The purpose of this piece is to take you through some steps to help you make sure that you buy the best leaf blower for your needs.
First off, make sure you actually need a leaf blower. These are quite controversial tools.
Many people dislike them because they are noisy, they can disturb the neighborhood and, if not used properly, they are ineffective.
I’m thinking here about the habit some people have of just blowing leaves and debris onto the street where they will either just blow right back or, worse, blow into a neighboring property.
So, first, make sure you really need one and that you are going to use it well and with consideration for others.
Secondly, make sure you don’t get yourself in a frame of mind where feel like you have to buy a particular product just because it’s the latest and greatest, the biggest and most expensive or because everybody else has got one.
This is something that it is particularly easy to do when it comes to outdoor power equipment.
Leaf blowers are without doubt really useful tools to help you keep your property looking good but the different varieties of leaf blower make it quite a confusing task to select the right model.
But selecting the right model is an important part of using these tools well – and with consideration.
Don’t just get the one that your buddy has or that the pro landscaper along the street uses. You need to make sure that you focus on getting the the tool that does the best job for your needs.
Your buddy may have more deciduous trees than you and thus, more leaves to blow.
The pro guy may have different models for different conditions. In short, different properties require different machines so, as with all big purchases, you need to go through the process of researching how to buy the best leaf blower very carefully if you are to purchase the ideal model for your needs.
The Essential Leaf Blower Buyers’ Questions (The EBQs)
The best way to determine which leaf blower is right for your needs is to examine your requirements and ask yourself the right questions. By doing this, you can eliminate the wrong choices and narrow down your options to a manageable number.
Below are the questions you should ask yourself when you have decided to purchase a leaf blower. Go through the questions carefully and you should be ready to make a well-informed decision about the type of leaf blower you need.
1. What type of material do you need to clear?
If your property has many deciduous trees and is often completely covered in heavy, wet leaves, you might want to purchase a large, powerful leaf blower capable of blowing the heaviest debris into neat piles.
On the other hand, if your yard or driveway is mainly only covered with just a smattering of dry leaves and needles, then you could probably get by using a small, electrically powered model, or maybe you don’t even need a leaf blower at all – a broom may get the job done and give you some exercise too.
You should also be aware that the type of material you want to clear has a bearing on the type of nozzle that you will need. For clearing leaves a flat broad tipped nozzle works best, whereas for clearing other debris (e.g. on your driveway) a round reduced tip nozzle is best.
2. How large is the space you need to clear?
If the area to be cleared is large, such that you will be out of reach of a power outlet and/or where the job is likely to take some time, you are likely to need a gas leaf blower.
If you see yourself spending fairly long periods of time clearing your yard, drive, or walks, then you might want to consider buying a backpack leaf blower which is less fatiguing when tending to larger jobs.
Husqvarna back pack leaf blower
3. Are there any noise restrictions where you are?
Some places such as Santa Monica California have banned all leaf blowers altogether.
Some places, especially in parts of California and New York State have banned gas powered leaf blowers and some places have banned leaf blower use at particular times.
Check out these listings from Consumer reports for places with restrictions.
In any event, remember to use your blower considerately.
4. How much power are you likely to need?
Or, for that matter, how important is power to you?
Powerful blowers can cut the time it takes to clear an area down considerably, but they may be overkill for some yards.
Sometimes, the blowing power can be too much for the size of your yard or the job. In a tight or walled space, a blower that is too powerful will send everything up in the air rather than directing it where you want it to go.
On the other hand, when you use a less powerful blower, you’ll spend extra time and energy if you are clearing large, open areas.
The key is to find the sweet spot between power and usefulness for your specific needs.
5. Electric or gas-powered?
Electric leaf blowers are less powerful than gas-powered models, but they are also less expensive. Also, they are generally lighter and easy to carry around.
Gas-powered blowers require you to fill them with gasoline, and they can be fairly loud when in operation. However, they are also significantly more powerful than electric models.
6. Corded or cordless?
If you have decided to go with an electric leaf blower, you must decide whether you want a rechargeable, cordless model, or a unit that needs to be plugged in during operation. Cordless models are incredibly portable, but the battery life might be too short for your needs.
Corded models work terrifically for many applications, but they must be used within a reasonable distance from an electrical outlet. The cord can also be a pain in the proverbial if you have lots of trees, shrubs or other obstacles to navigate around.
7. How much are you willing to spend?
Leaf blowers come in a wide range of price points. You do not want to purchase an expensive model only to realize that you do not require all its features and power.
But watch out, because you also want to avoid purchasing a value-priced unit that is inadequate for the work you intend to perform. This is a mistake I have made in the past, so I speak from experience here.
Questions of quality, reliability and longevity also go into the price equation. So the reputation of the manufacturer can also be a significant consideration here.
Types of Leaf Blowers
As mentioned above, there are several different types of leaf blowers available.
Here’s a bit of entertainment I created which shows you all the different types (by the way, the music is aptly called “Blowing in from Chicago”):
Gasoline powered models are powerful, but they can be loud and unwieldy. Some gas-powered blowers are backpack models, which allow you to carry the unit on your back for completing larger jobs. If you need even more power, you can even get wheeled, walk-behind gas powered leaf blowers. These are ideal for the largest spaces.
Cordless electric units feature a rechargeable battery and are very convenient if you keep them charged and you don’t need to use them for a prolonged period. Corded electric models must be operated while plugged into an outlet, but they are generally light and quite easy to operate.
Buying a leaf blower involves asking yourself the right questions.
Once you have effectively answered the leaf blower EBQs, you should be able to make an intelligent decision about the kind of model that is likley to suit you best.
Read on about the different types of blowers to complete your research.
Read on for:
- How to buy the best gas leaf blower
- How to buy the best backpack leaf blower
- How to buy the best corded electric leaf blower
- How to buy the best cordless leaf blower
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