Best Backpack Blower for the Money 2017 – Comparisons & Reviews
There’s nothing more frustrating than having debris, leaves, or grass clippings litter your lawn or driveway. Removing these items with a rake can take hours. It will also take quite the toll on your back.
That’s why backpack blowers have become so popular. These great tools take most of the hard work out of cleaning up your lawn, driveway, patios, decks, and more. No homeowner’s collection is complete without one of these handy machines.
Now, there are a lot of different models out there. How can you be sure which one is right for you? We’ve listed some important criteria to consider below, as well as five great products. When you finish reading this, you’ll be a backpack blower expert ready to make a purchase you won’t regret.
Quick Look: Best Backpack Blowers
Features of backpack blowers
Even though they share a common purpose, the various backpack blowers currently on the market have a lot of differences. Below, we discuss common features to consider when choosing which product to buy.
If you were ever a teenager attempting to sleep late on a weekend, you likely know just how loud a leaf blower can be. The compact nature of these machines make them quite loud. Some models can emit sounds as loud as 100 dB!
To avoid the unnecessary annoyance of neighbors (not to mention potential hearing damage for yourself), you might want to consider the loudness of a given backpack blower model.
Some communities have laws against leaf blowers, and some forbid their use during certain times of the day. You should always make sure the product you are purchasing is compatible with local laws.
But sometimes loudness corresponds to effective blowing. In order to get a machine that is quieter, you may have to sacrifice some blowing power.
Even though leaf blowers make clearing debris way easier, a heavy machine will still cause you some grief. Walking around with a heavy load on your back, as any university student will tell you, can get old really fast.
That’s why there is a wide range of weights that you can find in backpack blowers on the market. Some blowers will be lighter, but potentially weaker. Some will be heavier and bigger, but blow more strongly.
Air speed and air volume
The “air speed” of a backpack blower is an essential feature. Think of this as the blower’s power--a blower with high air speed will be able to blow debris farther, and also will be able to pick up bigger debris.
A blower with a slow air speed will be unable to push debris very far, which will make your jobs take longer. It will also make it more difficult to push away larger debris, like branches or large clumps of grass clippings.
An increased air speed requires a more powerful engine. This obviously will mean a blower that is bigger, potentially louder, and heavier. It is yet another tradeoff to consider.
Similar to air speed, the amount of air a blower blows out is an important factor to consider. A blower with a small air volume may be powerful enough to take on heavier debris, but it will take a lot longer. A blower with a large amount of air will likely be stronger and have a wider blowing radius.
At the top of nearly everyone’s list of concerns is price. Like many lawn care tools, backpack blowers vary widely when it comes to price. We want to make sure that you are actually getting what you pay for.
Higher priced blowers are usually more powerful, more durable, and a better overall product. For some, that may be necessary. For others, the capabilities of a lower priced blower may be just what they need.
“Sweeping” performance vs. “Loosening” performance
Some backpack blowers are more adept at certain jobs than others. You should consider what types of jobs you are wanting to do with your blower, then choose one that fits its characteristics.
Blowers that have particularly high “sweeping” performance are able to sweep debris away. This is perfect for blowing leaves off your deck, fallen sticks off the driveway, or other small jobs.
“Loosening” performance refers to a blower’s ability to loosen thick clumps of wet grass, untangle mounds of pine straw, and tackle more heavy duty debris like limbs.
Blowers that are compact and efficient are likely to suffer in loosening performance first. If you do a lot of jobs that require loosening performance, perhaps a more heavy duty backpack blower would be best for you.
Comparisons of Top Backpack Blowers
Ryobi RY08420 42cc Backpack Leaf blower
The Ryobi RY08420 is a very middle-of-the-road leaf blower. It has a medium sized engine at 42cc, blows 510 cubic feet of air a minute at about 185 MPH, and comes in at 18 pounds. Don’t let it fool you, though--this machine is top of the line when it comes to quality.
This Ryobi model emits sounds up to 74 dB, which is about average for a backpack leaf blower. And coming it at a little more than $250, its price is pretty standard too.
What we like:
Attractive, small design
Ergonomic, adjustable back straps for comfort
Engine is positioned uniquely for better air flow
The blower points downward subtly, mimicking the natural movement of an arm
If you are a typical homeowner that wants a machine heavy duty enough to tackle tough jobs, but want an affordable and reasonably quiet machine, this one is for you. No other item on our list is as well rounded.
Husqvarna 350BT 50.2cc Backpack Leaf blower
The Husqvarna 350BT is a little more heavy duty than the Ryobi, and as a result it can handle some more serious jobs. This blower will be better at blowing through clumps of wet grass or leaves. Even smaller jobs will go a little faster.
At a little over $300, the 350BT is an affordable way to own a powerful backpack blower for all your lawncare needs. It blows air at a speed of 180 MPH, blows nearly 700 cubic feet of air a minute, and weighs 22.5 pounds.
What we like:
Relatively lightweight for the amount of power it has
Low exhaust fumes
Included hip belt and wide, comfortable shoulder straps
Comes with an included 2-year warranty
If you’re in the market for a blower with a little more power that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Husqvarna 350BT. It performs like a professional-grade blower without a high price. It’s perfect for a serious DIYer on a budget.
Echo PB-580T 58.2cc Backpack Blower
The Echo PB-580’s main selling point is the power of the air it blows. Specifically, the 215 MPH that it blows air out is far higher than the other blowers on this list. That helps with the “Loosening” efficiency that we talked about earlier.
Perhaps the best part of this machine is that it manages to pack that much power in an engine that only runs at 70 dB. While still loud, compared to other blowers of this magnitude, it’s quite low.
What we like:
Powerful blowing speed makes this a perfect machine for really tough, damp jobs
Weight of only 22.6 pounds
Ergonomic and comfortable shoulder straps
Makes clearing your yard or driveway a fast, easy job
At a little over $400, the PB-580T is a little more pricey than some of the other blowers on this list. However, you won’t find a more adept consumer backpack blower. Echo created a machine that rivals professional-grade power with an affordable cost.
Poulan Pro 967087101 48cc Backpack Blower
This Poulan Pro 48cc Backpack blower has the lowest price of any of the blowers on our list, but it still manages to be a very strong blower. It blows 475 cubic feet of air a minute at a speed of 200 MPH, which is nothing to sneeze at. It also weighs only 22 pounds.
The heavy duty frame is very durable and will last for years. But the best part of this machine is it’s “sweeping” efficiency. Despite having a smaller engine, this backpack blower is perfect for clearing off sidewalks, patios, and driveways.
What we like:
Included “cruise control” so you don’t have to press a button the whole time you’re using it
Variable speed throttle control lets you control how fast the air comes out
Extremely low price
Available extensions make it a versatile machine
At under $180, this is the most affordable machine on our list. But it doesn’t sacrifice too much power to get there. The Poulan Pro is more than capable enough to handle the typical lawncare needs a homeowner has.
GreenWorks BPB80L00 80V Cordless Electric Backpack Blower
We decided to include an electric blower on this list. Electric blowers are quieter, smaller, and are rapidly increasing in popularity. There are some tradeoffs, as you generally get less power and pay a little more, but some people prefer electric tools to gas.
The GreenWorks BPB80L00 blows 580 cubic feet of air a minute at a speed of 145 MPH, which is enough to handle most debris on your driveway and lawn. For damp clumps of grass or leaves, it may take a little longer.
What we like:
Quieter, lighter, and more environmentally friendly than its gas-powered counterparts
“Cruise control” button included
Performance comparable to gas-powered blower
Small, compact, and easy to store
If purchased with a battery and charger, the BPB80L00 will run you a little over $300--much pricier than a comparably-powered gas blower. However, homeowners under strict noise ordinances or conscious about their carbon footprint have a great reason to check out this GreenWorks machine.
A messy lawn or driveway can ruin an otherwise immaculate yard. That’s why leaf blowers are so important for any homeowner to own.
Backpack blowers make blowing your lawn or driveway easy, fast, and painless. With a wide variety of features and performance, picking the best of the backpack blowers on this list wasn’t easy. However, the Ryobi RY08420 is the most well-rounded, affordable machine we see on the market now.
If you want something a little more heavy duty, check out the Echo PB-580T. Or, if you want a quieter and more environmentally friendly option, go with the GreenWorks BPB80L00. One thing is for sure, though--no matter what backpack blower you choose from this list, it will be one of the best purchases you’ve ever made.