Portable Leaf Blowers Review &
Buying Guide

Portable leaf blowers review and buying guide. Features to look for. Advantages and disadvantages. Best models.

An image says more than a thousand words, and for the image of your yard to say it all, you can use a leaf blower. At the same moment when a tree begins to shed its leaves, a small mess begins to form around your house. And not only in the fall, but you can also use your leaf blower all year round, and not only for your lawn but decks, driveway, walkways, light snow...

There are many types and brands, and here we’ll explain to you what the best ones are, top features, why you should have a leaf blower and of course, we’ll recommend the best 3 options for you!

What to look for when buying a portable leaf blower

Hand-held, backpack or wheeled? 

  • A hand-held leaf blower is basically the least powerful and smallest version of the leaf blowers; however, they are perfect for small yards (besides being the most economical) and where there are no electric outlets. They are lightweight and do not represent a weight on your back.
  • Backpack leaf blowers may be more comfortable for your hands because you carry them on your back, and you can use them for slightly longer periods of time, in addition to being a bit heavier.
  • The third type is wheel leaf blowers, which are those that you have to push and go on wheels.

Gas or electric?

Leaf blowers that use gasoline are more powerful and usually come with higher CFM and MPH ratings. But, electric leaf blowers are good for the start: they don’t require the maintenance of a gasoline engine; the problem is that some models must be plugged in using the long extension cords, so they can work.

There are also battery-operated or cordless models, which are lightweight and portable, but the intensity of the engine will decrease as the blower runs out of power. They use mainly rechargeable batteries that can last up to an hour.

Corded electric blowers have faster airspeed due to the higher power, while cordless give you freedom as they do not require an extension cord.

CFM and MPH rating

When buying a portable leaf blower, it’s important that you look for a model with sufficient airflow. The top models instead of blasting the air at the ground should use its power effectively. Check out the following:

  1. The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating is what measures the amount of air that is moved by the leaf blower per minute.
  2. The MPH (Miles Per Hour) rating is what tells you the airspeed that comes out of the blower.

Both numbers are supposed to be related, both are high or low so that there’s a balance. Even so, the CFM rating is usually a little more important than the MPH rating. For small yards, we recommend looking for leaf blowers with a CFM rating in the range of 300, and for bigger yards, a blower with CFM rating in the range of 500.

Leaf blower features

  • Speed control. This may be important and interesting for you, several electric models and even some gas bring buttons to change the speed of the airflow and depending on the surface on which you want to work: from sweeping hard surfaces to delicate flower beds. Some models come with the fixed while other with the variable-speed controls, allowing users to customize the power.
  • Nozzle. The narrow nozzle gives you the ability to blow leaves quickly and efficiently. There are models with flat and rounded nozzles. Flat ones, for example, are recommended for sweeping loose leaves.
  • Waterproof collection bag. Even though air blower vacuums are only for dry leaves, in places where the weather can be humid and changing, it would be good to have an air blower with a waterproof collection bag to avoid future damage.
  • Storage space. Air blowers are usually very small and perfect to be stored most of the year. 
  • Fuel tank. The see-through fuel tank on gas-powered leaf blowers is good to have, so you know when you are running low on gas. Also, the wide opening on the tank reduces the risk of the gas spill.
  • Air intake mount. In order to avoid your clothes being sucked up by the blower, avoid the side-mounted air intakes, but choose the model with the bottom-mounted one.
  • Battery type. There are two types of batteries used in cordless blowers; Ni-Cad and Lithium-Ion. Ni-Cad batteries are cheaper but last shorter. Lithium-Ion batteries are lightweight, better performing and recharge faster. Look for the high-voltage batteries (20-volt or 24-volt) as they provide more power and longer run time.
  • 2-cycle vs. 4-cycle engine. 2-cycle engines run on the blend of oil and gas, while 4-cycle engines on gasoline only. They are heavier and more powerful.
  • Choke operation. Choose the model with the simplified choke operation to make the startup easier.
  • Extra handgrip. Some models include a second handgrip, so the user can carry the unit easier and with the better control.
  • Overall design. Handheld (portable) leaf blowers should be designed to point to the ground naturally - at the downward angle, so minimal effort is needed for the highest performance. It is harder to carry those models where the nozzle aims straight ahead. So aim for the well-balanced body design.
  • Extra attachments.  An extra attachment will also allow higher wind speed for stubborn leaves in tight spots, an option to use the machine as the vacuum and mulcher to suck up the leaves, chops it up and spits it out into small bits.

Note: To take into consideration the power output look for the value either being in amps (A) on corded leaf blowers, volts (V) on cordless and cubic centimeters (cc) on gas-powered leaf blowers.

Advantages and disadvantages of portable leaf blowers

Portable leaf blowers are a great solution for your household. Look at the benefits and advantages they can have:

  • Saving time. Sweeping leaves can take many minutes, or perhaps hours. Cleaning with a leaf blower can help you do it in less time.
  • Cordless design. Cordless design provides you the freedom to carry and use them anywhere.
  • Easy to use. Spending hours of your life cleaning your yard can be exhausting, and if you hire someone it can be expensive. A good quality and lightweight portable blower with the ergonomic design will reduce the problem when carrying it for long.
  • You can pick up leaves from tight places. Using the small and portable leaf blowers, with its narrow nozzles and different attachments, can help you remove the leaves fast from the tight spots.

Not everything is perfect, so let's mention here the disadvantages brought by leaf blowers:

  • Noise. Gasoline leaf blowers, for example, can become very noisy (the larger, the more sounds they produce). Even quieter models can be annoying for your neighbors.
  • Air pollution. Gasoline leaf blowers emit pollution like vehicles. Electric leaf blowers are not dealing with the gas emissions but can end up expelling dust.
  • Volatility. The gasoline leaf blowers use oil and gasoline to operate, so they carry a certain risk.

Best 3 portable leaf blowers for you

If you already decided to buy a portable leaf blower, here we leave you our selection of the best 3:

HITACHI RB24EAP

This excellent model has these characteristics:

  • Handheld
  • Lightweight
  • 441 CFM
  • 7-year warranty for consumer uses; 2-year warranty for commercial use, and 1-year warranty for rental use.
  • Low emission engine
  • Capable of blowing debris in a few seconds (18 feet in 16.54 seconds).
  • It pushes 441 cubic feet of air with a speed of 170mph.
  • Works very well for a small or medium yard.

Pros

  • Good performance for the lightweight design
  • Durability

Cons

  • It's a bit noisy
  • Slow customer service at the time of complaints about the product.
  • No anti-vibration system
  • The handlebar is not comfortable

Overall assessment

It’s a good leaf blower with high quality, however, it’s for large yards (due to its CFM rating). If your yard is small, we’d recommend that you use another blower.

Husqvarna 125B 2-Stroke

Husqvarna presents us here with a very good blower. Let's take a look at its details:

  • 170MPH
  • 470 CFM
  • Gasoline engine
  • Handheld
  • Blowing tube length is adjustable.
  • Motor located in the right side of the machine, reducing the chances of clothes being sucked in.

Pros

  • Easy to use for all ages without the need for much strength.
  • The nozzle is directly aligned with the handle, which allows you to use it better without bending or rotating it a lot. The design helps in reducing the tension in the user arms and wrist.

Cons

Designed to blow/suck air from the right side, lefties can have discomfort.

Overall assessment

This is a powerful leaf blower that despite its efficiency, does not require that you have much strength to use it. Its only possible defect is the discomfort of the lefties to use it. Beyond that, it's good for medium and large yards.

Worx Turbine 56V Cordless Blower

If you are looking for power, here you have it. Let's highlight some of the details of this leaf blower:

  • 125MPH
  • 465 CFM
  • Lightweight
  • Battery-operated leaf blower - charging time is 90 minutes.
  • Efficient 2.0Ah battery that can do more than 112 watt-hours of work.

Pros

  • Balance is great with minimal effort required.
  • Airspeed control is available.
  • Construction is good, it has no obvious flaws.
  • Installing and removing the battery is easy.

Cons

  • Problems reported with the warrant
  • Problems with the battery

Overall assessment

It’s a good blower, good capacity and easy to install its parts. The most notorious problem is the battery life and the little response from the customer center in relation to the warranty. But if you’re very careful when charging the battery, you won’t have that same problem.

Other popular models

  • Black & Decker
  • Husqvarna
  • Ryobi
  • Stihl
  • Worx
  • Toro
  • Hitachi

Summary

Finding your perfect portable leaf blower may take time, but we hope our advice could help you in identifying the right features and models. Remember that they have many uses and are perfect for you to save time, so you can keep your yard clean without having to pay someone or get tired when using the lawn rake. If your yard is not very large, it is preferable that you buy a blower with the low CFM to start. Good luck!

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