Leaf Blowers: Ratings of Sources
Editors test nearly 60 leaf blowers -- including electric-handheld, gas-handheld, gas-wheeled and gas-backpack models -- on their ability to sweep leaves, remove embedded leaf particles from the lawn, and vacuum up and mulch dry leaves. Handling, noise at 50 feet and noise at ear level are also part of each blower's final score. Ultimately, nearly 30 models earn recommendations, and around a dozen are also good enough values to earn Best Buy status. The section also includes a buyer's guide and some user comments. However, testing appears to be older, as while many models remain available, others are discontinued.
TheSweethome.com surveys the leaf blower marketplace, looks at likely good performers, then narrows down recommendations based on its own testing. A top model is named, as are good alternate choices including gas, electric, battery and backpack models. Testing is well documented, and discussion is lengthy, including why certain models fall short compared to other choices. The most recent update was made to warn about the recent recall of their top pick, the Black & Decker BV6600.
Editors of Popular Mechanics conduct a thorough test of eight gas handheld leaf blowers. Testing is hands on and, while likes and dislikes are noted, details are limited. One blower is named best overall. Older but still relevant roundups of backpack blowers can also be found elsewhere on the site.
Popular Mechanics also tests eight battery-powered leaf blowers. Roy Berendsohn and James Schadewald say that while gas blowers are still the most powerful, for many light to medium-duty jobs, a battery-powered blower is "plenty capable, not to mention faster and easier." Ratings are based on four tests. Discussion is brief, but likes and dislikes are listed for each blower, and a best overall is named.
TheFamilyHandyman.com rounded up gas powered leaf blowers from several major manufacturer and gave them to their editors for hands-on testing. We'd be happier if the testing was better explained, and if each blower had more discussion, but the review is comparative, and top choices among handheld blowers, blower/vacuum models, and backpack blowers are named. There is also a lot helpful information on selecting the right model for your property, features to look for and other buying tips, operating tips, leaf blower safety and more.
Amazon.com sells hundreds gas, battery-powered and corded electric leaf blowers from dozens of manufacturers, with several receiving hundreds and even thousands of reviews. Reviews tend to be longer than found at other user-review sites, and some are updated to reflect the owner's experience after months and sometimes a year or more of usage. One caveat is that some reviews are of products that the owner received for free in exchange for posting feedback.
HomeDepot.com offers over 130 leaf blowers, including commercial-grade units and large walk-behind models as well as handheld and backpack styles for consumers. Reviews, though some are brief, include sub-ratings for features, quality, ease of use and value. While many reviews from the site's own users are found, some were originally posted on manufacturer websites.
There are fewer leaf blowers listed at Lowes.com than at HomeDepot.com, but with nearly 50 models, there's still plenty of selection among corded and cordless electric, and hand-held and backpack gas blowers. Many blowers get ample feedback, sometimes into the hundreds, but some of that includes reviews originally written and posted at manufacturer web sites and the same reviews can also be read at other retailers -- including HomeDepot.com.
On this retail and review site, product expert Marissa Munoz provides evaluations and recommendations, naming good, better and best choices among the various types, although there's no mention of how or whether she personally tests each model. Owners can post ratings and reviews, too. Most blowers get only a handful of reviews, but some get over 100. Reviews are exclusively from LeafBlowersDirect.com's own customers, many of which have been verified as actually owning the leaf blower in question. The site also includes buying guides for different types of blowers and information to help consumers understand the benefits of various leaf-blower features.
ProToolReviews.com looks at a variety of tools for homeowners and landscaping professionals in single product reviews and occasional product round ups, including leaf blowers. Reviews vary in depth and detail, but are largely based on hands-on testing. Ratings are sometimes offered, other times not. No "best" leaf blower is named, but opinions about individual models are generally clear.
Both electric and gas leaf blowers are available at Sears.com. Most don't get a ton of feedback, but others draw much more -- up to nearly 325 reviews in the case of one Craftsman model. While other brands are offered, Sears.com is an especially good destination to check out for those considering a Craftsman leaf blower.
Walmart.com might not be the first place many think of for leaf blowers, but the site lists a good assortment of homeowner-grade blowers, including many electric and cordless models. Reviews aren't long, but owners can rate their blowers and say whether or not they would recommend it to a friend. Many models only get a handful of ratings, but others get dozens and even hundreds.
This Old House magazine evaluates 10 blowers -- rating each on performance, balance and comfort -- although the article is vague regarding how the models are tested. Sal Vaglica also discusses the pros and cons of different blower types. Specs for each tested model are listed. Though this article appears to be older, many of the blowers -- or very similar models -- remain available.