7 Cheap Leaf Blowers That Make Fall Cleanup a Breeze

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THE BLOW BY BLOW


Crisp, sunny days, cool nights, and fabulous foliage make fall a favorite season for many, but those who want to keep their yards clear of fallen leaves might beg to differ. Although a rake suits the tiniest yard or someone who wants a workout, consumers hoping to make quicker work of outdoor cleanup hanker for a leaf blower.

Research by Cheapism.com reveals that consumers don't have to spend bushels on one of these outdoor tools, especially one reserved for light use in a small to medium-size yard. Our picks for the best leaf blowers under $150 include handheld gas models, corded electric blower vacs, and one cordless unit. Also featured here: a slightly pricier backpack blower for someone who wants a more comfortable way to blast through a larger leaf-filled yard.

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BEST CHEAP GAS LEAF BLOWER: HITACHI RB24EAP

Even a yard full of wet leaves is no match for the gas-powered Hitachi RB24EAP (starting at $129). Users say this portable machine is a good pick for anyone who needs a powerful leaf blower at a reasonable price. Unlike some similar models, this one starts easily and is light and well-balanced in the hand. Quibbles include the lack of an on-off switch and a blower nozzle that's just a tad on the short side. But perhaps the best feature is the seven-year warranty -- for cheap leaf blowers, two years is the norm.
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RUNNER-UP GAS LEAF BLOWER: HUSQVARNA 125B

Another powerful gas leaf blower, the Husqvarna 125B (starting at $149) earns experts' admiration for an air stream that keeps a laser-like focus on stubborn leaves, sticks, dust, grass clippings, and other yard waste. Owners say it's easy to start and handle, with features including cruise control for the variable speed throttle and an adjustable-length blowing tube. The main issue that pops up is fuel lines that are fairly sensitive to ethanol -- reviewers recommend sticking to pure gasoline, which can be pricey.
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BEST CHEAP ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWER: TORO 51619 ULTRA

Despite its low price, the Toro 51619 Ultra (starting at $70) packs a powerful punch, reviewers say. This corded electric leaf blower is able to clear small yards with ease, and it doesn't stop there -- it's also an effective yard vacuum and mulcher. A durable metal impeller means sucking up small rocks won't spell doom for this machine, and users don't need to fuss with tools to switch between modes. The most common complaint is relatively minor: Some owners say the vacuum bag's zipper is too flimsy to stand up to long-term use.
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RUNNER-UP ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWER: WORX WG509 TRIVAC

As its name suggests, the Worx WG509 TriVac (starting at $90) is a highly versatile machine with three functions. This corded electric leaf blower can be converted with just the flick of a lever into a yard vacuum and mulcher. Reviewers say it performs both those jobs with ease, and the sturdy metal impeller makes short work of leaves. Some grouse that the blower is underpowered for heavy-duty use in leaf-filled yards. And be forewarned, at 9.3 pounds, there's a fair bit of heavy lifting with this unit.
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TOP CORDLESS ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWER: BLACK & DECKER LSW20

The cordless electric Black & Decker LSW20 (starting at $70) is aimed at consumers who just want a little extra help cleaning leaves, dust, grass, and other light debris from patios, garages, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces without the hassle of a cord. Users say it does the job well, and they appreciate the go-anywhere convenience of a rechargeable battery. Other highlights include a built-in scraper for stuck-on gunk and a featherweight design that comes in under 4 pounds. The major downside: This blower won't go more than 20 minutes or so before needing to be charged, many users say.
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BARGAIN BUY: GREENWORKS 24012

What can a consumer possibly expect from a leaf blower for just $30? Happily, the answer is a solid little corded electric model that's suitable for small yards or quick cleanup of patios and porches. Reviewers rave that the Greenworks 24012 (starting at $30) is lightweight and easy to use, and the four-year warranty bests all but one other blower on our list. So, what's the catch? The unit doesn't come with a power cord, so buyers who don't have the right kind of outdoor-rated extension cord already on hand may end up paying as much for that as the blower itself.
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BACKPACK LEAF BLOWER: HUSQVARNA 130BT

It's significantly pricier than the other leaf blowers on our list, but the Husqvarna 130BT (starting at $230) is a good value for consumers with larger yards who want the comfort and power of backpack-style gas leaf blowers, which tend to run $300 or more. The strong, focused air stream from the Husqvarna 130BT can blast through embedded yard debris including wet leaves. Padded straps and lightweight construction keep it comfortable to use during prolonged cleanup sessions. Some users say the engine is tricky to start, while others warn that it's not up to snuff compared with commercial-grade backpack blowers. But consumers who tailor their expectations to the price should be happy with their purchase.