Leaf blowers – love them or hate them?
No matter where your opinion lies, there’s no denying just how useful these machines can be.
Clearing your gutters, tidying up your yard, drying surfaces, dusting, and even shifting light snow – they are highly versatile tools for the homeowner.
But you need a good one to truly reap the benefits.
That’s why we’re looking at two heavyweight power tool companies in this popular brand standoff.
Husqvarna vs Stihl blowers – which is better?
They’ve already squared off in the string trimmer head-to-head, but let’s see how they do in the leaf blowing department.
Who will get blown away? Let’s find out.
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- Husqvarna vs Stihl – In a Few Words
- Brand History
- Best Stihl and Husqvarna Blowers
Husqvarna vs Stihl – In a Few Words
Time is money, and in the interest of not keeping you from your busy schedule, let’s just give you the winner upfront.
Just from the sample reviews, I’ve used here, I believe that Husqvarna just edges it. It’s certainly a very close-run contest, but when push comes to shove the Swedes take the points.
That said, die-hard Stihl fans will always stick with their brand, and they are in no way inferior. Truth be told, it almost came down to the toss of a coin – they’re both that good.
Whichever company you go with, you’re sure to be getting a top-quality machine that will do the job and then some.
You might recognize them as two outdoor power tool companies at the top of their game, but let’s delve a little deeper into each brand to see what makes them tick.
After all, it’s a good idea to understand the who, what, why, and where these days when it comes to purchasing new products.
Stihl is a German power-tool institution. Founded in 1926 by Anderas Stihl, he was known as the “father of the chainsaw” (although he didn’t actually invent it).
Descendants of the Swiss-born engineer that started it all still run the business to this day, proving that Stihl really is a trusted family brand for both homeowners and the professional markets.
World-famous for their chainsaws and other forestry equipment, they have manufacturing plants in Brazil, China, and the USA, but their home base is close to Stuttgart, Germany. They use global parts and components in the construction of their machines.
Stihl has a reputable environmental protection policy, dedicated to providing products that meet fuel emission targets and optimizing their range to acknowledge their responsibility in safeguarding the earth and its climate.
Husqvarna’s history is as interesting as it is long – very long, in fact, as they’re one of the oldest companies in the world, dating back to 1689.
What started as an effort to make firearms and rifles, has evolved into outdoor power tools, kitchen equipment, motorcycles, and even sewing machines.
Continually reinventing themselves and at the forefront of innovative technology for literal centuries, the Swedes are a truly iconic, global brand with a dedicated customer fan base.
They have manufacturing facilities in Sweden, Brazil, the USA, and China, as well as having plants in France and Germany. Like Stihl, they use globally sourced components and parts.
Husqvarna is an environmentally conscious company, striving to reduce its footprint in its manufacturing and business practices, and acting on relevant legislation to have a positive impact on our planet.
Best Stihl and Husqvarna Blowers
Below, you’ll find a selection of leaf blowers I’ve researched and paired off, in order to be as fair, accurate, and as unbiased as possible when comparing Husqvarna and Stihl machines.
Stihl Easy2Start BG 86 Gas Handheld Leaf Blower
What better way to kick things off than with Stihl’s most powerful handheld gas leaf blower. The BG 86 C-E is a very popular model, capable of up to 190 MPH winds, and featuring their Easy2Start technology to get you up and running in no time.
A specialized stop switch is also included for safety and control, which returns to the start position when activated. It has a 27.2 cc engine, with a 14.9-ounce fuel tank and a noise rating of 70 decibels.
Relatively lightweight at 9.9 lbs, it offers a blowing force of 15 Newtons, and the built-in anti-vibration system helps to reduce user fatigue and prevent the shakes when handling all that power.
- Throttle trigger lock.
- Flat and round nozzles included.
- Soft grip handle.
- Washable air filter for long life.
- Upright translucent fuel tank.
- Semi-automatic choke lever to prevent flooding.
- Some concerns with the location of the exhaust port.
Husqvarna 525 BX Gas-powered Leaf Blower
Husky’s 525 BX is an absolute beast of a leaf blower. Weighing in just under 9.5 lbs, it’s marketed as being the lightest blower in its class – without fuel.
Fully juiced up you’ll have 15.22 fluid ounces of gas to play with, and the powerful X-Torque engine has an output of 1.14 HP, all while cutting emissions and fuel consumption. Featuring an auto-return stop switch and an air purge for easy starts – particularly when cold – a cruise control option is included for effortless handling and to help reduce fatigue.
And speaking of, the 525 BX has an improved, in-line tube design which focuses the blowing power backwards, ensuring a more balanced user experience for longer.
- Adjustable tube length.
- Low vibration technology.
- Rubberized handle for comfort.
- Flat and round nozzle included.
- Very well-balanced, in-line design.
- Lightweight and easy-to-use.
- More expensive and louder than the Stihl.
Stihl BGA 200 Battery-Powered Leaf Blower
Designed with both the pros and the homeowners in mind, this excellent cordless leaf blower from Stihl packs a punch in a lightweight package.
It’s an improvement on their previous design, with 50% more blowing power, maxing out at a very impressive 21 Newtons, with a maximum air velocity of 157MPH and 553 CFM at the nozzle. It weighs an astonishing seven pounds, making it one of the lightest ever leaf blowers with this kind of power (when using the recommended battery pack).
The BGA 200’s noise level rating is 59 decibels – making it considerably quieter than a gas-powered version. A brushless motor offers extended life and ample power-to-weight ratio, as well as helping keep the noise to a minimum.
And there’s a handy built-in hanging slot for convenient storage when it’s not in use.
- Powerful, quiet operation.
- Compact design.
- Soft grip handle.
- Safety retaining latch.
- Speed control trigger.
- Fast charging.
- Battery indicator.
- On the pricey side.
- Some issues with battery life depending on which model you use.
- Can be difficult to find and requires a battery belt/backpack to use.
Husqvarna 230iB Battery Blower
Husqvarna’s 230iB battery-powered leaf blower provides an impressive 40 Volts worth of power, with an eye-watering 19.4 Newtons of blowing force that’s capable of 650 CFM.
It’s another home run when it comes to weight, with the unit coming in at 8.4 lbs with the battery installed. A cruise control feature allows you to let the machine take the strain and keeps finger fatigue to a minimum, and the powerful 40 Volt battery can be used with other Husqvarna tools in the same range.
The balance has been optimized to prevent back and shoulder strain and low vibration technology ensure you’re not shaking when you switch it off. And there’s even a built-in scraper attachment on the nozzle to help shift stubborn debris for faster clean-up.
- Lightweight and powerful.
- Boost button for 20% more power.
- Fast recharge.
- Low noise technology.
- Battery indicator lights.
- Ergonomic, rubber handle.
- Well-balanced design.
- Heavier than the Stihl with less power.
Stihl BR 800 C-E Magnum Commercial Leaf Blower
You might well think you’re Dirty Harry wielding this particular Magnum, the top-of-the-line backpack leaf blower from Stihl that can just about blow anything away.
25.8 lbs in weight, you’re carrying a veritable hurricane on your back, with a 79.9 cc engine that can deliver a wig-flipping 41 Newtons of blowing force. It’s capable of a maximum air velocity of 239 MPH – which is almost as fast as the highest wind speed ever recorded naturally on earth.
The fuel tank can carry 67.6 fluid ounces of juice, so you’re not likely to run out anytime soon, and it comes in at a respectable 78 decibels for noise levels.
And all the usual refinements are on board, including Easy2Start technology, an anti-vibration system, and a multi-function handle for all the controls you need at your fingertips.
- Fully adjustable support harness.
- Purge pump primer.
- Throttle trigger lock.
- Low emission technology.
- Tool-less telescopic tube adjustment.
- One-touch stop switch and starting handle.
- It’s on the expensive side.
Husqvarna 580BTS Mark II Leaf Blower
Husky’s 580BTS Mark II is their most powerful backpack leaf blower – so we have a genuine head-to-head contest on our hands here. It also has a blowing force of 41 Newtons, and weighs slightly heavier at 26.3 lbs.
Designed with Husqvarna’s X-torq engine technology, you have more power with less fuel consumption and lower emissions, and the fuel tank can carry a whopping 87.9 fluid ounces for those day-long jobs.
Recorded sound levels are at 112 decibels, with the airflow in the pipe recorded at 941 CFM. The hip belt and strap system offer even weight distribution, and the cruise control function allows you to let the machine do the work.
Make no mistake, this is one serious piece of blowing equipment that will really have your back when you need it.
- Offers high productivity.
- Commercial-grade air filter.
- Tool-less handle adjustment.
- Easy to maintain.
- Translucent fuel tank.
- Highly rated.
- Much louder than the Stihl.
You’ve read the reviews, now let’s take a look at each feature in detail when they go head-to-head and see who comes out on top.
Type of Leaf Blower
For the purposes of this article, I’ve chosen three types of leaf blowers that might well be commonly used by homeowners and landscape professionals.
Gas-powered leaf blowers are powerful machines that offer a lot of displacement when it comes to producing high volumes and velocities of air.
They will last longer than battery-powered machines but will be considerably louder as the trade-off. For more brands, take a look at this article on the best gas-powered leaf blowers on the market.
Battery-powered leaf blowers are more environmentally friendly, with zero emissions and less noise pollution.
They’re not nearly as powerful as their gas counterparts, however, and won’t run as long (although they’re certainly catching up as the technology improves).
You can find more information on gas versus electric leaf blowers if you follow that link.
Commercial Leaf Blowers or backpack leaf blowers are the most powerful air displacement tools that a homeowner can purchase, and as the name suggests, designed for pro and commercial use.
These products should only be used if you have a large amount of land, and you’re some distance away from your nearest neighbor.
And while you should be wearing ear protection with all power tools, if you’re rocking a backpack leaf blower and not looking after your hearing – you won’t have much of it left before so long.
Why are there no corded electric models – a popular choice for residential use and for owners of smaller properties?
Of the two brands, only Stihl offers this option, which is why they’re not included here as Husqvarna manufactures no such product for comparison at the time of writing.
Garden vacs and shredders are also not covered in this particular article, and you should take a look at this review if you’re looking for the best walk-behind leaf blowers for some real commercial-grade power.
There’s nothing worse than a tool that won’t start – relatively speaking, of course.
Yanking on a starter cord several times is bound to take the wind and motivation right out of you – so it’s important manufacturers get the start-up just right.
This is where battery-powered units have the advantage, as they require the simple push of a button to get going.
Having said that, both Stihl and Husqvarna include advanced starting technology in all their higher-end blowers, so it takes you less effort to fire up your machine.
Which is better? Well, you’d need to personally test every machine to find that out.
Having said that, while both brands are top-quality when it comes to first-time starts, I read more reviews championing Husqvarna’s start technology over Stihl.
Again, that could be down to any number of factors – and is in no way a nailed-on statistic or fact. But I’m calling this round for Husqvarna.
Anyone who has ever lugged a leaf blower around a yard for any length of time will tell you that they will soon get very heavy.
Even with the lightest models (which will then sacrifice power), fatigue can set in.
As such, weight is an important consideration when choosing the right blower for you. Let’s take a look at Stihl vs Husqvarna handheld blowers and see who wins this round.
In the gas-powered category, it’s a close-run thing. The Stihl weighs 9.9 lbs, but the Husqvarna is marginally lighter at 9.5 lbs.
For the battery models, Stihl edges it this time with an excellent seven-pound model to Husqvarna’s 8.4 lbs.
For the backpacks, Stihl is only just lighter again with a machine that weighs 25.8 lbs compared to Husqvarna’s 26.3 lbs.
If you add up the totals, Stihl comes in at 42.7 lbs, while Husqvarna amounts to 44.2 lbs. So overall, Stihl takes this round by just 1.5 lbs!
Of course, you could always choose a walk-behind leaf blower instead – which makes using these machines almost effortless.
Newtons (N) is the standard unit of measuring the air velocity and air volume when it comes to the power of a leaf blower.
All makes and models of blowers should tell you this number as part of their specifications. The higher the number, the more powerful the machine.
However, the Husky claims to edge the wind speed with 192 MPH to Stihl’s 190 MPH, and also boasts more cubic feet per minute airflow, coming in at 459 CFM to Stihl’s 444 CFM – both with the round nozzle.
In the battery match up it’s a different story. The Stihl offers 21 Newtons to the Husky’s 19.4 and boasts an average air velocity of 157 MPH compared to the 136 MPH showing from the Husqvarna.
However, the 230iB from the Swedes claims to provide 640 CFM at the nozzle which blows away the 553 CFM from the BGA 200 from the Germans.
For the commercial blowers, both offer 41 Newtons of blowing force, with the Stihl showing an average 199 MPH air velocity to the Husqvarna’s 206 MPH.
And again, when it comes to cubic feet per minute, the Husky wins out, giving us 941 CFM to the Stihl’s 912 CFM.
Another close battle, but I think that it’s another marginal Husqvarna win.
Generally speaking, the Swedes consistently offer more when it comes to cubic feet per minute – which is the most important figure when it comes to overall volumetric flow – and how much material the unit is capable of shifting.
*Please, don’t use a powerful leaf blower to frighten animals. Kids maybe, but not animals.
**Don’t use a powerful leaf blower to frighten kids. Mothers-in-law, on the other hand…
Handling and Performance
Leaf blowers can be unruly, bulky tools, difficult to maneuver and operate depending on your circumstances and the quality of the machine you’re using.
But without physically testing each blower, we can’t 100% say who comes out on top in the overall handling and performance category.
However, we can make some educated guesses based on user experience, reviews, and a bit of common sense.
Not that Stihl machines aren’t comparable, it’s just that the Swedes have put a bit of extra thought into this aspect of the leaf blower design, and so I feel they take this round.
The bigger the job, the longer your machine needs to last in order to complete it. This is where gas-powered leaf blowers win every time – but which brand offers the best tank capacities?
First up, in the gas-powered handheld leaf blower department the Stihl offers a generous 14.9 fluid ounces of juice, but it’s just pipped by the Husqvarna which boasts a 15.22 ounce fuel tank.
For battery-powered models, it will all depend on how powerful the battery is, as some products – most notably the Stihls – offer interchangeable battery packs for more versatility.
But with the commercial-grade backpack blowers, it’s no contest. The Husqvarna offers huge productivity with a best-in-class 87.9 fluid ounce fuel tank to the Stihl’s 67.6.
I think it’s another clear win for Husqvarna.
Leaf blowers aren’t the quietest of power tools, and it’s important that you are conscious of the noise levels and how their use will impact others around you.
Even with the latest noise-reducing technology, blowers are up there with the loudest tools you can own, but companies still try to keep the decibel levels down as much as they can.
When it comes to these blowers, in the gas-powered handheld corner, Stihl wins hands down with a machine rated/tested at 70 decibels to the Husqvarna’s 104.
While this might be a pretty sizable difference on paper, to hear the machines side-by-side there’s not that much in it. Still, if noise levels are a concern where you are, it’s obvious which one you should go for.
For the battery models, the Stihl comes in at 59 decibels, but I couldn’t find any figures for the Husqvarna, which is an automatic loss for me.
And Stihl takes the victory with the commercial-grade blowers, with a unit that offers a relatively respectable 78 decibels to the Husqvarna’s boisterous 112 decibels.
So, the Germans are quieter than the Swedes. That’s probably about right.
When you’re considering how much you can afford, I always encourage readers to buy the best they can afford, under budget, and relative to how much use they’re going to actually get out of the machine.
That way you’re not over-spending on something that is just going to gather dust, and you can purchase a product that is suitable and sufficient for the job it’s being bought to do.
But good quality equipment doesn’t come cheap, and that’s reflected in the price points of both Stihl and Husqvarna leaf blowers.
Overall though, Husqvarna seems to take the points here by being slightly cheaper than Stihl, at the time of writing and using the models in this review as a guide.
The Overall Winner
Yes, you’ve guessed it – we’ve had another extremely close contest. But I’m going out on a limb here and declaring Husqvarna to just take the checkered flag by a nose.
Comparably speaking, their products are cheaper, while offering very close statistics when it comes to power, weight, and noise levels.
And for the most part, the average homeowner isn’t going to worry too much about small increments of data, so much as the dent the machine will put in the pocket.
If you want to go into greater detail and do your own research, you can check out this handy guide in Stihl’s blowing force chart – which compares their whole leaf and vac range.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find something similar for Husqvarna, although you can see their full leaf blower range breakdown if you follow that link.
Which is better – Stihl or Husqvarna leaf blowers?
It’s almost too close to call, as each brand has its own advantages over the other.
Of the products I researched and reviewed in this article, Husqvarna tends to be cheaper and more powerful, with a longer run time, while the Stihl’s are lighter and quieter.
For me, I think the Swedes edge the battle this time – but they’ve certainly not won the war!
Which is the best leaf blower on the market?
That’s almost impossible to answer, as the best blower for me might not be the best for you. It all comes down to personal preference, brand loyalty, and experience.
And don’t forget, there are more options out there than just these two heavyweights, so once again I will direct you to this article on the best leaf blowers and see if you can answer the question for yourself.
What leaf blower do professionals use?
The pros will use a variety of brands when it comes to leaf blowers, but I’ll bet my bottom dollar they’re made by either Stihl or Husqvarna.
As far as the model is concerned, it could be anything that’s capable of handling a commercial-sized job, so if that’s the kind of machine you’re looking for then I’d be looking at the larger, more expensive machines – such as the backpack blowers.
Are leaf blowers legal?
Great question – and it depends on where you are. In certain places around the world, their use is either banned or limited, so you need to understand local ordinances and laws before you purchase one.
And there’s certainly a lot of noise being made by certain groups to get them prohibited in towns and cities – which is fair enough when you consider how much noise they actually make.
Personally, I have minimal use for a leaf blower, so I use a quieter, battery-powered model that won’t get anyone’s backs up in a residential area.
But go for your life if you live on five acres of farmland and there’s not a neighbor in sight. You might also want to have one of these zero-turn lawnmowers to tackle the grass on a property that large.
What a contest, folks, there was blood, there was sweat, and there were tears, but I think in the end a fair winner was chosen. Husqvarna takes the crown this time.
But am I wrong? Are you a die-hard Stihl fan seething at your computer or on your cell phone? Let me know in the comments below.
In the meantime, stay safe out there – and happy blowing!