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Backpack Leaf Blower Vs Handheld: Which One Is Better For Your Yard?

Handheld vs backpack leaf blower, which is better? Handheld models are more suited for smaller yards. They are light, compact, and easy to store. Backpack blowers are more powerful and can move large piles of leaves. They are ideal for big yards.

Looking to buy a new leaf blower? Don’t know which is better – backpack leaf blower vs handheld?

No worries, you are in the right place! I will help you pick the best blower for your yard!

Both types of leaf blowers have their pros and cons. Regardless, a backpack leaf blower is the best solution for most homeowners with large yards. They are stronger and can move larger piles of leaves. 

But that is not all! Keep on reading! You can find all differences between a backpack leaf blower vs handheld below!

Backpack Leaf Blower Vs Handheld: Up Close

Backpack Leaf Blower: Review

You have probably seen professional landscapers use backpack leaf blowers. To many people’s surprise, backpack leaf blowers can be used for home use, too, not only for the maintenance of public parks.

Backpack leaf blowers are an ideal accessory for large yards. They have the power and strength to move large piles of leaves and debris, unlike handheld models. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the features of a backpack leaf blower. 


A man operating a backpack leaf blower in the park

You can recognize a backpack leaf blower quite easily. It looks like a backpack! You carry the main body of the machine on your back and the tube and the nozzle extend past your back, so you can hold it in your hand and aim it at the ground. 

Most backpack leaf blowers have a tube-mounted throttle that can be operated with one hand. All of the controls are located on a convenient handle to ensure easy and hassle-free operation. Pretty convenient!

Backpack leaf blowers were designed to reduce hand and arm fatigue during prolonged work. They can weigh more than 17 pounds, so you certainly don’t want to carry that weight for an extended period of time. 

The machine features a harness with adjustable straps that distributes the weight evenly across your back and shoulders. Most backpack blowers have a padded back for added comfort and support.

I recommend you purchase a backpack leaf blower if you have a big property to maintain unless, of course, you have a bad back. If you have back pain, it is best if you stick with a handheld model

Blowing Power

Man operating a heavy duty backpack leaf blower to blow fallen leaves in the park

Gas-powered handheld leaf blowers can’t compete with the strength and power of gas-powered backpack leaf blowers. Compared to handheld, backpack blowers have a larger engine and a bigger fuel tank. No wonder why they produce a much stronger blow!

The blowing performance of leaf blowers is measured in miles per hour (MPH) and cubic feet per minute (CFM). MPH tells you the speed of the produced air, and the CFM indicates the volume of air coming out of the tube. 

If you want to know more, read detailed info about CFM vs MPH.

Backpack leaf blowers can blow at a speed ranging from 175 to 250 MPH, depending on the unit. Their CFM is also higher, ranging from 300 to 900, depending on the model. 

If you have a property one acre in size or bigger, you’ll want a unit that can produce from 400 to 700 CFM. You can easily find this power in a backpack leaf blower, not so much in a handheld. 


  • Ideal for large yards
  • Stronger than handheld blower
  • Moves larger piles of leaves
  • Larger engine 
  • Can store more fuel than handheld blowers
  • Reduces hand fatigue 


  • Needs to be taken off to start when it stalls
  • Heavier than handheld blowers
  • Requires more storage space than handheld blowers
  • Not ideal for people with back pain

Handheld Leaf Blower: Review

Handheld leaf blowers don’t need a detailed introduction. They are more widely used for the maintenance of backyards than backpack models.

The reason why handheld blowers are more sought-after is that they are small, compact, and affordable. A handheld unit allows you to keep your yard neat on a budget

Most importantly, they do their job well! They give the best results when used on smaller yards with moderate amounts of leaves. That’s exactly what most people need in a blower. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the features of handheld leaf blowers.


A man operating a handheld leafblower in his yard

Handheld leaf blowers are lightweight, compact machines designed to be carried and used by hand. You carry the blower by the handle located on the main body where the engine is located and they’re light enough that you don’t have to support the tube and the nozzle with the other hand.

This wouldn’t be possible if handheld leaf blowers weren’t so light. Handheld leaf blowers typically weigh around 10 pounds. That said, they should be used for light and quick jobs around the house, so your hands don’t get fatigued, even at this weight. Those 10 pounds will quickly start to feel like 20 if you use the machine for too long. 

I can’t forget to mention that some handheld leaf blowers can vacuum, shred or grind leaves too. The design of such models has come a long way!

Blowing Power

A young man blowing fallen leaves off his shrubs in his garden

Handheld leaf blowers are best suited for small yards that don’t produce large piles of leaves and debris. They generate enough blowing power to take care of any standard backyard

The MPH for gas-powered handheld models ranges from 150 to 300. They can blow at 300 to 500 cubic feet per minute, depending on the model. Click here to see if this is a good CFM range for a leaf blower! 

The reason why handheld leaf blowers are significantly less powerful than backpack models is that most of them feature a smaller 2-stroke engine. Backpack models typically have a larger 4-stroke engine

An engine of a handheld model may be smaller, but at least it is lighter, easier to carry and less noisy


  • Good for small yards
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Smaller and more manoeverable in tight corners than backpack blowers
  • Storage friendly
  • Quieter than backpack blowers
  • Cheaper than backpack blowers


  • Can’t move large piles of leaves
  • Can’t cover large areas
  • Less powerful than backpack blowers
  • Store less fuel than backpack blowers

Backpack Leaf Blowers Vs Handheld: Features Face To Face

Blowing Power (MPH/CFM)

A mean clearing fallen leaves from his lawn with a leaf blower

One of the most important features to look for in a leaf blower, no matter the type, is the blowing power. You don’t want to buy a unit that is too weak to move anything or a machine so strong it will blow leaves onto your neighbor’s lawn

Pick the CFM and MPH based on the size of your yard and how much leaves and debris it produces. Handheld units are better for small yards, while backpack blowers are more suited for big properties

Power ratings for handheld leaf blowers range from 150 to 300 MPH and 300 to 500 CFM. Backpack leaf blowers are much stronger. Their MPH ranges from 175 to 250 and their CFM from 300 to 900

Since backpack leaf blowers have more power, they can move more than just leaves. You can use your backpack blower for snow removal or to clean gutters

A backpack leaf blower is the clear winner of this versus battle since it produces a much faster and stronger blow. 

Winner: Backpack leaf blower


Troy-Bilt Gas Leaf Blower, 25cc (TB430)

The price of a leaf blower will definitely influence your purchase. Leaf blowers are not the cheapest! It is best if you wait for sales or use store coupons to get a good discount on the unit you want. 

Regardless of the deal you get on your leaf blower, expect to pay more for a backpack model than a handheld. Backpack leaf blowers have a bigger engine, and they are expected to cost more. They can cost anywhere from $250 to $1000 and more

Handheld leaf blowers are more affordable. Their price starts at around $100 and goes up to $400

The clear winner of this battle is the handheld leaf blower. It is cheaper than its competitor.

Winner: Handheld leaf blower

Fuel Tank Size

Husqvarna 965877502 350BT 2-Cycle Gas Backpack Blower, Orange,1-(Pack)

Always check the fuel tank size when buying a leaf blower. You don’t want to buy a unit that can barely hold any gas, or the machine will die on you before you are halfway done cleaning your yard. 

Backpack leaf blowers feature a larger fuel tank than handheld models. Those can’t afford to have a bigger reservoir. They need to stay lightweight, so they are easy to carry by hand. 

Let’s look at a specific example. The Schröder Industrial Backpack Leaf Blower is equipped with a 65 fl oz capacity fuel tank, while the Husqvarna 125B handheld leaf blower stores only 16.91 fl oz of gas. 

Having a blower with a smaller fuel tank isn’t a problem if you’re just using it to clear a smaller area. But if you intend on using your handheld unit on a big yard, be prepared to make more stops for gas refills

The clear winner in this battle is the backpack leaf blower. It has a bigger fuel tank and can run for longer

Winner: Backpack leaf blower 


Are backpack blowers better than handheld?

Backpack leaf blowers are better than handheld in terms of engine power and blowing performance. They have bigger engines and produce a faster and stronger blow. They can move large piles of leaves and can run for longer, thanks to the bigger fuel tank.

Do I need a backpack leaf blower?

You need a backpack leaf blower if you own a big property that produces lots of organic debris. Backpack blowers are stronger and can move larger piles of leaves. Handheld models are more suited for smaller yards less than an acre in size. 

Pick The Right Type Of Leaf Blower For Your Yard

A leaf blower is a handy machine that will make your landscaping easier and more fun

But there is one condition! You have to pick the right type of leaf blower for your yard. Otherwise, you may find yourself returning to your rake. You don’t want to buy a machine that is too difficult to work with and can’t get the job done

If you still can’t decide between backpack leaf blower vs handheld, follow these last guidelines.

Buy a backpack leaf blower if:

  • You need to cover a big area.
  • You have lots of trees in your yard.
  • You need a powerful machine.
  • You need a machine that can run for a long time. 
  • You have enough storage space.
  • You can afford it. 

Buy a handheld leaf blower if:

  • You have a small yard. 
  • You don’t have lots of trees.
  • You have back pain.
  • You are running short on storage space.
  • You are on a budget.

Last update on 2023-03-25 at 09:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About The Author

Brett Jones

Brett is a private yet hardworking office assistant, who resides in Raleigh with his wife Nadya. He has a passion for backyard projects and spends much of his free time working on landscaping, gardening, and building outdoor furniture. Though he shies away from being in the spotlight, he plays an important role in Nadya's blog by providing her with "raw" content. Brett's knowledge and creativity of backyard design and DIY projects give Nadya material to come up with unique and interesting posts for her blog. On occasion, Brett also contributes to the site showing his tech expertise, particularly when talking about snowblowers and other tools. Follow him on Twitter.

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