Leaf Blower Buying Guide
What is a Leaf Blower?
A leaf blower is a popular gardening tool that can either be gas powered or electric/battery powered. It uses air to move leaves, grass shavings, debris and other things off of your yard, sidewalk, garage, driveway and porch or deck.
Sometimes they are handheld and other times they are strapped on like a backpack. They are commonly used in commercial lawn businesses to make quick work of leaf cleanup or to neaten things up after mowing is complete.
Leaf Blower History
Back in the 50s there were tools that were used to dispense chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Landscapers discovered in the early 70s that they could use these same blowers to move yard debris and leaves around once they removed the container that the chemicals were held in. Manufacturers jumped on this idea and the first leaf blowers came out soon after.
Leaf blowers are used for many outdoor cleanup jobs because they are much faster than using traditional hand tools like rakes and brooms. Even though the tool is called a leaf blower, it can be used for:
- Re moving grass clippings
- Blowing dirt off of large equipment such as tractors or construction equipment, etc
- Removing garbage and debris from sidewalks and driveways
- Removing light fluffy snow in calm conditions.
The noise and emissions problems they used to have been improved upon drastically with modern design improvements and that makes them even more desirable. When they are used properly, it’s a great way to make fast work of driveway, yard or garage cleanup without disturbing the neighbors.
Considerations before you purchase
There are several things that you will need to take into consideration before you go purchase a leaf blower. These things will help you narrow down the choices and choose the leaf blower that will be the perfect one for your specific lawn needs.
- How much property do you have? – If you have a large yard or a lot of property that you will be using your leaf blower on, you may want to consider a gas powered model since they are much more powerful and are easy to use. Electric or battery powered leaf blowers are not practical choices for large pieces of properties because they are too limited. If your yard is smaller, a battery operated or electric leaf blower will be a good match.
- What kind of chores will you be doing? – There are models of leaf blowers that can be used to blow debris from around delicate plants and flowers as well as heavier duty blowers that can be used to clear debris and leaves from entire driveways. There are different hoses and nozzles that some models can come with that will do a variety of jobs. There are some that will even convert to a vacuum.
- Have the Proper Safety Gear…or Buy it – Even if you have a quieter leaf blower it can still generate around 65 decibels of noise. Gas powered models can generate as much as 90-100 decibels. With prolonged or repeated exposure this can damage to the ear. In addition, it is important to have protection for the eyes as well so small stick, leaves and other dirt doesn’t get blown into your eyes.
- Have the proper Extension cord if you buy an electric blower – If you decide to get an electric leaf blower you will need to make sure that you have, or purchase a heavy gauge extension cord that is rated for outdoor use. If you use a cord that is too small, it can be very dangerous and can short out and cause electrical shock. Be sure that the extension cord your get or have is rated for the leaf blower you are purchasing.
- Cordless Leaf Blowers with Interchangeable Batteries – There are many models of leaf blowers that have interchangeable batteries with other garden tools. What this means is that you can use the same battery for your leaf blower that you use for your weed eater, for example. This is a great way to save on the cost of batteries.
- Know How the Leaf Blower will be Serviced – Your leaf blower will come with a warranty. Be certain that you know where to take it if something goes wrong. Your warranty will tell you exactly what you have to do within the guidelines that will keep the warranty intact.
Features of a Leaf Blower
There are many different features that you will want your leaf blower to have. When you start researching and shopping around, be sure to look for these features.
- Loosens Trapped Leaves Efficiently – You want your leaf blower to have enough power to not only blow the leaves off your grass, driveway or sidewalk, but it is very helpful if it can also unstick trapped foliage and matted leaves that may be stuck to the sidewalk.
- Variable Speed Trigger – It is very beneficial to you to have a leaf blower that has many adjustable speeds. This will allow you to choose a custom setting that is dependent on the job that you are doing. It is definitely more efficient and convenient to choose a leaf blower that has these speed choices rather than just one, unchanging, constant speed.
- Comfort in Handling – Look for leaf blowers that have ergonomic handles or handles that are easy to hold for extended times in case you are doing a lot of yard work. You want them to hang naturally at a downward sloping angle and be lightweight as well.
- Watch that Noise Level – No one wants to hear blaring yard tools or other kinds of tools. The quietest leaf blowers are going to measure less than 65 decibels when you are 50 feet away. You should also be mindful to use the leaf blower during daylight hours, neither starting too early nor going beyond when it gets dark out.
- The Brand Matters – Who manufacturers your leaf blower matters significantly when it comes to determining whether you have a good product or not. Brand names like Makita, Hitachi, Black and Decker and others are well known for their quality and reliability, so if you look for leaf blowers that have these manufacturers, you can be confident that you are getting a good product.
Leaf blowers will make the process of keeping your yard neat and free of leaves, debris and grass clippings much simpler and efficient. With all of the models available on the market, it is not always easy to find one that will match the size yard you have, the type of jobs you need to use it for and the budget you have to spend on one.
With the right information, such as what we have provided for you in the buyer’s guide and the reviews of the top rated leaf blowers here, you can choose a leaf blower that will last and that will make yard work much more enjoyable for you. Most people love using leaf blowers because it is much easier to use them to get out a rake and rake all the leaves up by hand.
Now that you have read this guide, you are armed with the tools and information you need to narrow down your choices from all of the models available and choose a leaf blower that you will truly be happy with for a long time to come.