A hand held gas leaf blower is very often the best and most efficient solution for effectively clearing fairly sizable lawns, driveways and walks.
While you could certainly use a broom or rake to clear these areas of leaves and other debris, that would be both strenuous (which may not be a bad thing) and time-consuming (which may be).
If you use a gas powered leaf blower, you can have all the power you need in your hands and you do not need to worry about tripping over electrical cords or recharging your machine.
If you think that maintaining your property would be easier with one of these machines, here are some tips to help you decide how to buy the best gas powered leaf blower for your needs.
Size and power of gas leaf blowers
Gas leaf blowers are larger and heavier than those that run on electricity.
Although they are heavier, they can also be more powerful which means that you do not need to spend as much time to complete a job with a gas powered machine.
That said, if you get easily fatigued by handling heavy equipment, you’ll need to search for the leaf blowing machine that is light enough to handle, yet powerful enough to handle the jobs you have in store for it. Something like the 8.6lb Hitachi RB24EAP might suit.
The engines on gas leaf blowers are rated in terms of cubic centimeters of displacement, or cc.
Technically, and bearing in mind that most leaf blower engines only have once cylinder, this measurement is the volume inside the cylinder that is covered by the piston as the piston is driven from top to bottom of its range of movement.
In practice, the higher the number of cc, the more powerful the engine will be.
Most gas powered models feature 2 stroke engines that are rated between 28 and 50 cc, although hand-held models are rarely above 35cc.
If you are more familiar with horsepower ratings for engines, most hand held gas leaf blowers feature engines that would be rated at between 0.75 and 1.5 horsepower.
Two stroke leaf blower engine
Leaf blowers are also rated in terms of the air speed they produce. For instance, most gas powered units blow air at a rate of 150 to 200 miles per hour. If you need to clear have heavier debris or heavy wet leaves on a regular basis, then you should look for a higher air speed.
How do gas leaf blowers compare to electric and backpack leaf blowers?
Gas powered leaf blowers are powerful and dependable, but they may not be the best choice for everyone. Bear the following comparison points in mind when making your choice:
- In some communities, gas powered leaf blowers have been banned due to the excessive noise levels they are capable of producing. If noise is a factor for you or your community, then you may want to consider a less powerful, but quieter electric leaf blower.
- You will certainly need ear defenders when using a gas leaf blower.
- Most gas powered leaf blowers feature two stroke engines. These engines require you to mix gas and oil, which can be messy, and they also require regular maintenance. By contrast, electric leaf blowers start with the flick of switch or turn of a dial and are virtually maintenance free.
- Although electric leaf blowers are quieter and more environmentally friendly, most are not as powerful as gas powered leaf blowers.
- Also, cordless electric units require frequent recharging and may not carry a charge long enough for your needs.
- Corded electric units offer endless leaf blowing ability as long as you are plugged into an outlet, but you must be within 100 to 150 feet from an outlet for the machines to work properly.
- Backpack leaf blowers typically run on gas, as well, but they are designed for bigger projects. The advantage of backpack blowers is that they are easier to hold for long periods of time since they put less stress on your body. However, they are not ideal for many simple home-based applications.
Features to look out for in gas leaf blowers
The following features need to be considered when looking at the purchase of a gas leaf blower.
The weight of the machine is an important factor to consider, especially if you will need to operate the machine for significant stretches of time. Even if the unit is heavy, if it is well-balanced, it can still be easy to operate.
You will also have to consider four stroke versus two stroke engines. Four stroke engines run more cleanly, they do not require you to mix gas and oil and they are generally better for the environment.
Two stroke engines are more common and less expensive and also tend to have a better power to weight ratio. In other words, they able to produce more power with less eight than four stroke models.
Another feature to examine carefully is whether the blower has the right nozzle. Round, tapered nozzles do not work as well as flat, flared nozzles for clearing leaves but they are good for clearing other debris.
Also, some blowers feature swiveling nozzles, which make operation easier and more comfortable. Models with different nozzle options are therefore worth looking for.
Some gas leaf blowers have a vacuuming feature as well as a blowing feature. Typically this involves the fan operating in reverse and acting as mulcher, chopping up the leaves and depositing them in an attached bag.
This is a great feature for allowing you to reduce the volume of material to be disposed of and for readying it for composting or use as mulch. However, if you are picking up material other than leaves and/or the unit is underpowered, there can be a tendency for fans to become blocked and to stall the engine in this mode.
Finally, some gas powered leaf blowers offer variable speeds. This is important if you plan to blow around sensitive areas such as flower beds. With this feature, you can speed up around the yard and slow down when you get near the delicate flowers.
The best uses for gas powered leaf blowers
Gas powered leaf blowers are best used in areas where noise will not be a negative factor and in larger areas that require a powerful machine to clear lots of leaves or other debris.
They work great at clearing leaves from lawns, driveways and sidewalks, plus they are wonderful for making sure patios are clear for when guests arrive.
They are generally easy to use and, as long as you have your ear defenders on, they are also one of the most fun-to-operate types of outdoor power equipment.
Gas powered leaf blowers do a simple job, but they do it well.
For some people, gas powered machines may not be a good option. However, if you have a larger property and your community has no noise restrictions, a gas powered leaf blower can help you clear your outdoor areas with ease, speed, and efficiency.
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