Our team have tested the most popular leaf blowers and believe the Husqvarna 525BX to be the best leaf blower of 2020. You could say we were blown away by it. The gardening machine packs heaps of power and is highly reliable while being easy to start. But if you are after a simpler and more compact model, the Black & Decker GWC1820PC is an ideal option, equipped with a lot of power and a relatively long battery life.
We carried out all of our leaf blower tests ourselves and tested all products in real conditions. We tested leaf blowers on different types of surfaces and in different weather conditions – everything from blowing leaves on dewy morning grass to gravel paths on hot summer days. All leaf blowers have been evaluated in respect of a number of factors:
Performance: What can the machine achieve in terms of blowing? Can it cope with dry leaves on hard surfaces? Can it cope with dry leaves on a lawn? Can it cope with damp leaves? Can it manage with sticks, pine cones and stones? Can it blow a large area in a single sweep? Can you target the blowing function?
Ease of use: How easy is it to get started? How well positioned are the controls? Is it easy to understand? How clear is the manual? Can you quickly change between different accessories?
Functions: Can you do more than just blow leaves with it? Can you adjust the blowing speed? Can you lock it, or do you have to keep the throttle pressed in throughout the session? Does it have other useful functions?
Accessories: If it is a battery operated model, can you change the battery? Does it include different types of blowing nozzles?
We have considered these factors and ergonomics, operating time and build quality, when allocating a score. Yet, we also considered how good the leaf blower is in terms of its value for money. What do you actually get for your purchase?
Power, user-friendliness and useful functions in a single machine
Power: 0.85 kW Power source: Petrol Noise level: 91 dB Air flow: 13 m³/min Maximum blowing speed: 157 m/s Weight: 4.3 kg Collector: No Tank volume: 0.45 l Accessories included: Flat and round blowing nozzle
The Husqvarna 525BX is one of the most powerful leaf blowers with a user-friendly design and functionality, which given its current price tag, we nominate as the best leaf blower of 2020. We had no problems blowing large lawns or damp ditch borders clean. Because the blowing nozzle length is adjustable, you can get very close to the ground without having to bend down, even if you're tall. The nozzle length is easy to adjust and requires neither tools nor a manual. However, you can only adjust it by a few centimetres. But for a tall person those few centimetres make all the difference. One really good function on this leaf blower is the setting for blowing speed. It means that you can use it more gently, for example when you're blowing leaves from gravel, and increase the power when you're blowing damp leaves or larger areas. The 525BX feels intuitive to use and all of the functions are visible and close to each other.
The package includes both a flat and an open blowing nozzle. The flat nozzle gives a more targeted and powerful air flow, which is useful when you're blowing leaves from a damp surface, for example first thing in the morning when the grass may still be a little dewy. The open blowing nozzle is better if you're blowing leaves, pine cones and other debris from large dry surfaces. The fuel lasts for around one hour. The 525BX weighs just over four kilos, so you can use that time effectively, even if it may feel a little heavy towards the end. There's an extra handle on the bottom edge which is useful when you're blowing on more complicated angles or if your arms start to get tired. Overall, this is a very competent, good value for money leaf blower for people with large gardens and who need to be able to adapt the machine’s power in an effortless way.
Lots of power in a compact body
Power source: Battery (48V) Measured battery life: 15-17 min (battery model 520), 20-25 min (battery model 540) Measured noise level: 65.4 dB (setting 1), 76.2 dB (setting 2), 78.6 dB (setting 3) Maximum blowing speed: 55 m/s Weight: 3569 g (inc. battery model 520) Collector: No Accessories included: Round blowing nozzle Miscellaneous: 3 strength settings
The Stiga SAB 500 AE is a very powerful but simultaneously light and handy leaf blower that can cope both with blowing damp leaves on your lawn and snow off your car. Despite the fact that it’s quite compact and the nozzle has a round opening, it delivers an impressive result. For example, we tested it on spreading out heaps of soaking wet leaves on the vegetable bed, and it worked very well. It even shifts branches and gravel on the highest setting.
The leaf blower has three strength settings. The first one is for use when you’re blowing sawdust off your workbench, for example, while the second and third are more intended for leaf blowing and other heavier tasks. The third one gives an extra nudge to the machine’s capacity, but under normal conditions where leaves are dry the second setting is perfectly sufficient.
The battery system on the SAB 500 AE is the same as on several of Stiga’s other 48-volt machines. So you can share batteries between your hedge trimmer and leaf blower, for example.
Unfortunately it only includes one blowing nozzle, with a round end. This will get you quite a long way, but if you want to target the air flow to get more control it’s immediately more difficult without an angled nozzle. Nor does it include a shoulder strap. On the other hand, we don't feel like you need one because the SAB 500 AE is so light and well balanced.
The build quality of this leaf blower feels good and we don’t experience any unpleasant vibrations.
The design is also user-friendly. There’s an on/off button and one to control the strength. The grip is rubberised, and the battery also has a handle that means you can use the battery as a grip for the other hand when you’re working on areas that are difficult to access.
The Stiga SAB 500 AE is ideal for anyone who wants a powerful battery leaf blower. It's suitable for a range of tasks, from blowing dirt and dust from your workshop or wheelbarrow to blowing leaves or cleaning up around the bird table.
User-friendly and quite strong
Power source: Battery Noise level: 70.1 dB Maximum blowing speed: 170-250 km/h Weight: 3 kg Collector: No Accessories included: Flat blowing nozzle
The Bosch ALB 36 Li is a rather heavy but well-balanced 36-volt leaf blower with a user-friendly design. It's easy to understand the functions at first glance – partly because there aren't many of them, and partly because they are clearly marked. All the parts you can interact with in some way are bright red, while the body of the leaf blower is green. It's easy to insert and remove the battery. It even comes with battery indicators with three stages so that you can see when it's nearly time to recharge. The 2 Ah battery lasts about 15 minutes if you run the ALB 36 Li on maximum speed. It then charges back up again in an hour. We think the battery life is on the short side. But if you have other 36 V machines from Bosch, you can swap batteries between them.
The Bosch ALB 36 Li is strong for such a simple leaf blower. It can easily clean leaves off your terrace or patio. But if you're going to be blowing damp leaves off your lawn, or from another uneven surface, it probably won't cope so well. It also loses power when the battery starts to run down, which can be irritating. But at full charge the machine is quite powerful compared to many competing battery leaf blowers. You can reduce the strength via a stepless control to save on battery life during simpler tasks. However, this function is rarely useful because you generally want to clean areas as efficiently as possible. The control doubles as an on/off button. The noise level on maximum strength is medium-high; it’s certainly not a noiseless leaf blower. The ALB 36 Li is primarily suitable for blowing dry leaves from even surfaces such as asphalt drives or patios.
A leaf blower that can even blow stones
Power source: Petrol Noise level: 90 dB Air flow: 755/620 m³/h Maximum blowing speed: 63/74 m/s (round/flat blowing nozzle) Weight: 4.4 kg Collector: No Tank volume: 0.44 l Accessories included: Flat and round blowing nozzle
The Stihl BG86 C-E is one of the most powerful leaf blowers that can blow everything from leaves to small stones. It also copes easily with removing pine cones from lawns and paths. With the flat blowing nozzle installed, it has no problems with damp leaves, and with the round blowing nozzle you can blow large amounts of leaves at once. On the side of the BG86 is a button that, when set to the central position, enables the leaf blower to run on medium power automatically. This function is sufficient for most tasks, but if you know that you'll be working on sensitive surfaces such as gravel paths and flowerbeds with a visible layer of soil, you can also set the throttle in another position. You press the throttle in until you have achieved the desired power and then lock the button with another control. Unfortunately, there's not much difference between full throttle and idling, so it can be tricky to get the desired strength. But once you've got used to the machine it gets easier.
The button on the side of the BG86 is also used when you start the leaf blower. You set it to the furthest position for choke, and then you pull the starting cord and give it throttle – the button then returns to its original position. This works well once you've learned how to hold the leaf blower while starting it, and when it's relevant to use the choke. It often starts with 2-3 pulls. The fuel lasts for about 45 minutes of active leaf blowing, which feels a tad short. However, while using it there are no problems holding the leaf blower on the right angle from an ergonomic point of view. It weighs just over four kilos and produces very few vibrations. It gets a bit heavy towards the end, but underneath it there's an extra handle which is handy at these times. And it’s useful if you're going to be blowing on more awkward angles or where there's garden furniture in the way. The build quality feels good, and it's easy to change between different accessories. The rubberised grip is comfortable to hold, but the throttle could have been partially rubberised too. Overall, this is a well-made leaf blower with a lot of power that's straightforward to use once you've got the hang of it.
Compact leaf blower for paved surfaces
Power source: Battery Noise level: 59.8 dB (with power command running) Maximum blowing speed: 209 km/h Dimensions (LxWxH): 170x200x480 mm Weight: 1.7 kg Collector: No Accessories included: Flat blowing nozzle
The Black & Decker GWC1820PC is a straightforward leaf blower with double speed positions despite the fact that it falls within the budget leaf blower category. The leaf blower delivers the expected amount of power given its compact format, 18-volt battery and price. This isn't the leaf blower you'd choose if you've got a large lawn that often needs clearing of leaves and debris. But if you've got a big, paved patio, an asphalt garage drive or decking, there's plenty of power to keep leaves, grass cuttings and twigs at bay. However, if the surface is damp the machine struggles to blow away such debris. By using the built-in Power Command mode, you can get extra power when you need it, simply by holding a button. Of course, this also negatively affects the machine’s battery life. Unfortunately, the GWC1820PC still isn't strong enough if the surface and the debris are damp. But the function is pretty handy when blowing away pine cones and the like.
The battery lasts for just under 30 minutes if you blow using normal power for the majority of the time and use Power Command for about 2-3 minutes. Because the GWC1820PC isn't intended for anything more demanding, we feel that this is more than sufficient. However, we'd have liked charging to be quicker. It takes several hours to charge the battery. You should buy an extra battery and swap it over if you're planning on using the machine often or for longer periods. You can also use a battery from another B&D product as they're mutually compatible. The GWC1820PC weighs very little and is easy to handle. In summary, this is a seamless leaf blower suitable for paved, small and dry surfaces. If you bear this in mind when you buy it, you won't be unhappy. But if you're blowing leaves a long way or in more complicated terrain, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Useful for blowing sawdust in your workshop
Power source: Battery (18V, 2.5 Ah) Measured battery life: 16 min Maximum blowing speed: 200 km/h Length: 88 cm Weight: 659 g Collector: No Accessories included: Flat blowing nozzle
The AL-KO LB 2060 Easyflex is a cordless leaf blower with an angled nozzle, which feels like a well-designed detail. The angle of the nozzle means that you can get quite close to whatever you’re blowing, and still move it forwards. We give it major plus points for this.
When it comes to blowing power, however, the Easyflex is far too weak. The leaves have to be tinder dry, spread out and lying on a level and even surface – such as a broad piece of decking – for it to be able to move them. And despite this, you still have to get quite close with the nozzle.
In other words, there’s no way you’ll be using it for blowing heaps of leaves together on the lawn, or moving heaps of leaves you've already collected. In one of our reference measurements for blowing capability - an empty PET bottle over some decking - the bottle only moved a metre, which isn’t impressive given what other leaf blowers in the same price class could achieve.
The battery life of 16 minutes isn’t long compared to a petrol model, but it's still generous compared to some other battery operated leaf blowers in this price range.
Because it’s lightweight and small, the LB 2060 Easyflex is easy to carry around. It has on/off buttons, but nothing more complex than that. On the other hand, we hadn’t expected any extra functions, given its cheaper price tag.
The AL-KO LB 2060 Easyflex is suitable if you're looking for a lightweight and cheap battery leaf blower, above all to clean up simple spaces, such as blowing leaves off your patio or sawdust in your workshop. The cheap price and nice touches, such as the well-designed nozzle, compensate for the poor performance, which means it still gets a reasonable score from us.
Strong leaf blower and leaf vacuum with shredder in one machine
Power: 3000 W Power source: Mains electricity Noise level: 74.1 dB (measured) Suction force: 14 m³ Maximum blowing speed: 418 km/h Weight: 3.7/4.8 kg (without and with leaf vacuum) Collector: 50 l Accessories included: Carrying strap
The Black & Decker GW3030 has a number of advantages, such as its impressive range of power and variable blowing speeds. It has no problems blowing away damp leaves or large stones. In fact, often the problem is avoiding destroying sensitive surfaces with the machine. But at the same time, it's easy to regulate the speed with the knob on the top. At lower speeds, we had some problems with unpleasant vibrations, but they aren't noticeable at maximum power. Unfortunately, the leaf blower is somewhat sluggish to begin with. It takes a few seconds to get up to top speed. It also lacks a throttle. Instead you regulate both on/off and blowing speed with the knob. However, there's one major advantage with this, which is that you avoid having to keep a button pressed in as you use the machine, which can otherwise cause hand fatigue or cramps. The rubberised handle is comfortable. The design of the entire machine is slightly bulky and plasticky, particularly the click-in function to change accessories - but it does work.
The GW3030 also has a leaf vacuuming function with suction performance to rival the best of this kind. This means that you can first blow leaves into a heap and then attach the vacuum tube and fabric bag to suck all the leaves up. It's relatively easy and quick to change function once you've learned what to do. The collector can hold a good amount of leaves, particularly as it comes with shredder functions to reduce everything you suck up into smaller pieces. The vacuum isn't the most powerful. It can cope with dry or slightly damp leaves, but it struggles with wet leaves or long grass. On the whole, however, it does a good job. The major disadvantage with the GW3030 is that you're limited by a cable. You won't get anywhere with the short cable on the machine, and dragging an extension cable around in the garden is a pain. But if you're looking for a mains powered leaf blower with suction capabilities, this is a good option. Equally, it's perfect if you have a smaller garden but want a very powerful leaf blower for a cheaper price and without exhaust gases.
Lots of power for its price class but does have shortcomings
Voltage: 18 volt Power source: Battery Noise level: 86 dB Air flow: 420 m³/h Maximum blowing speed: 38 m/s Weight: 2.1 kg Collector: No Accessories included: Round blowing nozzle
The cordless Stihl BGA45 is unexpectedly powerful given its price, and despite a relatively low battery voltage can cope with blowing dry leaves from a dry lawn without any problems. At a short distance, it can blow everything from pine cones and twigs to larger gravel, despite its round blowing nozzle – sadly it doesn't include a flat one. The disadvantage with all this power is, of course, that the battery life gets drained quickly. It gives around ten minutes, which is too short, and the battery is also integrated so you can't replace it. This means that you can't change the battery or use a more economical one. As the charging time is several hours long, this is an enormous weakness. The BGA45 also suffers from quite a lot of vibration. Because the grips aren't rubberised, the overall experience isn't all that positive, and the grips do get slippery.
On the plus side, the BGA45 is very simple to assemble and operate. Just like many larger leaf blowers, it has a double blowing nozzle, which means that you can get close to the ground without having to bend over. Sadly, you can't control the air flow with the throttle or a separate control. Nor can you lock it in this position. Instead, you have to keep the throttle pressed throughout the session. There are better solutions to this issue on the market. The fact that you have to use a key and then press three different buttons to get the machine started also feels like they’re overdoing the safety functions. Unfortunately, these aspects mean that an otherwise very powerful leaf blower loses something in its user-friendliness and comfort. But if you can live with this and only want lots of power for a small surface at a cheap price, this is still not a bad buy.
Do you want to keep your lawn free of leaves? Or maybe the patio? With a leaf blower, you can quickly and simply blow away leaves and other debris. The most powerful machines can even blow away large gravel.
There are several different types of leaf blower on the market. Just like other machines for garden jobs, they can be divided into mains-powered machines, as well as battery or petrol-operated leaf blowers.
The major advantage with the mains powered electric leaf blowers is that you can achieve the same power as a petrol-operated machine but for a third of the price. Of course, this does assume that your garden is a simple shape; otherwise you quickly end up with the cable wound around trees and bushes. So your garden needs to be small enough for you to easily reach everywhere you want to, and you mustn't have too many trees, bushes or flower beds to navigate around.
If you can't face coping with a cable, a battery-operated leaf blower is a good option. If you buy a good battery in the lower voltage class around 18 volts, you will be able to blow clean both your patio and other paved areas with no problems. But if you want to be able to blow damp leaves away from your lawn, you must have a battery of at least 36 volts for the leaf blower to have sufficient power. The disadvantage of battery-operated leaf blowers is that you have to charge them, but the majority of manufacturers today have systems that allow you to buy two batteries and change between them, which is usually enough. The advantage of this is that you can use the same battery for a number of different machines, and that the batteries can be replaced so you can continue working even when one battery needs recharging.
But if you want to be completely unhindered, a petrol-operated leaf blower is the best choice. The petrol-operated machines are very powerful, but have the disadvantage that they emit exhaust gases. And in the long run, it gets expensive to buy petrol to power them. However, the majority of these machines today are more economical when it comes down to fuel consumption. With a good machine, you get about an hour's worth of leaf blowing before you need to fill up. Unfortunately, petrol-operated leaf blowers are quite noisy and significantly heavier than other types. They're usually more expensive too.
The vast majority of leaf blowers in the budget class have only a single position throttle. But the more expensive models with more power will provide the opportunity to alter the blowing speed effortlessly. This is great if you have delicate surfaces, such as flower beds and gravel paths, that you want to blow clean without causing damage. In these instances, you can set the speed to a less powerful position and avoid problems.
There are also a number of leaf blowers on the market that can act as leaf vacuums. This means you attach a bag and the machine then sucks up the leaves. You can then empty the leaves directly onto a compost heap or your garden waste bin. Some people use leaf blowers with these functions for other jobs, such as for dust collector tasks around your outer window ledges. You will need extra parts for your leaf blower to do complete these jobs, and you should only use parts supplied by the same manufacturer.
If the leaf blower also has a built-in leaf shredder, the leaves are reduced to smaller pieces, giving more space in the bag. In the long run, this means that you don't have to empty it as often.
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