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The electric leaf blower is becoming a more popular choice among homeowners.
This is undoubtedly due to the fact that electric leaf blowers:
- can work quietly
- are relatively environmentally friendly
- require little or no maintenance, and
- are very affordable.
If you have decided that a corded electric model may work best for you, here are some things that you should know and consider before making a purchase.
Size and power of corded electric leaf blowers
Corded electric leaf blowers offer more power than their cordless counterparts, but generally may offer a bit less power than the larger gas powered models.
The electric motors on these machines are designed to be light and powerful, making it easy for you to use the blower one handed and without straining yourself.
The power provided by the electric motor is rated in terms of amps. The smallest such machines are rated in the 7 amp range, while the larger and more powerful models feature motors rated at up to 12 amps.
Corded electric leaf blowers are capable of pushing air at speeds of up to 230 miles per hour, which is comparable to many gas leaf blower models.
How do corded electric leaf blowers compare to cordless electric, gas powered and backpack leaf blowers?
These are the main points of comparison to consider when weighing up electric leaf blowers against the other types of leaf blowers available:
- Electrically powered leaf blowers are less powerful than the biggest gas powered models.
- On the other hand, electric models are lighter and easier to handle for most users.
- Another benefit of using an electric leaf blower over a gas leaf blower is that you will never need to fill it with gas, or a gas and oil mixture and, unlike gas leaf blowers, they a virtually maintenance-free.
- Bear in mind that some neighborhoods and communities have banned gas powered leaf blowers, leaving consumers with no choice but to purchase an electric model if they need a blowing machine.
- On the whole, electric leaf blowers are much quieter than gas models.
- Corded electric leaf blowers must be plugged in at all times during operation, whereas cordless models are completely portable.
- When using a corded machine, you should use an extension cord less than 150 feet long so that power can get to the machine effectively. While this gives many users plenty of distance with which to operate, it can be a drawback for users with larger properties to clear. Rolling the cords in and out also adds to the time taken to do the job.
- The cord can also be a real hindrance if you have much in the way of trees, shrubs and garden ornaments or furniture to work around. Again this adds to the time it will take you to get the job done.
- Nevertheless, corded machines are generally more powerful than cordless models. Also, they can run for as long as they are plugged in and switched on.
- Cordless machines, on the other hand, run for only a short period of time before they require recharging. This is a deal breaker for many consumers and one reason to buy a corded leaf blower over cordless models.
- Backpack leaf blowers run on gasoline and they are intended for larger jobs for which fatigue can be a factor. Backpack models are very powerful, but they also include the disadvantages associated with most gas powered models.
- Corded electric leaf blowers and backpack leaf blowers are at opposite ends of the spectrum. If one of these types is likely to be suitable for you, then the other almost certainly will not be.
Features to Look Out for in Corded Electric Leaf Blowers
These are probably the most important features to consider when buying an electric leaf blower:
First of all, the blower should have a big enough motor for your job. If you are likely to be blowing lots of heavy, wet leaves or other quite solid material, try to get the model with the most amps and air speed that you can afford. This will ensure that you will have the power you need to get the results you want.
Next, you should look for a corded blower that is easy to hold and operate. Even though electric blowers are fairly lightweight, they can be awkward for some people to handle.
Some blowers with bag attachments (see vacuum option below) have a shoulder strap. These can help take the weight of the bag but can also make the whole machine a bit unwieldy.
Look for blowers with a variety of nozzle attachments as this will enable you to have the right attachment for the job – a flat flared nozzle for leaves, round and tapered for other debris.
Consider whether you want an electric leaf blower with a vacuum option. Many models can be converted to suck instead of blow. This means you can collect leaves, grass clippings etc in a bag attachment.
The advantage of this is that the material is reduced as it goes through the blower’s fan (or impeller). Some machines offer 12:1 or 16:1 reduction ratios. This makes it much easier to rid yourself of the material you collect or to use it for composting or mulch.
However, my own experience is that the vacuuming option on many of the lower priced machines can be a lot less effective than the blowing function. You can also experience jamming of the impeller if you inadvertently suck up sticks.
Electric leaf blower with vacuum option
Brand and warranty
Finally, you should take a look for a reliable brand name and a good warranty. Some machines come with 2 or even 4 year warranties.
The Best Uses for Corded Electric Leaf Blowers
Many electric leaf blowers are as powerful as gas powered models, but they are much quieter and easier to handle.
This makes them very attractive for many homeowners, especially those with near neighbors.
It should be noted, though, that these machines must be operated within 100 to 150 feet of an electrical outlet. If you have a property that offers close proximity to outlets for electricity, then a corded electric leaf blower may be your ideal choice.
The principal advantages of corded electric leaf blowers are that they offer power, (relative) quiet and easy maintenance-free operation unmatched by other types of blowers.
They are also more affordable than gas powered models but lack the go-anywhere option that gas and cordless electric models offer.
My own view is that the ‘go-anywhere’ factor is quite an important one. I used corded electric leaf blowers for years and, whilst they get the blowing job done, they can be a bit of a pain to use. Maybe it’s just me, but I find the chore of dealing with the extension cord pretty tiresome.
I now have a small gas powered blower that I use for clearing around the house and it almost seems that the whole operation can be more or less be done in the time it formerly took to roll out the electric cables and roll them back in again. I only exaggerate slightly.
In addition, in anything but a clear space, there is quite a time consuming cable dance as you have to keep retracing your steps so as not to get the cord wrapped around the stuff in your garden.
It’s true that the gas model is noisier, but the fact that I use it for a shorter period of time probably means that the overall level of disturbance is not any greater.
For a relatively small space, a cordless electric model would probably do the job just as well as my small gas model.
Unless I had no choice, I personally wouldn’t go back to using a corded electric model now.
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Autumn Trees Image: Nick Coombs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net