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 -- but if your yard is smaller, an electric machine may 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. Leaf blowers often generate between 70 and 75 decibels of noise at the source, 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 an electric style, 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. The blower manufacturer Toro recommends using a 14-gauge extension cord up to 100 feet long. If you need more length, upgrade to a 12-gauge power cord.
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.
As companies work to create gas leaf blowers with lower emissions, more four-stroke engines may hit the market. In comparison to products with the standard two-stroke style, four-stroke models are quieter and more fuel efficient, and they don't require a mixture of gas and oil. Currently, however, products with four-stroke engines tend to be heavier and more expensive than two-stroke types, making them an inferior choice for many consumers.