Backpack Blower Vs Push Blower: Compared For Lawns & Leaves

When it comes to taking care and maintaining your garden, there are a lot of tools needed to do this. Like a sprayer backpack, a leaf blower can come in handy year-round. Although most commonly used in autumn to clear leaves, you can also use them for grass clipping and light snow removal. In the following guide, we will be comparing backpack vs. push/walk leaf blowers and which will be best suited for you!  

A backpack leaf blower is a portable air-blowing device designed to be worn on the back of the user. The engine and fuel tank are situated in the backpack, while the nozzle is connected via flexible tubing for easy handheld maneuvering. Backpack leaf blowers are great choices for those with small-to-medium-sized gardens because of their light design and overall better mobility when compared to push/walk-behind leaf blowers. 

On the other hand, push/walk-behind leaf blowers are considered heavy-duty air blowing devices that are designed to be pushed or pulled by users (think of a shopping cart). There is no need for carrying as the engine is usually located on a tri-wheeled chassis, which also increases the weight limit of the leaf blower. 

Users will find the nozzle situated at the foot of the machine positioned to the side. Being the most powerful type of leaf blower, the push/walk-behind is perfect for large gardens with trees and vast lawn areas.  


Pros & Cons of Backpack Leaf Blowers  

Benefits:  

  • Less fatigue
    Backpack blowers are less fatiguing when compared to handheld blowers because the weight is evenly distributed on the user’s hips, back, and waist. 
  • Suitable for small-to-medium-sized homes
    They offer plenty of power to keep your garden clean, and therefore removing raking altogether. 
  • Easy handling
    Backpack blowers are easy to use. Simply point the nozzle in the direction you want and adjust the power level to your preference. 
  • Legal in most States
    Some backpack leaf blowers are prohibited due to their noise levels; however, there are legal models available. 
  • Easy to clean and maintain
    Backpack leaf blowers are easy to clean and maintain when following the manufacturer’s instructions. They usually come with warranties, too, so you can expect years of usage and value for money. 
  • Affordable
    Backpack leaf blowers are inexpensive when compared to their Push/Walk-behind variants. High-end models with lots of features and power are only a few hundred dollars. 

Drawbacks

  • Average fuel/battery capacity
    Backpack blowers are bigger than handheld blowers, but they’re not going to last as long as push/walk leaf blowers..
  • Gasoline models are loud
    The use of earmuffs and earplugs is recommended for safety. 
  • Comfort is determined by strength
    Backpack leaf blowers are quite heavy, so you'll need upper body strength. 
  • Exclusively right-handed
    Almost all models are made right-handed, so those with disabilities aren’t accommodated.  
man in white with leaf blower

Pros & Cons of Push Leaf Blowers  

Benefits

  • More power
    Push/Walk-behind leaf blowers are more powerful when compared to backpack leaf blowers. Their bigger motors allow you to clean large areas at a faster rate. 
  • No carrying weight
    Push/Walk blowers are pushed like shopping carts. This makes them a lot easier to use for long periods without any weight encumbering your torso. 
  • Directional blower design
    Most models are built with a 'directional blower' to blow the debris and leaves in whichever direction you choose. This little feature makes cleanup easier and faster when dealing with large amounts of work. 
  • Durability
    Although push/walk behind leaf blowers might require more maintenance, they last longer over time. Since they are more suited towards commercial users, they can be used for several hours a day throughout the week. 
  • High fuel capacity
    Since push/walk behind leaf blowers have larger fuel/battery storage, they will last much longer than other leaf blower variants. 

Drawbacks

  • Movement can be restricted by terrain
    Push/Walk-behind leaf blowers use wheels to move around, so if the terrain gets rocky, you might run into some speed bumps on the way. 
  • Repositioning the whole chassis
    Although push/walk behind leaf blowers can have a directional blow design, you will need to move the entire chassis when changing the blowing direction. 
  • Banned from residential areas
    Push/Walk-behind leaf blowers are extremely loud and, in most cases, banned from residential areas. This also means they’re limited to large areas or commercial use. Earplugs and earmuffs are a must! 
  • Expensive
    Push/Walk-behind leaf blowers are the most expensive type of leaf blower. They can cost thousands of dollars. 

Backpack Blower Vs Push/Walk-Behind Blower - Key Differences Compared

When determining the differences between a backpack and a push/walk behind leaf blower, it is important to consider some general questions. Do you have a large property with lots of trees? How long do you expect to use your leaf blower? What is your budget? Would you be willing to sacrifice maneuverability for more size and power?  

Power

Push/Walk-behind blowers have an engine displacement of around 300 cc compared to a backpack blower that only averages 60. Backpack blowers might offer considerably lower power when compared to push/walk-behind variants, but they're still ahead of handheld blowers which can be anywhere between 20-30 cc. You'll need to ask yourself, do you need all that power for a smaller garden and a few leaves, or are you looking at commercial level power for extensive areas. Remember, the more power, the higher the cost.  

Backpack leaf blowers are available in both gasoline and battery-powered variants. The gasoline version comes in a 2-stroke and 4-stroke design. The size and weight distribution of the backpack will influence the operation times and wattage of the motor. Backpack leaf blowers often have 70 oz tanks or 7.5 Ah batteries. 

Similarly, push/walk-behind leaf blowers are powered by gasoline and utilize both 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. There are corded models which use electricity, but these are less common. The great thing about push/walk behind leaf blowers is that the size and weight of the fuel tank are not restricted by the operator's physical capacity.

Push/Walk leaf blowers can therefore have fuel tanks of up to 200+ fl. oz. If you have a bigger yard, or you’re thinking of using your leaf blower for commercial purposes, then a push/walk leaf blower will keep going for longer!  

Portability and Handling 

Backpack leaf blowers can be heavier than expected, weighing anywhere between 10 to 40 lbs. The weight of the device and overall comfort level can be subject to the user's strength and design. If your backpack leaf blower has a hip belt with padded straps, then you’ll probably be ok. The flexibility of the nozzle varies by brand, but it’s comparable to that of a cocktail straw.  

Push/Walk-behind blowers might be heavier in weight, but they place less stress on your back, shoulders, and waist. The ease of handling and movement will come down to the quality of the wheels and the terrain you’re operating the device on. Push/Walk-behind blowers also do not have flexible nozzles, so you’ll have to reposition the entire chassis should you need to change the direction of the blowing.  

As we are in the subject of portability another consideration is whether to go with a backpack blower or a handheld type.

Noise level 

Backpack leaf blowers are pretty loud, with gasoline models reaching noise levels of up to 85 dB. Since the motor is located close to the user's ears, it is recommended that earplugs or earmuffs are used.

Some US States have strict regulations and prohibitions that outright ban backpack leaf blowers in their cities. It's a good idea to check up on legislation to see the maximum noise level and then choose the most appropriate leaf blower.  

If backpack leaf blowers were labeled as 'noisy,' then push/walk-behind blowers are outright thunderous. More power and a bigger motor mean more noise, resulting in levels of up to 100 dB. Similarly to backpack leaf blowers, you should use high-quality ear protection while operating push/walk-behind blowers.

Failure to protect your ears might lead to permanent hearing damage, so remember to add earmuffs or earplugs to the cart when checking out. Since push/walk leaf blowers present more risk, they can sometimes be banned entirely from residential areas.  

Maintenance and Cleaning  

Backpack leaf blowers will require some cleaning, but you'll need to do actual maintenance with a push/walk blower. Since push/walk blowers leaf blowers are greater in size and closer to the ground, you'll need to keep the wheels washed and oiled. The engine will also be collecting an assortment of debris, so every once in a while, you'll also need to open up the device and clean what is visible.  

Depending on whether your blower is gas or battery-operated, you may additionally need to clean the air filter, spark plugs, fuel filter, and carburetor. Always consult the user manual beforehand to ensure you’re following safety instructions and not voiding the warranty.

If you're looking for minimal cleaning and less maintenance, then a backpack leaf blower will find favor. However, if you have more extensive grounds, well, it's a sacrifice you'll have to make using a push/walk leaf blower.   

Price and Cost  

How much does a leaf blower cost? Backpack leaf blowers can start anywhere between $100 to $800 depending on their features and build quality. Since push/walk leaf blowers are much larger, they'll also cost more money. There are some low-priced exceptions, but for the most part, push/walk-behind blowers are really expensive. For basic models, you can expect prices around $1000, whereas high-end models can reach up to $3000. 

Some popular leaf-blowing brands include Stihl, Echo, Makita, Billy Goat, and Little Wonder. If you're looking for a leaf blower for the front garden, we would advise saving some money and opting for a backpack blower. If you're running a business, or your grounds are big enough to accommodate multiple trees, well, you might need to take the plunge and go for a push/walk leaf blower.  

man leaf blowing

Which Is Best & Why?  

When deciding which leaf blower is best, this will often come down to the size of the yard and the intended purpose of use. For small to medium jobs, we would recommend the backpack blower. Whether it’s clearing the leaves off your patio or removing grass debris from your lawn, the backpack blower will offer just enough power for home use.

If your neighbors are extra sensitive to sound, battery-powered versions are available to soften the noise output somewhat. It's important to note that carrying weight can also be an issue, so backpack leaf blowers might not be suitable for those with a smaller frame. With that being said, they are an affordable choice for those troubled with leaves during autumn.  

The push/walk-behind leaf blower is ideal for professionals and large landowners. Those who need to clear farmland, parks, golf courses, fields, or multiple acres of land will benefit greatly. Since the motors are so powerful, you can expect leaves, debris, and even rocks to go flying, so make sure there's nobody in the direction of the blower.

Push/walk-behind leaf blowers can generally be used by any adult, but they are far too loud for residential areas. Mobility is also limited because of the wheeled design, so make sure the area that needs clearing is moderately flat. For those looking to use a durable leaf blower that can keep going for hours every week, the push/walk-behind design is the only option. The initial price may be steep, but they’ll last you in the long run when compared to handheld or backpack leaf blowers.  


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How Loud Is A Leaf Blower In Decibels? 

Depending on the type of leaf blower, the noise can fluctuate anywhere between 50 to 100 decibels. Gas leaf blowers and those with large motors tend to produce the most noise.  

Can Leaf Blowers Be Made Quieter?  

Yes, you can buy a ‘blower silencer’ that can be attached to the end of your leaf blower nozzle. Alternatively, you can opt for an electric leaf blower that outputs less noise compared to a gas-powered one.  

How Many CFM Is A Good Leaf Blower? 

A good CFM is determined by the size of the property you intend to clear. An average yard, patio, or driveway will need a leaf blower with around 200 to 400 CFM. However, if you plan to use the leaf blower on large acres of land, then 500-700 CFM might be more suitable.  

Are Battery-Powered Leaf Blowers Any Good? 

Yes, there are lots of benefits to using a battery-powered leaf blower. They are quieter, lighter, and environmentally friendly. Some may use a power cord, so be aware of length restrictions.  

How Long Do Battery Leaf Blowers Last?  

Battery leaf blowers tend to last much longer than their gas-powered alternatives if properly maintained. Every manufacturer has a different warranty, but you can expect around 5 to 15 years of use if bought from a reputable brand.  


Conclusion

A leaf blower can be an important purchase whether you're using it at home or for commercial purposes. The following guide has hopefully helped you compare backpack vs. push/walk-behind blowers. You should be able to now reach a decision and figure out which model type is best suited for you. Always remember to choose one that is appropriate for your area of cleaning; more power does not always mean better. 

  • Updated November 6, 2021