While most of our readers’ lives are positively impacted by the existence of leaf blowers, we have recently encountered numerous critics asking a surprisingly common question — “Why the hell would you need these things?”.
- 24 Acceptable Uses for a Leaf Blower
- 1. Clearing Large Amounts of Leaves
- 2. Cleaning Rain Gutters
- 3. Dusting
- 4. Removing Shallow Snow
- 5. Clearing Puddles
- 6. Chasing Out Rodents
- 7. Drying Surfaces
- 8. Building A Foam Machine
- 9. Building a Hoverboard
- 10. Getting Rid of Acorns
- 11. Clearing Grass Clippings
- 12. Maintaining Your AstroTurf or Artificial Grass
- 13. Blowing Pine Needles Away
- 14. Keeping Gravel Pathways Clean
- 15. Providing Air to Your Forge
- 16. Fire Fighting
- 17. Cleaning Your PC
- 18. Declogging Your Dryer Vent
- 19. Clearing Your Roof Shingles
- 20. Taking Funny Pictures or Videos
- 21. Powering Your Roller Skates
- 22. Experimenting With Fluid Dynamics
- 23. Combatting Tear Gas
- 24. Building a Ping Pong Ball Cannon
- 4 Odd Questions on Leaf Blower Usage
Firstly, we thought they were joking. Seriously, it’s not that complex: to blow stuff! Well, after we have heard this question for the 20th time, we decided to write an article dedicated to this topic.
After all, it is easier to just send haters (opens in a new tab) a link, rather than respond individually. We hope that you will find these tips and hacks useful, and share them with anybody who you wish to enlighten.
24 Acceptable Uses for a Leaf Blower
1. Clearing Large Amounts of Leaves
It seems somewhat obvious. After all, it is in their name! Never less, it apparently needs to be mentioned. Many people criticize leaf blowers for being dirty, useless devices for lazy people. Sure, everybody is entitled to an opinion, even if it is as wrong as theirs… Some people have lawns, large lawns, full of trees. Those trees shed leaves in the fall—hence the name of the season, and in most cases, it would be pretty much impossible to clear them manually in a reasonable amount of time, as illustrated below.
Thus, if you wouldn’t clear this giant pile of leaves for 20 bucks, I’d suggest you shut up about my leaf blower.
2. Cleaning Rain Gutters
With leaves out of the way, let’s move to the fun and creative applications. Gutters are outright impossible to clean manually—I don’t know about you, but I sure can’t reach into a 3-meter-long pipe. I almost cried when I realized I can simply use my leaf blower. It’s easy, fast, efficient and simply genius. Read our article on gutter cleaning with a leaf blower.
Quite understandably, you shouldn’t dust your shelves with a leaf blower, as seen below. But tractors, crops, roofs, cars and other large equipment or surfaces that will not be blown away by the force of the wind can be easily dusted with a single sweep.
4. Removing Shallow Snow
Now, you will most likely not be able to clear your entire driveway if the you waited too long. After all, there are devices for that purpose—snow blowers. Still, most leaf blowers will not have an issue with shallow snow, or snow and ice on cars and roofs! Try it out next time you’re running late to work in winter.
5. Clearing Puddles
Sure, this one may seem somewhat unnecessary, but let’s face it—Puddles are annoying. Since you already own a leaf blower, you may as well go and get rid of them. Let the neighbors whine about the noise coming from your yard, they’re most likely just jealous.
6. Chasing Out Rodents
It is certainly not safe to use a leaf blower on your pet. With that said, if your lawn finds itself invaded by mice, moles or hamsters, you will most likely not care about their safety anyway. The “humane” way to get rid of them would be poison, but in general, crops taste far better than cyanide and thus, your little visitors might end up eating the entire yard before they turn their noses to your trap. We’re not condoning this behavior, but hey … it’s easier to just find their burrow, point the nozzle at the opening and be done with it.
7. Drying Surfaces
As crazy as may sound, leaf blowers work like giant hair dryers. You shouldn’t point them at your head, but in principle, the design is same. Thus, whenever you clean any surface, be it floor, car, roof, etc. instead of waiting until it dries out, which might take hours during a cold day, you can simply dry it out with a leaf blower in a matter of seconds.
8. Building A Foam Machine
Props to the guys over at Hackaday (opens in a new tab) for doing that. With a tank, a submersible pump and a blower vac, you could also build your own foam machine for your next big party. Just remember to be highly cautious, as water and electricity are not a good mix.
9. Building a Hoverboard
While the famous Mr. Beast already tried (and failed) to fly with 100 leaf blowers (opens in a new tab) on YouTube, get yourself a decently powered gas blower and you might just be able to spend a great DIY afternoon with your kids. Even with a small budget and just a few handy tools (jigsaw, drill, sandpaper, etc.), you’ll easily be able to follow the video tutorial below and create a fun and cheap hovercraft.
10. Getting Rid of Acorns
Late summer through fall, oak trees can drop a fair amount of acorns. Not only may this be hazardous for people, but it also provides food to rodents and makes your lawn look messy. Start by shaking the oak trees to get as many acorns out as possible. You can then use your leaf blower to gather them up. If your blower can also vacuum, it becomes incredibly easy to collect them in a bag. If you want to mulch them, ensure that your blower’s impeller is robust enough to handle it.
11. Clearing Grass Clippings
Raking the lawn after mowing can sometimes feel like a tedious job, but a leaf blower can make this process much easier. It’s usually better to just leave the clippings on the lawn, as it allows nutrients and organic matter to return to the soil. However, if they’re too long, they can ruin the look of your lawn and may just smother the grass underneath them. Ensure grass clippings are dry, then use your blower to gather them (at low speed if they’re on a sidewalk). If your blower can turn into a mulcher, do not hesitate to make good use of this feature in order to turn your clippings into compost.
12. Maintaining Your AstroTurf or Artificial Grass
It’s very important to make sure that your artificial lawn is kept clean, so that it doesn’t get damaged. Always remove debris, weed and leaves immediately. Using a leaf blower is an easy way to get it done quickly and efficiently. Make sure to pay attention to the infill, which is the substance, often sand, which is used to allow the fiber to rebound up after being stepped on, protect the turf’s foundation, provide drainage and keep the blades upright. If your artificial grass has an infill (as it’s the case with AstroTurf), make sure to use your blower at a low power setting and do not vacuum the grass, as you may suck some infill up and ruin your artificial lawn.
13. Blowing Pine Needles Away
As pine needles are extremely small and lightweight, they might end up on your lawn, driveway, sidewalk, or deck, even if you don’t have any pine trees! If they’re wet, ensure your blower is powerful enough (ideally a decent gas backpack blower) in order to get them out of the way and gather them in a convenient place. If they’re dry, some less powerful blowers could do the trick. If you intend to vacuum them, ensure your blower vac has sufficient suction power.
14. Keeping Gravel Pathways Clean
For the same reasons as for pine needles, you don’t need to have trees directly near your graveled areas for them to end up littered with leaves. No matter your raking skills, trying to get them out with a rake will also disfigure your neat gravel pathways and areas. Use a leaf blower at the lowest possible speed setting to avoid moving the gravel and small rocks and gather the leaves and debris into an appropriate location. Alternatively, if you have a blower vac, you can also use it at a low suction power in order to get the leaves out and prevent the gravel from also being sucked up.
15. Providing Air to Your Forge
If you have a backyard forge and are looking for something different than a hair dryer to supply it with air, a cheap leaf blower could do the trick. However, you should remember what you are trying to achieve, which is supplying oxygen to the fire. Therefore, its air volume and not airspeed that you’ll need. Blacksmiths sometimes still use foot-operated bellows to control the airflow. You’ll need to ensure that you can adjust speed and air volume from the blower.
16. Fire Fighting
Leaf blowers have been used to fight fires in the United States for decades, as they can be very useful for building a fire line in hardwood litter. The overall idea is to sweep the burning material back toward the already burned area. Moreover, it is possible to use the forced air to cool the surrounding flammable gases so they won’t ignite, dilute the gases and force other flammable gases away.
17. Cleaning Your PC
If you want to give your computer a good spring cleaning, a standard old-fashioned air could be your most obvious choice. However, they’re pretty expensive for what they are and the cheapest electric blower only costs about $19 (don’t do it with gas blowers). It will also serve you in several other occasions (as you can see in this article!). Ensure not to blow too close to the components and that the airspeed is not excessive so that you don’t damage them. Try to cover the fans to avoid damaging their bearings. Make sure you do this in a clean place so that you don’t accidentally blow debris inside the computer case, as a leaf blower won’t give you a precise directed flow.
18. Declogging Your Dryer Vent
Over time, a dryer vent can get clogged with lint and, because it sees a fair amount of hot air from the dryer, can become a fire hazard (opens in a new tab). Start by removing the dryer hose in order to get access to the vent. You can then insert your blower nozzle into the vent, ensuring that it’s well sealed (you can use some sort of duct tape to do it). When you’re ready, power your leaf blower at the lowest setting. When everything looks OK, gradually increase the output.
19. Clearing Your Roof Shingles
The roof is probably the least accessible part of a house. It’s also one that easily gets dirty and scattered with various types of debris like leaves, sticks, branches, pine straw, acorns, etc. Not only do these debris make your roof look bad, they can also cause roof damage and leaks (they can create small dams that prevent rainfall from leaving the rooftop). Although you can easily clean your roof shingles by hand, you’ll have to bend a lot, which can become a serious hazard if you don’t follow proper roof safety procedures. The leaf blower is a convenient and fast way to do this task, as it will not require you to bend all the time.
20. Taking Funny Pictures or Videos
If you’re ever bored and don’t know what to do with your leaf blower, you can use it to take some funny pictures or videos of yourself (or a friend). The power of the air expelled will surely distort your face, leading to memorable and funny moments that you can catch on camera.
21. Powering Your Roller Skates
Fancy a roller skate race against your friends? Grab your helmet and a powerful cordless blower, and propel yourself at (almost) supersonic speeds. If this boy below can do it, you most certainly can give it a shot!
22. Experimenting With Fluid Dynamics
Whether you are a student, a teacher, a parent trying to get their kid interested in science, or just someone with a curious mind, a blower can be a great way to experiment with some aspects of fluid dynamics. The video below is from The Action Lab and shows you how a blower can help to illustrate Bernoulli’s principle. On a side note, I can only highly recommend to subscribe to their YouTube channel, because they do a lot of awesome science-related stuff.
23. Combatting Tear Gas
As seen during the Hong Kong protests of 2019, a leaf blower can be used in a rather ingenious manner to keep tear gas away from you . While we can’t ensure that you won’t run into any trouble when bringing your blower to a protest, the video below certainly shows that this method is rather efficient.
24. Building a Ping Pong Ball Cannon
In case you’d want some sort of non-lethal weapon to shoot at annoying people, or just a toy to mess around with, you could take advantage of the Venturi effect to build a ping pong ball cannon. With a spare blower, a couple of plastic pipes, and a water container, you can easily build something fairly similar to the device in the video below.
4 Odd Questions on Leaf Blower Usage
Now that we got you all hyped up about leaf blowers, we must curb you down a bit. Leaf blowers are versatile, sure, but you can’t just point them at any problem at hand and expect them to solve it. Thus, we have prepared a very short FAQ for this purpose.
- Can I use a leaf blower to dry a dog?
Not unless it’s taxidermized.
- Can I use a leaf blower to clean the house?
Yes and no. In principle, it’s a stupid idea, since everything that is not nailed down will quite literally fly away. Still, if you are cleaning out an empty room, for example after a paint job, it might not be such a bad idea!
- Can we use leaf blowers to inflate stuff?
Possibly, but there is no real way to ensure that it can be done safely without safety valves, especially in small volumes. Unless it is a jumping castle, we would not recommend inflating anything with a leaf blower.
- Is it possible to use a leaf blower as a boat motor?
Surprisingly, yes! Though you won’t manage to get very far, it seems to be possible, as seen here.
Did you find any other use for your blower? Let us know in the comments below!