Any home owner knows that there is always more yardwork to be done. Whether its mowing the lawn, raking leaves, cleaning out the gutters, or picking up fallen sticks and twigs, you have probably at some point wished for an easier way to finish your yardwork so that you can spend more time enjoying your yard. With a gas backpack leaf blower, you can clean up your yard in no time. When it comes to cleaning grass clippings, fallen leaves, or even cleaning out gutters, a good gas backpack leaf blower can get the job done.
With so many models on the market, it can be difficult to find the one that is right for you. You may have different demands when it comes to power, emissions, noise, power supply, or blowing power. That’s why we have put together a list of some of our top picks for different models of leaf blowers. In the article below, you can see what kind of factors you should consider before making your choice, followed by some of our recommendations.
What to consider
Not all yards are created equally, so you shouldn’t just grab any old model of leaf blower off the shelf. Let’s look at some of the factors you should consider when you are shopping around.
If you have a large yard (more than ½ acre) or, especially, a yard that has many leafy trees or sheds and outbuildings, you should consider a powerful gas backpack leaf blower. You will need a model with enough power to sufficiently clear leaves and debris while also carrying a large enough fuel tank to finish the job in one go.
If you only have a sidewalk or patio, or if you have a smaller yard or garden, you may want to consider a battery-powered leaf blower. These kinds of models cannot produce the same amount of power as their gas-powered counterparts, but they are more convenient for smaller areas or areas with lighter debris.
For most battery-powered blowers, their power can only last for about 1.5 hours while running lightly. Heavy-duty operation normally only reduces this maximum run time by about ten or fifteen minutes. After that, you will have to recharge the battery and wait.
Gas-powered blowers are limited in time only by the size of their fuel tanks. Most gas blowers have a tank that can last them around 1.5 to 3 hours on full power.
If you need to know how big your power source is, you need to know the measurements. Battery power is measured in volts (v) and most gas blowers’ engine size is measured in cubic centimeters (cc).
If you are going to be walking around with a machine strapped to your back, you will want to be aware of just how much extra weight you will be walking around with. A battery-powered leaf blower usually weighs around 15 pounds, while a gas-powered leaf blower can be about twenty-five pounds. The heavier models usually have more power, but the lighter models are more comfortable. Even if you are going to be walking around a large property, you should definitely opt for a combination of weight and power so that you don’t have a lightweight model with insufficient power.
Just as some blowers weigh more than others, some blowers are equipped with different features to make your leaf blowing experience more comfortable. In general, you should find a blower that is appropriate for your size and build. If you are a smaller person, it may be a good idea to use a compact blower. Regardless of size, there are features that can help distribute the weight across your body. The hand controls should work smoothly so you don’t have to strain. The tube should be able to move and flex easily to make operating the machine easier. These comfort features make the job easier for your body, reducing discomfort and the likelihood of injury.
At the user’s ear, an average leaf blower runs about 95 to 105 decibels (dB). In some municipalities and neighborhoods, you may need to check and see if this is too loud for the noise ordinances in place. Some models produce sound as low as 58 to 70 dB, and these would be a good option for anybody living in a place with such noise ordinances. Regardless of how loud your leaf blower is, you should always wear over-ear protection to prevent hearing loss.
Engine Type: 2-Cycle or 4-Cycle?
Any gas-powered blower will run on either a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle engine. A 2-cycle engine requires one revolution of the crankshaft in order to produce a powerstroke. A 4-cycle engine, then, requires two revolutions of the crankshaft in order to produce a powerstroke. A 4-cycle engine runs on gasoline and has a separate reservoir for oil, while a 2-cycle engine runs on a mixture of gas and oil that powers and lubricates the engine. In engines of similar size, 2-cycles tend to produce more power. 4-cycle engines that are running clean produce fewer emissions than 2-cycles of the same size.
While you are operating your leaf blower, it is always a good idea to use different accessories for your own safety and convenience. You should always use hearing protection. You can also use safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris. If you are operating the leaf blower near a road or street, you should wear a high-visibility safety vest, a hat, and gloves in order to stay visible for drivers. You can also be sure to have extra batteries for your electric leaf blower or an extra spark plug, fuel funnel, and some tools for your gas-powered leaf blower.
Air Volume, Speed, and Power
When it comes to leaf blowers, you can look to many different metrics to find out how powerful they are. One measurement is air volume. This capability is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). If you are using the blower to clean hard surfaces, for example, you will need around 400 CFM. If you are cleaning larger properties, you will need 500 to 700 CFM. Another measurement you can look to is the air speed a blower produced, measured in miles per hour (MPH).
Both measurements can be found on a leaf blower’s product label. However, these measurements are only an average, and the user can control the output of the leaf blower themselves using a trigger or button.
During our testing, we measured the power of a leaf blower in Newtons. One Newton, 1N, is the force required to move an object with a mass of 1 kilogram 1 meter per second per second. We do this because Newtons can measure both speed and volume.
Some of the gas-powered leaf blowers we used in our tests pushed close to 40 Newtons. The battery-powered leaf blowers we tested generated around 20 Newtons.
Putting Them to the Test
With all of these numbers flying around, it can be hard to tell how they translate into real-life results. Our outfit is located in central Florida, a humid and hot place with plenty of interesting weather. One problem that Floridians have thanks to our neighboring ocean is sand.
With an experiment we created, we used 50-lb bags of wet playground sand spread evenly over a 6-foot by 6-foot square of asphalt. We marked the areas in paint and used chalk to mark the starting line in our leaf blower “race”. We rigged up each blower to run at the exact same setting, for the same amount of time, and positioned at the same angle. Then, we waited to see which leaf blowers did the best job at blowing around all of that wet sand.