO Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Handheld Leaf Blower offers a formidable amount of power. Despite its power, it’s lightweight and fairly quiet, weighing 8.6 pounds and having a noise rating of 70 dB. The model relies on a recoil start, which means you need to pull a cord to get it running. While this may seem like a hassle compared to electric blowers’ press-a-button-and-go process, many users praise this model for being easy to start up.
Users note the upkeep and maintenance required of this gas model is easy to manage. Plus, it has an air filter that’s specially designed to keep the engine clean. It also has an 18.6-ounce translucent fuel tank, which makes keeping an eye on the fuel levels easy and spares you from any low-fuel surprises, as well as a curved tube and cruise control options, which can help prevent your arms and wrists from growing easily tired as you carry it. Unfortunately, this leaf blower doesn’t come with a shoulder harness. However, it has shoulder harness points, so you can buy a harness separately and attach it to the unit if you so desire.
Price at time of publish: $169
Best Backpack, Gas: Husqvarna 150BT 50-cc 2-Cycle Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
Large airflow capacity
Requires typical gas-model maintenance
The Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower is great for managing large yards. It has an efficient 2-stroke engine and offers you all the power of a gas model, as well as all the convenience of a backpack design. The leaf blower's substantial airflow capacity of 765 CFM, airflow speed of 270 MPH, and backpack design mean you can largely rely on your back to support the unit (and thus place less strain on your arms and wrist). It also has an adjustable, ergonomic, and well-padded harness and hip belt that make it comfortable to wear as you perform yard work.
The leaf blower is quick and easy to start, but it does rely on a manual start, so you will have to pull a cord to get it running. Once it’s running, you’ll have the option to set it to cruise control for a less demanding leaf-blowing experience. Keep in mind that since it’s a gas model, this unit requires regular clean-up and maintenance. You should also note that this model is significantly heavier than other models on this roundup and weighs 22.5 pounds — but the heavier weight makes sense considering it's a backpack model built for heavier-duty work. On the plus side, the leaf blower has a translucent fuel tank, making it easy to monitor how much fuel you’re working with at any given moment.
Price at time of publish: $309
After thoroughly testing various leaf blower models under various conditions, the Ryobi ONE+ 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower is our top pick since its lightweight, offers an efficient amount of power, and clears leaves quickly all while being value-friendly. If you’re looking for a unit that’s less costly, the Greenworks 7 Amp Electric Blower is our favorite budget pick. The corded model is lightweight and has a secure plug that didn’t fall out during our test, making it easy to haul around.
How We Tested the Leaf Blowers
In order to make the best picks for this roundup, The Spruce tested 27 leaf blowers in The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, evaluating each product’s effectiveness, battery life, ease of use, portability, noise level, and value. We relied on our hands-on experiences with each leaf blower to provide ratings for each of the aforementioned qualities and properly compare the different units.
In order to test effectiveness, we timed how fast each blower could clear leaves from an area under various conditions. We relied on a decibel meter to measure the air blowers’ noise levels, and we noted whether each blower's power output remained consistent and if its battery life started depleting during the test to evaluate battery life. We weighed each unit to help us to determine portability, but we also assessed how balanced each unit felt and how easy each unit was to operate with one hand. For corded models, we also considered the length and manageability of the cord. Ease of use was determined through a variety of factors, such as how seamlessly we could switch between modes on models with variable speeds, locate a unit’s controls, maneuver a unit for an extended period of time, and use a unit’s extra attachments when applicable. Value was determined by weighing all of a model’s pros and cons against its price to determine whether it was an advisable investment.
Our test accounted for different real-life conditions in which you may find yourself using your leaf blower. On a 10-foot by 10-foot patch of grass, we spread out 0.75 pounds of dry leaves. We used each leaf blower on its highest modes and timed how long it was before all the leaves were cleared from the patch of grass. We repeated this step two more times for each leaf blower — once with dampened leaves on the patch of grass, and then again with dry leaves on a patch of 10-foot by 10-foot concrete.
In addition to testing the effectiveness in terms of power, we also tested effectiveness in terms of precision. We spread leaves in a garden bed, dispersed among plants. We used each blower at its lowest speed and evaluated how effectively it cleared leaves without harming the plants. If the unit had a vacuum or mulching function, we tested to see how effectively it could suck up the leaves in the garden and if picked up any mulch while operating on those modes. We also rounded up a small pile of leaves to test the function’s suction power when up against a denser concentration of debris and noted how many times we had to empty the bag before the area was cleared.
On the 10-foot by 10-foot concrete surface, we also evaluated how easy it was to control each leaf blower’s airflow and accurately direct leaves with each unit. We used chalk to mark a starting point, and 10 feet away from that point we drew a 6-inch by 6-inch box with chalk. We placed a pile of leaves at the starting point and, using the modes and attachments we saw fit, directed the leaves towards the box and noted how many leaves successfully made it into the box’s parameters. We repeated this test again, but using 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1- ounce fishing line weights instead of leaves in order to better test the power of the leaf blower.
What to Look for in a Leaf Blower or Vacuum
Cubic feet per minute, or CFM, refers to the volume of air that the leaf blower can move. The higher the CFM, the more air is pushed through the tube every second. This translates into a more powerful gust of air, allowing you to move leaves, sticks, and twigs at a faster pace. Out of all the leaf blowers in our roundup, the Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower is capable of moving the largest volume of air. It has an airflow capacity of 765 CFM, making it well suited for managing more sizable yards.
You'll also see that leaf blowers have an airspeed listed in MPH. Faster speeds give you increased ability to move yard debris and often reduce how many passes it takes to clear a section of your yard, driveway, or deck. The Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower offers the fastest airflow speed of any of the models on our roundup. It’s able to reach airspeeds of up to 270 MPH.
Leaf blowers can be powered in several ways, including by gas engines, rechargeable batteries, or power cords. There are benefits to each of these styles—gas models are cordless and typically provide the most power, but they are louder and require more maintenance. Corded electric models are quieter and more eco-friendly because they don't emit fumes, but you're limited by the length of your extension cord. Finally, battery-powered leaf blowers have a convenient cordless design, but their runtime is typically limited, especially if you're using it at the highest speed.
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 accepts 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.
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.
It’s also worth noting how long a leaf blower’s battery takes to fully recharge. For instance, the Greenworks Pro 80V (180 MPH / 610 CFM) Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower can run for up to 18 minutes on its high mode, but only takes 45 minutes to recharge. If you have a yard that you can clear up in 18 minutes, but are also prone to forget to recharge your devices and don’t want to be stuck waiting for a leaf blower that takes hours and hours to charge once it’s battery depletes, this model’s battery may be the perfect match for your needs.
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 the loudest of all are walk-behind leaf blowers. Our top choice for quiet operation, the Ryobi 40V Brushless 125 MPH 550 CFM Cordless Battery Whisper Series Jet Fan Blower with 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger, is listed as having a 59 dB noise rating in its product description, but our personal measurements showed it to be lower at 40.2 dB.
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.
Leaf blowers can weigh anywhere from 5 to 70 pounds, depending on the style. For a handheld leaf blower, you'll typically want a model under 10 pounds, otherwise, it may not be comfortable to operate for long periods of time. If your leaf blower is any heavier, you'll want to consider a backpack-style model or even a walk-behind option, which will make the weight of the unit easier to manage. Our top pick, the Ryobi ONE+ 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower, weighs only 6.2 pounds.
There’s a wide variety of leaf blowers on the market. They can differ by power source, as some are gas-powered, while others are electric. They can also differ by style and handling methods, since there are models with handheld, backpack, vacuum, and walk-behind designs.
Electric leaf blowers require less maintenance than gas-powered models, and they are available as corded or cordless models. Cordless leaf blowers let you roam your yard freely without having to worry about cord management, but you have to remember to charge your unit and check its product description to make sure it has a long enough run time to let you complete your yard work.
With corded leaf blowers, you don’t have to remember to recharge the battery. According to Biermeier, “Corded leaf blowers offer far more power than cordless models with very little maintenance, but you remain tethered to the nearest outlet while using it. For homeowners with small yards that are filled with leaf-shedding trees, corded models offer high power performance to clear the space.”
Gas-powered leaf blowers have a motor and offer more power than electric models. However, they produce the greatest amount of noise and fumes.7 You should also keep in mind that they require regular maintenance, and the weight of the engine and fuel tank can make them more cumbersome to use over an extended period of time.
Our roundup consists mostly of handheld leaf blowers that you simply hold by a handle and point towards leaves. Some handheld models are better suited for light-duty use, while others are more professional-grade and intended for serious lawn care. Backpack leaf blowers typically offer more power than handheld models, and they’re usually on the heavier side. However, the weight is evenly distributed with the help of thick shoulder straps and a padded back plate that allows the blower to rest relatively comfortably between your shoulders. These leaf blowers are often used by professional landscapers to cover large areas, but can be useful to residential users, especially those with larger yards.
Some leaf blowers include a vacuum attachment that collects leaves and debris into a bag or includes a mulching feature to turn suctioned items into a mulch you can spread around your trees or garden. There aren’t any walk-behind models included in our roundup, but they tend to have a much higher airflow capacity — anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 or more CFM is normal. They are 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.
What type of leaf blower should you 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.
Biermeier compares leaf blowers to snow plows, comparing CFM to “volume of pushing power or the size of the snowplow's blade“ and MPH to “the speed of the vehicle pushing the plow.” Larger blades move more snow, whereas faster speeds throw the snow a greater distance. In other words, a higher CFM will reach and move more leaves at a time, whereas a higher MPH will blow the leaves a greater distance. Biermeier advises that you prioritize CFM or MPH based on your particular needs, stating “if you need to move a small amount of leaves over a long distance, aim for higher MPH. If you need to move a lot of leaves a short distance, higher CFM is the way to go.”
Can you clean gutters with a leaf blower?
Many people clean leaves and other debris out of their gutters using leaf blowers, as the tool makes this cumbersome chore faster and easier. However, it’s important to keep safety in mind if you clean gutters with a leaf blower. It’s not advised to try to wrangle your leaf blower while balancing on a ladder, and—instead, you should invest in a gutter-cleaning attachment for your specific tool. These attachments include a long tube with a hooked end, allowing you to blow leaves from your gutters while standing on the ground. Biermeier recommends you buy an appropriate, specially-designed extension kit to clean your gutters, rather than climbing on top of your roof and relying on your leaf blower to do the job. Biermeier also notes when it comes to thick, wet leaves “a more powerful, corded or gas model might be able to blast them out, but a cordless model only does a fair job of it when the gutter contents are thoroughly dry.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
Sarah Toscano is a freelance writer for The Spruce, specializing in all things related to home tech and smart home gadgets. All but two leaf blowers included in this roundup were tested in The Lab, where product testers followed a meticulous testing methodology to evaluate various qualities of each unit. The two models that weren’t tested were heavily researched by Sarah. She read through scores of customer reviews and discussion forums and analyzed each product's specs to properly evaluate the picks.
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 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.