Every spring often catches us by surprise. Once again we had to remove leaves, grass clippings and general debris from lawns, driveways and sidewalks. What? Don't you want to spend the whole week sweeping? Neither do we. Our love of power tools combined with our distaste for unnecessary work has us reaching for blowers in no time. As with most tool categories, there are options: corded, cordless, pneumatic, backpack, handheld—even with wheels. Some have 4 stroke engines, some are 18V or 36V or 56V…then you have the blower MPH vs CFM issue. Our goal is to answer these questions starting with the question of gas blowers versus battery powered blowers.
what is most important
Gas-powered and battery-powered blowers outclass corded electric models by a wide margin, so we'll focus on that there. Still, the principle of the blower is the same, so if you're interested in a corded or wheeled model, don't give up just yet. There are a few things you should consider before deciding between a gas or battery leaf blower.
We start with some basic questions. This helps you determine the actual power, speed and airflow needed to get the job done. Just because a product has the highest possible speed or CFM, doesn't mean your 1/8 acre needs all the power. However, for someone who works hours a day with a backpack blower, it can mean a world of difference.
Natural gas and batteries for commercial work
The type and volume of debris you often need to move will go a long way in determining the blower power required. If dry leaves and clippings are lightly scattered on the concrete, you'll need less power than if you keep piling up wet debris.
While battery technology continues to outperform gasoline offerings in terms of performance, gas engines still unquestionably win the power race overall.
For those landscapers who work 8 hours a day, there's no comparison to backpack battery power. That being said, most backpack blower users probably won't need as much power as a top-of-the-line blower. However, you can get more done with higher CFM and airspeed.
Conclusion: Gas backpack blowers produce the most blowing force (measured in Newtons of force) by far. For commercial applications, battery power has not yet competed at this level.
exception to the rule
If you find yourself blowing loads that aren't high, or you live in a climate that doesn't generate much moisture, a battery-operated leaf blower could be a great option and save you money in the long run. You'll also need to know a lot of laws about landscaping tools that seem to specifically address loud leaf blowers.
Gas and Battery Leaf Blower Weights
These gas engines may pack more power, but they also have another potential tradeoff. Some are heavier than battery-operated blowers. Yes, those lithium-ion batteries themselves are dense and heavy. However, they still don't change the scales like a two-stroke or four-stroke engine, fan, throttle and accompanying components.
The exception is some Pro manufacturers who offer heavy-duty commercial systems with high-capacity battery packs. Some of these products actually outperform even the best performing gas leaf blowers.
Let's do some quick comparisons to get an idea of what we're looking at:
Gas Leaf Blower Weight
- Stihl BR 800 CE Magnum Backpack Blower – 25.8 lbs
- ECHO PB-770 Backpack Blower – 24.5 lbs.
- Stihl BR 600 Backpack Blower – 21.6 lbs.
- ECHO PB-255LN Hand Blower – 10.2 lbs.
- Husqvarna 525BX Hand Blower – 9.48 lbs.
Battery Operated Leaf Blower Weight
- Husqvarna 550iBTX Backpack Blower – 34.6 lbs. (with battery)
- EGO LBX6000 and BAX1501 Backpack Batteries – 25.9 lbs.
- Stihl BGA 200 with AR 2000 Backpack Blower – 24.5 lbs.
- EGO LB6000 Backpack Blower – 18.8 lbs. (with battery)
- EGO LB6500 Handheld Blower – 9.8 lbs. (with battery)
- ECHO CPLB-58V Handheld Leaf Blower – 8.5 lbs. (with battery)
- Husqvarna 320iB Handheld Leaf Blower – 8.15 lbs. (with battery)
In general, you can find lighter, handheld battery-operated leaf blower options and gas blower options. For the backpack models, the weight of the battery operated models is more similar due to the presence of a larger backpack battery. Typically, however, this weight is closer to the body and ergonomics are much improved.
Gas and Battery Leaf Blower Maintenance
If you've used battery-operated tools for a while, you'll recognize the many things that go into keeping them running. You also understand that you have to keep a small gas container around for refills. You know you have to mix the right proportions of natural gas and oil for your dual cycle product. Fiddling with drawstrings, priming bubbles, chokes (especially after winter or a period of disuse) becomes second nature. Dirty spark plugs and rebuilt carburetors can also eat up some extra time in your schedule.
Of course, we've done a ton of great work with air tools, but you still need to work out these issues when using them.
So what are the maintenance methods of electric blowers? Well, remember to charge the battery. It's cleaner — and has fewer parts to function properly after a while. They also don't generate the heat that gas blowers do.
Potential downside? Parts and Support. There are very few parts available for many battery-operated tools—especially at the local dealer level. Instead, you often have to send the tool in without being able to use it for weeks at a time. Depending on where you bought your tool, even warranty coverage can often be a little tricky. Pros definitely have to keep this in mind when switching to batteries or setting up a dedicated battery trailer.
Noise level (dBA)
It probably won't make or break your buying decision, but the decibels when the job is done are no small deal to both your ears and the neighbors' ears. Battery powered blowers are quieter than gas blowers.
For this reason, many cities, such as Washington, D.C., have sought to ban gas-powered leaf blowers entirely. Similar legislative moves are underway across the country.
Until they can't, professionals often still opt for air blowers. However, some professionals have begun supplementing their gas tools with battery-powered tools in those neighborhoods with noise restrictions. Anyway, we don't recommend using any of them at 7am on a Saturday morning!
What Really Matters: CFM and MPH
All of the above considerations are important, but we really need to know if the blower will get the job done. To determine this, we looked at two inseparable metrics: cubic feet per minute (CFM) and miles per hour (MPH). These represent volume and speed, respectively.
Some smaller blowers display their MPH measured at the end of the nozzle, while some larger blowers advertise their CFM. While we think CFM is more important, having higher numbers in both areas allows you to get more work done.
To conceptualize this: if you could hook up a powerful air compressor to a straw and make air flow out of the straw at 500 MPH, would it be an efficient leaf blower? No, because the air volume is too small. Conversely, if you installed a 5 foot diameter industrial fan on the edge of your property and turned it on, would it be an efficient leaf blower? Again no: you generate volume but not necessarily velocity.
To sum up, a higher CFM will move more debris, while a higher MPH will move heavier wet debris. Consider these two metrics and compare them to the work you will be doing. We also measure Newtons – this is equal to the actual force (power) of the blower. Whether a hair dryer emphasizes speed or volume, Newton's force reveals the true blowing power.
Just how good are battery-operated blowers?
So let’s take a look at some highly rated blowers and how their power and speed have improved over the years.
2014 EGO LB4800 – 480 CFM
Available at Acme Tools, Lowe's, and Amazon, EGO has been offering the LB4800, a battery-operated blower since 2014 that produces 480 CFM and 92 MPH. This blower has a sound rating of 64 dBA and weighs only 5 pounds (without batteries). price? A kit with a 2.5Ah battery will run you around $109 or $189. You can still get this great blower.
2016 EGO LB5300 – 530 CFM
The next generation of the EGO LB5300 blower was launched in 2016. It moves to 530 CFM and 110 MPH while keeping noise levels low, weighs only 7.4 lbs and features a 2.5 amp hour battery. The kit is priced at $199.
2019 EGO LB5800 – 580 CFM
Compare that to the battery-operated EGO LB5800 blower that arrived later. Also available online or in-store, it boasts 580 CFM and 168 MPH. It also has a noise level of only 65 dB and weighs only 9.6 pounds. The bare metal price remains low at $169.
2020 EGO LB6500 – 650 CFM
The EGO LB6500 blower marks the latest and greatest arrival. Pushing an astonishing 20.8 Newtons in our ANSI-based test setup, this blower surpassed every other handheld model we've tested. If you want the best handheld blower batteries that can be found, this kit with a 5Ah battery runs about $299.
How about a battery backpack blower?
2016 EGO LB6004 – 600 CFM
For more power and a big boost in runtime than either of the handheld models, we got the EGO Battery Operated Backpack Blower (Model LB6004). The system produces 600 CFM and 145 MPH. Noise peaks at approximately 64 dBA, and the entire tool weighs only 13 lbs. A kit with a 5Ah battery is priced at $319.
2019 Yigao LBX6000 – 600 CFM
For the pros, EGO has also released the 600CFM LBX6000 Commercial Cordless Blower. It is designed to be used with the EGO BAX1501 backpack battery. You can buy the blower for just $399, or a kit for $1,299.
Pneumatic Backpack Blowers Are More Powerful
When considering gas blowers vs battery powered blowers, backpack design remains the "holy grail". While the EGO Backpack Blower may rival some commercial blowers, we'd be remiss if we didn't include some great pneumatic options. Check out these options from Stihl and Husqvarna.
The BR 700 remains Stihl's most powerful commercial air powered backpack blower. It packs 912 CFM and 197 MPH, has a noise level of 75 dB, and weighs 23.4 lbs. price? About $550.
One of Husqvarna's most powerful commercial air powered knapsack blowers, the 580BTS Mark II might surprise you with its 941 CFM and 206.2 MPH. It has a noise rating of 112 dB and weighs 26.3 pounds. The price point is around $550. These are not "homeowner" models unless you live on a fairly large lot or need to move a lot of foliage.
You still can't beat gas runtimes — unless you're carrying plenty of rechargeable batteries. For this reason, professionals may stick to air blowers as the primary load.
When comparing a gas blower to a battery powered blower, you will rarely see the former have a slanted nozzle. Nozzle shape affects nozzle velocity (MPH), so for some applications you may consider changing the nozzle shape to suit the job. Just don't fall for the gimmick that the battery model achieves higher speeds by thinning the tip of the tool.
Also, be sure to estimate the average length of time you will be using the blower. Not only do you need to consider how comfortable it is to use, but it can also help you decide if an air blower is best, or if you can get the job done on one or fewer battery charges. Many new models run continuously for more than 20-30 minutes.
The answer (gas blowers vs battery powered blowers) is wind blowers
When comparing gas blowers vs battery powered blowers, take the operating range seriously. Specifically, look at CFM and MPH, then decide what type of blower power you need to produce. We hope you have benefited from this guide. If you have more ideas, drop us a comment below!