What Speed Leaf Blower Do I Need?

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Leaf blowers are a must-have tool year-round, but it’s crucial that you find one that suits your needs.

For instance, have you ever asked, “What speed leaf blower do I need?”

Speed is one of the first things to consider when looking for a leaf blower.

For this, many look at the unit’s CFM and MPH as deal-breakers since they both relate to speed.

How Do Leaf Blowers Work?

Leaf blowers use centrifugal force to move objects across the surface and pile them into manageable heaps.

More often than not, you will find a variable speed motor and a fan with multiple blades within the leaf blower’s casing.

The spinning fan draws in outside air and forces it through the tube.

The air then rushes out of the tube at variable speeds due to the pressure created by centrifugal force.

Only the gas-powered, two-stroke engine blowers can produce the most powerful air volume.

On the other hand, electric models are known for their lighter and quieter operation.

The Lowdown on CFM and MPH

CFM or cubic feet per minute measures the volume of air a leaf blower is able to move in a minute.

In comparison, the speed at which the air is moved is measured in MPH or miles per hour.

As you might expect, the bigger, more powerful blowers can move more air volume quicker than their smaller, handheld counterparts.

Besides the motor, the tube size and shape of a leaf blower are also vital in delivering speed.

Usually, wider tubes provide more CFM but at the expense of MPH, whereas narrow tubes provide more MPH but lower CFM.

CFM is relatively equivalent to the speed of the flowing water in a hose, while the MPH is similar to the flow pressure measured in PSI.

The MPH rating or the airspeed provides a leaf blower its power. However, the strength is concentrated to a tiny space if the CFM is low.

Types of Leaf Blowers

Before you can answer what speed leaf blower do I need, you’ll want to look at the different types available first.

This way, you will know what the choices are and decide which one meets your requirements.

Whether you’re blowing a pile of leaves or dealing with pine needles, there’s a leaf blower that fits the job.

Electric Corded

A corded leaf blower requires that you work near a power outlet or have an extension cord handy.

The good thing about it is that it is the most affordable among all leaf blower types.

You can find corded, electric leaf blowers for as low as 40 dollars, but most are in the 80- to 120-dollar range.

If you are not keen on the prospect of mixing oils and recharging, this type of leaf blower is for you.

A corded electric blower may not be the most powerful, but it can handle dry leaves, small pebbles, and other light debris. 

While the attributes of corded leaf blowers are impressive, the mobility is highly restricted.

You are utterly limited to areas where a power outlet and extension cord is available for use.

learn what speed leaf blower do i need

Electric Cordless

The electric cordless leaf blowers are a popular choice for many because of their ease of use and portability.

You can find many cordless handheld blowers with a slightly higher price than corded leaf blowers.

Instead of an outlet, the battery is the power source of this type.

The battery pack of a cordless blower is probably why it is slightly pricier than its corded electric counterparts.

When dealing with dry leaves, the airspeed of the most regular electric cordless or corded blower models should be sufficient.

Gas-Powered Handheld

Compared to a battery-powered unit, a gas-powered handheld model uses gasoline as its power source.

Gas-powered units can be heavier than electric ones due to their more powerful motor capable of handling larger piles of leaves with ease.

Backpack Gas-Powered

If you think handheld leaf blowers lack the power you need, check out gas backpack leaf blowers.

They are the optimal choice when looking for a nice mix of power and portability.

Backpack blowers are powered by a gas engine, making this type much more powerful than electric models.


If you are looking for the most powerful gas leaf blower, take a look at the wheeled models.

As you can imagine, their fuel capacity is significantly higher than any backpack model.

Also called walk-behind blowers, we recommend them for commercial use or larger yards bigger than one acre.

What Speed Leaf Blower Do I Need?

Before looking into the mix of features a leaf blower offers, you will want to make sure that it can handle the task first.

For instance, you should check the MPH to see if it’s high enough to perform routine tasks.

These tasks include moving dry leaves, blowing grass clippings, and gathering loose dirt from your driveway.

Fortunately, almost any low-cost leaf blower will be able to accomplish these basic chores.

Keep in mind that the higher the MPH rating, the quicker the air will move.

Those with a high MPH rating make it easier to blow wet and heavier dirt and debris from whichever surface you are working on.

As much as possible, avoid models that showcase an impressive MPH rating with significantly low CFM.

Also, blowers with higher CFM ratings will be easier and faster to use under normal conditions.

If the CFM is high, there’s no need for a direct line of airflow aiming at the objects you’re trying to move.

Leaf Blower Speeds

For standard domestic settings, a leaf blower does not have to be the most powerful unit.

Instead, you can do away with a model considered a mid-tier blower.

Avoid blowers that can’t push more than 400 CFM on the high or turbo setting, as they will not be as effective for wet leaves and other stubborn debris.

You also have to avoid blowers designed for commercial use because they are significantly stronger and pricier than the regular person needs.

In general, you need a blower with at least 430 CFM to move such debris.

To complement that power, consider a model that easily exceeds 100 MPH.