We Compare the Best Gas Powered Leaf Blowers to Find the Best Performers
Having reviewed the best cordless leaf blowers we wanted to turn our focus on the best gas powered leaf blowers. Landscapers continue to use gas powered blowers for most of the work they do. As battery-powered blowers gain in runtime and blowing power, these products will continue to encroach into the realm of professional users. We evaluated the best gas leaf blowers so you can know which tools perform better than others or present the best value.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss our gas vs battery-powered leaf blowers article where we explain the pros and cons of each tool as it impacts the professional landscaper or business owner.
How We Test and Evaluate Gas Leaf Blowers
Blowing Force Measured in Newtons
When you look at a blower to see how well it performs, you can measure both the volume and speed of the air it emits. These two metrics, however, work against each other. You increase one only by diminishing the other. To measure and grasp the comprehensive power of a gas powered leaf blower we turn to ANSI Newton force. We do this at the end of the nozzle using a calibrated force meter. This standardized test lets us test gas leaf blowers from any manufacturer and get a consistent, replicable measurement and value. We get to use this force test with battery blowers, gas powered leaf blowers, and backpack blowers.
From our Newton force measurements, we learned that gas powered leaf blowers still produce more blowing force—by far. It is due to this disparity of force that professional landscapers prefer these more powerful tools for all-day use. Some, however, have learned techniques for using battery-powered tools in certain areas and for certain purposes.
Air Volume or CFM
Air volume or CFM (cubic feet per minute) conveys how much work a leaf blower accomplishes. When we try to explain CFM we often explain it as a number that reflects the amount of material a leaf blower can move. For example, a higher CFM gas leaf blower can blow a much larger amount of dry leaves at one time. It does so with a higher degree of efficiency than a tool carrying a lower CFM rating.
Air Speed or MPH
Now let’s look at what air speed represents. We measure air speed in miles per hour (MPH) as a way to explain how quickly air exits the end of the nozzle. Additional air speed means you can move sticky or wet leaves much more easily than with a leaf blower exhibiting lower speed.
If you have a tool with high numbers for both air speed and CFM, you likely have a tool with a high amount of force for a variety of blowing tasks.
Size and Weight
Professional landscapers don’t seem to mind heavier backpack blowers. What we like to consider, however, is whether we can get similar results from lighter tools. After all, ergonomics matter—particularly on a tool you might wear for hours at a time. We always take into consideration both weight and size when deciding on the best gas leaf blower in any category. Handheld leaf blowers in particular vary dramatically in size and weight and definitely benefit from reductions in either or both.
For homeowners, smaller lighter weight blowers typically come with less power. That’s not always a bad thing. We weigh homeowner models a bit more heavily when it comes to the power-to-weight ratio.
Ease of Starting
As you might tell from our #1 best gas leaf blower pick, how easy a tool starts matters a great deal to us. Starting a difficult 2-cycle motor over and over again can potentially land you with repetitive stress injuries. Any time we see a spring-assist starter system, we take that into account.
Many gas leaf blowers require choking to get the air-fuel mixture a bit richer. After the first start, they dial into a normal mode of operation and start up more easily. Stihl made good use of this truth with their side-mounted starting handle. After initially starting their backpack leaf blower, you can use the side handle for those subsequent start-ups. That’s extremely convenient for professional landscapers who may need to occasionally stop what they’re doing to communicate on the jobsite.
Fuel costs matter—even moreso when the price of gas starts to climb. While not our top issue, a blower’s fuel efficiency—how fast it burns through fuel—matters. Leaf blower fuel efficiency combined with the size of the tank lets us mathematically calculate just how much run time you get before you have to stop and refill the blower. Backpack leaf blowers with small tanks and poor fuel efficiency waste a lot of time (and money!) for the operator.
Price and Value
As always, value is a big part of what we look at with any tool. It’s not about which one is the cheapest, it’s about getting the job done well while getting the most bang for your buck.
Best Overall Gas Leaf Blower
Let’s get one thing straight—the ECHO PB-9010T technically has a bit more blowing force than the Stihl BR 800 C-E Magnum backpack leaf blower. However—and this made a big impression on us—we cannot stress how awesome the side start feature is on the Stihl. Once you have the BR 800 up and running, a simple pull on the side handle (located on your left hip) gets you back up and running. Need to stop for a conversation? No problem—stop the blower and then restart it at will—without having to take it off your back.
And, of course, the 41 Newtons of blowing force put out by this backpack doesn’t make it a slouch either. If you want more than the Newtons for specs, this blower delivers more than 900 CFM of air volume, and 230 MPH of wind velocity out the tube! With a 4.4 bhp engine and only rated to 78 dB(A) of noise output (albeit from 50-feet or more away), this blower gets the job done. Do you need more blowing force than 41 N? Probably not. And up until last year, you really didn’t have an option to get more. The only downside is that Stihl doesn’t offer any backpack blowers with a hip throttle. If you want that feature, you’ll need to go with a different brand.
Most Powerful Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
ECHO claims this as the most powerful blower in existence. To pull this off, they started with a 79.9cc engine. Then, they tuned it to deliver a monster 1110 CFM and 220 MPH. In certification testing, that translated to 48.0 Newtons of force.
Our testing didn’t result in the same value. It was higher. A full 4 Newtons higher, maxing out at 52.0 Newtons on our meter. Keep in mind that environmental conditions affect blower force and we don’t have the controlled setup of a lab. Regardless, the ECHO PB-9010T is the strongest backpack blower we’ve ever tested—by far.
We like everything about this blower—including the large translucent 83.8-ounce fuel tank, the comfortable straps, and the convenient location of the air filter. The PB-8010 is no slouch, but if you want that extra “oomph”—this tool has it. You can also find it with a hip throttle (the ECHO PB-9010H).
Price: $629.99 (either model)
Best Handheld Gas Leaf Blower
ECHO PB-2620 Blower
We need to qualify our pick here. You may prefer the additional airspeed of the Husqvarna 525BX’s flat nozzle…or the Stihl Easy2Start system found on the BG 86 C-E. In fact, if you have any arm, shoulder, or elbow problems, definitely check out the Stihl. However, the fact that the Echo PB-2620 prices out roughly $60 less than either of those alternatives makes it a great pick for our best handheld gas leaf blower. In addition to that, Echo makes it easy to maintain this blower. You get a 2-year commercial warranty (5-year consumer).
This X-Series blower delivers around 456 CFM out the tube with 15.8N of blowing force and 172 MPH (max) airspeed at the nozzle. It’s a beast, and we’d buy this over any other handheld gas leaf blower on the market.
Best Lightweight Gas Leaf Blower
While we put our hands on the Husqvarna 525BX blower back in 2015, it really impressed us. It still does, combining a lightweight design with ample power into a single package. At 9.5 pounds (dry weight), we have yet to see another tool pack this kind of punch while keeping off the weight.
With this tool, you get a respectable 459 CFM of airflow in the tube plus up to 192 MPH using the included flat nozzle (157 mph with the round nozzle). At 15N of blowing force, we also know they aren’t fudging numbers anywhere to impress us. That’s a solid performer for such a lightweight gas blower. Husqvarna also has done a lot to reduce vibration in this blower, making it more comfortable to use.
Best Gas Leaf Blower for Home Use
Troy-Bilt TB27BH 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Blower
We picked the sub-$140 Troy-Bilt TB27BH as our best gas leaf blower for home use. It features a powerful 27cc engine and manages to hit an astounding 450 CFM/205 MPH combination. It does this while adding great homeowner features like a SpringAssist pull start and a bonus curved tube. That curved tube lets you get under low-lying bushes and other landscape features that would be more difficult with just a straight tube.
Weighing just 10 pounds and with a 14-ounce fuel tank, Troy-Bilt makes a very powerful, yet lightweight gas leaf blower that should work really well for any homeowner. The fact that it does it for a great price makes it that much better.
Best Gas Leaf Blower and Vacuum Mulcher
Stihl SH 86 C-E Gas Shredder, Vac/Blower
The Stihl SH 86 C-E picks up where most blowers “leaf” off (you see what I did there?). It adds a triple-bladed steel mulcher that sits above the impeller to finely chop incoming leaves and debris into fine particles. We selected this shredder/blower/vac because so many other models simply pass debris through the plastic impeller on its way to the bag. It doesn’t take long to end up with a clogged (or even broken) impeller once you grab a stick or some larger debris by mistake.
The SH 86 C-E also benefits from having the Stihl Easy2Start system. It’s also made in the USA. In the blower mode, you get a solid 15 Newtons with 170 mph speed and 444 CFM of blowing volume. At 12.3 pounds, it isn’t the lightest unit you’ll carry around. However, since you can grab it with two hands during vacuuming, the result is a very maneuverable tool. You can pay a LOT less for a vacuum/mulcher, but probably not if you want it to last.
What Is the Best Gas Leaf Blower for the Money?
Craftsman B2200 25cc 2-cycle 430 CFM Handheld Gas Leaf Blower
The Craftsman B2200 25cc handheld gas leaf blower delivers up to 430 CFM of air volume from the tube. Using the concentrator nozzle you can achieve 200 MPH airspeed for blasting away dirt and debris when needed. Craftsman’s easy pull start has made for consistently simple starting historically. We love that they include a tool-like rubberized grip on the handle.
Other great features include an integrated metal scraper on the front of the tube that helps you get rid of tougher debris without damaging the plastic. At 10.3 pounds, this isn’t the lightest blower, but it’s within a half-pound of the lightest models we’ve tested in this class. You also get Craftsman 2-year limited warranty. For all these reasons—and the $139 price—we chose this as our best gas leaf blower for the money.
Who Makes the Best Gas Leaf Blower?
Considering the number of brands, models, and styles available, deciding who makes the best gas leaf blower is no easy task. Given our hands-on testing of many different brands, Stihl, Husqvarna, and Echo clearly lead the industry in innovation and performance. Of those, Stihl has the best dealer network—in the United States at least. The last time we checked, Stihl had more than 10,000 authorized full-line servicing dealers.
As far as who makes the best gas leaf blower, the answer requires several caveats. Our Stihl recommendation above clearly favors the professional user, rancher, or large property owner. When we turn to value for the homeowner, you can begin to see some exceptional products from other manufacturers—even consumer-minded brands like Craftsman.
What it comes down to is build quality, ergonomics, warranty, serviceability, and price. Those all seem “rubberbanded” together so that as you increase certain parameters, other flex in response. In general, we like to pay more for a product that provides more and lasts longer. That doesn’t, however, always make sense for those who don’t need a ton of performance from their gas blower. For anyone with only minimal use in mind, spending less makes a whole lot of sense.
More Gas Leaf Blower Reviews and Recommendations from Brands We Trust
Most of the time, the best cordless impact wrench for you is one that uses the batteries you already have. If that’s you, here are our top recommendations from other brands we trust to get the job done.
Best RedMax Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
When we tested the now discontinued RedMax EBZ8500, we got some of the highest Newton force measurements we had ever seen at the time. With the replacement RedMax EBZ8550 (EBZ8550-RH for tube throttle), you get even more power, speed, and air volume. Rated at 1077 CFM and 206 MPH using the round nozzle, this gas leaf blower puts out over 41 Newtons of blowing force. That’s very impressive, and fans of RedMax know that these blowers last forever. In fact, the only thing preventing this from being our top pick was the sheer convenience of Stihl’s side-start feature.
Best Ryobi Gas Backpack Leaf Blower
As the base model for the Ryobi 40V RY40440 backpack blower, the Ryobi RY38BP produces 175 MPH airspeed with 760 CFM of blowing volume. This 20-pound blower features a recoil start and anti-vibration system to reduce the stress on your back and shoulders. About the only thing missing is a hip belt (which is an unfortunate oversight in our opinion). Pros don’t typically use a hip belt, but consumers not used to wearing a backpack blower can really benefit from the added weight distribution. This is definitely the best Ryobi gas leaf blower since the RY38BP backpack model outperforms the gas handheld “jet fan” blower by 240 CFM and 15 MPH.
Best Homelight Gas Leaf Blower
Homelight doesn’t make a ton of blowers, but we prefer the Homelight UT26HBV to the smaller UT09525. It adds a cruise control feature and includes the ability to vacuum leaves if needed. For $20 more, the vacuum kit and better build quality make a lot of sense. This gas blower works well for those not requiring a ton of power and who don’t plan to use the tool for more than 30 minutes per week. It’s not that the tool can’t handle more, but in general, we consider this a lighter-duty tool.
Best Makita Gas Blower
Makita Corporation announced in 2020 that it will discontinue the production of engine products on March 31, 2022. Regardless, we really liked the performance of their Makita MM4 4-cycle backpack blower and it had remarkably low vibration. If you really want to nab a Teal gas blower before you can’t any longer, the Makita EB7660TH 4-stroke backpack blower has the goods. The 75.6cc engine generates 706 CFM and 206 MPH of airspeed at the tube. This blower also sounds a lot quieter than most backpack blowers due to the muffler and 4-stroke technology. Since they discontinued the BBX7600N, the EB7660TH is the best Makita gas blower you can buy…if you can find it in stock.
Best Poulon Pro Gas Blower
Poulon Pro offers several leaf blowers, including both backpack and handheld models. There’s a lot of competition in this space, so shop around and pay attention to some of our recommendations above first. We actually prefer Poulon Pro’s handheld blowers due to their lower price point and features. For just blowing, you can pick up the capable PRB26 for around $169. That’s an excellent price if you don’t need to blow off an acre of maple leaves. If you want a blower/vac combination, the 25cc PPBV25 is your ticket for around the same price.
Price: ~$163 (PPBV25) and ~$169 (PRB26)
Best Shindaiwa Gas Leaf Blower
When we attempted to find the best backpack leaf blower , we loved the Shindaiwa EB802. The Shindaiwa EB910RT puts that model to shame. The EB910RT (or EB910) isn’t just the best Shindaiwa leaf blower—it’s an 1110 CFM (48N) beast that puts out air at up to 220 MPH. On top of that, it offers an air cooling system through the back pad that keeps you cool while you work—not a very common feature among Pro brands. You get a carbon fiber frame and a wear ring for scraping debris without damaging the plastic tube. You can also get this blower with either a hip or tub throttle. This Shindaiwa backpack runs loud—but you also get a ridiculous amount of work done while using it.
Price: Starting at $379
Why You Can Trust OPE Reviews
Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the tools or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers? That’s not us. We won’t recommend anything unless we’d actually use it ourselves and we don’t really care who the primary retailer is. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.
We’ve been in business since 2016 covering outdoor power equipment, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the landscaping, heavy equipment, and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers have lots of experience in these fields as well as the skills and experience to know whether these products can perform well on the job.
Each year, our team reviews and gets their hands on hundreds of additional landscaping tools and equipment at our shop and at media events and trade shows.
We work with dozens of professionals around the United States who review products for us on real job sites and consult with us on testing methods, categories, and weighting.