What is a Good CFM for a Leaf Blower?

Fallen leaves on the ground.

There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a leaf blower, including CFM.

This is something that many people overlook when purchasing this type of equipment, but it will help you narrow down your options.

What is CFM and Why is it Important?

The engine in a leaf blower powers the impeller, which is a series of spinning blades that result in air being blown out the tube.

The volume of air that comes out of the tube is referred to as CFM or cubic feet per minute.

The higher the CFM, the larger the area the leaf blower will be able to cover. This is one of the most common and essential measurements in determining the effectiveness of a leaf blower.

Those who buy a low-CFM leaf blower to use on a large piece of land will have to spend a lot more time clearing away leaves and other debris.

Property Size

In order to find a leaf blower with the right CFM, you must consider the size of your property. For a small area like a deck, patio or driveway, I’d get a leaf blower with a CFM of anywhere from 200 to 600.

A good example for such a blower would be the Worx Turbine 12 Amp model. You can buy it on Amazon. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you don’t really need more if you only have to cover a small area near your house.

If your property is an acre or a little bit over, a leaf blower with a 400 to 700 CFM will most likely be adequate. Also, you will want to get a gas or battery powered blower, unless you want to mess with extension cords. 

Buying such a blower is usually a bigger investment, you can check out my personal recommendations in this article.

Those who have larger areas of land they need to cover should look for one in the higher range all the way up to 3000 CFM.

Keep in mind that the higher the CFM, the noisier your leaf blower is going to be.

Type of Debris

Another factor that you should consider before deciding on a leaf blower is the size and nature of the debris that you are working with.

If you are going to use your leaf blower on wet or difficult-to-move debris, a CFM of at least 600 is a must.

You can check out some of my personal recommendations here.

CFM vs. MPH

A lot of people focus too much on the MPH of a leaf blower, but it’s not the only thing that matters. The fact is that both of these measurements are important when you are trying to find the perfect leaf flower.

A leaf blower that is operating with a 300 MPH air speed will get a nice breeze going, but it won’t cover much of an area unless the CFM is high enough. There needs to be the right balance of MPH and CFM to match your needs.

I’ve written an article where I discuss the importance of both CFM and MPH, you can read it here.

The Different Types of Leaf Blowers

You should be aware of the different types of leaf blowers that exist before selecting one in particular. Each kind will have a different CFM range, so it is important for you to learn about your options.

Handheld Leaf Blowers

These leaf blowers tend to be lightweight and aren’t very powerful. They usually have a CMF of around 200-400. This is the best choice if you work with debris that is dry and light.

Some of the newer handheld leaf blowers can have a CFM of up to 550, which still isn’t great if you are working wet and/or heavy debris.

Backpack Leaf Blowers

If you need to use a leaf blower for long periods of time, this is probably your best option. These models can have a CFM of anywhere from 400-700, though sometimes it is a bit higher. Backpack leaf flowers are usually a lot noisier than handheld models.

Walk Behind Leaf Blowers

The average walk behind leaf blower has a CFM of 3,000. I would definitely recommend one of these to anyone who needs to cover a large area of land or works with wet/heavy debris on a regular basis.

Although, because of their price range they are mostly used by lawn care businesses. Also, because they are gas-powered, you can expect them to make a great deal of noise.

Electric vs. Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Electric leaf blowers are usually a lot quieter than gas-powered models, but they usually less powerful too. 

If noise isn’t an issue, a gas-powered leaf blower is definitely preferable because of the area it will cover. The only people who should even consider getting an electric leaf blower are those who have a fairly small area of land and don’t need to move heavy debris.

Residential vs. Commercial Use

The CFM of residential leaf blowers usually tops out around 1,000, with most of them moving in the 300-700 range. Whereas commercial (walk-behind) models are usually closer to 2,000 to 3,000.

Final Thoughts

When you are trying to find a leaf blower that will satisfy your specific needs, you must factor in CFM.

It is important to consider the amount of land you have as well as the type of debris you’ll need to move before deciding how much is enough.