If you have a large yard to clean up, a backpack-style leaf blower can help make the job a little easier, with less strain on your arms as you work for a longer amount of time. “Backpack blowers are perfect for big jobs, where the weight of a handheld blower would become challenging,” agrees Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt’s gardening partner, master gardener, and creator of The Impatient Gardener blog and YouTube channel. “Since the weight is carried on your back in a more ergonomic configuration,” she adds, “you’re able to blow a bigger area without fatigue.”
As we evaluated backpack leaf blowers, we looked at factors including power source, maximum air speed and power, weight, noise level, and additional features. We also tested several at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, putting them through a variety of performance and endurance tests.
Our top pick is the ECHO 58.2cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower, which offers powerful airflow via its variable-speed throttle and is designed for comfort with a vented back pad for hot weather.
Here are the best backpack leaf blowers to buy.
See-through fuel tank
The Echo 2-Stroke Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower is a well-priced gas model that can handle virtually any task around your yard. It’s powered by a 58.2cc two-stroke engine, and it offers air speeds up to 216 MPH and airflow up to 517 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM). Leaf blowers with a higher CFM rating can move larger amounts of debris, but they might not push the leaves as far as a unit with a high air speed.
While this backpack leaf blower weighs more than 20 pounds, it’s well-designed to keep you comfortable during operation. It features a deluxe padded backrest and harness, with a vented backrest to dispel heat on summer days, and it also has a four-point vibration reduction system. The throttle is mounted right on the blower tube for easy operation, and it has a cruise control setting for consistent operation.
The Echo Backpack Leaf Blower has a translucent fuel tank that lets you see when you’re running low on gas, and a leaf guard prevents overheating by stopping leaves and other debris from blocking the blower intake. The tool has a manual startup, but it’s easy enough to get going once you get the hang of it.
Not only is the BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower a budget-friendly choice, it’s also extremely versatile and can be used as a leaf blower, leaf vacuum, or mulcher. It weighs just 11 pounds, making it easy for anyone to operate, and it delivers air speed up to 250 MPH and airflow up to 400 CFM. The tool has a comfortable backpack design that allows you to carry its collection bag on your back as you move around your yard, but keep in mind that it’s a corded model, so you’ll be limited by an extension cord. The upside, however, is that you have unlimited runtime, and the power never fades.
This 3-in-1 leaf blower has a flexible tube that gives you more room to maneuver while vacuuming, and there’s a boost button on the handle for those times you need an extra bit of power. The reusable debris collection back has a roll-and-clip closure with a wide opening, making it quick and easy to empty, and when it’s used as a mulcher, it cuts debris down to 1/16 of its original size. However, the tube can clog fairly easily, so you’ll want to use caution not to suck up larger debris like sticks while working.
Easy to use
A backpack leaf blower our testers found to be “fun to use,” the Ego Power is effective, easy to operate, and powerful. It might not be your best option for high-speed blowing, but it can still move plenty of debris, thanks to its high CFM rating. This unit is powered by a rechargeable 7.5Ah lithium ion battery, and it can run for up to 180 minutes on a single charge, depending on the power level. It offers a maximum air speed of 145 MPH and airflow of 600 CFM. Our tester commented on how comfortable and “not too heavy” the backpack was to use, weighing just 12.5 pounds.
This leaf blower has a variable-speed throttle, as well as an adjustable tube length. The adjustable harness has a waist belt to keep the tool secure during operation, and it’s extremely quick and easy to start, using the pushbutton. And although you can push a button while operating, our tester especially appreciated the option to set a dial to let it blow at a specific speed or strength and “not having to push the button the entire time.” In addition to being relatively quiet and free of emissions, the battery-powered design also requires very little maintenance—all you have to do is recharge the battery as needed, and you’re good to go.
Built-in cruise control
Some backpack leaf blowers can weigh as much as 30 pounds, but this Greenworks Pro model is surprisingly lightweight at less than 15, making it easy for anyone to operate. This one was quieter than some other backpack leaf blowers we tested, but also a tad heavier. However, “The backpack fit nicely and made it easy to carry,” reported our tester, who tried using it without the backpack straps and then with. “Once I had the backback on and was using it,” she noted, “it felt very manageable.”
The Greenworks Pro Leaf Blower has a trigger-activated variable speed throttle, and there’s also a cruise control option that provides constant airflow, as needed. Our tester appreciated the variety. “There were multiple ways to control the power—one was like a trigger,” she reported. I used that the most so I could turn it off easily to improve my accuracy.”
You can get an extra boost of power with the tool’s turbo button, but running it at high speed drains the battery much faster. The brand estimates that a fully charged battery lasts only around 18 minutes if run continuously on its highest speed, which may not be enough for your yard’s needs.
It runs on a 2.5Ah battery and comes with a rapid charger that recharges the battery in just 45 minutes. It isn’t the most powerful leaf blower out there—its maximum air speed is 180 MPH and maximum airflow is 580—but it works well in smaller yards. Our tester was enthusiastic, saying: “The control I had over the power would make doing yard work more fun and certainly quick!”
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line leaf blower that can easily move just about any debris, this model from Makita has a powerful four-stroke 75.6cc engine. “Four-cycle engines run cleaner with more torque, and there’s no need to mix oil in the gas.,” notes Erin Schanen, creator of The Impatient Gardener, whom The Spruce contacted for expert advice. Its maximum air speed is 206 MPH, and its top airflow is a whopping 706 CFM, allowing it to push around wet leaves, sticks, and other heavy debris that other leaf blowers can’t handle. Plus, despite its size and power, the backpack leaf blower is surprisingly quiet during operation, maxing out at around 76 decibels, thanks to its large-capacity muffler. For comparison, some similar-sized models operate at 100 dB or higher.
Built-in cruise control
Many people prefer gas-powered leaf blowers for their unlimited runtime and higher power, and the Poulan Pro PR48BT is a moderately priced option that’s ideal for mid-sized yards, up to half an acre. It has a 48cc two-stroke gas engine, a maximum air speed of 200 MPH, and maximum airflow of 475. The blower features a variable speed throttle control on the tube, as well as cruise control for extended operation. “It can be nice to have a throttle with cruise control, so you don’t need to have a finger on the trigger at all times,” says expert, Erin Schanen.
To keep you comfortable as you clean up your yard, this leaf blower has adjustable shoulder straps and padded load-reducing harness. The contoured handle has a soft-grip finish, and it pushes through wet leaves and other heavy debris on its maximum settings. But be aware that it’s quite loud during operation, with a noise level around 97 decibels, which means you need to use hearing protection.
Built-in cruise control
The Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower makes quick work of even the largest yards, thanks to its powerful 51cc two-stroke engine. This backpack leaf blower delivers air speeds up to 270 MPH, and airflow up to an impressive 765 CFM, allowing you to move more debris in less time. It’s suitable for cleaning up leaves, yard debris, grass and hedge clippings, and even sticks, and its variable speed throttle has a cruise control feature for easier handling.
To keep you comfortable while you work, this leaf blower is equipped with a padded harness, hip belt, and weight-leveling load management system. However, it is extremely loud, and you definitely want to wear hearing protection while using it.
Runtime not listed
Your neighbors don’t even know you’re leaf blowing with the RYOBI Whisper Series Cordless Battery Backpack Blower. This battery-powered model runs on either one or two 6Ah lithium ion batteries, and it operates at just 59 decibels—one of the quietest options you can find today. It delivers air speeds up to 165 MPH and airflow up to 730 CFM, and you can adjust its settings to your needs using the variable speed trigger and/or cruise control.
The RYOBI leaf blower comes with two batteries and has two active battery ports for extended runtime, but the manufacturer doesn’t specify how long each battery lasts. However, the included rapid charger powers up a drained battery in under 60 minutes. There’s a turbo button for those times you need extra power, and the tool comes with a nozzle attachment to help maximize air speed.
You can can up virtually any yard debris with the ECHO 58.2cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Backpack Leaf Blower, which has a convenient tube-mounted throttle and vented backrest for added comfort. If you’re shopping on a budget, the BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum and Mulcher is a surprisingly versatile and well-priced tool, but it must be plugged into an electrical outlet for operation.
As most yard tools, leaf blowers can be powered by gas engines, rechargeable batteries, or power cords. There are benefits to each of these power sources:
- Gas: Typically, gas-powered leaf blowers are the most powerful, and you have virtually unlimited runtime. (If you run out of gas, you can simply stop and refill the fuel tank.) However, they’re generally louder and require more maintenance than electric models, and they can also be harder to start.
- Battery: Leaf blowers that run on rechargeable batteries tend to be quiet and easy to operate, often starting with the push of a button. Many are also significantly lighter than gas blowers, as well. However, the major downside is they have a limited runtime, which can be quite short if you’re using the tool on a high setting.
- Corded: Electric leaf blowers that run via extension cords offer many of the same benefits as battery-powered models, but they have unlimited runtime. The main downfall, however, is you’re limited to the range of your extension cord.
Because backpack leaf blowers are designed to be carried on your back, it’s important to select a model that you can comfortably lift and support for an extended period of time.
“Consider the strap configuration, and look for padded straps and a harness that helps distribute the load,” recommends Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt gardening partner and creator of The Impatient Gardener.
Leaf blowers can be quite loud during operation, and most models fall somewhere between 60 and 110 decibels. Not only can this loud, continuous noise be irritating, but it can also be harmful to your hearing above a certain level. Exposure to noise above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss, so you’ll need to invest in hearing protection, such as ear plugs or earmuffs, if you select a leaf blower that’s at or above this noise level.
As you shop for leaf blowers, you’ll see each unit’s maximum airspeed listed in miles per hour, or MPH. This indicates the maximum speed of the air coming out of the nozzle, and leaf blowers with higher air speeds are able to move heavier objects and debris.
Leaf blowers also have an air volume or airflow rating, which is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. This measurement indicates how well the leaf blower can keep objects moving—a unit with a low CFM won’t be able to push debris very far. Ideally, you’ll want to look for a leaf blower with a fairly high maximum MPH and CFM, which will be able to efficiently push heavy debris across your yard.
The steps required to start a backpack leaf blower depend on the tool’s power source. Battery or corded leaf blowers typically have a push-button or trigger start that you can simply press and go. Gas-powered leaf blowers, on the other hand, often have a few additional steps. You’ll likely need to push the primer bulb several times, adjust the choke, and pull the starting cord to get a gas motor running.
“A backpack blower works the same way a handheld leaf blower works, except you carry the engine on your back,” Schanen explains. “The blower arm comes out of it with an easy-to-hold handle that allows you to control where it blows.”
Backpack blowers are preferable to other types for big jobs, advises Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt’s gardening partner, master gardener, and creator of The Impatient Gardener blog and YouTube channel. “Since they tend to be more powerful than handheld models,” she notes, “they are also good for blowing larger material, such as blowing mulch back into a garden bed.”
There are benefits to both types of leaf blowers, so it’s really a matter of your priorities. “The big advantages that gas-powered backpack blowers have over electric battery-powered blowers is power and longevity,” explains Schanen. Gas-powered models are often more powerful and have an unlimited runtime, but battery-powered leaf blowers are generally lighter, quieter, and easier to maintain.
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. While researching backpack leaf blowers for this article, she spoke with Erin Schanen, Troy-Bilt’s gardening partner, master gardener, and creator of The Impatient Gardener blog and YouTube channel. Schanen offered insights on what to look for in a leaf blower, as well as information on how these tools work.
While evaluating different products, Camryn considered factors such as each blower’s weight, maximum MPH and CFM, power source, and noise level. She also looked at the runtime of any battery-powered models, prioritizing options that last long enough to clean a sizable yard.
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