It’s almost that time of year again when the weather begins to change, and our lawns suddenly become covered in leaves. If you’re tired of wasting your time raking and bagging, then a leaf blower is the best way to go. However, finding the right model for you isn’t always as easy as it seems.
This guide is here to help you learn about the different aspects to look for based on what your leaf situation requires and to help you choose the right power source for your needs as well. Plus, we’ve added in some of our recommendations for the best Black and Decker leaf blowers to help get your search started.
How to Choose A Leaf Blower
There are a wide variety of types and models on the market to choose from, making the process of buying the best leaf blower more complicated than most homeowners might think. Will you need the power of a gas-powered blower or a quiet and efficient electric model? Do you really need a backpack unit or will a handheld model be light enough to carry around?
Those questions are a good start, but knowing some of the lingo manufacturers use will help narrow down your search. While a bit long at 7 minutes plus, this video by Consumer Reports gives you the lay of the land regarding the different features of leaf blowing. We will cover these points in this article as well:
Will You Need to Mulch the Leaves?
If you are looking to save space when dealing with a large amount of leaves, then this might be an important feature to consider. A device’s mulching ability is measured in a ratio of how many bundles of leaves can be turned into the size of just one bundle. For example, a ratio of 5:1 means that the blower can mulch five bundles of leaves into one, saving a lot of space in the bag.
Ideally, a blower should have a ratio of at least 10:1. The type of leaves you are mulching and how wet they are can affect this ratio, but today’s models should always feature something above that mulching ability. This will also help those looking to fertilize flower beds or use the mulched leaves for compost.
The Right Weight and Speed
Choosing the right speed depends on what you have in your yard. Those with gardens, flower beds, and other sensitive areas may want to consider a variable speed blower to safely remove leaves without damaging plants.
Most leaf blowers must be carried by hand, so you will want to check into their weight. Depending on the length of the job, you might not want to carry around a 20-pound device.
Force and Power
Air flow is an important aspect to look for before making a purchase. You will usually find this measured by cubic feet per minute (CFM), but you might see some labeled in miles per hour or both.
Removing leaves from pavement or porches is a lot easier than removing them from grass, so you might not need a high CFM depending on the layout of your property. However, those with larger yards or an excessive amount of leaves might need a stronger air flow to get the job done.
Watch Out for Noise Levels!
Measured in decibels, the noise level is an important factor t consider. Some people just can’t stand incredibly loud leaf blowers, while some communities put a ban on machines that make too loud of a noise. Always make sure to check your area for any sound rules before making a final purchase.
Different Power Options
Many leaf blowers run on either electricity via an extension cord, gasoline, or a battery pack. Weighing the pros and cons of each can greatly help you narrow down your search.
Electric Corded Leaf Blowers
If you already own an extension cord long enough to reach the edges and corners of your yard, an electric blower may be the solution to your leaf problem. These models are usually the quietest on the market, and come in both heavy and light duty variants.
If the model you are looking at has enough power to tackle the leaves in your yard, then it is an excellent choice. Most of these blowers feature a leaf vacuum and mulcher capability if that is something you’re looking for. That versatility might be important for anyone looking to fertilize their lawn or flower beds, and those who enjoy composting.
The only downside to these models is that they can only be used as far as the extension cord they are attached to can reach. So, if purchasing a 150-foot cord isn’t something that sounds appealing, then you might want to consider another power option.
Most modern blowers feature a Lithium Ion battery pack that can be charged and reused, much like a power drill with a rechargeable battery. These models allow their users to ditch the extension cable and freely move all around their yard with ease. Battery powered blowers are not as powerful as their gas counterparts, but they certainly pack a punch.
It is important to pay attention to how much power the blower you choose is capable of. Depending on the size of your yard, you may only need a blower with mid ranged air flow. Look at the CFM to determine if the device can tackle the leaves filling your yard.
The only downside to the battery powered option is that they can run out of juice. While making sure the battery has a full charge can prevent this, its voltage will also be a deciding factor in how long you can run it. This varies widely by model, but a safe estimate is that a 32v battery can constantly run for about 20 minutes.
If you aren’t quite sure how long the model you are looking at will run on a single charge, check the manufacturer and retailer sites for a time frame. Alternatively, user reviews are also a great place to gather this information.
There are both handheld and backpack gas powered leaf blowers, with the latter coming in handy as these models can be on the heavier side. While they are typically much louder and a little more expensive than corded electric models, they are far more powerful.
Those who experience a heavy amount leaves during the Fall might want to consider this option for its stronger airflow. Typically, you will want to look for a 30 to 40 cc sixed motor, but not all models are created equal. Make sure to look at the CFM to ensure yours is powerful enough to handle the job.
Top Recommendations from Black & Decker
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for based on your leaf situation, you can narrow down your search and find the best model for you. To get you started on your quest for the best leaf blower, here are some of our top picks from Black & Decker.
Lithium-Ion 40V Cordless Handheld Leaf Blower
- Powerful 40-volt lithium ion rechargeable battery delivers the power with long run-time to complete the toughest jobs
- Power Command controls speed for maximum run-time or maximum power
- Ideal for blowing debris from hard surfaces like patios, decks, walkways, driveways and garages
- Blow tube with built-in scraper allows users to loosen matted leaves and stuck-on debris
- Soft grip handle; lightweight at just 4.7 pounds
Those looking for freedom from an extension cord might benefit the most from this handheld leaf blower. With a 40 Volt Lithium Ion battery as well as a charge indicator, you can tackle the leaves in your lawn for better than a half hour while knowing exactly how much juice your battery has left. Run times will depend on the size of the batteries you get with the unit. I recommend getting an extra 2.0Ah one so you always have a charged battery on hand.
There is a metal scraper attached to the end of the nozzle that allows you to give stubborn debris the extra push it needs, as well as a turbo feature to help clear your lawn of unwanted clutter. Using max power can significantly reduce battery life to 15-20 minutes for a full charge, it is still nice to have that extra power in your hands.
The design and 4.7lb weight make this an easy one handed device, but the 66-decibel noise rating makes this nearly as loud as a gas-powered model. It’s still quieter than any lawn mower though – either gas or electric. You might want to wear ear plugs when using it but they aren’t necessary by any means. Those with flowers beds and gardens might want to overlook the loudness of the engine for its variable speed control, however.
For an electric leaf blower, this Black & Decker packs a punch with 120MPH max air flow and is certainly worth considering. Keep in mind that there is no vacuum or mulching capability on this one, though. So, if you are looking to fertilize or compost, then this might not be the best choice for you.
- Variable power and metal scraper for heavy debris
- Battery level indicator
- Adjustable speed
- 120 MPH max air speed
- No vacuum and mulching capability
- Battery life at highest setting can be significantly reduced
Corded 3-in-1 Handheld lead Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher
- The 12-Amp motor three-in-one blower, vacuum, and mulcher keeps the yard neat and tidy
- The 230 mph blower blows through leaves and debris with ease
- The anti-clog vortex impeller prevents clogging when mulching, while grinding up to 10 bags of mulch down to one
- Two speed selections for flower beds and powerful enough for matted leaves
- Tool-free switching between vacuum and blower in seconds
If you already own a lengthy extension cord or don’t mind picking one up, then you might enjoy this corded leaf blower from Black & Decker. It does feature a mulching capability to help save space as well as help those who like to fertilize and compost do so, and even offers a lower speed setting to protect your plants. The mulching ratio for this model is 10:1.
While there is no switch to change between the blower and the vacuum, you won’t need any tools to switch between the two nozzles. When sucking things in, be wary of how much dust is going into the bag. It is a little porous, causing a big cloud when compressed with your arm. However, the bag is a nice size with a 1.5-bushel capacity.
Another great feature this unit offers is an anti-clogging vortex. This helps to ensure that leaves and debris will not clog the device when you use it to mulch them up. While wet leaves are still going to offer a challenge, there shouldn’t be any problem when the ground is dry.
With a 385 CFM air flow, this isn’t the strongest model on the market but still packs enough power to handle medium jobs and small yards with ease. However, those with property close to or over an acre might want something a little stronger as well as not tethered by an extension cord.
At 8.1lbs some might find it a little heavy, especially with its bulky design, but it does offer two handles for a solid grip during use. While earplugs are almost always recommended, its 69-decibel rating is only as loud as a vacuum cleaner.
- 2 speed selections to help protect plants
- Tool free switching between blower and vacuum function
- 5-bushel bag capacity
- 10:1 mulching ratio
- Some may find the shape difficult to use; it is a little bulky
- Requires an extension cord both long enough to reach the size of your yard and handle the 12 Amp current
- The bag is porous, meaning dust can escape and make a mess
Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Leaf Sweeper/Vacuum
- Can be used as a Sweeper or Vacuum
- Compatible with both the 36V Lithium Ion and the 40V MAX* Lithium Ion battery
- Lightweight at only 4.7 lbs
- Low noise design
- Built in scraper and soft grip handle
Those who have small yards or will mainly use their leaf blower to clear porches, driveways, and sidewalks might want to consider this cordless model from Black & Decker.
The design of this blower looks similar to many gas models on the market and fits nicely in your hands with a padded grip for extra comfort. Plus, it only weighs just over 5lbs. Anyone looking for a lightweight option might benefit from this the most.
The battery itself is a 40v Lithium Ion that lasts between 30 to 45 minutes and takes about an equal amount of time to reach a full charge. However, it only produces a 90 CFM air flow which might not be ideal for those with larger yards or a lot of leaves to clear. On the up side, it does feature a scraper to help with stubborn debris.
As for the vacuum and mulching feature, it is nice that this model has one but the ratio is only 6:1. Again, if you are only interested in clearing off solid surfaces, then that might not be an issue for you. Anyone with a major leaf problem might find the smaller ratio to be less than optimal.
Upon reading various reviews, several say that the vacuum has a tough time picking up leaves in their yard. While wet leaves will usually pose a problem for most vacuums, many report that even slightly damp leaves cause trouble on pavement as well as grass.
With a 65-decibel noise rating this blower is only about as loud as the mutter of a packed restaurant, which is quieter than several other similar models on the market. It also features adjustable speeds to help protect plants if you happen to have flowers or a garden.
- Built in scraper for tough debris
- Lightweight at just 5.4lbs
- Adjustable speed
- Fairly quiet
- Soft grip handle for added comfort
- Only 90 CFM
- 6:1 mulching ratio
- Vacuum has a tough time picking up leaves in the yard, especially when damp/wet
Put the rake away!
Out of the three models we’ve run through, we chose the Lithium-Ion Cordless Handheld as the best Black & Decker leaf blower. It has enough power to handle any sized job while offering the freedom of mobility that those with larger yards may require. Plus, the power boost and metal scraper really come in handy for damp Fall days.
While there are no vacuum or mulching capabilities on this model, it does provide variable speeds to keep flowers and vegetable gardens safe during use. The battery life is nearly an hour, and the built-in indicator makes it easy to keep track of the charge level, so you don’t run out of juice in the middle of clearing your yard.
Being able to hold it easily in one hand, 400 CFM airflow and its added features make it the clear winner.