Best Leaf Blowers for 2023

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$180 at Best Buy

Greenworks 80V cordless leaf blower

Greenworks 80V Cordless Leaf Blower

Best overall cordless leaf blower

$149 at Ace Hardware

Craftsman 20V cordless leaf blower

Craftsman Brushless 20V Cordless Leaf Blower

Best cordless leaf blower on a budget

Which is the best leaf blower?

It can be overwhelming to shop for a leaf blower because of the number of options available in the market. We like the Greenworks Pro 80-volt cordless leaf blower the best, mainly thanks to its energy-efficient design and best-in-class air power. But you also need to consider other factors such as noise level, relative value and weight. We’ve spent weeks testing and evaluating the things in our lab in order to make some informed recommendations.

If you’ve spent any of your life in the suburban or more rural areas of the US, it’s tough to remember a time when leaf blowers weren’t a thing. Even if your family didn’t own one, your friend, neighbor or the guy down the street probably did. Although larger walk-behind versions were available as early as the 1950s, the more traditional backpack and handheld types didn’t appear until the 1970s, according to the October 1977 issue of Popular Science

But the landscape is changing. All those leaf blowers we remember from years past were gas-powered. Today some cities and states have outlawed gas-powered leaf blowers outright, and even more areas restrict the days and times you can use any type of leaf blower. Check out the laws and regulations for leaf blowers in the US.

Still, the fact remains that leaf blowers are one of the quickest and most effective ways of moving leaves and other bits of debris around on your property, especially compared to other traditional methods such as raking and sweeping. We’ve tested several of the standard electric models available on the market today, taking into consideration things like how much power their airflow actually offers, along with other common concerns like battery life and how loud each unit gets. First, let’s take a look at the best of the best.

Best leaf blowers for 2023

Greenworks 80V cordless leaf blower

Steve Conaway/CNET

This 80-volt Greenworks model proved to be not only our best overall leaf blower, but also our most powerful leaf blower. During our propulsion tests, where we use each leaf blower to power a custom-built air cannon and see how far they’ll shoot a weight, Greenworks was the clear winner in the “turbo mode” category, with an average distance of 34 feet and 11 inches. Even in standard mode, its average distance of 26 feet and 8 inches would have placed third overall in the turbo category. No other leaf blower we tested moved air with more power.

Ryobi 40V cordless leaf blower

Steve Conaway

This Ryobi unit had a fair showing overall. Only one other leaf blower we tested cost less, and it outperformed a few models that cost more in our propulsion tests. That left it as a reasonable middle-of-the-pack performer — but if you’re looking for something quiet, it might be the exact leaf blower you’re looking for. While all of the other leaf blowers we tested hit decibel levels nearing 100dB, the Ryobi blower was the quietest, ringing in at a more moderate 81.5dB.

Craftsman 20V cordless leaf blower

Steve Conaway/CNET

This Craftsman unit is the cheapest on our list by about $70, and it’s one of only two models we tested that runs off 20 volts or less. Even so, it managed to punch above its weight in our tests, earning third and fourth places, respectively, in our turbo and normal mode propulsion tests.

Factors to consider with leaf blowers

  • Sound level

    Some units can get quite loud, and even though electric units are quieter than their gas-predecessors, most still require hearing protection for long-term use.

  • CFM, mph

    Short for cubic feet per minute and miles per hour, respectively, most manufacturers use these metrics to convey the overall strength and power of their leaf blowers. While not an exact comparison, it’s a good place to start as you’re shopping between models.

  • Brand

    Most of the manufacturers in the outdoor tool space also offer other outdoor/indoor tools that can all run off of the same battery. That means it’s worth checking to see if your leaf blower’s battery could swap in as a power source for any of the tools you already own, or any that you plan to purchase later.

  • Battery voltage

    Even within a single brand, there are often multiple battery voltage platforms. Check to see if what you’re buying will work with the tools you already have.

How we test leaf blowers

We test lots of things here at the Louisville-based CNET Test Lab. Some tests are easy, some are more difficult. Some take a few minutes and some take days. Creating test protocols for new product categories is always exciting, but let me tell you that anytime the phrase “air cannon” comes up in our proposed test methodologies, there’s a bit of extra electricity in the air. 

Some cannon fodder courtesy of Gianmarco and Bryan from the CNET Labs team.

Steve Conaway/CNET

We’ll get to the air cannon results in a bit, but we start our tests by actually using the leaf blowers as intended. We hold them, we push the buttons, we blow stuff around — you know, leaf blower-y stuff. As we go, we make sure to evaluate the balance and ergonomics of the overall design, including attachments. A product that performs well but is difficult to use — or one that’s literally painful to your person — well, that isn’t likely to score well.

Electric leaf blower noise levels

Ry Crist/CNET

We do love our data, so we make sure to collect and analyze manufacturer specs alongside our own test data. There are two main points of data that we collect for leaf blowers: The first is sound level. As a contributor to restrictions being placed on outdoor tools across the country, excessive noise can be quite the bother. That’s why we run a sound level test for each model, placing it at approximately the distance you might expect to find this type of product operating from your ear. We position it perpendicular to the sound level meter and record the results. You can see those results in the graph above, where it’s clear that Ryobi’s blower is, by far, the quietest of all the units we tested. Everything else sits in a cluster as they race for loudest leaf blower — a title currently held by the DeWalt Max Flexvolt 3. 

This is where our propulsion cannon comes in. Yes, we could have grabbed some leaves and some loose debris and blown it around our test spaces, and said, “Hey, this thing blows leaves.” But we wanted to go one step further and see how the leaf blowers’ output translated to raw power. 

A custom-built air cannon made from PVC pipe sits atop a wooden frame. It's shaped like a big checkmark. We stick a leaf blower's nozzle into the bottom end and rev it up, then pull a handle to open a valve, which lets all of that air power propel a weight out of the top.

CNET’s air cannon for leaf blower testing.

Steve Conaway/CNET

To do this, we built an air cannon mostly from 3-inch PVC. Amenities included are an air gate, so we can ramp up each unit and release all the air into the cannon instantly, and a restriction plate, to keep the projectile from entering the core of the apparatus. There’s also a base for balancing and a 5-foot barrel for launching the projectile. 

The projectile itself is a round plastic tube (similar to those pneumatic-driven tube containers at bank drive-throughs) containing a sand mixture and, in total, weighs 210 grams.

Here’s Eric from our lab demonstrating the air cannon in action. Each colored line represents the longest average distance achieved by each model — of all of them, the Greenworks Pro leaf blower shot our weight the farthest. All of those high scores were achieved in the respective blower’s turbo mode, except for the DeWalt leaf blower, which only has a single setting.

Ry Crist/CNET

We load the projectile into the cannon, secure the leaf blower nozzle into the input port, ramp the leaf blower up to full strength in the selected mode, open the air gate and foomp. We measure the distance the projectile travels from its resting location within the cannon to the spot of initial impact on the floor. We average this distance over multiple attempts. Voila!

We tested each leaf blower at both normal and turbo settings, noting that the DeWalt Max Flexvolt 3 only offers a single setting. The colorful visualization above shows the maximum average distance achieved by each brand, and makes it clear that our top pick from Greenworks blew the competition away as far as air power is concerned. You can find the full results from both rounds of tests in the graph below.

Ry Crist/CNET

Some takeaways here. First, the DeWalt model doesn’t offer two separate modes. If we count that as not having a turbo mode, technically it would win the normal mode comparison. But since it can’t go any higher in terms of power, it’s already kind of in turbo mode. It’s simultaneously in and out of both normal and turbo states — a Schrödinger’s leaf blower if you will. Otherwise, Greenworks was the big winner. On the opposite end of the scale we have the Milwaukee model, which was barely able to get the weight out of the barrel of our cannon at all.

The test results are interesting here when you start comparing specs. Take the Milwaukee and Craftsman blowers, for instance. The advertised specs for CFM and mph are nearly the same — 120 and 450 for Milwaukee and slightly lower numbers of 110 and 410 for Craftsman. However our test data shows Craftsman outperforming Milwaukee more than 12 feet in normal mode, and outperforming it by more than 10 feet in turbo mode.

Other leaf blowers we’ve tested

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Model 2724-40: This unit was probably the most disappointing one to test. Its specs lined up with a couple of the other smaller units on our list, but the overall performance was drastically different. In our propulsion tests, the Milwaukee was barely able to dribble the projectile out of the launch tube at its normal setting, giving it a score of about 5 feet. Turbo mode kicked that up to 14.5 feet, but that was still dead last in our turbo tests, and less distance than we saw from three of the other leaf blowers in normal mode. Meanwhile, our top power pick from Greenworks was almost five times as powerful as Milwaukee’s blower in normal mode and more than twice as powerful in turbo mode — and it costs $100 less!

Ego 56V Leaf Blower Model LB7654: Ego did come in second overall in our propulsion tests, so give it some credit. That tracks, as we’ve generally seen high performance scores from Ego across the brand when it comes to power. Still, at the end of the day, Greenworks edged it out in our lab and took the top spot on this list. It’s still a solid choice with a good price point — especially if you own other Ego products that can borrow its battery when needed.

DeWalt 60V Model DCBL772X1: This model was the only one on our list that doesn’t offer two separate modes (normal, turbo). That seems a bit odd when you consider that the interior chamber of this thing actually looks like a jet turbine engine. It had better-than-average performance from its one mode, but the price seemed a bit too high at $300. It was also worth noting that this unit took an extra three seconds (give or take) to spool up to full power. Not really a game changer, but good to know if you tend to use short bursts.

Dewalt 60v Cordless leaf blower

Told you it looked like a jet turbine engine!

Steve Conaway/CNET

Leaf blower FAQs

How strong of a leaf blower do I need?

As with most product categories, the answer depends partially on your intended use. Do you have a small yard with light occasional debris? Or do you have a large yard with many deciduous trees or lots of other debris?

Are electric leaf blowers worth it?

Not only are electric leaf blowers worth it (especially the cordless variety), but soon, you may find that these are, in fact, your only options.

What voltage is best for a leaf blower?

The answer really is, “It depends,” but let me give you a little context for that.

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