Our Top Pick for 2018: Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered Handheld Leaf Blower
Read our full review.
Those darn trees are at it again. As the season progresses, leaf litter can become a real annoyance, and finding an easy to implement way of getting rid of all those deceased leaves can really be a frustrating proposition. Luckily, dedicated leaf blowers can be a great way to rid yourself of vast amounts of dead leaves without a ton of shoveling and Glad bag hefting. The market has tons of leaf blowers that each possess their own rich feature sets as well as varying degrees of power and functionality, so picking one isn’t necessarily very easy. To help you through the arduous selection process, we’ve found some of the best leaf blowers on the market and written up reviews for each as well as provided a some points to consider before you set out on your search to find a model that will work best for you.
#1. Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered Handheld Leaf Blower
View it on Amazon: $136.05*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Our Gold Pick comes to us from Japanese manufacturing brand, Hitachi. As with any gold-rated product on our site, you can be sure that this yard tool is beloved by both consumer and critical groups. Hitachi has been producing work-level tools for generations; they were founded more than a century ago in 1910 and produced Japan’s first 5-horsepower electric induction motor. Today, Hitachi has a staggeringly wide selection of products that range from kitchen appliances to jet skis, but it’s their excellent gas leaf blower that we’ll be focusing on today.
To start, in several ways this is one mean green machine. Its motor’s housing is a verdant green and it features jagged shark fin shaped designs around the main fan assembly. The handle is ergonomically curved for easy use and the trigger is large and has enough tension to provide a great usage experience. The blowing tube is comprised of grey plastic that features the same shark fin accents along the barrel and tapers a bit at the end.
The entire device only weighs about 8.6 pounds and is small enough to manage with one hand, though a consistent complaint about this unit is that, when it’s used right handedly, there is a tendency for the blower to suck in clothing. This foible aside, many owners of this leaf blower commend it for its build quality, and while it requires regular maintenance to ensure its continuous operation, many love the blower for its reliability.
When it comes to work functionality, this leaf blower is certainly one of the best in its range of yard tools. It utilizes a two cycle gasoline engine, so part of upkeep will include supplying the blower with both oil and gasoline. You can safely expect about one fill up on both per autumn, which isn’t a lot to spend if you consider how much output this blower can provide. Over time, some users have reported fuel line issues where the black fuel line would crack after a few years, but this problem is easy to repair with a couple of bucks worth of tubing or a trimming of the cracked area of tubing.
These devices are almost invariably; notoriously loud, just ask anyone who has tried to sleep in during a neighbor’s yard clearing. Hitachi has measured this device at producing around 107 decibels of sound; this tapers off a bit at the 50 yard range to around 67 decibels or so. At these levels, this is definitely on the lower end of the sound spectrum, but you should definitely utilize some ear protection when operating the leaf blower. On the other hand, past 50 yards of range, you shouldn’t have to worry about annoying the neighbors; at least not much.
Performance is also an area where this leaf blower shines brightly. As mentioned before, this is a mean green machine in more than just coloration. The blower is fully compliant with the California Air Resource Board (CARB) guidelines, meaning that despite the fact that it uses gasoline as a fuel source, this is a relatively low-emission yard tool.
This machine also manages to push a lot more air than many of its competitors. The total volume of air pushed is about 441 cubic feet per minute. As it operates, air reaches a velocity of 170 miles per hour; a very crisp pace that will ensure that you will be pushing leaf litter and debris at a very strong pressure level. As a matter of fact, profession reviews have stated that not only does this leaf blower handle standard debris such as dead leaves and buds, but it can also handle hard to sweep prickly seedpods as well.
This is an absolutely well-regarded leaf blower on Amazon. In over 1,500 practical reviews on that site, an excellent 86 percent are ranked at a four star rating level or above. Most seem to revel in the professional grade jobs that you can get out of this blower. Here is one such testimonial:
“This is a quality machine - and is the same as the Tanaka, a brand used by many pro gardeners and landscape maintenance persons. I've had McCulloch, Ryobi and a Sears Craftsman (that I returned after the first use). This machine is lighter, runs much quieter, and has quite a bit more power than any of the others. It isn't really in the same league. This one runs flawlessly, has a ton of power, and a quality feel.”
#2. Husqvarna 125B 28cc 2-Stroke Gas Powered Handheld Blower
When it comes to long histories of quality manufacturing, Husqvarna has them all beat. The Swedish company that manufactures our Silver Pick product has a major accolade under its belt; in 1689, yes, more than 300 years ago; it developed one of the world’s first large manufacturing plants. Back then they produced rifles but have since moved on to outdoor power products like this amazing, gas-powered leaf blower.
This Husqvarna machine looks like it was designed to be a professional-grade yard tool. Its orange chassis and grey accents makes the whole device look like it’d be at home on a landscaping worksite. The handle is sturdy looking and includes a well tensioned trigger that fully retracts into the handle when cruise control is activated. On the thumb grip, you’ll also find a large STOP switch that automatically resets to the ON position so that starting the unit is easier to start. Once pressed though, you’ll have to wait for seven seconds to utilize this switch again.
The tube comes with two attachments, one that has a wider output that has slightly less air volume pushing capabilities, and another that pushes air at a rate of about 170 MPH through the usage of a thinner output area.
One thing that you might notice about the design of this blower is that it’s a great right-hand model. The pull cord is along the left of the unit and retracts automatically into the housing. Along the right of the unit you’ll find the main fan housing which is positioned in the correct way to prevent your clothes from being sucked into the side of the leaf blower. Also, this fan housing is set to be in line with the handle making this blower a lot easier to heft by reducing the stress on your arm and wrist. This is also a relatively light unit; it only weighs 9.4 pounds.
Like our Gold Pick, this runs on a two cycle gasoline powered engine. To operate it properly, you’ll need an oil and gas mix, and you should be sure to service this yard tool every year or so to be sure everything is in working order. Fortunately, when you purchase this item with Husqvarna pre-mix fuel, and register the product, Husqvarna will double the two year warranty that they provide for the product.
Noise generation on this model is a little better than our winner leaf blower at about 85 decibels at close range, and around 50 at 50 feet. If you have a lot of close-slung neighbors, then this might be a way for you to not wake up the entire neighborhood with your yard work. Also with others in mind, this blower is fully CARB compliant and produces much lower emissions than some of its competition.
Out of the 366 reviews on Amazon, 65 percent were of a four or five star rating level. Most reviewers like the fact that this leaf blower has variable speed options and a two-way start up system. Here is one five star testimonial that sums up the blower’s quality succinctly:
“This is a fine little blower. Well built, light and easy to handle, starts first time every time even after months of sitting in my unheated shed, moves my grass clippings and light leaf load out of the way with no problem. Highly recommended for those like me who don't need a huge honking blower.”
#3. Toro 51619 Ultra Corded Electric Leaf Blower and Vacuum
Toro is one of the most trusted brand names for turf management and professional landscaping. Established in 1914, you’d be hard-pressed to find a golf course, public park, or agricultural field that isn’t maintained by a Toro yard tool. This model of Toro leaf blower is considered by many to be the best corded electric blower on the market; bar none. This is also the first leaf blower on our list that incorporates mulching into its design; a great feature considering mulching dead leaves cuts their by about 88 percent.
The first thing you’ll notice about this leaf blower is that it’s colored a bright red. While there are few things as far away from the concept of sporty than a leaf blower, this coloration still makes the whole device look really cool. The handle on this blower is designed for its dual purpose; in leaf blower mode, simply use it one handed to focus the stream. In vacuum mode, the handle shifts purposes and is long enough to be held with two hands to increase control over the downward facing vacuum nozzle. This Toro unit comes with both nozzle-types and there are also a couple of focuser attachments for producing a more focused stream of air. The trigger is also variable, so you will be able to generate the appropriate pressure for every job.
When working in vacuum mode, you will need to unlatch the bottom section and attach the provided leaf collection bag. To mulch leaves and debris, this unit uses serrated magnesium shredding blades that are operated using an impeller. Toro says that an amount of leaves that would fill 16 bags will be reduced to one bag with this mulching system. The bag itself is considered to be decent, though some owners have complained about having to replace them after awhile.
At 8.5 pounds, this isn’t an incredibly heavy leaf blower, so you can expect to be able to do hours of yard work without much discomfort. Unfortunately, despite the low weight, there have been some complaints that the balancing of this blower is a little off, so it feels slightly heavier than it actually is.
One of the primary complaints about this style of blower is the cumbersome cord. Electric leaf blowers may have the ability to run all day under power, but they still can be restricting. Toro counters this with a great cord storage system and you can utilize an extension cord of up to 150 feet. Still, that being said, this style of blower is really best suited for small properties.
Electric leaf blowers are almost always more silent than gas powered types, and this model is no exception. Even at close range, the Toro only produces about 68 decibels of sound, and while this is low compared to the gas blowers we’ve reviewed thus far, you should still incorporate hearing protection into your yard work.
Performance-wise, this is the one of the most powerful leaf blowers on our list; a feat not often accomplished by electric types of leaf blowers. You can move air with this multi-purpose electric blower at a rate of 410 CFM. It even has the ability to push air at speeds that trump our two gas powered units; air reaches speeds a startlingly fast 210 MPH.
Out of 2,434 reviews, this Toro leaf blower/mulcher has a great positivity rating of 90 percent. Only 19 percent of the total reviews posted were a four star level, so that means that the remaining 71 percent was of an unassailable five star level of quality. Here is one five star review that notes the quality cord configuration of the device:
“For starters, you are getting a really powerful 2 speed blower here. Plugging it in is very easy because there is a pig-tail for the plug, not just a plug on the unit. Pig-tail configurations are much better in this sort of device.”
#4. Greenworks 24012 7 Amp Single Speed Electric Leaf Blower
You don’t have to break the bank to ensure that your yard is free from debris and leaf litter. If you are ballin on a budget or you need to purchase several leaf blowers for a larger area and have the outlet space to support a corded electric blower, then Greenworks has the perfect solution for your yard work needs.
This is the lightest leaf blower on our list and is an almost feather-light 4.5 pounds. The blower is a light green color that matches many of Greenworks products and has a relatively large hand compared to the rest of the unit’s chassis. The start button is housed atop the grip and starts in a matter of seconds. The output tube tapers finely at the end and is capable of producing air speeds of up to 160 MPH.
As an electrically powered leaf blower, you are limited to the range of your extension cord. Luckily, to prevent accidental disconnects, this Greenworks blower incorporates a cord-lock system in the rear of the unit that will hold your cable tightly. From a sound output point of view, this device puts out about 97 decibels out noise, so definitely utilize some hearing protection when in use.
Vibration can be one of the most uncomfortable aspects of a leaf blower. Its long-term effects can even cause damage to your bones, so it’s good to know that this leaf blower has almost no vibration in use, making it the most comfortable blower on this list. Also, since this is an electric blower, you won’t have to worry about the fumes coming from this device when you have to take the leaf blowing indoors to a garage or enclosed deck.
88 percent of the reviews on Amazon have deemed that this electric leaf blower is worth a positive rating of at least four stars. Reviewers note the smallish form factor and ease of use as the two primary benefits of owning this leaf blower. Here is one five star review:
“Bought this one over the Toro because of the 4 year warranty and so far so good. I had to replace my much heavier blower which worked great but was too heavy for my chronic back problems and tendonitis in my arms. This one isn't as strong as my old one but it does just fine for everything I use it for and actually the reduced power actually has been a plus because I can control the accumulating piles much better.”
Gas it up or Plug it in: Electric vs. Gas
This is the quintessential argument amongst leaf blower aficionados. Both types of leaf blowers have their pluses and minuses, and it could all come down to personal preference when you are looking to select one. We’ve selected two of each for our list, so even here your options are 50/50. Here is a description of each that will hopefully help you make a decision.
Gas Powered – If you are looking for power, no type of leaf blower boasts more oomph than a gas powered leaf blower. Simply yank on a starter cord and your gasoline powered blower will go to work. Some gas blowers need to have a mix of gas and oil to operate properly and this gas/oil mixture will either have to be mixed manually or bought pre-mixed. Also, as anyone who’s been woken up by one these monsters will attest, these things can be loud! Make sure to wear ear protection if you are going to be getting one of these as extended use can actually cause hearing damage. Gas styles, of course, are also not the most environmentally friendly options. Also, there are backpack and wheeled varieties of this type of blower available for those with larger output needs.
Electric Powered – These are always lighter than gasoline powered units and produce a slightly better eco footprint than the other style of blower. These types are also cheaper, but you might suffer some build quality when selecting an electric unit. As a rule, corded is more powerful than cordless, but we’ll get to the key differences between the two in our next pre-purchase consideration.
Cordless or Corded Electric
Today, many power tools have cordless options to ensure that you’ll have mobility during use. Unfortunately, battery technology hasn’t advanced much since the 1970s, so if you plan on grabbing a cordless leaf blower, be sure that you understand that you may have to spend a lot of time charging it. Cordless types are lightweight, grant you free-range in your work, and will probably get you about an hour of leaf blowing on a single charge. Keep in mind that you’ll also be sacrificing a bit of power when using this type as well.
Corded electric leaf blowers, on the other hand, will tether you and might limit your range, but typically have a higher power output than cordless varieties. They can weigh as little as six pounds and are really designed to be used with one hand. If you are within 100 feet of the power source at all times on the property you are trying to clear, definitely consider one of these types of leaf blower.
Some Useful Stats
With such a varied bag of statistics when it comes to leaf blowers, it can be a bit confusing if you don’t quite understand the lingo. Here is a quick guide that will help you know what stats to look for when purchasing one of these machines.
Two Cycle Engines – This is the style of blower that we mentioned previously. For a two cycle style of blower you have to have a mix of oil and gasoline to power the leaf blower. These typically have a great power to weight ratio.
Four Cycle Engines – Run purely on gasoline. For this single fuel system, you sacrifice a little of the lightness of the two cycle style; these are the heaviest handheld blowers available. You’ll also need to change the oil from time to time.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) – The higher the number on this stat, the more air output the blower has. This means that you’ll be able to clear areas faster as there’ll be more air volume to clear debris.
Power Output Measurements – This varies from type to type. As a rule, the higher, the better. Here’s the rundown:
• Gas Powered – This is measured in cubic centimeters (cc).
• Electric Powered (Corded) – This type is measured in volts (V).
• Electric Powered (Cordless) – These types of blowers are measured in amps (A).
Sound Level and Your Town
It’s easy to figure out when someone is using a leaf blower. While electrics can be a lot less noisy than gas powered units, any style of blower will make a lot of noise and that can be a problem for you if your town has ordinances against using a leaf blower or other loud power tools during certain times of the day. Also, running one of these types of devices during the crack of dawn when your neighbors are asleep is downright rude. When purchasing a new leaf blower, definitely take into consideration the noise output that it will produce; as a matter of fact, some reviews actually include information about sound in decibels for many models, so that you’ll know exactly how loud a specific leaf blower can be.
Some models incorporate a bevy of extra features that will help reduce your workload or make the process easier on you. These features aren’t 100 percent required, but they may sweeten the deal for the specific leaf blower. These can include:
Cable Management Systems – This can make it easier to store the cable and operate the device. Some blowers feature a safety cord lock, that prevents accidental disconnects.
Vibration Reduction – This is very useful on a vibration-heavy gas powered leaf blower. It will reduce the stress on your wrist greatly.
Variable Speed Control – Since you don’t necessarily need to always be running at maximum output, variable speed lets you set a lower speed and lock it in for the duration of your leaf blowing. Run into something that needs a little more power? Then, crank it up to maximum.
Adjustable Blowing Tube Length – This is a fairly convenient extra feature that will let you extend the barrel of your leaf blower so that you can increase the air volume closer to the debris that you need to remove. This will save you from bending over to get a closer angle when working. Your back will thank you.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Yard work, by its nature is a chore, but that doesn’t mean that you should have to subject yourself to backbreaking work in order to clear your yard of leaf litter. We hope that the list of products we provided will grant you a much easier season when it comes to removing debris and leaf litter from your home. When searching for your next blower, don’t forget to take into account our pre-purchase considerations, and take the time to really consider the options that we have provided for you; each of these items will ensure that you’ll make quick work of your home’s dead leaves.