By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
Changing leaves and brisk breezes are pleasant signs that fall is here. But the falling leaves can also be a nuisance in the yard. That's why an easy-to-use leaf blower is on many people's seasonal shopping list, if not already in their garage. An inexpensive, relatively quiet, and powerful blower can be elusive, though. Cheapism.com took a look at some popular models and read through expert and owner reviews to determine which ones are best for consumers on a budget.
Related: Best cheap android tabletsBlowing fall leaves.
Below are Cheapism's top picks:
The Hitachi RE24EAP (starting at $130) is easy to start and extremely effective, according to the many positive reviews posted online. This powerful gas blower pushes 441 cubic feet of air per minute out the nozzle. Although it's the loudest and heaviest unit listed here, at 8.5 pounds, owners say this model feels lighter and runs more quietly than they expected. One negative for some reviewers: The throttle has no locking mechanism, so they have to keep the trigger pressed down during operation.
The electric Toro Ultra 51609 (starting at $70) is the lightest (7.5 pounds) and quietest machine on this list. Yet it hardly lacks power, pushing out a higher volume of air at a greater velocity than some gas leaf blowers. It also does triple duty as a blower, vacuum, and mulcher. Reviews testify to its durability and value for the money, noting the metal impeller (versus plastic or nylon) for shredding leaves and other debris that users vacuum up. This model boasts a variable speed motor for precise control around landscaping.
Related: The better buy: Costco or Sam's Club
Another electric blower, the Black & Decker LeafHog LH4500 (starting at $70), produces slightly less power, weighs about a half pound more, and is a little louder. But it features a pivoting nozzle for dispersing clumped-up leaves and makes many users happy, according to reviews. Owners exclaim it's easy to handle, with a choice of two speeds, and even driveway gravel doesn't faze the metal impeller.
The Weed Eater FB25 (starting at $77) is a cheap gas-powered blower that's relatively easy to start, reviewers say, with just a few pulls on the cord. The design wins praise, as the handle has been made to reduce vibration and the air intake is located on the bottom of the unit to reduce the chance of catching the user's clothing. This is not an especially powerful machine, but a number of users have liked it enough to buy the same model again when an old one wore out after years of use.
The electric leaf blowers mentioned above have cords that must be plugged in, so they're useful only within range of a power source. For consumers with large yards and long driveways, a gas-powered unit may be the best choice, although buyers have to factor in the ongoing expense of fuel. Gasoline and oil must be mixed in the proper proportion for the two-cycle engines on these low-cost machines.
California allows gas blowers only if they meet emissions standards and many communities nationwide impose noise and other restrictions on leaf blowers. Be sure to check relevant laws before making a purchase.
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