By: Leonard Mutch
Garden leaf blowers are powered generally either by gas or electric. Our article below will guide you to make the best choice of leaf blower for your portability needs, and garden size.
Gas Leaf Blowers
These are more powerful (and noisier) than electric ones, and with a reach beyond the limits of an extension cord. Two-cycle engines require a mix of gas and oil. Gas powered leaf blowers are excellent where mobility and greater work output is required, but are unfortunately heavier than the electric models.
Hand held leaf blowers - Useful only for small to medium yards where you need the power of a gas engine.. They can get heavy however after using for a while. Convenience and portability have their own price if you have backache! The bigger models can also vibrate a bit at top speed, so check the weight and balance.
Look for air speeds higher than 150 mph and noise levels less than 70 decibels. (Make sure to check your local ordinances: as some areas limit noise to less than 65 decibels.)
Backpack leaf blowers - these are best for driveways and bigger yards. Be sure to look out for an antivibration system and noise-squelching muffler to make carrying the engine bearable for long periods of time. The blower fits in a harness worn on the operator's back.
Walk behind leaf blowers - these are better for large yards or big areas. I would look for a four cycle engine to give you more power and less emissions, and also a three wheeler if possible to make for easier steering. Walk behind leaf blowers cover the most acreage in the least time. These gas powered machines are normally the tool of choice for commercial users, but for regular homeowners, they can make short work of a home lawn.They will however be more expensive too! Vacuum units also use a hose for picking up debris and leaves.
Electric Leaf Blowers
These are less powerful than gas, but have the advantage of being lighter, with less vibration and quieter (you still need some protection for your hearing) — and there are no exhaust fumes! as electricity drives the fan. The attached cord however, limits your mobility so this may not be the best choice for a lawn with lots of trees!. Look too, for a cord retention system to prevent the cord from being accidentally unplugged when being used. Also when selecting an extension cord to use with your electric leaf blower, remember that if the gauge used is too small or inadequate, the motor will not perform particularly well. Match the power rating of the tool to a compatible cord, and always buy a cord that is rated for outdoor use. Be Safe!
Handheld leaf blowers - these are best for smaller gardens, patios and walkways. Be on the lookout for one with a flexible blower tube to allow you to reach into corners!
Combo leaf blower/vacuum - a great idea for small to medium gardens where you've not much room to pile your leaves. I would look out for one with a variable speed and mulcher built-in to the blower to help cut the leaf volume.
Rechargeable/battery-operated leaf blowers - are a good alternative for small areas. Work well on solid surfaces like driveways and garages, but are limited because of their short run time and because they move less air than the larger corded models.
This article was posted on January 30, 2006
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