Manually raking leaves is often a laborious chore. You can make it an easier and faster process by using a leaf blower. There is a wide variety of styles and sizes of leaf blowers on the market today, ranging from light-duty handheld units to heavyweight professional-grade models.
Read on to learn about the different types and to find out why the following are considered to be among the best leaf blower options available.
- BEST OVERALL: WORX TURBINE 56V Cordless Battery-Powered Leaf Blower
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: BLACK+DECKER Electric Leaf Blower
- BEST GAS-POWERED: Craftsman 25cc 2-Cycle Engine Gas Powered Leaf Blower
- BEST BACKPACK: Makita 4-Stroke Engine Tube Throttle Backpack Blower
- BEST WITH ADJUSTABLE SPEED: Litheli 40V Cordless Leaf Blower
- BEST WITH MULCHER: Greenworks 40V Brushless Cordless Blower/Vacuum
- BEST WITH TRIMMER: KIMO 2-in-1 20V Cordless Leaf Blower/Vacuum
- QUIETEST OPERATION: Greenworks Pro 80V Cordless Leaf Blower
- BEST BUDGET: Sun Joe 6-Amp 155 MPH Electric Leaf Blower
Types of Leaf Blowers
One of the first things to know about leaf blowers is that there are several different types, separated into categories based on the fuel they use. This includes gas-powered, corded electric, and battery-powered cordless blowers.
Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are typically the most powerful, and they’re ideal for properties of a quarter-acre or more. A gas leaf blower produces exhaust that contains carbon monoxide and other pollutants and therefore should always be used outdoors or in a well-ventilated space.
They come in two-cycle or four-cycle engines. Two-cycle engines run on a blend of oil and gasoline and offer a good balance between power and weight. Four-cycle engines run on gasoline alone but tend to be heavier than two-cycle engines and require regular oil changes.
Corded electric units are lightweight, portable, and quieter than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Light-duty electric sweepers can handle driveways, decks, and patios, while higher-powered electric blowers can take on yards up to a quarter of an acre.
Corded electric blowers provide steady power without the weight of a battery. However, because the cord restricts mobility, they are used primarily for small yards or areas near the house.
Showcasing many of the same advantages as an electric model, a battery-powered or cordless leaf blower also offers excellent mobility. However, the batteries of a cordless leaf blower add a little weight and need to be recharged periodically.
Some cordless leaf blowers use batteries that are interchangeable with other power equipment or accessories, including string trimmers, hedge trimmers, and chainsaws. If you have several such battery-powered tools, or if you have a particularly large lawn, it may be in your best interest to keep some extra batteries on hand, so that the cordless leaf blower is never without a charged battery.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Leaf Blower
Make sure you are confident about your own expertise on leaf blowers before trying to find the best blowers to clean up your yard. Consider the size, weight, power, and runtime of the tool to help determine which products are the best leaf blowers. Also, keep in mind that while extra features like a variable speed trigger are great, the core functionality of the leaf blower is more important.
Size and Weight
It is important to take the total weight of the blower into account—while a larger model may be more powerful, it will probably also be more unwieldy.
- Small, handheld leaf blowers are suitable for an average-size suburban lot with a few trees. A handheld leaf blower typically ranges from 3 to 15 pounds depending on whether the blower is fueled by gas or electricity. Handheld gas blowers are about 6 to 8 pounds heavier than electric models. A small leaf blower also usually sports a shoulder strap.
- Larger, backpack-style models are ideal for those with bigger properties or yards with many trees. These products have heavy motors that are too unwieldy to carry in your hands, which is why a backpack leaf blower comes with straps to help distribute the weight. A backpack leaf blower has a weight range from 15 to 30 pounds.
- Wheeled, walk-behind blowers are generally used by pros and people with heavy-duty needs. These large leaf blowers sit on a set of wheels. The weight of the machine exceeds the weight of a backpack leaf blower, making it too much to manage, even with backpack straps or a full harness. While some wheeled leaf blowers can weigh as little as 20 pounds, most range from 50 to 100 pounds.
Leaf blowers are rated by cubic feet per minute (CFM), a measurement of the volume of air that is pushed through the unit. Blowers typically have a CFM between 200 to 800. High CFM ratings from 500 to 800 make it possible to move a lot more leaves than models on the lower end of the scale.
Miles-per-hour (mph), yet another indication of a blower’s power, measures the speed at which air exits the unit. This refers to the blower’s ability to move a leaf over a long distance, rather than the ability to move a large number of leaves. The mph rating of a leaf blower generally ranges from 100 to 250 mph.
The size of the motor on a leaf blower is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) for gasoline-powered motors, with larger motors capable of displacing more fuel and running at higher power. Amps (A) is used to measure power output for corded electric blowers, and volts (V) is the unit of measurement typically used for cordless, battery-powered blowers.
However, it should be noted that using both CFM and mph is much easier than trying to determine the power output of a leaf blower with cc, amps, or volts because CFM and mph are consistent measurements across all types of leaf blowers.
The runtime of a leaf blower is a metric commonly used for battery-powered models. Gas-powered products technically also have a runtime, though this is rarely provided by manufacturers because the fuel mixture and power output can greatly impact the rate at which fuel is burned, whereas battery runtime tends to be relatively consistent.
Typical runtimes range from 30 minutes to 1 hour, but if a short runtime is the only factor that doesn’t appeal to you, consider investing in one or more spare batteries and chargers so a charged battery is always available.
Basic leaf blowers operate at a static speed and airflow, producing a consistent CFM at a constant speed. However, most manufacturers have improved the speed settings of leaf blowers to incorporate variable speed triggers and even include speed control features that allow the leaf blower to reach a specific speed and maintain that output as though the leaf blower had been set to cruise control.
This helps to manage a long period of leaf blowing without having to keep the trigger squeezed. When you turn to a large pile of leaves or when the blower needs to move a clump of wet leaves the speed control can be used to increase the blower to the maximum CFM output, lifting and pushing the leaves without a problem before dropping back down to a lower CFM to manage the rest of the yard. Keep in mind that holding a trigger down for long periods of time can lead to cramping or hand fatigue.
The most frequent complaint about leaf blowers is that they are noisy. Many gasoline-powered models emit 90 to 102 decibels during use; electric and battery-powered units typically range from 65 to 78 decibels.
Some local municipalities have enacted laws capping leaf blower noise at 65 or 70 decibels at a distance of 50 feet away, so it might be a good idea to check your local ordinances before purchasing a leaf blower.
A unit with variable speed settings, which allows you to adjust the airflow and movement of debris, can also help with noise control. Always wear eye and ear protection and a dust mask while operating a leaf blower.
A leaf vacuum or shredding or mulching attachment is a highly desirable feature that enables you to shred leaves so they can be used as mulch in garden beds, thereby reducing yard waste.
Some vacuum-capable models include larger-diameter chutes or tubes that help collect leaves. Reduction ratios—such as 10:1 or 16:1—indicate the number of bags of leaves that a blower with mulching capabilities can reduce to one bag.
After determining what type of leaf blower is suitable and taking time to learn about the power potential, runtime, and speed settings of leaf blowers, it’s time to consider extra features. These additions aren’t necessary for the leaf blower to function properly, but they can make the job easier. Common features include trimmer kits, oscillating nozzles, and detachable shoulder straps.
- Trimmer kits aren’t strictly additions to the actual leaf blower. These kits include both a leaf blower and a grass trimmer, helping users take care of the yard maintenance in more ways than one.
- Oscillating nozzles allow the user to adjust the length and concentration of the airflow coming from the leaf blower. This is ideal for moving small clumps of wet leaves that need a precision burst of airflow to lift them from the ground.
- Detachable shoulder straps make it easier to operate the leaf blower, and provide the user the option to adjust the size of the straps so the leaf blower can be operated by a variety of people, regardless of their height or size.
Our Top Picks
While there are a tremendous number of options out there, the following list narrows down the options into some of the best leaf blowers on the market. The criteria outlined above was used to identify standouts in a variety of categories. One of these tools may be what you need to take care of those leaves around the yard.
With more than enough power to handle most small- or medium-size yards with light leaf accumulation, the WORX Turbine leaf blower makes quick work of leaf removal. The leaf blower features turbine fan technology (spinning force) that delivers up to 125 mph of leaf-churning air, controlled by a variable speed switch on the handle.
This electric blower weighs in at a comfortable-to-carry 8.1 pounds, while the tool’s cordless electric design enables roaming around the yard without having to bother with extension cords.
- Great for small to medium yards
- Variable speeds
- Battery will not last long periods
Weighing just 4.4 pounds, the lightweight Black & Decker electric leaf blower is a great option if the blower will be used for more than an hour at a time. Users won’t need to wait for a battery to recharge or have to make a trip to the gas station with this corded electric tool that can run as long as there is an active electrical connection. However, movement is limited by the length of the extension cord, so it’s a good idea to invest in a cord that can reach the entire yard.
This leaf blower operates on a 7-amp motor with just one speed setting, allowing users to focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about switching speeds throughout the job. The maximum airflow volume is 180 CFM at 180 mph, and the leaf blower also includes a built-in cord retainer to help ensure the extension cord stays connected even if it gets caught on a deck, tree, or any other obstacles in the yard.
- Ideal for long periods of use
- Easy to assemble
- May require an extension cord
This blower produces a high air volume of 430 CFM, but even more impressive is the top airspeed of 200 mph, which is only possible because of the powerful 2-cycle gas engine. The power produced by the 25cc leaf blower engine allows users to handle large piles and wet leaves without a problem.
It comes with a pair of swappable nozzles so that users can narrow the focus of the airflow to deal with heavy leaves, grass, and other garden debris. This leaf blower by Craftsman is a lightweight option for a gas-powered product, weighing just 11 pounds. It also has a variable speed control that lets users throttle both fuel consumption and noise level for more controlled yard maintenance.
- Very powerful engine
- Great for heavy work
- Swappable nozzles
- Variable speeds to control fuel and noise levels
- Vibration can make hands go numb
The Makita backpack blower features a massive 52.5cc 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 26.5 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.
- Anti-vibration features
- Fuel efficient
- Not as loud as other gas units
Weighing just 6 pounds, this lightweight cordless leaf blower is an excellent option for cleaning up small to medium yards that experience low to moderate levels of leaf coverage. The leaf blower regularly operates at speeds between 45 to 76 mph, which can be adjusted or maintained with the variable speed dial on the front handle of the tool. When more power is needed, just push the turbo button to get a maximum airspeed of 92 mph.
When the leaf blower is used with the turbo button it can produce a maximum airflow volume of 480 CFM, allowing the blower to handle large piles and wet leaves with ease. It comes with a battery and a charger, as well as a built-in metal scraper around the mouth of the blower tube to help remove wet leaves, dirt, and other debris.
- Turbo button when more power is needed
- Fast charging
- May struggle to move wet leaves
Multitask with the Greenworks cordless leaf blower/vacuum that has an internal mulching function to break down large leaves, grass, small sticks, and other debris for efficient and compact disposal in a yard bag. Simply attach the vacuum tube to the bottom of the machine and connect the bag to the outlet.
When the blower is equipped with a fully charged battery it can last for about 20 minutes, running at an airspeed of up to 185 mph with an airflow volume of 340 CFM. This machine also has six speed settings that can be adjusted with the variable speed dial. It weighs just 5.6 pounds and comes with a 40-volt battery, a battery charger, and a vacuum bag to collect grass and leaves.
- Cushioned grip
- Streamlines the cleanup process
- Good battery life
- Collection bag is rather small
Ideal for maintaining small yards, the lightweight KIMO leaf blower can run at a maximum airspeed of 150 mph and produce an airflow volume of 200 CFM on the 20-volt battery. It comes with a 20-volt cordless trimmer that can be used for edging the lawn or garden, giving users multiple methods for maintaining the yard with just two tools.
The KIMO cordless leaf blower can be switched to vacuum mode in order to quickly clean up leaves and other yard debris, collecting them in the included vacuum bag. While this combo product does come with both a leaf blower and a trimmer, it only includes one battery charger and one 20-volt battery that lasts for about 30 minutes on a full charge, so it may be a good idea to invest in one or more extra batteries.
- Versatile pick
- Great for small yards
- Several tools in one
- Only includes one battery and charger between both units
Keep the yard clean without worrying about neighborhood noise restrictions with the Greenworks cordless leaf blower that operates for up to 70 minutes on a fully charged 80-volt battery. The leaf blower runs at a volume of only 60 dB, similar to the level of noise produced by two people having a conversation.
The cordless leaf blower can be set to one of three speeds, including low, medium, and high, but the amount of power required at each subsequent level decreases the runtime of the battery. At the high setting, a full battery lasts for only 12 minutes, but this added power allows the blower to reach a maximum airspeed of 125 mph and an impressive maximum airflow volume of 500 CFM to quickly and efficiently deal with leaves, grass, and other debris.
- No fumes
- Single charge lasts a while on low setting
- Powerful 80-volt battery
- Only 12 minutes of charge on highest setting
- Poorly balanced
The Sun Joe electric leaf blower offers an impressive air speed of up to 155 mph to effectively remove leaves and small twigs from driveways and walks. Weighing in at just 3.9 pounds, the single-speed blower is easy to hold with just one hand.
The Sun Joe features a 6-amp electric motor and comes with a short cord that should be connected to either a 16-gauge, 50-foot exterior cord or a 14-gauge, 100-foot extension cord for safe outdoor operation. A standout for power at a low price, the Sun Joe is great for clearing away light leaf accumulation in garden areas, sidewalks, and garages.
- Easy to hold
- Short cord requires extension cable
If looking for a powerful yet lightweight cordless leaf blower, look no further than the WORX TURBINE 56V Cordless Battery-Powered Leaf Blower, able to handle even heavy yard work. If shoppers with larger yards are concerned about battery life and are looking for more power that lasts even longer, consider the Craftsman 25cc 2-Cycle Engine Gas Powered Leaf Blower, which can make short work of large clumps of wet leaves.
How We Chose the Best Leaf Blowers
Raking leaves and grass clippings can take a long time, and it may lead to an aching back and sore muscles that can linger for a few days. The best leaf blowers make quick work of moving leaves and grass clippings that would otherwise need to be raked up, saving time, effort, and preventing muscle fatigue. Our list of recommendations span the vast range of leaf blowers out there, narrowing down the choices for you into the top picks for each category. They’re available in gas, battery, and corded electric options, giving users a wide range of products to choose from to keep the yard clean.
Our research found that users’ needs vary widely—depending on the size of their yard, how heavy a weight they feel comfortable lifting, how much noise they are able to tolerate, and how much power they need. Therefore, our recommendations intend to suggest a solution for each individual need, with each option able to satisfy a different requirement. Most homes only require a handheld or backpack leaf blower, but professional landscapers and maintenance workers may use much larger, wheeled leaf blowers to manage large commercial properties.
Below is an assortment of commonly asked questions about leaf blowers. They have been collected and answered so that you don’t need to spend time searching for the right answer.
Q: Which is more important for a leaf blower, CFM or mph?
It depends on the intention of the user. If the goal is to move a large number of leaves, then a higher CFM rating is more important for the leaf blower. However, if the goal is to push a small to moderate amount of leaves across a very long distance, then it’s better to opt for a higher mph rating.
Q: How many CFM should a good leaf blower have?
CFM is responsible for the volume of leaves and other debris that the blower can push. A good CFM rating should fall between 300 and 500 CFM.
Q: What’s better: a two-stroke or four-stroke leaf blower?
The better type of gas leaf blower motor depends on the needs of the user. A two-stroke engine is powerful and durable but also loud and inefficient due to the oil and gasoline mixture.
Four-stroke engines are more efficient, but this comes at the cost of power. However, these engines are appealing to many users because the fuel and oil mix within the engine, so the gas and oil can be added separately as needed instead of having to deal with creating the proper oil to gas ratio.
Q: Do leaf blowers take regular gas?
The specific blower will have instructions about the type of gas and oil that it runs on, including the appropriate gas to oil ratio, if necessary. Always refer to the manufacturer’s directions for information on fueling because differences can and often do exist among products.
Q: Are electric leaf blowers quiet?
All leaf blowers produce some sound in the form of high-pressure airflow, but electric leaf blowers don’t rely on a noisy gas-powered engine, so they are usually much quieter than a gas leaf blower.
Q: Can you use a leaf blower on wet leaves?
Whether a leaf blower can be used on wet leaves depends on the CFM of the specific leaf blower and the amount of wet leaves. If there is a large pile of wet leaves, even very powerful blowers will have an issue moving it. If the leaves are in small clumps or spread out across the lawn, then a leaf blower should be able to move them without much issue.
Q: How do you use a leaf blower effectively?
Follow these simple steps to use a leaf blower effectively:
- Inspect the area and remove any large debris by hand, like sticks or fallen branches.
- Put on proper personal protective equipment (PPE) including long pants, gloves, safety glasses, and noise-muffling ear protection.
- Lay down a tarp in a clear area of the yard where the leaves can be collected.
- Use the leaf blower to move leaves into larger piles that are easy to manage to prevent leaves from blowing away.
- Direct the flow of air to the base of the leaf pile to move the entire pile instead of just blowing leaves off the top of the pile.
- Gather the leaves onto the tarp and dump them into yard bags for disposal.
- Use a rake to clean up any stray leaves that were left behind.
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.
Glenda Taylor is a freelance writer for the residential remodeling, homebuilding, and commercial roofing industries. She and her husband have been general contractors for over 20 years, and Ms. Taylor has written for leading media outlets as well as National Association of Homebuilders. In addition to her construction experience, Ms. Taylor is a Master Gardener, a former real estate professional, a universal design enthusiast, and an advocate for green building practices. The recipient of Journalism and Marketing degrees from the University of Kansas and Bauder College respectively, she enjoys life on a farm in the Midwest with her husband and their five Saint Bernards!