How to Choose a Cordless Leaf Blower
It’s difficult to decide which cordless leaf blower is the right one for you? Whether you’re looking for a heavy-duty workhorse that can clear tons of leaves to sweep a small porch without a fuss or a budget model, we’ve covered you. We break down the various types of blowers that are available, their pros and cons, and what to look for when picking a new one. Continue reading to see our detailed buying guide for our best cordless leaf blower or check out our full cordless leaf blower review to see which items we felt were the best.
Types of Leaf Blowers
From a burly gasoline-powered model suitable for clearing whole golf courses to an 18-volt budget model that can do little more than blow leaves out of your entrance, there is a different type of leaf blower for almost every application, with virtually every product falling into one of three categories.
Typically the most powerful of the three types of leaf blowers, gas-powered versions are best suited for industrial or highly heavy duty operation, making them much more blower than a normal homeowner requires. Typically these systems are backpack blowers that combine the extra power with slightly more weight and noise than a cordless or corded blower. Gas-powered blowers often need much more maintenance than electric blowers, requiring you to track and adjust the amount of oil, spark plugs, and all the other items that go with gasoline engines. A gas-powered blower is likely to be overkilling unless you operate a landscaping business or maintain large tracts of land. In comparison, some of these versions appear to be a little more costly than their electronic counterparts.
Although gas-powered blowers are typically the most efficient leaf blowers, this distinction may not be kept for long. Because of the advancements in electric motor design, both corded and cordless leaf blowers catch up, delivering plenty of power in a much more lightweight and quieter bundle. Corded leaf blowers are available in either backpack or handheld versions and are much smaller and less noisy than models powered by gasoline. Such items are a good option if you know that you need them to work for extended periods of time, as you have infinite runtime in essence. This infinite length, sadly, comes through a cord that can become an immense hassle. The extension cord used to operate most of these blowers seems to get twisted or hung up on almost everything, which means you can probably spend as much time untangling a cord as removing leaves or pine needles.
Finally, this leaves cordless leaf blowers that are our review’s main focus and what we would suggest to most people. Such devices rely on small lithium batteries, so in a very lightweight package they pack a surprising amount of power, with some of the larger models also holding their own against corded models. On top of that — and the main reason that we suggest to most people cordless leaf blowers— this style of leaf blower is by far the simplest and most convenient to use. Sure, you don’t have infinite runtime, but we believe it’s more than just because it’s incredibly nice to grab the leaf blower and get to work without a lot of setup.
Phase 1: Is it the right choice for a Cordless Blower?
Although cordless leaf blowers are our favorites and we are sure that they are the right choice for the vast majority of people, they are certainly not the best option for 100% of users. The biggest drawback for a cordless leaf blower is runtime and therefore the amount of area you can effectively clear. With these items, however, you can still clear a relatively large area. We found that we could routinely clear a 2500-3000 square in our experience. Ft. single-battery parking lot with mid-level cordless leaf blowers, which should be more than adequate for most average homeowners.
More than made up for the limited range, we consider the convenience factor. These products are much quieter than gas-powered models, take much less maintenance, and after the first few times a corded model has been untangled, you will be ready to cut the cord. You may note, however, that not all cordless blowers are created equal and you’re going to want to find the cordless model that best suits your needs, taking us to the next segment.
Phase 2: What’s the right voltage? What kind of battery do you need to buy?
The nominal operating voltage is one of the first things you’ll find advertised on a cordless blower. Battery voltage varies throughout the working and charging rates, so don’t be too surprised to find out that your 82-volt blower only reads 77 or 78 volts — take our word for it and don’t attempt and test it at home, it’s a good way to damage the battery or void your warranty.
As far as the batteries are concerned, you should probably find only a model of newer lithium batteries, the exact chemistry that vary (lithium-ion, lithium-polymer, etc.) but it should certainly have lithium somewhere in it. The vast majority of cordless blowers are all lithium, and you’d be hard pressed to find one working on older Ni-Cad or NiMH batteries, but if you managed to find one, we’d suggest not to purchase one.
Even after you have reduced your search to a model powered by a lithium battery, you will notice that there is a wide range of voltages, some running on as little as 20 volts and others running on more than 80 volts. This is roughly in line with overall power and performance, with all our top models running at more than 40 volts. If you have significant areas to clean and constant quantities of debris to clear, one of the higher voltage models would be suggested. If you’re only going to use your cordless blower here and there for a light mess, you’d probably be fine with a lower voltage model that can even share a battery with some of your existing power tools, taking us to the next buying consideration.
Phase 3: Would you like to suit your existing power tools?
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to use the same battery power device across all of your cordless devices, you’ll probably find it a bit difficult. Many handheld cordless power tools work on12-voltto 24-volt systems and their corresponding cordless leaf blowers are significantly weaker than the devices we reviewed — poor enough to cut them off from the analysis before we even checked. For most handheld tools, the higher voltage batteries running the best blowers are too big, so most people will be stuck with their cordless yard tools with running one battery line and their handheld tools with another. Nevertheless, for this problem, a few brands — Makita comes to mind — have come up with a clever solution. Multiple batteries are used by their cordless yard tools to get the higher power needed, allowing you to have the same battery system across all your tools.
This shouldn’t make too much of a factor in your purchase decision, but it’s good to test before you decide between one or two models because it’s always a plus to be able to use the same batteries in different devices, giving you more bang for the buck and eliminating wasteful chargers.
You should have all the resources to find the perfect leaf blower for your needs and budget at this stage. Ideally this guide was useful in finding the perfect product in your search. If you’re curious about which blowers we thought bested the others, then you might want to check our thorough Cordless Leaf Blower Review to see which one is the absolute best of the best, which one is the most strong, and which ones you should consider when shopping on a tighter budget.