The year is already passing by so quickly—and before you know it, it’ll be time to blow autumn leaves in your lawn. In addition, leaf blowers and vacuums can make a variety of other landscaping and lawncare tasks easier, like cleaning up after mowing the lawn during summer. You don’t just want a decent leaf blower to take care of your lawn, though—you need one of the best leaf blowers around.
Reading this article will help you find the best leaf blowers across the board and the best for your particular needs, wants, and budget. Getting the right leaf blower can save you a ton of money, and turn lawn maintenance from a chore into a fun weekend activity. It’s the little things that make your life easier and better, and this article can help you find the best leaf blower to help you enjoy life more.
Best Leaf Blowers of 2018
|Gas||Load-reducing harness with hip belt|
2.1 HP X-Torq engine
|Li-on Battery||400 CFM and 90 MPH performance|
Variable trigger and speed lock
|Tanaka||Gas||Commercial grade 2 stroke engine|
Class-leading air volume
|Hitachi||Gas||Air velocity of 170 MPH|
Class leading air volume at 441 CFM
|Toro||AC Outlet||Superior blowing and mulching|
Shred-all shred ring included
I tried to pack as much information into this informative buyer’s guide as possible. This table will make it easier to compare the various stats, specs, and features of each of the leaf blowers I’ve carefully chosen for review—and to see how they stack up against one another.
Husqvarna – Best Backpack Leaf Blower
In addition to leaf blowers, their chainsaws, lawnmowers, and other landscaping, lawn care, and forestry equipment are known around the world for superior engineering and quality.
This backpack blower is no exception to that rule.
The straps are also ventilated to keep your body temperature low even when working in the sun.
The blower is also extremely powerful, though, at 50.2cc and 7500 RPM. It produces blowing speeds up to 150 miles per hour.
The biggest draw for me, though, is its large field of wind production. The pipe is very wide so that you can easily blow a large number of leaves at once.
Other key features of this blower that set it apart from the pack are its environmentally friendly design and its easy starting. Its air purge feature pushes air out of the fueling system to make startup a breeze, and it’s fully CARB compliant as well.
I recommend this leaf blower to anyone who has a large area to keep free of leaves—whether you’re a homeowner with a big yard, a professional landscaper, or you simply have a lot of trees in your yard. This blower makes keeping large areas free of leaves and other debris quite easy and can save you a ton of time as well.
Dewalt – Best Cordless Leaf Blower
The DCBL720P1 brings their tradition of innovation to the leaf blower market.
This is an electric leaf blower, powered by one of Dewalt’s well-known 20v lithium ion batteries.
This could also be a very smart purchase for you if you already own or plan to own other Dewalt 20v lithium ion tools, as the batteries and chargers are interchangeable.
The key feature for me, though, is this blower’s quiet brushless motor. Brushless motors are a relatively new technology in motorized tools.
They produce less noise and wear down a lot more slowly due to their reduced internal friction. Not only does that make for a more enjoyable leaf blowing experience (and better relationships with neighbors), it means that your investment will be protected for a long time.
The DCBL720P1 also features a continuously variable speed trigger—meaning if you squeeze the trigger just slightly, it will blow very softly, and continuously get stronger the harder you squeeze the trigger. This model also features a trigger lock, to keep your hand from straining during long periods of operation at continuous speed.
The increased maneuverability will actually make leaf blowing faster for average homeowners despite the slightly lower power.
If you prefer a quieter leaf blower that still packs a lot of power, the Dewalt DCBL720P1 may just be the best choice for you. It’s also perfect for anyone with a small or medium-sized yard, even one with a lot of leaves, due to the high speeds it produces.
Tanaka – Best Gas Leaf Blower
As one of the most lightweight models I got to review for this article, I was surprised at how much power it produced.
In addition, the tube is designed to maximize the speed of air flow, which makes blowing leaves a breeze—no pun intended.
The TRB24EAP is also available at a budget-friendly price point. At the same time, its durability and power make it a great value across the board for homeowners.
However, the average homeowner with a small to medium yard likely won’t even notice this problem.
I recommend the Tanaka TRB24EAP to all homeowners looking for an easy-to-use, powerful leaf blower at a more budget-friendly price. While it isn’t the cheapest blower around by any means, it just might be the cheapest blower among the best of the best gas-powered leaf blowers.
Hitachi – Best Leaf Blower for the Money
This offering from giant tools, electronics, and engineering firm Hitachi, a respected name in the business of leaf blowers and other outdoor tools for lawncare and landscaping, seeks to provide the ultimate in comfort and usability, combined with a lot of power.
The relatively small casing of this unit also makes it easy to control all that power—even for homeowners that aren’t overly experienced with leaf blowers!
The power is simply astounding and makes cleaning up easy—even when it comes to piles of leaves and other debris that seem like they’d be too much for a handheld model.
The big downside to this unit is its relatively high volume. This higher volume is a product of so much power being produced in such a small package.
Fortunately, the unit doesn’t vibrate as much as some other units, though, so it won’t produce hand fatigue as quickly!
I recommend this unit to homeowners with small to large yards, and also think it could be useful as a detail tool for landscaping companies because it’s built very ruggedly and packs a lot of power in a small package. While its higher volume may put some people off, it has a lot to offer, and at a fair price point too!
Toro – Best Leaf Blower and Mulcher
The Toro 51621 is, not surprisingly, one of the best leaf blowers on the market. Its special features really help set it apart from the competition.
Of course, for those of you who may not want to use this feature (or who want to get this already budget-friendly option at an even lower price point), this blower is available in several varieties at different prices.
All of the features that go along with the vacuum functionality, such as the great bottom-zip bag for mulched leaves and the patented Shredz-All shred ring, help this blower to stand out even among other blowers with the added vacuum feature.
The 51621 also offers a wide variety of variable speeds ranging up to 250 miles per hour, which is one of the fastest speeds you’ll find on a blower, especially a handheld model. At high speeds, the unit does become a little harder to control due to the air flow but is still fairly manageable at all speeds.
To top it all off, the 51621 UltraPlus is available at a steal of a price! The budget-conscious and those who want to make leaf blowing and mulching a much faster process may both find this model highly appealing.
However, many homeowners prefer corded models, as they do not require all of the complex maintenance associated with gasoline models, or the charging time associated with the newer lithium ion style leaf blowers.
I can confidently recommend this unit to anyone looking for a great blower at a great price, especially homeowners with small to medium yards, as well as those who love the vacuum feature or don’t want to deal with the extra maintenance that comes with owning and operating a gasoline-powered leaf blower.
Best Leaf Blowers — Buyer’s Guide
I know I’ve thrown a lot of information at you in the above in-depth reviews of these top five leaf blowers. Some of it might be confusing or new to you, so the next section of this article will help you grasp the most important information when it comes to leaf blowers.
I hope this information helps you make the best decision for you the first time, instead of buying bad leaf blowers and having to replace or repair them over and over.
All About the Vacuum Feature
The Toro 51621 is the only vacuum-equipped leaf blower that I included in this article, but there are lots out there. I included it because that model is one of the best, and because a lot of homeowners are interested in the vacuum feature.
However, a lot of people don’t know exactly how it works, which is why I am including this (hopefully) helpful explainer.
The shredding ring is a device inside the leaf blower that features blades that spin along with the leaf blower’s motor, in order to mulch leaves as they come into the blower. In addition, the best leaf blowers with vacuum functionality also include a bagging system.
This bag attaches to the side of the best leaf blowers and vacuums, like the Toro 51621, and collects the mulched leaves. It’s a really ingenious system, and one I always appreciate when implemented well.
It makes cleanup much easier.
However, many homeowners think that these bags are made to capture every particle that goes into them. This is not the case.
They have to be relatively permeable so that they do not restrict air flow—which means that larger chunks of mulched leaves stay in, but that dust does get out.
Please wear proper eye protection even when using the bag with the best leaf blower vacuums. Remember, your safety is important, and it’s easy to maintain with just a few simple steps and extra precautions.
Backpack Blowers vs. Handheld Blowers
Many homeowners ask me which I prefer: handheld or backpack blowers. The truth is that it comes down to personal preference and to the situation at hand.
Backpack blowers are a lot heavier, but their weight is also more evenly distributed. They also tend to be quite a bit more powerful, which makes them more efficient but also more difficult to maneuver.
- Handheld blowers are easier to operate and lighter, but will become tiring to hold on long jobs, and also don’t pack as much power. These are best for homeowners with small or medium-sized yards in cities and suburbs.
- Backpack blowers are more powerful, and even though they’re heavier, their weight is distributed so that working with them a long time won’t exhaust you. These are best for professional landscapers, landowners with an acre or more of property or a lot of a tree cover, and farmers or business owners who rely on their land to produce or to make a good impression on customers.
Here’s another way to think of it: backpack blowers are like riding or walk-behind lawnmowers, while handheld blowers are like push mowers.
What Do CCs and Horsepower Really Mean?
CCs (cubic centimeters) measure the power of the pistons in the engine, in terms of the displacement (forceful movement) of volume inside the engine’s cylinders.
Horsepower measures the overall power and efficacy of the engine, in terms of the efficiency with which it creates motion (called “work” in the study of physics). The term arises from the first steam engines, which people compared to horses in scientific study and advertising—because, before steam engines, horses were the gold standard for getting everything done, from travel to farm work.
I think they had a lot harder time blowing leaves back in those days!
Instead of thinking of these stats as a measure of quality, think of them as an indicator of what type of job a given leaf blower is intended to do. A blower with very high horsepower is better suited to large yards or commercial purposes, whereas blowers with lower stats are more suited to smaller yards and detail work.
In addition to horsepower and similar measures, you want to read in-depth product reviews that compare a given model’s features, durability, and other factors. While these qualities aren’t necessarily as easy to measure as something absolute like power, they often make more of a difference to the average user.
After all, a powerful engine inside a leaf blower that will break after two or three sessions isn’t really worth it!
Care of Your Leaf Blower
When it comes to small motors—or any machines, really—the care that you put in has a big effect on what you get out.
Think about it: the best leaf blowers have extremely strong motors with lots of moving parts, but they have to be packaged in a small, manageable environment at a low weight. All the energy produced by the motion (and the combustion of gasoline) in such a small space means a lot of wear.
To make things a bit easier, I’ve compiled some basic care tips here as well, so that you can be sure to get the most out of your blower.
2-Cycle vs 4-Cycle
You’ve probably noticed that many of the leaf blowers on the market are called 2-cycle or 2-stroke, while others are called 4-cycle or 4-stroke. These terms refer to the way the pistons in the engines work.
It’s all fairly technical, but in the end, one isn’t better than another. It comes down to personal preference.
4-cycle engines have oil inside them, just like your car engine. You add this oil to a separate reservoir, and it is used to lubricate all the moving parts inside. It is important to check this oil frequently, as having too little can kill your engine!
2-cycle engines work a bit differently. In these engines, you need to put a mixture of oil and gasoline into the fuel tank, as there is no separate oil reservoir and no oil inside the engine.
This blend of oil and gasoline, usually called “mixed gas,” can be bought pre-mixed, or you can make it yourself. Making it yourself is quite a bit cheaper, and not as hard as you might think.
Most outdoor power tool manufacturers also produce oil in pre-measured bottles to mix with common amounts of gas (1 gallon, 2.5 gallons, and so on).
Be sure to put the right ratio of oil to gasoline in any 2-cycle engine, though. Too much oil will cause smoking and can damage the pistons and cylinders, and too little (or none at all) will absolutely kill your leaf blower in a single session.
Another Word on Fuel
There’s one more thing I’ll say about fueling your leaf blower. Most of the fuel you’ll get at the gas station now includes ethanol, which is more environmentally friendly, but also more corrosive.
While this doesn’t make too much of a difference in newer cars, it can make a big difference in small engines.
Generally, my advice is to not leave gasoline in any outdoor power tool for more than 2 weeks.
Some landscapers, foresters and other professionals don’t like to use fuel with any ethanol in it in their tools. For average homeowners, I’d say the 10% ethanol that’s in most gasoline is fine, but leaving it sitting in the tool for long periods of time is not.
This is good advice even when it comes to ethanol-free gasoline.
What about Electric Leaf Blowers?
With battery-powered models, it’s important to never overcharge batteries. This is made easier by advancements in “smart charge” technology, which automatically stop charging a battery when it reaches peak capacity, but it’s still something to monitor.
You also want to check your batteries regularly for signs of damage and wear. While replacing a battery often isn’t cheap, it’s a lot cheaper than replacing an entire leaf blower, which is something you might have to do if you attempt to blow leaves or other debris with a bad battery!
With corded models, you’ll want to be sure that the cord is clean and free of nicks and cuts every time you go to use your leaf blower, and every time you put it away.
The great thing here is that most leaf blower power cords are extremely short, meaning that you’ll use extension cords.
The reason for this is that damaging your leaf blower’s power cord would most often mean replacing the entire unit or taking it in for a very expensive repair, but damaging an extension cord simply means you’ll have to replace that cord.
Be sure to purchase and use only extension cords that are designed and approved for outdoor use. The construction of these cords, especially when it comes to their insulation, is much more rugged and durable than cords only meant for indoor use.
Skimping on extension cords is often not a good idea. It’s worth getting a high-quality product to protect a corded leaf blower from problems like surges, and to keep yourself, your family, and other workers safe!
Keeping your leaf blower properly cleaned can extend its life by a long margin. On top of that, it keeps your equipment looking nice and makes it function better on a day-to-day basis.
I also find that the kind of grime leaf blowers often gets on them—oil residue, gasoline, and organic matter like grass and dirt—are a ton easier to clean before they dry out and set in.
For cleaning dirt, leaves, grass, and other residues, I recommend a wet cloth or a cloth with a little bit of your favorite household cleaner. For oil, gasoline, and other residues, you’ll need a cleaner with a bit more power.
It’s best to clean your leaf blower outdoors, or in a workspace or garage, so that you don’t get potentially harmful oil and gas residue into high-traffic areas of your home. This is less true when it comes to electric blowers, but is still good advice to follow generally.
Conclusion: The Best Leaf Blower on the Market
While choosing the top five leaf blowers to be featured in this article from the more than 20 I tested was actually fairly easy, choosing the best of the best leaf blowers was quite a challenge.
To tell the truth, all five of these leaf blowers are great, and which one is best for you may depend on your needs and personal preferences more than anything else.
I determined this to be the best leaf blower available because of its blending of two important characteristics: the freedom of movement and maneuverability typically afforded by gasoline-powered leaf blowers, combined seamlessly with the lower maintenance and lower noise levels and environmental impact of electric leaf blowers.
It does this through its use of the Dewalt 20v battery, which also increases the tool’s versatility because the same battery can be used for a variety of indoor and outdoor tools in Dewalt’s 20v system.
I also liked this model because of its durable construction and high power compared to almost every other battery-powered leaf blower on the market. Its variable speed trigger also makes it much easier to use efficiently and with reduced fatigue.
Another big feature for me was its medium weight. While not the most lightweight design in the world, it shouldn’t be too heavy for the average homeowner to use, and the slightly higher weight than the ultra-light models out there makes for better vibration and noise control.
Of course, the brushless motor also keeps vibration and noise down.
That being said, while I believe the Dewalt DCBL720P1 is certainly the best across the board, it isn’t right for everyone. I would recommend it to virtually everyone, but especially homeowners with medium-sized yards.
Honorable Mentions: The Best Leaf Blowers for Specific Purposes
There are two other leaf blowers on this list that I want to highlight for specific types of leaf blower users.
The Best Leaf Blower for Smaller Yards
When it comes to smaller yards, the Toro 51621 might just be the best leaf blower on the market. Though its corded construction will make it difficult for people with large plots of land to use, it’s one of the most efficient machines out there.
The Best Leaf Blower for Professional Landscaping Crews
While the Dewalt DCBL720P1 does pack plenty of power, it may not be quite enough for professional landscapers working on very large projects or multiple projects across a single day.
Additionally, while the handheld construction makes it easier to hold and control for short periods of time, it can easily create fatigue over longer periods.
This model’s backpack design allows for comfortable, virtually fatigue-free work even over very long working hours, and it also packs more power than virtually any other leaf blower on the market.
It also has a wide range of airflow, and its environmental friendliness among gas-powered leaf blowers and easy start are great added bonuses.
Finding the Best Leaf Blower for You
Trying a lot of leaf blowers out will also help you find your perfect fit, and the five featured in this article are a great place to start.
I hope this article has helped you learn more about what you should look for in order to find the best leaf blowers for your needs and wants, and that you think one of the leaf blowers discussed might work for you. Did I miss a favorite leaf blower of yours?
Do you have more important tips? Let me know in the comments!