While most people enjoy the changing colors of the trees in autumn, keeping up with the constant onslaught of fallen leaves can be a headache. Rather than spending your weekends raking huge piles of leaves, there’s a better way to get the job done. Arm yourself with the best gas leaf blower to cut your leaf-handling time so you can spend your time hanging out with loved ones or watching the game.
These machines use powerful gusts of air to lift and push leaves across your yard, but not all models are the same or are the best for every project. This guide will help you choose the best gas leaf blower for your own yard.
- BEST OVERALL: Makita BHX2500CA 24.5 cc MM4 4-Stroke Engine Blower
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Craftsman B215 25cc 2-Cycle Engine Handheld Leaf Blower
- UPGRADE PICK: Makita 4-Stroke Engine Tube Throttle Backpack Blower
- BEST BACKPACK: Husqvarna 350BT 2-Cycle Gas Backpack Blower
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: ECHO PB-2520 2-Stroke Cycle Handheld Leaf Blower
- BEST WITH VACUUM: ECHO ES-250 Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Leaf Blower Vacuum
Before You Buy the Best Gas Leaf Blower
Gas-powered leaf blowers aren’t for everyone. They’re noisy and can be quite heavy; some even require backpack straps to carry them comfortably. And, as the name suggests, they use gasoline and oil, which may be a concern for eco-conscious homeowners.
For another option, check into an electric leaf blower. These machines use battery power or extension cords to create the windpower needed to push leaves around. Not only are they quieter and generally lighter, but they also require less maintenance than gas-powered blowers, though they often are less powerful.
Types of Gas Leaf Blowers
Gas leaf blowers come in a few shapes and sizes. Knowing the various types of leaf blowers helps shoppers understand the differences and learn how to choose the best gas leaf blower for their needs. Each model has both benefits and drawbacks.
Handheld leaf blowers are the simplest and most widely recognized gas-powered blower. Users carry the blower by its handle, which makes it highly portable and versatile. They’re ideal for small- to medium-size yards.
However, since most handheld gas leaf blowers weigh more than 10 pounds, using a handheld blower for a full day of fall cleanup is a tiresome job. Handheld blowers might not be the best choice for those with large yards.
For power and convenience, it’s hard to beat a backpack blower. As the name suggests, these blowers have shoulder straps that allow users to wear the heavy blower on their backs. The weight of the blower is distributed across the entire body.
Backpack blowers are powerful, but they’re heavy and unnecessary for smaller yards. They’re also usually louder than handheld models, so extra ear protection may be necessary.
Those with larger yards might want to check into a walk-behind leaf blower, which is essentially a powerful engine on wheels. Simply push it across the lawn. One of the downsides to a walk-behind blower, however, is that it will consume more storage space. Directing the airflow can also be difficult.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas Leaf Blower
Before shopping for the best leaf blower, familiarize yourself with their features. Keep reading to find a list of features and stats to keep in mind when perusing the best gas leaf blowers.
Yard size has a big impact on choosing a gas leaf blower. Most people want a blower that can get the job done in a reasonable amount of time without tiring them out.
Those with smaller yards can get away with a smaller, handheld leaf blower. If it’s a bigger property, consider a backpack blower to help carry the weight. The shoulder pads distribute the weight over the body’s core, allowing users to work relatively effortlessly.
CFM and MPH
Two statistics, cubic feet per minute (CFM) and miles per hour (mph) ratings, are listed on the side of every leaf blower box and in every product description. These numbers are more important than horsepower or cubic centimeters (cc), because they represent the efficacy of the blower.
CFM represents volume, i.e., how much air the blower discharges from its nozzle. Volume is important because it essentially determines how many leaves will move with a gust of wind from the blower.
Miles per hour (mph) is the speed at which the CFMs leave the nozzle. This number is equally important: It determines how quickly users can move a pile of leaves and how far they’ll go.
2 Cycle vs. 4 Cycle
The two different styles of small engines on a leaf blower (and other power equipment) are the two-cycle (or two-stroke) engine or the four-cycle engine. Each type has different qualities, works a bit differently, and requires a different fuel source.
A two-stroke engine doesn’t have an oiling mechanism, so oil must be mixed in with the fuel. These mixtures must be relatively exact. Two-stroke engines are powerful and extremely durable, but they’re also loud and dirty.
A four-stroke engine has an oiler, which requires far less effort. Users can simply top off the fuel and oil separately without worrying about mixing it. A four-stroke engine is more efficient, but it’s a bit less powerful.
Fuel Tank Capacity
Stopping every 30 minutes to top off a fuel tank slows down the job. A backpack blower needs plenty of fuel storage: Taking a blower on and off your back all day is exhausting. A tank that holds 40 ounces or more is ideal. A 15-ounce reservoir is considered a minimum capacity.
Some blowers have a speed control or “cruise” feature that allows users to lock the throttle in position to create a constant airflow. These features can be a big help over the course of a long day. A leaf blower doesn’t have to run at full throttle all the time. When moving dry leaves across the lawn, cutting the throttle back a bit helps users control the movement of the leaves. Moreover, holding down the trigger all day can cause hand cramps.
Fall cleanup is rarely on anyone’s favorite chore list, so the leaf blower also should be user-friendly. For instance, some models are lighter than others ( less than 9 pounds). Sling straps make carrying a lightweight handheld model even easier. Also, comfortable grips and handles make sweeping the blower’s nozzle across the front of a leaf pile easier and less awkward.
Features and Accessories
Some of the best gas leaf blowers have additional features and accessories that attach to the blower to add functionality. One popular accessory, a vacuum bag attachment, collects leaves for easy bagging. Other models have a modular discharge nozzle to adjust the length and concentration of the airflow. Detachable shoulder straps, attachments for cleaning gutters, and other convenience-oriented accessories are also available.
A gas leaf blower is louder than an electric blower. While they have mufflers, internal combustion engines make a lot of noise (often around 100 decibels), and the volume of air pushing through the machine hums quite loudly.
Look for a model with a lower decibel (dB) level in the 60 to 70 range. These gas leaf blowers usually have a four-stroke engine, which is naturally quieter than a two-stroke engine.
Our Top Picks
It’s time to look at the specific options on the market. A list of some of the best gas leaf blowers appears next. Consider all these important features and attributes before making a decision.
For an all-around gas leaf blower, this Makita model is worth checking out. This blower features a 24.5 cc four-stroke engine that Makita has engineered to be up to 60 percent more fuel efficient than other models. While it weighs only 9.8 pounds, its 17.7-ounce fuel tank and large oil filling port make for easy and infrequent fill-ups.
The Makita MM4 has plenty of power. It produces 358 CFM with a maximum speed of 145 mph at a 67-decibel volume. Its automatic decompression means it starts easily. The BHX2500CA has a cruise control lever to lock the throttle in the desired position.
The Craftsman B215 Gas Powered Leaf Blower is a powerful, capable leaf blower. It features a 25 cc two-stroke engine, swappable nozzles, and weighs 10 pounds. This blower produces 430 CFM with a top speed of 200 mph, allowing users to handle large, wet leaves without issue. Its variable speed control lets users throttle both fuel consumption and noise level. Both nozzles have built-in scrapers to loosen up stubborn leaf piles. Its fuel tank is translucent, so users are less likely to run the tank dry.
The Makita backpack blower features a massive 52.5 cc four-stroke engine that produces 2.5 horsepower, capable of producing 516 CFM and 184 mph while creating 70 decibels of noise. It has a large 60.9-ounce fuel tank and weighs 19.7 pounds, though the padded shoulder straps help operators carry the weight comfortably.
The Makita backpack blower features a tube-mounted throttle with cruise control, automatic decompression for easy starting, and anti-vibration mounts to reduce vibrations. It comes with swappable nozzles and an adjustable discharge tube.
The Husqvarna 350BT is a pro-level backpack blower that features a 50.2 cc two-stroke engine. It weighs 22.5 pounds and pushes 494.41 CFM of air at speeds up to 180 mph. Its fuel tank holds 42.27 ounces.
The 350BT might be a bit heavy, but its comfortable shoulder pads help spread the load. It has a tube-mounted handle with a variable speed trigger and cruise control. A separate, detachable handle allows for two-handed use. Its modular discharge tube adjusts to the perfect length. At 104 decibels, the 350BT is a bit loud.
The ECHO PB-2520 leaf blower features a 25.4 cc two-stroke engine that produces wind speeds up to 170 mph and volumes up to 453 CFM, while creating only 70 decibels of noise. When empty, it weighs just 8.6 pounds.
Light leaf blowers with plenty of power tend to torque the user’s wrist, but the PB-2520 has an “S-Pipe” design that helps reduce the gyro effect for better comfort. It also has an 18.6-ounce see-through fuel tank, variable cruise control, a shoulder harness, and locking discharge pipes and nozzles for easy custom adjustments.
The ECHO ES-250 Leaf Blower and Vacuum is a handheld blower that goes from blower to vacuum by snapping a 35-inch intake tube onto the air intake and attaching the two-bushel bag on the air discharge. It also shreds, breaking leaves down in a 12:1 ratio. Its 25.4 cc two-stroke engine produces 70 decibels of noise, blowing leaves at a top speed of 165 mph and a maximum volume of 391 CFM.
This blower has an electronic ignition for easier starts, variable speeds with cruise control, and a curved discharge tube to minimize torque on the user’s wrist.
Tips for Using a Gas Leaf Blower
- When using a gas leaf blower, hearing protection is essential. While muff-style ear protection is adequate, consider doubling up with a set of earplugs underneath the muffs to get the maximum amount of hearing protection.
- When blowing leaves across a particularly dry patch of dirt, eye protection is a welcome safety feature.
- Heavy wet leaves stick together, making them very difficult to move. Wait for the sun to dry the leaves before blowing them.
- While it’s often better to wait for a wind-free day, a steady wind blowing in the desired direction can speed up the process. When blowing into wind, users should:
- Double up on hearing protection
- Wait for the leaves to dry
- Wait for a wind-free day unless the wind is blowing in the direction desired
FAQs About Gas Leaf Blowers
If some questions still remain about leaf blowers, keep reading to find a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers. Reach out to the leaf blower’s manufacturer and speak with a customer service representative with additional questions.
Q. What should I look for when buying a leaf blower?
Look for a balance of airflow, weight, and usability. A handheld blower that produces 140 or more mph and weighs less than 11 pounds is the sweet spot.
Q. What’s the best CFM for a leaf blower?
CFM depends on the size of the yard, the weight the user is comfortable carrying, and budget. However, a blower with less than 300 CFM frustrates most users, so use that figure as the benchmark when shopping.
Q. Do leaf blowers take regular gas?
Yes and no. Four-stroke engines take regular gas that you don’t need to mix with oil, but many prefer 89 octane. Two-stroke engines use regular gas mixed with two-stroke oil.
Q. How do you use a leaf blower effectively?
Plan where you want the leaves to land. Spread out a tarp and hold the corners down with stones. Holding the blower at the side, tilt the nozzle at a slight angle toward the ground in front of you. Sweep back and forth until all the leaves are on the tarp.
Q. How long do gas leaf blowers last?
If the leaf blower is maintained, it can last up to 10 years. This means changing the oil, cleaning the air filter, and winterizing it at the start of cold weather on a regular basis.