A leaf blower makes landscape cleanup quick and simple, and the variety of models and features means you can find one that will meet your needs.
Electric leaf blowers are low-maintenance machines. They're lighter and quieter than gasoline-powered blowers and are easier to start. Light-duty electric sweepers handle driveways, decks and patios, while higher-power electric blowers are good for yards up to a quarter of an acre.
Gasoline-powered leaf blowers deliver maximum mobility and run time. These models are suited for large areas — a quarter-acre or more, depending on the model — and frequent or prolonged use. Gas blowers crank with a manual pull start. Some models start with an optional, powered device you purchase separately, eliminating the need to use the pull cord. Gasoline-powered blowers need the right fuel — follow the manufacturer's requirements and read Fueling Outdoor Power Equipment for tips on keeping your machines running properly.
Some cordless leaf blowers use batteries that can also power equipment such as string trimmers, hedge trimmers, mowers and chainsaws. If you have several compatible devices, you can use one battery while others are charging.
Cordless leaf blower battery types include nickel cadmium (NiCd or NiCad) and lithium ion (Li-ion). A Li-ion battery is lighter and smaller than a NiCd battery of the same voltage. Li-ion batteries can hold a charge for several months between uses.
Handheld leaf blowers are the most common types for the home landscape. Other blower designs include backpack and wheeled, walk-behind models. These gasoline-powered machines provide power and more comfort for extended use in large areas.
Some blowers convert to vacuums, allowing you to collect light landscape debris such as small twigs or leaves in an attached bag. Blowers that convert to vacuum / mulchers collect and grind the debris, simplifying disposal and creating mulch for use around the landscape.
In addition to traditional blowers, there are shop vacuums and string trimmers that convert to blowers.
Follow the device manufacturer's instructions for use, maintenance and safety.
Beyond vacuuming and mulching capabilities, there are features you can look for to help you select the best leaf blower for your work.
Consider the weight of the blower, especially if you have a large work area. While larger, more powerful models move a lot of debris quickly, those designed for smaller jobs are easier to handle.
As an alternative to a standalone leaf blower, look for equipment that handles a variety of outdoor maintenance projects with a single engine. The engine powers several optional attachments — leaf blower, pressure washer, mower and snow blower — reducing maintenance requirements and storage space. See this Troy-Bilt system — available exclusively at Lowe's — in action.