Electric vs Gas Leaf Blowers
A leaf blower can be a valuable addition to your collection of lawn equipment. The type of engine in a blower, gas or electric, is probably the biggest factor in determining how the machine operates and caters to your needs. This factor affects such things as the power output, weight, maneuverability, maintenance costs, and noise levels of the blower.
Are There Extra Costs With Leaf Blowers?
Along with the initial price tag, plug-in electric leaf blowers are going to be much cheaper to run, than gasoline blowers, for a couple of reasons:
- Home electricity is reasonably cheap in most states
- They don’t require regular fueling, lubricating oil, or maintenance and tuneups.
There may be a one-time expense for an extra-long heavy duty extension cord, if you don’t already have one. With cordless electric leaf blowers, the purchase price is a bit high and the batteries will eventually need replacing – typically after 2-3 years.
Electric vs Gas Leaf Blowers - Which Have More Power?
Gas-powered leaf blowers are generally more powerful than electric models. Electric leaf blowers power is limited thanks to the 120-volt wall outlet the corded varieties are tied to – the maximum possible power with a 15-amp blower is 1800 watts (about 2.5 horsepower). Cordless electric blowers in theory can have more power than corded, as they are not limited by the power rating of an electrical outlet. There are other cordless garden tools with over 2000 watt motors (e.g. snow blowers). In practice there are no cordless leaf blowers on the market with more than 1800 watts…yet. Expect this to change in the near future, as higher capacity & higher voltage batteries become more widespread, as well as dual battery systems.
Regardless, both corded and cordless blowers have less power than gasoline blowers.
Are Electric Leaf Blowers Lighter Than Gas Models?
Corded electric leaf blowers can weigh as little as 4.5lb, with battery pack types being often as heavy as gas models. You can expect gas powered blowers to weigh at least twice this amount on the lighter end while reaching nearly 12 pounds on the heavier end of the scale. More powerful backpack gas models will weigh even more but have the advantage of placing the weight on your back where it’s more manageable. Don’t underestimate how tiring a few extra pounds can be when you’re clearing a large area!
Is One Type Easier to Use Than the Others?
Both gas leaf blowers and electric blowers relying on battery packs will not have a power cord getting in the way so they can come in either handheld or backpack forms. Corded electric leaf blowers are normally restricted to staying around 100 feet from their power source, since extension cords much longer than this would be impractical. If you do use an electric blower, always confirm the extension cord is suitable for the wattage of the motor, and always use a GFCI power outlet.
Are Gas Leaf Blowers Noisier?
The typical rule of thumb is that electric leaf blowers should be quieter than their gas-powered opponents but there are notable exceptions. As Larry N. Will, a former engineer at Echo Inc., points out, some gas models have been designed to generate noise around the 65dB level. This is about as loud as a normal conversation. The drawback here is that these leaf blowers will be more expensive than the already-costly gas leaf blowers.
Are Electric Leaf Blowers Quieter?
All leaf blowers are going to be loud. While most electric leaf blowers average below 70 dB, some can exceed 100 dB due, in part, to the high-frequency sound produced by the high-speed fan that’s common to all leaf blowers, whether they be gasoline or electric. We’d also like to point out that manufacturers’ listed sound ratings are usually determined at a distance of 50 feet from the machine, so noise levels will be significantly higher for the blower operator. This is particularly true for backpack-type leaf blowers, with the motor positioned so close to the operator’s head.
The Right Leaf Blower Makes Yard Work a Breeze
Leaf blowers are great for tasks like faster clearing of yard wastes from lawns, driveways, and sidewalks, cleaning leaves from those tight crevices and corners, and removing debris from both delicate perennials and hazardous thorn bushes, but only if the right type is matched to your circumstances. We think weighing these factors should help you quite a bit in deciding whether an electric or gas leaf blower is better suited to your situation. You might also want to check out this noise chart for some additional guidance.