10 Most Powerful Leaf Blowers for 2023
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When you want to clean up your yard, you don’t have time to mess around with a leaf blower that’s underpowered or unreliable. Especially if you’ve got heavy, wet leaves to deal with, sticks and rocks to clear or a large area to cover, you need a blower that packs enough punch to get the job done fast.
What you need is a high-performance, powerful leaf blower.
The most powerful leaf blowers have at least 600 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and 130 MPH (miles per hour). High-powered blowers can easily clear away wet or compacted leaves, small stones, acorns, mud and fresh-fallen snow.
- CFM indicates how much air volume a blower can put out
- MPH is how fast the air volume is moving
In this article, you’ll learn about our 10 top picks for high-performance leaf blowers. We’ve ranked them according to their CFM output, and there are four categories:
- Walk-behind models
- Backpack models
- Corded electric handheld models
- Cordless models
Following the individual product reviews, we’ve also put together an informational buying guide. For this, we talked to a local landscaping professional to get his take on the key things to consider when you’re shopping for a high-performance leaf blower.
Let’s get started!
RELATED: We’re looking at top-performing leaf blowers here, but sometimes you have a small job that doesn’t need so much force. Stop by our post on cordless, inexpensive leaf blowers to see some light-duty options.
Most Powerful Walk-Behind Leaf Blowers
1. Little Wonder Optimax Blower 9270
**Most Powerful Leaf Blower Overall
- CFM: 2260
- MPH: 143
- Weight: 142 pounds
- Engine type: Honda 4-stroke 270 cc gas engine, 9 HP
- Noise level: 93 dB
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty for residential use
When top-notch power is your first priority, you can’t beat a walk-behind leaf blower. And the Optimax 9270 from Little Wonder is our top pick for the most powerful leaf blower model.
The Honda 4-stroke engine generates a whopping 9 HP, and the 17-inch metal impeller produces a massive amount of air volume. Together, this translates to a maximum output of 2260 CFM moving at a top speed of 143 MPH. And the gas tank is large at 1.4 gallons, so you’ll have plenty of uninterrupted work time between refills.
The all-steel housing has a continuously welded construction, and the entire engine deck is a single piece. This design minimizes seams and joints that can often be vulnerable points for rust and other environmental damage.
One thing we really like about the Optimax is that the chute sits very low to the ground. This design allows the powerful air stream to shoot underneath debris, so it actually lifts debris instead of just pushing the topmost layer. Especially if you’re looking to clear wet or partially decomposed leaves, this low air steam can come in very handy. You can control the airflow direction with a lever on the handlebar, so it’s simple to make adjustments on the fly as needed.
The chute design also reduces blowback by directing air in a straight stream rather than allowing it to dissipate out to the sides. This increases your efficiency in each pass and can help shorten your work time.
Three wheels with pneumatic tires make it easy to navigate your work site. The tires are generously sized, with the front one measuring 10 inches in diameter and the dual rear ones measuring 12 inches. This means that you should be able to easily and comfortably roll over almost any bump or rut you encounter while working, and the smaller front wheel also increases stability by shifting the center of gravity downwards.
For comfort while you’re working, the Optimax has a foam-padded handlebar that helps absorb shock and vibration. Also, the ergonomic shape is easy to grip comfortably with less stress on your hands and forearms.
One thing that’s a bit of a downside is that the front wheel is fixed in position, so you’ll have to make sharp turns by tilting the blower back on the rear wheels.
- Unbeatable CFM power
- Reduced blowback air stream
- Smart, adjustable chute design
- Single-piece engine deck construction
- Long warranty period
- Fixed-position front wheel
2. Landworks Wheeled Jet Sweep
- CFM: 2000
- MPH: 200
- Weight: 129.7 pounds
- Engine type: Alpha 4-stroke 212 cc gas engine, 7 HP
- Noise level: 95.9 dB
- Warranty: Not stated
With 2000 CFM moving 200 MPH, you’ll instantly blast away wet or dry leaves, even if they’re piled high. In addition to leaves, this blower will also easily clear away sticks, small rocks, mud and snow.
For tasks that don’t require maximum power, use the variable speed control to adjust the airflow as low as 1270 CFM and 150 MPH. As another point of adjustability, the airflow chute has a 90-degree swivel that allows you to aim your airstream in the direction you need. This can come in handy for working in tighter corners or on slopes.
Three pneumatic rubber wheels make getting around your property easy. The rear wheels are 10-inches in diameter, and the front wheel is slightly smaller, at 8 inches. This is a bit smaller than the Little Wonder Optimax on spot #1, but you still shouldn’t run into too much trouble navigating standard bumps and ruts.
But one incredibly nice feature is that the front wheel has a 360-degree swivel, letting you turn on a dime. This is the only walk-behind on our list with a swivel front wheel, so if you have curving paths or corners to work with, this could prove extremely helpful.
As far as the blower’s frame goes, Landworks housed the engine in a heat-treated steel casing with a protective powder coat finish. This makes your leaf blower resistant to pain chips/cracks and also guards against rusting from water damage.
To generate the amount of air output that this blower is capable of, you also need to have a lot of air intake. The front of the engine case has a large intake port for just this purpose. While that supplies the air force you need, leaves can also get sucked into the front of the port and create a minor obstruction.
Fortunately, it’s as easy as running your hand over the port a few times to clear the leaves away, and you don’t even have to cut the engine power to do it.
- Variable speed settings
- Swiveling front wheel for excellent maneuverability
- Sturdy, pneumatic rubber wheels
- Adjustable air output chute
- Leaves can get sucked into the air intake port
3. Billy Goat F1002SPV Force Blower
- CFM: 1700
- MPH: 200
- Weight: 164 pounds
- Engine type: Briggs and Stratton Vanguard 4-stroke 305 cc gas engine, 10 HP
- Noise level: 89 dB
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty on the housing, 2-year limited warranty on the blower, 3-year limited warranty on the engine (all applicable to residential use only)
With their 17-inch, 16-blade closed design fan, this blower from Billy Goat boasts impressive engine efficiency and produces a powerful stream of air. You get a maximum air output of 1700 CFM moving at a breakneck speed of 200 MPH.
One really nice feature is Billy Goat’s Aim-N-Shoot technology. This feature lets you adjust the air stream direction by changing the angle of the output chute, all using a simple control on the handlebar.
The engine is rated at a surprisingly low 89 dB of noise production. While that definitely requires hearing protection, it’s far less than other gas models on the market that can get as high as 115 dB.
With a capacity of 0.9 gallons, the fuel tank is quite large, so you can look forward to fewer refills. And when combined with the engine’s overhead valve design that increases efficiency, you should get plenty of work time in before you’ll even come close to running out of gas.
The blower’s housing is made of a molded composite material, making it incredibly durable and resistant to weather-related damage. Also, the smooth rounded shape eliminates potentially vulnerable corner areas, cutting down on the risk of dents and rusting.
Billy Goat added generously sized pneumatic tires to their blower, with the front wheel at 10 inches and the rear wheels at 13 inches. So even though it’s pretty heavy at 164 pounds, you shouldn’t run into too much trouble getting around the worksite.
Even though the large wheels make it pretty effortless to roll pretty over most ruts or bumps, you may start to feel a little strain when pushing your blower up a hill. But with this self-propelled model, you won’t even notice a slope. When you want to engage the self-propelled feature, just squeeze a lever on the handlebar and let the drive train take over for you. If you’ve got a lot of hills to deal with, this feature can truly be a lifesaver.
For an extra measure of comfort, you’ll appreciate the fact that Billy Goat fully encased the handlebar with shock-absorbing foam. And the ergonomic handle design also makes it easy to maintain control of your blower with less strain on your hands and forearms.
Just like the Optimax in spot #1, one downside to point out here is the fixed-position front wheel. You can make turns on the two rear wheels without too much trouble, but a swivel front wheel would be a nice feature.
- Powerful fan produces high air volume
- Large pneumatic tires
- Easily adjustable chute position
- Self propel
- Quiet operation
- Fixed-position front wheel
Most Powerful Backpack Leaf Blowers
4. Echo PB-9010T
**Most Powerful Backpack Leaf Blower
- CFM: 1110
- MPH: 220
- Weight: 26.7 pounds
- Engine type: Echo 2-stroke 79.9 cc gas engine, HP not stated
- Noise level: 80 dB
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty for residential use
Echo bills this blower as “The Most Powerful Backpack Blower in the World,” and based on the awe-inducing specs, we’d have to agree. So when you’re looking for top-of-the-line performance but don’t want a walk-behind model, the Echo PB-9010T should be your first choice.
At a whopping 1110 CFM and 220 MPH, this machine isn’t too far off from some walk-behind models, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find more power in a small package than you will here. The tube-mounted throttle control is convenient and lets you quickly tailor your airflow power whenever needed.
Wet or dry, leaves are no match for this blower, along with sticks, stones and acorns. And if you’ve got a lot of pine trees on your property, you know how resistant fallen pine needles can be to moving. But this blower picks them up and directs them wherever you need with no trouble at all.
One feature we absolutely love is the air intake port located on the inside of the backpack. This port draws cool air across your back while you work, helping to keep you comfortable even if you’re tackling a big clean-up project on a hot day. We really appreciate that Echo included this feature, as it’s solely for your comfort.
A 0.65-gallon fuel tank supplies you with the power you need for a few hours of work, and the engine runs on a 50:1 gas/oil mixture.
Echo uses a top-mounted 2-stage air filter that helps keep harmful dust away from the engine components, keeping that powerful engine protected and working at top condition for as long as possible. When it’s time to clean or change the air filter, just pop the securing tabs to open the compartment, no tools required.
There’s a lot of fast airflow moving from this machine, and a rubberized handgrip helps you keep that air stream moving in your intended direction. The tube is made up of multiple sections, and Posi-loc technology keeps the pieces securely together while you work. And for a little extra reinforcement, Echo also added a protective metal ring around the tube outlet to guard against damage and wear.
At just under 27 pounds, this blower is surprisingly lightweight considering its power output. But it’s still quite a bit of weight to carry on your back, especially over long periods. Thanks to heavy-duty shoulder straps, though, that weight gets spread over your upper body as evenly as possible. Thick padding helps prevent the straps from digging into your skin, and a chest clip prevents them from slipping or sliding.
But with all that power comes a design that’s slightly on the bulky side, both in the frame design and the tube itself. Especially if you’re of a smaller stature, it’s definitely a good idea to spend some time getting the straps adjusted to optimally distribute the weight before you start work.
- Incredible power for a backpack style
- Pulls cool air onto your back
- Clears challenging materials easily
- Reinforced tube outlet
- Long warranty
- Slightly bulky design
5. Husqvarna 580BFS
- CFM: 1000
- MPH: 220
- Weight: 27.1 pounds
- Engine type: Husqvarna 2-stroke 75.6 cc gas engine, 4.59 HP
- Noise level: 79 dB
- Warranty: 2-year limited warranty
The Sweden-based Husqvarna brand has a reputation for powerful, well-built tools, and this leaf blower does not disappoint. With a max output of 1000 CFM and 220 MPH, this one packs a punch.
The engine Husqvarna uses X-Torque technology, which helps increase fuel efficiency while also cutting down on noxious fumes. This feature results in fuel efficiency that’s up to 20% better than engines without X-Torque, and up to 60% lower harmful emissions.
However, despite the claims of increased efficiency and generously sized 0.69-gallon fuel tank, this blower still goest through gas at a pretty fast pace. But with the amount of power it generates, that’s really not too surprising. Plan on getting at least a solid couple of hours of work in between fill-ups.
Husqvarna also included an air-injection feature into their engine, which cuts down on the coarse dust and other larger particulate matter that reaches the air filter. This extends the time between air filter cleaning/replacement that you’ll need to do, and it also helps protect that powerful engine from suffering an untimely early demise.
At 27.1 pounds, this blower is fairly standard when it comes to weight. To make things as comfortable as possible, Husqvarna added some nicely padded shoulder straps. Like the Echo above, this blower also has a chest clip to keep the straps from sliding down. However, Husqvarna went the extra mile and added a waist belt to this blower, so the weight is better distributed over your entire torso.
One common drawback to gas engines is that you often have to pull the rope start a few times before the engine fires to life. Husqvarna is looking to eliminate that issue with their fuel pump design that reliably starts on the first or second pull almost every time.
Finally, there are a couple of nice features that help make all that power more comfortable while you work:
- The first is Low-Vib technology that produces fewer vibrations that travel through your hands and up arm, thanks to materials built into the machine that absorb and dampen vibrations.
- The second is an adjustable handle that lets you customize the position exactly to your preference, so there’s no straining to run your blower at an awkward angle.
- Comfortable weight-distributing straps
- Powerful engine that produces fewer emissions
- Easy to start on the first pull
- Vibration-reducing technology
- Adjustable handle position
- Uses a lot of fuel
RELATED: Overgrown thatch can stand in the way of a lawn that stays healthy and lush all season long. Visit our post on electric lawn dethatchers to get yours back in shape fast!
6. Schroder SR-6400L
- CFM: 920
- MPH: 230
- Weight: 19.5 pounds
- Engine type: Schroder 2-stroke 63.3 cc gas engine, 3.7 HP
- Noise level: 98 dB
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty for residential use
The first thing we need to point out here is the price, which is an absolutely outstanding value for the function you get.
This model is roughly half the cost of the Echo and the Husqvarna models we just looked at, and the power isn’t much less. If you’re looking for a blower that can easily handle large, challenging jobs but you’ve got a tighter budget to work with, this is an awesome option to consider.
Generating 3.7 HP and 920 CFM, this blower can clear wet/dry leaves, mud, sticks, rocks and other standard debris with no problem. You’ve also got two tube outlet shapes to choose from: a standard round opening or a narrow one for more intensive airflow.
Another fantastic point about this blower is its incredibly lightweight build. Especially given the amount of power you get here, it’s almost unbelievable that this unit weighs less than 20 pounds. But it does!
Even though the frame has lightweight materials, Schroder still included thick, padded straps to provide a comfortable cushion for your shoulders. Also, the back support panel has a layer of padding for additional comfort.
However, even though the lightweight frame won’t pull on the straps too much, we wish that there was a chest clip to secure those straps firmly in place.
Aside from a 5-year limited warranty (which is already very impressive!) Schroder also has a great reputation for taking their customer service very seriously. They offer a 45-day return window, and they’ll cover the shipping charges too. So that speaks to their confidence in their product and their desire to keep their customers happy.
One thing to be aware of is that you’ll need to do a little bit more assembly to get your Schroder up and going initially. You’ll need to adjust the carburetor manually (Schroder includes a tool to do this) and some knowledge/experience with small engines is a definite plus.
- Outstanding power at a great price
- Lightweight construction
- Plenty of padding
- Long warranty period and great customer service
- No chest clip for should straps
- Requires assembly before use
Most Powerful Corded Electric Leaf Blowers
7. WORX WG521 Turbine
**Most Powerful Corded Electric Leaf Blower
- CFM: 800
- MPH: 135
- Weight: 6.6 pounds
- Engine type: 12-amp corded electric motor
- Noise level: 50 dB
- Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
Using a turbine fan that takes its cues from jet engines, this blower delivers an outstanding 800 CFM of air volume output traveling at 135 MPH. Also, WORX built this blower with a Hyper-Stream nozzle outlet, so you get focused power aimed right where you need it. Working together, these features make this model the most powerful electric leaf blower on our list.
While all that power is nice to have, sometimes you need a gentler stream of air to move small piles of leaves or work in tight corners without blasting the pickets off your fence. For these times, use the variable speed setting dial to switch to low-power mode, which is 420 CFM and 75 MPH.
One reason for the incredibly light weight (just 6.6 pounds!) is that the corded electric design eliminates the need for a gas engine or even a battery. And the electric power source also keeps your blower fully powered with no worries of running out of gas or battery juice.
Durable, industrial-grade plastic in the housing and turbine fan construction also contribute to the low overall weight. But don’t be too concerned that plastic can’t hold up as well over the long term as steel; the plastic has a rubbery rather than a rigid texture, allowing it to absorb shock instead of instantly cracking.
Given the amount of power, it’s hard to believe that this blower only generates 50 dB of noise volume. That’s less than your average vacuum cleaner, and this is the quietest model on our list. But if you’re going to be working for a long time, hearing protection is still a good idea.
This blower arrives in two separate pieces. It only takes a couple of minutes to snap the pieces together by hand (no tools needed!) before you’re up and running to get your lawn clear. And when it comes to off-season storage, you can also quickly release the securing clip to separate the blower back into its separate components to save some space.
One thing to be aware of is that the air intake port on the back of the blower is very powerful and draws in a strong stream of air. While this is what gives the blower its incredible function, you also need to use care to keep the intake port free of obstructions. Make sure to keep loose clothing, long hair or other items well away from the intake port, and always hold the blower against the side of your torso.
NOTE: To safely and effectively run this powerful machine, you’ll need the right extension cord. Be sure to use one that’s rated for at least 12 amps and 120 volts, and choose an outdoor cord. This 14-gauge, 100-foot cord from Otimo is a good choice to consider.
- Outstanding function in a small package
- Quiet operation
- Two speed options
- Tool-free assembly/disassembly
- Need to use care to keep the air intake port clear
8. Toro PowerJet F700
- CFM: 725
- MPH: 140
- Weight: 6.66 pounds
- Engine type: 12-amp corded electric motor
- Noise level: 70 dB
- Warranty: 2-year limited warranty
This Toro F700 blower has many basic similarities to the WORX model we just looked at above. However, the price point for this blower is lower to a significant degree (typically $40 or more). So if you’re looking for a powerful handheld electric model on a budget, this one delivers!
This blower uses a compact, efficient turbine fan to create a powerful stream of air. While the CFM metric is a little lower here (725 here vs. 800 in the WORX model), this blower beats in MPH by a small margin (140 MPH here vs 135 in the WORX). So the overall power is a bit less, but still pretty impressive and very functional, especially given the lower cost.
Choose between 2 variable speed settings by turning a dial on the handle. With the dial in easy reach, you’ll be able to quickly make power adjustments whenever you need to as you work.
Weighing in at 6.66 pounds, this blower is about as lightweight as they come and you won’t have to expend too much energy to carry it around your yard. It seems hard to believe that such a lightweight piece of equipment can pack so much punch, but it’s true. In fact, on the high speed setting, you’ll probably have to use two hands to counter the thrust the motor generates!
Simple assembly is also another nice feature. The tube snaps onto the motor housing, and you’re ready to get to work. A cord retention system secures a loop of cord within the handle portion, directing the remaining cord more out of your way and helping to guard against accidental disconnections.
For noise production, this blower generates around 70 dB. Although this level is still on the low end as far as leaf blowers go, make sure to use ear protection for your long-term safety and short-term comfort.
Since this blower uses a turbine fan like the WORX does, you have the same issue of strong negative pressure pulling loose items against the air intake ports. However, this problem is a little more pronounced in this blower, since there are intake ports on the sides as well as the back. So you’ll have to be careful to hold the blower farther away from your torso to help prevent obstructions.
NOTE: To supply enough power safely, you’ll need to use an outdoor extension cord that’s rated for at least 12 amps and 120 volts. The 100-foot, 14-gauge cord from Otimo that we listed above for the WORX WG521 is a good fit for this blower as well.
- Attractive price point
- Powerful performance
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Corded electric motor never runs out of power
- Side air intake ports may get obstructed more easily
Most Powerful Cordless Leaf Blowers
9. EGO Power+ LB6500
**Most Powerful Cordless Leaf Blower
- CFM: 650
- MPH: 180
- Weight: 12.9 pounds
- Engine type: 56-volt cordless battery
- Noise level: 65 dB
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty, 3-year warranty on battery and charger
Battery-powered tools have come a long way in the last couple of decades, and this 56-volt battery leaf blower from EGO can more than hold its own against corded or even gas-powered models. And that’s all without the hassle of an extension cord or a small engine.
This blower uses a variable speed dial to let you adjust your air volume speed between 225-500 CFM. And when you need an extra burst of power, engage the Turbo button to ramp the power all the way up to 650 CFM. That’s plenty of power for dealing with wet leaves, mud, stones and non-compacted snow. Not too shabby for a battery tool!
This impressive power output power is owing to a high-efficiency brushless motor and a lithium ARC battery system. Also, EGO includes two nozzle attachment pieces, one in a standard tapered shape and the other in a flat shape. This gives you a little extra flexibility to tailor your airflow to the situation at hand.
One thing we really appreciate about this blower is how EGO situated the air intake port in front of the battery connection. Especially with turbine-style fans, the negative airflow to supply the fan can be pretty strong, potentially sucking in loose hair or clothing. With EGO’s design, the intake port is still open to the air but the battery connector blocks you from accidentally obstructing the port. Clever!
Power output isn’t the only way batteries have gotten an upgrade, either. The battery life will last you up to 18 minutes on continuous Turbo mode, and you’ll get up to 30 minutes of life on the highest dial setting. And that battery life extends all the way up to 200 minutes when you work on the lowest setting.
When you do finally run out of battery life, plan on recharging for about 100 minutes to get back to a full charge. But one nice thing is that EGO’s 56-volt batteries are fully compatible with the 50+ other tools within the EGO brand. So if you already own other EGO power tools, just grab another battery and get right back to work.
Another nice thing to point out is the generous warranty period. EGO warrants the blower itself for 5 years and the battery/charging system for 3 years. That’s a pretty reassuring warranty policy, so that says a lot about how EGO feels about its products and customers.
One downside is the fairly heavy weight, at just under 13 pounds. That higher weight is due largely to the battery. EGO does not include a shoulder support strap with the blower, but you can purchase it separately on Amazon.
- Convenient, powerful battery operation
- Long battery life
- Sheltered air intake port
- Battery is interchangeable with other EGO tools
- Long warranty
10. WORX Nitro WG585 Power Share LEAFJET
- CFM: 620
- MPH: 125
- Weight: 6.6 pounds
- Engine type: 40-volt cordless battery
- Noise level: 70 dB
- Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
This one certainly looks a little different than your standard leaf blower, doesn’t it?
But that unusual design boasts quite a few attractive features, starting off with a maximum air volume of 620 CFM moving at speeds up to 125 MPH. And one of our very favorite aspects of this blower is the fact that you can quickly adjust both the air volume and the airspeed, without even having to stop working.
A variable speed dial lets you use just the right amount of MPH to effectively move various objects. Start out on low speed to blow stray leaves out of your mulched beds, and ramp it up when you’ve got a larger pile of leaves to move along.
The turbo button supplies an extra jolt of power for those especially hard-to-clear areas or stray piles of wet debris. It’s located on the handle right next to the variable dial, so it’s easy to reach with your thumb while you’re working. However, while the turbo mode is perfect for blasting out those random tough areas, it’s best for intermittent use since there’s no locking feature on the turbo button.
A small but powerful turbine fan produces the air volume that really does the heavy lifting of clearing your lawn, and your volume output is also adjustable. Set your desired volume by using a clever sliding nozzle with dual air intake ports:
- Slide the nozzle out to use low mode, which uses both ports to draw a larger air volume, but at a slower speed. This is great for a wide-open area or for clearing dry leaves.
- Slide the nozzle back to use high mode, which uses a single port to draw less air, but at a higher speed and more intense force. This is ideal for dislodging wet or compacted leaves or heavier debris like mud or stones.
Two 20V batteries supply the power needed to run this machine, and you’ll get an average of about 15 minutes of battery life on high speed. When you’re using low speed, that lifespan extends to roughly 28 minutes.
Another great perk of the unique straight-line construction is that the weight is distributed evenly, resulting in a naturally balanced design. Especially when combined with the light overall weight of just 6.6 pounds, this blower should cause you the bare minimum of arm strain, or none at all.
So if you have decreased arm/hand strength, are a senior or just want a comfortable tool, this is a great choice.
- Impressive power in a unique package
- Customizable air volume and speed
- Comfortable, balanced design
- Perfect for seniors or those with decreased strength
- Have to manually hold turbo button down
- Short battery life
RELATED: Once you’ve blown all your leaves into a large pile, it’s time to mulch them up for disposal or using in the garden. Visit our post on stationary and portable leaf mulchers to check out our favorites.
Shopping for the Most Powerful Leaf Blowers: Tips from a Pro
While there’s certainly no shortage of high-performance leaf blowers out there, picking the right one for your needs can be a little tricky. Doing your due diligence while shopping can help you avoid overbuying or ending up with a piece of equipment that’s not strong enough to get your lawn clear.
In cases like this, getting a little professional input can be incredibly helpful, so we consulted Justin Lopez, the owner of A&A Lawn Care in Rockford, IL. (Just as an aside, Rockford’s nickname is “The Forest City,” so you can be confident that a landscaper working here knows a thing or two about clearing leaves!)
In this guide, we’ll be looking at the following topics:
- What CFM and MPH are and why they matter
- Determining the amount of leaf blower power you need
- Why a blower’s weight matters
- The differences between gas, electric and battery blowers
1. CFM vs MPH: What’s More Important?
A leaf blower’s power is determined primarily by two factors: CFM and MPH.
We talked about this a little bit at the beginning of the post, but here are the definitions again:
CFM is a measurement of how much air volume a leaf blower produces, and MPH shows how fast that volume is moving.
According to Lopez, CFM is the primary determiner of a blower’s raw power. However, he’s careful to note that the two measurements “work together,” so don’t overlook the MPH of a model you’ve got your eye on.
2. Determining How Much Leaf-Blowing Power You Need
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to how much power you should purchase in a leaf blower. According to Lopez, it “depends on the size of the yard, how many trees and what type of job.”
While Lopez and his crew work with high-powered backpack blowers in the 600-800 CFM range, he says that, for most homeowners, “a couple of hundred (CFM) should be ok.” This power level should be sufficient if you primarily want to use your blower to:
- Clear newly fallen autumn leaves
- Tidy up landscaped beds without blasting mulch everywhere
- Blow out your garage or workshop
- Remove a fresh layer of snowfall
But if you’re planning to use your blower for clearing wet leaves, dislodging compacted debris or blowing stray stones back into their place, you’ll need at least 600 CFM. That’s really where airflow starts to take on true “blasting” power.
Walk-behind leaf blowers produce top-of-the-line performance, and they’re great for:
- Large properties. If you’ve got 1/2 acre or more of land to clear, a walk-behind model can reduce an entire day’s worth of work into just a couple of hours.
- Long, tree-lined driveways. Instead of multiple passes with a smaller blower, you can clear the entire area just by walking up and down your driveway.
- Physical limitations. If you have problems with your back, shoulders or arms, using a backpack or handheld blower might be difficult or impossible. A walk-behind blower lessens the strain on your body by letting you push the blower instead of carrying it.
Backpack leaf blowers provide outstanding flexibility and impressive performance, and they’re great for:
- Medium to large properties. Backpacks can clear a fairly large area fast, typically 1/4 acre or more.
- High power that’s easy to transport. While not at the level of a walk-behind, backpacks are still impressively powerful. And they’re far easier to transport in your vehicle if needed!
- Tight spaces. If you’ve got a densely wooded area on your property, maneuvering a walk-behind or handheld model could be challenging. The wearable nature of a backpack blower lets you work in crowded spaces with ease.
Handheld leaf blowers can be corded or cordless, and they’re ideal for:
- Small to medium properties. Areas up to 1/4 acre, as long as you’re within extension-cord range for a corded model.
- Lightweight construction. Handheld models are the lightest blowers on the market.
- Budget constraints. Handheld models come with the lowest cost, but many models also deliver surprising power. So they’re great for performance on a budget.
Also, the type of trees on your property makes a difference as well. Oak trees, of course, produce a wealth of acorns each year. And pine trees drop a heavy blanket of needles that, despite being light, can be surprisingly resistant to moving.
For acorns, a leaf blower with at least 400 CFM should be able to clear the area pretty quickly. All the models we’ve looked at here more than meet that criteria, so acorns shouldn’t stand a chance with any of them.
And for pine needles, look for a model with a higher MPH. The fast-moving air stream is better able to get underneath the dense needle blanket and lift it from beneath. The Echo PB-9010T in spot #4 generates the highest MPH of the bunch, at 220 MPH. If your property is dense with pine trees, you may want to consider this one.
3. Keep Weight in Mind
Whether you’ll be pushing it, wearing it or carrying it around in your hands, a leaf blower’s weight is a key consideration.
Walk-behind leaf blowers typically weigh somewhere between 120 to 170 pounds. That’s pretty heavy, but these models have large wheels and pneumatic tires, which make a big difference in comfort and ease of pushing.
Hills, however, can present a challenge. If you live on a hilly property, a walk-behind blower with a self-propel feature can be a lifesaver. The Billy Goat F1002SPV we looked at in spot #3 offers this feature.
When it comes to backpack blowers, Lopez states that “under 20 pounds is awesome,” but that most weigh a bit over that, usually in the 25-pound+ range. The Echo PB-9010T (spot #4 on our list) and the Husqvarna 580BTS (spot #5) both weigh a little over 26 pounds, so they’re right in line with what Lopez states is average.
But the Schroder SR-6400L in spot #6 weighs 19.5 pounds, so it’s the lightest of the bunch and still provides excellent power output. If lightweight design is paramount for you, this is a strong contender.
With handheld models, Lopez suggests that you look for one that’s under 10 pounds. If you’re wanting to keep the handheld weight to a minimum, a corded electric model will be your best bet. The WORX WG521 Turbine in spot #7 and the Toro F700 in spot #8 illustrate this perfectly, weighing under 7 pounds apiece.
Most of the time, the battery-powered handheld models weigh a little more, with the battery itself making up the majority of the weight. That’s the case with the EGO Power+ LB6500 in spot #9, which weighs 12.9 pounds.
However, the WORX Nitro WG585 Power Share LEAFJET in spot #10 is an outlier as a battery-powered model that weighs just 6.6 pounds.
4. What’s Better: Gas, Electric or Battery?
For homeowners with small to medium sized properties, both corded electric and battery models are perfect options. But Lopez knows right away which power source he would choose: “Battery is great. It’s more costly, but it’s better.”
However, Lopez goes on to say that battery-powered blowers just aren’t practical on a commercial scale. He uses gasoline engines in his professional-grade backpack blowers, and he notes that most of the United States does as well. So if your work area is large, you’ve got multiple trees on your property or otherwise challenging conditions, gas is your best bet.
Gas-powered leaf blowers can either have a 4-stroke or a 2-stroke engine, and while they both provide lots of power, they function in separate ways. This video from Carl’s Mower and Saw does an excellent job of explaining the differences between the two types and outlining the pros and cons of each:
And as for corded electric leaf blowers, they come in as Lopez’s third choice. No surprise here, but the limitation of how far you can travel from your electrical outlet and the risk of tripping on an extension cord are the primary drawbacks.
However, corded models tend to be the least expensive and lightest of all options. Also, they’ll never run out of battery power or gas while you’re working. So if you’ve got a dense forest of trees on a small lot, an electric model could be a great option.
Safety Note: Protect Your Hearing
According to the Centers for Disease Control, prolonged exposure to noises 70 dB or higher can cause hearing loss over time. Leaf blowers often exceed that safe-noise level, so it’s important to use appropriate hearing protection when you’re clearing the lawn.
There are a couple of models on out list today that are under the 70 dB threshold: The WORX WG521 Turbine and the EGO Power+ LB6500. However, it’s still a good idea to use hearing protection even with these models for your comfort and long-term safety.
Here are a few comfortable, effective options for hearing protection:
When it comes to which model wins our ranking of the most powerful leaf blower, we’ve got to hand it to the Little Wonder Optimax 9270. You just can’t beat a 2260 CFM combined with 143 MPH airspeed.
But while it packs the greatest power punch, there are other awesome options out there too. Take the time to carefully consider your needs, and you’ll end up with one that you’ll reach for time and again in any season.
We’d love to hear from you! Are there any other models you’d suggest when it comes to the most powerful leaf blowers? Do you have any questions or helpful tips to share?
Let us know in the comments!
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