Best Backpack Leaf Blowers of 2022

And how to know whether you really need one for your yard cleanup

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backpack leaf blower on lawn with trees in background Photo: Kyryl Gorlov/iStock

A backpack leaf blower is a godsend if you have a sizable piece of property. Whether you’re sweeping flower petals or grass clippings from your driveway through spring and summer or clearing fallen leaves come autumn, a backpack blower offers some serious advantages over a handheld leaf blower.

For starters, the best backpack leaf blowers run for a long time: 30 to 60 minutes for battery-powered models and even longer for gas models, provided you refuel them. Most battery-powered handhelds run for just 12 to 15 minutes.

And here’s a big one: It’s much easier to carry the weight of the leaf blower on your back than in your hands.

“Using a handheld blower gets pretty tiring if you have layers of leaves to gather,” says Misha Kollontai, CR’s test engineer in charge of leaf blower testing. “Backpack blowers are better for that because the weight is dispersed over your back. Plus, they tend to work faster.”

More on Leaf Blowers

Battery backpack blowers start instantly and run quietly, though you have to recharge them when they run out of juice. They’re also far better for the Earth than gas models. Noisier gasoline-powered backpack leaf blowers can run indefinitely, but they require you to mix oil and gas for fuel and can be harder to start than their battery-powered counterparts.

So is a backpack leaf blower right for you? If you have a large area to cover or thick piles of leaves every fall, it’s worth considering. They cost $100 to $200 more than handhelds, so they’re probably overkill if you have a small yard or if you don’t have a lot of fallen leaves to deal with.

In CR’s leaf blower tests, we rope off a swath of grass and dump bag upon bag of leaves inside the boundary. Backpack blowers get a larger area with more leaves because they’re designed for larger yards. We time how long each blower takes to clear the pile, and how thoroughly the tool moves every last leaf—some leaf blowers struggle to get rid of the leaves near the bottom of the pile, which can become embedded in the grass. Each fall, we go through about 2,500 pounds of leaves in our quest to find the top models.

We test leaf blowers in six configurations, including backpack models, from all the major brands, including Ego, Husqvarna, and Stihl. Below, we’ve highlighted four models that sit at the top of the heap in our tests. And we now incorporate predicted reliability and owner satisfaction data for almost every model in our ratings.

For more information about shopping for a leaf blower, see our leaf blower buying guide. CR members can turn to our comprehensive leaf blower ratings for details on how backpack and other types of leaf blowers perform in our tests.

Best Gas Backpack Leaf Blowers

Best Battery Backpack Leaf Blowers

Paul Hope

As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.