Tips to consider when buying a leaf blower
We’re deep into fall in most regions—at the point where you may be so tired of raking leaves that you’re considering 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.
Leaf Blower Buying Tips
- Check your neighborhood/city regulations. Some neighborhoods not only restrict the times you are allowed to use loud equipment, they 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 and/or the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse.
- Gas or electric? You generally get more power from a gas leaf blower and have the freedom to go anywhere, and a long run time; but they are often noisier and heavier than electric. However, electric models may be restrictive if they are corded or have a short run-time if battery operated.
- Handheld or wheels? Many handhelds, whether for one-handed use or the backpack gas-powered 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 costs more and generally requires more maintenance and storage space. Wheeled models (like Billy Goat, a brand of the Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group) are often for prosumer or commercial use.
- Weight. 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 75-200lbs, but are wheeled and generally get the job done quicker. Additionally, some walk-behind leaf blowers are self-propelled, making them much easier to use.
- Price. 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 this 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. Wear protective eyewear, 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.
Proper model selection 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.
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