The Best Backpack Leaf Blowers Tested in 2023

Put down your rake and pick up one of these powerful landscape helpers. A backpack leaf blower will make quick work of messy yard debris.

By Mark Wolfe | Updated Oct 2, 2023 6:05 PM

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The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

With a backpack leaf blower, yard cleanup is a snap. Leaf blowers make quick work of removing fallen leaves, grass clippings, dirt, and other debris from a property. Leaf blowers with adapter pipes can even clean rain gutters. A leaf blower can help speed up many projects to save time on yard work. With so many models of leaf blowers on the market, however, deciding on which one to buy can be a challenge. To help, we tested the best backpack leaf blowers in several different categories.

Whether your yard is large or small, or whether you prioritize lower emissions, higher air velocity, or the least amount of noise, there’s probably a leaf blower that fits the bill for those needs. The list below represents extensive research into the best backpack leaf blowers on the market and our reviews from putting them through the paces.

  1. BEST OVERALL GAS: Husqvarna 360BT Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
  2. BEST OVERALL BATTERY: Ego LBPX8004-2 Commercial 800 CFM Backpack Blower
  3. RUNNER-UP: Echo PB-9010T Backpack Leaf Blower
  4. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Poulan Pro PR48BT Gas-Powered Backpack Leaf Blower
  5. BEST COMMERCIAL: Stihl BR 800 X Magnum Backpack Leaf Blower
  6. BEST FOR HOME USE: Worx Nitro 80V Cordless Backpack Blower
  7. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT BATTERY: Greenworks 80V 610 CFM Cordless Backpack Blower
  8. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT GAS: Ryobi 175 MPH 760 CFM 38cc Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
  9. BEST FOR LARGE YARDS: Echo PB-580T Backpack Leaf Blower
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Ego Power+ LB6003 600 CFM Backpack Blower
The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Before You Buy a Backpack Leaf Blower

Before buying a backpack leaf blower, it’s smart to check out regulations that might be in place with the local or state government, or in a homeowners association. Noise is a factor that is a growing limitation to the use of leaf blowers. In many areas, regulations do not allow the use of loud equipment in neighborhoods during certain times of the day or week. Be sure that it’s OK to operate a leaf blower, which typically produces sounds between 65 and 100 decibels (dB), at the time of day and day of the week when you typically do yard work. If not, you will need to decide between raking and working at a different time.

The other big concern is the increasingly regulated use of 2-cycle engines. Even the cleanest gas lawn equipment engines that comply with California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations pollute significantly more than the combined power plant emissions produced when charging batteries. Some states and cities have declared a moratorium on gas-powered lawn equipment. If the window on use of fossil fuels in your area is closing soon, it might make the most financial sense to go electric now rather than buying gas equipment only to replace it in a year or two.

Finally, be sure to consider the potential health side effects of using a backpack leaf blower. In a commercial setting, anyone operating a leaf blower is expected to wear hearing and eye protection. In some conditions, a dust mask may also be required. Private users are strongly advised to do the same. Also, because hearing is impaired by blower noise, it is smart to wear high-visibility clothing and walk with oncoming traffic in front of you whenever operating a leaf blower in the street.

How We Tested the Best Backpack Leaf Blowers

Backpack blowers generally offer far greater airflow and dexterity than handheld blowers so users can clean up big jobs quickly and with less fatigue. We focused our backpack blower field tests on ease of operation, user comfort, and airflow.

We assembled and fueled or charged up the blowers according to the manufacturers’ instructions and then carefully adjusted the handle controls, suspension systems, and shoulder straps to fit comfortably. Then, one by one, we started the blowers and used them to blow fallen leaves on pavement, mowed lawn grass, and rough field grass, followed by old built-up debris in a wooded area. Finally, we used them to clear away wet sand and puddles from uneven pavement. Each of the blowers in this guide successfully completed the full range of testing.

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Our Top Picks

After weighing the shopping considerations outlined above, we tested 10 of the industry’s best backpack blowers in our own backyard test course. Whether you maintain a large or small property, and whether you need more power or less noise, you might find just the right fit on this list of some of the best backpack leaf blowers on the market.

Best Overall Gas

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Husqvarna 360BT Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
Photo: amazon.com

The Husqvarna 360BT gas-powered backpack leaf blower is a good all-around pick for large or small landscapes at a midrange price. The 65 cubic centimeters (cc) 2-cycle X-Torq engine pushes up to 890 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air at 232 miles per hour (mph) for general landscape cleanup. This machine weighs 23.2 pounds and comes equipped with a 74.4-ounce (0.58-gallon) fuel tank. Its engine noise level was about average compared to the others we tested, and it was easy to start and comfortable to carry. This blower truly excelled in air movement, outperforming all the others we tested on a price-to-performance comparison.

Although this is a gas model, Husqvarna’s X-Torq engine design reduces exhaust emissions by up to 60 percent and increases fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent. Dampeners between the engine and chassis reduce vibrations. The padded harness and hip belt are shaped to fit the contours of the operator for more comfortable operation. The offset handle makes the blow force easier to control, preventing arm strain and fatigue. The variable-speed throttle with cruise control can be set for easier handling.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: 65cc 2-cycle engine
  • Airflow: 890 CFM, 232 mph
  • Weight: 23.2 pounds

Pros

  • Professional-quality performance with top air movement but average noise levels
  • Low-profile suspension system with dampeners to reduce vibrations
  • Large fuel tank extends runtime without need to refill
  • Reduced emissions compared with other gas blowers, plus good fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Heavier than other models tested, though operation was comfortable
  • Bulky profile is not as easy to store away when not in use

Get the Husqvarna backpack leaf blower at Amazon, Northern Tool + Equipment, or Leaf Blowers Direct.

Best Overall Battery

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Ego LBPX8004-2 Commercial 800 CFM Backpack Blower
Photo: lowes.com

Lots of folks want to cut back their reliance on gas equipment, but cordless leaf blowers are often short on power and runtime. The Ego Power+ commercial backpack blower has risen to the challenge. Powered by two 56-volt (V) 6-amp-hour (Ah) rechargeable batteries, the 1,900-watt brushless motor generates power equivalent to a 60cc gas engine. It pushes up to 800 CFM of air at speeds up to 190 mph. And unlike the competition, it runs a long time per charge: 25 minutes on the highest power setting and up to 120 minutes on low.

The first thing we noticed about the Ego Commercial LBPX8004-2 was its weight. At 29 pounds with the batteries installed, it was about 2 pounds heavier than the heaviest 2-cycle leaf blower we tested. Thankfully, it also came equipped with an extremely well-padded adjustable harness system that included both a hip belt and sternum strap to lighten the load. Once we strapped in, the weight wasn’t bad at all.

As far as actual blowing performance goes, this was the strongest battery-powered leaf blower we’ve tested. We used it to clear fallen leaves off 5,000 square feet of lawn in less than 20 minutes and blew a gallon-size pile of damp sand off the driveway in 41 seconds. It was right up there with the Stihl BGA 300 at 26 newtons of blow force, but the Stihl weighed even more (38 pounds) and had a less convenient battery charging system. Combined with its high cost, higher weight, and battery limitations, the Stihl didn’t make our list of top picks.

The Ego Power+ commercial blower came with a dual charger that recharged both batteries in just 90 minutes. And the batteries are compatible with all Ego Power+ cordless tools. For residential as well as medium-duty commercial jobs, this could be a really good pick.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Two 56V 6Ah batteries
  • Airflow: 800 CFM, 190 mph
  • Weight: 29 pounds

Pros

  • Most powerful battery-powered backpack leaf blower we have tested
  • Well-padded harness system includes sternum strap and hip belt
  • Excellent runtime per charge: 120 minutes on low; 25 to 30 minutes on high power
  • IPX5-rated weather-resistant for use in all kinds of weather

Cons

  • More expensive and less powerful than commercial gas-powered leaf blowers
  • More than 2 pounds heavier than the heaviest gas-powered leaf blower we tested

Get the Ego LBPX8004-2 backpack leaf blower at Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or Acme Tools.

Runner-Up

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Echo PB-9010T Backpack Leaf Blower
Photo: amazon.com

A top performer among gas-powered commercial models, the Echo PB-9010T commercial backpack blower offers the most blow force and longest running time of all the machines in our test group. Its powerful and efficient 79.9cc 2-cycle engine complies with CARB emission standards while driving an intense blow force of 1,110 CFM at 220 mph. And its 83.8-ounce (0.65-gallon) fuel tank virtually eliminates stops for refueling on all but the very largest properties.

In our tests, the Echo PB-9010T took first place in both of the timed tasks, rounding up 5,000 square feet of leaves in just 12 minutes and removing a gallon-size pile of damp sand in just 14 seconds. The noise level was a few decibels higher than the Husqvarna and Stihl blowers in the test group. It also weighed a couple of pounds more.

The harness system was fine but came with no hip belt or shoulder straps to reduce the load on the user’s shoulders, although the shoulder straps were very nicely padded. When we brought it along on an all-day landscape cleanup project, the giant fuel tank held enough mixed gas to disperse clumped grass clippings and clear pavement the entire day without running out. This model is an excellent option for those who prioritize production above all else.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 79.9cc 2-cycle engine
  • Airflow: 1,110 CFM, 220 mph
  • Weight: 26.7 pounds

Pros

  • World’s most powerful backpack blower with 48 newtons of blow force
  • 2-stage air-filtration system extends the life of the engine
  • Large 83.8-ounce fuel tank ideal for extended use on large properties
  • Deep padded shoulder straps and vented back pad improve user comfort

Cons

  • Small opening on the fuel tank makes it harder to fill without spilling
  • Heaviest gas-powered backpack blower we tested
  • Has no hip belt or sternum strap to reduce user fatigue

Get the Echo PB-9010T backpack leaf blower at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.

Best Bang For the Buck

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Poulan Pro PR48BT Gas-Powered Backpack Leaf Blower
Photo: amazon.com

The Poulan Pro PR48BT was a strong performer at an extremely competitive price point. At the lowest overall price, it took sixth place in our price-to-performance comparison. Its 48cc 2-stroke engine pushes 475 CFM at 200 mph. Weighing just 22 pounds, this model was lighter than its gas-powered competition, which averaged more than 23 pounds. The PR48BT comes with padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a heavy-duty frame. The variable-speed throttle has a cruise-control feature to reduce operator fatigue.

Poulan Pro tools are generally known for fair quality at a budget price, and in our tests, this blower equals or outperforms that reputation. It started easily, ran smoothly, and was comfortable to carry. The airflow was adequate for dry or damp leaves and grass clippings but not great for heavily matted or wet, heavy debris. Also, the engine runs noticeably louder than the other blowers we tested, so be sure to wear hearing protection during operation.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 48cc, 2-stroke engine
  • Airflow: 475 CFM, 200 mph
  • Weight: 22 pounds

Pros

  • Lighter-than-average gas blower with a comfortable suspension system
  • Budget-friendly price point for a reliable tool
  • Fuel efficient for lower operating cost and longer runtime per fill-up
  • Great choice for dry leaves, grass clippings, and other lightweight debris

Cons

  • Only moderate air volume; less effective on heavy, wet debris
  • Sticky throttle trigger doesn’t accelerate smoothly

Get the Poulan Pro backpack leaf blower at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or The Home Depot.

Best Commercial

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Stihl BR 800 X Magnum Backpack Leaf Blower
Photo: acehardware.com

The best professional-grade backpack leaf blowers are still powered by 2-cycle gas engines, and the Stihl BR 800 x Magnum is the head of its class. Arguably the most comfortable leaf blower we tested, it featured a fully adjustable, deeply padded harness system with a hip belt, sternum strap, and ergonomically curved shoulder straps that perfectly balanced the 23.1-pound machine on our backs.

We used the Stihl through a 4-hour work session and felt great afterward. It was also the easiest to start of all the gas-powered blowers thanks to the self-returning choke lever and a unique pull-start configuration that allows the user to turn off and restart the blower without taking it off. The 78dB noise level was about average for the group.

As for air-moving ability, the BR 800 X ranked second with maximum ratings of 912 CFM, 239 mph, and 41 newtons of blowing force. Actual work performance was nearly identical to that of the Echo PB9010-T blower that boasted slightly higher specs, but this one was quieter, lighter, and more comfortable. In the “you get what you pay for” category, this one was priced third highest but still came in at the middle of the pack in the price-to-performance comparison. Those who rely on a powerful leaf blower for extended use day in and day out will not regret choosing the Stihl BR 800 X Magnum.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: 79.9cc 2-cycle engine
  • Airflow: 912 CFM, 239 mph
  • Weight: 23.1 pounds

Pros

  • Powerful, clean, and efficient 79.9cc 2-cycle gas engine complies with CARB standards
  • Professional-grade performance; delivers a maximum of 41 newtons of blowing force
  • Most comfortable backpack blower we tested; includes a deeply padded, fully adjustable harness
  • Easiest-to-start gas engine among the test group; runs quietly at just 78dB
  • Full-service purchase includes professional assembly and product demonstration

Cons

  • One of the most expensive backpack leaf blowers we tested
  • Not available for home delivery; must pick up in person at a Stihl dealer location

Get the Stihl backpack leaf blower at Ace Hardware.

Best for Home Use

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Worx Nitro 80V Cordless Backpack Blower
Photo: amazon.com

Even on small to midsize properties up to a half acre, a backpack blower can be a helpful labor saver. The Worx Nitro backpack blower, powered by the BaseCamp battery pack, uses four 20-volt 4Ah batteries to generate airflow up to 800 CFM at 150 mph with 20 minutes of runtime on the highest setting, or 230 minutes on low. In our timed tests, it cleared fallen leaves off 5,000 square feet of lawn in 25 minutes and dispersed a 1-gallon pile of sand off the driveway in 67 seconds.

Although it was not the lightest, most powerful, nor least expensive battery-powered backpack blower we tested, the Nitro backpack blower delivers enough power and runtime for smaller yards. It rated near the top in operator comfort. The harness system was well padded and extremely supportive, and the motor and battery pack fit closely to the back, which made it easier to maneuver compared to big bulky gas models.

We also appreciated that the BaseCamp power pack uses the same interchangeable 20-volt PowerShare batteries found throughout the Worx ecosystem, and that it is compatible with the Nitro Cordless Lawn Mower. For a balance of comfortable operation, efficient power sharing, compact storage, quality, and performance for smaller properties, the Worx backpack blower makes a great option.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Four 20-volt 4Ah batteries
  • Airflow: 800 CFM, 150 mph
  • Weight: 23.6 pounds

Pros

  • Pushes a lot of air to efficiently clean up dry leaves and grass clippings
  • Offers adequate runtime for properties of up to a half acre
  • BaseCamp battery pack also powers the Worx Nitro 80-volt cordless lawn mower

Cons

  • Lower air speed is less effective for moving heavy, wet debris
  • Operates at a higher noise level than other battery-powered blowers

Get the Worx backpack leaf blower at Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Best Lightweight Battery

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Greenworks 80V 610 CFM Cordless Backpack Blower
Photo: amazon.com

The Greenworks 80-volt cordless backpack leaf blower is a powerful, clean-operating leaf blower that makes an ideal choice for smaller landscapes. It moves up to 610 CFM of air at 145 mph and is powered by an 80-volt lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Weighing just 14.64 pounds, it was the lightest-weight model we tested.

The Greenworks 80-volt backpack leaf blower showed similar capability to that of the smaller gas-powered models, which is to say it easily handled dry and damp material but struggled with the heaviest matted debris. Operating on the high power setting, it ran for about 20 minutes, after which it took 45 minutes to recharge the battery.

The brushless motor delivers gas-equivalent performance, with up to 1.5 hours of runtime per charge on the low power setting. A variable-speed trigger and turbo button deliver on-demand power. Cruise control reduces operator fatigue. Adjustable, padded shoulder straps provide added comfort. The kit includes one 2.5Ah battery and charger.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 80-volt rechargeable battery
  • Airflow: 610 CFM, 145 mph
  • Weight: 14.64 pounds

Pros

  • Produces good airflow, comparable to some lightweight gas-powered leaf blowers
  • The most lightweight model among our test group; easy and comfortable to carry
  • Low-profile design helps users maneuver easily while wearing and store it when not in use

Cons

  • The 2.5Ah battery gave this blower the shortest runtime per charge among the battery backpack blowers tested
  • Airflow is not adequate for moving heavy, wet debris

Get the Greenworks backpack leaf blower at Amazon, Walmart, or Leaf Blowers Direct.

Best Lightweight Gas

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Ryobi 175 MPH 760 CFM 38cc Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
Photo: homedepot.com

Ryobi’s inexpensive leaf blower with its little 38cc 2-cycle engine can’t really generate as much airflow as our “Best Overall” pick, can it? In our tests, it nearly did. We were impressed by its ability to break up matted wet leaves, grass clippings, and even ant mounds, then blow them away without hesitation. The 760 CFM 175 mph ratings seem to be almost surprisingly accurate.

This level of performance comes at a price, however. The unique rigid blower tube configuration did not allow the full range of movement that other backpack blowers offer. We could perform a sweeping motion but could not rotate the control handle or easily direct the nozzle hard to the right. Still, the impressive blower force makes this a good tool for bigger jobs in open spaces, and it’s offered at a very affordable price.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 38cc 2-cycle engine
  • Airflow: 760 CFM, 175 mph
  • Weight: 20.2 pounds

Pros

  • Second-best value among all tested models in our comparison of price to performance
  • Lightweight backpack blower with adjustable, deeply padded shoulder straps
  • Small 2-cycle engine with impressive fuel economy; works harder using less gas

Cons

  • Rigid blower tube limits maneuverability
  • Bulky engine is more awkward in tight spaces and more difficult to store

Get the Ryobi backpack leaf blower at The Home Depot.

Best for Large Yards

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Echo PB-580T Backpack Leaf Blower
Photo: amazon.com

With its 58.2cc 2-cycle engine, this midsize blower offers a bit more power than the more budget-friendly models, and it weighs in at an easy-to-carry 22.7 pounds. But the weight is less noticeable here than on the others because of a well-balanced suspension system and generously padded, contoured shoulder straps. It moves up to 517 CFM per minute at up to 216 mph. It’s not the highest airflow in its class, but it’s still capable of moving heavy, wet debris into piles.

This Echo backpack blower is a good choice for those with large yards, where cheaper models may suffer over time from consistent extended use. The controls on the handle and moving parts on the blower tube operate smoothly and feel much more durable than those on the competition. The only inconvenience was that this blower did not include a blower tool—a combination spark plug remover and screwdriver/carburetor adjustment tool—which most others include.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 58.2cc 2-cycle engine
  • Airflow: 517 CFM, 216 mph
  • Weight: 22.7 pounds

Pros

  • Started easily every time, on the second pull after choking
  • Comfortable shoulder straps with deep padding and adjustable suspension system
  • Vented back pad eliminates heat buildup in hot weather to keep operators cooler
  • Operates with less vibration and noise (70dB) than similarly equipped gas leaf blowers

Cons

  • Priced a bit higher than other models with comparable airflow ratings

Get the Echo backpack leaf blower at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Leaf Blowers Direct.

Also Consider

The Best Backpack Leaf Blower Option: Ego Power+ LB6003 600 CFM Backpack Blower
Photo: lowes.com

The Ego Power+ lineup of 56-volt power tools seems never-ending, including this impressive leaf blower. The interchangeable 56-volt battery (sold separately) works with dozens of branded lawn and garden power tools. On a full charge, it powers the blower at top speed for about 20 minutes, and then it takes about 50 minutes to recharge. The blower moves up to 600 CFM at speeds up to 145 mph.

Those who are motivated to eliminate trips to the gas station and the chore of mixing and storing fuel will find that this blower fits the bill for small to midsize yards. Although it has a limited working time at full power, and full power is really necessary for most regular cleanup tasks, it compares power wise to smaller gas-powered backpack blowers. It pushed leaves and debris just as well as our “Best Bang for the Buck” pick, until the battery ran out. It is priced competitively as well.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 56-volt rechargeable battery
  • Airflow: 600 CFM, 145 mph
  • Weight: 20.24 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight backpack blower with a comfortable suspension system
  • Good airflow for moving dry and damp leaves from the lawn or grass clippings from pavement
  • Competitive price point among battery-powered backpack leaf blowers
  • Battery is compatible with all tools in the Ego Power+ 56-volt platform

Cons

  • Limited runtime per charge; best for smaller yards and gardens
  • Does not move heavy, wet debris very well

Get the Ego Power+ LB6003 backpack leaf blower at Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or Acme Tools.

Jump to Our Top Picks



Types of Backpack Leaf Blowers

While there are many factors to consider when searching for the right backpack leaf blower, the main difference among the options is whether they are powered by either gasoline or electricity. The power source affects the leaf blower’s weight, airspeed, runtime, and other factors.

Gas-Powered 

Gas-powered blowers are the go-to choice for landscaping professionals because they offer high power and lots of runtime per tank of fuel. They efficiently clean up large properties without the user having to stop and refill the gas tank. Gas-powered blowers are ideal for yards of a half acre and larger, where battery-powered blowers run out of power. They’re also great for smaller properties with heavy leaf cover that require more consistent power for efficient cleanup.

Gas-powered blowers require both fuel and oil, which adds to their operating cost. They emit exhaust fumes and should only be used in well-ventilated outdoor spaces.

Battery-Powered 

Battery-powered backpack blowers offer a clean-running, lightweight alternative to gas-powered blowers. They work especially well for smaller properties of less than half an acre and where leaf cover is lighter. Runtime varies significantly among models. Power settings also have a lot to do with how long a blower will run: On average, battery-powered blowers can run for as short as 10 minutes on high power to as long as 1.5 hours on low power.

The performance of most battery-powered backpack leaf blowers is similar to that of gas-powered blowers, but the battery-powered blowers run for a shorter length of time. Because it can take an hour or more to recharge a blower’s batteries, some owners buy additional batteries to avoid downtime.

What to Consider When Choosing a Backpack Leaf Blower

There are several key considerations to bear in mind when shopping for a new leaf blower. It needs to be powerful enough to clear debris and have sufficient power (in the battery or in the fuel tank) to do the entire yard. In this section, we’ll take a close look at these and other important shopping considerations.

Yard Size 

Properties larger than half an acre with leafy trees, lots of grass, outbuildings, and other areas that require detailed cleaning benefit from maximum runtime and airflow from a gas-powered blower. A powerful blower with a long runtime blows debris farther and faster than a less powerful model. They’re also more efficient because you don’t have to stop your work to refuel or change the blower’s batteries.

A lightweight battery-powered blower is suitable for a smaller property or if only blowing leaves off the sidewalk, patio, or driveway.

Power Source and Runtime

Battery power is measured in volts. Battery-powered blowers usually have a limited runtime of about 1.5 hours maximum for light-duty applications. Heavy-duty blowing decreases the runtime to as little as 10 to 15 minutes.

Gas-powered blowers are limited only by the size of their fuel tanks. Engine size is measured in cubic centimeters. Most gas blowers’ tanks hold enough fuel to operate at high power for 1.5 to 3 hours.

2-Cycle vs. 4-Cycle Engine

Gasoline-powered blowers have either a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle engine. A 2-cycle engine needs one revolution of the crankshaft to produce a power stroke, while a 4-cycle engine needs two revolutions of the crankshaft to produce the power stroke. A 2-cycle engine produces more power than the same size 4-cycle engine.

Blowers with 2-cycle engines require a fuel mixture of gas and oil that powers and lubricates the engine at the same time, while 4-cycle engines run on gasoline and have a separate oil reservoir to lubricate the engine. On average, efficient 2-cycle engines produce more power than 4-cycle engines of the same size, but clean-running 4-cycle engines produce lower emissions.

Air Volume and Speed

The two best measurements of a leaf blower’s performance are the air volume, measured in cubic feet per minute, and the airspeed, measured in miles per hour. Air volume is how much air moves through the machine, while airspeed measures how fast it is moving. The better measurement of leaf-moving ability is CFM.

Manufacturers indicate the average maximum CFM and mph values on product labels, but the speed at which blowers truly operate depends on the user. Users control backpack blowers’ power settings via a trigger or a lever. The machine needs to run on full power to reach the maximum CFM and mph ratings indicated on the product’s package. To clean up hard surfaces like driveways and patios, 400 CFM blowers are sufficient. Use a 500 to 700 CFM blower for larger properties with significant lawn and leaf areas.

Weight 

Battery-operated backpack blowers weigh as little as 15 pounds, while their gasoline-powered counterparts average about 10 pounds heavier. Weight certainly affects comfort, especially on large properties where leaf blowing may take an hour or more.

A leaf blower’s weight generally coincides with its power, so it’s not always prudent to purchase the lightest model. Instead, choose the blower with an ideal combination of weight and high power.

Comfort Features

Comfort minimizes user fatigue and reduces the chance of injury. Features that affect user comfort include the leaf blower’s size, harness system, hand controls, and tube.

The user’s body size dictates which overall machine dimensions are appropriate. A tall and heavy user can operate any size blower, but an operator with a smaller frame would more likely be most comfortable using a compact blower.

The leaf blower’s harness system can feature an adjustable waist strap and adjustable shoulder straps, all with plenty of padding, plus a sternum strap for added stability and balance. Tubes that flex and rotate comfortably at the user’s elbow are usually more comfortable. The hand controls that are sensitive enough to work smoothly, single-handedly, are easier to use, too.

Noise

Backpack blowers average 95 to 105dB, measured at the user’s ear level. To avoid hearing loss, it is important to wear earplugs or over-ear protection while operating a leaf blower.

Some municipalities have noise ordinances that dictate how loud machinery can be, so be sure to check local laws before purchasing a new blower. There are low-noise backpack leaf blowers on the market that average between 58 and 70dB and are powerful enough to get the job done efficiently.

Accessories

Several safety accessories help minimize the risks of injury while operating a blower. In addition to hearing protection, leaf-blower manufacturers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommend the use of safety glasses to keep lawn debris out of the eyes. A high-visibility safety vest, hat, and gloves allow users working near streets and sidewalks to be seen by oncoming traffic.

Other helpful accessories include extra batteries for cordless electric blowers and a spark-plug wrench and fuel funnel for gasoline-powered blowers.

The Advantages of Owning a Backpack Leaf Blower

To clean up leaves, grass clippings, dust, and other yard debris, it’s hard to beat the functionality of a backpack leaf blower. They help clean up leaves and grass in a fraction of the time it takes to rake, plus they move fine particles like dust and powdery snow with ease. They keep all outdoor areas clean and tidy, including lawns, landscape beds, driveways, porches, patios, and decks.

Backpack blowers are more powerful and versatile than handheld blowers. They easily remove matted, wet leaves from hard-to-reach areas like foundation plantings and fence corners. They can also be used to keep rain gutters clean.

  • Backpack blowers are less fatiguing than handheld blowers because the weight of the blower is carried on the user’s back and hips, rather than on the user’s arms.
  • They deliver plenty of air power for moving heavy debris.
  • The added power of a backpack blower gets the work done much faster than either raking or using a handheld blower.

FAQs

If you’re still unsure about whether a backpack leaf blower is right for you, continue reading. Ahead you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions about using backpack leaf blowers.

Q. How do you use a backpack leaf blower?

To pile up debris such as fallen leaves, start by determining where the pile should be. Then walk to the distant edge of the area and use a low, steady sweeping motion to move the leaves toward the pile. Aiming the air tube across the top of the debris keeps it low to the ground. To dislodge matted, wet leaves, aim the tube low and force air beneath it.

Q. Do backpack leaf blowers work on wet leaves? 

Yes. The higher the combined CFM and mph ratings, the more effectively the blower moves wet leaves.

Q. Are backpack leaf blowers better than handheld ones? 

On average, backpack leaf blowers are more powerful than handheld blowers. They also have the advantage of reducing operator fatigue by transferring the weight of the machine to larger core muscles in the body.

Q. Which is more important for a leaf blower, CFM or MPH?

Blowing power is a function of both air volume (CFM) and air speed (mph). Greater CFM affects a larger area and keeps material moving further. Faster mph moves bigger, heavier pieces of debris.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industries. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.