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Leaf blower buying guide

Guide written by:
Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol

Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol

18 guides
Leaf blowers are essential for clearing up leaves and plant debris in your garden. These machines can run on petrol or electricity and can be combined with vacuums and shredders. From variable speed control, to backpack or wheel-mounted models, follow our guide to find the right leaf blower for your outdoor space!

Important features

  • Electric
  • Petrol-powered
  • Weight
  • Power
  • Accessories

Different types of leaf blower

Leaf blowers are designed to generate enough air flow to move around plant debris – usually leaves – into piles. However, blowers can also be used for many other tasks, such as cleaning gutters or drying off garden furniture.

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.

Leaf blowers

Low-end leaf blowers are only able to blow leaves and other debris. These lightweight models are used to blow plant matter into manageable piles for clearing up.

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 

These tools are designed to shred, vacuum and blow leaves. As leaves can be quite bulky, the idea is to break them down via a shredder, located at the top of the bag. This serves to drastically reduce their volume – by up to 16 times for the most effective models!

Electric vs. petrol-powered leaf blowers

Leaf blowers either operate using electricity (mains or battery) or 2- or 4-stroke petrol engines. Your choice will come down to the surface area you will be dealing with, the layout of your outside space and the type of work to be done.

Electric leaf blowers

 Electric leaf blowers are suitable for the vast majority of domestic applications. It should be noted that corded models will restrict your movement to some extent, depending on the length of the power cord. Battery-operated versions, on the other hand, will offer unlimited movement.

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

When it comes to choosing between a backpack and handheld model, your decision will depend on the weight of the leaf blower, the type of work and the strength of the user!

Blower weight


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

 
It is also possible to find leaf blowers with rollers attached to the end of the blower tube. More powerful self-propelled models can be mounted on wheels.

 

Electric leaf blowers: pros and cons

Electric motors are lighterquieter and less polluting.

Mains-powered blowers


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).


Battery-powered blowers

 
Cordless electric blowers, which operate on lithium batteries, are ideal for small and/or very small outdoor areas. They're lightweighteasy to handlequiet and give you the freedom to move about unconstrained. Nonethless, their battery often struggles to last beyond an hour at a time and they do have rather limited blowing power.

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 heaviernoisier 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.

The power of petrol-powered blowers can be indicated in engine capacity, which generally ranges from 25–50cm3 and as high as 70cm3 for some professional models.

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

There are various other specifications to consider when making your choice. 

Variable-speed drive

This 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.

Bag volume


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 blowers

Traditional 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 system

Sometimes vibration is no good thing! Luckily, leaf blowers can be equipped with an anti-vibration system.

Gutter attachment

A 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 system

Tidy your attachments away with an efficient storage system.

Three top tips for selecting the right leaf blower


  1. For areas under 1500 m² with sparse tree cover, a 3000 W electric leaf blower will do the trick.
  2. If possible, selecting a model with added shredder function will really enhance your leaf-blowing experience. Go for it!
  3. Pay attention to the weight of your leaf blower, especially if you have a large area to clear and find yourself needing a petrol-powered blower. And don't forget to protect your ears and wear protective goggles!
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Guide written by:

Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol 18 guides écrits

Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol

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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