How To Buy A Leaf Blower
Hands up who loves Fall? I certainly do.
Hands up who loves having to spend hours clearing leaves? I certainly don’t
Thankfully a little invention called a leaf blower can give you a quick and easy solution to this age old problem.
So what should you think about if you are considering how to buy a leaf blower?
Are you sick and tired of spending your precious time clearing leaves?
One of the challenges that comes with having a lawn or a backyard garden is dealing with the debris that piles up over time.
This is mostly a problem if there are trees nearby which regularly shed their leaves and create a mess.
A leaf blower is a tool used to blow away unwanted leaves from a lawn or garden.
This handy tool can also be used to clear other debris like twigs and grass cuttings from your driveway or patio.
However there are a number of factors to think about when you consider how to buy a leaf blower.
Without further ado…
How Do Leaf Blowers Work?
Leaf blowers have an in-built engine which sucks in air from the surrounding and compresses it before expelling it through a narrow nozzle.
This compressed air is usually discharged through the nozzle at a very high speed which makes it able to easily blow away any debris along the blower’s path.
It sounds simple. And it is.
Some types of leaf blowers called blower vacs are equipped with a vacuuming function which allows them to suck in debris through the nozzle into a collecting bag instead of blowing the debris away.
Before finding a leaf blower that matches your specific needs you will first need to get acquainted with the different types available in the market.
Which is pretty obvious when you think about it.
Leaf blowers are generally classified according to their source of power and how they are operated. These include gasoline-powered blowers, electric, hand-held, backpack, walk-behind and wheeled blowers.
All these types have their advantages and disadvantages which will be discussed later in this article.
How To Buy A Leaf Blower
Before buying a leaf blower, you will also need to take the following factors into consideration.
#1 The Blower’s Source of Power
Leaf blowers can either be gas-powered or electric. Gas-powered models have an internal combustion engine that either runs exclusively on petrol or a mixture of oil and petrol.
Electric leaf blowers have an electric motor and they can either be cordless (battery powered) or corded (require connection to an AC outlet via an electric cable).
#2 Method of Operation
Leaf blowers made for home use are mostly hand-held or strapped onto the back using a harness.
Bigger models designed for larger spaces like golf courses have wheels attached to them and are therefore meant to be pushed around.
#3 Noise Produced
Leaf blowers are fitted with powerful engines capable of producing massive amounts of energy.
These engines can also generate a lot of noise which becomes a nuisance to neighbors in populated neighborhoods.
Luckily, not all leaf blowers are excessively loud. You will find more information regarding the noise levels for each type of leaf blower later in this article.
#4 The Size Of Your Lawn Or Garden
The size of the area where you intend to use the leaf blower is a major factor to consider when choosing the most appropriate type.
Small home gardens covering less than half an acre can be easily covered by a hand-held or backpack leaf blower since they tend to be light to carry around and are able to comfortably handle moderate workloads.
For a larger lawn however, a walk-behind blower unit will be more practical since they are equipped with wheels. This means that they don’t need to be carried around and can therefore be used for extended periods without exhausting the user.
Makes sense right?
Leaf blowers also differ in their power output which is often measured by the maximum velocity and volume of air that can be forced out of the nozzle at any given time.
A small home garden will for the most part have less debris to clear and therefore a low-powered blower will do the job. Expansive lawns require more powerful blowers due to the increased workload and extended operational time.
One final point:
After taking the factors mentioned above into account, you may already have a rough idea about the kind of leaf blower you need. But before you make your final decision, you should also be aware of the strong and weak points for each type of leaf blower.
Types of Leaf Blowers
Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
The engines in gasoline-powered blowers, such as the Husqvarna 125B, come in two variations; two-stroke and four-stroke engines.
The two-stroke engine is mostly found in older models. To fuel this type of engine, you will need to mix gasoline and oil to a specific ratio. This engine is lighter and less noisy than a four-stroke engine but it produces more smoke in the exhaust.
Blowers having four-stroke engines use only gasoline which means you won’t have to perform any complicated oil-fuel mixing. They are also more powerful and produce less carbon emissions.
Their main drawback is they are very heavy and also tend to be very loud.
- Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are usually very powerful and easily handle more demanding tasks.
- They are very loud and can cause problems with neighbors in populated areas.
- Their bulky weight makes them cumbersome to use unless they are equipped with wheels.
- They produce a lot of carbon emissions.
Electric Leaf Blowers
Electric leaf blowers can either be corded or cordless. Corded leaf blowers come with a power cable that needs to be attached to an AC outlet at all times during use.
Cordless electric blowers are powered by rechargeable batteries which makes them more portable since there is no cord to restrict movement.
- They tend to be lighter than gas-powered models.
- They produce no carbon emissions and are therefore more environmentally friendly.
- They are less noisy compared to gas-powered blowers.
- They are notably less powerful than gas-powered blowers which makes them unsuitable for heavy tasks.
- Corded models have a limited range that is restricted by the length of the power cord attached.
- The batteries in cordless models drains out very fast requiring frequent recharging during long periods of use.
Hand-held Leaf Blowers
Hand-held blowers can either be gasoline-powered or electric. They have a handle attached to their rear end which is used to hold it in position when in use. These blowers are the cheapest and the most widely used.
- They are relatively cheap to purchase and maintain.
- They are usually smaller in size compared to other types of leaf blowers and are therefore easier to handle and store.
- They need to be carried around at all times which can be physically tiresome.
- They are impractical for use in more expansive areas.
Backpack Leaf Blowers
These leaf blowers come with a back-strapping harness and are meant to be worn on the back. The person using a backpack leaf blower is only required to hold the nozzle to direct the air blast.
- These blowers are less tiresome to use compared to hand-held models since the backpack lightens up some of the load.
- The vibrating engines on the back might cause discomfort for some users.
Leaf Blower Vacs
Blower vacs work using a fundamentally different principle compared to other blowers. Instead of blowing debris away using compressed air, they use a vacuum pump to suck in the debris through the nozzle.
This debris is further shredded into tiny bits before being deposited into a collecting bag attached to the blower.
- Blower vacs conveniently combine collection and mulching of debris to make disposal of the final waste easier.
- The collection bag adds more weight to the blower unit making it bulkier to carry around.
- They are more expensive compared to typical leaf blowers.
Walk-Behind (Wheeled) Leaf Blowers
Walk-behind blowers are equipped with a set of wheels to facilitate their movement. When using such a blower, you only need to push it along the ground.
As a result of the minimal effort required to operate these blowers, they are a perfect choice for large-scale projects.
- Operating wheeled blowers requires less physical effort.
- They are costlier to purchase due to the additional wheeling apparatus included.
Additional Things To Consider
There are a few other things you should consider, namely:
- Decibel count – This is a measure of the noise levels that a leaf blower produces. It is indicated on the unit’s specifications. The higher the decibel count the louder the blower will be.
- Air volume and speed ratings – These ratings are also contained in the unit specification details and are listed as the MPH (miles per hour) for speed and CFM (cubic feet per minute) for air volume output.
If you require a more powerful blower, you will need to go for the ones with the highest MPH and CFM ratings.
- Compaction ratio – This value is useful when selecting blower vacs. It shows how efficient a blower vac is in mulching and compressing debris.
Blower vacs with a larger compaction ratio can collect and pack more debris before emptying of the collection bag is necessary.
Optional Accessories You Can Buy
Leaf blowers can be fitted with additional after-market accessories to improve their performance and efficiency.
Some accessories can also be used in the routine maintenance of leaf blowers and to prevent wear.
- Nozzle guard – This is attached on the nozzle of a leaf blower to provide extra protection for the nozzle against friction. It is a handy accessory especially if you intend to use your leaf blower on hard surfaces like tarmac and concrete.
- Collection bag – Blower vacs come with bags to hold the debris that has been sucked in. If you need a larger bag or require a replacement for one which is worn out, you can purchase it at a gardening supplies store.
- Leaf shredder – After blowing the leaves out of your garden, a leaf shredder may prove useful to efficiently chop down the pile of leaves into mulch which will occupy less space and can also be used as fertilizer.
So there we have it, a round-up of all the factors you should consider when you are looking at buying a leaf blower.
For more information you can check out my thorough run down of some of the top leaf blowers available – you should find something you will like there!