Have you ever tried raking leaves in a large yard? If so, you’re probably very well aware that it’s a laborious chore and quite the exercise. You can make things easier and quicker by using a leaf blower, but you have to choose the right model for your needs.
Leaf blowers come in many shapes and sizes, varying from small handheld models to powerful gas-powered backpack models. Whether you need one or another, depends on the size of your garden and amount of trees shedding their leaves every year.
Our top 3 picks
We’ve looked into a considerable number of electric and gas-powered leaf blowers, in order to identify the best ones. During our review process we’ve considered the following parameters: Noise, nozzle design, speed, ease of use, ergonomics, and build quality.
|Best overall||Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum|
|Best on a budget||WORX WG520 Turbine 600|
|Best gas-powered||Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Blower|
Best overall: Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum
Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum
The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum is a high-performing 3-machines-in-1 electric blower vac that clears leaves and debris from your lawns and gardens.
Pros: Many handles allowing for better comfort at any position, speed control ability, strong vacuum.
Cons: A bit heavy, may have a tendency to clog (especially if leaves are wet and medium-large in size), cord lock doesn’t work very well.
The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum has three machines in one: a powerful blower, a high-speed vacuum, and a leaf shredder. It comes with multiple tubes for specialized tubes. There’s the main tube that moves debris away from the house and shrubs, a power insert organizes debris into wind rows and creates piles and the concentrator which removes debris out of cracks and works to edge and move stubborn leaves as well.
This leaf blower comes with a collection bag that lets you gather up your leaves. It also has an oscillating nozzle that sweeps air back and forth automatically so you have a wider blowing path without having to move your wrist. This makes clearing the leaves faster and easier so you don’t have to spend too much time cleaning, especially if you have a large yard.
The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum also comes with a Shredz-All shred ring which pulverizes vacuumed materials into a fine mulch and helps to reduce the number of bags for disposal. It also has a variable speed know that allows you to adjust the air speed in both the blower and the vacuum to match the task you need it to do. The Quick Release Latch at the bottom of the machine lets you convert your blower into a vacuum in just seconds and without any need for tools.
With its weight of 8.9 pounds, this blower and vacuum can be a bit on the heavier side, but it does the job well and it is solid and durable. Plus, with the way the body is shaped, you can switch it around until you find a comfortable way to hold it. While some people have commented on how it tends to clog, this is mostly due to improper use, such as holding the tube above the pile, instead of close to the ground or allowing it to vacuum sticks and wet leaves. If this happens, you can unplug it, remove the vacuum hose, and just clean it with a flat head screwdriver.
According to Gardening Products Review, each piece of this equipment fits just like it should and you don’t have to worry about anything coming loose while you’re doing your cleaning. The leaf collection bag is also comfortable to wear and you can adjust the strap to the right length so it won’t get in the way of your work. One of the bigger downsides, though, is that the cord-lock that allows you to hold the extension cord securely in place often slips out of place and unplugs the power cord.
Best on a budget: WORX WG520 Turbine 600
WORX WG520 Turbine 600
The WORX WG520 Turbine 600 is a high-capacity air volume blower at an affordable cost that still delivers a powerful performance and consistent results.
Pros: Ergonomic design, powerful, easily disassembled for transport and storage.
Cons: No vacuum or leaf-shredding feature, highest setting can cause arm fatigue.
The WORX WG520 Turbine 600 comes with a turbine fan technology of 600 CFM that delivers forceful, high-capacity air volume so you can perform heavy-duty clearing of leaves and other debris in your large yard. It can work up to twice as fast as professional gas blowers and is more cost-effective, efficient in cleaning, and better for the environment.
With the variable speed control, you can set different speeds for different cleaning jobs. You can set it at a low speed for tighter spaces and at a faster speed for larger, more open places. In addition to its powerful motor, it also comes with a tapered nozzle that focuses all the airflow for an even blowing force. Nevertheless, despite its power, it is also quieter than most gas blowers.
You don’t need to worry about wasting motion or energy as you can control this blower and it is light enough (6.4 pounds) to hold with just one hand. It is specially designed to pull air from the back and generate the airstream directly down the tube, away from its handle. Nevertheless, according to The Spruce, leaving it in the highest setting while you are cleaning your large yard can cause arm fatigue. Fortunately, you can conveniently switch to a two-handed use to manage the top speed in an easier way. It can also be disassembled so you can store it with no difficulty when you’re not using it and it won’t take that much space.
The only other downside, according to The Spruce, is that you cannot vacuum or shred leaves with this leaf blower. Nevertheless, with its affordable price and powerful performance, it’s a good option, especially if you like to compost your leaves.
Best gas-powered: Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Blower
Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Blower
The Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Blower is a unique, lightweight backpack air blower that comes with high air velocity and powerful airflow, enabling you to accomplish cleaning up with ease.
Pros: Very effective, great cruise control, powerful TORQ engine, easy to carry on your back.
Cons: Difficult to disassemble, requires a bit more maintenance than electric models, no vacuum, noisy.
The Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Blower is a mid-size blower that features a powerful X-TORQ engine for increased power, better fuel economy, and reduced emissions. It comes with a harness and controls that are ergonomically designed for ease of use.
If you’re looking for an environmental-friendly leaf blower, you might want to check out the Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Blower as its X-TORQ engine design, one of its best features, works to keep from releasing harmful exhaust emissions by up to 60%. It also increases fuel efficiency by up to 20%.
With the high air velocity and powerful airflow, the uniquely-designed fan in this leaf blower enables you to clean up with ease. This leaf blower comes with a cruise control that allows you to adjust the fan speed for easier handling. You also have the option to remove air from the carburetor and fuel system for an easy start and there are intuitive controls that can easily be accessed. The blowing tube length is adjustable so you can use it to reach leaves and debris no matter where they are.
The backpack that comes with the leaf blower is specially designed to emit low noise so you don’t have to worry about disrupting your neighbors. Its harness and hip belt are ergonomic and padded so the wearer can slip it on and do the job with ease. It is also load-reducing so you can wear the backpack comfortably and easily while reducing the strain on your back. The Low-Vib technology provides anti-vibration dampeners that absorb vibration, thus minimizing stress on your arms and hands.
According to The Tool Boss, one of the downsides to this leaf blower is that it does not come with a vacuum as well. Nevertheless, it’s more versatile and convenient. It isn’t easy to take apart when it comes to storage, but if you don’t have limited storage space or you plan to use your leaf blower regularly, then this will work very well for you.
Best features to look for in leaf blowers for large yards
Before you head to the nearest shop to buy a leaf blower for your large yard, here are some features you might want to look out for as well as some you might have to take into consideration:
1. Electric vs. gas
When it comes to deciding to get an electric or gas leaf blower, there are three things to take into consideration: speed, convenience, and budget.
If you’re looking at which kind of leaf blower gets the job done faster, gas leaf blowers are still the faster means to clearing a yard full of leaves as compared to electric ones. Gas leaf blowers also allow you to go anywhere, as you are not limited in terms of distance if you were to get an electric corded leaf blower. On the other hand, gas leaf blowers weigh more, cost more, and are also noisier. They also require more refueling and maintenance.
Through the years, however, electric leaf blowers have been constantly improving in features and make. Some of them are now powerful enough to compete with gas blowers in getting the job done. They require less maintenance as compared to gas leaf blowers, and for some, you only need to wipe them down after use and keep a lookout for dirt build-up. If you’re looking at getting an electric leaf blower, there are two kinds to choose from: corded and cordless.
Corded leaf blowers plug into standard outlets. They are extremely lightweight and easy to use, which makes them the perfect choice for homeowners who are looking to do various tasks with a blower that is easy to maneuver. The challenge that comes with getting one is the limited distance it can cover. Thus, they are best suited to small yards. You can always plug in an extension cord, but if you have a large yard that extends beyond 100 feet (the standard length of most extension cords), it might be a little hard to ensure that the whole area gets cleaned.
Cordless electric blowers, on the other hand, have enough power to rival low- to mid-range gas models, according to Family Handyman, but come with larger batteries that add extra weight. The battery life depends on the make and model, but you will have no problem cleaning large yards. However, you might have to swap batteries multiple times if you want to make sure your large yard gets thoroughly cleaned.
Leaf blowers can get pretty loud and sometimes their noise and pitch can be annoying, but most product labels list decibels so you can compare the noise levels before you make a purchase. Generally, however, gas leaf blowers tend to be noisier than electric ones (whether corded or cordless).
Before choosing which one to get and using it to clean your large yard, Consumer Reports suggests checking with your community, as some communities and neighborhoods prohibit the use of a leaf blower during certain hours. Some communities even ban the use of leaf blowers altogether, no matter how quiet they are.
For more information, you can check with the regulations in your city or town or the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse which offers a nationwide list of guidelines.
3. Nozzle design
Another thing to look at before buying your leaf blower is what you expect to be cleaning or blowing in your yard. From there, you will be able to determine if you should get a wide nozzle or a flat one.
Wider nozzles are great at moving leaves around. If your large yard is surrounded by trees that shed a lot, especially during the fall, it’s best to get a leaf blower with a wider nozzle. Round nozzles, on the other hand, are better at moving dirt and debris, or for loosening leaves that are embedded in your lawn.
If your yard is full of both and you find yourself having to clear both leaves and other dirt and debris, most leaf blowers have the option to swap out the nozzle or use an adaptor to change the airflow.
Not all leaf blowers are alike in terms of speed. Some leaf blowers come with a single speed while others come with a multiple-speed switch (for electric blowers) or a variable throttle (for gas blowers).
Leaf blowers that have multiple speeds to choose from lets you adjust the level of airflow to your desired amount of control. If you need to clean hard surfaces or open ground, you can opt to use a higher speed and then switch to a lower speed when you’re cleaning around your lawn or garden.
With a single-speed leaf blower, you can have no option but to adapt to the kind of speed it has, no matter where you are cleaning. The danger of this is that it might take some time to remove stubborn dirt and debris (if your single-speed motor is too low) or it might damage your more fragile garden beds (if it is too high).
5. Ease of use
Aside from finding a leaf blower that fits your large yard best in terms of power, speed, and the like, you also need to find something that will help you with your cleaning—not make it more difficult.
A few examples listed by Consumer Reports are the following:
- Convenient shut-off switch – a safety feature that lets you quickly turn off the electric motor or gas engine
- Translucent fuel tank – if you have a gas leaf blower, you’ll want one that tells you, at a glance, when your fuel is running low
- Tank with a wide opening (for gas leaf blowers) – to reduce the chance of spilling the fuel when you refill
If you are getting a leaf blower that comes with a bag, you might want to get something that you can sling over your shoulder so you don’t have to keep lugging it around. If you’re looking at a leaf blower with additional features, such as a turbo button to amplify the speed, you might want to get one that’s visible so you don’t have to fumble around for it and can do your cleaning smoothly and effortlessly.
Efficiency is key when it comes to cleaning, and if you have a large yard to clean up, the more efficient the tool, the better, and the faster you can get your work done.
In general, electric leaf blowers are lighter than gas leaf blowers, especially if the leaf blower you’re getting is the handheld or backpack type. With a handheld leaf blower, Consumer Reports suggests getting one with an extra hand grip so you can easily switch to whatever hand position suits you best. Also, an extra hand grip can help to spread the weight. If you’re doing smaller clean-up jobs, a handheld blower will work fine.
If you have an extra-large yard that will require using a blower for a longer period, you might want to look at getting a backpack leaf blower. They tend to be more powerful than handheld leaf blowers and they come with a harness that makes them more comfortable to use, especially if you will spend some time cleaning.
A third option would be to get a walk-behind leaf blower. If you offer professional yard-clearing services, ACME Tools recommends getting one of these. They have lots of power and can do the job quickly. They can blow away leaves, heavy paper, cardboard, and other garbage that might be left on the ground.
7. Build quality
If you’re looking for a better build quality for a leaf blower that will last you some time, look for something with good, durable material for the body. Family Handyman says it’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to changing the air filter or replacing the spark plug. You might also want to look into getting a leaf blower that does some vacuuming and mulching as well so it can help you clean and save up on garbage bags as the mulcher shreds the leaves into finer bits.