Fall is here, and soon the leaves will be piled high. Make sure you are ready for fall and the seasons to come with the right leaf blower equipment.
They may be called leaf blowers, but both homeowners and professional landscapers use them to tackle a wide variety of chores around the yard. They can work as a sweeper for your driveway, or when you need to clear a snowy path without breaking out a sweat. This added efficiency cuts down on lawn cleanup time by more than 50%.
If you choose the right one, you will find that a leaf blower becomes something you cannot live without. However, there are so many models and options on the market today that purchasing one can seem like a daunting task. This guide will give you a rundown of the most popular options and help you choose the right model for you.
Handheld Leaf Blowers versus Backpack Leaf Blowers
There are pros and cons to both handheld and backpack blowers.
Generally, backpack blowers are more powerful. The backpack system is used to make it easier for you to carry that powerful, heavy equipment with you. If you have a big job, or anticipate needing to move many wet leaves, a backpack blower is ideal.
For smaller jobs, you may find the handheld option more convenient. You can maneuver into tight spaces with a handheld blower, and in many cases handheld blowers are less expensive.
Choosing between a 2-Stroke or 4-Stroke Engine Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers come in two separate but distinct engine classes. The 2-stroke engine is a simpler, more affordable version because it has no valves. Since it fires once after every revolution, it also has more power. Relatively speaking, it has a noisier output than its 4-stroke counterpart but not to a level that is unbearable.
Many professionals choose the 4-stroke engine because it is built to perform faster on large areas. With regular maintenance a 4-stroke should provide lasting performance with a longer lifespan than a 2-stroke leaf blower. However, it is important to keep in mind that in certain neighborhoods there is a legal noise limit, so the choice may be out of your hands with regards to choice of engine.
Gas or Electric Leaf Blowers
Before you consider other factors, make certain that gas blowers are allowed in your area. In some places, California for instance, gas leaf blowers are prohibited. If you have both options available to you, then consider where you will use the blower. If you take your blower far from a source of electricity, you will certainly want a gas-powered blower. However, if you are just using it near your home you may find that the gas savings are worth the effort of keeping it charged or plugged in during use. Remember to always handle any gas carefully, avoiding spills, using the correct fuel/oil mix and keeping any containers in well-ventilated areas.
Choosing a Professional or Homeowner Leaf Blower
A homeowner, especially one with a smaller yard, may be able to get by with a simple, low price handheld blower. However, commercial users require power and want something that will stand up to day after day use. Commercial users generally prefer gas-powered equipment so they do not have to hassle with finding a source of power. Before making your purchase, think about how often you will use your blower, and whether you need the added features and power of a more expensive model.
Homeowner and commercial models are both available in 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. Choosing between a commercial model will depend on several factors: area to be covered, allowed noise and smoke pollution levels, warranty, weight, distance to an electric outlet, preferred brand, and other intended uses for the leaf blower.
Choosing a Leaf Blower Based on Price
For more affordable leaf blowers, check out the small handheld models, which range from $40 all the way up to $400. Backpack blowers, which can cost from $100 (not corded) up to $1,000, can be up to 100x more powerful than smaller handheld blowers. One reason to buy a more powerful blower, even if you have a small area to maintain, is if the surrounding climate in your area is wet more often than not. Wet leaves are harder to blow.
Top Leaf Blower Brands
There are a number of brands available, each offering something a little different. Consider these top brands when you start shopping for your leaf blower.
- Husqvarna – Many of these blowers are geared towards the power user, but the company does offer some smaller models that may be a good solution for homeowners looking for a good balance of power and affordability.
- Echo – From basic handheld models to large backpacks, Echo offers them all. With Echo, you get a name you can trust and a large number of equipment options.
- STIHL – Another well-known brand with plenty of options, STIH carries both budget-friendly handhelds and large, durable backpacks.
While these are some of the more popular brands, there are smaller brands available too. Consider all your options before you make your purchase.
If you want a quality leaf blower tool, you will have to pay the price – but rest assured on the fact that there are high-grade OEM replacements for nearly every product and brand, which can help ease the cost of maintenance and repair.
Leaf Blower Attachment and Accessories Choices
All leaf blowers have attachments and accessories that can assist in making any cleanup job more efficient. Some of your choices include gutter cleaning kits for Posi-Loc, vac kits, rain gutter kits for non-Posi-Loc tubes, nozzles, replacement bags, shovels, battery packs, mulch kits and blower maintenance kits.
Cleaning up is a chore that can be done faster with these accessories. Even if you enjoy gardening, the most tedious of all aspects on gardening is taking care of fallen leaves so being able to remove the leaves faster will give you more time to do other things.