When considering the purchase of a leaf blower there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
What you will be clearing and over how much space?
How much power you can handle?
How much do you want to pay?
How much noise can your neighbors stand?
If you are clearing mostly dead leaves or cut grass, consider Weed Eater's 2595 Barracuda, an electric handheld. Most higher priced backpack and wheeled blowers will handle this job easily. Also think about an electric handheld with a vacuum attachment. This makes getting in between landscaping much easier. However, most manufacturers overrate the mulching ability of their blowers. Rather than the eight to one reduction, reality is more in the range of three to one, i.e., reducing the bulk of leaves to one third.
If you have a lot of twigs and tricky debris that make for difficult removal, consider Toro's Super Blower Vac 51591 or their Ultra Blower Vac 51598, both electric handhelds. The John Deere BH25 is a good gas powered handheld choice. Most backpack and wheeled models do a great job at this task as well.
If you are a macho man skip to the next paragraph, but most of us need to take actual physical prowess into consideration. If your arms are not strong, you will tire quickly with a hand held, particularly a gas hand held. The backpack blower will put the bulk of the work on your back, not your arms and more power into blowing the leaves. The cost is in maintenance and dollars and cents.
Don't forget the sound issue. Audio adrenalin is not something you want to inspire in your neighbors. Local ordinances usually limit noise level to sixty five decibels at fifty feet. Check your town or city laws and make sure that your machine will come in under the sound radar. Neighbors are not shy about filing a noise complaint.
Here are some features to look for while you are shopping.
Picking the best leaf blower for you is not the easiest decision. There are some tasks that require a lighter touch than others as you blow away the debris in your yard. You don't want to ruin your delicate gardenias as you rid yourself of straying leaves. The answer is in the leaf blower's variable speed adjustment. Gas blowers are designed with variable speed but electric blowers are not as accommodating. Look for an electric blower like some models Toro offers that have a wide variation in speed options. Most handheld electrics offer only a high and a low and some are stingy with just one speed.
If you are going for the backpack option, look for a model that allows you to control both the air speed and its direction with one handle rather than requiring you to use two handles and therefore two hands.
If you are opting for the leaf blower on wheels, you have a right to be picky. First look for an easily adjustable mechanism to direct air flow. Another help is having the throttle located on the handlebar and not on the engine itself. And bigger here is actually better...a bigger fan indicates better results.
Take these considerations into account and you can pick the best leaf blower for you!