Let’s talk about a love/hate relationship. Yep, something that’s traumatic to many. Of course, I’m talking about a leaf blower. Everyone’s favorite tool to hate.
That is, until they use one to move a huge pile of leaves and debris and turn a 4 hour job into one that’s a little over an hour.
Then, with a big smile, it’s off to fire up the barbecue on that nice clean deck or backyard…
Why Use a Leaf Blower?
A blower is a lot easier to use than a broom or a rake when you’ve got a huge amount of leaves or debris to move. Even a lower power blower is a handy tool to use when you just need to clean off a small deck or patio area.
Or your garage…
Can I Complete Any Other Jobs with One?
Depending on what you buy, you can also get an all-in-one unit that allows you to do mulching and vacuuming. If you’ve got a garden, the mulching feature is something you’ll get a lot of use out of.
We review a unit that inflates and deflates toys and such as well.
Which Leaf Blower Should I Buy?
You’ve got 2 power types and 2 styles each of blowers to look at. As you might expect, one will be particularly useful for one job, but another is better suited to another task.
It’s not uncommon for some people to have a lower power electric blower to use as a broom replacement working alongside a higher powered gas model for those big jobs.
The 2 types of blowers are:
- 4 Stroke
The gas powered models are offered in 2 handling types as well. The more powerful units are offered in a backpack version and the slightly lower power versions come in a more compact handheld version.
Let’s briefly talk about the 2 types of blowers, and then we’ll head on into a review of our 4 top blowers.
Gas power blowers tend to be a more powerful. They generally come with variable power switches and can be dialed up to move large amounts of leaves or debris. Then, dial them down to work around areas like flower beds and gravel.
Because there’s no cord, it means you’re free to roam and can cover a large area. Gas power means you can run for as long as you want because it’s easy and quick to refuel.
There’s no need to worry about running out of battery power in 30 minutes. Or having too short an extension cord.
Gas blowers are loud, though some have much better mufflers and can keep the noise down. There are some models that say you can work without ear protection. May be so, but we don’t recommend it.
On average, gas powered units have poor mulching and vacuuming ability. Most gas units don’t have the extra attachments available to do those jobs.
Gas powered units come in 2 choices: 2-cycle or 4 stroke.
The 2-cycle models need to have the oil mixed with the gas in order to keep the engine lubricated. We recommend buying it premixed to get the ratio right. This is because it could help you with warranty service wrangling down the road.
Oil/gas pre-mixing isn’t necessary with the 4 stroke units. There’s a separate oil reservoir that you need to make sure is filled properly every time you use the unit. The 4 stroke models tend to be a little heavier yet they are more efficient when it comes to gas use and emissions.
Gas blowers can be heavier, so consider a backpack unit if your jobs are going to be a big ones. Gas powered units also have the highest speed and air output.
Jobs best suited for:
· When you have a large area and a lot of leaves or debris.
· You’re dealing with wet or heavy leaves, stubborn dirt and debris.
Though electric blowers tend to be a little less powerful than gas powered units, many models are lighter and easier to handhold. This has the advantage of being useful to a person who isn’t particularly strong.
Most upper end units also have variable power control to lower the power to work around flower and plant beds or dial it up for the really big jobs.
Electrics are easier to start; you just plug them in and turn them on. They’re more environmentally friendly than gas and are emission free.
Electric power units are quieter. Maybe not so much when you’re standing right next to them, but at 50 yards, they are much better. They should meet or exceed city noise ordinances.
One big disadvantage with a corded model is that the cord limits you to how far you can go. You want to give some thought to how easily you can access an outlet.
Upper end electric blowers have better mulching and vacuuming ability and most come with the appropriate attachments. For those that don’t, they can be easily purchased.
Corded models, in the upper ranges, have high air speeds and airflows. Some are comparable to some of the gas powered units.
Cordless models are light and portable. A disadvantage to them is that you need to keep an eye on the battery. Working time can be shorter than the job requires.
There is no good way to accurately judge working time as it all depends on how much blower power you’re using and whether you’re vacuuming, blowing, or mulching. We recommend that you consider an extra battery if a cordless is your choice.
Cordless models also tend to have lower output velocities (CFM).
A big plus: An electric engine is maintenance free, no worries about oil mixing or gas.
Jobs best suited for:
· When you need something light and easy to carry.
· When you need a quieter unit but you still need power.
· When you don’t want to bother with gas or oil.
Before we get into the reviews, let’s define a couple of terms just to make it easier to understand.
MPH is how fast the air is traveling out of the tube. This is determined by the shape of the nozzle at the end. A narrow opening equals higher MPH.
CFM is how much air is being moved through the tube. The wider the tube, the higher the CFM.
Don’t led astray by high MPH values, because that can change, as noted above, by the shape of the nozzle at the end. What’s more important is the CFM, because a higher volume of air is what really pushes the leaves and debris.
Decibel rating is how loud something is at 50 feet from the item. So, the leaf blower may sound pretty loud when you’re holding it, but it might not be so loud at 50 or more feet away.
If you’re wondering where to buy a leaf blower, we suggest Amazon for pricing, great customer service and outstanding return policy. Each review below has a link to the appropriate model on Amazon’s site.
#1: Worx WG505 Trivac
- Power: 120V corded electric
- Air flow: 350 CFM
- Air speed: 210 MPH
- Decibel rating: 70 dB
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Accessories: 10 gallon collector bag
The Worx WG505 TriVac is a light weight 120V corded electric leaf blower with a 12 amp motor. It’s an all in one design – you get a blower, mulcher and vacuum all at the flip of a switch. There are no tubes to change or tools to use so it makes moving between jobs simple and fast.
The Worx uses a heavy duty metal impeller which combines a long life with powerful 10:1 mulching ability. That means two important things:
1. No need to worry about pebbles or other hard objects damaging the impeller.
2. There’s power to reduce 100 gallons of leaves to one 10 gallon bag in no time.
The Worx WG505 puts out 350 CFM of air at 210 mph. The air flow speed is regulated by a thumbwheel – down to 75 mph – making it easy to use around delicate plants and when you want to keep the dust down.
Though there should be more than enough blow to push wet leaves and debris where you want it, a few users have said they feel it’s not very powerful as a blower. But they give it high marks for working well as a vacuum and mulcher.
A collector bag comes with the WG505 that is easy to empty though it is somewhat small at 10 gallons. We suggest getting the WORX WA0030 Landscaping 26-Gallon Spring Bucket Yard Bag. You can then drag it behind you and work a longer stretch without emptying the bag so often.
Cleaning the TriVac is easy—just open the impeller housing to reach inside to clear out clogs. Make sure the unit is unplugged while doing this.
The well-made handle makes it very comfortable to use with good balance. The angled nose on the tube makes it easy to get underneath items like patio furniture or cars.
The WORX WG505 TriVac electric leaf blower gets 3.8 out of 5 Stars on Amazon. It comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranty.
#2: GreenWorks 24322 G-MAX 40V
- Power: cordless electric via 40V 4AH battery
- Air flow: 340 CFM
- Air speed: 185 MPH
- Decibel rating: 68 dB
- Weight: 9.9 pounds w/battery installed
- Accessories: 9.6 gallon (1.2 bushel) collector bag
If you need an electric unit that gives you a little more freedom to roam, then the battery-operated GreenWorks 24322 G-MAX 40V might be the answer.
The GreenWorks is a variable speed cordless leaf blower and vacuum that uses a brushless motor. According to the manufacturer, this gives the motor an 80% longer lifespan as well as creating less noise and vibration.
It has a plastic impeller so it’s only meant for leaves and light debris. Anything like pebbles or other hard objects could damage or break the impeller.
The G-Max is powered by a 40V 4AH battery that gives it up to 60 minutes run time per charge. The manufacturer says this equals about 4.5 bags of trash or leaves. The 4 AH battery charges in about 120 minutes.
A battery’s lasting power will depend on whether you use the unit on full power, low power, or somewhere in between. Most users have gotten usage between 20 and 45 minutes.
If you figure you’re going to be moving back-and-forth between full and low power, expect your battery power to be similar. If you need more time, consider buying an extra battery.
The GreenWorks G-Max is very quick and easy to operate. Just snap in the battery, press the power button and away you go.
Note: If you find that the unit won’t turn on, check the safety switch on the gate first:
As a safety precaution, there’s a safety switch on the gate. If, for some reason, it becomes unlatched, it won’t allow the unit to turn on.
The GreenWorks 24322 has a variable speed dial that allows you to turn the airspeed and volume down when you’re working around delicate plants or shrubs. It also helps conserve the battery power when using at the lower speed. When on Turbo mode, battery life is about half as normal.
The unit can be changed from blower to vacuum in seconds via the gate on the bottom. Open the gate and insert the collection tube to enable the vacuum function.
The G-Max gives you 10 to 1 mulching capability to make short work that pile of leaves.
The GreenWorks 24322 G-MAX 40V get 3.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon. It has a four year warranty on the tool and a two year warranty on the battery. Both are covered by the manufacturer.
#3: WORX 32-Volt AIR Multi-Purpose Blower/Sweeper/Cleaner with 120 MPH / 80 CFM Output, 4 lb. Weight, with 8 Attachments – WG575.1
- Power source: 32V 2.0 Ah lithium-ion battery (included)
- Up to 80 CFM depending on attachment
- Up to 120 MPH depending on attachment
- dB rating: 61 dB
- Weight: 4 pounds
Looking for something a little lighter to do a little touchup or easy cleanup around the house or garage? The WORX WG 575.1 is quiet, light weight and easy to use. It comes with 8 attachments to help around the house.
Coming in at 4 pounds, the WG575.1 makes a perfect broom replacement. It’s powered by a 32V 2.0 Ah lithium ion battery that provides a relatively long run time for this size of blower.
The runtime can be up to 20 minutes or more depending on the attachment you use and it recharges in as little as three hours.
It’s not as powerful as the other units in this review, but it’s perfect for quick cleanup of small yards, patios, and sidewalks. It will easily clear grass clippings, dry leaves and light debris. Several users have said that it’s perfect for around flower pots and deck decorations.
It’s probably best to think of this unit as a broom replacement or a softer blowing second tool to accompany your more powerful blower. The large selection of accessories makes the WG575.1 flexible.
And, because it’s so light and compact, you can use it just about anywhere. Pack it in your RV, boat, or a car whenever you travel. It’ll be extremely handy when it comes to inflating rafts, mattresses, or toys. The deflator attachment will be handy when it’s time to pack up the toys and head home.
When you receive the unit, the battery pack will be uncharged or it may have a partial charge. Don’t use it until you’ve given it a full 12 hour charge. The charger unit that comes with it is matched to the battery, so don’t use a different charger. The light on the charger wall plug will turn green while the battery is charging. Once the green light goes off, the battery is fully charged.
The WORX WG 575.1 comes with a three year manufacturer warranty provided you register the tool within 30 days. If you don’t, the warranty is only for 24 months. The battery and charger are guaranteed for 12 months regardless of registration.
This is strictly a blower or inflating tool. There is no option to turn it into a vacuum tool or do any mulching. It would make a great companion to one of the other units in this review.
In the package: the blower, eight attachments, battery, and charger.
Attachments: long tube, dust brush, short tube, extension hose, dust nozzle, detail brush, wide nozzle, inflator nozzle, accessory bag and deflator cover.
Suggested additional items to purchase are a second battery and the Universal Fit Gutter Cleaning Kit.
The WORX 32-Volt WG575.1 gets 4.1 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
#4: Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf Blower
- 441 CFM
- 170 MPH
- 23,9 cc 2-stroke
- 8.6 lbs
- 7-year warranty for consumer use
Need some real power to clear out heavy debris? Want to finish that huge job faster and in more comfort? The Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf Blower throws out a whopping 441 CFM of air to push the most stubborn stuff around.
The 23.9 cc Commercial grade 2-stroke engine is comfortable and low vibration. It's lightweight with only 8.6 lbs, making it very comfortable to work with for long periods. You can also buy a shoulder strap for added comfort of use.
The RB24EAP is a gas leaf blower running on regular unleaded gasoline. Note that it shouldn't be used with Ethanol. It’s low emission, fuel-efficient, and is CARB compliant. It is a 2–Cycle motor meaning you have to mix oil in with your fuel. The recommended mixture is 50:1 fuel to oil using two cycle oil.
The Hitachi also features a large 2-finger throttle lever which makes it easy to use. When the unit is turned off, the stop switch will automatically reset to the on position for easier starting the next time.
You can purchase the oil separately and mix it yourself, or you can buy cans of the oil/fuel premix for convenience.
It comes with a seven-year manufacturer’s warranty which is the best warranty in the industry.
The Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf Blower gets 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. And don’t forget the gas and the oil.
Which Electric Leaf Blower Is Best?
We think the WORX WG505 Trivac is the best deal in an electric leaf blower because of its metal impeller and higher volume output. If you’re looking for a “broom replacement” blower, the WORX WG575.1 is a light and compact choice for small jobs and touch ups.
Which Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Is Best?
If you need power and a long running time, the Hitachi RB24EAP Handheld Leaf Blower is going to be your best bet. The fuel tank will last a long time and it's sufficiently lightweight to make it comfortable to use.
And the 23.9 cc engine pumps out 441 CFM of air to move the toughest pile of leaves. You’ll get the job done, quicker.
Top 10 Leaf Blower Buying Tips:
1. Pay attention to the nozzle. A flatter nozzle makes sweeping easier while rounder, more open ones make loosening debris a lot easier. Rounder nozzles also vacuum more efficiently.
2. The heavier the leaf or debris you need to move, the more CFM you’re going to need. A rounder nozzle helps here.
3. If you need to be careful around areas like flower beds or mulch, look for blowers that let you adjust the air speeds.
4. Look for a bottom mounted air intake because the side intakes can get blocked by your clothing.
5. On gas models look for a primer bulb for easier starting. Also look for a clear gas tank so you can keep an eye on fuel consumption.
6. Try them out before buying. Check for balance in your hand as well as a second grip for additional control.
7. Look for an easy to get to shut off switch for safety.
8. Plastic impellers and blades get damaged and break if you often vacuum up pebbles or other hard objects. Look for metal impellers if you work around gravel.
9. Consider a backpack unit if the job will last longer than an hour. Check the harness for comfort and vibration damping.
10. Check local ordinances for noise standards and restrictions. Compare this to the dB rating of the blower.
5 Tips About Using Power Tools:
1. Don’t use corded or cordless electrical tools in wet or damp conditions.
2. Keep kids and pets away from any power tool especially when they’re in use.
3. Store gas and oil in a well ventilated area away from flame or heat.
4. Wear safety equipment like safety glasses, ear protection, sturdy footwear, and gloves. Don’t forget to keep your arms and legs covered as well.
5. If you’re using an extension cord, keep these things in mind:
· Use only an outdoor use rated extension cord.
· Be sure the cord is in good condition. Check for cracks and exposed wire.
· Use a polarized plug. Don’t clip off the grounding prong.
· Plug it into a GFCI receptacle.
· Disconnect it from the outlet or remove the battery when the tool is not in use.
· Keep your feet and hands away from moving parts when the tool is running.
Your Cordless Leaf Blower’s Battery Life
A couple of notes if you’re buying a battery-powered blower. Most of these units use a lithium-ion battery that will sometimes come with a partial charge. Don’t use them with this pa8tial storage charge. Instead, charge the battery for a full 12 hours before using it the first time.
Otherwise, you risk the battery failing in a very short period of time. This is a pretty common complaint on most online sites.
Don’t completely drain a lithium-ion battery and then charge it either. It’s better for the battery to still have some juice in it when you charge it.
Some batteries will have an automatic shut off that will prevent you from deep discharging the battery by continually turning it on and off to get the last little bit of juice. This is on purpose so that you don’t accidentally destroy the battery life.
Buying a leaf blower is a small upfront investment that will save you a lot of time in the long run.
If you have a lot of trees in your backyard, you shouldn't hesitate to get one.
In any case, a leaf blower is very useful to get your yard ready for winter.