A petrol leaf blower is an invaluable tool if you have a lot of trees and shrubs in your garden that shed leaves.
They can be used for a range of tasks, from the obvious (leaf blowing) to the more unexpected (cleaning gutters).
Petrol blowers are especially strong and are easy to re-fuel when necessary. No doubt you’ll be keen to find the best petrol leaf blower for your specific needs, but it can be hard to know exactly what to look for. For this reason, I’ve put together to following tips to help you make an informed purchase:
Different Uses for a Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers are versatile tools and certainly shouldn’t be thought of as a one-trick pony! Here are a few suggestions of different uses for your leaf blower:
- Tidying leaves – ok, so this is obviously but certainly had to be included in the list; however, there are plenty of other uses…!
- Clearing snow – while a leaf blower is not the same as a snow blower, the most powerful products will still do a great job shifting light or powdery snow from your paths and driveway.
- Cleaning your gutters – I frequently use a leaf blower to clear all the leaves and debris from my gutters. A leaf blower makes this a simple job. Just make sure no one is standing below you when you do this as they could get a nasty surprise and a covering of wet, mouldy leaves.
- Cleaning your car – if your car has got really messy inside you can give it a blast with your leaf blower to get rid of most of the dust and debris, before finishing with the vacuum cleaner.
- As a vacuum cleaner – some leaf blowers have a reverse setting and vacuum attachment – even more useful for cleaning the car!
- Drying your car – leaving your car wet after washing can cause spots to form and spoil the appearance of the paintwork and glass. Using a leaf blower to dry your car will save you the effort of drying it with towels and give you a streak and spot free shine.
- Keeping your dryer vent clean – a build up of lint in your dryer vent is a fire hazard, so use your leaf blower to blow through the pipe and clear out all the dust and lint.
- Cleaning your lawnmower – a leaf blower will also do a great job of cleaning grass clippings from your lawn mower after use, saving you getting your hands in there to do the job and stopping your mower getting clogged up.
Petrol Leaf Blowers vs Electric
Petrol leaf blowers have a number of advantages over electric models, but they may not be the right choice for everyone.
Petrol powered leaf blowers usually have a two-stroke engine which makes them exceptionally powerful. There’s no cord to worry about which makes them perfect for large gardens – no trailing leads causing tripping hazards or extension cords to have to mess around with.
The downside to petrol powered blowers is that they can be harder to start, expensive to maintain and heavy to use. You might find it difficult to use a petrol blower sustainably over a long period, plus they tend to be very noisy.
Electric leaf blowers are either corded or cordless. Cordless leaf blowers are a great alternative to petrol powered leaf blowers. They give the same freedom, whilst being easier and lighter to use.
On the downside, a cordless leaf blower will have less power. While suitable for smaller outdoor spaces, a cordless blower won’t be as effective as a petrol blower. Another downside to cordless machines is that they will run off a battery which may only last around 30 minutes and take an hour or more to recharge.
However, electric machines are lighter than petrol powered blowers and don’t emit unpleasant or harmful fumes. Corded electric machines can be pretty powerful, although usually still not quite up there with the petrol models, but they do have the disadvantage of requiring a mains socket extension cable, and leaving leads trailing around the garden.
Handheld vs Backpack Designs
As mentioned, petrol leaf blowers can be heavy. For this reason, backpack petrol leaf blowers are often a popular choice, especially if you want to opt for a leaf blower with a heavier, more powerful engine.
If you have a lot of leaves to clear, a powerful petrol leaf blower with a backpack design might be the best option.
Handheld leaf blowers are lighter, but they can get uncomfortable to hold after even a short period of time. Lighter petrol leaf blowers will be easier to manage but are unlikely to have as powerful an engine, so this is where the compromise lies.
Consider the Weight of your Leaf Blower
If you’re planning to use a handheld leaf blower, the weight is extra important. Some of the lightest models I’ve tried are just a few kilograms, while the most powerful models may weigh over 10 kg. Check the product specifications and make sure that the model you’re considering is a manageable weight – especially if you’re set on having a handheld design.
Remember that even a backpack-style leaf blower will need to be light enough for you to carry on your back for an extended period, and when filled with fuel they will be even heavier.
The Importance of Fuel Tank Capacity
The petrol tank capacity will determine how long you can use your leaf blower for before you run out of fuel.
The benefit of a larger tank is that you can tackle a bigger area without having to refuel. This means you can complete the job a lot faster, with less stops and starts.
The downside to a larger tank is that too much fuel will make your leaf blower a lot heavier – which means you may need to take regular breaks anyway!
It may ultimately come down to personal preference and how much weight you can carry for an extended period.
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