A battery backpack blower can start immediately and run quietly, but it needs to be charged up when it runs low. They are also more friendly to the environment than gasoline models. The quieter, more reliable backpack leaf blowers powered by gasoline are better than their battery-powered counterparts. They can be run indefinitely, but you will need to mix petrol with oil for fuel. They can also be more difficult for battery-powered counterparts.
A backpack leaf blower might be the right tool for your needs. 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 keep track of how long each blower takes to clean the pile and how thorough it is. 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. We go through approximately 2,500 pounds each fall when we search for the best models.
We test leaf blowers of six brands, including backpack models. Below, we’ve highlighted five models that sit at the top of the heap in our tests. We included data on the reliability and owner satisfaction for almost every model in our ratings last fall.
For more information on leaf blower shopping, see our leaf blower buying guide. Our comprehensive leaf-blower ratings provide information about how backpacks and other leaf blowers performed during our tests.