Tips to Consider When Buying: Leaf Blower Buying Guide
It’s officially fall and you’ve probably reached the point where you look at the trees turning, think of last year’s raking, and consider buying a leaf blower. If you’ve never shopped for one before, you might be surprised at all the options out there. To make it easier on yourself, take a look at these tips designed to help you narrow your choices.
Check your neighborhood/city regulations
Some neighborhoods not only restrict the times you are allowed to use equipment, they might prohibit anything louder than a set decibel range. Some areas prohibit gas models and a few prohibit leaf blowers altogether. Be safe and check with your community rules.
Gas or electric?
Depending on your preference and needs, you can choose between gas or electric powered leaf blowers.
Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
- Usually more powerful, good for larger projects and properties
- Flexibility and range, not contained by power cords
- Tend to be noisier
- Tend to be a bit heavier
Electric-Powered Leaf Blowers
- Quick battery charging, less maintenance, but power can drain a little quicker
- Usually quieter operation
- Usually lighter weight
- Some models may be range restrictive if they are corded
- Traditionally not as much power, but new models are very competitive
The brand new Briggs & Stratton powered Snapper 82V Lithium Ion cordless leaf blower is the industry leading electric leaf blower option for power. Additionally, the Briggs & Stratton battery can be inter-changed to power other products in the family including a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, lawn mower and chain saw.
Handheld or wheels?
Many handhelds, whether for one-handed use or the backpack style will do the job even if you have a lot of leaves. A wheeled blower will have a ton of power to take care of a large area in little time, but cost more and generally require more maintenance and storage space. Wheeled models (like these Billy Goat models) are often for commercial use.
Consider who is going to use your new leaf blower—can this person handle 8-15 lbs. with a handheld? The gas-powered backpack models weigh more at around 15-20lbs, but the weight is distributed across the back and shoulders, making it easier to carry. Walk-behind leaf blowers weigh 75-100lbs, but are wheeled and generally get the job done quicker.
For many of us, price is the real tipping point on what model to buy. Know that the range starts at around $40 for the cheapest corded electric handheld, $80 for the least expensive gas handheld, $180 for gas powered backpack style and $350 for a wheeled walk-behind. All models can go up from there depending on power, weight, extras (like a vacuum feature) etc.
For even more tips on how to choose a leaf blower, check out Consumer Reports’ video. Regardless of what type of leaf blower you choose, be sure to keep safety in mind as with any other outdoor equipment. Before operating make sure you read and are familiar with the operator’s manual. Wear protective eye wear, hearing protection, gloves, long sleeves and pants and sturdy, closed-toe, non-slip shoes. Make sure you stay 50 feet or more from others and never point directly at people or pets.
Careful choice and safe handling means you’ll be able to cut down on yard work with your leaf blower and enjoy more of this wonderful fall season.