The Best Leaf Blower
Any electric leaf blower will clear leaves off grass or pavement; the true question is whether you value power or portability. Corded blowers have faster wind speed, giving them a slight but noticeable edge in power. A battery-powered leaf blower gives you the freedom to go anywhere without being tied to an extension cord, but they’re also more expensive.
We looked at top-rated leaf blowers from home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, plus any that earned praise from best-of lists and professional reviews like Consumer Reports. Each leaf blowers we tested is capable of removing leaves, but the best leaf blower should work for jobs of all sizes, from a quick patio sweep to an entire yard cleanup.
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September 09, 2019 – Our original Top Pick, the EGO LB401, has been discontinued by the manufacturer. A new model, the EGO LB403, is available with a 2.5 AH battery (compared to the 2.0 AH battery on the LB4801).
The 2 Best Leaf Blowers
The Best Leaf Blowers: Summed Up
*battery sold separately
Why we chose it
High wind speed
Electric corded leaf blowers are usually powerful, and the Toro Electric Ultra Blower/Vacuum is no exception. It quickly became a top leaf blower for our testers who were impressed with both its power and maneuverability; it shepherded leaves into our target square and cleared them back out in seconds. While its 350 CFM wasn’t as high as the EGO’s 480, it had no trouble clearing leaves off the lawn. It packs a wind speed of 250 MPH — faster than any blower we found.
Easy to adjust
We liked the Toro’s continuous dial for adjusting power settings. It’s easy to reach, so we could adjust the amount of power for each phase of our test. Its lowest setting was not only powerful, but also precise. We could move leaves into our target area without blowing away the ones already in it.
The Toro also comes with two additional nozzles to create even rows and piles, plus a concentrator to focus the wind at stubborn leaves like a power washer. Even without the extra nozzles, we were still impressed with its narrow blade of air. As a result, we had precise, crisp lines of lawn after we ran a pass through the leaf pile.
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It also doubles as a vacuum and mulcher, too. After pushing our leaves into a neat pile, we pulled off the nozzle and attached the vacuum tube. The Toro sucks up leaves, twigs, and even pine cones. Then, the spinning blade chops it up and spits out fine, garden-ready mulch.
Points to consider
Requires extension cord
The Toro’s cord is nearly non-existent, so you’ll need to purchase an extension cord. Because of the extension cord, it’s not the best option for larger yards with a lot of trees and limited power outlets.
We love how powerful the Toro is, but that doesn’t really matter if you can’t use it in the areas of your yard you need it most. While you can use a rake in areas the Toro doesn’t reach, that defeats the purpose of having a leaf blower. If you have a big yard that requires a lot of maintenance, we recommend choosing a battery-powered leaf blower.
Continuous power dial
Why we chose it
Sometimes even an extension cord can’t help you get to all the parts of your yard that need tidying. The EGO LB4803 is a cordless leaf blower with a surprisingly strong battery. It swept the competition in run-time, lasting 22 minutes at maximum wind power — a full 50 percent longer than the competition. Holding the EGO to low power is still plenty fast enough to clear a thinner leaf layer off the lawn, and extends the battery life up to an hour.
Leaf blowers can be cumbersome and heavy, but we never struggled with the EGO. Because it naturally points to the ground, it was easy to hold over the entire testing session and didn’t require us to switch hands halfway through. Its lightweight and well-balanced body made it a breeze to clear a dense pile of leaves out from sidewalk gutters and carry across our backyard.
Continuous power dial
We liked the EGO’s continuous dial, which sits at the front of the handle. When we needed to get the last leaves into our target square, a simple adjustment scaled down the power. And when we wanted to get an extra burst, we could activate the turbo button with a press of our thumb to free leaves that had been wedged into a corner.
Points to consider
Unlike a corded leaf blower, the EGO will eventually run out of power. If you want extra run-time or plan on using continuous high power, consider a spare or an upgraded battery. We used EGO’s basic EGO Power 2.5Ah battery Buying a spare means leaving one on the charger ready to go, but you can also upgrade to EGO’s 4.0Ah, or 5.0Ah battery for a longer run-time.
However, these batteries cost close to — or more — than the machine itself. Upgrading the EGO’s battery or keeping a spare in your garage is a great idea, but it’ll set you back at least $100 — if not over $200 for the more powerful models.
How We Chose the Best Leaf Blower
Balanced MPH and CFM
Lawn care experts agree that the best leaf blowers have a good balance of miles per hour (MPH) and cubic feet per minute (CFM), but they couldn’t tell us exactly what that balance looked like. So, we went into testing to find out which mattered most, CFM or MPH.
We brought in the extremes: the leaf blower on our list with the highest CFM, and the one with the highest MPH. Then, we selected six additional machines that had a high proportion of both variables. This gave us eight leaf blowers in total, with a total range of 92 to 250 MPH, and 300 to 600 CFM.
We were impressed. Despite their differences in MPH and CFM, all of our leaf blowers got the job done in the same amount of time (give or take a few seconds). This taught us that leaf blowers with a lower CFM still did a great job, so long as they compensated with a high MPH, and vice versa.
Specific power settings
Our leaf blowers fell into two categories: ones where you could change the power setting in steps (usually one, two, and three) and those with a continuous dial to fine-tune the exact level of power you want, like adjusting the heat on a stove burner.
If you agree with the manufacturer on what makes the “low speed” truly low, or the “high speed” truly high, the former are perfect, preset machines. Both the Greenworks Pro and the Worx 520 work this way, but we weren’t thrilled with these presets. We couldn’t fine-tune their settings, which ultimately made them less versatile than a dial-style blower.
Easy to adjust
The adjustment controls’ style didn’t affect us as much as where on the machine we found them. We liked the Husqvarna, for example, which sets its speed by how tightly you squeeze the handle. By comparison, we struggled with the Worx 509 Trivac. We could easily toggle between modes, but the button was hard to reach.
Instead of being placed at the front of the handle like the EGO, or in the middle of the handle like the Toro, it’s toward the back of the machine. We could change settings, but it required an awkward criss-crossing of arms to do so. Both right- and left-handed testers had to stop and lift the machine every time they wanted to adjust the power.
Comfortable balance and ergonomics
A handheld leaf blower needs to comfortable, especially if you’re chasing leaves for longer than a few minutes. Balance, or how the weight is distributed in the machine, turned out to be much more important than the how much the machine actually weighs.
A good leaf blower will automatically point the nozzle to the ground as you hold it. We aren’t usually aiming at ceiling cobwebs, and having the nozzle stay perfectly level means we have to work to push it down toward the leaves. The Greenworks Pro, for example, is just as lightweight as the Ego, but harder to carry due to a nozzle that aims straight ahead rather than down. After a few minutes, we needed to switch hands to avoid wrist strain.
How to Find the Right Leaf Blower for You
Decide between a corded or battery-powered leaf blower
Corded leaf blowers and battery-powered leaf blowers both offer unique advantages. If you need more power and want a more affordable leaf blower, a corded machine will do just the trick. But if you have a large yard and don’t mind spending the money on a more expensive machine, a battery-powered leaf blower is a better choice to get the job done.
Consider extra attachments
Having an all-in-one machine to handle most of your yard work is a great way to save on space. Look at leaf blowers that can double as another machine and cut your time in half. The Toro 51619, for example, comes with an optional mulching attachment that vacuums, chops up, and stores yard waste in a linen bag to spread into your garden later.
Research interchangeable batteries
Usually the most expensive part of a battery-powered leaf blower is the battery itself. The good news is that electric lawn equipment is becoming more popular, and the technology is continuing to improve. Companies offering battery-powered yard equipment typically have multiple tools that can use the same battery.
For example, the EGO leaf blower uses batteries interchangeable with its other products, and if you already have a battery, you can buy the leaf blower shell without one. So if you’ve invested in an EGO lawn mower, you’ll already have a strong battery by the time you add the leaf blower to your garage.
Leaf Blower FAQ
Miles per hour (MPH) measures what most of us think of as power: blowing heavy things, like wet leaves. The higher the MPH, the stronger the wind.
Cubic feet per minute (CFM) measures the quantity of wind, or how many things we can blow around at the same time. As CFM increases, the amount of wind pushed through the leaf blower increases. A leaf blower with a high CFM can cover a large area in a shorter period of time than one with a low CFM.
Letting leaves decompose where they fall allows most of the nutrients trees and shrubs take out of the earth to break down into the topsoil. But if you don’t want to let a layer of dead leaves rot on the lawn, you can mulch the leaves back into your lawn and garden.
The Toro 51619, comes with a vacuum and mulching attachment, but you can also use a lawnmower. Just raise the height of the lawnmower base, and run over the leaves until you reach the desired level of chop. Then, take your mulch and work it into your garden beds. You can also sprinkle it over your lawn or wherever your yard might appreciate some extra plant food.
It’s much easier to remove dry leaves with a leaf blower than it is wet leaves. Wet leaves stick to everything and are much heavier. If you don’t want to wait for these leaves to dry, the best method is to set your leaf blower on high power and blow the wet leaves from the pavement to a place where they’re easier to collect. If they’re completely soaked through, it’s easiest to collect them with your hands or a rake.