Gas Blowers Versus Battery Powered Blowers
It might not be that time of year yet, but you can see it from here: the time to move leaves, grass clippings, and general detritus from lawns, driveways, and sidewalks. What’s that? You don’t want to rake and sweep all day long for a week? Neither do we and so joining that aversion with our love of power tools makes us reach for a blower. As with most tool categories, there’s a smorgasbord of choices: corded, cordless, gas-powered, backpack, handheld, and even wheeled. Some have four-stroke engines, some are 18V or 36V or 56V, and still others claim they generate very fast airspeeds. How do you choose? Let our Gas Blowers Versus Battery Powered Blowers article guide you, of course!
Gas-powered and battery-powered blowers greatly outrank corded models, so we’ll focus there. Still, blower principles remain the same so don’t abandon ship now if corded or wheeled models interest you. Here are some things to consider.
What Kind of Work Will You Do?
The type and volume of debris to be moved determine, in large part, the blower power needed. If you have dry leaves and clippings lightly scattered on concrete you need less power than if you consistently have piles of damp debris. Although battery technology is quickly approaching the performance of gasoline-powered engines, generally gas engines still win the power contest.
Leaf Blower Weight
Those gas engines may pack more power but they come with another trade-off: they are heavier than battery-powered blowers. Yes, those lithium-ion batteries are dense and heavy themselves, but they still don’t tip the scales as much as that two- or four-stroke engine.
If you’ve been using battery-powered tools for a while, you might not remember the pure joy of keeping a small gas container filled, or mixing the right ratio of gas and oil, or fiddling with the pull string or priming bubble or choke (especially after winter or a period of disuse!). Oh no, the spark plug is fouled, too! We’re being facetious because we’ve done tons of good work with gas-powered tools, but these are all things you must contend with when using them. You still can’t beat the run time (unless you carry a lot of charged batteries), so the Pros are likely to stick with gas-powered blowers for now.
The maintenance on battery-powered blowers? Remember to charge the battery. It’s cleaner – and fewer parts have to work correctly after a period of disuse. They also don’t generate the heat that gas-powered blowers generate.
Noise Levels (dBA)
It might not make or break your buying decision, but the decibels produced while the work is done is no small matter both for your ears and your neighbors’ ears. Battery-powered blowers are quieter than their gas counterparts.
Although we mentioned that other things equal, the Pros will still choose the gas-powered blower, the Pros have begun to supplement their gas tools with battery-powered ones in neighborhoods with noise restrictions. In any event, we don’t recommend using either one at 7 am on Saturday morning.
What Really Matters: CFM and MPH
All of those considerations are important, but we really need to know if the blower can get the job done. To determine that, we look at two inextricable metrics: Cubic feet per minute (CFM) and miles per hour (MPH). That represents volume and speed, respectively.
Some smaller blowers showcase their MPH as measured at the end of the nozzle while some larger blowers advertise their CFM. Although we consider CFM more important, having higher numbers in both areas lets you accomplish more work. Conceptualize it like this: If you could hook a powerful air compressor up to a drinking straw such that the air was coming out of the drinking straw at 500 MPH, would it be an efficient leaf blower? No, because the volume of air is so low. Conversely, if you set an industrial fan 5-feet in diameter at the edge of your property and fired it up, would it be an efficient leaf blower? No again: you’d produce volume but not speed.
All that to say that higher CFM moves more debris while higher MPH moves heavier, wet debris. Consider both metrics and compare them to the work you’ll be doing. Let’s take a look at some highly rated blowers.
Battery Power Takes a Front Seat
The second generation moved up to 530 CFM and 110 MPH while keeping the noise level down and weighing just 7.4 pounds with the kitted 2.5 amp hour battery. You can find the kit for $199.
Compare that to the battery-powered LB5754, also available at Home Depot, which boasts 575 CFM and 142 MPH, a noise rating of 65 dB, and weight of just 9.6 pounds, priced at $349.
For even more power and a big boost in run time over either of the handheld models, check out the EGO battery-powered backpack blower (model LB6004). Available at The Home Depot, this system produces 600 CFM and 145 MPH. Noise peaks around 64 dB, and the entire tool weighs just 13 pounds. The price comes in at $299.
When considering gas blowers versus battery powered blowers, backpack designs remain the “Holy Grail”. Although the EGO backpack blower might rival some commercial blowers, we’d be remiss if we didn’t feature some excellent gas-powered options. Check out these options from Stihl and Husqvarna.
The the BR 700 remains Stihl’s most powerful commercial gas-powered backpack blower. It packs 912 CFM and 197 MPH, has a noise rating of 75 dB, and weighs 23.4 pounds. The price? About $550.
Husqvarna’s most powerful commercial gas-powered backpack blower, the 580BTS, might blow you away with its 908 CFM and 206.2 MPH power. It has a noise rating of 112 dB and weighs 25.8 pounds. The price point comes in around $550. These are not “homeowner” models unless you live on considerable acreage or need to move a lot of leaves.
When comparing gas blowers versus battery powered blowers, you rarely see slanted nozzles on the former. Nozzle shape influences the tip speed (MPH) so for some applications, you can consider changing the tip shape to accommodate the work. Just don’t fall for gimmicks where higher speeds are achieved by battery models through thinning out the tip of the tool.
Also be sure to estimate the average length of time you’ll use the blower. Not only do you need to consider how comfortable it is to use, but it could also help you determine if a gas-powered blower is best or if you can get the job done on one battery charge or less. Many new models run continuously in excess of 20-30 minutes.
The Answer (to Gas Blowers Versus Battery Powered Blowers) is Blowin’ In The Wind
When comparing gas blowers versus battery powered blowers, seriously consider the scope of work. Specifically, look at CFM and MPH, then decide what type of blower power you need to produce. We hope you’ve benefited from this guide to gas blowers versus battery powered blowers. If you have more ideas, leave us a comment below!