This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in September 2013.
Cleaning up fallen leaves doesn’t have to be the off-putting, laborious chore that immediately comes to mind. Let’s talk leaf blowers (and how we should all own one, each and every one of us). And may we all look as cool as Ghostbusters in the process.
Our lawn’s filled with mature trees carrying big ol’ leaves. We’ve heard rumblings from our new neighbors about how much help the previous owners brought in to keep the yard nicely maintained every autumn — apparently it was weekend after weekend of them hosting children, cousins, nieces and nephews to help rake — so we’ve felt the pressure looming as the leaves have already started to turn beautiful colors and then plummet to their end. We don’t have local family to burden, or to guilt into helping us, so, would we be able to manage the upkeep? Would we be buried? Would we be those people with the sloppy brown yard?
It became apparent early that the light-duty blowers and rakes we already owned weren’t going to cut it, and to be efficient, we needed to prioritize buying a better model to keep our yard cleared. Here’s what I learned.
Electric or Cordless Leaf Blowers
- Electric is generally good for sweeping and light-duty leaf and debris removal. Clear the leaves off your deck and the dirt off the floor of your garage with ease.
- Electric comes in corded and battery-powered models and ranges generally in the 7.5-Amp to 36-Volt capacity, blowing air at 120-240 MPH, with 80-400 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). This is a good range, the higher-end of the range of products that may be enough to suit your needs in a small yard.
- Electric and cordless pricing: $40 – $150
Gas Leaf Blowers
- Gas models, while still suitable for light-duty work, are better for medium-duty to professional-grade work. They’ll handle the heaviest jobs with most ease.
- Gas products are available as a handheld blower, as a wheel-behind blower (cart the product with you), or as a backpack (like I’m sporting in the above photo so stylishly). The engines can range from 25cc – 220cc, blowing 150-260 MPH at 300-1,000+ CFM.
- Gas pricing: $80 – $400
- I see myself as a residential user who is only going to be using the tool in moderation (i.e. neither my husband or I are making leaf blowing our biz), but we need something that’s comfortable to use, and powerful enough to cover ground faster, because we have acreage.
- We’re moving more than just grass clippings over here, so we’ll need something that can be trusted to give some lift to even wet leaves, because overnight dew on our newly fallen leaves is inevitable.
- We both need to be able to use this tool. A 75-lb. walk-behind blower just doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t think I’d be bothered to use it as much as something that’s more convenient to tote around. And while the handheld gas-powered units are sufficient and reasonably lightweight at 10 pounds, they don’t all promise as positive results as some of the backpack models I’ve tested out. (And guess what, the 12-15 pound backpacks are comfortable and a good fit even if you’re 8 months pregnant!)