When it comes to blowers, backpack models represent the big guns. They’re not always the most powerful, but the mere sight of one alone signals that the user has it going on, so to speak. Of course, there are many choices when hunting for a new backpack leaf blower, which is why we’re here to help you find the best.
In terms of the variety that makes up the landscape, you’ve got different manufacturers, battery and gas models, and a myriad of features and performance levels. Our job is to narrow the list and guide you in your search. Certainly, we’ve had plenty of trigger time on some of the top performers from high-end Pro to homeowner levels, and our recommendations are the ones we’re confident will help you select the right one for you.
Best Gas Backpack Leaf Blower Overall
A few years back, we ranked the Stihl BR 700 at or near the top of our best backpack leaf blower list. The Stihl BR 800 C-E Magnum backpack blower improves upon that model in two very important ways. First, it blows about 20% harder. In fact, it nets around 41 Newtons of force and blows an impressive 239 MPH of average air velocity with 912 CFM.
You might find the second improvement even more impressive. Stihl integrated the Easy2Start system. Rather than having to take the blower off your back to pull the cord, a quick pull of the side handle overcomes the engine’s compression and starts up the blower. Yes, you heard that correctly—you can start the blower while wearing it. Take my money!
And that might be the only downside to this blower. While it starts easy, blows hard, and runs forever on the 2000cc (over 1/2-gallon) fuel tank, it retails for around $699.99. Even so, we still think this is the best commercial backpack leaf blower around, and it has a large dealer network for service after the sale.
Most Powerful Backpack Leaf Blower
Okay, just by looking at the numbers, you can probably see why we chose the PB-9010T as the most powerful leaf blower. For instance, when our staff ran tests on this model, they got some impressive results. For one, this tool rated 52 Newtons. Wow!
Moreover, the PB-9010T puts out 1,110 CFMs. Now, you’ve probably noticed in several of our articles that, here at OPE Reviews, we prefer high CFM over MPH performance. In short, CFMs represent the volume of air that the blower puts out. Therefore, you can tackle wider swaths, which comes in handy when you’re cleaning up leaves or grass clippings.
So, if you’re looking for FEMA-worthy forces, the ECHO PB-9010T is a solid option.
There are even more solutions on our Best Leaf Blower Reviews list!
Best Lightweight Backpack Leaf Blower
Greenworks BPB80L00 610 CFM Backpack Blower
The Greenworks 80V 610 CFM Backpack Blower is light–just a shade over 8 pounds. When you look at competing battery-powered backpack blowers, you’ll see weights upwards of 30 pounds.
To provide some context, that’s like giving a 3-year-old a piggyback ride. Meanwhile, this Greenworks weighs about as much as a newborn. Not bad, particularly considering the power that you get out of this thing (610 CFM).
Besides the weight, something else we think is low is the price. Indeed, the BPB80L00’s tag is very reasonable when you take into account the design and performance.
Best Backpack Leaf Blower for the Money
We’re going to start out by saying that the price tag looks high. However, wait until we explain the method behind our madness.
The best anything for the money isn’t necessarily the cheapest. Sometimes the cheapest products are precisely that … cheap. So, when we assess which model deserves the designation of best backpack leaf blower for the money, we consider price but within the broader context of quality.
And the LBPX8004 is a fantastic blower. We can say that with confidence because we’ve run the heck out of it. Its performance is excellent, especially when blasting away at heavy leaf coverage.
As a matter of fact, we can also confidently say that EGO is not overstating it when they refer to the LBPX8004 as commercial. In our tests, we ran this blower on turbo for 26 minutes, and we still had one bar left on the batteries.
That said, $699 is the kitted price (LBPX8004-2), which includes the blower, two 56V (6.0Ah) batteries, and a charger. What’s more, the batteries are part of EGO’s ARC series, meaning you can use them across their 56V tool platform.
Price: $399 (bare), $699 (kitted)
Best Battery Backpack Leaf Blower
We had a chance to run this monster during our visit to ECHO’s headquarters in Illinois. It landed our best battery backpack leaf blower slot for a few reasons.
There’s a bit of a backstory here. ECHO has long been a trailblazer in the realm of leaf blowers, having designed the world’s first backpack model, the PB-9 (1975). Well, they’ve done it again, this time with the eFORCE DPB-5800T. You betcha, it’s the world’s first three-port battery-powered backpack blower.
And, while this bad boy is heavy (~30 pounds), it’s powerful and versatile.
Performance-wise, it delivers 195 mph and 795 CFM blowing forces. Furthermore, you can run it using two or all three 56V (5.0Ah) batteries.
With two installed, we had no trouble blowing mulch out of grass and moving thick layers of debris. Additionally, the runtimes are decent, beating comparably powerful units that we’ve handled by about 10 minutes (with two batteries).
Best Backpack Leaf Blower for Homeowners
Ryobi RY404170 40V 730 CFM Backpack Blower
Ryobi is a production behemoth. Indeed, the amount of gear that they pump into the market is impressive, as their booth at this year’s Equip Expo demonstrated.
In terms of backpack units, they offer a few models, but it’s the RY404170 40V leaf blower that we chose as the best option for homeowners. Here’s why.
For one, the kitted price is quite reasonable. For $429, you get two batteries, a charger, a lawn and leaf bag, and the blower itself.
As for the blower, we think the performance actually exceeds the needs of weekend yard warriors, most of whom face a series of tasks. As we’ve mentioned above, 730 CFM is a solidly respectable air volume; enough so that you’ll be able to conquer heavy leaf coverage in the fall and thick layers of grass cuttings and debris in the spring and summer.
Oh, and there’s an added bonus. It’s quiet, only 59 decibels.
Let OPE Reviews help you expand your knowledge. Dive into our guide to Gas vs. Battery Powered Leaf Blowers!
Best Backpack Leaf Blower Brand
If you ask a group of professional lawn crew teams who the best backpack leaf blower brand is, prepare yourself for a fistfight between Echo and Stihl loyalists. Both make excellent backpack blowers and they’re by far the top two brands we see on professional trailers. Echo tends to lead in performance while Stihl tends to lead in feature development.
Is one better than the other? We’ll just step out of the way and let y’all settle it in the comments below.
Best Backpack Leaf Blower Buying Guide | What We Look For
Most people turn to backpack blowers for higher performance and that’s the highest priority for us as well. Large MPH and CFM numbers are great, but it’s Newton Force that tells a more complete story.
Weight and Padding
When you have a blower strapped to your back, padded straps make a difference, but let’s face it, it’s mainly about weight. The longer you have to wear the blower, the more the weight comes into play. It’s not just the weight of the blower, though. High-volume gas tanks offer longer runtime, but more fuel weight.
When using a backpack blower—cover your ears! All this great power found in our backpack leaf blower reviews comes at a price. No matter how you slice it, gas-powered leaf blowers are loud! ANSI testing requires measurements from 50 feet, but you’re not a bystander and the noise at your ear level is much higher—more than 100 decibels in most cases. In other words, you need hearing protection.
The exception is battery-powered models. Some are able to keep the noise level below OSHA’s threshold for hearing protection. In addition to the lower overall noise, it also lets you hear more of what’s going on around you.
Note on OSHA Exposure Limits for Sound Levels
OSHA allows a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dB (A-weighted) for an 8-hour workday. After that, the OSHA standard has a 5 dB “exchange rate”. What that means is that when the noise levels increase by 5 dB, the amount of time a person OSHA allows for exposure divides by two. Using this calculation, at 100 dB SPL you could only work for two hours without hearing protection. Thus, the goal of hearing protection for an 8-hour workday is to reduce the volume to your ears by at least 20 dB SPL.
One interesting thing to note, the Makita 4-stroke blower sounds a lot quieter than its SPL measurement. The tone seems to be much lower, giving it the illusion of less noise output. More information can be found in our Makita MM4 4-Stroke Technology article.
Value is all about getting the best backpack leaf blower that fits your budget, not just the cheapest you can get your hands on. When you consider a blower’s value, weigh what you get against the price with your highest priorities as the most important.
Got $400 to spend and value performance? Look for the highest Newton force that fits your budget. More concerned about weight? Start there.
Work Efficiency, Not Just Fuel Efficiency or Tank Size
Fuel efficiency directly affects your bottom line and it’s an important part of the equation. But so is work efficiency. Look for the best balance between fuel efficiency and runtime. The more often your crew has to stop and fill and tank, the more time you’re spending on your properties. A larger fuel tank combined with an efficient engine keeps your team more productive.
Features to Look For
What we’ve talked about so far takes care of the meat and potatoes. Now let’s shift gears to what makes for a better operator experience. Here are some of the key features we look for:
- Harness design that actively pulls air across your back to cool you down
- Hip straps that shift the weight of the blower away from your shoulders
- Chest strap
- Effective padding
- Reduced emission engine design
- Reduced vibration design
- Throttle lock on
- Side recoil start (the Stihl BR 800 Magnum C-E is the only blower we’ve tested with this feature)
- Hip and tube throttle options
Hungry for another buying guide? Check out our Best Leaf Blower Reviews list.
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