Electric leaf blowers weigh less and are cheaper but gas blowers are more powerful and can get the job done faster. Some electric leaf blowers use a battery and are cordless but most use a long power cord, which can make it a little difficult to use. Gas blowers release smoke, a negative that leaf blowers do not have. They also differ in their cost and warranty period.
Electric leaf blowers are mostly hand held. There are two varieties of it, corded and cordless. Corded leaf blowers need to be attached to a power outlet while the cordless ones work on rechargeable batteries. Batteries like 18-volt Lithium-Ion or 18-volt Ni-Cad rechargeables are used.
Gas leaf blowers come in two models, hand held or backpack. They may use a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine. Generally oil and fuel need to be mixed but some newer models do not require this mixing.
Ease of use
Mobility is restricted for corded electric leaf blowers due the length of the cord; also, it may get a little cumbersome dragging the cord around. Battery-operated electric leaf blowers are restricted by the battery strength and life. Several users report battery life of only 10 to 15 minutes and invest in separate, higher-quality batteries rather than rely on the stock battery that is bundled with their leaf blower by the manufacturer.
Gas leaf blowers are powerful and can get the job done faster. But they are heavier than electrical leaf blowers. Moreover, they require filling in gas periodically and some also need engine oil. Gas blowers also release smoke, a negative that electric leaf blowers do not have.
An electric leaf blower may come with attachments like vacuum attachment or a mulcher. Some models of gas leaf blowers have attachments like a vacuum attachment or a mulcher.
Electric leaf blowers ranges from $35 to $150. Gas leaf blowers range from $60 to $400. You can find the current prices on various models at Amazon.com:
Noise, Pollution and Regulation
Leaf blowers tend to be noisy, and gas blowers especially so. Several cities and counties have regulations barring the use of gas leaf blowers or restricting their use to certain times of the day. Electric blowers are also loud but tend to have fewer restrictions compared with gas leaf blowers.
How to Choose
When trying to choose a leaf blower to buy, gas vs. electric is only one of the choices. There are three kinds of leaf blowers:
- Hand-held blowers are comparatively lighter but have limited range; so they are suitable for smaller yards.
- Backpack blowers are more powerful and can cover a larger area but are also more expensive. They are heavier than handheld blowers but easier to carry because their weight is on the back rather than the arms. Most backpack blowers are powered by gas; but there a few cordless electric backpack blowers also available.
- Walk behind blowers aka wheeled blowers are used for very large yards or parks, usually in a professional setting. They are large and most expensive of the three options. In this category too virtually all of your options are gas-powered.
Handheld blowers tend to have more options for power type. Gas-powered blowers have been popular historically but today electric blowers are far more popular in the handheld category because gas blowers need fueling and regular maintenance.
Electric handheld blowers are of two types:
- Cordless blowers free you up from the limiting range of a 50 or 100-ft tether. They are battery-powered and quite light and easy to carry. The downside is that they are not very powerful and the battery may only last for about 15 minutes.
- Corded electric blowers have the annoying restriction of having to be tethered to an electrical outlet but this also gives them more power. Most corded blowers also have a vacuum function to suck up leaves that fall or are left behind. This sounds good but is of limited practical use.
Given these pros and cons, your decision should be based on:
- Does your city or community ban gas blowers altogether?
- What are the maximum decibel levels, if any, specified by local noise ordinances?
- How large is your yard and how accessible is it from a power outlet?
- What is your capacity to lug a 20 lb machine for 20 minutes either in your arms or on your back?
Although warranty varies by manufacturer, the warranty for gas blower is usually 5 years whereas for an electric it is usually between 60 to 90 days of purchase.
Makita, Black and Decker or Toro are some of the manufacturers of electric leaf blowers. Troy-Bilt, Poulan Pro, Weed Eater, Makita are some manufacturers of gas leaf blowers.