The leaf blower evolved from the gas-powered backpack crop duster in the 1950s, which was used to spray pesticides in plant nurseries. People then realized the potential of the sprayer as leaf blowers. The first wheeled leaf blower vacuums came out in 1959 while the first handheld power blower came out in 1977.
Leaf blowers became popular among homeowners in the 1980s with almost one million products sold annually in the U.S. The extreme drought in the mid-1970s only boosted its popularity as the device saved homeowners from using water in cleaning their patios.
Table of Contents
- A. Types
- B. Styles
- C. Features
1. Light-Duty Electric Leaf Blowers
The most common leaf blower that you will see being used in a residential setting is the light-duty electric leaf blower. These are perfect for taking care of leaves and other light debris in your yard. Despite not being the most powerful leaf blower option that is available to you, these can still move leaves around very easily. When you have access to a leaf blower such as this, you will be able to make short work of any leaves that are laying around on your property.
One of the most appealing aspects of these types of leaf blowers is that they will run very quietly. You won’t have to put up with an ample amount of noise while you are trying to clean up your yard. Some of the more powerful leaf blowers that will be covered here are very loud. The loudest ones might even require that you wear protective headgear to muffle the sound but you won’t have to worry about that at all with these types of leaf blowers.
Most people just use these as a sort of electric broom. It works great for moving light items from one place to another. These leaf blowers will not have the power to move heavier debris and you may wind up having some issues with wet leaves as well depending on the circumstances. If you have a greater need than to just move around leaves and other light things, then you will want to consider purchasing a unit with a little more power.
The price point of these light-duty electric leaf blowers is very good. You will be able to get one of these at an incredibly reasonable price. You can buy it very easily and it will definitely come in handy. The low price point combined with it having good utility is the reason why this leaf blower has become the most common one you will see at people’s homes.
2. Heavy-Duty Electric Leaf Blowers
Source: Home Depot
There are electric leaf blowers that are much more heavy-duty than the previous model. Most of the more powerful electric models are going to be corded and they will be able to push debris around at a much quicker pace. They are more powerful than the light-duty models and you can use them for more tasks around your yard. For the most part, these leaf blowers are still very affordable too.
Most electric leaf blowers are not going to cost you too much money to buy. You will find that you can purchase these at fairly low price points so you will easily be able to get one to help with your yard work. If you are the type of person who dreads raking leaves in the late summer and fall, then you will love having this more convenient option available to you. The greater power that is present in this heavy-duty electric leaf blower will allow you to get your chores done swiftly.
A heavy-duty leaf blower can create air gusts that move at a higher velocity. The increased miles per hour that the air gusts are traveling makes moving leaves a breeze. Even leaves that are somewhat wet will likely be able to be moved without too much of an issue when you have a heavy-duty unit to rely on. These models are also capable of blowing leaves on a wider path than the light-duty models and this saves you a lot of time.
For those with slightly larger yards, this is going to be a preferable purchase over a light-duty unit. The price point is a little higher than a standard light-duty model but the increased power is going to prove to be very beneficial. Buying one of these leaf blowers is going to allow you to get your yard work done in a timely fashion. This is going to be your best option unless you have a very great need for an exceptionally powerful leaf blower.
3. Handheld Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
Buying a handheld gas-powered leaf blower is going to be the next step up when it comes to power. As a general rule, things that are powered by gas are going to be much more powerful than those powered by electricity. You see, the electric models are limited in their output capabilities by the amount of electricity that they are able to receive from an electrical outlet in many cases. Gas-powered models don’t have these types of limitations and they will be perfect for clearing larger piles of leaves much more quickly.
If you have a very large yard, then owning one of these handheld gas-powered leaf blowers is probably the best bet for you. You need to be able to have a powerful leaf blower that can move the leaves and other debris around very quickly. The light-duty cordless models that were mentioned above simply will not have the power that you require to get the job done fast. Heavy-duty electric models might be able to handle the job but being tethered to a cord isn’t going to be ideal if your yard is pretty long.
You can see why so many people prefer these handheld gas-powered leaf blowers over their electric cousins. They have many advantages such as increased power but they do have some negative aspects to them as well. One of the biggest downsides is that these leaf blowers can be quite noisy. When you’re using one of these leaf blowers, you are likely going to annoy everyone in your neighborhood until your job is finished.
These leaf blowers won’t be so noisy that you will require headgear to protect your eardrums but it will be a bit of an annoyance. If you have sensitive ears, then you may want to consider wearing something to muffle the sound. The other issue that people bring up about these leaf blowers is that you will need to keep gasoline on hand. This can be seen as a negative or a positive depending on your perspective.
If you have a particularly large job to do, then it is possible that you may run out of fuel in the middle of what you are doing. You will then have to stop for a minute to grab your gas and get your leaf blower ready to start working again. Cordless electric models wouldn’t be able to do this and you would have to take the time to charge them again. It really is going to come down to your individual preference and your needs when picking out the right leaf blower.
4. Backpack Leaf Blowers
The first thing that needs to be said about this type of leaf blower is that it is incredibly loud. These backpack leaf blowers have a significant amount of power and they will be able to move leaves around extremely quickly. They are perfect for large jobs and you will commonly see them being used in cleaning up business parking lots and apartment complexes. That being said, the noise can really bother some people quite a bit.
When you see people using these backpack leaf blowers, they will often be wearing some sort of headgear. This is because the backpack leaf blower is so loud that it can actually be harmful to your eardrums. If you don’t wear any protection whatsoever, then your ears are not going to be able to take too much of the damage. The decibel levels being output by this leaf blower are significant so you don’t want to underestimate it.
Thankfully, getting a set of noise-canceling earmuffs or headphones will not cost you too much money. You also may not have a need for a leaf blower this powerful unless you have a farm or if you need to take care of a business property. These backpack leaf blowers are not as practical for residential use, although you will see them being used by landscaping services. Professionals love these types of leaf blowers as they are able to use them to great effect to get their work done quickly.
This could be the perfect leaf blower for you if your need is great enough. You just need to consider the positives and the negatives. Wearing these backpack leaf blowers is pretty easy but some of the heavier models have been known to cause back pain in some individuals. Looking for a lighter unit is recommended if you don’t have a very sturdy frame.
5. Wheeled Walk-Behind Leaf Blowers
It is actually possible that you may have never seen one of these wheeled walk-behind leaf blowers. These are considered to be the ultimate tool to use when you want to get your leaf blowing done quickly. As you might expect from the name, this a leaf blower that you wheel around and walk behind. These are able to make short work of even large piles of leaves in a yard.
They aren’t incredibly prevalent at the moment, though. This is in large part due to the fact that they are much more expensive than other leaf blowing options on the market. You will have to pay a premium price to get one of these leaf blowers but the overall power and utility of this unit will make it worthwhile for those who have the need. Using this leaf blower is very simple and you will have an easy time getting leaves and other yard debris to go where you need them to go.
People see this walk-behind leaf blower as an alternative to the backpack leaf blowers. If you don’t like wearing the backpack and walking around your yard to get rid of leaves, then this option may be much more appealing to you. Some find it a lot easier to wheel this around because the backpack option may cause them significant amounts of back pain. Other people love the backpack models and see them as the most convenient option so it really does come down to preference.
When you’re looking at these walk-behind leaf blowers, remember that some will be more powerful than others. You can pay a premium price to get an incredibly powerful unit but you may be able to save a little money if you think that you can get away with slightly less power. The choice is up to you but you will want to consider your needs before making a decision. Regardless, you can feel confident that this type of leaf blower is a useful tool that will help you in your yard.
Many of the most popular leaf blowers on the market are electric cordless leaf blowers. These models are very affordable and you will be able to make great use of them in your yard if it is not too big. These models are perfect for handling small jobs and getting rid of leaf piles effectively. You will always have a good experience as long as you are using these for jobs that they are meant to do.
Corded leaf blowers are a bit more powerful than their cordless counterparts. They will be just a smidgen more expensive than the cordless models on average, but it really isn’t by much. Being plugged into a power source allows these leaf blowers to do more work for you. You also won’t have to worry about running out of power if you need to use it for a very long time.
3. Two-Cycle Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
If you want to be able to purchase a powerful leaf blower without having to spend too much money, then it will be worthwhile to look into two-cycle gas-powered models. These aren’t the most powerful gasoline-based leaf blowers on the market but they are certainly still quite useful. They have the power to handle pretty big jobs but you won’t have to pay too much money to get one. If you have a pretty big job but don’t want to pay more money than you have to, then you might be well-served by purchasing one of these.
4. Four-Cycle Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
If you want to get the most powerful gas-powered leaf blower that you can, then you will want to purchase one with a four-cycle engine. This is going to be able to move leaves around very easily and you will get even big jobs completed in a timely fashion. It can be a little more expensive to get a powerful four-cycle gas-powered leaf blower but the results are worth it when you need to complete a big task. It should also be noted that you will find different engine styles in both handheld gas-powered leaf blowers and backpack models.
1. Anti-Vibration Mounts
Wearing a backpack leaf blower can be somewhat challenging for those who aren’t used to it. They are very powerful tools and if you buy one that doesn’t have the right protection, it can vibrate your body pretty badly. Some models come with anti-vibration mounts to keep you feeling more stable while you are using your backpack leaf blower. This is really convenient and certainly makes the experience much more pleasant overall.
2. Two-Speed Air Control
Source: Home Depot
You can find handheld leaf blowers that offer convenient air control features. One of the more common air control features will allow you to switch between two different speeds. This can be handy when you need a little extra power to get a stubborn pile of leaves to go where you want it to go. Switching between speeds is very simple and you will love having the option to do so.
One of the most convenient features that you will be able to find in a leaf blower is certainly mulching capabilities. Some leaf blowers can also double as a mulching machine. This is going to allow you to take all of the leaves that you are gathering and turn them into something useful. If you don’t want to have to bag up all of your leaves for later disposal, then this is going to be a feature you should look out for.
Making use of the mulching feature on your leaf blower will be very simple. There are many different styles of leaf blowers that will have this feature, too. You should be able to find a backpack model that can offer mulching if you look around, but the most common leaf blowers with mulching capabilities are the handheld models.
4. Multiple Attachments
Many handheld leaf blowers will come with multiple attachments. This allows your leaf blower to serve multiple purposes aside from just leaf blowing. Some of the attachments will be practical for clearing debris outside, such as a wider nozzle for covering a wider area while you are working. Others will allow you to perform various cleaning tasks with your leaf blower inside of your home.
You can essentially use this type of leaf blower as a handheld vacuum when you have the right attachments. This can be really convenient for reaching places that are normally difficult to clean. People wind up using these attachments quite frequently to clean the interiors of their cars or to get rid of cobwebs in the attic. Being able to use your leaf blower for slightly out-of-the-box purposes is pretty nice.
5. Soft-Grip Handle
Source: Home Depot
Using your handheld leaf blower is going to be much more pleasant when you have a soft-grip handle. Sometimes you will need to use your leaf blower for long periods of time and you won’t want to feel uncomfortable when you’re deep into a job. Buying a handheld leaf blower that has a really nice grip is going to make things a lot easier. This is a small feature but it is one that really does make your job feel a bit easier.
6. Push-Button Start Capability
There are some leaf blowers that you have to use a pull cord to start. These aren’t always the most convenient things to use as it can take some time to actually get it working. If you don’t want to have to fiddle around with a pull start system in order to start using your leaf blower, then it would be to your benefit to look into push-button start capability. You can find a leaf blower that you will be able to start very easily with the simple push of a button.
This feature can really make things a lot simpler. You won’t have to spend unnecessary time messing with a pull cord and this will let you start your job faster. Getting done with your chores more quickly is always a good thing. You can find leaf blowers with push-button start capability in virtually all of the different types so you will find the perfect leaf blower for you.
7. Variable Cruise Control
Some models of leaf blowers are going to allow you to adjust the speed. This is excellent but it can be even more convenient to be able to lock in that speed using a variable cruise control system. This type of system is in place in some of the more advanced models of leaf blowers on the market. It gives you a great amount of control over just how much speed and power you are using.
Using this system, you will be able to lock the throttle very simply. This will let you stay at your desired speed for a long period of time. Overall, this is going to reduce fatigue significantly and is going to make your leaf blowing experience that much more pleasant. It can be worthwhile to find a leaf blower with this convenient feature.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.