Gas leaf blowers are fast and powerful, making them a top choice for homeowners who need to handle wet leaves and heavy debris or clean up large properties. Maintaining a gas engine takes more work than an electric motor: They require regular servicing and winterization in the off-season, and most run only with a precise mixture of gas and oil. However, users who need heavy-duty performance say the extra work is worth it.
For gas models, try to find one with good handling and reliability. Although battery runtime and power-cord lengths aren't limitations, "handhelds get uncomfortable after 45 minutes" because of their weight, says Sal Vaglica at ThisOldHouse.com.
Our Best Reviewed Husqvarna 125BVx (Est. $200) stands out in reviews not only for its performance but also because it's packed with features and easier to handle than most gas blowers. "This is the only blower tested that comes with flat and round tube tips, which affect the air's velocity," says Vaglica. "The length of the blower nozzle can be adjusted to suit your height, a nice feature that should be standard on all blowers." He and other experts say the 125BVx is outstanding at blowing, and although it doesn't take first place for vacuuming, it's one of the few models that manages the task well.
User-friendly features such as a variable-speed trigger with locking ability, a see-through gas tank and a low-vibration engine make the Husqvarna 125BVx easier to operate than many other gas blowers. In terms of reliability, the tool receives mixed reviews: Most owners are satisfied with durability, but a number of them complain that fuel lines can break after one or two seasons. This isn't covered by Husqvarna's two-year warranty, but users say it's an easy fix for the mechanically inclined.
The Hitachi RB24EAP (Est. $150) is a less expensive option that performs almost as well in comparison tests. According to a leading consumer organization, the blower isn't as powerful as the Husqvarna 125BVx but still has a respectable amount of airflow for efficient sweeping. One Amazon.com user is impressed with the blowing power coming from such a light machine, and Popular Mechanics says it works well "moving soggy leaves and prickly seedpods."
The RB24EAP's low-emission two-stroke engine meets even the strictest emission guidelines and features a variable speed trigger to customize power. However, it doesn't have a trigger lock like the Husqvarna 125BVx. Most owners are satisfied with the blower's construction, but a few have problems with failing fuel lines and difficulty starting. Hitachi's seven-year consumer warranty is unmatched by any other leaf blower in our report and covers commercial use for two years.