What you should know before buying a leaf blower

December 27, 2014

Raking needs muscle power, but a leaf blower can make leaf cleanup easy. Before you invest in a leaf blower, take a few minutes to determine which machine meets you needs. Here’s what you should know about buying a leaf blower.

Types of leaf blowers

Leaf blowers come with electric or gas engines. An electric leaf blower tends to be small and reasonably quiet and is powerful enough for most mid-sized yards with few obstacles. However, you will need to be within the cord length’s distance of a power outlet. A gas leaf blower is heavier and more powerful. They are often much noisier and more expensive. Gas leaf blowers are best for larger yards or professional use.

Leaf blower features

Speed control: A variable throttle or adjustable speed can give you extra power on hard surfaces but still be gentle around delicate gardens.

Nozzle: Nozzles are either flat or rounded. Flat nozzles are better for blowing and sweeping motions while rounded nozzles can blow large clumps of leaves. Many models come with interchangeable nozzles to better suit various tasks.

Shut-off switch: A one-touch shut-off switch lets you stop a leaf blower immediately should the need arise.

Vacuum setting: A vacuum setting allows you to suck your leaves into a bag for easy disposal, but the amount of leaves you can suck up at a time is limited by the nozzle size. Vacuum leaf blowers are more versatile, often doubling as shop vacuums. Also, vacuum models can sometimes shred leaves to create instant mulch.

Cordless leaf blower: Some electric models run on a rechargeable battery. Cordless models are usually less powerful, but they’re easier to use in areas with obstacles that might catch on an electric cord.

Factors to consider when buying a leaf blower

Handheld vs. backpack: Most leaf blowers are small and handheld, but they can become tiresome during long periods of use. If you have a larger property, a backpack leaf blower can be easier to use.

Handgrip: Leaf blowers need to be comfortable, so look for a hand grip that feels natural and allows proper hand-to-body distance for easy operation.

Safety: Read and follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual before using your leaf blower. Wear safety glasses and, for gas models especially, use ear protection.

Laws: Some towns and cities have banned leaf blowers because of the noise. Always check your local bylaws before purchasing a leaf blower, especially noisy gas models.

When you’re surrounded by trees sporting full summer canopies, life is beautiful. But come fall it’s a whole different story. With the right leaf blower, you can clean your yard quickly and efficiently. Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be sure to find a leaf blower to fit your needs and your budget.

What you should know before buying a leaf blower
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