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Best Backpack Leaf Blower: Reviewed for 2018

I researched 5 of the top selling backpack blowers on the market...read more to see what I learned.

First, let me get this out of the way, backpack leaf blowers are awesome!

They are powerful, comfortable and make quick work of cleaning leaves and other yard debris.  They are also ideal for those who suffer from problems with their wrists, arms, or shoulders.

They aren't without their drawbacks though, such as price.  A good one can be pretty expensive when compared to other types of leaf blowers.

But, are they worth it?  Should you buy one?  Let's find out!

Quick Look: Here are the best backpack blowers in 2018



Best Backpack Blowers Compared

Model

Price

MPH

Our Rating

Husqvarna 350BT

180MPH

5 out of 5

Poulan Pro PR48BT

200 MPH

4 out of 5

Husqvarna 150BT

250 MPH

4.5 out of 5

Makita EB7650WH

200 MPH

5 out of 5

GreenWorks BPB80L2510

145 MPH

4 out of 5


Backpack Leaf Blower Reviews

Pros

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    Ventilated integrated harness has a hip-belt shaped to the contour of operator plus wide shoulder straps
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    Constant fan speed is maintained with a cruise-control function
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    Air purge function removes air from fuel system and carburetor for easier starting

Cons

  • minus
    Gas tank could be larger
  • minus
    Engine kill switch and throttle cruise control are one and the same

The Husqvarna 350BT is one of the most powerful leaf blowers on the market today. It features a 2.1 HP X-Torq 2-stroke engine and can attain a maximum speed of 7,500 RPM, generating a wind speed of up to 180 MPH! This engine uses 20% less fuel expenditure and approximately 60% fewer emissions. If you are looking the best, check out this model.

Pros

  • plus
    Backpack is light and sturdy and can be used for long periods of time without discomfort
  • plus
    Strong enough to clear rocks, clear snow from the walkway, or dry your car
  • plus
    Commercial grade backpack blower features an instant trigger response

Cons

  • minus
    Assembly instructions are confusing
  • minus
    Very loud and must be used with ear protection

The Poulan Pro PR48BT 48cc has a high-powered blowing force that easily handles the cleanup of yard debris and leaves. It has a heavy-duty frame, cruise control, a variable-speed throttle control, and a 2-stroke engine that attains speeds up to 200 MPH. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty on parts and a detailed user guide.

Pros

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    This blower has an airspeed of 250 MPH, a cylinder displacement of 50.2 cm, and weighs just 22.5 pounds
  • plus
    X-Torq engine increases fuel efficiency 20% and reduces exhaust emissions 60%
  • plus
    Ergonomic harness system includes padded hip-belt and harness

Cons

  • minus
    Should come equipped with a narrow nozzle
  • minus
    Can be tricky to start at first

The Husqvarna 150BT combines ease of use and very low weight to assist homeowners with a lot of land and require its use for long periods of time. This blower provides reduced emissions and better fuel economy and boasts an X-Torq engine for expanded power. It also has tube-mounted controls and a harness.

Pros

  • plus
    No fuel mixing helps this blower to idle smoother, run quieter, have lower emissions, and provide users with easier and quicker starts
  • plus
    Lightweight, but also very powerful
  • plus
    Very comfortable shoulder straps...some of the best out of all tested

Cons

  • minus
    On/off button and throttle are located too close to one another
  • minus
    Instructions are unclear on where to put tubing bands on

The Makita EB7650WH MM4 features a quieter 4-stroke engine (the world's first!) that doesn't require fuel mixing, plus an on-off switch and a hip-throttle with cruise control. This compact, lighter weight (24.1) blower is engineered for both garden and commercial work. It has a maximum air-volume of 670 CFM and a maximum air-speed of 200 MPH.

Pros

  • plus
    145 / 580 CFM blows through debris and wet or dry leaves easily
  • plus
    Turbo-button and variable-speed trigger provide on-demand power
  • plus
    Has cruise control and a 2-year battery / 4-year tool guarantee

Cons

  • minus
    Battery charge only gives 20 to 25 minutes
  • minus
    Turbo feature really cuts down on run time

The GreenWorks BPB80L2510 PRO 80V Max is touted as the most powerful cordless-battery blower available today. It weighs just 14.64 pounds and runs on a 2Ah battery charged with an 80V lithium-ion rapid charger. It claims to have a 30-minute runtime, and uses zero gas, has zero emissions, and requires zero maintenance.


How We Rated The Blowers

We  left no leaf unturned and read a significant amount of reviews to equip you with all the pertinent information about the best backpack leaf blowers available.

We considered the pros and cons of both gas-powered and battery-powered models, and also considered their ease of use, reliability, cost, and performance.

Read on to find out which backpack leaf blower is the right one for you.

We hope that our reviews of each machine will help you to make a knowledgeable purchasing decision.  A few models also made our list of the best overall leaf blowers.

Reliability (Warranty)

Backpack leaf blowers should be chosen for their build qualities, their reliability and for their warranties.  They take a lot of  abuse, so it's important to get one with a good warranty.

The Husqvarna 350BT is one of the newer product offerings and it's consumer warranty can be extended from 2 to 4 years if 3-32 ounce cans of special pre-mix fuel are purchased at the same time as the leaf blower (the same deal is provided for the Husqvarna 130BT).

The Poulan Pro PR48BT offers a 2-year limited warranty, while the Makita EB7650WH provides a limited 3-year factory warranty.

The Greenworks PRO 80V Cordless Backpack Blower provides a 2-year battery warranty and a 4-year tool warranty.

Power (MPH & CFM)

You buy a backpack blower because of the power.  Let's take a quick look to see how the models we reviewed compare:

  • The Greenworks PRO 80V claims to be the most powerful cordless-battery available today. It blows up to 145 MPH or up to 580-CFM. 
  • The Makita MM4 EB7650WH performs blows at 200 MPH and a high-air volume of 670 CFM.
  • The Husqvarna 150BT roars onto the scene with an MPH of 250 and 692 CFM
  • The Husqvarna 350BT provides 180 MPH and 692 CFM.
  • Finally, the Poulan Pro 967087101 weighs in at 200 MPH and 475 CFM.

Comfort

Comfort in backpack blowers is dependent on whether they're designed to reduce vibration, have soft-grip, adjustable handles, or feature ergonomic padded harnesses with wide shoulder straps and thick hip belts.

The Makita EB7650WH has specially engineered shoulder straps that provide multiple adjustments to guarantee an improved fit.

The Poulan Pro features a very comfortable padded harness that helps to minimize physical strain while the GreenWorks BPB80L2510 is very light and sits comfortably on the operator's back.

The Husqvarna 350BT has padded shoulder straps, a hip belt, and adjustable handles that merit Popular Mechanics calling this backpack model "the most comfortable machine", so I'd say that's pretty darn good 🙂

Ease of Use

The products reviewed were chosen because they were all relatively easy to use - meaning you don't need to be a professional landscaper to use any of them.

Why Should You Buy a Backpack Blower?

If you have a big yard or lots of debris to move on a regular basis, than a backpack blower is a must have.  If you only have a small piece of property without many trees, then you probably don't need to spend the extra money.

Either way, here are a few good reasons why backpack blowers are a good buy:

  • check
    Comfort - A backpack blower might tip the scales at about 17-22 pounds, but that weight is transferred comfortably to your shoulders and back.
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    Power - Although backpack blowers generally are more expensive than handheld blowers, they give you loads of extra moving power.
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    Air Movement - Backpack blowers usually have a higher airspeed capacity than other leaf blowers, typically ranging from 140 MPH up to about 240 MPH or more!
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    Ergonomic Design - Throttle controls on modern backpack blowers are specially designed to keep your wrist and hand in natural positions.  This will reduce fatigue when you are moving piles of leaves for hours.  In comparison, handheld leaf blowers generally aren't very comfortable to hold for longer periods of time.
  • check
    Large Areas - Backpack blowers are especially suited for jobs over large areas of land.

What To Look For In a Top Rated Model

Why should you buy one model over another?  What are some of the key feature you should look for?  Here is a checklist that you can use depending on your needs.

  • Some backpack blowers are much more comfortable than others. Look for backpacks with a good ergonomic design that spreads the weight load and doesn't place undue stress on your back, shoulders, or neck.
  • Throttle controls and handles - Look for controls that can be used without strain after long time periods of operation. The best handles can be personally adjusted to suit a particular operator.
  • Look for flatter wider blower nozzle that are more flexible and more effective on leaves.  Or better yet, look for one that has different nozzle attachments.
  • A CARB compliant machine is your choice if you're concerned about the environment.
  • Look for a well-known and respected manufacturer with a solid warranty.
  • Avoid the cheapest machines. Sometimes those deals are really too good to be true.
  • Backpack blowers can be noisy, and they have motors mounted in very close proximity to the head.  If you suffer from hearing issues, you should consider a battery powered version.  It's also a good idea to wear hearing protection.

Types of Backpack Blowers

The two main types of backpack blowers today are gas-powered and battery-powered.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Weight - Backpack leaf blowers weight approximately twice as much as handheld blowers. If too much weight is a concern for you, find a backpack leaf blower that has a hip belt. Generally a battery powered blower will be lighter.
  • Airspeed - The air that comes out of the backpack tube is measured in MPH (Miles Per Hour). A gas engine can reach 250+ MPH, and a battery-powered blower can usually reach around 140 MPH.  Of course there are exceptions, but in general a gas engine will have a higher MPH output.
  • Tube size and CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) - The amount of air that can exit the backpack's tube in a minute is measured as Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM).  The higher the CFM, the more debris you can move.  Gas powered blowers usually have a higher CFM.

Gas

Gas-powered blowers come in two main types - 2-stroke engines and 4-stroke engines.

Although 2-stroke engines generally lighter than 4-stroke engines, they require different type of fuel. A mixture of oil and gas is required for the fuel tank, which can be either purchased premixed or mixed yourself.

A 4-stroke engine uses the same type of fuel that your car uses, so you won't need to mix anything or purchase a special fuel mixture. These engines are very powerful and very efficient, but that extra power comes at a price since the engines are generally heavier.

Battery Powered

Electric battery-powered models are fairly new to the market. They're not as forceful as a gas-powered blower, but they are getting better.

They also don't have the same run time as a gas powered model, so it's good idea to buy a backup battery if you plan on using your blower for more than 25 minutes at a time.

On the plus side, they don't emit carbon monoxide and they are lighter and much quieter.

They are an excellent choice if you live in an area with air pollution and noise regulations.

Battery powered models also don't require any maintenance.

Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models

The more expensive backpack leaf blowers on our list will be lighter, have more powerful engines, more ergonomic features (load-reducing harnesses and hip belts) and have higher MPH and CFM.

The best models will have some type of anti-vibration system, and quieter (although you'll still want to wear ear protection).

The cheaper leaf blowers will tend to be heavier and noisier.  They will also have less power, airflow, and a smaller diameter tube.

Best Backpack Leaf Blower Brands

  • Husqvarna
  • Poulon Pro
  • Makita
  • Greenworks
  • Red Max​​​​
  • Echo
  • Sthil
  • EGO
  • Ryobi

How Much Should I Expect To Pay?

The 5 backpack leaf blowers reviewed here range from $200 to $500, with a median price of $390.

What features should a backpack leaf blower possess at both the lower end of the scale as well as the higher end?

At the lowest end of the price range, the Poulan Pro has a 48CC 2-stroke engine, cruise control, a variable-speed throttle control, and a heavy duty frame. Despite many positive reviews, there are also a significant amount of reviewers who were dissatisfied with the performance of this product. The first two or three times use it worked great - after that many machines tended to lose power. Other users complained that it could only blow leaves 2 to 3 feet, a very poor performance for a gas-powered leaf blower.

On the high end of our price range is the Makita EB7650WH. Many users claimed that this machine was the best model on the market. It is powerful, comfortable, and is made of high quality parts. For a leaf blower that uses an oil and gas mixture, this one is quiet, simple to use, and very easy to start.

Conclusion

After a careful and methodical review of over a hundred backpack leaf blowers available today, I have chosen the Husqvarna 350 Backpack Leaf Blower as my top pick.

This lightweight blower (22.5 pounds) provides reduced emissions (by approximately 60%), better fuel economy, and increased power.

It also features ergonomically designed controls, adjustable handles, and a harness that has been specially designed for ease of use and high capacity.

It provides the power to blow leaves from about 20 feet away, adjusting for wetness. It also is reasonably priced, easy to assemble, and comes with a cruise control feature.

All in all, this backpack leaf blower was my overall favorite.

About the author

Matt Hagens

Hi, I'm Matt the owner of Yard Care Gurus. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Thanks for stopping by!