Whether you're dealing with lawn debris, acorns, or a never-ending torrent of falling leaves, a reliable leaf blower is a must-have for a homeowner. A great leaf blower can clean up your yard, deck, and garden areas in less time and with less effort than hand tools like rakes and brooms.
We've spent hours testing the best leaf blowers on the market, including corded electric models, and found the Kobalt KHB 3040-06(available at Lowe's) is the best cordless blower you can buy. If you hate lugging an extension cord around—or need something that can get to hard-to-reach spaces—this cordless leaf blower can help get the job done with far less fuss.
We've put all the models here through their paces, blowing leaves, pine needles, acorns, and dust off dozens of obstacles. Our top picks do the best job of balancing power, battery life, and weight to deliver the cord-free leaf blower you've been looking for.
These are the best cordless leaf blowers we've tested ranked, in order:
Kobalt KHB 3040-06
Greenworks Pro BL60L2510
Hoover OnePWR BH57205
Kobalt KHB 3040-06
Power: If you need a cordless blower to access the back corners of your yard, the Kobalt KHB 3040-06 is your best bet. The Kobalt KHB 3040-06 moved more leaves and debris more quickly than any other cordless blower in our testing, blowing out an estimated 480 CFM. It also has a variable-speed trigger and a turbo button for increasing power to dislodge stubborn wet leaves—something most cordless models lack.
Comfort: The Kobalt KHB 3040-06 feels well-balanced and easy to carry, unlike other cordless models which are back-heavy due to battery weight.
Noise: Close up, it sounds like a household vacuum, not a gigantic grinding machine, although it isn’t quiet. Kobalt representatives say it has a noise rating of under 65 dB at 50 feet, which means it meets most leaf blower noise laws. That also means it’s much noisier for the person operating it, so wear ear protection to prevent hearing loss.
Battery: The one drawback to the Kobalt KHB 3040-06 is its relatively short running time. With the blower set on minimum power, the Kobalt ran for 16 minutes, 30 seconds, on its lowest setting. If you’re thinking of running your blower continuously for a longer span, consider buying an extra battery.
I’m Meg Muckenhoupt, a garden writer and reviewer. I’ve been wrangling with trees, branches, leaves, and gravel for more than 20 years, and along the way I co-founded a community farm and earned a certificate in field botany. I live under a canopy of oak, pine, maple, and hickory trees, and I’ve used many different techniques for managing the leaf avalanche that engulfs my yard every fall.
We put these leaf blowers through their paces, removing dry leaves, wet leaves, acorns, pine needles, and gravel from lawn grass, decking, a brick patio, and an asphalt driveway.
We tested cordless leaf blowers’ battery endurance by running a zip-tie around their power buttons with the speed adjustment dial turned to the lowest setting, and timing how long it took for them to run out of power.
I rated how heavy or unwieldy these blowers felt carrying them up and down a 100-foot slope, and whether they felt unbalanced. I tested whether any of the blowers had a precise enough stream of air push leaves directly into a garbage can (Short answer: no, use a snow shovel or leaf scoops). I also evaluated how easy it was to store these blowers in a tight space, and tried out any special accessories included with the blowers.
Overall, power and speed were highly correlated for these blowers: The blowers that blew leaves away the fastest also blew them across the largest area and did the best job of prying up wet leaves.
What You Should Know About Cordless Leaf Blowers
At heart, leaf blowers are giant hair dryers without a heater, fans mounted on an engine with a tube to direct the airflow. The major differences between leaf blowers have to do with three main factors:
The power of the stream of air coming out of the tube, often measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute)
How comfortable it is to carry them around
If they’re powered by gas engines, an electric cord, or a rechargeable battery
Gas vs. Electric Leaf Blowers
There are a few different types of leaf blowers: gas, electric, and battery-powered. You can read about all of our leaf blower picks in our roundup of the best leaf blowers, but you won't find gas-powered leaf blowers in either roundup.
For starters, “gas-powered” is a misnomer. Gas-powered leaf blowers actually require a mixture or gas and a special type of oil, and if you get the proportions wrong, your leaf blower can stop working altogether. That fuel also needs to be drained before you store your blower for the winter.
Gas-powered leaf blowers are also very noisy, with common models making sounds ranging from 70 dB to an ear-splitting 90 dB. Many communities have banned gas-powered leaf blowers altogether, or limit leaf blowers to models that emit 65 dB or less from 50 ft. away. They may be cordless, but they are just as much of a pain at the end of the day.
How to Choose the Right Leaf Blower
Leaf blower product listings like to include plenty of information that doesn’t tell you much about the blower’s performance. Here are the key factors to look out for—and what to ignore.
Look at CFM, Not Airspeed
Airspeed and air volume give you an idea of how powerful a leaf blower is, but only an idea. In general, airspeed (miles per hour) measures how fast the air is going, which tells you how well a blower will dislodge and lift leaves. Air volume (cubic feet per minute, or CFM) tells you how much air is coming out of the blower, or how big a mass of leaves you can blow away.
The problem is that there is no industry-standard way of measuring air speed for CFM. You can be pretty sure that a blower putting out 600 CFM of air, like our top corded pick from Worx, will blow more leaves away in a minute than a leaf blower putting out 180 CFM. However, in testing, our top cordless pick—the 480 CFM Kobalt—outperformed the 525 CFM Ryobi RY40480.
Our recommendation: Look at CFM to tell if the leaf blower is supposed to clear your entire yard (at least 400 CFM) or just your deck (under 300 CFM). Ignore airspeed, which doesn’t tell you anything meaningful about performance
Don’t Worry About Brushless Motors
Many leaf blowers advertise their brushless motors, which contain electronic engine controllers. Brushless motors should make the blower run more efficiently and last longer, but they’re also more expensive to build than conventional brushed motors.
Having a brushless motor, like our top cordless pick, also doesn’t guarantee that that motor will push air out faster or more forcefully than conventional motors.
Our recommendation: Ignore the motor type, and look at CFM and decibels instead.
Pay Attention to Decibels
Leaf blower noise ratings show how loud the blowers are to someone standing 50 feet away. There are two numbers you should remember: 65 decibels (dB), which is the maximum allowable noise rating for leaf blowers in some municipalities; and 80 dB, the level where hearing loss can occur after extended exposure (two hours or more).
Consider Extra Batteries
If you’re choosing a cordless model, check how much an extra battery costs. Most cordless models will only run 15 to 20 minutes under typical conditions, and recharging times can vary depending on the surrounding temperature, how much the battery has run down, and how old the battery is.
Though a powerful leaf blower will make quicker work of your lawn than a weaker one, if your lawn is covered in leaves you likely can't clear it un less than a half hour. In almost all cases, if you're buying a cordless leaf blower we recommend have an external charger and battery, so consider a model that comes with that included or matches other battery-powered tools you already have.
Judging by product listing and reviewers’ comments, most rechargeable leaf blower batteries will take somewhere from 60 to 90 minutes to recharge, as well, so if you go with just a single battery you could turn a quick 30-minute job into a 4-hour waiting game.
Other Cordless Leaf Blowers We Tested
Power: This Ryobi model seemed under-powered compared to both corded models we tested and our top-pick (the Kobalt KHB 3040-6), despite manufacturer-advertised ratings of 550 CFM. It blew well on the Turbo setting—the extra-power button—but it didn’t pick up and move leaves the way the Kobalt models did.
Given that the battery lasted less than 20 minutes on the lowest setting, don’t count on using that Turbo setting very much unless you have a second battery ready.
Comfort: This Ryobi model felt heavy and awkward, thanks largely to a battery that weighs more than 3 pounds and is positioned on top of the leaf blower.
This Ryobi model is also designed with the fan on the back of the leaf blower, behind the handle, where it can suck in clothing. The back fan could become an annoyance or a safety hazard, if you're not careful.
Noise: The RY40407VNM Whisper model claims to be “the industry’s quietest handheld blower,” producing 59 dB at 50 feet. It seems to achieve this lower rating via a layer of foam on the interior of the air tube. It’s quieter, but subjectively, it doesn’t seem much quieter for the operator than the Kobalt, which puts out a more powerful stream of air.
Battery: In our testing, the RY40407VNM’s battery lasted for 18 minutes, 20 seconds on the lowest setting. It’s not terrible, but if you have a larger yard, you’ll want to invest in a second battery.
Power: Although the manufacturer rates the Greenworks BL60L2510 as moving 470 CFM, its performance was much weaker than most of the other leaf blowers in our sample. It simply couldn’t blow leaves, acorns, and other debris very far or very fast. In addition, it vibrates worryingly during use.
Comfort: At a little over 8 pounds, the Greenworks BL60L2510 wasn’t the lightest blower in our sample, but it wasn’t the heaviest either. It was the only cordless blower in our sample that had an extra on/off switch in addition to the speed-adjustment dial, which can be either annoying or reassuring.
Noise: The Greenworks BL60L2510 makes a lower-pitched noise than many other nozzles, and is less annoying than some of the more whinier models. Rated at 65 dB, it is acceptably quiet by most municipal leaf blower sound standards.
Battery: The Greenworks BL60L2510 was the longest-lasting in our sample, clocking 24 minutes, 40 seconds on the lowest setting. If you want to use a higher setting to blow your leaves more effectively, consider investing in an extra battery.
Power: Much like the Ryobi RY40407VNM Whisper model, the 40480VNM seemed under-powered despite an air volume measurement of 535 CFM. The main way the 40480VNM differs from the other Ryobi model is that it’s louder, producing 68 dB of high-pitched, whiny noise at 50 feet. The Turbo setting enhanced the 40480’s performance, but not to the level of our top three models.
Comfort: Both cordless Ryobi models we tested felt heavy and awkward thanks to a top-mounted battery that weighs more than 3 pounds. The battery puts a third of this blower’s weight right below the handle, and boosts the total weight to 9.4 pounds.
During testing, the 40480’s rear-mounted fan sucked my clothes against the back of the blower when I held the blower in front of me. No harm was done, but depending on your clothing choices and your arm position, this back fan could be a safety hazard.
Noise: The RY 40480VNM has a noise rating of 68 dB, and produced a loud, high-pitched whine. It may not be loud enough to annoy your neighbors, but it will probably annoy your spouse and family members.
Battery: The RY40480VNM’s battery lasted a reasonable 21 minutes, 35 seconds on the lowest setting. If you’re planning on using the Turbo setting to dislodge wet leaves or gravel, you should have a second battery ready.
Power: You won’t have to worry about blowing too many leaves out of your hard with the Hoover BH57205. Although this model lists a respectable 270 CFM, and had middle-of-the-road leaf-moving force in our testing, the battery lasted less than 10 minutes before dying out.
Comfort: Awkward and strangely heavy for a blower that’s only 6.4 pounds, the Hoover blower is hard to carry comfortably. Fortunately, the battery is weak enough that using the Hoover over a long period really isn’t an issue.
Noise: Hoover doesn’t list an official noise rating for the BH57205, but it is very loud—noticeably louder than the other models we tested. You can do better.
Battery: On a fully-charged battery, the Hoover gave up the ghost at a mere 8 minutes, 45 seconds. At that rate, you’ll want to get two extra batteries, and maybe an extra charger too.
TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.
Meg Muckenhoupt is an environmental and travel writer. Her book Boston Gardens and Green Spaces (Union Park Press, 2010) is a Boston Globe Local Bestseller. Meg was awarded a certificate in Field Botany by the New England Wild Flower Society and earned degrees from Harvard and Brown University.
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