Take stock of your property and range of chores. If you have a large property, it may be worth the price to invest in a powerful gas-powered leaf blower, especially a backpack or walk-behind model. However, if your yard is smaller, a corded or cordless electric leaf blower could be perfect. Similarly, if you plan to blow leaves and clean up around delicate landscaping, look for a model that maneuvers easily or has multiple tubes for different tasks. If you'd rather gather up than spray debris around your yard, you'll want a model that converts to a vacuum.
You'll need earplugs and safety glasses. Even the quietest leaf blowers generate around 65 decibels of noise at the source, but many, especially gas models generate more, 90 or even 100 decibels, which can cause damage after prolonged exposure. In addition to ear protection, you'll also need safety glasses, which can prevent small sticks, leaves and other debris from being blown into your eyes.
With a corded electric leaf blower, plan to buy a heavy-gauge extension cord rated for outdoor use. Using a cord that's too small is not only unsafe but could damage your electric leaf blower. As an example, Toro recommends using a 14-gauge extension cord up to 100 feet long with its corded electric models. If you need more length, upgrade to a 12-gauge power cord.
If you are leaning toward a cordless blower, consider your other garden tools. One of the biggest reasons cordless leaf blowers are more expensive than corded electric ones is the cost of their batteries. However, many cordless models use the same batteries as other garden tools (mowers, trimmers and the like) made by the same manufacturer. If you stick within the same family, you can save as much as half the cost of your blower by buying the bare tool and using the compatible rechargeable battery you already own.
Locate the closest service center before you buy. Driving long distances or shipping your leaf blower to a service shop can be expensive and inconvenient and may not be worth it, even for a warrantied repair.
Pay attention to emissions if you live in California. To be sold in California, gas-powered tools must comply with strict air-pollution standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). If you call California home, know which models are CARB compliant before setting your heart on one.
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