Leaf vacuum push mower. DR Power Pilot XT SP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Review

DR Power Pilot XT SP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Review

Fall—that wonderful time of year when the weather cools down, the scent of baking fills the air, and the leaves change color… right before they cover your lawn. Whether that sounds like your story or you’re like us and have a year-round battle with oak leaves, cleanup is a pain. We got our hands on the DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum to see if we can enjoy our outdoor living spaces with a bit less hassle.

DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Performance

DR uses a 173cc overhead valve engine that produces 4.3 HP and 6.6 ft-lbs of torque for the powerplant. This model includes an electric start with a recoil pull start as a backup.

The starting switch is on the left side of the engine. The choke is right next to that. For manual starting, push the switch to the middle position and then pull the cord. For an electric start, push it to the right and release it when you hear the engine come to life.

Charging Note: When you need to charge the battery, don’t exceed 2 amps. You’ll get a longer life out of it since smaller batteries don’t reacy as well to fast charging.

Self-Propelled Drive

You activate the self-propelled drive using a single lever on the right side. The speed varies from 0 to 2 MPH based on how hard you pull it. It would be nice to have a bit more top-end speed for transport to and from your collection area. However, the 2 MPH top speed is appropriate to ensure you’re collecting leaves effectively.

Leaf Collection

A steel impeller takes care of creating airflow and mulching leaves down at a 10:1 ratio. DR is so confident in the quality of the impeller that it has a lifetime warranty.

The primary function of leaf vacuuming is highly dependent on the snout height. You want it to be close to the top of the leaves you’re collecting. For thick broad leaves, you have a maximum height of 4 inches. If you’re like us and collecting smaller oak leaves, you can drop it all the way to 1 inch.

Sometimes, you need to start high on your first pass and then drop down for a second to get everything up. Just make sure you don’t have the snout so low that you’re pushing the leaves instead of collecting them.

To adjust the height, there’s a single-point adjustment on the right front wheel. Unlike a lawn mower, it only adjusts the front of the machine. That’s not a big deal since it’s about the collection snout height at the front and not the evenness of a mower blade.

For the oak leaves we collected, the vacuum does its best work on freshly fallen leaves that haven’t worked their way into the grass too far. On our Bahai and St. Augustine, the cut is typically 3 – 3 1/2 inches and oak leaves work in where they’re tougher to pick up with vacuum force alone. Short grass species will make it easier and collection is fantastic on bare ground.

Of course, broad leaves tend to stay on top of the grass until they break down, making them easier all the way around. However, try to collect them when they’re dry to get the best results.


The DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum also has a bonus chipping function. The chute on the right has chipping knives supporting it that can handle debris up to 1.5 inches in diameter. As you’re vacuuming the lawn, it’s a really handy addition so you can easily deal with the small branches you come across rather than going back to get them after you’re done with the leaves. Conveniently, there’s no presence bar as you find on lawn mowers, so the engine keeps running while your hands are off the machine and using the chipper.

Like the leaves, the chipping debris enters the collection bag.

DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Design Notes

EZ Bagger Leaf Collection System

DR’s bagging system is a big deal thanks to how easy it is to change them out. Using a standard 3 cubic foot collection bag, you lift the EZ Bagger cover, pull the top of the bag around the frame, crimp it in, and close the cover. It takes less than a minute.

DR Leaf and Lawn Vac Pilot model

For full bags, just unfold the top of the bag from the frame, roll the top shut, and put it out by the compost pile or road for pickup.

The machine comes with a preinstalled bag caddie that holds up to 10 bags. You can also install a second one on the opposite side to carry 20 total bags and keep your workflow going longer.

Handle Adjustment

Many lawn mowers have two or three handle positions, but DR’s design gives you more. With a working height of 32 to 42 inches, you only need to loosen the knob on each side, find the height you like, and tighten the knobs back down.

You can also rotate the handle down to get it out of the way when you’re changing bags or upright for more convenient storage.

Vacuum Where You Can’t Drive

Even though we didn’t get a chance to use it, there’s an optional 7-foot hose kit you can purchase to reach leaves in flower beds and other areas you don’t want to drive the vacuum into. It installs in the center of the collection snout. Just remove the rubberized cover, install the hose, and you’re ready to go.

DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Price

There are two versions of this leaf vacuum to choose from. The Pilot XTSP we’re reviewing has a list price of 1499.99 and is on sale at the time we’re writing for 1299.99.

If you don’t need the self-propelled drive and can forgo the electric start and chipper features, you can get the push version for 1099.99 (999.99 at the time of writing).

Either way, there’s a 2-year residential warranty on the machine and the engine.

Accessories and Consumables

  • Hose Kit: 219.99
  • Extra Leaf Caddy: 21.99
  • Collection Bag 5-Pack: 7.99
  • Reusable Collection Bag: 84.99

The Bottom Line

The DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum has a more affordable price tag than the higher horsepower models in DR’s lineup. Its leaf collection is very effective, particularly with broad leaves. Even smaller leaves are on the menu when you’re vacuuming shorter grass, bare ground, and hard surfaces. While some properties may benefit from DR’s more powerful models, the value, performance, and features of the Pilot XTSP and its push-drive counterpart are attractive options to make your leaf collection more convenient.

DR Leaf Vacuum. Is It Really Worth It?


  • Model: DR Power Pilot XTSP
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Starting: Electric (12V, 2.3Ah battery)
  • Oil: SAE 30W HD
  • Engine: 173cc DR OHV
  • Capacity: 3 cubic feet (~50 pounds)
  • Chipper Capacity: 1.5 inches
  • Intake Height: 1 – 4 inches
  • Wheels: 10 x 2-inch rear, 8 x 2-inch front
  • Dry Weight: 120 pounds

The Best Reel Mower for Your (Small) Lawn

We’ve reviewed this guide, added competitors, eliminated older models, and reconfirmed our decisions on our picks.

Reel mowers aren’t for everyone. They’re designed for small, flat lawns, and they take some effort to push around. But they provide exceptional cut quality and a completely unplugged mowing experience, so they offer things no other mower can. We think the best one is the Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower.

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

During initial tests with a golf course grounds crew and in years of follow up use, the Scotts-branded mower has the best cut quality of any of the mowers we’ve tested, and its unusually tall maximum cutting height of 3 inches makes it a versatile choice for different types of lawns and grasses. It has a 20-inch cutting swath—the widest available—and at 34 pounds, it’s light and easy to maneuver. It was also the only mower in the group that didn’t jam during testing.

Good cut, less elegant

This mower cuts almost as well as our main pick and has a taller cutting height, but it’s bulkier (making it harder to turn around) and more expensive.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 250.

If our main pick is sold out or otherwise unavailable, we also really like the Fiskars 18-Inch StaySharp Max Reel Mower. Its a solid mower with a 4-inch cutting height is higher than any other reel mower’s. In testing the Fiskars cut well, but it wasn’t on par with the Scotts and didn’t handle tall grass quite as well. It’s also heavier and bulkier, making it more of a chore to turn around, it also costs more than the Scotts.

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

Good cut, less elegant

This mower cuts almost as well as our main pick and has a taller cutting height, but it’s bulkier (making it harder to turn around) and more expensive.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 250.

Why you should trust us

We spoke with Jason Kruse, assistant professor of environmental horticulture and turfgrass specialist at the University of Florida. As his bio states, Kruse’s responsibilities include “managing the University of Florida turfgrass Envirotron teaching and research facility, planning and implementing turfgrass educational field days and leading the statewide turfgrass teaching design team.” The guy knows a lot about grass.

For testing, we enlisted the aid of the grounds crew of the Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, New York, a bunch of people who are serious about mowing. While using the mowers, they picked up cut blades to carefully examine how cleanly the mowers cut; they also bent down to compare the color of the turf after each one made a pass, and pushed all the mowers around on various lengths of grass.

Here at Wirecutter, we’ve been covering lawn equipment since 2014. As for the specific topic of grass-cutting implements, we’ve written extensive guides to both lawn mowers and string trimmers in addition to reel mowers.

Since the first version of this guide, we’ve recommended the Scotts as well as the runner-up Fiskars, and we’ve continued to use both models in assorted locations, paying attention to their long-term performance and any ongoing maintenance needed.

Who should get a reel mower

Before getting a reel mower, you should be aware of their pros and cons. Simply put, a reel mower is not a direct replacement for a regular mower.

As one of our long-term testers said, “I love [my reel mower]. It makes mowing feel more like a pleasant way to spend time outside and less like something I need to grit my teeth and power through.” On the other hand, a second long-term tester stated that he regrets purchasing a reel mower and has “frequently considered selling it to get a cheap electric mower.”

Reel mowers are better for the lawn’s health. They snip the grass blades like scissors, while rotary mowers tend to shred grass blades. According to University of Florida assistant professor of environmental horticulture Jason Kruse, “The scissor-cutting action of the reel mowers results in less damage to the leaf tissue, which in turn puts the plants under less stress.” He continued, “They lose less water, are less susceptible to disease, and generally look better when cut with a reel mower.”

Reel mowers are also good for the operator’s health. Because you hand-push the mower and it isn’t motorized, it takes effort to use, especially if you have a large lawn. Keep in mind that the turning wheels are what rotate the blades, which adds to the resistance. So the task is not as simple as, say, pushing an empty furniture dolly, where you’re pushing the wheels and nothing else. According to a Livestrong.com article, (which in turn credits Harvard Medical School, among others) a person weighing 175 pounds would burn approximately 251 calories by pushing a reel mower—which the article refers to as a hand mower—for 30 minutes. This is 51 calories more than someone weighing 185 pounds pushing a mower with a powered blade for the same amount of time.

Reel mowers also require minimal maintenance and are much, much quieter than regular mowers. Aside from lubricating and sharpening the blades every few years, you don’t have a lot of upkeep to do on a reel mower. As for the noise, many users of reel mowers cite the gentle snipping sound the tool makes as a key benefit. Gas mowers, on the other hand, require gas, regular tune-ups, oil changes, and winterizing. They’re also noisy and smelly. As one of our long-term testers said, “I love [my reel mower]. It makes mowing feel more like a pleasant way to spend time outside and less like something I need to grit my teeth and power through.”

But for a reel mower to be practical, you need a fairly small lawn. Anyone with more than a quarter acre (roughly 10,000 square feet) will find weekly mowing with a reel mower exhausting. One long-term tester stated that he regrets purchasing a reel mower for the size of his lawn and has “frequently considered selling it to get a cheap electric mower.”. In contrast, another of our long-term testers has approximately 1,000 square feet of lawn, and mowing takes her about 20 minutes.

A reel mower works best with a strict adherence to a regular cutting schedule. If grass gets overgrown, a reel mower will merely push it down and roll right over it, so if you tend to go a while between mowings, you should stick with a regular push mower. One long term tester had to wait so long for the reel mower to arrive that once it got there, the grass had grown so high they needed to hire someone to cut their grass. And the necessary diligence goes beyond the schedule: Reel mowers can’t mow over twigs and leaves as gas mowers can, so additional attentiveness to pre-mow lawn cleanup is required, as well.

Reel mowers are troublesome on sloped or bumpy lawns. The torque that turns the blades comes from the wheels as you roll them along the ground. On an uneven surface, the wheels lose contact with the ground as they bounce or as the weight shifts on a slope. As one of our long-term testers put it, “Small dips can lead to grass getting missed, so I often end up mowing from two or three different angles to try and get it all.”

In fact, the results in general may not be what you expect. One of our long-term testers said that their mower “often totally misses taller strands of grass” and that they “have to go back and snip those with a pair of shears.” Also, on most reel mowers, the blades are inboard of the wheels, so you’ll have a wider gap of unmowed grass against a fence or a stone wall.

How we picked and tested

To figure out how to pick the best reel mower, we spoke to Scott Dunbar, superintendent of Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, New York. He explained that reel mowers can cut much closer to the ground than rotary mowers. At the golf course, the crew uses reel mowers to cut greens and approaches but uses gas-powered rotary mowers for the rough. But the average homeowner isn’t cutting the lawn for use as a putting green—in fact, cutting your lawn too low is terrible for its health. Turf experts suggest never cutting off more than a third of your grass’s length; cutting too close to the ground can cause the grass to dry out and get scorched in the summer. This means that a mower’s minimum cutting height isn’t a useful measurement, since you’re unlikely to use that setting.

The maximum cutting height was a crucial detail. We used this spec as our primary factor in eliminating mowers from contention. Few reel mowers are able to get above 2½ inches, which may not be good for your lawn. “[Cutting height] is one of the primary complaints I have against the majority of reel mowers that are marketed for home use. Most residential grasses (both cool- and warm-season) have recommended heights of cut that are at the upper limit or even exceed the height of cut that is possible with some of the mowers,” said University of Florida turfgrass specialist Kruse. “While it would be possible to use the mower, the long-term health of the turf could suffer significantly,” he continued.

Other factors were also important:

  • How easy is the mower to adjust?
  • How hard is it to push?
  • How wide is it?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • What have other reviewers said about it?

We took our final four mowers to a golf course. There the grounds crew helped us adjust the blades to the exact same standard they used on their mowers so that the blades could cleanly slice a piece of paper. Over the next three hours, we pushed all four mowers back and forth on different-height grasses. On hand were course superintendent Scott Dunbar, a member of the grounds crew, a mechanic who maintains the course equipment, and an equipment salesman who happened to be at the course that day. These guys are all turfgrass experts who deal with grass and mowing equipment every day. They really took to the task of comparing these mowers, examining every aspect closely and answering all our questions about turf and cut quality.

Our pick: Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

leaf, vacuum, push, mower, power, pilot

The Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower is the reel mower to get. Of the tested mowers, it offered the cleanest cut and the easiest adjustments, and it was the only one that didn’t jam. It also has a wide, 20-inch cutting swath—the widest we found—as well as height adjustments between 1 and 3 inches, which is a more versatile range than we saw on almost all of the other available reel mowers. At 34 pounds, it’s light and easy to turn around at the end of each mowing row, but it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t bounce around on slightly uneven turf.

The quality of the cut excelled against the competition. When our lawn experts were going back and forth with the mowers on a variety of grasses and lengths, they noticed that the Scotts model would leave a swath of totally trimmed grass with each blade snipped evenly across, no ragged edges to be seen. In contrast, the other mowers would leave a bunch of blades sticking up like chimneys after a house fire, requiring the testers to back up and go over the area again. The Scotts mower also never jammed up during testing, whereas all of the other mowers did.

The Scotts 2000-20 also snipped a wider path than most of the others. The Scotts is a 20-inch-wide mower, the widest size available (the measurement refers to the blade width, not the overall width). We tested another 20-inch model, the Lee Valley 20″ Mower, but that one was harder to push, and its cut quality was worse.

Our testers also gave the Scotts 2000-20 high marks for overall usability. At 34 pounds, it lands in the middle of our test group in weight but manages to hit the sweet spot between maneuverability and stability. The Fiskars StaySharp Max is heavier and harder to turn around at the end of a mowing row; by contrast, the lighter Lee Valley model bounced around on uneven ground and left a ragged cut as a result.

All of the adjustments on the Scotts mower are easy to make. For cutting height, it has two levers, one for each wheel. One other model we tested, the 16-inch Great States 415-16, required us to unbolt it each time we wanted to change the cutting height. Also, the height settings on the Scotts model are accurate; the 1-inch setting on the Fiskars, in contrast, actually cut much lower, practically scalping the lawn, before we readjusted it to a higher setting.

The Scotts 2000-20 has a cutting range of 1 to 3 inches. The vast majority of reel mowers top out around 2 inches, so we appreciated the ability to go taller, either for the health of the grass or for a less manicured look. A DIY Network article lists the ideal cutting heights for a variety of warm- and cool-weather grasses, and the capabilities of the Scotts land nicely in the strike zone for every grass mentioned. Our runner-up, the Fiskars StaySharp Max, has an even higher maximum cutting height at 4 inches, but it’s a much heavier mower with more difficult maneuvering, and it doesn’t cut as nicely.

The Scotts is easy to assemble, and doesn’t require any tools. The bolts that attach the handle have large plastic wing nuts, so tightening by hand is simple. If you ever need to take your mower apart—to fit it into a compact space like a car trunk or a small storage area—we found that the Scotts was easy enough to disassemble, too. You might need pliers to remove the small C-clips that attach the handle to the body of the mower, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a hassle.

Scotts stands behind their products. Erin Price, then Wirecutter’s Audience Development Manager, had a wheel fall off her Scotts push mower and the company replaced the entire mower for her. She told us, “I love my reel mower and perhaps love it even more now that the company was so helpful.”

It has performed well in long term testing. Two other Wirecutter staff members, who both happen to be women, also have Scotts Classics in their personal tool sheds, and they appreciate the mower’s simplicity and ease of use. Senior Photo Editor Rozette Rago had never used a reel mower before picking up the Scotts for her small, flat yard in LA, and found it quick to get used to. It was easy to figure out for two people who have never used it before. Wirecutter Producer Beth Niegelsky, who has used both the Fiskars and the Scotts, prefers the latter, “ I actually like the Scotts significantly more because it is SO much lighter.” She explained, “With the Fiskars, I basically couldn’t mow the hill of my front yard without feeling like I was doing something dangerous. It’s basically no problem with the Scotts.”

Senior Software Development Engineer Joshua Brewer had the Scotts for three years and recently replaced it for our lawn mower pick. Throughout his three years of usage, he highlighted that the Scott was “kinda fun to use.” He appreciated that it was easy to storetash, didn’t require fuel, and was quieter than a traditional lawn mower. However, the Scotts did squeak despite thorough maintenance, required multiple passes on his lawn, and his foam handle disintegrated after the first year. Overall, Brewer says The Scotts 2000-20 worked, but was much more laborious to use with a lush and dense lawn and worked a lot better when the lawn was more sparse. He’s much happier with the Ego LM2135SP now.

Supervising Editor Josh Lyon also has a Scotts and said there are bumpy parts of his lawn that he needs to go over one or two additional times, but that “the mower is so light and has such a smooth roll that even with the extra passes it takes half the time to do our entire lawn than with the gas-powered mower we used to have.” Overall, Lyon is very happy with the Scotts and says he’ll never go back to a gas mower.

Finally, even though it wasn’t a major factor in our decision, testers liked how the Scotts looked better than the other mowers (some found the Fiskars model’s oddball form to be off-putting). The Scotts 2000-20 is covered by a two-year warranty, and user reviews suggest that the manufacturer, American Lawn Mower, issues free replacement parts whenever a problem crops up.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We analyzed the negative Комментарии и мнения владельцев at Amazon and found that most of the complaints center on the aluminum handle breaking, a plastic gear in the mechanism stripping out, or simply the realization that a reel mower is not the right choice for the owner’s particular lawn.

We investigated the plastic-gear complaint by removing the wheel of the Scotts mower and taking a look at the gear. As you can see in the photo above, it’s a pretty robust gear with deep teeth, and it interfaces with the teeth on the inside of the plastic wheel. The wheels turn as you push, and those teeth turn the plastic gear, which rotates the blades. Stripping it out is an issue to be aware of, but under proper use, the gear shouldn’t be a problem. And if it becomes one, replacing the gear is a 10-minute repair job. While it would be nice if both the wheel and the gear were made of metal, such a design would likely add money to the price tag and a significant amount of weight to the mower.

One of our long-term testers also noted that when the Scotts arrived, many of the screws holding the handle together were loose and fell out within a month. Once they were replaced, no further problems surfaced.

A close reading of the user complaints suggests that owners who were using the Scotts mower on tall or tough Southern grass had the most problems, but such difficulties are likely to be common among all push mowers and not just the Scotts.

We tested Toro’s compact, lightweight leaf blower/vacuum and found it to be a top-notch tool for keeping a small property tidy.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Oct 27, 2021 10:05 AM

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Most of the year it’s not difficult to maintain a neat yard, but fall leaf season presents a challenge. Even those who go for a more natural appearance find it necessary to clean up some of the leaves some of the time. And those who are into a manicured look have a much tougher task. Possibly the most helpful tool for the job is a leaf vacuum.

As a devoted home gardener who often writes about the topic, I was eager to field test the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum recently. Toro has been a trusted brand in lawn equipment for more than a century, so my expectations were pretty high. Electric three-in-one leaf blower/ vacuum/mulch machines have been around for years, so I assumed that Toro’s take would perform well above the waterline.

The tool arrived in early October, just in time for the onslaught of early autumn leaves. To really give the tool a thorough workout, however, I created a gauntlet consisting of recently fallen leaves and built-up leaves from last fall that had collected beneath shrubs at the edge of a wooded area. The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum easily gobbled up the dry stuff and, with some minor sluggishness, polished off the old matted material as well. Though the device has a few innate issues, I can recommend it as a solid choice for anyone with a small to midsize yard with moderate to heavy leaf cover. Read on for more detailed findings.

Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum: At a Glance

Rating: [8.6/10]


  • Lightweight for comfortable extended use
  • Powerful air-moving ability
  • Quiet operation


  • Operator movement limited by power cord
  • Less powerful than gas models
  • Not designed for huge quantities of leaves

Get the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum at:

What Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum?

The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum is a corded electric leaf blower that converts into a mulching leaf vacuum. It is powered by an adjustable-speed 12-amp electric motor and attaches to an extension cord via a short pigtail plug at the lower rear of the handle. Power and speed are controlled by a dial located on the housing beneath the handle. The kit includes the tool body, blower tube, removable intake cover, three blower tube nozzles, vacuum tube, and debris collection bag with shoulder strap.

Conversion from leaf blower to vacuum/mulcher mode is toolless. Simply remove the blower tube and intake cover with the push of a button, and replace them with the collection bag and vacuum tube. In vacuum mode, an impeller built into the air intake grinds the leaves, reducing the material to 1/16th of its original volume with particles smaller than 1.5 inches in diameter.

Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum Easy to Use?

Thanks to its relatively light weight and sound design, the UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum proved easy to use around my property. At 8.9 pounds, the Toro is lighter than most comparably sized competitive models. It has a fairly compact, maneuverable design, which is nice given that it must be tethered to an extension cord. The device functioned smoothly in both blower and vacuum mode without constant readjustments.

That said, I noticed a few minor issues. For one, the dial controller could be improved for one-handed use. As seems to be the case industry-wide with this blower/vac style, operating the switch—positioned as it is on the motor housing—requires using one’s free hand. A thumb dial or finger trigger on the handle would be more user-friendly.

leaf, vacuum, push, mower, power, pilot

The blower-to-vacuum conversion also mirrors the industry standard. It requires removing the blower tube and intake guard in order to install the vacuum tube and collection bag. Yes, this is toolless and quick, but at least one competitor offers a blower/vac that switches between modes without reconfiguring tubes. To wit, the WORX WG509 TRIVAC employs two separate tubes with a lever to change from blower to vacuum within seconds. This system, however, is heavier and may not be as comfortable to use as the Toro.

How Powerful Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum?

The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum’s 12-amp motor moves 410 cubic feet of air per minute at speeds up to 250 miles per hour. Those stats are better than average, and my real-life results bore that out. The 16:1 mulching ratio is fairly common among the competition.

In a timed test, working from a large pile of mostly fresh tulip poplar and black gum leaves, this vacuum filled its collection bag in 5 minutes. So in about the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee I was able to reduce 16 bags’ worth of leaves to a single bag. The vacuum tube did not clog during that time, even with a few sticks and twigs mixed in the pile. Later, I was able to intentionally clog the tube by sucking up large quantities of coarse, stiff debris, like southern magnolia leaves and pine cones, and by pushing the suction tube deep into the leaf pile.

Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum Worth the Price?

At around 100, the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum is priced about right. The price is in the middle of the range for this type of tool, with cheaper products available for around 60 and the most expensive ones going for closer to 200. The Toro’s combination of lightweight construction, maneuverability, and power make it suitable for a fairly wide range of uses with small to midsize urban or suburban yards. In my estimation it’s a fair price.

Should You Buy the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum?

My favorite aspects of the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum were its quiet motor, lightweight build, maneuverability, and surprisingly powerful suction. These attributes definitely set this unit apart from and above most of the competition. While I had minor issues with the somewhat awkward placement of the control switch and clumsy nature of reconfiguring the switch from blower mode to vacuum mode, these complaints would hold for most of this tool’s competitors as well—it’s just too bad that Toro hasn’t moved the needle here. Overall, I would place this model among the top in its class.

This plug-in electric blower/vacuum/mulcher is not built to process huge quantities of leaves on acreage but would make a really good choice for small to midsize jobs. It is a space saver, offering three useful tools in one package. It is lightweight and compact enough for comfortable use by those with less strength or range of motion, and it’s powerful enough to do the job without causing frustration, regardless of the user’s ability. If this sounds like the kind of tool you’re looking for, then it probably is. The price is right, too.

Where to Buy the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum

Get the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum at:

We Tested The Best Leaf Blowers and Vacuums to Clear Lawn Debris

Sarah is a writer who loves researching and testing tech and Smart home products. She’s been an e-commerce writer since 2020, mainly covering gaming, home tech, streaming, and pop culture content. Her writing has been published in Entertainment Weekly, Business Insider, People, and more.

Andrew Hughes is a certified arborist, member of the International Society of Arborists specializing in tree heal care, and reviews tree content on The Spruce’s Gardening Review Board. He founded and runs Urban Loggers, LLC, a company offering residential tree services in the Midwest and Connecticut.

Nick Blackmer is a librarian, fact checker, and researcher with more than 25 years’ experience in consumer-oriented content.

When leaves start falling in autumn, you can minimize the elbow grease that comes with keeping your lawn neat and tidy by relying on a quality leaf blower and vacuum.

One of the most important specs to consider when buying a leaf blower is airflow capacity, which is measured cubic feet per minute (CFM). According to Deane Biermeier, “For most residential uses, 500 CFM is a good middle-of-the-road power level. Small cordless models with 300 to 400 CFM airflow work just fine for small yards with few trees.

We tested 27 leaf blowers in The Lab, evaluating their ease of assembly and use, battery life, noise levels, and effectiveness at clearing debris in various landscape conditions. The main portion of our effectiveness test involved us dropping dry leaves on grass and concrete, as well as damp leaves on grass, and timing how quickly each leaf blower cleared each leaf pile. We also tested to see if we could easily round up leaves into a chalk-drawn box on concrete and if each blower could move a 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1-ounce trimmer line weight.

Based on our lab testing, here are the best leaf blowers.

Best Overall

Ryobi ONE 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower

  • Multiple speeds
  • Easy, one-hand operation
  • Powerful and precise
  • Easy setup

In an at-home test, the Ryobi ONE Cordless Leaf Blower speedily cleared leaves, as well as spider webs, grass, sticks, and more, while still being light and compact enough for our at-home tester to operate with one hand. There isn’t anything it can’t blow around—without being too much or too little, she reported.

She also appreciated that she can use the battery with other Ryobi products—a manufacturer feature that keeps you in their ecosystem and indeed persuaded her to switch from a competitor’s product line. Interestingly, she found the battery lasted longer in at-home use than we found when we tested the product in our Des Moines lab. At that time, our lab tester reported a battery life of only 30 minutes, but our at-home tester made no such observation after repeated use.

Our lab tester’s primary complaint with this model was that it was quite loud; again, our at-home tester disagreed. It isn’t overly noisy, since I tend to use it for an extended period of time each time I do get it out—don’t want to be a super noisy neighbor! she said.

This model has an airflow capacity of up to 280 CFM and airflow speed of up to 100 miles per hour. We found it to offer plenty of power and convenience for its price point, earning it the top spot in our roundup. The setup was quick and easy—we just had to snap two pieces together. Once it’s up and running, we could choose between different speeds.

Our at-home tester’s only negative comment had to do with the chute, which seemed long to her but not enough to dampen her enthusiasm for the product. Not only do we consider this model a good value for what it does, but we also like that it can share batteries with other Ryobi products such as saws, drills, and screwdrivers.

Price at time of publish: 200

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 9 pounds | CFM: 280 | MPH: 100 | Noise Rating: 65 dB

Best Budget

Greenworks 7 Amp 160 MPH/150 CFM Single Speed Electric Blower

Our at-home tester was a little unsure of how well this budget-friendly, corded model would perform, especially on her large hydrangeas’ plethora of petals. I was nervous about the small size and single speed, she told us as she started her testing stint. But it worked great. My 4-year old even helped me one day, and she was able to hold it—no problem! It’s so easy to use, I find myself blowing things off I would have normally swept.

While we don’t recommend this corded product for a 4-year-old, we do like it for its lightweight heft (under 5 pounds), and simple, two-piece setup.

In our lab test in Des Moines, this model moved leaves slightly slower than other tested models, clearing dry and damp piles in about 40 seconds each. But it cleared leaves off concrete much quicker, in under 16 seconds. This didn’t surprise us, owing to the small motor’s 150 CFM airflow capacity and 160 MPH airflow speed; similarly powered models performed about the same. However, we did find the airflow tricky to control, as we struggled to precisely round up the pile of leaves into the chalk-drawn box.

Our at-home tester also commented about the lack of a cord; you have to supply your own, which is common to similar products. But she did note that the cord lock kept the machine from constantly unplugging, a bane of comparable models we tested.

We recommend this product for small jobs in small to medium-size yards. For its small price, we see it as a big value.

Price at time of publish: 33

Fuel Type: Corded electric | Weight: 4.5 pounds | CFM: 150 | MPH: 160 | Noise Rating: 69.3 dB

Best Splurge

EGO Power LB6003 600 CFM Variable-Speed 56-Volt Cordless Leaf Blower

The EGO POWER 600 CFM Backpack Blower lets you choose between a 320 CFM or a 600 CFM setting and has an airflow speed of up to 145 MPH, making it great for a range of tasks. However, you may find splurging on this range in power to be superfluous if you’re working with a smaller yard. It has an easy two-piece setup, including a backpack component. We found the backpack to be comfortable and lightweight, and it was easy to move around while wearing it. This model has an adjustable tube, too, and our tester appreciated that “the wand was flexible and moved with ease.”

While using this leaf blower on the patch of grass, we were able to speedily clear out the pile of dry and damp leaves, finishing each job in 17 seconds and 15.2 seconds, respectively. On concrete, this unit cleared the pile of dry leaves in an impressive 7 seconds. It was also quick to move the fishing weights a distance of 10 feet, and our tester didn’t have to stand super close to the weights to get them to move. The unit manages to offer substantial power without being too loud, which is a great bonus, and our tester describes using this leaf blower as being “fast, effective, and fun.”

Price at time of publish: 419

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 16.2 pounds | CFM: 600 | MPH: 145 | Noise Rating: 64 db

Best Corded

WORX WG520 12 Amp TURBINE 600 Electric Leaf Blower

The WORX WG520 12 Amp TURBINE 600 Electric Leaf Blower is a corded model that offers a lot of power in an easy-to-carry design. It gives you the option to choose between a 600 CFM airflow capacity with a 110 MPH airflow speed or a 320 CFM airflow capacity with a 60 MPH airflow speed. While this range in power can be especially handy in larger yards, our tester warns that it may offer too much power to be appropriately used on flower beds. The cord fell out during the testing process, even while using the retainer, and our tester had to create a knot in the cord and rely on the guide to ensure it didn’t happen again. However, compared to other models our tester used, they found this model’s power switch to be easier to operate and appreciated its lightweight design.

We struggled to move leaves in particular directions with this leaf blower, as our attempt to blow a pile of leaves into our box we outlined with chalk on concrete was unsuccessful. We were able to wrangle the leaves into the box with other models, so if you’re looking for precise movement, this may not be the model for you. That being said, we were able to quickly clear the patch of grass from the pile of dry and damp leaves, with each task taking us around 30 seconds to complete. We were able to clear the concrete patch of a pile of dry leaves in just 10 seconds and had no problem moving the trimmer line weights a 10-foot distance with the leaf blower, so what this model lacks in precision it makes up for in power and effectiveness.

Price at time of publish: 65

Fuel Type: Corded electric | Weight: 6.4 pounds | CFM: 600| MPH: 110 | Noise Rating: 90 dB

Best for Small/Medium Yards

Toro Power Sweep 160 MPH 155 CFM 7 Amp Electric Leaf Blower

The Toro Power Sweep Electric Leaf Blower is compact and lightweight, standing 11.5 inches tall and 28 inches long and weighing 4.7 pounds. You can choose between two speed settings, with the highest mode offering a 155 CFM airflow capacity and a 160 MPH airflow speed. According to our tester, it offers “a lot of power with little kick back.” The unit is made up of only two pieces, and the setup process took less than a minute to complete. It’s a corded model, and it includes a cord lock to help secure the plug. We appreciate how it manages to store a good amount of power in such an easy-to-maneuver, easy-to-manage design.

On a patch of grass, we were able to clear out the pile of dry leaves in 16 seconds and a pile of damp leaves in 27 seconds. On concrete, this unit cleared the pile of dry leaves in a speedy 8 seconds and, despite its small size, it had no problem pushing the trimmer line weights a 10-foot distance. And while the power and efficiency is great for small and medium yards, precision is where this leaf blower really stands out. With this leaf blower, we were able to wrangle a pile of leaves into the box we drew with chalk on concrete in just 9 seconds. Compared to how long it took us to successfully round up the leaves using the other leaf blowers on this list, this unit’s 9-second time was the quickest. Our tester’s verdict was that this unit has “great value for such a compact, light, efficient, sleek blower.”

Price at time of publish: 57

Fuel Type: Corded electric | Weight: 4.7 pounds | CFM: 155 | MPH: 160 | Noise Rating: 63.5 db

Best Powerful

Makita XBU03SM1 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Blower Kit

The Makita XBU03SM1 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Blower Kit is a cordless unit that offers adjustable power levels, with its maximum airflow capacity being 459 CFM and maximum airflow speed being 116 MPH. We appreciated that this model allowed for easy one-handed operation — we had no problem using one hand to grip the handle and another hand to adjust the speed settings. The assembly is straightforward, but takes a bit of time, despite it only being a two-piece unit. We finished setting it up in a little over 11 minutes. Please note that the tool required for the screws is included.

We were able to clear the patch of grass of dry leaves in 50 seconds and of damp leaves in 42 seconds. And, we were able to clear the patch of concrete of dry leaves significantly faster, completing the task in 18 seconds. Our tester wished the leaf blower’s airflow was easier to control and noted that “the shape of the blower didn’t allow for precise direction.” We were unable to round up the entire pile of leaves into the box we outlined on concrete, no matter which speed setting we used. However, it’s not lacking in terms of power, since it was able to speedily move the trimmer line weights a 10-foot distance. Plus, our tester was pleased that they didn’t have to get too close to the ground for the leaf blower to effectively complete the tasks.

Price at time of publish: 204

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 6.5 pounds | CFM: 459 | MPH: 116 | Noise Rating: 60 db

Best Variable Speed

WORX WG584 40V Turbine Cordless Leaf Blower Power Share with Brushless Motor

  • Very fast at clearing dry leaves
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to maneuver with one hand
  • Effort needed to attach final piece
  • Slower to move damp leaves
  • Difficult to blow leaves precisely

The WORX 40V Turbine Cordless Leaf Blower Power Share with Brushless Motor has a lightweight build and a long battery life, which are two qualities that are particularly handy if you’re working with a larger yard. Our tester noted that they were able to operate the unit using only one hand and that they didn’t feel any strain in their arm while using it. The setup process was straightforward, though while many of the other leaf blowers on this roundup are two-piece models, this is a three-piece model, and attaching its final piece required a little more effort than usual. However, when all was said and done, we were still able to finish setting up the leaf blower in just under two minutes.

Also compared to the other leaf blowers in this roundup, this Worx model was the quickest at removing dry leaves from our patch of grass, finishing the job in just 12.9 seconds. It cleared dry leaves from the patch of concrete in a similar amount of time — namely in 12.7 seconds. The unit did take a bit longer to clear the patch of damp leaves from our patch of grass, finishing the job in just under 52 seconds. The leaf blower has various power modes, and you can choose to operate the unit with an airflow capacity of 300 to 470 CFM and with an airflow speed of 60, 69, 80, or 95 MPH. Our tester dubbed it a “very effective leaf blower” and noted that “the first setting cleared most conditions including wet leaves.” Since it was so powerful, we were unable to precisely blow the leaves into the chalk-drawn box, but we had no difficulty at all blowing the different fish weights a distance of 10 feet.

Price at time of publish: 191

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 7.3 pounds | CFM: 470 | MPH: 95 | Noise Rating: 102.1 dB

Best Quiet

RYOBI 550 CFM 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Whisper Series Jet Fan Leaf Blower

The Ryobi 40V Brushless 125 MPH 550 CFM Cordless Battery Whisper Series Jet Fan Blower with 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger impressed us with its quiet operation. While the product description lists the unit as having a noise rating of 59 dB, our noise level test showed it to only have a noise rating of 40.2 dB — so it’s a great option for anyone who is worried about finding an especially neighbor-friendly leaf blower. We also appreciated how easy it was to operate. Our tester said this unit is “very easy and light to transport” and claimed they didn’t feel fatigued after operating it for the duration of the test.

This model has an airflow capacity of 550 CFM and an airflow speed of 125 MPH. On the patch of grass, it cleared the pile of dry leaves in 27 seconds and the pile of damp leaves in 28 seconds. It cleared the dry leaves from the patch of concrete in only 11 seconds. We weren’t able to fully wrangle all the leaves into the chalk square we drew on concrete, but our attempt wasn’t a complete failure either, which means that while the control this unit gave us over the blowing direction of the leaves could have been better, it also wasn’t the worst. It offers a lot of power, and we were able to move the various trimmer line weights easily, with our tester noting the 0.25 weight moved the 10-foot distance in a single blow. There’s even a Turbo mode if you really want to kick the power up a notch.

Price at time of publish: 155

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 9.7 pounds | CFM: 550 CFM | MPH: 125 | Noise Rating: 59 dB

Best Backpack, Electric

Greenworks Pro 80V Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower

The Greenworks Pro 80V (180 MPH / 610 CFM) Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower is a backpack model, so it distributes a significant amount of its weight onto your back, consequently lightening the load placed on your arms and wrists. Our tester said that despite being heavier than some other models, they found this unit “fun to use” and thought “the backpack fit nicely and made it easy to carry.” Our tester also said that while the long tube was great while operating the leaf blower, it would sometimes interfere with their endeavors when they’d reach down to pick something up. However, our tester noted that they are 5’4”, so they aren’t sure the tube length would be an issue for taller operators. Despite the occasional gawky operation moment, we appreciated that there were multiple power control options, and we especially liked the user-friendliness of the variable speed trigger.

This model has an airflow capacity of 610 CFM and an airflow speed of 180 MPH. Of all the leaf blowers on this list, this one cleared the patch of concrete from dry leaves the fastest, finishing the job in just 6 seconds. On grass, it cleared the pile of dry leaves in 25 seconds and the pile of damp leaves in 17 seconds. The trimmer line weights moved with ease as well. However, we spent 25 minutes getting the unit together, making it the leaf blower in our roundup with the longest setup time. The process required a screwdriver, and we struggled to figure out the correct order in which to attach the tubes. Once it’s up in running, though, this cordless unit can run for up to 18 minutes while on its highest setting, and it has a quick, 45-minute recharge time — which is convenient since any last-minute charging won’t delay your yard work too long.

Price at time of publish: 317

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 14.64 pounds | CFM: 610 | MPH: 180 | Noise Rating: 87 dB

Best Cordless

DeWALT DCBL722P1 20V Max Brushless Cordless Battery Powered Handheld Leaf Blower

The DeWALT Brushless Handheld Blower is a cordless unit with an airflow capacity of 450 CFM, an airflow speed of 125 MPH, and a three-piece assembly process that we quickly completed in just over two minutes. It also has a variable speed trigger and a speed lock. The model’s easy-to-use controls are what really made it stand out to us, with our tester claiming “the adjustable power buttons with two-ways to control makes it worth it.” We also didn’t find it to be particularly loud while operating and were able to use it in a garden bed without damaging any of the plants.

This leaf blower cleared the patch of grass from dry leaves in 52 seconds and from damp leaves in 43 seconds, though we did experience a minor delay when clearing the dry leaves because we incorrectly attached the tube during the setup phase and it fell out mid-use. It was much more effective on the patch of concrete, clearing it from dry leaves in just 10 seconds. While we were able to gather the pile of leaves near the box we drew on concrete, we were unable to actually get the leaves inside the box. Our tester said getting the leaves near the box required “pulsing the power button on and off” and noted that they had “little control as to where leaves ended up,” so this model could perform better in terms of airflow control. It performed well power wise, though, easily moving the various fish line weights.

Price at time of publish: 199

Fuel Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 6.7 pounds | CFM: 450 | MPH: 125 | Noise Rating: 66 dB

Best Gas

Echo 2-Stroke Cycle Handheld Leaf Blower

With a 2-stroke engine, maximum air flow capacity of 453 CFM, and a maximum airflow speed of 170 MPH, the Echo Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Handheld Leaf Blower offers a formidable amount of power. Despite its power, it’s lightweight and fairly quiet, weighing 8.6 pounds and having a noise rating of 70 dB. The model relies on a recoil start, which means you need to pull a cord to get it running. While this may seem like a hassle compared to electric blowers’ press-a-button-and-go process, many users praise this model for being easy to start up.

Users note the upkeep and maintenance required of this gas model is easy to manage. Plus, it has an air filter that’s specially designed to keep the engine clean. It also has an 18.6-ounce translucent fuel tank, which makes keeping an eye on the fuel levels easy and spares you from any low-fuel surprises, as well as a curved tube and cruise control options, which can help prevent your arms and wrists from growing easily tired as you carry it. Unfortunately, this leaf blower doesn’t come with a shoulder harness. However, it has shoulder harness points, so you can buy a harness separately and attach it to the unit if you so desire.

Price at time of publish: 169

Fuel Type: Gas | Weight: 8.6 pounds | CFM: 453 | MPH: 170 | Noise Rating: 70 db

Best Backpack, Gas

Husqvarna 150BT 50-cc 2-Cycle Gas Backpack Leaf Blower

The Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower is great for managing large yards. It has an efficient 2-stroke engine and offers you all the power of a gas model, as well as all the convenience of a backpack design. The leaf blower’s substantial airflow capacity of 765 CFM, airflow speed of 270 MPH, and backpack design mean you can largely rely on your back to support the unit (and thus place less strain on your arms and wrist). It also has an adjustable, ergonomic, and well-padded harness and hip belt that make it comfortable to wear as you perform yard work.

The leaf blower is quick and easy to start, but it does rely on a manual start, so you will have to pull a cord to get it running. Once it’s running, you’ll have the option to set it to cruise control for a less demanding leaf-blowing experience. Keep in mind that since it’s a gas model, this unit requires regular clean-up and maintenance. You should also note that this model is significantly heavier than other models on this roundup and weighs 22.5 pounds — but the heavier weight makes sense considering it’s a backpack model built for heavier-duty work. On the plus side, the leaf blower has a translucent fuel tank, making it easy to monitor how much fuel you’re working with at any given moment.

Price at time of publish: 309

Fuel Type: Gas | Weight: 22.5 pounds | CFM: 765 | MPH: 270 MPH | Noise Rating: 110 dB


After thoroughly testing various leaf blower models under various conditions, the Ryobi ONE 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower is our top pick since its lightweight, offers an efficient amount of power, and clears leaves quickly all while being value-friendly. If you’re looking for a unit that’s less costly, the Greenworks 7 Amp Electric Blower is our favorite budget pick. The corded model is lightweight and has a secure plug that didn’t fall out during our test, making it easy to haul around.

How We Tested the Leaf Blowers

In order to make the best picks for this roundup, The Spruce tested 27 leaf blowers in The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, evaluating each product’s effectiveness, battery life, ease of use, portability, noise level, and value. We relied on our hands-on experiences with each leaf blower to provide ratings for each of the aforementioned qualities and properly compare the different units. In order to test effectiveness, we timed how fast each blower could clear leaves from an area under various conditions. We relied on a decibel meter to measure the air blowers’ noise levels, and we noted whether each blower’s power output remained consistent and if its battery life started depleting during the test to evaluate battery life. We weighed each unit to help us to determine portability, but we also assessed how balanced each unit felt and how easy each unit was to operate with one hand. For corded models, we also considered the length and manageability of the cord. Ease of use was determined through a variety of factors, such as how seamlessly we could switch between modes on models with variable speeds, locate a unit’s controls, maneuver a unit for an extended period of time, and use a unit’s extra attachments when applicable. Value was determined by weighing all of a model’s pros and cons against its price to determine whether it was an advisable investment. Our test accounted for different real-life conditions in which you may find yourself using your leaf blower. On a 10-foot by 10-foot patch of grass, we spread out 0.75 pounds of dry leaves. We used each leaf blower on its highest modes and timed how long it was before all the leaves were cleared from the patch of grass. We repeated this step two more times for each leaf blower — once with dampened leaves on the patch of grass, and then again with dry leaves on a patch of 10-foot by 10-foot concrete. In addition to testing the effectiveness in terms of power, we also tested effectiveness in terms of precision. We spread leaves in a garden bed, dispersed among plants. We used each blower at its lowest speed and evaluated how effectively it cleared leaves without harming the plants. If the unit had a vacuum or mulching function, we tested to see how effectively it could suck up the leaves in the garden and if picked up any mulch while operating on those modes. We also rounded up a small pile of leaves to test the function’s suction power when up against a denser concentration of debris and noted how many times we had to empty the bag before the area was cleared. On the 10-foot by 10-foot concrete surface, we also evaluated how easy it was to control each leaf blower’s airflow and accurately direct leaves with each unit. We used chalk to mark a starting point, and 10 feet away from that point we drew a 6-inch by 6-inch box with chalk. We placed a pile of leaves at the starting point and, using the modes and attachments we saw fit, directed the leaves towards the box and noted how many leaves successfully made it into the box’s parameters. We repeated this test again, but using 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1- ounce trimmer line weights instead of leaves in order to better test the power of the leaf blower.

What to Look for in a Leaf Blower or Vacuum


Cubic feet per minute, or CFM, refers to the volume of air that the leaf blower can move. The higher the CFM, the more air is pushed through the tube every second. This translates into a more powerful gust of air, allowing you to move leaves, sticks, and twigs at a faster pace. Out of all the leaf blowers in our roundup, the Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower is capable of moving the largest volume of air. It has an airflow capacity of 765 CFM, making it well suited for managing more sizable yards.


You’ll also see that leaf blowers have an airspeed listed in MPH. Faster speeds give you increased ability to move yard debris and often reduce how many passes it takes to clear a section of your yard, driveway, or deck. The Husqvarna Gas Backpack Leaf Blower offers the fastest airflow speed of any of the models on our roundup. It’s able to reach airspeeds of up to 270 MPH.


Leaf blowers can be powered in several ways, including by gas engines, rechargeable batteries, or power cords. There are benefits to each of these styles—gas models are cordless and typically provide the most power, but they are louder and require more maintenance. Corded electric models are quieter and more eco-friendly because they don’t emit fumes, but you’re limited by the length of your extension cord. Finally, battery-powered leaf blowers have a convenient cordless design, but their runtime is typically limited, especially if you’re using it at the highest speed. If you opt for a gas-powered leaf blower for its power, consider whether you want a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. The two-stroke engines are typically less expensive than more complex four-stroke engines, but they will require you to blend gas and oil at the right ratio for proper operation. On the other hand, a gasoline leaf blower with a four-stroke engine accepts straight gasoline into its fuel tank, but it will need regular oil changes. If you don’t mind pre-mixing fuel, then a two-stroke engine is likely adequate for your leaf-blowing needs.

Battery Life

If you’re opting for a cordless electric leaf blower, battery life is an important consideration since your clean-up time could be cut short by a dead battery. If you have a small yard, a standard lithium-ion battery may suffice. However, if you have a lot of ground to cover, you might want to invest in a model with longer battery life or keep a back-up battery on hand to swap in when the first battery dies. It’s also worth noting how long a leaf blower’s battery takes to fully recharge. For instance, the Greenworks Pro 80V (180 MPH / 610 CFM) Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower can run for up to 18 minutes on its high mode, but only takes 45 minutes to recharge. If you have a yard that you can clear up in 18 minutes, but are also prone to forget to recharge your devices and don’t want to be stuck waiting for a leaf blower that takes hours and hours to charge once it’s battery depletes, this model’s battery may be the perfect match for your needs.


Noise is a critical consideration since some leaf blowers can be loud enough to disturb the neighbors—or even violate local noise ordinances. The noise rating of any leaf blower is rated in decibels. Electric leaf blowers are likely to be the quietest, followed by gasoline models, and the loudest of all are walk-behind leaf blowers. Our top choice for quiet operation, the Ryobi 40V Brushless 125 MPH 550 CFM Cordless Battery Whisper Series Jet Fan Blower with 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger, is listed as having a 59 dB noise rating in its product description, but our personal measurements showed it to be lower at 40.2 dB. Get the facts on whether your community or municipality limits the decibels of yard equipment like leaf blowers, or outlaws the use of them altogether. Also be sure to use hearing protection when operating a leaf blower, since sustained use can lead to hearing damage and loss.


Leaf blowers can weigh anywhere from 5 to 70 pounds, depending on the style. For a handheld leaf blower, you’ll typically want a model under 10 pounds, otherwise, it may not be comfortable to operate for long periods of time. If your leaf blower is any heavier, you’ll want to consider a backpack-style model or even a walk-behind option, which will make the weight of the unit easier to manage. Our top pick, the Ryobi ONE 18V 100 MPH 280 CFM Cordless Battery Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower, weighs only 6.2 pounds.


There’s a wide variety of leaf blowers on the market. They can differ by power source, as some are gas-powered, while others are electric. They can also differ by style and handling methods, since there are models with handheld, backpack, vacuum, and walk-behind designs. Electric leaf blowers require less maintenance than gas-powered models, and they are available as corded or cordless models. Cordless leaf blowers let you roam your yard freely without having to worry about cord management, but you have to remember to charge your unit and check its product description to make sure it has a long enough run time to let you complete your yard work. With corded leaf blowers, you don’t have to remember to recharge the battery. According to Deane Biermeier, “Corded leaf blowers offer far more power than cordless models with very little maintenance, but you remain tethered to the nearest outlet while using it. For homeowners with small yards that are filled with leaf-shedding trees, corded models offer high power performance to clear the space.” Gas-powered leaf blowers have a motor and offer more power than electric models. However, they produce the greatest amount of noise and fumes.7 You should also keep in mind that they require regular maintenance, and the weight of the engine and fuel tank can make them more cumbersome to use over an extended period of time. Our roundup consists mostly of handheld leaf blowers that you simply hold by a handle and point towards leaves. Some handheld models are better suited for light-duty use, while others are more professional-grade and intended for serious lawn care. Backpack leaf blowers typically offer more power than handheld models, and they’re usually on the heavier side. However, the weight is evenly distributed with the help of thick shoulder straps and a padded back plate that allows the blower to rest relatively comfortably between your shoulders. These leaf blowers are often used by professional landscapers to cover large areas, but can be useful to residential users, especially those with larger yards. Some leaf blowers include a vacuum attachment that collects leaves and debris into a bag or includes a mulching feature to turn suctioned items into a mulch you can spread around your trees or garden. There aren’t any walk-behind models included in our roundup, but they tend to have a much higher airflow capacity — anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 or more CFM is normal. They are best suited for commercial applications or professional landscaping teams, but you might opt for a walk-behind model if you don’t want to carry a blower.

There are several types of leaf blowers with advantages to each depending on your specific needs and budget, but the two main categories are gas and electric. In general, gas-powered leaf blowers tend to be more powerful, but they’re also typically heavier, more expensive, and louder. Electric leaf blowers, whether corded or cordless, are often easier to maneuver and less expensive, but you’ll sacrifice power and will also be constrained by either the battery life or how far your extension cord reaches.

Leaf vacuums contain fans that create suction to pull leaves, pine straw, and other debris into a collection bag. Some also have a mulching feature, which turns the collection into mulch or compost that you can then use in your yard or garden. Most leaf vacuums also feature a blowing component. Leaf vacuums are better suited for smaller jobs or hard-to-reach areas of decks or porches because they tend to have small capacities for holding the debris.

CFM, or cubic feet per minute, measures the volume of air that the leaf blower can move, whereas MPH, miles per hour, measures the speed at which the air moves. It’s important to look at both numbers because they work together. However, a higher airspeed does nothing without a large push power—the volume of air coming out every minute (CFM)—and therefore, large differences in CFM between models can often make a bigger difference in how quickly you can complete a job. Biermeier compares leaf blowers to snow plows, comparing CFM to “volume of pushing power or the size of the snowplow’s blade“ and MPH to “the speed of the vehicle pushing the plow.” Larger blades move more snow, whereas faster speeds throw the snow a greater distance. In other words, a higher CFM will reach and move more leaves at a time, whereas a higher MPH will blow the leaves a greater distance. Biermeier advises that you prioritize CFM or MPH based on your particular needs, stating “if you need to move a small amount of leaves over a long distance, aim for higher MPH. If you need to move a lot of leaves a short distance, higher CFM is the way to go.”

Many people clean leaves and other debris out of their gutters using leaf blowers, as the tool makes this cumbersome chore faster and easier. However, it’s important to keep safety in mind if you clean gutters with a leaf blower. It’s not advised to try to wrangle your leaf blower while balancing on a ladder, and—instead, you should invest in a gutter-cleaning attachment for your specific tool. These attachments include a long tube with a hooked end, allowing you to blow leaves from your gutters while standing on the ground. Biermeier recommends you buy an appropriate, specially-designed extension kit to clean your gutters, rather than climbing on top of your roof and relying on your leaf blower to do the job. Biermeier also notes when it comes to thick, wet leaves “a more powerful, corded or gas model might be able to blast them out, but a cordless model only does a fair job of it when the gutter contents are thoroughly dry.”

Why Trust The Spruce?

Sarah Toscano is a freelance writer for The Spruce, specializing in all things related to home tech and Smart home gadgets. All but two leaf blowers included in this roundup were tested in The Lab, where product testers followed a meticulous testing methodology to evaluate various qualities of each unit. The two models that weren’t tested were heavily researched by Toscano. She read through scores of customer reviews and discussion forums and analyzed each product’s specs to properly evaluate the picks. We also consulted Deane Biermeier, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board and a home improvement expert with more than 27 years of experience.

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Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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