How to Buy a Leaf Blower
Well into the season now, this may be a great time to buy a leaf blower. Many merchandiser are already moving into the mode of moving these remaining items off the shelf, so you’re timing may be perfect. Still, like with anything else, you don’t want to just buy the first leaf blower you see. Here’s a little backrgound research before you make the plunge – and put the sore back days of raking leaves behind you.
A recent study in Lawn and Landscape magazine found that the average cleanup time after mowing on a single-family residence was 3-5 minutes with a leaf blower and 10-20 minutes with alternate methods.Typical residential-use leaf blowers range in price from roughly $65 to around $300.
Several models feature both a blower and vacuum mode for those who want to suck up their leaves in one simple step. Even if you use a blower with a vacuum feature, keep in mind you’ll still need to transfer the leaves from the vacuum bag to a yard-waste bag.
The first decision on a machine like this is electric vs. gas. Generally speaking, electric models are not as powerful as the gas-powered models, but are generally quieter and less expensive. Black & Decker features a nice electric engine blower that sells for about $70. The Model BV4000 creates 230 mph of wind power and weighs in at about 8 pounds. You’ll want to consider the weight of the blower when you buy one. Don’t forget, you’ll probably be carrying it around the yard for an hour or more.
Also, keep in mind that if you are using a blower that has a vacuum attachment, you’ll also be carrying a bag full of leaves.
The Black & Decker features a leaf mulcher function to maximize the carrying capacity of the leaf bag. It also features what Black & Decker calls its “low-noise” system.
Moving toward the higher end, Echo makes a gas-powered back-pack blower system that sells for about $300. This baby allows you to access the controls in two different ways and has different power settings depending on what you need to do. If you have a large yard or a large load of wet leaves, the Echo PB403 will move them. It doesn’t offer a vacuum capacity, but if a power blower is what you need, it will deliver.
The primary complaint with leaf blowers is noise. A leaf blower combines engine noise with fan noise, but it still is not much louder than a lawn mower, string trimmer or edger. One of the ways to control the leaf blower noise is by not running it at full throttle when you don’t need that extra power.
Much as they may want to do it, you’re better off not letting the kids jump in that big pile of leaves.
Not to mention the sticks or other dangers that may lurk just below the surface, kids with allergies or asthma are particurly at risk.
Leaves that have been matted on the ground often make for excellent breeding areas for various molds and spores that can trigger an allergy or asthma attack.
While the ideas of jumping in the leaves or having a leaf fight in the backyard may harken back to a simpler time, don’t be surprised if they are followed by coughing, sneezing or some uncomfortable breathing, that may even require a medical remedy.