With summertime here, that means that autumn is right around the corner. The trees will be changing their leaf color then they will eventually fall to the ground and need to be picked up. What better way to help clean up those falling leaves than with a leaf blower? Traditionally, only landscapers would use the machines, however, in recent years, more and more of the devices are being made smaller so that the “average homeowner” can operate one. They have become lighter and more powerful, using gas, diesel, a mixture of gas and oil (called two-stroke), batteries or electric to power them.
Leaf blowers are available for homeowner use in three basic types:
1. Hand-held blower
2. Backpack blower
3. Ground blower
Each blower has its own capabilities and advantages, and each type of machine is, essentially, aimed towards a particular type of usage, as suggested by various Leaf Blower Reviews.
The hand-held blower used to be the most popular for home use – although that has now changed. Such a unit provides the lowest initial price for the cost-conscious homeowner. Hand-held blowers are manufactured either as electric or gasoline-powered. The electric units are the cheapest, provide the least airflow (leaf blowing power) and, generally speaking, are simply disposed of when something goes wrong (nobody fixes `em). A traditional complaint with electric-powered leaf blowers is, also, the fact that one is “married” to the cord – thus, the extension cord determines the distance from the electrical receptacle that one can work. As well, it can get to be aggravating to uncoil and then recoil the cord at each instance in which the blower is used. Regularly, a homeowner with an electric will opt at some point to replace it with a gas-powered unit.
The hand-held gas blower is quite a bit more powerful than the electric models. In addition, its use is greatly enhanced by its total mobility – just take it and go! There are no cords with which to fuss. Such units use two-cycle engines which are lightweight and require very low maintenance. Just ensure that the model selected can be serviced by a servicing OPE (Outdoor Power Equipment) Dealer – if such a unit is bought at a “big-box” store there will likely be no readily available parts, and no one to service it. As well, the better, premium-brand units are much more reliable – they start readily and do the job with no problems. Such a blower is extremely useful throughout the year in removing grass clippings after the lawn cutting and edging process, cleaning the patio or deck, etc. – making it a handy tool to have around.
The backpack blower offers greatly increased efficiency over the and-held blower. On a rough scale, a good hand-held gas blower will produce almost 300 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM); whereas, a good, but intermediate-sized, backpack unit will produce an average of 800 cubic feet of air per minute. One of the leading manufacturers of professional OPE utilizing two-cycle engines (line trimmers,
blowers, chainsaws, etc.) is Echo, and this company has re-engineered their premium model to produce an unprecedented 1600+ CFM at the blower housing – an almost unbelievable amount of air volume and efficiency. This is one of the most powerful backpack blowers in the industry – and, in a triumph of engineering, at a reduced weight over the prior model.
The traditional heavyweight – and the traditional leaf blower of choice for removing larger quantities of leaves off of average to larger-sized properties – is the ground blower. A unit like this is used by walking behind it somewhat like walking behind a lawnmower. The primary advantage to using such a blower is that, with a properly designed unit, the tremendous air volume that the machine produces
will remove the largest amount of leaves in the shortest possible time.
A good-quality walk behind (ground) leaf blower will produce 1500 CFM or more (up to about 2500 CFM), typically utilizing engines that range from 5 hp all the way up to 13 hp.