Leaf blowers are amazing power tools. They don’t just blow leaves off of your yards and pathways, but they can also be used indoors to get rid of dust (and scary spiders). They’re also extremely time-efficient tools. You can pull a leaf blower out to pile up any fallen leaves, grass clippings, and other clutter in a fraction of the time it’d take to rake your lawn manually.
There are several different types of leaf blowers, including handheld models, backpack models, walk-behind models, and wheeled models. As for the power source, leaf blowers can be powered by gas, electricity, or rechargeable Li-Ion batteries.
From the get-go, we’re going to eliminate gas-powered models from this article just because they can’t be used for indoor cleaning. Imagine lugging in a massive gas leaf blower that releases toxic fumes into a less-than-adequately ventilated space such as your living room.
Corded-Electric Leaf Blowers
The first type of leaf blower we’re going to discuss is corded models. Just like any other corded power tool, your range of movement is limited by the length of the unit’s power cord and whatever extension cords you have on hand. If you have a corded model and need to blow leaves hundreds of yards away from your home, then you could bring a portable generator to supply power to your leaf blower.
The main drawback of corded-electric leaf blowers is their cords. You need to pay close attention to the tension of the cable while working in areas around your home. It can also be a tripping hazard if you aren’t keeping your mind on the cord’s location.
Regarding power, they’re generally more powerful than their cordless counterparts, though the difference can be marginal. Essentially, with a corded leaf blower, you’re trading portability for just a few hundred extra CFMs and around 10 to 20 extra MPHs.
This doesn’t mean that corded models are inadequate. They’re super-lightweight, easy to handle and control, commonly come with much-needed features such as speed triggers or variable speed knobs, and some models can function as both a leaf blower and a vacuum cleaner for picking up small quantities of leaves.
Cordless Leaf Blowers
As you can already guess, cordless leaf blowers won’t tie you down with power cords, meaning your range of movement is limited only to how far you want to travel. Cordless models are lightweight – about 3.5 to 10 pounds, depending on battery size – and work well in both indoor and outdoor settings.
The component that powers a cordless leaf blower is its battery. To keep weight down, manufacturers tend to install small-sized batteries (around 2.0 amps and 20V or so), though beefier models can come with 4.0- or even 8.0-amp 40V batteries. The larger the battery, the more power you get, and the longer the unit will run.
Continuing with the point of battery life, one of the tradeoffs for portability is reduced work time. Corded-electric models will deliver a constant flow of power as long as an electrical outlet is available. As for cordless models, you need to keep the batteries charged to continue operations. Inexpensive cordless models usually run for around 15 minutes before needing to recharge, but larger-capacity batteries can last for upwards of 45 minutes without showing signs of slowing down.
Another benefit of cordless models is that because you don’t need to lug cables around, you can insert the nozzle into tight-fitting areas such as under sofas and high shelves. In addition, because their air volume and air flow ratings are weaker than their corded-electric counterparts (for the most part), they produce much less noise – around 60 decibels – making them useable indoors without surprising your pets or children.
In our opinion, between picking between corded-electric or cordless leaf blowers, we’d choose cordless every time. For light dusting indoors and pushing leaves outdoors, cordless leaf blowers can do it all. The largest selling point when looking at cordless models is that they’re as portable as gas-powered leaf blowers but without the risk of exposure to harmful pollution.
Corded-electric models are mainly suited for blowing the dust off of floors and cleaning pathways near your home. Traveling more than a couple of yards from your home with a corded leaf blower is a hassle since you need either long extension cords or you need to lug around a portable generator.