Best Handheld Gas Leaf Blowers (2019)
When the fall season rolls around and the leaves start to drop from the trees, it becomes harder to keep your lawn and pathways in order. A leaf blower can make for a far quicker clean-up job than simply using a manual rake. However, there are many leaf blowers available, so narrowing down the choice can be difficult. Below, we have listed the best 5 handheld leaf blowers out there to help you decide on one.
If you don't plan to spend hours at a time using your blower, you should consider a hand-held blower instead of a backpack model.
Our favorite handheld gas leaf blower is the Hitachi RB24EAP. We like it because of it's light weight and extremely long (7 year) warranty.
Our budget choice is the Husqvarna 125B leaf blower, following our first choice. Although there are lower priced blowers available, we still chose this considering its overall performance as the others definitely have some effect of the low price.
If you don't need the power of a gas blower, or you're looking for something a bit more environmentally friendly, have a look at our reviews of cordless blowers here and corded electric blowers here.
Best Handheld Gas Leaf Blowers In Comparison
#1 Hitachi RB24EAP - Best Handheld Gas Leaf Blower
The Hitachi RB24EAP is the lightest-weight gas leaf blower we've seen
- Max. Air Flow 441 cfm
- Max. Air Speed 170 mph
- 23.9 cc, 1.13 hp 2-stroke Engine
- 8.6 Lbs.
- CARB compliant
The Hitachi RB24EAP is a lightweight and very compact leaf blower capable of pushing debris up to 18 feet at around 170 mph.
Weighing in at 8.6 pounds, it’s the lightest of the handheld blowers we’re looked at. Additionally, its dimensions stand at just 10.5 x 17.3 x 15-inches, making it not only simple to carry around the yard, but easy to store away for the winter season when the last of the leaves have fallen.
One of the main drawbacks of this handheld blower is the noise that it puts out, at 96.6 decibels. This is comparable in volume to some of the noisier brands of gasoline-powered lawn mowers, which is a concern given the compact size of this unit and its closer proximity to your ears than a mower.
One last point worth mentioning is the product warranty that comes with this blower from the manufacturer, Hitachi. It’s guaranteed for up to 7 years on defective parts or workmanship, which is considerably longer than the majority of warranties offered by other manufacturers.
WE DON'T LIKE:
#2 Husqvarna 952711925 125B Handheld Blower
Our budget choice, a slim unit with a cruise control system
The Husqvarna 125B leaf blower is a perfect fit for individuals who desire the strength of a gas leaf blower without the added weight. Although not as light as our first choice, the 125B is still convenient to carry around and work with. The unit even comes with two small nooses to attach shoulder straps (sold separately) in case you have a longer working session.
In regards to power, it is as powerful you would expect a standard gas powered product to be. It can clear out moderately sized yards efficiently, removing acorns, twigs and even wet leaves. It comes with two nozzles and the tube length can be adjusted slightly. It features the cruise control system which allows you to lock the speed you are working at without having to press the trigger continuously.
The air intake on the machine is located on the right side, it is particularly helpful in avoiding the occasional pant-pulling problem, unless you are left-handed. The noise level is acceptable as well, but ear protection is recommended still.
Husqvarna offers a 2-year limited warranty for this product.
WE DON'T LIKE:
#3 Tanaka THB-260PF Handheld Blower
The commercial grade handheld leaf blower
The Tanaka THB-260PF Commercial Grade Blower features a 25 cc, 1.3 horsepower, 2-stroke PureFire engine and a 20.3 fluid ounce tank. This too comes with the nifty cruise control feature and is a well deserved candidate in our list. The leaf blower is very close to our second choice in terms of performance - just as powerful and quiet, but a tad bit heavier.
The high volume fan nozzle it offers is especially praiseworthy. It enables the user to clear an area without the blow-back which is sometimes experienced with other leaf blowers. Plus, its innovative design being flat at the tip, instead of the generic rounded one, offers more precision. The unit comes with an shredding and vacuum capability, which offers up to 368 cfm for suction. The variable speed setting gives added control the user.
This leaf blower is CARB and EPA phase II compliant, having a quite low noise level. It has a soft elastomer grip which makes it all the more comfortable.
The THB-260PF comes with a 2-year commercial warranty or a 3-year consumer warranty.
WE DON'T LIKE:
#4 Echo PB-250LN
The PB-250LN is the quietest hand-held gas leaf blower on the market
Straight out of the box, the Echo PB-250LB is straightforward to put together, requiring minimal tools to get going. At just under 9 pounds, this gas leaf blower is extremely lightweight, which makes for easy handling, while rotation control reduces the gyro effect produced by the engine.
Filling the gas tank is fairly simple, though it could benefit from a larger tank, as you won’t get quite the same level of usage from it as with some competitors, before needing a refill. Still, you will likely have sufficient fuel to complete most tasks within a single tank.
This model uses a 25.4cc power-boost vortex engine, boasting 391 CFM volume. Though not the most powerful around, you’ll achieve max speeds of around 165 mph, and it’s powerful enough to even move wet mulch, twigs and other debris.
Overall, the machine runs quietly, producing very little noise (65dBa, louder than a dishwasher but quieter than a domestic vacuum cleaner according to this source); this makes it ideal for home users who are concerned about disturbing their neighbors.
WE DON'T LIKE:
#5 Poulan Pro PPBV25
Comes with a vacuum attachment, but it's fiddly to use & not very powerful
The Poulan Pro PPBV25 gasoline-powered handheld leaf blower has a notable advantage over the other blowers here - it comes with a removable bag, so you can use it both as a blower and a vacuum.
The versatility this offers is welcome, however there are some words of caution. Converting to the vacuum function is quite fiddly (you'll need to follow the instructions in the user manual), and once you've converted it, you'll find the power in vacuum mode can be disappointing. This trait is the same as all the other blower / vacuums we've seen though, and the Poulan Pro is no worse.
When used as a hand-held blower, it seems quite sturdy, and the power, speed and airflow specs are all competitive. It has similar features to the competition, including cruise control (so you can set the throttle and leave it, rather than having to keep your hand on the throttle as you're using the blower). The speed control is variable.
The PPBV25 feels quite well-balanced; fatigue would set in with extended use, but you could say the same for all hand-held blowers.
Although Poulan Pro is owned by Husqvarna (a Swedish company), this blower is built in the USA.
The PPBV25 comes with a 2-year warranty from the manufacturer.
WE DON'T LIKE:
Handheld or Backpack, which to buy?
This question comes to mind almost instantaneously after deciding on the power source. Which is better, handheld or backpack? Well, the answer is: you decide! Both have their perks and drawbacks depending on the following criteria:
When it comes to comfort, handheld ones provide more of it than backpacks, given you have a good posture and smaller yard. Backpack leaf blowers are more suited for working over larger areas and longer period of time.
Handheld leaf blowers tend to have a lower power than their backpack counterparts since they have to be 'held by hand' and thus ought to have lighter parts. And this accounts for the relative low power. Again, as stated above, handhelds are more suited for smaller yard work, where even this low power attribute will be adequate. For larger yards, backpack it is.
A lower power subsequently means lower fuel capacity which basically means it can cover a smaller area. Thus, handheld leaf blowers having a smaller fuel capacity, and backpacks having a higher one, reiterates the above points.
To sum it up, if you have a small yard and require less intense tasks, handheld leaf blowers will do the job. For larger yards and surface areas, or for commercial and professional use, you're best off buying a backpack leaf blower.
What Makes A Good Gas Leaf Blower?
There are several factors to consider when buying a gasoline-powered leaf blower
You should now have a good idea of whether you need a handheld gas leaf blower, for small-scale yard work, or a larger backpack gas leaf blower for large yards, or commercial business use. Below, we’ll look at what makes a good blower.
Air volume is one of the most important criteria. Gas leaf blowers are available with air volumes from around 350CFM (cubic feet per minute) to over 700CFM; more is better (though an ultra-high CFM figure is not usually needed for domestic blowers)
Air speed is also important - though it is easier for the manufacturer to play games with this feature (if they supply a small nozzle with the blower & rate the air speed with this nozzle attached, the air speed through the small nozzle will be high, but the blower will not be able to move much air at this speed).
Nozzle size and design
Nozzle design will vary from model to model. Some machines are able to easily direct the flow of leaves and other debris, whereas others may appear uncontrolled in their airflow. Look for a narrow nozzle, which should help direct the blast more easily; this way, you can create piles instead of disorganized chaos.
Though this is a feature that will set you back more, consider picking up a gas leaf blower that has support for leaf mulching. You don't want to spend all your time handling wet, heavy leaves once you've blown them into a pile. Instead, it's far easier to kick the machine into reverse and suck the leaves up, mulching them into compost.
Comfortable design features
Comfort is very important when it comes to leaf blowers. For handheld models, this means focusing on a blower that has well-designed, ergonomic handles, preferably those with contoured design and padding. For a backpack leaf blower, you should ensure that it has padding on the back, as well as substantial shoulder padding. Your back and shoulders will thank you for this later.
Compact when stored
There's normally a reasonably limited window in which you'll need regular access to your leaf blower. Once fall ends and all the leaves are gone, you'll likely need less frequent use of the machine. Therefore, it's ideal to have a blower that can be stored easily in a compact manner. Particularly with a backpack blower, consider whether any parts of the machine can be disassembled temporarily, or folded down.
Maintenance / Cleaning
How to look after your new leaf blower, so it works as well as it can, and lasts as long as possible
Maintenance and cleaning of your gasoline-powered leaf blower is important if you’re going to make the most of its potential lifespan. Gas blowers require more maintenance than electric models, so for the avoidance of doubt, here’s a quick list of advice:
- First, read your owner's manual. Take note of any tips on cleaning and maintaining that specific model of blower
- Drain your motor of any gasoline as soon as the season comes to an end. Dispose of the gasoline and use fresh gas at the beginning of a new season
- Ensure that an appropriate level of oil is maintained at all time. What's more, check the oil regularly for contamination; floating debris or clouded, a dark black color is a sign that it's time to change the oil
- Regularly inspect the air filter, and either clean or replace it regularly, depending upon the advice for your specific gasoline blower.
How do i store a backpack gas leaf blower?
This is a rather curios and specific question we came across regarding gas leaf blowers. But a good one nonetheless. We tried to answer it below as precisely, yet comprehensively, as possible. Regardless of the duration of storage (unless it's just for a day), follow the steps mentioned here for properly storing your machine.
1) Remove all leaves and debris. Run the blower in both blow and vacuum mode for some time while constantly alternating between the two modes. This gets rid of every last bit in the blower. If your unit lacks the vacuum feature, skip this step.
2) Remove all fuel. This step is for long term storage. When gasoline sits stagnant for a long time, the various liquid parts making it up start to separate and disintegrate, forming a toxic sticky remnant. This is not only harmful for the machine but also adds up to the cost of maintenance. So, when you intend to store away the blower for a season, drain out all the fuel as much as possible. Then run your machine for some time until it dies on its own. This confirms all the fuel has been used up.
3) For the insides. Take out the spark plug from the engine and add a tiny amount, about 2 cc, of motor oil inside. Then slowly pull the starter cord a few times so that the insides of the engine has the oil circulated. Then reconnect the spark plug. If you decide on leaving the spark plug disconnected, mask the connector with some tape to prevent oxidation.
4) Discard the engine oil (applicable for 4-stroke engines only). Drain out all the engine oil through the drainage port and collect in a container. Discard it as per local regulations.
5) Wipe clean. Using a plain damp cloth, give the exterior a good wipe to remove all the dirt. Putting away a tool as is without cleaning may leave stains over time. You can also apply a film of oil on the surface by wiping it with a lightly oil soaked cloth. This oiling step prevents oxidation and is optional, but cleaning the exterior after every use is a must.
6) Store in a dry place. This generic statement is seen on almost all packaging. Machines are especially susceptible to moisture as they speed up corrosion or rust formation. Therefore it is imperative to store tools and machines in dry places to ensure no moisture can get to it. Covering up the machine with a waterproof layer also helps, and it prevents dust accumulation as well.
These are the basics for storing away a gas leaf blower for a prolonged period of time. For regular purposes, you can skip steps 2 to 4, but steps 1, 5 and 6 is highly recommended.
A few pointers to help you stay safe when using your blower
Gasoline leaf blowers needn’t be a safety concern, though there are some general pieces of advice to follow. For your own personal safety, you should always wear ear protection, as gasoline engines tend to be very loud. You should also aim to avoid directly breathing in the exhaust fumes.
As you will be creating dust, you should always wear a filter mask. Safety glasses will protect your eyes from flying debris. Although cordless blowers are quieter than gasoline models, you should still wear hearing protection when using power tools.
Don't let children use the blower, or be within 50 feet when you are using it.
For the sake of the environment, you should be sure to responsibly dispose of drained gasoline and oil, as ground contamination can lead to polluted natural water sources. This includes being careful to place a tarp on the ground when draining your machine.
Make sure you read the manual that comes with the blower, for any safety information specific to that model.
Occasionally faults are discovered after a product has gone on sale, usually requiring the product to be recalled by the manufacturer.
There were no recalls listed for any of the leaf blowers mentioned here at the time of writing (March 2019). However, it's always a good idea to check the latest information at the Consumer Product Safety Commission website before buying any large, expensive or potentially dangerous product.
Do you own any of the leaf blowers mentioned here? Did you choose a different one? Let us know in the comments!