If you live in an area where cleaning up leaves in the fall is an annual chore, then you know the pain of raking. One way to clean up your yard and garden beds without an aching back is to use a good backpack leaf blower. These can move large piles of leaves with much less labor than raking requires and get the job done faster. The amount that a blower can move is a function of two measurements—air volume, measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm) and air speed, measured in miles per hour (mph). In general, the more air volume your blower can move at a higher speed, the larger piles of leaves it will be able to push.
There are some drawbacks to backpack leaf blowers. The first is the noise. Most traditional two-stroke, gas-powered blowers are quite loud, in the 80- to 90-decibel range. This is about as loud as a passing diesel truck, and is the range at which hearing loss is a real danger, so always wear ear protection when using a blower. There are also quieter blowers on the market: battery-powered and four-strokes. These tend to have lower overall emissions and are more environmentally-friendly, particularly battery-powered models.
In addition to the volume and efficiency of the power supply, consider the total run time. Gasoline engines will run as long as you have gas for them, so if you have a large yard that will take 30 minutes or more to blow, then you may want to opt for a gas blower. Good battery-powered blowers have continuous run times of 15 to 20 minutes before they need to be recharged. So if you need more run time than that, plan on purchasing extra batteries, or taking 45- to 60-minute breaks to recharge.
These are our recommendations for the best backpack leaf blowers online.