Leaf Blower Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect Leaf Blower
If you think leaf blowers are only useful in autumn, stop selling them short!
Leaf blowers are no one-trick pony. These versatile blowing machines can move leaves, grass clippings, debris, and even light snow in the winter.
Electric and gas models are available for homeowners and professionals alike to use throughout the year. Plus, with the help of a lawn vacuum or lawn sweeper, you can remove large amounts of clutter from your yard from springtime all the way through the fall.
So no matter what season it is, you can easily find a leaf blower or other piece of outdoor power equipment to speed up your lawn cleanup. Start by taking a look at these four categories of leaf cleanup tools:
- Electric leaf blowers
- Gas leaf blowers
- Lawn vacuums
- Lawn sweepers
Electric Leaf Blowers
Electric lawn tools, including leaf blowers, have become increasingly popular over the years for several reasons:
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Quieter to operate
- Have low maintenance requirements (no fuel refills, no oil changes)
All electric leaf blowers are handheld leaf blowers. You can find both corded electric blowers, which you have to plug in to use, or cordless electric blowers, which depend on battery power. Many models of corded leaf blowers also can double as handheld leaf vacuums.
In the past, electric leaf blowers were seen as less powerful than gas blowers, and less capable of blowing air at a high speed (measured in miles per hour, or MPH) or blowing a high volume of air (measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM). However, many of today's electric blowers have ratings that put them on par with gas blowers.
Gas Leaf Blowers
Gas-powered leaf blowers are a staple in a landscaper's truck. Whether you're cleaning up leaves, grass clippings, or debris, gas-powered leaf blowers offer plenty of power as well as the long run time that a fuel tank can provide.
You'll find three styles of gas leaf blowers available:
One benefit of backpack and walk-behind blowers is that you don't have to carry them with one hand, making them less taxing to use. However, handheld gas blowers are smaller and easier to store, and many also have a two-in-one blower/vacuum function.
Much like vacuum cleaners, lawn vacuums pick up almost every piece of yard waste in their path:
- Pine needles
- Grass clippings
- Larger bits of debris like pine cones (depending on the model)
Also like vacuum cleaners, yard vacuums come in several styles to allow you to find a lawn vac of any size for any task:
- Handheld lawn vacuums (available in corded electric and gas-powered models as mentioned above)
- Walk-behind lawn vacuums (including litter vacuums and chipper shredder vacuums)
- Tow-behind lawn vacuums (made to attach to a riding mower, ATV, or UTV)
Litter vacuums and most tow-behind vacuums are powerful enough to pick up large items such as aluminum cans and half-eaten corn cobs. Some litter vacuums are made for use on turf and grass, while others are built for hard-surface cleanup. Each of these types of yard vacuum is typically used for big jobs like cleaning up the grounds after a county fair, making all of them excellent choices for professionals.
Of the many styles of lawn sweepers available, the most popular is the tow-behind lawn sweeper. If you own a riding mower, simply hook up a tow-behind lawn sweeper behind the mower and get a pristine yard without breaking a sweat.
Or, if you're trying to get more exercise, choose a push lawn sweeper. Available in both powered and unpowered models, push lawn sweepers offer options for picking up debris not only from your grass but also from hard surfaces like your garage floor or driveway. Choose the model that best fits your needs.
If you have nuts and pine cones scattered across your property, you might find that nut gatherers are better suited to cleaning them up. However, if leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings are cluttering up your lawn and you'd like a way to pick them up that works with your lawn mower, you can't go wrong with a sweeper.