The gorgeous, colorful autumn leaves festooning trees around a property have a nasty habit of falling onto the lawn – and unfortunately, a lawnmower isn’t able to clean them all up.
Once that somewhat-depressing realization hits, it’s time to do one of two things. Hit the gym to bulk up so you’re strong enough to wield a rake for hours and hours – or go out and buy a leaf blower.
Leaf Blower Buying Considerations
The factors to consider when shopping for leaf blowers are very different than those which come into play when buying a lawnmower. Only the most expensive blowers can be wheeled around a yard, so the weight of the unit is an important consideration. Leaf blowers, particularly gas-powered ones, can produce an ear-splitting amount of noise which has to be taken into account. And while some lawns are small enough to easily accommodate corded electric mowers, being tethered to a power cord is often a huge inconvenience when “chasing leaves” around a yard.
Each type of blower has pros and cons. Gas-powered models are heavier and must constantly be refueled with a mix of gas and oil, they require tune-ups and other maintenance regularly, and most have to be started by pulling that annoying cord until the motor catches. Corded electric leaf blowers and lawnmowers each carry the baggage of inconvenience we’ve just mentioned, and cordless electric models may not supply enough power – or be rugged enough – to handle the volume of work you’ll be doing. Backpack leaf blowers are easier on the arms but their extra weight can be tougher on the back.
Thankfully, there’s a little good news. Leaf blowers are generally much less expensive than lawnmowers of equivalent size and quality. They can also do extra duty during other seasons of the year by blowing away the sand and debris that accumulates regularly on decks and walks during spring and summer, clearing light snowfalls during the winter, and getting rid of cobwebs whenever they’re discovered.
Your House Garden have taken a complete look at all of the blowers on the market, gas, and electric, handheld, and backpack – and put together the best leaf blower top 5 list you should consider. We’ll even include one walk-behind model for those who have to clear the “back 40” every fall.
Here it is – let’s see which models you can use in the garden
1. Black and Decker BV6600 High-Performance Blower/Vac/Mulcher
The trend in blower design has been toward units which are not only able to blow leaves but can vacuum up debris and turn it into mulch. The problem with some of these dual-function models is that their vacuums use plastic impellers which have a difficult time dealing with the branches and acorns that get sucked up. Units like the Black and Decker BV6000 take care of that issue by using a metal impeller, and the performance of this model when vacuuming and mulching boosts it to the top of our rankings.
Black and Decker have a well-deserved reputation for quality tools, of course, so the team wasn’t surprised that this corded electric leaf blower is well-designed and well-made. It’s quite powerful for an electric blower, able to shoot huge amounts of leaves and debris for miles (well, not literally) with an airspeed that can reach up to 250 miles per hour. It can also blow “gently” all the way down to 140 mph for cleaning up flower beds and getting into small areas where sheer power isn’t necessary or desirable. And the variable speed control can easily be manipulated with one hand while you’re working, a real plus compared to the way some competitive models are designed.
When used in vacuum mode the BV6600 mulches at a ratio of 16:1, which means that it will take 16 bushels of leaves and debris and expel it into the reusable 1.5-bushel bag on the unit with plenty of space left over. The metal impeller makes quick work of almost anything you can throw at it: leaves, twigs, wood chips, acorns and even pine cones. Of course, you can simply remove the bag if you don’t want to collect the mulch but would rather disperse it. It’s easy to switch modes just by changing the attachment on the blower.
Electric leaf blowers, by their very design, are going to be much quieter than their gas-powered cousins. And this Black and Decker is quieter than most electrics, at 69 dBA (yes, that’s very quiet for a blower); you may not even feel the need for ear protection when using it. The BV6600 is lightweight so it easily goes over your shoulder with the included strap (they could have put more padding on the strap, though), and the ergonomic design makes it as comfortable as any blower on the market.
This leaf blower does bring with it the “automatic negative” of requiring a long extension cord to blow or vacuum a large lawn (and we don’t recommend vacuuming large amounts of leaves or debris, although Black and Decker does sell an optional collection system to let you deposit mulch or vacuumed material right into a garbage can).
If you want a corded electric blower/vac, you’re not going to find a better one – especially with an easy-to-take price.
Facts and figures for the Black and Decker BV6600 High-Performance Blower /Vac /Mulcher:
2. DeWalt DCBL790H1 Lithium Ion XR Brushless Blower
The problem with corded electrics, of course, is the cord. There are three problems with battery-powered leaf blowers, however; they don’t have the same power, they don’t do double duty as vacuums or mulchers, and the best ones are very expensive.
There’s no better example than the DeWalt DCBL790H1; its maximum airspeed is 120 mph, less than half that of the Black and Decker corded model above. (DeWalt’s sister model, the DCBL720P1, sells for less, but has a smaller battery and a maximum blowing speed of only 90 mph.)
You do get a high-quality cordless blower for the money, though. The combination of a 6.0Ah lithium-ion battery and a brushless motor allows the DeWalt to run much longer than competitive cordless leaf blowers, around 30-45 minutes between charges (depending on the speed you choose with the variable selector). This blower is heavier than the corded Black and Decker, but you can tell when you lift it how well-constructed and durable it is. It also straps over your shoulder, and the design of the blower and strap make it easy to tote this unit around your yard. It’s pretty quiet, too.
At this price, the DCBL790H1 might be better suited to landscapers than weekend warriors. But we promised to list the top 5 best leaf blowers, and this is the best cordless blower you can buy.
More detail on the DeWalt DCBL790H1 Lithium Ion XR Brushless Blower:
3. Husqvarna 125BVx Gas Powered Blower/Vac
Your House Garden are not quite sure why someone would want a gas-powered leaf blower, unless they have a very large yard, work in the landscaping business, or just want a blower that will require a lot of extra work and make as much noise as possible.
Nevertheless, if you’re searching for a gas (and oil) powered unit, this Husqvarna is calling your name – very loudly. Unlike many gas competitors, the 125BVx provides vacuum and mulching functions in addition to blowing leaves and debris into a nice, hopefully-neat pile. Most gas models are heavy and somewhat unwieldy, but we like the Husky because it’s lightweight (around ten pounds) yet relatively powerful; its nominal maximum airspeed is 130 mph but when you use the included flared nozzle to narrow the air flow, you can boost that speed to nearly 200 mph.
The 125BVx has a two-cycle, 1.1 horsepower engine that runs on a gas/oil mix and is very well-constructed, as you’d expect from this manufacturer. Husqvarna sells pre-mixed fuel if you don’t want to do the messy job of mixing yourself. The unit does an excellent job of blowing but isn’t quite as strong when mulching and vacuuming despite its metal mulching knives. Starting the leaf blower isn’t difficult but may require a few pulls on the cord to hear the reassuring noise of the engine – and oh, did we mention that the noise is loud? Even though this is a smaller gas blower, the sound level easily tops 100 dBA.
As you can probably tell, the team are not huge fans of gas blowers. But this is the one to consider if you feel differently. One note: we definitely don’t think that any “backpack-style” gas blower is worth the investment for home users so we haven’t included any on this list of the top 5 best leaf blowers. If your heart is set on one, though, check out the Husqvarna 965877502 which costs about the same as the 125BVx.
Specs for the Husqvarna 125BVx Gas Powered Blower/Vac:
4. Troy-Bilt TB672 Jet Sweep Wheeled Leaf Blower
The one reason someone might buy a gas-powered blower is for a very large property. (Those who aren’t physically able to carry a hand-held unit are obviously good candidates for gas as well). Troy-Bilt makes the best in the wheeled category; the TB672 is noisy but powerful and its price tag is a lot lower than most of the solidly-built “push” models you can find, which are aimed primarily at the commercial market.
There are no mulching/vacuuming capabilities on this blower, but it’s pretty versatile for a machine that’s only going to blow leaves. You can set the 90-degree front discharge chute in multiple positions, and the semi-pneumatic ball-bearing wheels make it easy to use on a variety of terrains and inclines. You may find yourself having to maneuver the blower carefully around corners the same way you’d maneuver a lawnmower, but it’s not a chore to use the Troy-Bilt.
The 208cc OHV engine runs on a gas/oil mix, and there’s a very large fuel tank which will let you finish just about any property without having to stop to refuel. Maximum air flow is nominally 150 mph, but the high-output impeller makes the Jet Sweep seem much more powerful than that.
We wouldn’t choose the Troy-Bilt as our everyday blower, but if we needed a walk-behind model this is the one we’d go for.
Looking deeper at the Troy-Bilt TB672 Jet Sweep Wheeled Leaf Blower:
5. Toro 51585 Power Sweep Electric Leaf Blower
Some of our top 5 best leaf blowers are overkill for the times you simply want to blow some leaves off the driveway or clean up a small yard. For those jobs, Your House Garden recommend the budget Toro Power Sweep. This is a corded electric model which has two speeds, low (130 mph) and high (160 mph), weighs less than five pounds, and can finish small tasks in a hurry.
This Toro has a plastic impeller, doesn’t mulch and isn’t as solid as the company’s big lawnmowers (or leaf blowers, for that matter), but it’s certainly sturdy enough for blowing leaves and has a lot more oomph than you’d expect for the price. It’s a tool to have in the garage or shed to be pulled out when needed.
Answering your questions about the Toro 51585 Power Sweep Electric Leaf Blower: