Handheld vs Backpack vs Walk-behind: Leaf Blower Comparison Guide
When it comes to your property, or in the case that you are taking care of someone else’s, a leaf blower can come in handy, especially in the fall. Though, just as a side note, you can use them for many other projects, such as grass clipping removal, trash, small gravel, and even for light snow dusting. It can be hard to decide on the best leaf blower for your specific application.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Is it for personal use or are you going to use it for commercial purposes? A commercial grade is better build for the constant use that it will go through, along with a higher price tag. If you just need it to do the job a couple of times during the season, then you will need to consider the size of your project.
Do you have a large property? Then you will want to consider a backpack or a walk-behind model. Is the yard on the smaller side, or do you need to blow off a deck or patio? A less powerful backpack or hand-held blower might be all you need.
When you decide on the answers to the above questions, then you can consider fuel types. Battery powered, corded electric and gas are options for many of the leaf blowers on the market today, of course, you will sacrifice power and maneuverability depending on the size and fuel type.
Hand Held Blowers
The hand-held leaf blowers are typically much lighter and have better maneuverability. They are great for very small yards, patios, decks, and short driveways. The corded electric leaf blowers have an extension cord, so the limitations of these models are, of course, the length of the cord or how many electrical outlets you have. The cords also tend to get tangled up on objects in the yard, such as statues, fences, and bushes. If you have any issues with these, then you should go cordless.
The cordless electric leaf blowers run on a rechargeable battery, so no extension cord. The battery on a cordless electric leaf blower usually lasts around an hour. That should be enough time if you only have a small area.
Both hand-held blowers corded, and battery powered are light-weight and easy to use. These are great if you have a lot of delicate plants that you need to blow debris out from under. Being much quieter and having no emissions is a strong selling point. They are hand-held, so you will get tired of holding them after a certain length of time.
As a third option to the hand-held blowers, there are gas versions available for those that must have more power. They are still small and easy to operate. However, they tend to be much heavier than electric leaf blowers. And, because they are gasoline powered, they are much louder than the electric models.
Back Pack Blowers
If you have a mid-sized yard or do not want to deal with the strain of a hand-held blower, then you should consider a backpack type. Usually only weighing between fifteen and twenty-pounds, these machines will not tire you out as quickly. These also come in battery powered and gas models. The battery type will be lighter and have fewer emissions but will generally cost much more. Not to mention, though they have come a long way, the battery does not last very long. It takes a long time to recharge one and being as pricey as they are, having a second or third one for backup can be cost prohibitive.
As you can imagine, the gas ones will be much noisier, heavier, but will run for an extended period. Any noise ordinance in the project area and size will need to be considered when deciding among these two choices.
Walk Behind Blowers
These are the workhorse beasts for that huge parking lot, golf course size front lawn, or if you want to blow the leaves into next week. Walk-behind leaf blowers are generally much louder than any of the other blowers on the market. They can move a lot of debris, however, such as cardboard, wet leaves, trash, twigs, and gravel.
Walk behind blowers all have wheels, you will want to look for larger back ones and/or swivel front ones to make it easier to maneuver. Many models also have directional blower chutes, so you can blow the leaves and debris in whatever direction you wish.
As you can see, there are many things to take into consideration when purchasing a leaf blower. Another item to think about is ear protection; the noisy ones won’t just bother the neighbors, they can hurt you. Eye protection is a must for any model. The blower will be stirring up dust and small projectiles, safety glasses are okay, but actual goggles would be better. Finally, if other people are around, be careful of ricochets, gravel, and pebbles. These particles can be very dangerous and can seriously injure somebody.