How to Select the Right Leaf Blower & Vacuum for You

by / September 1, 2017 maintain No Comments
Pile of leaves and paper bag with person using a leaf blower to vacuum leaves.

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Gas, corded electric, or battery powered? Selecting the right blower for you really comes down to knowing which power source will best meet the needs of your yard size.

With a yard measuring ½ acre or larger — and not every area reached by extension cord — a gas blower is likely the answer for you. A corded electric blower is the ideal solution when you are looking for the power of a gas unit and the clean-up area is located close enough to an outlet. If you are typically clearing sidewalks, decks and using the blower daily, you may want the convenience of a battery-powered unit, such as a lithium ion battery-powered blower.

These blowers cut down on noise, exhaust, emissions messes or smells, and maintenance. Other convineneces include easy starting, lightweight, and are able to be stored inside.

Whether you are purchasing a gas, corded electric or battery-powered blower, all three blower styles can provide outstanding power and performance with a multitude of benefits.

Purchasing the Blower Only or the Blower/Vac?

After selecting which power source matches the needs of your yard size, the next step is determining which model is right for your tasks.

  • Blower-only models:
    • Perfect for clearing off sidewalks, decks, garage floors, and driveways
  • Blower/vac models:
    • Great for the same chores noted above, in addition to clearing leaves from your yard and vacuuming organic debris from landscaped areas
    • Vacuum option allows you to mulch leaves and debris into a finer mulch for compost. This reduces the amount of bags used for clean-up.

How Much Power Do I Need?

When shopping for a new blower, many look at the “miles per hour” rating to assess the power of a blower. However, it is possible for a 230 MPH blower to have more power than a 240 MPH blower. Here’s why: MPH alone is not a good measure of power. A blower nozzle opening the size of a straw could blow air at 300 mph—it is good for clearing out cracks in the driveway, but not good for blowing leaves in your yard.

Many of the tasks you expect to accomplish with your blower require both airspeed (MPH) and air volume (CFM or cubic feet per minute). CFM alone is not a good measure of power. A blower nozzle opening the size of basketball could put out 600 CFM of air—it is great for sweeping dust and sand off a driveway, but without sufficient pressure, it would have a difficult time moving anything else. You need both air speed and air volume. The most powerful blower will be one that maximizes both airspeed (MPH) and air volume (CFM).

To better understand blower power, click here!

Which Features Do I Need?

2-Speed Motor

This motor is fairly simple to use because you have two choices: low or high. The 2-speed motor allows you to choose and control the air stream with the right amount of blower or vacuum power for the task at hand.

  • Blower mode:
    • Low setting can be used for better control on hard surfaces or in tight corners
    • High setting can be used for clearing large areas and tougher lawn chores
  • Vacuum mode:
    • Low setting can be used for landscaped areas to avoid vacuuming up garden mulch or landscape rock
    • High setting can be used for mulch and larger amounts of leaves and debris.

Variable Speed Motor

Allows you to alter the speed to multiple levels of airflow for the desired amount of control. Convenient feature for numerous yard clean-up projects.

The “miles per hour” rating of a blower is an indication, but not the sole factor, when judging power. Blower power is a function of both air speed and air volume. The higher MPH ratings for Toro blowers correspond with more power.

No Tools Conversion:
All Toro blower/vacs come with a quick-release latch to easily switch between blowing and vacuuming.

Mulch Ratio:
The mulch ratio is a measure of how well a blower/vac mulches and reduces the volume of the debris. A mulch ratio of 10-to-1 indicates the blower/vac will mulch 10 bags of dry leaves down to one bag after vacuuming. Volume reduction will be less on debris that is high in moisture or densely packed.

Metal Impeller:
A metal impeller will provide better mulching and durability for aggressive and/or frequent vacuuming.

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to put your machine to work.