When you have a whole yard full of leaves to clean up, it is important to have the correct tool for the job. Choosing the right leaf blower isn’t that difficult if you know whats available. There are basically five different types of leaf blowers, and each one is best suited for different situations. By picking the right one before you buy a leaf blower, you can eliminate a headache later on.
The electric leaf blower (also called a corded leaf blower), is a lightweight handheld unit generally intended for decks, small yards or walkways. Most models weigh under 7 pounds, so they are easy to handle without tiring your arm too much. Some of them even have an optional vacuum mode that can actually shred the leaves as it picks them up. Making your job that much easier. Despite their light weight, some of them are almost as powerful as gas models. But unlike gas models, these electric ones don’t produce any smelly, polluting exhaust. The only downside to an electric leaf blower is the cord. You are limited to blowing leaves within 100 feet of the nearest power outlet. The cord can also get in the way, or wrapped around trees, depending on the layout of your yard.
If tripping over a cord does not sound so good, but you like the idea of electric, then a rechargeable battery-operated leaf blower might be what you are looking for. Also called cordless leaf blowers, these weigh slightly more than the corded ones, and generally are not quite as powerful. But they are incredible portable, making them idea for situations where you just can’t get an extension cord to reach. Average battery life is 15 – 25 minutes, and most come with two batteries. By leaving one battery in the charger and using the other one, you will have plenty of power to clean up small yards or gardens. Rechargeable leaf blowers are available for $30 to $200, depending on the quality and power you desire.
Gas hand held leaf blowers are more powerful than electrical models. They are also louder, so you should wear hearing protection when you operate one. Another downside is that most hand held gas leaf blowers use 2-cycle engines, so you have to mix the gas and oil before refueling your leaf blower. There are a couple newer models on the market that use 4-cycle engines, eliminating this hassle. Despite these inconveniences you will still find the additional power and portability make a gas hand held leaf blower the best choice for larger yards or long driveways. A high quality hand held gas leaf blower will set you back around $75 to $300.
If you have a large yard with a lot of trees on it, a gas backpack blower is the best choice. Powered by a 2 or 4-cycle engine, these are much more powerful. The tradeoff for the extra power comes as added weight, they weigh between 16 and 25 pounds, which is much more than a hand held. This may sound like a lot of weight, but remember you are wearing that weight in a comfortable backpack, not carrying it in one hand. That is why gas backpack blowers are the obvious choice for extended use, such as parking lots, or multiple lawns.
If you are faced with a huge amount of leaves, such as a golf course, then the strongest leaf blower you can buy is the gas wheeled leaf blower. These are mounted on a wheeled cart, because of their heavy weight. They commonly weigh over 100 pounds. Most wheeled leaf blowers are powered by 4-cycle engines, which means you won’t have to worry about the hassle of mixing your fuel. However, due to their much higher weight, these leaf blowers can be incredibly awkward to maneuver. You definitely will need to wear hearing protection when operating one of these machines. They cost anywhere from $400 to $800, so this is obviously a choice only for professionals.
No matter which leaf blower you decide is the best choice for your unique yard, you will find that they will save you a ton of time. Despite their loud noise, and bad reputation, leaf blowers are a very useful tool. Please think of your neighbors when you are blowing leaves, don’t do it at strange hours, or on Sunday morning, for example. Also, always make sure you check for any local regulations or ordinances regarding leaf blowers. Some cities have passed laws limiting the amount of noise, or type of power source (gas or electrical) leaf blowers can have.