Leaf blower buying guide
Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol18 guides
Different types of leaf blower
While all leaf blowers are designed to blow, some are also able to vacuum or shred plant matter for greater user comfort. These garden power tools can be combi vacuum blowers or 3-in-1 vacuum shredder blowers.
Combi vacuum blowers
Vacuum-blowers feature an additional vacuuming function in order to save you the tedious task of raking up your leaf piles. The debris is sucked up and collected in a bag.
3-in-1 shredder vacuum blowers
Electric vs. petrol-powered leaf blowers
Electric leaf blowers
Petrol-powered leaf blowers
In order to cover areas larger than 1000 m², you will need a petrol-powered leaf blower as these are better suited to longer periods of use.
Backpack vs. handheld leaf blowers
Electric blowers weigh between 3 and 6 kg, while petrol-powered models tend to be heavier, weighing in at around 4 to 18 kg.
Handheld leaf blowers
The lightest leaf blowers can be carried by handle at arm’s length with part of the weight distributed across the shoulder via a strap.
Backpack leaf blowers
Heavier leaf blowers are worn on the back like a backpack with a padded harness for increased comfort.
Leaf blowers on wheels
Electric leaf blowers: pros and cons
Mains-powered blowers require less maintenance. However, their main drawback is the power cord which can lead to a lot of coming and going on densely wooded land and ultimately makes for less convenient use. The power ratings of electric models are indicated in watts (W).
The higher the current (in amps / hour or Ah) and voltage (in volts, V) of the battery, the more powerful the blower and the longer it will run.
Petrol-powered leaf blowers: pros and cons
Compared to electric models, petrol-powered leaf blowers are heavier, noisier and more polluting.
Their upkeep is also more complicated due to the requirement for oil and, of course, petrol. Getting them started for the first time in a while can be a pain. However, the advantages of these tools are undeniable: they're more powerful and do not have to rely on a mains connection or battery power. As such, you can enjoy complete freedom of movement.
Four-stroke engines are a bit quieter than 2-stroke engines; they also emit less pollution and vibrate less.
Selecting a power rating for your leaf blower
The power rating of motors in electric models ranges from 750–3000 W; however, most have ratings between 2500 and 3000 W.
This power can generate an air flow of 150–500 km/h, equating to an airflow rate of 8–15 m3/minute.
An added crusher function can reduce debris volume by up to 16 times.
Go for metal impellers over plastic as you may end up sucking up more than just leaves!
Essential factors for choosing a leaf blower
Variable-speed driveThis feature is used to control suction power depending on debris and surface type. For example, a lower speed will prevent you from sucking up pebbles or acorns, or from blowing gravel around your lawn. The most basic models are generally limited to two speeds.
The volume of leaf blower bags ranges from 30–50 litres. If you choose too big a bag, you'll might be held back by the extra weight; too small, and you'll spend all your time emptying it. As ever, it's all about finding the right compromise!
In the case of self-propelled blowers, bag volumes can reach 250 litres or more.
Start-up assistance for petrol-powered leaf blowersTraditional pull cords can be accompanied by easy-start engines, primers or even electric start-up to take the work out of firing up your petrol-powered leaf blower.
Anti-vibration systemSometimes vibration is no good thing! Luckily, leaf blowers can be equipped with an anti-vibration system.
Gutter attachmentA gutter attachment is simply a long tube with an elbow joint specifically designed for cleaning gutters.
Flat or round nozzles
Your choice of nozzle allows you to concentrate the air flow: the narrower the slot, the more powerful the suction.
Storage systemTidy your attachments away with an efficient storage system.
Three top tips for selecting the right leaf blower
- For areas under 1500 m² with sparse tree cover, a 3000 W electric leaf blower will do the trick.
If possible, selecting a model with added shredder function will really enhance your leaf-blowing experience. Go for it!
Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol 18 guides écrits
I first got into DIY around ten years ago, when I bought a house in desperate need of a makeover.
After insulating the loft and refurbishing the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, I set about building an extension, installing a gated fence and fitting the house with a solar water heater. I’ve poured tens of tonnes of concrete into slabs and foundations and also renovated a roof. In short, it’s safe to say that I’m no stranger to building work!
I’ve logged hundreds of hours browsing DIY forums and magazines trying to find the best solutions to my specific problems. For that reason, I feel it’s only fair to give back some of my own experience and share my knowledge of tools and building equipment.
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