Backpack Blower Vs. Handheld: Compared For Lawns & Leaves

If you own a leaf blower, you know they can make short work of clearing up any type of mess. Leaf blowers aren't just for the fall leaves; they are useful all year. Your leaf blower will come in handy for cleaning sandy decks in the summer or light snow in the winter. And they can be used to clean dirty sidewalks, patios, and porches all year. 

If you don't already have a leaf blower, there are many options on the market, including handheld units and backpack units. But, which is better? In the guide below, we will look at the differences between handheld and backpack blowers and help you decide which is best for your lawn care needs.   

What Is A Backpack Blower? (Overview + Pros & Cons)  

Let's be honest; clearing leaves can wear you out, especially if you use a rake. But even using a leaf blower can be tiresome after a while. That's where the backpack leaf blower comes in. Instead of holding all the weight of the blower in your hand, your back and shoulders support the weight.  

Backpack blowers have more power than most, if not all, handheld models. And because the weight of the blower is easily distributed on your back and shoulders, a backpack blower enables you to work longer.   

man with backpack leaf blower

Backpack blowers are available in both gas and electric models. The gas models will last much longer than electric models, but the electric models are more cost-effective in the long run. 

Backpack leaf blowers are perfect for landscapers who are working in yards all day long. They are also great for people with big yards. 

What We Like 

  • Easy to carry 
  • Keeps your hands free to move obstacles 
  • Allows you to work longer 
  • More power 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Electric models don’t last as long 
  • More expensive 
  • Gas can be expensive 

What Is A Handheld Blower? (Overview + Pros & Cons)

If you have a smaller yard, or you just need a leaf blower to clear a small front porch or balcony, a small handheld leaf blower is all you need. Handheld leaf blowers are perfect for people who don't have much yard to clean up or just need it to clean up random dirt and debris. 

Like the backpack blowers, handheld blowers are available in both gas and electric models. If you're worried about noise, electric is the way to go because they are much quieter. When you choose electric, you can opt for a corded model or a battery-powered blower. A battery-powered blower allows you more freedom to go where you want, but the corded blower will last much longer. 

What We Like 

  • Cheaper 
  • Versatile 
  • You can use them anywhere 
  • Perfect for people with small yards 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Less power 
  • Only good for small spaces 

Backpack Blower Vs. Handheld (Key Differences + Which Is Best?)   

1. Style & weight  

Handheld leaf blowers are much lighter than backpack leaf blowers. However, after using a handheld blower for a while, you will really start to feel it in your wrists and arms. Although a backpack blower is heavier, the weight is evenly distributed across your back and shoulders, making them easier to use over extended periods. 

2. Blow Power 

Backpack leaf blowers are generally more powerful than handheld models. Because you support the weight of the backpack blower on your shoulder, they can put more power into the machine. If you want a handheld leaf blower with power, choose gas over electric. 

3. Portability  

Handheld blowers are generally more portable than their backpack counterparts. Handheld blowers are smaller and lighter, so you can get them into places a backpack blower may not fit. Backpack blowers are strapped to your back, which could make it harder for you to maneuver in smaller spaces. 

4. Ease Of Use  

The ease of use of these blowers will be determined by why you're using them. If you have a small backyard or patio, a small, handheld electric blower is all you need, and it will be extremely easy for you to use. However, if you have a large yard and you have a lot of ground to cover, a backpack blower will be easier for you because you'll be carrying the weight on your back instead of in your hands. 

5. Noise level  

One of the things these leaf blowers have in common is the fact that they can get noisy. This can be a slight annoyance for you and your neighbors, but it can also be highly damaging to your hearing. Leaf blowers, especially gas blowers, can produce sounds that can cause hearing damage in as few as two hours of continual exposure. Therefore, you should always wear appropriate hearing protection when using any leaf blower.  

6. Value for money  

Backpack leaf blowers are almost always more expensive than handheld blowers. If you need a backpack blower, though, the cost is well worth it. You don't want to buy a cheaper handheld blower for large jobs because your arms and wrists will be very sore the next day. Spend a few extra dollars for a backpack blower if you have big yards. If you only need to worry about a small space, go for the cheaper handheld blower. 

man with handheld leaf blower

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How Long Should A Backpack Blower Last?  

The life of your backpack blower will depend on several things, like the type of blower you have, what you use it for, how you use it, and how well you maintain it. A gas-powered backpack blower can be expected to last 10 years or more if it is properly maintained. An electric leaf blower could last even longer than that. 

What's Better: 2 Stroke Or 4 Stroke Leaf Blower?  

Like a lot of things, the best leaf blower is the one that fits your specific needs. If you want a more powerful leaf blower and aren't worried about anything else, then go with the 2-stroke. But if you want a blower that runs more efficiently and you're willing to put up with a heavier blower, then buy a 4-stroke. 

How Much Does A Leaf Blower Cost?

As a general rule of thumb, most backpack leaf blowers will start in the $250 range. Some models can cost upwards of $500. The small to midsize models that most people use will generally cost less than $350.  Also consider the brand of the backpack leaf blower as this also affects the price based on what they can offer.


If you were on the fence, this guide should have helped you decided which was better for you, a backpack blower or a handheld leaf blower. Although each fills a particular need, and one may be better than the other for certain things, backpack leaf blowers have risen in popularity over the last few years. 

Backpack blowers are usually more powerful than their handheld counterparts due to their increased engine size, and they tend to weigh significantly more than a handheld blower, but that weight is distributed evenly across your back and shoulders. 

  • Updated November 6, 2021