Backpack vs. Handheld Leaf Blower – Which is The Better Option?

Trees are beautiful, and we all love the sight of them, whether it’s birch, maple, or oak, they are all extremely appealing till it’s the fall season where they could become a nightmare.

During the fall season, trees shed a lot of leaves, and the cleaning up could be the most annoying job that follows; luckily, with the help of a leaf blower, it could be made convenient. But a question of backpack leaf blower vs. handheld arises as to which is the best.

Leaf blowers are devices that can help you with the cleaning task. However, choosing the best option can quickly become challenging when you start looking at the choices on the market with many types of leaf blowers being available.

They come in various shapes and sizes, and types – batteries, gas, or electricity.


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Types of Leaf Blowers

Man holding leaf blower among fallen leaves

Generally, there are two types of leaf blowers. Handheld leaf blower and a portable type is the backpack leaf blower.

Although you might notice further variations in it like corded, wireless, and gas-powered, in both backpack and handheld leaf blowers there are particular distinctions that both of these types share.

Handheld leaf blowers

Handheld leaf blowers are the ones that you have to hold in your hands (obviously) and move where you want the leaves to go. It tends to be heavier and more powerful than the backpack alternatives.

The benefit of choosing handheld models is that it is a lot more versatile, and it could get harder-to-reach places where a backpack model might not.

Their design is excellent as it can be both compact, and if you want, you could choose a bigger one as well, for example, for commercial use.

A handheld leaf blower is also exceptional if you have a small yard that gets loaded with leaves during the shedding season. If you have just finished trimming the hedges, then a handheld model is considered excellent to take care of the other things on the ground.

Storage is another positive aspect of these models as they are a lot easier to store and carry around.

Backpack leaf blowers

The backpack leaf blower has a different design compared to a handheld device. Instead of the leafblower being simply something that you need to carry around, a backpack distributes the weight to your shoulders and back. It makes it a lot easier and much more convenient to move it around without tiring you up.

If you have a large garden and it might take a while to clean it, then the ideal choice for this purpose would be a backpack leaf blower. Since the weight distributes through your shoulders and back, it makes it easier to cover more space.

Since it gets a lot more convenient to move around, and you can potentially clean a large yard a lot faster.

Backpack models can be electric or gas-powered leaf blowers. There is another option – cordless – and it powers through a battery. Compared to the handheld devices, the backpack models are less powerful and could end up weighing more.

But for more in-depth info on backpack options, check out our article on the best commercial backpack leaf blowers currently on the market.

Alternatively, you may be interested in looking at a good leaf vacuum if you don’t want to manually collect the leaves afterward. Read our article on leaf blowers vs vacuums for all the pros and cons of each.

Things to Consider Before Making the Purchase

Man cleaning the sidewalk with a leaf blower

You need to consider several factors before choosing the best leaf blower for your purposes.

Gas or Electric

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is whether you would like to have an electric appliance or one that is powered by gas.

Usually, a gas leaf blower is high-speed, and they could assist you in cleaning a yard full of leaves within minutes. However, a corded electric model is deemed ideal for more significant tasks, although it does limit your freedom because of the cord; nonetheless, it is a great option.

Gas blowers are also expensive and weigh more than electric appliances. It also requires maintenance and fueling. The cordless electric versions have a lighter unit that is exceptionally easy to carry around and weighs only approximately 10 pounds, although they offer lower power.

Noise Level

Leaf blowers can get noisy, and it might frustrate you. Luckily, the wide range of choices has allowed us to choose exactly what we like.

When considering buying a leaf blower, regardless of whether it’s a handheld or a backpack, the noise levels are already mentioned in decibels, which vary with each product.

Generally, the gas leaf blowers tend to be a lot louder than the electric models. However, that could vary in the newer models that offer the utmost performance while being extremely quiet.

You need to ensure before buying a leaf blower that its noise level is one that you could tolerate. Also, check your State’s regulations on leaf blowers and noise emission.


Another factor that you need to consider before buying the product is durability. Regardless of the model that you want to purchase, ensure that it is of high-grade material, and the leaf collecting buckets are of solid plastic.

The blower should be resilient to withstand any weather conditions, and for it to be continuously exposed to harsh temperatures, it would need to be built with solid material.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning is vital with leaf blowers, and when you choose a model, you need to confirm that it is easy to clean. A leaf blower performs a messy job, and if you do not clean it correctly, the chances of damaging it increase significantly.

Maintenance is another crucial factor. Gas leaf blowers tend to require higher maintenance than other models; it is an aspect that you must determine before making a decision.

Alternatively, the number one no-hassle, no-maintenance tool for collecting leaves will always be the rake! And while we all know how it works, read our article on rakes vs leaf blowers to weigh the pros and cons of both.

Structure and Assembly

An easy assembly and a solid structure that is also space-friendly are two more factors that need to apply to all the models.

You may get a leaf blower in several parts, and you would have to put them together. If the assembly is easy, then you could set it up within minutes, or you might need professional assistance.

The structure of the leaf blower should be designed in a way to ensure that it is space-friendly. It will make the carrying of the product extremely easy and convenient.

The Takeaway of Backpack Leaf Blower vs. Handheld

So, after all this, which one would suit you better – handheld or backpack leaf blower?

We have already discussed some notable features of both types. Now, we can draw a comparative analysis here to help you reach a decision.

A handheld leaf blower is an excellent choice for small tasks. It is also a lot more versatile and provides the user with additional freedom to move it through tighter areas. This is something you can’t do with a backpack model. Furthermore, such models are convenient to store since their design is portable. You could also use them for other tasks like cleaning after cutting a bush or a hedge.

There are certain limitations with a handheld blower; it lacks the power to perform a bigger job that tends to take a lot of time. Since you have to carry it around, it is difficult to hold it for such a prolonged duration. Therefore, you could end up getting tired quicker. It is also hard to use on larger driveways since it is the right choice for smaller tasks.

The backpack leaf blower is a more popular choice. The fact that you can easily carry it around for a longer duration is a boost for several buyers. You can use this product to perform longer tasks and to move a giant pile of leaves. It is also a lot faster and capable of cleaning a large driveway in minutes.

The storage is a downside of the backpack blower since it has a different and usually more significant design.

Ultimately, the debate of backpack or handheld leaf blower and which one would suit you would come down to your preferences.

If you are looking for a product that could help you in a small garden, then you should choose the handheld one. Whereas, if you would like to clear large yards, then a bag pack product would be the best choice.

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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