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What Do I Need to Know About Leaf Blowers?

Over the course of a year, raking your lawn can take hours of work and result in aching muscles. Leaf blowers save time and energy by blowing lawn debris to one area of your yard quickly and they require little physical effort. However, leaf blowers are a powerful piece of equipment that can cause serious injury if not used properly.
  1. Types

    • Leaf blowers are grouped into three categories that are based on the power source. The source of power affects the maximum power of your blower. Gas leaf blowers offer the most power and are ideal for large areas, but tend to be heavy and not oven made in hand-held styles. Gasoline-powered blowers start with a pull cord and produce a lot of noise in comparison to electric or cordless blowers. They also require fuel-mixing and regular maintenance to run efficiently. Electric leaf blowers are easily started, using a push button starter and operate with zero emissions. You don't need to mix gasoline or maintain it as you would a gas-powered blower. Electric blowers are also lightweight. However, because this type of leaf blower must be plugged in to a power source, you’re limited to the length of the power cord and tend to have less power than a gas blower. Cordless leaf blowers don’t require a cord, running on a rechargeable battery, so they’re as mobile as a gasoline mower, but without significantly less power. They tend to be the quietest of the three types of blowers, but when leaves are wet or a lot of heavier debris must be cleared, a cordless model may not be as efficient as a powerful gas model. Cordless blowers require time to recharge when the battery runs down as well, so time of operation is limited.


    • Avoid running the blower near others or when children or pets are outside playing. The discharge of air might throw objects such as rocks at high speeds. Never point a leaf blower at anyone. Objects can also ricochet at you when blowing around obstacles such as fences or posts. Safety glasses and face protection can save injury to your eyes and head and wear ear plugs or mufflers to prevent hearing loss.


    • Leaf blowers, particularly gasoline models, are noisy. Many cities have applied ordinances to limit the use of leaf blowers in order to reduce noise pollution. Before making a decision on what type of leaf blower to buy, check with your municipality for restrictions and bans first. Electric models tend to produce less noise than other types, and are more eco-friendly with zero emissions from gasoline or oil. A good rule of thumb is to use your blower at the lowest throttle to keep noise at the lowest possible level.


    • All types of leaf blowers need maintenance. Keep the interior free of debris and the handle dry. This ensures you always have a good grip and control over your blower when operating. Inspect the blower before each use and tighten loose screws. If any part is damaged or worn, it should be replaced before using your blower. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular maintenance, particularly on gas blowers to prolong the life of your machine.