Blowing away leaves using a machine that seems to call up a hurricane on command might look easy, but choosing the machine itself?
Umm… not so much!
Leaf blowers are fine pieces of machinery, with many moving parts that determine the blower’s overall quality.
And if you’re not familiar with those parts, the chances are that you’ll end up buying a backpack leaf blower that’s just not right for your needs.
Hey, I work as a manager at a large home improvement store, and I see people buying the wrong products every day. I can only do so much to steer them in the right direction.
But don’t you worry; I’m writing these reviews for two purposes:
- To inform and educate you guys on how to choose the right model online
- Give you my reviews on five of my favorite backpack leaf blowers, so that you can go right ahead and buy one
So, grab a mug of coffee and let those leaves rest on your yard for a day more because this is going to be big.
5 Best Backpack Leaf Blowers for the Money
1. Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Leaf Blower
Husqvarna is my go-to brand for anything lawn and home care related, period. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to talking about my favorite brand. However, what I’m about to tell you today is entirely based on my experiences using the 350BT. This model is undoubtedly popular, sure, but is it right for you?
We’ll uncover the answer to that question and much more in this review. But first, let’s take a look at the standout features this product has to offer.
- Comfortable and well-ventilated harness, complete with hip belt and shoulder straps that spreads the weight
- 2.1 HP X-Torq engine that maximizes fuel efficiency while keeping harmful emissions at a minimum
- Gives you a choice to alter fan speed on the go, remove air from the carburetor using the air purge feature, and is CARB compliant
- Lets you use the machine for a long time due to its 42.27-ounce fuel tank and comfortable grip for easy holding
How was my experience?
The Husqvarna 350BT is close to my heart because it is the only leaf blower I have at home. And I didn’t decide to buy it on an impulse; I bought it two years ago after trying out at least five or more varieties of backpack leaf blowers. The first thing that caught my mind was how light this machine felt on my back, despite being a 22-pounder.
Now, I don’t mind carrying a bit of weight, and I’m used to it on account of my job. But damn, the 350BT felt as if it was made just for me! This is all due to the incredibly durable and ventilated harness that fits like a glove. Performance is also stellar because of the 50.2cc, 2.1 HP X-TORQ engine that generates wind up to 180 mph.
Let me put it this way – I’m able to clean up heaps of dry and wet leaves from my yard within just a few minutes. Of course, the wet leaves need a bit more time and concentrated force, but it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle. Did I mention this product is easy to maintain too? Just check on and clean the air filter, fuel tank, etc. and you’ll be fine.
Okay, I’m getting a bit carried away with the praises, aren’t I? Before you accuse me of shameless promotion, let me say that not all is right with this model. The noise, for instance, can get overbearing for many if you don’t use ear protection. And if you’ve got nosy neighbors, just be safe and don’t fire the 350BT up when they’re asleep.
- An incredibly effective engine that blows away leaves, ice, and gravel
- Very comfortable to carry around
- Doesn’t require heavy maintenance
- Comes with two years limited warranty on parts
- Can get noisy when using it at high speeds
- The button placement might feel inconvenient for left-handers
If you want to see this blower in action, check out the video below.
I’ve had the Husqvarna 350BT for over two years and never did I have to do more than three pulls to start it up. Aside from the noise and its unorthodox button placements, I didn’t notice anything I could criticize. I highly recommend you try it out for the feel and power alone.
My rating: 4.5/5
2. Greenworks PRO 80V Cordless Backpack Blower
Okay, here’s a leaf blower that should appeal more to the environment-friendly crowd. Why? Because this thing runs on batteries! And bring many benefits over those that are powered by gas (like the one I reviewed above). I’d say this is the best leaf blower for homes because it’s powerful, lightweight, and doesn’t make enough noise to put the neighbors on high alert.
Of course, the power isn’t comparable to gas blowers, but I’d understand if you thought that it’s a reasonable compromise. Take a look at its features and judge for yourself.
- It is powered by a brushless motor that can generate wind speed of up to 145 mph
- Runs entirely on 80 V 2.5Ah batteries; no need to buy gas, deal with spillage, or pollution
- It weighs only 14.64 lbs and is thus extremely light on the back and shoulders
- Cruise Control feature makes using this model extremely easy and functional
How was my experience?
The Greenworks PRO Backpack Blower just so happens to be my friend’s favorite, and I got to try it out one day while visiting his family along with my wife and two kids. Yeah, go ahead and make fun of me for trying to clean a yard on a day of fun, but I’ll have you know that I enjoyed every minute of it.
This product is just so damn good! It doesn’t vibrate, doesn’t make much noise, and felt light as a feather on my back. When was the last time you heard of a leaf blower with such good qualities? I was able to clean up both the yard (0.5 acres) and driveway within 30 minutes, without even breaking a sweat.
And the power of this leaf blower didn’t only take on just leaves, but also few pinecones and some loose debris. The only time it struggled a bit was when I tried to blow a heap of wet leaves lying close to a small puddle. But that’s to be expected because this product has traded a bit of power to bring you the added convenience.
However, like every piece of machinery, this too has its own share of follies. The Greenworks PRO is a right-sided blower, meaning you’ll likely face difficulty if you’re left-handed or want to get leaves out of a position that’s more convenient to reach on your left.
Also, the blower tube angle could have been more upright, as that would have saved me the effort I put behind leaning over to catch those large piles. However, all can be forgiven because of the price you pay for a leaf blower like this.
- It is eco-friendly, silent, and powerful
- Battery recharges relatively quick (30 minutes)
- No hassle of cleaning/replacing air and fuel filters, spark plugs
- Left-handers will have to overcome a moderate learning curve
The Greenworks PRO 80V Cordless Backpack Blower is every bit as good as the 350BT by Husqvarna if we compare it in terms of home use. It has all the features to be the people’s favorite, and comes at a low price and an impressive warranty policy to boot. Buy it without any second thought.
My rating: 5/5
3. Makita 4-Stroke Engine Hip Throttle Backpack Blower
If you’re familiar with construction, lawn and gardening tools, then chances are you heard of the company named Makita. Like the company, the Makita Hip Throttle Backpack Blower is also quite popular and has plenty of unique features to boast. However, I wouldn’t recommend this model to everyone despite its high power.
We’ll go over its shortcomings later in this review; for now, I’d like to begin by stating the features that I think prove to be quite useful.
- 75.6 cc MM4 engine delivers commercial duty air speed of up to 200 mph and promises to blow away not only leaves but also 3 to 4 inches of snow
- It has padded shoulder straps that make carrying the machine more comfortable and excellent anti-vibration mount for added comfort
- The adjustable tube will give more control over the length while features such as cruise control hip throttle add to the convenience
How was my experience?
I wish I could say it was all smooth sailing, but that wouldn’t be true. Partly due to the expectations I had of this leaf blower. It is tremendously powerful, sure, but the first thing I couldn’t help but notice was how heavy it was. It’s not that I can’t handle weight; just that I am used to using lighter models.
So when I volunteered to clear out a children’s Park that is the size of a football field, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Needless to say, the engine blew away a lot of leaves with its air volume of 670 cubic feet per minute, but it still wasn’t quite fast enough to prevent me from getting exhausted. Hey, blame the old age!
Most people would recommend this model for commercial use, but I’d say it can work for homes as well. That’s because it doesn’t require you to mix fuel, and comes with two separate compartments to let you store fuel in advance.
Maintenance is easy as well (from what I’ve heard), and all you have to do is empty the gas at the end of a season and perhaps change the oil when it’s time to use again. My friend, to whom the Makita Hip Throttle Backpack Blower belongs, says that even after 15 months of use, he has noticed no deterioration in the air filter.
Another aspect I admire is how silent this model is in comparison to leaf blowers having 2-stroke engines. I dare say you’d be able to use it without causing a nuisance on lower power levels.
- Incredibly powerful air speed and volume
- Built like a tank and low on maintenance
- Weighs on the heavier side (24.1 lbs)
Aside from the heavier build and some issues in start-up, I didn’t notice much to criticize about. In fact, the four-stroke engine of this model is so great that it gives you an incredible amount of power without adding to the noise pollution. Just FYI: you can use the Makita 4-Stroke Engine Hip Throttle Backpack Blower to blow away thick snow as well.
My rating: 4/5
4. Poulan Pro 48cc Backpack Blower
Now, here’s a product that took me entirely by surprise. And let me just put it out there that I’m not someone who is easily surprised. I got the idea to test Poulan Pro Backpack Blower after noticing that many people were buying it off-line. “It has to be those damn fake reviews on the Internet,” I said to myself and took one model home to see for myself.
And behold, I was right to do so! The Internet did speak positively about this leaf blower, but I was still not convinced despite looking at its features as mentioned below:
- 48cc two-stroke engine that can generate wind speed up to 200 mph, which is excellent
- Variable speed throttle control places the power in your hand to switch speed as and when needed
- Cruise control feature makes using the leaf blower as easy as a piece of cake
- Shipped with one bottle of oil so that you can immediately get to work
How was my experience?
Well, maybe taking the skeptic’s approach to reviewing this leaf blower did me well, but I can say for sure the Poulan Pro is objectively a good leaf blower. I managed to clean up my entire lawn in 30 minutes and not feel much exhausted. For a machine that weighs 22 lbs, I didn’t expect such a pleasant experience.
The makers have indeed put a lot of work into making this product as user-friendly as possible. And that becomes increasingly apparent when you use it for more extended periods. The switches are conveniently placed and will allow you to change settings on the fly depending on the circumstances.
The combination of cruise control and variable speed actually makes leaf blowing enjoyable. Aside from some dry leaves, I quickly blew away some debris such as pine cone, hickory nuts, and some leftover manure I had from the past week. And believe me; the manure did take some time as it got compacted.
The first problem I noticed was when I tried to find the serial number to register for an additional warranty. After a lot of digging around on the Internet, I found that you have to get the air filter cover removed and then try taking a peek at the serial number on the engine. And so I did…successfully!
Also, after a few days, it took me more than 2-3 tugs to get the blower fired up. If it weren’t for the Jethro Tull music playing in the background, I swear I would have lost my cool. Still, it takes something between 1 to 5/6 tugs to start it up. Seriously, this could have been avoided.
- Doesn’t produce much noise for a two-stroke engine
- Feels light and comfortable to use throughout
- Has enough power to blow away wet and dry leaves and more
- Assembly could have been simpler
- Almost always takes more than one pull to start
The Poulan Pro 48cc Backpack Blower is a pretty good product for its price. It isn’t perfect, sure, but then again what is? What I remember most isn’t the problem finding the serial number or having to make multiple attempts to start it; I remember the good times working on the lawn and those heaps of leaves blowing away.
My rating: 3.5/5
5. Troy-Bilt 32cc 4-Cycle Backpack Blower with JumpStart Technology
Troy-Bilt is a household name in my family. My father used to have a premium-grade Lawn mower of the company, and I saw him cherish it from the core. So, when I received a Backpack blower made by the same company for review, I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic. And as a result, high expectations!
And you know what they say about expectations being the mother of…?
Thankfully, the Troy-Bilt 32cc 4-Cycle Backpack Blower did not disappoint. It wasn’t the greatest experience ever, but I’d say one of the better experiences in recent times. Check out some of its features.
- The 32cc 4-Cycle engine is powerful enough to blow air at a speed of up to 150 mph and air volume of 500 cfm
- Multi-material suspension system distributes the machine’s weight evenly between shoulders and hips
- Light enough to carry around for an hour and not feel fatigued
- Comes with Long flex tube to let you reach those hard spots and blow leaves from under various objects
- The jumpstart engine makes it needless to pull the cord, and even if you have to, Spring Assist makes it easier
How was my experience?
I got this leaf blower from a friend for testing and also because he was having some trouble becoming familiar with it. Now, being the Good Samaritan that I am, I couldn’t refuse. So, off I went to another leaf job to test this out. First impression: NOT so great. I took me more than 3 pulls to start it up and 10 minutes of adjustments to find the perfect fit of the shoulder straps.
Why didn’t I use the JumpStart feature? Because I wanted to test how the cord mechanic works with its Spring Assist technology. Next, I tried the JumpStart and the blower fired up instantly. Clearing leaves were as easy as a walk in the park. I could blow away a lot of em’ thanks to the 500 cfm airflow volume.
However, I did notice some inconsistencies in the blower’s power. Low setting was, well… a little too low for my taste, and high was siding a bit towards the extreme. I found that the medium speed is ideal for blowing most wet and dry leaves without letting them go out of control. Like all leaf blowers in this guide, the Troy-Bilt blower too clears additional debris.
Speaking of noise—it was okay. Not too silent; not too loud. What’s really amazing is how fuel efficient this machine is. One gas fill is enough to make it run for hours! Quick tip: only use premium engine oil to keep the blower in top shape. Also, I would use a carburetor cleaner to keep the fuel efficiency high if I were you.
- Good design and comfortable build
- Excellent blowing power
- Fuel efficient and easy to use
- The Spring Assist feature is a hit and a miss
- Some users have reported the company’s customer service is awful
As far as my experience goes, I won’t hesitate to recommend the Troy-Bilt 32cc 4-Cycle Backpack Blower to anyone. It has some minor issues, but most can be overlooked if you’re going to use this model for home cleaning purposes. Try this out if you don’t have to clean leaves regularly and are feeling lucky.
My rating: 4/5
How to Buy the Ideal Backpack Leaf Blower?
This part of the guide will focus on getting up close and personal with leaf blower machines. Look, if you’re planning to buy a device as intricate as this, you might as well learn a few things about them anyway. There are a few key factors that everyone must keep in mind to pick out the right backpack leaf blower; here they are:
Despite being a well-built guy who is used to carrying heavy weights, I prefer my blowers to be light and comfortable. I mean, who wouldn’t? But the element of comfort doesn’t end at the weight alone; you still have to look for vibration, handle grip, and if the overall harness is ergonomic and built for comfort despite hours of usage.
All the models I mentioned in this guide are comfortable enough to be suitable for everyone. And I know that because I have gathered opinions from people of different weights and heights. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5’6” or 6’5”, my choice of leaf blowers would be perfect for you.
- Power configuration
What’s the point of having a leaf blower if it can’t blow leaves, right? If you read all the reviews above, you’ve probably noticed that how they all come with similar specifications regarding air speed and air flow volume. I chose only the blowers that provide the best value for money, so hey, there’s that.
Even if you don’t go by my suggestion, I recommend you to get a product that can generate wind speed of at least 150 mph and 400 cfm airflow volume. That way, you won’t be needing an entire evening to clear up the lawn or blow those stubborn snow mounds away.
Be careful though – higher power can sometimes mean higher fuel consumption. You do not want to choose a blower like that.
- Durability, reliability, and warranty
Another obvious point – you shouldn’t buy a blower that is not well-built and comes with unclear warranty policies. As I said before, these happen to be machines with intricate moving parts that are vulnerable enough to go bad with the slightest misuse. And for that, you should always have a backup in case things go awry.
Most of the products here come with a two-year limited warranty, which can be extended to 4 years if you buy premix fuel at the time of purchasing the leaf blower. I’d say that the deal is worth it whenever applicable. Also, you should inquire how the service centers treat the buyers because I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories.
- Noise produced
Okay, sound is a significant factor that goes into buying a product like this. Leaf blowers have a nasty reputation of being obnoxiously loud. But we are seeing a decline in this trend due to the modern technology that goes behind producing eco-friendly blowers. And boy am I glad! No more angry neighbors for this cowboy.
If you see a leaf blower that catches your fancy, please go through the reviews first to see if it makes a lot of noise. You can still use noisy and powerful models if you don’t have to worry about your neighbors and are willing to spend on hearing protection.
- Ease of use
Pretty self-explanatory, this one. Unless you blow (leaves) for a living, I suggest you stick with a simple yet effective backpack blower designed for home use. They usually come with all the necessary features that are enough to get the job done without the steep learning curve associated with commercial grade models.
- Ease of maintenance
If you don’t want to spend hours cleaning up the lawn and then some more hours to make sure the leaf blower is okay, then you must buy a product that’s easy to maintain. However, it’s not simple to spot which ones are easy and which ones are not. This can only be learned with time.
Best way is to learn from the mistakes of others. Search for user reviews online, and you’ll undoubtedly come across a few mentions about maintenance. But as helpful advice, I can offer you the following:
- Do not yank on the cord if the blower is not starting up. Have the patience to try a few times more, and if that doesn’t work, contact professionals for assistance.
- Only use premium grade fuel if you have a gas-based blower. Nothing shortens their life expectancy more than cheap premix.
- Don’t forget to flush the old gas and oil periodically and the clean the air filter by washing it with mild warm, soapy water.
- Lubricating the filter with a bit of oil is also a great idea. Do not use more than a few drops and adequately distribute the oil.
- Change the spark plug when necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I really need a backpack Leaf blower?
A. Absolutely! If you want a smart way to clean up leaves, then a backpack blower is a must have in your arsenal.
Q. Gas powered or battery – which one should I choose?
A. It depends on your needs and preference. While battery powered blowers tend to be more silent and eco-friendly, they can also lack power. Choose wisely! Gas-based blowers are more heavy duty than their battery-operated counterparts.
Q. Can I use a leaf blower even if I’m not good with hardware?
A. Yes. Most manufacturers create products that are user-friendly and can be operated by anyone. So, knock yourself out!
Q. Where will I get the fuel needed to run these machines?
A. Just order online! It’s the easiest and safest way to buy oil and gas for leaf blowers. You never know what quality fuel the local store might be selling.
Q. Are these machines heavy on maintenance?
A. Not likely. I chose the products in this review for many reasons, one of them being they are all low on maintenance. Just a regular checkup, clean, replace routine would do fine.
Which one will you choose?
Each model mentioned here has their own unique set of perks and limitations. I leave it up to you to decide which one to buy. And that brings me to the end of my backpack leaf blower guide. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoy blowing leaves. Want to say thanks or got any helpful advice to share?
Let me know in the comment section below.