Both electric and gas powered power equipment have their pros and cons. On the one hand, electricity is cheap, accessible and pretty convenient.
- General Considerations
However, combustion engines tend to be more powerful and are not limited by battery recharge time, nor length of a power cord.
In this article, we’ll focus on this dilemma and answer the following question:
“Should I buy an electric corded leaf blower, or a gas-powered one?”
But before diving in, have a look at this table, which summarizes the main differences:
|Corded Blowers||Gas Blowers|
|Much quieter||Much noisier|
|Limited to handheld designs||Exist in all types of handling|
|Limit both your range of operation and range of motion||Provide freedom in movement|
|More environmentally-friendly||Emit fumes|
|Somewhat limited in power||Usually more powerful|
|Virtually maintenance-free||Must be regularly maintained|
Generally speaking, gas-powered blowers are the golden standard. Owing to modern combustion engine technology, leaf blower engines can be scaled all the way from powerful walk-behind blowers down to light and mobile handheld blowers.
Over the years, improvements have been made to increase their fuel efficiency and decrease their noise emissions to somewhat tolerable levels. Furthermore, gasoline is a great power source that can be used regardless of the availability of power sockets. Gasoline can also be stored for long periods of time and refilled almost instantaneously.
Even though corded electric blowers have been around for quite some time, they still have a lot of catching up to do. However, for many, they can be an affordable and a more versatile alternative to gas-powered blowers. Since they do not have a fuel tank, they are lighter and do not need to be recharged or refilled. But, operating them does require carrying around a somewhat inconvenient power cord at all times.
Given just the aforementioned characteristics, it may be difficult to decide which of the two leaf blower “types” is more suitable for you. Evidently, each has their own benefits, and vice versa. So, what should you consider when deciding which type of generator is the best for you?
Sizing and Utility. How Much Power do I Actually Need?
When it comes to leaf blowers, size matters. An engine’s power is inherently tied to its size. The same follows for its MPH, CFM and power output in general.
Given that at the time of writing, there are no reasonable electric corded backpack leaf blowers on the market (and there most likely never will be any), gas-powered blowers are the only option if your land-keeping chores require a more powerful device.
In contrast, handheld blowers can be bought both electric corded and gas-powered. Generally speaking, gas blowers have a power advantage over electric blowers, especially when it comes to air volume.
Based on the devices currently in our database, the average MPH of handheld gas blowers is is 175 and the average CFM is 437, compared to the averages of electric corded leaf blowers, whose average MPH stands at 184, and their average CFM at 395.
Maintenance. Which Requires More Work?
When it comes to upkeep, it is much easier to maintain an electric corded leaf blower than a gas-powered one. Electric leaf blowers do not require refueling, oil mixing (opens in a new tab), etc. They also don’t have spark plugs, which must be periodically replaced.
Therefore, electric leaf blowers will save you a substantial amount of time that you’d spend maintaining a gas-powered blower.
Gasoline vs. Electricity. Am I Getting a Good Deal?
Electric blowers used to be considered the cheapskate’s choice of a blower. Nowadays, with stricter regulations and more environmental concerns, the market has exploded with mid and high tier electric blowers, which erase the used-to-be distinction.
In general, if you are going for the cheapest possible choice, you will have more luck finding an electric product, given the inherently higher base price of a combustion engine. Other than that, the price of similarly powerful devices does not seem to substantially differ by power source, though that obviously is not always the case.
The price difference comes down to the accumulated long-term maintenance costs. Not only that time is money, of which gas-powered blowers require more, but running any engine on gasoline will cost substantially more than running it on power grid electricity.
Although there aren’t any reliable sources which would account for the fuel consumption of leaf blowers, based on the US Department of Energy (US DOE) sources for e-vehicles, when we first wrote this article, the price of gasoline per gallon was roughly twice as high as an equivalent “e-gallon (opens in a new tab)” of electricity.
Emissions. Noise, Environment and Regulations.
Despite the efforts of leaf blower manufacturers, gas-powered blowers are far noisier than electric blowers. This can be an issue, depending on where you plan to use your unit. Many municipalities have their own noise regulations, which specifically target noisy leaf blowers, or even gas-powered leaf blowers altogether.
Northern America, its countries and even some individual states (California, etc.) also have their own regulatory bodies. Take some time to learn which regulations (opens in a new tab) apply in your country, state and municipality to rule out the devices which are out of the question. Generally, electric blowers tend to be far less problematic in this regard.
Utility. Variable Speed Control, Mulchers, Blower Vacs, Electric Starts and More.
Though many gas-powered blowers feature one or more of these utilities as well, it should be kept in mind that all electric blowers have a simple starting switch, as opposed to pull-to-start mechanism.
If you wish to have your leaf blower directly interfaced with a mulcher, vacuum leaves, etc., electric blowers currently dominate the blower vac market.
Lastly, while a fair amount of electric blowers can do this as well, variable speed control is more widely featured in gas-powered devices, as it usually only requires pulling more or less on the trigger.
In summary, both gas-powered blowers and electric blowers have their pros and cons, which are (briefly) the following:
Gas-powered blowers are on average, more powerful and most importantly do not rely on an extension cord and availability of the power grid. They can also be designed to be worn as a backpack.
Corded electric leaf blowers are exclusively handheld and on average, less powerful (than gas-powered handheld blowers), but also less noisy, require less maintenance, come out cheaper in the long term and offer a wider range of utilities that come along with them.