Gas-powered leaf blowers are considered a golden standard in the industry, since gasoline has been the original power source of blowers and to this day remains the most utilized.
Gas leaf blowers come in all shapes and sizes — in fact, they are what most of our sector of the lawn equipment market consist of. When compared to an electric engine, the gas engine is often found in larger and more powerful devices such as backpack gas leaf blowers and walk behind blowers — both of which lack electric alternatives (with a few exceptions).
This is because unlike electric blowers, gas-powered blowers are not limited by the wattage of their batteries, but instead by the displacement of their engines. However, since they are powered by combustion, they must be accompanied by an exhaust and a sufficient fuel tank, both of which place further demands on their volume and weight.
Characteristics — What to expect from gas-powered leaf blowers
To further expand upon the topic of power, gas-powered blowers are not necessarily more powerful than electric when comparing smaller engines. While the average values of both CFM and MPH are somewhat lower for handheld electric blowers than their gasoline counterparts, the better amongst them can keep the pace. However, once the engines become larger, the electrics simply cannot compete due to the limitations of portable power sources.
The following charts show you the differences between the average CFM and MPH of handheld leaf blowers and all leaf blowers according to their power source (electricity or gas).
One of the key parameters of a gasoline engine includes its architecture, which is referred to as either 2-stroke or 4-stroke, sometimes also 2-cycle and 4-cycle. These signify the number of “strokes” required per a full revolution, often referred to as simply “power”.
As for us consumers, the main difference between the two lies within the way the engine lubricates. While the more complex 4-stroke engine has a separate oil compartment, the simpler two-stroke engine requires a mix of oil and gas to function properly. However, some brands offer modifications to this formula, such as Makita’s MM4, which utilizes the 4-cycle design, yet uses gas and oil mixture as well.
One of the issues which arise when dealing with gas-powered blowers is fuel. The topic becomes especially complex when dealing with the 2-stroke models.
There are many commercially available fuel mixtures on the market—each will be eager to inform you on their label that they are truly the best for your power tools. Selection of the right fuel is thus somewhat of a riddle. Alternatively, many users may prefer mixing their own, as it can be significantly cheaper.
The fuel may include many different performance enhancing additives. However, the main difference between each lies in the oil to gas ratio. To ensure the best functionality, we suggest sticking to the manufacturer’s recommendation, most commonly stated in the user manual of your device.
One of the crucial topics that must be addressed when dealing with any gas-powered device are the emissions, both of sound and exhaust fumes.
While the noise of leaf blowers may be limited, though not eliminated, by their smart design, their combustion engine will always require some form of combustion, along with its product—fumes. In addition, unlike modern cars, leaf blowers often do not even feature a particle filter and thus, their emissions may pose a health hazard to frequent users.
Many users may also be concerned by the damage caused to the environment and most annoyingly, an ever-present unpleasant smell of burning gasoline. While fuel and engine technologies have improved over the years, it is necessary to keep the above mentioned in mind when comparing electric and gas-powered devices.
When comparing the gas-powered and electric blowers, the question of “who lasts longer” arises. A simple answer cannot be given, as this depends on the engine displacement and the size of the fuel tank.
However, what can be said for sure is the fact that most electric blowers do not feature exchangeable batteries and thus, once depleted, cannot be used again for up to several hours. The gas-powered leaf blower is not limited in this way, as it can be refilled within a matter of seconds.
As already mentioned, gas-powered blowers offer the most versatility amongst leaf blowers in terms of their features. Some of the options include the nowadays very common easy pull starters, variable speeds or design specific features such as self-propelling abilities for walk-behind leaf blowers.
Gas leaf blowers with vacuum are available on the market, allowing for a convenient method of leaf disposal—and following this logic, gas-powered leaf blower mulchers as well.
The prices of gas-powered leaf blowers vary by brand and design and stretch anywhere from $80 for the cheapest gas-powered leaf blower to prices as high as $3200. In most cases, higher prices reflect the size and power of an engine. Thus, the cheapest devices are almost exclusively handheld, and vice versa, the most expensive are walk-behind.
What must be accounted for, however, is the price of gasoline, which is more expensive than electricity in most countries.
According to global search results, the most popular products in the category of gas leaf blowers come from the following manufacturers: Stihl, Echo, Ryobi, Craftsman and Husqvarna.
Some of these companies, such as Stihl and Husqvarna are beloved for their long history of reliable products, while the others offer a rather more affordable experience and are widely available in US stores.
In conclusion, gas-powered leaf blowers are a versatile option suited for all users. They offer a wide variety of design choices — most importantly allowing for by far more powerful devices than their electric counterparts, as they are not limited by battery outputs.
While many may find storing fuel at home inconvenient, they have the undoubtable advantage of the lack of recharge times. However, they are understandably less environmentally friendly, noisier and may be a health hazard if used frequently.
- Allow for more power compared to electrics
- Convenient in terms of autonomy (do not require charging pauses)
- Usually very loud
- Exhaust fumes
- Gasoline tends to be more expensive than electricity