Which types of leaf blowers are best? I wish I could give you a single simple answer but that would not be the right answer.
It all depends on whether you need the power of the gas models, the minimal maintenance of the electric leaf blowers, or the commercial-grade reliability of the walk-behind blowers. And that doesn’t even go into the details of what makes each type of blower different.
But as always, I am here to give you a quick overview of the different types of leaf blowers so you can choose the right leaf blower for the job.
Types of Leaf Blowers (Usage, Pros & Cons)
I won’t get into too much technical detail because what will matter most to you is how it runs plus what it can or cannot do. So, here are the types of leaf blowers according to their pros, cons, and general-purpose.
Handheld Leaf Blowers
BEST FOR: Most households with small, medium, or large yards.
AVOID WHEN: You have issues with lifting or for heavy-duty purposes.
Handheld blowers are more of an umbrella term as there are both gas-powered handheld blowers and electric handheld models.
Basically, the only thing that this term tells you is that the leaf blower doesn’t come with a backpack nor a cart that you push around. The latter would be the walk-behind leaf blower (see below).
Most households only need a handheld model. You can keep it quiet and lightweight with an electric blower or kick up the power with handheld gas blowers.
Unless you have a huge property, this is the type of leaf blower I’d recommend to you. They are generally easy to handle, don’t take up too much storage space, and often come with many optional accessories.
Since it is handheld, I suggest that you pay attention to the weight, comfort of the grip, and amount of vibration. Although, chances are that you will still get arm fatigue but a good ergonomic design can delay the point at which you start to feel it.
- Generally lightweight
- Endless models available
- More maneuverability
- Easy storage
- Can cause arm fatigue
- Difficult to choose from the wide selection
Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
BEST FOR: Large yards with many trees, especially during fall.
AVOID WHEN: You have concerns about the environment, noise, and pollution sensitivities.
Gas blowers are the most common type of leaf blower and there are many different types of gas leaf blowers to choose from. If you already have other gas-powered machines in the shed then you are probably already familiar with its pros and cons.
Although gas-powered models undeniably give you more bang for your buck, they also have a few downsides. First of all, your neighbors won’t be happy with the noise and you won’t feel too fresh in all those fumes.
As with all gas-powered small engine tools, these models also require regular maintenance. And, although the models featuring four-stroke engines are generally more user-friendly they are also slightly more expensive than two-stroke gas blowers.
The combination of the extra weight from the engine and the stronger vibrations means you’ll probably get arm fatigue sooner. This is somewhat ironic since these models have a longer runtime than battery-operated leaf blowers.
However, this remains the go-to type of leaf blower for quick and easy clearing of yard debris, including wet leaves, twigs, and small branches. Remember it is important to wear appropriate clothing and hearing protection when using these bad boys.
- Powerful for its size
- Freedom of movement
- Good for heavy duty jobs
- Right size for a large yard
- Heavier and noisier
- Requires frequent maintenance
- Not eco-friendly
Backpack Leaf Blowers
BEST FOR: Large yards with many trees and small commercial jobs.
AVOID WHEN: If gas leaf blowers are banned in your state.
There is a solution to arm fatigue that gas leaf blowers may cause which is to carry it on your back. When using a backpack leaf blower the engine is on your back, therefore, offering a better weight distribution giving you fewer aches and pains.
Although a backpack leaf blower is less common for the average household, unless you live in a forest, they are great for small landscaping businesses and commercial purposes.
You get a whole lot more power – both in CFM (cubic feet per minute) and MPH (miles per hour)- but that also means a whole lot more noise. Safety goggles and good-quality ear mufflers are essential when working with these types of blowers.
When choosing a backpack leafblower, pay extra attention to the fit. You want padded wide shoulder straps and a size that is proportional to your frame for avoiding back pain.
- Commercial-grade durability
- More power with more comfort
- Capable of clearing larger debris
- Less arm fatigue
- Extremely loud
- Requires good fit
Electric Leaf Blowers (Corded)
BEST FOR: Small yards and when minimal weight is essential.
AVOID WHEN: You need to be able to reach further and have obstacles in your way.
The different types of electric leaf blowers can be categorized into corded electric and cordless electric blower models. Corded leaf blowers are simply plugged into an outlet and have an electric motor delivering the power.
While corded electric blowers are often the smallest and the most affordable type, they are, however, only suitable for smaller yards mainly because you will be tethered to the cord. Therefore the length of the power cord is something to consider before purchase.
Because these corded electric models are not too powerful they are also excellent for smaller jobs, for example, when you have trees near your flower beds or awkward corners and shapes. Personally, I recommend a corded leaf blower for when you are on a budget or don’t have too many autumn leaves to deal with.
- Lightweight models
- Endless runtime
- Generally very affordable
- No loud noise or fumes
- Barely any maintenance
- Limits your movement
- Not suitable for medium-large yards
Cordless Leaf Blowers (Battery-Powered)
BEST FOR: Small to medium size yards and multifunctional use.
AVOID WHEN: A short battery time is too inconvenient.
Another of the different types of electric leaf blowers is the battery-powered blower, in fact, these are the most popular. The best cordless electric blowers are user-friendly, lightweight, quiet, and very versatile.
Although they may not be the most powerful leaf blower, they make up for it in functionality. Many cordless electric blowers do double or even triple duty as a leaf vacuum with mulching capabilities.
What this means is you really get your money’s worth and save storage space at the same time. If you have other power tools, you might even be able to save some money by buying the same brand and one that share the same rechargeable batteries.
I do urge you to do proper research into these electric handheld units, though. Pay close attention to the CFM and MPH and always check out the reviews to make sure it’s suitable for your needs, some may look good on paper but disappoint in real life.
- Suitable for most households
- Possible to save money on interchangeable batteries
- Almost maintenance-free
- Multi-functional options on some models
- Not the most powerful
- Difficult to judge performance
Walk-Behind Leaf Blowers
BEST FOR: Heavy-duty commercial jobs.
AVOID WHEN: It is only for household use.
Walk-behind leaf blowers are the biggest and most powerful of them all. These gasoline-powered machines are commercial-grade and the champion of heavy-duty jobs.
The design is wheeled, similar to a pushcart but with a strong and powerful gas engine. And, all this means much less strain on your arms, shoulders, and back which is a gift for professionals.
These are the best leaf blowers for landscapers and huge properties but somehow they are rare even there. Its significant price tag may have something to do with it.
If you just need a leaf blower for your home, you don’t need to go this far down the spectrum. In most cases, backpack leaf blowers or gas leaf blowers will get the job done.
- A push cartwheeled models are easy to use
- Less strain on arms, shoulders and back
- More powerful than any of the other
- Clears larger debris
- More expensive
- More maintenance requirements
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Has seeing all these different types of blowers left you with more unanswered questions? Below are some of the things that people ask me about the kind of leaf blower they need.
What is the most powerful leaf blower?
The walk-behind wheeled leaf blowers are the most powerful type of leafblower on the market. They have the largest gas engine which means more power for pushing out greater air volume and airspeed.
How many CFM is a good leaf blower?
Really you should always choose a leaf blower with at least 200 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). Most electric leaf blower models will range between 200-380 CFM while gas leaf blowers generally range between 400-580 CFM.
Which is better a 2-cycle or 4 cycle leaf blower?
If it fits in your budget, a 4-cycle leaf blower is better because they are less noisy, requires less maintenance, and emits fewer fumes. However, 2-cycle leaf blowers are very popular and therefore more common.
Remember, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of each type of leaf blower before making your final choice. There are many different kinds of leaf blowers available on the market so narrowing it down to the specific type will make your decision easier.