How to choose the best backpack blower

Backpack blowers are a quick and easy way to remove dead leaves and grass clippings from your lawn. You can blow debris away instead of having to rake it up manually. All backpack blowers are powered by gas engines or batteries. Each has varying levels of power, performance and comfort. So which one should you buy? This comprehensive guide will help you make your decision.

What is a backpack blower?

Backpack blowers are bigger and more powerful versions of handheld leaf blowers. The backpack design distributes the weight of the leaf blower across the operator’s shoulders and back, so they are less fatiguing to use than handheld blowers.

How do backpack blowers work?

These mechanical devices use engines to spin fans that push air down long tubes and through narrow nozzles at speeds well over 100 miles per hour. You aim the powerful, focused blast of air in the direction you want your leaves or grass clippings to go and blow them in front of you as you walk along.

Can I use one where I live?

Hundreds of cities and towns have restricted the use of leaf blowers because they’re noisy and emit pollutants, so check with your local municipality. Most of the restrictions involve two-stroke engines, so if your community has banned them, take a look at four-stroke and battery-powered backpack blowers.

What is a backpack blower used for?

  • Fallen leaves: Backpack blowers are used to do the work of raking or sweeping leaves. Responsible homeowners blow their leaves into a pile, collect them and dispose of them properly, while others just blow them away for others to deal with. 
  • Lawn mowing cleanup: Mowing grassy areas leaves small leaf cuttings behind. Blowers are used to blow away the clippings to leave a cleaner look. Operators are often seen blowing debris into the street. 
  • Snow: High-speed air jets easily blow light, dry snow away from driveways and sidewalks.
  • Sand: Backpack blowers are used by some to spread sand across the top of icy driveways so people and cars won’t slip and slide.

Power sources

  • Two-stroke engines burn a mixture of gasoline and oil. They are so named because they complete a power cycle with only two movements of a piston inside a cylinder. 
  • Four-stroke engines burn the same gasoline you put in your car. They’re cleaner, more efficient and more powerful than two-stroke engines. However, they’re bigger, heavier and costlier too.
  • Electric power is supplied by batteries. They don’t have as much power as gas-powered backpack blowers but are quieter, release no emissions into the surrounding air and are adequate for light duty.

Measurements you can use to compare models 

  • Engine size: Gas engines are measured by their size, usually expressed in cubic centimeters. Bigger numbers mean more power, more weight and more expense.
  • Air speed: Most manufacturers advertise this number as a measure of performance. It is expressed in miles per hour. The faster the air moves through the tube, the easier it is for the machine to blow away leaves and loose debris. Some gas-powered blowers achieve speeds around 250 mph, while battery power pushes air only a bit more than half that.
  • Air volume: Efficiency is measured not only in how fast the blower moves the air, but how much air it can push through the tube. This measurement is expressed most often in cubic feet per minute. Backpack blower volumes range from 400 to 750 cubic feet of air per minute.

The backpack

  • Frame: The power source, fan and hose coupling are fitted to the back of the frame and the harness to the front. The best frames are lightweight, strong and designed to distribute the weight of the machine across the operator’s back and shoulders to reduce strain.
  • Straps: Better backpacks have shoulder straps that are adjustable, padded and wide enough to not cut into your shoulders. They also have waist straps that help distribute the load.
  • Back: Gas engines get hot, so look for a blower that has a ventilated area on the back.

Best backpack blowers

Two-cycle backpack blowers

These are the cheapest and least efficient of the backpack blowers and are banned in some places.

Best Poulan Pro Two-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower

Poulan Pro Two-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower

This 48cc engine pushes 475 cubic feet of air per minute at up to 200 mph. It weighs 22 pounds with its heavy-duty frame that has a load-reducing harness for a custom fit, greater comfort, minimal strain and reduced operator fatigue.

Sold by Amazon

Best Husqvarna 150BT Professional Two-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower

Husqvarna 150BT Professional Two-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower

This 22-pound blower moves 434 cubic feet of air per minute at 251 mph. Dampers between the 50cc engine and the chassis reduce vibration, and the variable fan speed has cruise control.

Sold by Amazon

Best LawnMaster No-Pull Backpack Two-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower

LawnMaster No-Pull Backpack Two-Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower

This 31cc gas engine has an electric starter, a muffler with a spark arrestor, variable speeds and a cruise control. This 18.5-pound backpack has a harness with adjustable shoulder straps and a waist strap.

Sold by Amazon

Four-cycle backpack blowers

These are engines that run cleaner and more efficiently, usually with more power than two-cycle engines.

Best PX-Trunk Four-Cycle Gas Backpack Leaf Blower

PX-Trunk Four-Cycle Gas Backpack Leaf Blower

The 52cc engine spins a turbine fan at 7,500 revolutions per minute to blow 700 cubic feet of air per minute at 230 mph. The back of the frame is ventilated and padded, the shoulder straps are adjustable and the machine weighs 27 pounds. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Makita Four-Stroke Backpack Leaf Blower

Makita Four-Stroke Backpack Leaf Blower

The 75cc engine uses 3.8 horsepower to move 706 cubic feet of air per minute at 206 mph. The unit weighs 11 pounds, and the shoulder straps are padded and adjustable. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Yoleny Four-Stroke Backpack Leaf Blower

Yoleny Four-Stroke Backpack Leaf Blower

The frame has a breathable back and adjustable straps for operator comfort. It weighs 27 pounds and has a 76cc engine that blows air at 750 cubic feet of air per minute. 

Sold by Amazon

Battery-powered backpack blowers

These are the quietest of all.

Best Ego Power+ 600 CFM Variable Speed Backpack

Ego Power-plus  600 CFM Variable Speed Backpack 

This 29-pound variable speed turbine fan leaf blower has a battery run time of 180 minutes. It delivers a maximum air velocity of 145 mph and can move air anywhere from 260 to 600 cubic feet of air per minute through the adjustable-length tube.

Sold by Amazon

Best Ryobi Whisper Series Cordless Battery Backpack

Ryobi Whisper Series Cordless Battery Backpack 

This 40-volt blower is 85% quieter than a gas blower. It delivers 730 cubic feet of air per minute at 165 mph, and the contoured back support has adjustable straps to carry its 30-pound weight.

Sold by Home Depot

 

Best Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Battery Backpack

Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Battery Backpack 

This blower comes with two lithium-ion batteries and a rapid charger that takes less than 60 minutes. It blows 625 cubic feet of air per minute at 145 mph and weighs 30 pounds.

Sold by Amazon

 

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