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Leaf Blower Reviews and Ratings

Looking for the best leaf blower? Gas, electric, backpack, or cordless? The pros at TOH offer their top leaf blower reviews to help you decide which is the best for you.

Man using leaf blower in yard. iStock

When the leaves start piling up this fall, don't sweat it. Our high-powered yard-clearing arsenal stands at the ready to turn that age-old chore into, well, less of one. To make things easier this fall, we reviewed four categories of leaf blowers—gas-powered blower-vacuums, electric blower-vacs, cordless blowers, and backpack blowers—to find the ones that stand out. The right tool for your yard depends on how much work the leaves leave for you.

Choose the Right Type of Leaf Blower For You

  1. Gas-powered leaf blower-vacs come with everything required to convert the blower into a mulching vacuum. The best ones have a durable, metal impeller that can shred both leaves and twigs. A blower's power is given in miles per hour (mph) and cubic feet per minute (cfm). Cfm is a better representation of the work the machine can do; the higher the number, the more air it moves. Manufacturers list both measurements.
  2. Electric blower-vacs need none of the maintenance required by gas engines. The ones in this review allow you to convert from blowing to vacuuming by just flipping a switch. (The gas-powered versions have to be refitted for each conversion.)
  3. Cordless blowers move leaves with less noise than gas blowers, have no emissions, and aren't tethered to a cord. They also have less power, so they're best for a quick "sweep" to clean up after mowing.
  4. Backpack blowers provide the power and go-anywhere ability of gas without the arm strain of a handheld blower. Backpacks can be used for hours on end without any discomfort; handhelds get uncomfortable after 45 minutes.

The decibel (dB) readings for all blowers were taken from 50 feet away. That's a good distance for the neighbors, but ear protection is a must for the person using any of these machines.

Our Top 10 Best Leaf Blowers

1. Echo ES-255

Echo ES-255 Gas Blower Photo by Courtesy of Echo

Overview

  • Type: Gas blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Excellent
  • Vacuum rating: Excellent
  • Impeller blade: Steel
  • Balance and comfort: Good balance in blower mode and very comfortable in vacuum mode because of the large grip on the bottom of the engine.

Our Review

The engine is 30 percent easier to start compared with Echo's previous models. The locking collar around the two-piece blower tube holds on very securely, but it has to be released with a tool, such as a flathead screwdriver. Twisting on the vacuum tube takes some effort as well, but it's secure once it's locked. The lower section of the blower tube can be slightly adjusted for height.

We prefer designs, like Echo's, that use a thumbscrew to hold the impeller guard in place; it's easier to remove than the plastic catch on other models. The vacuum bag is easy to remove when full. We found the ES 255 to be an excellent blower-vac that's easy to use, once you understand how to attach and remove the tubes.

Specs

9.7 pounds. 25.4 cc. 16.2-ounce fuel tank. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 155 mph/342 cfm. 70 dB at 50 feet. 12:1 mulching ratio. 2.4-cubic-foot bag. Five-year warranty.

About $330; Echo

2. Husqvarna 125BVx

Husqvarna 125BVx Gas Blower Photo by Courtesy of Husqvarna

Overview

  • Type: Gas blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Excellent
  • Vacuum rating: Very good
  • Impeller blade: Steel
  • Balance and comfort: The abundance of rubber on the handle makes this blower very comfortable to hold. The narrow profile of the housing allows you to hold your arm at a natural position, rather than away from your body to accommodate a bulky housing.

Our Review

This is the only blower tested that comes with flat and round tube tips, which affect the air's velocity, not the volume. The flat nozzle is for pushing leaves around the lawn; the lower-velocity round tip is for clearing them out of corners. The length of the blower nozzle can be adjusted to suit your height; a nice feature that should be standard on all blowers. Converting to vacuum mode is easy, and the vacuum-bag tube sits at a comfortable angle, but the small metal impeller blade didn't perform as well as bigger ones. The 125BVx is easy to start.

Specs

9.6 pounds. 28 cc. 16.91-ounce fuel tank. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 170 mph/425 cfm with flat nozzle, 130 mph/425 cfm with round nozzle. 70 dB at 50 feet. 16:1 mulching ratio. 2.2-cubic-foot bag. Two-year warranty.

About $190; Husqvarna

3. Ryobi RY09053

Ryobi RY09053 Gas Blower Photo by Courtesy of Ryobi

Overview

  • Type: Gas blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Very good
  • Vacuum rating: Good
  • Impeller blade: Plastic
  • Balance and comfort: The hard handle could use some cushioning to make it more comfortable. In use, this machine rotates to the left quite strongly.

Our Review

The entry-level-priced Ryobi is a capable blower but is limited as a vacuum. For instance, the plastic impeller was stopped by a dime-size branch, and the position of the vacuum bag is uncomfortable; the user has to remove the tube from the housing to dump the bag's contents.

Specs

9.5 pounds. 26 cc. 13-ounce fuel tank. Maximum blower speed/volume: 150 mph/400 cfm. 70 dB at 50 feet. 12:1 mulching ratio. 1.5-cubic-foot bag. Three-year warranty.

About $100; Ryobi

4. Stihl SH 56 C-E

Stihl SH 56 C-E Gas Blower Photo by Courtesy of Stihl

Overview

  • Type: Gas blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Excellent
  • Vacuum rating: Excellent
  • Impeller blade: Plastic
  • Balance and comfort: Good balance, with very little twisting toward the user. The auxiliary grip you need to use during vacuum mode is too small.

Our Review

One of the easier engines to start and a solid performer. Its 14-to-1 mulching ratio—how well it turns whole leaves into mulchable confetti—is the best of all the blower vacs we tested. Both the blower and vacuum tubes are securely attached, but they require a time-consuming two-step procedure to lock them and a tool to unlock them. When starting the engine, the choke automatically adjusts once you pull the trigger, but the unit lacks a sealed on/off switch or cruise control. (These details are found in premium Stihl models.) The two-part blower tube's length is slightly adjustable.

Specs

11.5 pounds. 27.2 cc. 18.3-ounce fuel tank. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 143 mph/418 cfm. 70 dB at 50 feet. 14:1 mulching ratio. 1.5-cubic-foot bag. Two-year warranty.

About $220; STIHL

5. Toro 51984

Toro 51984 Gas Blower Photo by Courtesy of Toro

Overview

  • Type: Gas blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Very good
  • Vacuum rating: Excellent
  • Impeller blade: Steel
  • Balance and comfort: Needs improvement. The bulky housing on the right side of the handle makes this unit uncomfortable for left-handed users. In blower mode it tends to rotate toward the user more than most. In vacuum mode the exhaust is directed toward the user, and the muffler becomes very hot and is uncomfortably close to one of the handles.

Our Review

The Toro is one of the least-expensive models to include a metal impeller, and it includes an easy-to-read sticker that walks you through the starting process.

Specs

9.7 pounds. 25.4 cc. 16-ounce fuel tank. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 160 mph/420 cfm. 70 dB at 50 feet. 10:1 mulching ratio. 1.5-cubic-foot bag. Three-year warranty.

About $140; Toro

6. Troy-Bilt TB125QS

Troy-Bilt TB125QS Electric Blower Photo by Courtesy of Troy-Bilt

Overview

  • Type: Electric blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Good
  • Vacuum rating: Good
  • Impeller blade: Plastic
  • Balance and comfort: The only model to have an auxiliary top handle, similar to one you'd find on a circular saw, but it is hard and undersized. For a large unit, it is well balanced when used as a blower, but the bag is small and awkwardly placed, so everything is off balance when sucking up leaves.

Our Review

Features a switch between the blower and vacuum modes; there's no need to stop and swap out components. A lever-controlled paddle redirects the airflow, though neither the paddle nor the lever feel durable. This tool's main flaw is its bulk; most of it is in the joined vacuum-and-blower-tube assembly, which can't be removed easily for storage. The vacuum tube obscures the blower tube, and that's frustrating for anyone who likes to see the end of the blower. The built-in extension-cord holder can't accommodate a 14-gauge extension cord. The patio-head attachment included in the kit works well on flat surfaces but doesn't seem durable. The bag's weight is carried on the tube. This is the heaviest of the tools tested and has the smallest bag capacity. Note that Troy-Bilt measures blower cfm at the housing, which yields a bigger cfm number than measurements taken at the tube end. (All the other blowers in this test take their cfm ratings at the tube end.)

Specs

13.6 pounds. 12 amps. Maximum blower speed/volume: 150 mph at tube end/425 cfm at housing. 66 dB at 50 feet. 10:1 mulching ratio. .93-cubic-foot bag. Two-year warranty.

About $90; Troy-Bilt

7. Worx TriVac WG500

Worx TriVac WG500 Electric Blower Photo by Courtesy of Worx

Overview

  • Type: Electric blower-vac
  • Blower rating: Fair
  • Vacuum rating: Very good
  • Impeller blade: Plastic
  • Balance and comfort: The large handle is easy to hold, but the unit is a bit out of balance—it leans toward the motor.

Our Review

The unit is a very good mulcher despite not having a metal impeller, and the tube is easy to remove for storage. However, the paddle that controls the direction of the air for the blower and vacuum tubes doesn't seat very well. As a result, it will actually suck up leaves as it's blowing. The vacuum tube is angled comfortably toward the ground, but, as with the Troy-Bilt, it hovers over the blower tube, so you have to guess where the air is coming out. The bag has a heavy-duty zipper and is comfortable to carry on a shoulder. The opening on the blower tube is also the narrowest tested; that makes for a very tight air stream, which means you have to move the blower more.

Specs

8.4 pounds. 12 amps. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 210 mph (cfm not available). 70 dB at 50 feet. 10:1 mulching ratio. 1.8-cubic-foot bag. Four-year warranty.

About $90; WORX

8. Stihl BGA 85

Stihl BGA 85 Cordless Blower Photo by Courtesy of Stihl

Overview

  • Type: Cordless blower
  • Blower rating: Very good
  • Balance and comfort: The 2 ½-pound lithium-ion battery throws the blower out of balance, so you have to work at pointing the nozzle down.

Our Review

Stihl's new blower is quiet and powerful, and has a variable-speed trigger and zero emissions. The two-stage, in-line fan design, similar to a jet engine's, streamlines the tube-shaped blower and generates a cfm just below the company's mid-level gas-powered engines. It delivers 10 minutes of run time, practically speaking; a longer-lasting, more expensive battery ($260) will double that time. This blower is geared toward pros or prosumers who want the power of gas without the maintenance, noise, and emissions.

Specs

9.6 pounds. 36-volt lithium-ion battery; recharge time, 100 minutes. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 102 mph/385 cfm. 64 dB at 50 feet. Two-year warranty on tool, battery, and charger.

$300, battery ($150) and charger ($50) sold separately; STIHL

9. Worx Air WG540-5

Worx Air WG540-5 Cordless Blower Photo by Courtesy of Worx

Overview

  • Type: Cordless blower
  • Blower rating: Good
  • Balance and comfort: Lightweight, balanced, and comfortable.

Our Review

While it won't replace a rake or a broom, the Worx is a good companion blower for sweeping walkways, patios, driveways, or garages. It runs for about 18 minutes. The high mph is achieved by forcing air through a narrow tip. Because this stream of air is concentrated into a very limited width, you have to constantly rotate the blower to move leaves.

Specs

3.5 pounds. 18-volt lithium-ion battery; recharge time: 30 minutes. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 120 mph (cfm not available). 70 dB at 50 feet. Two-year warranty.

$150, WORX

10. Stihl BR 200

Stihl BR 200 Gas-Powered Backpack Blower Photo by Courtesy of Stihl

Overview

  • Type: Gas-powered backpack blower
  • Blower rating: Excellent
  • Balance and comfort: Light and very comfortable. To minimize vibration, four springs keep the engine independent from the shoulder harness. The control stick can be repositioned along the blower tube to accommodate the user.

Our Review

Packing the same engine size and performance as mid-range handheld blowers, the BR 200 is a small backpack that can be used for hours without the discomfort you'd experience in a handheld blower. A built-in footrest keeps the unit secure on the ground while starting, and pressing the throttle moves the choke for you. Like all the Stihls, this one starts easily with a pull or two.

Specs

12.6 pounds. 27.2 cc. 35.5-ounce fuel tank. Maximum blower speed/volume at tube end: 132 mph /406 cfm. 70 dB at 50 feet. Two-year warranty.

About $280; STIHL