The Pros and Cons of Using a Leaf Blower

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Fall is here, and that means lots of leaves will be falling off trees.  While a rake will be what you use the most to collect the leaves, it can be helpful to have some other tools nearby as well.  One of those tools is a leaf blower.  A leaf blower helps blow the leaves into a pile so that you can easily rake up leaves.  If you are considering trying a leaf blower this year, read on.  I’ll be going over the pros and cons of a leaf blower, as well as different types and how to choose the perfect type for you.  Hopefully this article will help you understand more about leaf blowers, and maybe make collecting leaves a little easier this fall.

Pros and Cons of a Leaf Blower

Let’s begin by learning the pros and cons of a leaf blower.  As you may have guessed, one of the pros of a leaf blower is that it simply blows leaves into a pile, which saves you time from raking each leaf.  But like all products, there are some cons too.  Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a leaf blower.

Pro:  Leaf Blowers Save You Time

Raking leaves may be an effective way to get rid of leaves, but it also takes a lot of time.  A nice thing about leaf blowers is that they are quick to use.  Simply turn on the machine and watch the leaves blow where you want them to.  This means no more spending hours in your yard raking leaves – you’ll be done getting rid of leaves in no time.

Con:  The Leaves Will Blow Back to Your Yard Unless You Bag Them Up

One major con is that if you don’t bag up the leaves, the leaves will blow right back into your yard.  Even if you plan to bag up the leaves, there is a chance that the leaves could blow away before then.  This could happen even if you raked the leaves, but sometimes people never bag up the leaves they blew.

Pro:  Leaf Blowers Can Blow Snow Too

Not only can leaf blowers be used during autumn, but they can also be used during the winter time to blow snow.  Keep in mind that if the snow is thick and heavy, your leaf blower will have a hard time blowing it.  But if the snow is light and a couple inches deep, your leaf blower should be able to easily blow it out of your driveway.  You don’t have to spend hours shoveling your driveway anymore.  The leaf blower can blow snow off your driveway quickly.

Con:  Leaf Blowers Can Be Expensive

If you compare the price of a rake to the price of a leaf blower, the leaf blower is definitely more expensive.  Even though some brands are cheap, such as a Home Depot leaf blower (you may find one for $30 at Home Depot), most leaf blowers are a couple hundred dollars.

Pro:  Leaf Blowers Are Easy to Use

Besides saving you time, leaf blowers are also easier to use than rakes.  While rakes require physical labor, leaf blowers blow the leaves in the direction you want.

Con:  Can Be Loud

Leaf blowers can be loud, especially gas leaf blowers.  If you have neighbors close to your home, the sound of a leaf blower may be annoying.  The noise of a leaf blower also disturbs wildlife and birds.

Pro:  Lots of Options Available

If one type doesn’t fit your needs, there are so many other types you can choose from.  I’ll be going over some of those types later in this article.

Con:  Requires Maintenance

Unlike a rake that does not require any maintenance, a leaf blower must be cleaned often so that it keeps working.  The filters must be cleaned or changed regularly, the fan blades must be cleaned, and the spark plug needs replaced every once in a while.

Pro:  Some Leaf Blowers Have Different Features to Use

Some leaf blowers have features that can suck and mulch leaves.  Note that not all leaf blowers have this feature, but a lot of them do.

Con:  Blows Dirt and Dust Around

A leaf blower will also blow dust and dirt around.  The dirt can get in your eyes, and can affect those who have respiratory problems (such as asthma).

Pro:  Leaf Blowers Can Be Used to Blow Grass Clippings Away

A leaf blower doesn’t have to be used for blowing leaves.  It can also be used to blow grass clippings away right after you mow the lawn.

Con:  Does Not Put Leaves into a Pile as Nicely as a Rake

A con is that a leaf blower will not put the leaves in a nice pile like a rake does.  Instead, you will have to take your rake and organize the leaves you blew.

Pro:  Saves Your Back from Bending Over and Raking Leaves

It is natural to bend over while you rake leaves.  When you stay in a bent position for a long time, you may end up with an aching back.  With a leaf blower, you don’t have to worry about bending over.  All you do is point the leaf blower at the leaves and watch the leaves disappear.

Con:  Heavier Than a Rake

While a leaf blower may save you from bending over and hurting your back, it is also heavier than a rake.  Some types can be clipped on your back, but other types require arm strength.

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Different Kinds of Leaf Blowers

Now that we know the pros and cons of leaf blowers, it is time to take a look at the different types.  There are mainly five types of leaf blowers.  Let’s take a look at them here.

Corded Electric Leaf Blowers

Corded electric leaf blowers are pretty lightweight and are easy to use.  They are simple and affordable.  A disadvantage to this type is that the cord is only so long.  If you have to reach areas that are far away from an electric outlet, you won’t be able to use this type of leaf blower.

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Cordless Electric Leaf Blower

Also called a battery leaf blower, the cordless electric leaf blower is higher in price but allows you to use it even in places far from electric.  A con about this type is that the battery only lasts for one hour.  If you have to use it for longer than that, you have to stop what you are doing and wait for it to charge.

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Gas Powered Handheld Leaf Blower

The gas powered handheld leaf blower is cheaper than battery operated leaf blowers.  The nice thing about gas powered leaf blowers is that you can use them anywhere, and you never have to recharge a battery.  However, you will have to refill it with gas once in a while.  The main disadvantage to this type is that it is very loud.

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Gas Powered Backpack Leaf Blower

This type does the same thing as a gas powered handheld leaf blower, but instead of holding it in your hand your back and shoulders support the weight.  The weight is heavier than most types of leaf blowers, as it is about 17 pounds (most leaf blowers are 7 pounds).  The price is also more expensive.

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Gas Powered Wheeled Leaf Blower

Once again, this is a gas powered leaf blower.  This type is different because it has wheels, which makes it easy to use.  However, the price is much higher than all other leaf blowers.  They can also be loud, and are usually about 100 pounds, which makes them difficult to push uphill.

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How to Pick the Right Kind

With all the different types of leaf blowers, it can be confusing to know which one to buy.  Don’t worry though, there are some tips for choosing the perfect one for you.

  • The first consideration is how much noise can you handle.  If you don’t mind how much noise it makes, consider if your town has any restrictions.  Some towns restrict decibel levels and hours of operation, so find out if your town does before you purchase a leaf blower.  If you are wanting a quiet leaf blower, the battery operated leaf blower is your best choice.
  • Decide how much weight you can handle.  Some leaf blowers are heavier than others.  The corded electric leaf blower is probably the lightest leaf blower on the market.  The gas powered wheeled leaf blower is the heaviest, but it has wheels.  However, it can be difficult to push the wheeled leaf blower uphill.  Decide which type you can handle to carry/push.  
  • Consider how much money you are willing to spend on a leaf blower.  Many leaf blowers are around $30 to $100, but some can be as expensive as $300.  Decide what your budget is before you buy a leaf blower.  

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How to Stay Safe When Using a Leaf Blower

Unlike a rake that is pretty harmless, leaf blowers can be dangerous to use.  After all, it is a running machine.  Here are some tips for staying safe when using a leaf blower.

  • Because leaf blowers can be loud, you will want to wear hearing protection.  If anyone else will be in the yard, have them wear ear protection as well.
  • Wear goggles so that if dirt flies up it won’t hit your eyes.
  • Keep people and pets far away from the area you’re clearing.

Final Thoughts

It’s that time of year when the leaves are falling off the trees.  That means that it is time to begin raking up leaves.  To help make raking leaves easier, you may want to consider using a leaf blower.  Today I went over the pros and cons of a leaf blower, as well as some safety tips, a guide to the different types, and tips for choosing the best type for you.  I hope you found this article helpful, and hopefully you find a leaf blower that fits your needs.  

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