How does a leaf blower work? Understand how a leaf blower works before starting a blower to save yourself a few unnecessary frustrations. Using a leaf blower, especially gas-powered leaf blowers, is not always straightforward but knowing the basic mechanics makes a big difference.
This is a quick and easy explanation of how leaf blowers work.
What is a Leaf Blower and What are They Used For?
A leaf blower is a gardening power tool designed to move leaves, debris, and grass cuttings through the force of air. Basically, it blows yard debris and trimmings to make maintaining your backyard easier and quicker.
Leaf blowers are most often used in the fall when trees shed their dead leaves. They are also commonly used in the spring and summer to create a pile of grass cuttings after mowing the lawn.
Although blowing is their main function, many models are multifunctional. For example, blower vacs can also be used as a vacuum and some blowers can also mulch grass for the compost pile.
How Leaf Blowers Work
Power is generated by either the gas engine or electric motor which causes the fan to rotate. The movement of the fan’s blades builds a centrifugal force – that is what sends high volume high-speed air out of the nozzle.
This is the same for all leaf blowers. The difference is in how the engine or motor starts running.
In a corded model, the leaf blower motor draws power from the electricity source that it is connected to. Leaf blowers without cords use an attached battery pack, usually lithium-ion batteries.
Gas-powered models then, run on the burning of gasoline inside the engine. The engines are usually started by an automatic recoil pull start.
The Centrifugal Force: How Powerful is the Leaf Blower?
If all leaf blowers work the same way, how come one model is more powerful than the other? This has to do with the air pressure it is able to generate.
There are two important elements in determining how powerful a leaf blower is: the air volume and the air speed. In both cases, the higher the value the stronger the blower.
The air volume, similar to air pressure, is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The air volumes number indicates how strong the air flow is.
The air speed is measured in miles per hour (MPH). This indicates how fast the air flows through the nozzle.
2- and 4-stroke engines produce more power than electric motors so it makes sense that gas blowers generally have higher air speeds and volumes. However, not every garden needs the power of gas-powered machines to stay tidy.
Other Factors Influencing Leaf Blower Power
Besides the engine and motor, there are other elements that can influence how powerful a leaf blower is. The following parts also result in a change in air flow.
Nozzle Shape: Longer and thinner nozzles reduce the CFM but it increased the speeds. In contrast, a larger nozzle opening lowers the MPH but increases the CFM.
Impeller Design: The design of the impeller, or fan rotor, impacts the centrifugal force. The shape of the blades and the spacing between each blade influences the pressure.
Cylinder displacement: In gas leaf blowers, the cylinder displacement indicates the size of the engine. This is often used as the measure of engine capacity.
Functionality: Often, multifunctional leaf blowers are less powerful because of the different design requirements. It doesn’t necessarily translate to poor performance, though.
How to Know that a Leaf Blower Works Well
Unfortunately, you cannot know how well a leaf blower works just by its description. You will just have to order one and try it out for yourself.
Remember to check whether gas leaf blowers are banned in your state before deciding on a specific model. Don’t worry if they are, there are many advantages to electric blowers, lesser weight and noise just being two of them.
Check reviews on the quality of the fan, actual air speeds, and the amount of CFM to help make your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the point of a leaf blower?
A leaf blower lets you clear the leaves and debris in the yard quicker. It is more efficient than leaf rake and most leaf blower models are also multifunctional.
What makes a leaf blower powerful?
A leaf blower is considered powerful when it delivers both high air flow (CFM) and high air speed (MPH). The power created by the engine/motor and fan is what will determine the CFM and MPH values.
What energy does a leaf blower use?
Leaf blowers can be gas-powered or electric. Gasoline models either have a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine and the power source for an electric leaf blower is either a small battery or a regular wall outlet.