Leaf blowers are great tools in your garden and can really help you reduce the time needed to clean up around your yard from Spring to Fall.
Although they are great for their named use .. collecting leafs in your yard . most home owners like to use them to blow grass debris after cutting their lawn and general cleanup of dirt or other debris on patios, sidewalks and driveways.
There are a variety of different models that you can choose from but the primary difference in models will be whether they are electric or gasoline operated. Newer models will also come in battery operated versions which are great for small jobs or yards.
Selecting the right type leaf blower
If you have a yard where you can easily get to all areas with an electric power cord then an electric operated leaf blower is probably your best bet.
Remember that your leaf blower will require more electricity then lighting or even other tools so when you are purchasing a quality outdoor power cord you want to look for one that is Grounded and is rated at 12ga for thickness. This can mean that a 50 or 100 foot length of cord is heavy and hard to manage for large projects.
If you have a small yard such as a condo or town home with front or rear yard area you may want to look into a smaller battery operated leaf blower. Battery operated leaf blowers are really utility grade and not suggested if you have many large oak or other trees in your yard. They are however great for blowing the lawn cuttings off the street, walkways and managing small amounts of leafs.
If you do live in a small home you can use your battery operated leaf blower to supplement your leaf rake. It will allow you to get in, under and around your bushes and clear your flower and garden beds of leafs where a rake just won’t work well. If you live in a larger home they are also good just to blow the lawn cuttings off the street and driveway because they allow you to get the job done without dragging a cord around.
Gasoline operated leaf blowers are best for larger homes and professionals. They provide the highest output and velocity of air so if you have a large yard or a yard with a lot of oak or other trees you really can benefit from a gasoline model at least in the fall season.
Because gasoline models are much stronger you may find other uses for them such as attachments that will allow you to clean your gutters.
Some consumer level string trimmers will offer attachments that can let you cut brush, till your garden or even blow leafs. Unfortunately I suggest that you stay away from the idea of buying an attachment that allows you to convert your grass trimmer to a blower. The setup is rather difficult and will take you many minutes and the results are just not worth the hassle. If you have two grass trimmer and want to convert your old one into a dedicated blower that may be useful but to trim your yard then convert over just to do cleanup will be a hassle.
Finding Attachments for your Leaf Blower
There are many aftermarket attachments to help you get the most out of your leaf blower.
The first attachment that I suggest you purchase if you do not have a good one with your kit is a shoulder strap or harness to reduce the weight of the blower in your hand. They are mandatory for larger yards and especially when you will be using your device for more then an hour.
Most shoulder straps are interchangeable so if you find a good one from another company call their parts department and order a replacement. Look for a comfortable pad for your shoulder and a wide adjustable band strap made of heavy nylon. It will really make the difference.
After shoulder straps you want to look into accessories that will help your leaf blower perform better.
Look for attachments that connect to the output pipe. You will want one that is round and one that is wide and flat. They will help you when you are moving large amounts of debris whether it be cleaning off your driveway or your whole yard of leaves.
Mulching attachments and bags are available for electric models more often then gasoline and they allow you to pickup your leaves and chop them into mulch.
I have never liked the quality of mulch that leaves produce and you are likely to gather a lot of garbage into your mulch which makes it useless. On the other hand mulching your leaves will allow you to fill your recycling container easier and get a larger quantity in .. so it is up to you to try a muncher for yourself and see if you can benefit from it.
Final Note on Operation of your Leaf Blower.
Whether you choose a lighter duty battery operated model or a professional gasoline device your tool will come with a number of safety requirements that you must follow.
I would first suggest that you never operate these devices without eye protection. Even if you are just blowing some grass clippings off your driveway you never know when you can shoot a small stone into your or a family members eye.. so wear eye protection and make sure others stay out of the work area.