A great leaf blower can make your yard look neater by helping to clean up fall leaves, grass clippings, and debris in less time and effort than a rake. A bad leaf blower makes fall cleanup an annoying, noisy chore, and it gets you dirty looks from neighbors looking for a little piece and quiet..
That’s why we put 14 handheld leaf blowers to the test during fall in New England. After several rounds of testing that included blowing leaves, pine needles, acorns, and dust off dozens of obstacles, our top pick is the Worx WG520 Turbine 600(available at Amazon for $58.15). It’s powerful, lightweight, and easy to use.
For those on a budget, the Sun Joe SBJ597E(available at Amazon) is a steal. It’s a mere slip of a blower that is best used for clearing small yards, decks, front steps, and walkways.
And if portability is a top priority, the Ego Power+ LB7654(available at Amazon) is our choice for best cordless leaf blower. It’s powerful, but easy enough to use one-handed.
These are the best leaf blowers we tested, ranked in order:
Worx WG520 Turbine 600
Ego Power+ LB7654
Sun Joe SBJ597E
Black & Decker BEBL750
Ego Power+ LB6504
Kobalt KHB 3040-06
Black & Decker LB700
Toro Powerjet F700
Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum
Hoover OnePwr Cordless High Performance Blower
This tornado of a leaf blower claims it can move 600 cubic feet of air per minute—the second-highest CFM measurement in our testing—and it’s easy to believe. The Worx WG520 was unmatched in its ability to clear leaves off any surface from a distance, including wet, matted leaves glued to the pavement.
If you’re not looking to blow all your potted plants off the porch, though, the Worx has a speed dial to adjust its air blasts from hurricane pounding down to normal leaf-blower levels. For $60, you’re getting an effective, powerful machine.
Comfort: At 7.2 pounds, the Worx WG520 is easy to carry. Aesthetically, it looks less like a radioactive “Fortnite” gun than any other blower we tested.
Noise: The Worx’s one downfall is that it’s loud for a corded pick, spewing up to 82 decibels at its highest speed. The noise is higher-pitched than landscapers’ gasoline-powered blowers, and less annoying at a distance, but you should still wear ear protection when you use this blower.
Power: If you need a cordless blower to access the back corners of your yard, the Ego Power+ LB7654 is your best bet. This battery-powered leaf blower can move 765 cubic feet of air per minute and you can feel it as soon as you hit the Thrust button.
It has an intuitive design, with buttons placed where the hand naturally falls. The speed control button has a tab that makes one-handed operation easy. Most of our tests were conducted on the low setting, as there is plenty of power to accomplish a variety of yard jobs.
The Thrust power button proved most effective at clearing out large, embedded piles of leaves, but that same power can also eliminate most of your mulch if you're not careful. It's all the power you need to take care of a large yard.
Comfort: With the battery attached, the Ego LB7654 is very well balanced. The motor is located in the middle of the blower, and is well protected from pant legs and windbreakers. The design is streamlined and well thought out.
The only drawback to its design is the size of the battery. With the battery attached, the blower weighs in at a hefty 9.6 pounds. There are hooks on the blower for a shoulder strap, but no straps were included. Carrying this blower around the yard could become a chore in itself.
Noise: The Ego registered 86 decibels on the lowest setting, so it is at the upper range of noise for a yard tool. This machine is perfect for larger yards where there is more room between homes.
Battery: At 30 minutes, the Ego LB7654 had the best run-time of the cordless blowers we tested.
Power: Will the Sun Joe SBJ597E clean out a one-acre lot in 10 minutes or dislodge wet, stuck-on leaves? No. But if you’re looking for a small blower that packs a punch for clearing out small areas, the Sun Joe is a great model at a great price.
At less than $20, it’s a no-brainer.
The Sun Joe puts out 260 CFM of power, and its tube is narrow, so you can clear precise areas fast. Unlike the Worx, which could strip your entire flower bed of vegetation in seconds if someone bumped your elbow, the Sun Joe has only one speed setting for a moderate flow of air. You’d have to work pretty hard to destroy your garden plants.
Comfort: Lightweight and compact, the Sun Joe SBJ597E weighs under 4 pounds and can fit in a large shoebox once you remove the blow tube.
Noise: The Sun Joe SBJ597E is on the loud side, so wear ear protection when you use it.
Power: The Black & Decker delivers 450 cubic feet of air per minute and is perfect for most medium to small yards. It was surprisingly powerful and completed most of the heavy jobs without fail. Being a corded blower and weighing in at only 5.3 pounds, it was easy to move this machine around and get into the nooks and crannies of the yard to remove the debris.
Comfort: The Black & Decker was the most comfortable blower we tested, but dragging a cord around a half-acre yard is cumbersome and one of the reasons why so many homeowners are choosing cordless power equipment. The blower itself was a breeze to use, but the power source presents more challenges.
Noise: The Black and Decker registered 86 decibels on the lowest setting.
Power: Blowing 650 cubic feet of air per minute, this is perfect for most medium to large yards and shares the intuitive design of the Ego Power+ LB7654. However, this model’s speed control button does not have a tab, and controlling the speed took two hands.
Most of our tests were conducted on the low setting, as there is plenty of power to accomplish a variety of yard jobs. The Thrust power button proved quite capable at clearing out large, embedded piles of leaves.This model is the same size and weight of the LB7654, and was well suited for our half acre.
Comfort: Like the LB7654, the LB6504 is very well balanced. The motor is located in the middle of the blower and is well protected from pant legs and windbreakers. The Ego design is streamlined and well thought out.
Like the LB7654, the only drawback to its design is the size of the battery. With the battery attached, the blower weighs in at 9.6 pounds. There are hooks on the blower for a shoulder strap, but no straps were included.
Noise: The Ego registered 92 decibels on the lowest setting and was the loudest blower we tested.
Battery: At 24 minutes, the Ego LB6504 had one of the best run-times of the cordless blowers we tested.
Power: Formerly our top cordless pick, the Kobalt KHB 3040-06 moves leaves and debris more quickly than most other cordless blowers we tested, 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.
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 decibels 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. If you’re thinking of running your blower continuously for a longer span, consider buying an extra battery.
Power: This Ryobi model seemed under-powered compared to corded models, 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 Worx or 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.
Noise: The RY404070VNM Whisper model claims to be “the industry’s quietest handheld blower,” producing 59 decibels 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.
Battery: In our testing, the RY404070VNM’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: The Black & Decker LB700 is a middle-of-the-road leaf blower in all possible ways. It can blow leaves, but it doesn’t have anything like the power of the Worx 5920 or the Toro Powerjet F700. The 180 CFM power rating is the lowest in our leaf blower sample.
Comfort: Lightweight at 4.4 pounds, the Black & Decker LB700 is easy to carry and manage. Plus, the air intake at the bottom of the blower doesn’t suck in clothes.
Noise: Although it’s a lightweight blower, the Black & Decker LB700 is a heavyweight for sound, putting out 86 decibels of noise pollution at 50 feet. If you want to stay friends with your neighbors—or obey municipal leaf blower noise bylaws—avoid this blower.
Power: The Toro Powerjet F700 will blow you away—especially if you’re not holding onto something sturdy. Astonishingly strong gusts of air come out of this blower’s tube. If you need less than hurricane force to clean your yard, you can turn down the power with a variable-speed dial.
Comfort: This Toro is well balanced, and weighs a little under 6.5 pounds. There are two minor flaws in the design that kept it from being our top pick: It’s difficult to adjust the speed dial one-handed, and the relatively large openings in the wrap-around rear air intake can suck in loose clothing.
Noise: Thiswas one of the noisier blowers in our sample, broadcasting 70.1 decibels at 50 feet away. Still, it’s quieter than the Worx WG520, which clocks in at 82 decibels. If you’re willing to overlook the inconveniences of the rear air intake and the dial adjustment, the Toro Powerjet F700 is a better bet for keeping the peace in your neighborhood.
Power: The Toro 51621 is a decent, hard-working leaf blower. It won’t wow you with its overwhelming force like the Toro F700 or Worx 5920, but its 410 CFM air flow will blow most leaves most of the way you want them to go most of the time.
That said, the vacuum/mulcher attachment is unimpressive. In our test vacuuming up dry oak leaves, the process of getting the leaves up the tube into the bag was very slow, and the leaves weren’t much smaller once they were in the bag then out. It would be faster to pick up the leaves with a pair of leaf scoops and stomp on them in the yard waste bag to break them up.
Comfort: At 8.9 pounds, this bruiser of a leaf lower felt the heaviest of all the blowers in our sample, even though it weighed less than the Ryobi models. The top handle is helpful for balancing the blower, but it doesn’t make it feel lighter.
Noise: The Toro 51621 is one of the quieter corded models, putting out 68 decibels at 50 feet. It’s not quiet enough for the user to forego ear protection, but it should reduce conflicts with your neighbors.
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 we tested 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 decibels, it is acceptably quiet by most municipal leaf blower sound standards.
Battery: The Greenworks BL60L2510 was one of 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 RY404070VNM Whisper model, the 40480VNM seemed under-powered despite an air volume measurement of 535 CFM. The main difference from the other Ryobi model is that it’s louder, producing 68 decibels 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 decibels, and it produced a loud, high-pitched whine.
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 yard 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.
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.
Power: The Litheli U1BR21103 delivers 480 cubic feet of air per minute, which could work for most medium to small yards. It is a capable blower, but its poor design prevents it from being either a good value or a good choice.
The air intake on the Litheli is located on the back side of the blower, so no matter how you position your body, the blower will find your pant legs and latch on, making a most distressing sound. This design seriously inhibits lateral movements needed to move leaves across the yard.
Comfort: The Litheli is not a comfortable blower to use. Even though the battery is small and the blower weighs in at only 7.5 pounds, most of the weight is located in the back of the blower. It lacks balance and is awkward to use.
The tube of the blower extends for easier directional jobs, but it lacks attachments for any other applications. This blower would be a good choice for small, quick clean up jobs around the yard.
Noise: The Litheli registered 85 decibels on the lowest setting.
Battery: The Litheli had a decent run-time for a cordless blowers: 14 minutes, 30 seconds. The battery is quite small but delivered power for its duration. Unlike the Ego blowers, the Litheli battery only indicates its present charge if you depress the battery button.
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.
And I’m Kevin Kavanaugh, a retired public school teacher who has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles or classic cars. After I finished testing the best lawn mowers for Reviewed, I went to work testing half a dozen leaf blowers to add to Meg’s previous findings. Aided by fellow lawn care enthusiast Ray Lane, I cleared leaves and other debris from my half-acre yard that’s surrounded by trees.
We tested these blowers by moving piles of dry leaves across the yard and clearing the driveway and street of light debris, small sticks and sand. We further tested their power by moving large piles of leaves caught under bushes and woodpiles.
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. Measurements varied from 8 minutes, 45 seconds, for the Hoover BH57205 to 30 minutes for the Ego Power+ LB7654.
We rated how heavy or unwieldy these electric blowers felt carrying them up and down a 100-foot slope, and whether they felt unbalanced. We also evaluated how easy it was to store these blowers in a tight space, and tried out any special accessories they included.
Overall, power and speed were highly correlated for these electric models: 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.
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.
Gas vs. Electric Leaf Blowers
One of the major differences between leaf blowers is how they are powered: gas engines, an electric cord, or a rechargeable battery. For the purposes of this review, we skipped over testing gas-powered models because they have several disadvantages.
For starters, “gas-powered” is a misnomer. Gas leaf blowers actually require a mixture of gas and a special type of oil. If you get the proportions wrong, your leaf blower can stop working. The 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 decibels to an ear-splitting 90. Many communities have banned gas-powered leaf blowers altogether, or limit leaf blowers to models that emit 65 decibels or less from 50 feet away. They may be cordless, but they are just as much of a pain at the end of the day.
Electric leaf blowers are either powered by an electric cord or by batteries. Typically, they are quieter than gas-powered blowers. While battery-operated leaf blowers provide more freedom, their duration is limited. With corded models, you may have to lug around an electric cord.
If you choose a corded model, note that you’ll need an extension cord to make it work in your yard.
If you choose 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.
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 pick, the Worx WG520 Turbine 600(available at Amazon for $58.15)—will blow more leaves away in a minute than a leaf blower putting out 180 CFM. However, as one example, in our testing 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,
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).
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.
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.
Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.