Should You Use a Leaf Blower or a Lawn Sweeper?

In life, there are many tough decisions to be made. Choosing between a leaf blower and a lawn sweeper may be one of them.

Both are made for pretty much the same purpose, however, both have distinctly different mechanism and thus, their own pros and cons. In this article, we’ll address exactly those, to help you decide which is the better choice for you.

For convenience, we shall first describe what each of the devices is, how they work and their general characteristics. Further on, we will discuss some of the points we deem to be crucial, in further detail.

What Is a Leaf Blower?

Picture of a blower used to clear garden leavesIn summary, a leaf blower is a device that chugs fuel or electricity and in turn, emits air at high velocity. Their main purpose is moving leaves and small debris from one place to another, for a more convenient collection.

Leaf blowers are made in 3 distinct designsHandheld, backpack and walk behind, by which mobility, power and runtime are balanced. For further information on how exactly they differ, please check their respective pages.

Please note that some leaf blowers have in addition to their regular “blowing” mode also a vacuum mode, which is used to conveniently mulch and collect leaves into an attached bag.

Leaf blowers can be somewhat noisy and in recent years, many have called them out for being environmentally unfriendly. However, both of these concerns have been addressed by leaf blower manufacturers and improvements to their technologies have been made accordingly, to satisfy both customers and regulators.

As for the price of leaf blowers, it may vary anywhere between roughly USD 50 to USD 1500.

What is a Lawn Sweeper?

Picture of a tow-behind lawn sweeper

A tow-behind lawn sweeper

Lawn sweepers (opens in a new tab) are devices which use rotating brushes to sweep leaves and debris directly from the surface (usually a lawn), while being moved across it. The leaves are collected into a hopper for a convenient disposal.

A lawn sweeper comes in 2 distinct designs, pushed and pulled (or towed behind). It is somewhat hard to argue which of these is more efficient. Pushed sweepers are designed for manual use, while a pulled sweeper is more suitable as an attachment behind a vehicle – though this is not an absolute, since nothing actually prevents you from using it manually. Furthermore, the device may be powered – either by a battery or gasoline; or rely solely on your very own manual labor.

A selling point for many may be that while they lack mobility and flexibility, unlike a leaf blower, they do not require the user to actually carry them. The possibility to attach them to vehicles, such as tractors, lawn mowers, etc. might also be a plus for some.

A lawn sweeper will cost you roughly anywhere between USD 100 and USD 400, though this is an estimate based on prices of featured items by selected vendors.

Key Points

From what we have covered, it is apparent that for many of us, choosing between the two can be tricky. Even I, the manager of a site called “Leafblowerguide.com”, must admit that.

However, breaking the choice into key points should make things clearer, since ultimately, the choice depends on the user’s individual preferences.

Functions

In general, a lawn sweeper can only do one thing – sweep lawns, and therefore is a single-purpose device that will take up a lot of space in your shed, for what it does. This may or may not be an issue depending on the size of your shed.

However, any leaf blower can double as a high velocity duster, is suitable for cleaning gutters, snow, puddles and more. To demonstrate this, we have written two articles on this website in which we explore all the possible uses for leaf blowers, and also how a leaf blower can be utilized all-year round. As a bonus, it takes up almost no space at all.

Mobility and Flexibility

While it is true that a lawn sweeper won’t require you to lift it up while using it, pulling or pushing an unpowered one isn’t easy either. Furthermore, if you miss a spot, turning the whole device around will be at least slightly annoying. On the other hand, powered sweepers are self-propelled and towed sweepers are, well, towed.

In contrast, many handheld leaf blowers are pretty light, especially corded, electric devices. However, even many of the heavier, backpack blowers are pretty easy to carry, thanks to their ergonomic design. In return, you will get much more mobility and flexibility.

Environmental Issues

Leaf blowers have a stigma of being loud and fuel-hungry. On top of that, they have somewhat crude emissions, which are a concern to many users and municipalities. Environmental standards, set by the EPA, and even stricter CARB standards (in California), have been put in place to limit these concerns, but many consider these far from ideal.

If this is your concern, the market is full of electric and cordless blowers, which have 0 emissions and nowadays, their power can easily reach their gas-powered counterparts – though they might cost a bit more.

However, when push comes to shove, it must be admitted that in terms of both sound and emissions, unpowered lawn sweepers beat any leaf blower, be it at the price of increased requirements for manual labor, and are the right choice for anybody living in areas where leaf blowers are outright banned.

Effectiveness

Naturally, one of the main questions a buyer should be asking is: “Do they actually do a good job?

Well, yes, for both, but…

We all know there are good and bad devices on the market. However, when it comes to reliable, time-tested brands, leaf blowers have been here for quite some time and have proven themselves great at doing their job. While a lawn sweeper may or may not work fine, with a good leaf blower, it is almost guaranteed.

Final Words

In the end, the choice is yours to make. Hopefully, this article has helped you clear things out a bit.

In summary, if you already own a lawn tractor and are just looking for something to get rid of your leaves, a lawn sweeper is probably the better choice for you. However, in other cases, unless you are severely restricted by local regulations, a leaf blower comes out on top. They are simply more versatile, mobile and multi-purpose devices.

For a similar article, feel free to check the one where we compare blowers and rakes.

Do you use a lawn sweeper or a leaf blower? What motivated your choice? Let us know in the comments below!

Patrick

Patrick

Manager and editor of leafblowerguide.com. He worked over 10 years for a well-known global company manufacturing outdoor power equipment, before starting his own landscaping business.

1 Comment
  1. Nice article…some additional info would be helpful. Some actual comparison on how the items performed doing the same job would also be helpful. Is the tow behind faster than the gas leaf blower in terms of getting the job done? Will the tow behind effectively pick up grass clippings from the driveway?

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