7 On Your Side
Consumer Reports puts leaf blowers to the test
Consumer Reports has partnered exclusively with 7 On Your Side for a report on the best buys for leaf blowers.
Testers used an enclosure to see how fast the blowers worked, timing how long it took to clear the area. They embedded leaves in the lawn and covered them with sawdust to check how well the blowers loosen debris. For smaller yards, electric handheld blowers are an easy-to-use choice - as long as you can reach a power outlet.
"Our tests showed that some of the electric-powered blowers moved leaves nearly as fast as the best gasoline blowers, but at half the price," said Peter Sawchuck, Consumer Reports.
A top pick is Toro's ultra-blower vac. It's a Consumer Reports best buy at $75 - and an extra bonus, it can vacuum leaves too. If you need to go a distance, gas-powered blowers let you move around without a cord.
"In our tests, the top gas blowers got the job done fast. But they need fuel and require maintenance," said Sawchuck.
For $150, the Husqvarna 125-B is a best buy. And it's not as noisy for the neighbors as many of the other gas blowers.
Another option - a backpack blower - it shifts the weight from your arms to your shoulders.
"Backpack blowers do cost more, but if you have a large area to clear, having the weight on your back makes it much easier," said Sawchuck.
Consumer Reports recommends a Ryobi as a best buy. At $200, it has a small fan that's mounted sideways, making it function like a bigger blower.
One caution about the Ryobi backpack blower: It is among the loudest leaf blowers tested, but Consumer Reports says nearly all leaf blowers can damage your ears, so be sure to wear hearing protection whenever you use them.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2010. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
consumer reports, 7 on your side, michael finney
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