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Leaf Blower CFM Vs MPH: Which One Is More Important?

CFM vs MPH? CFM measures the volume of air. MPH tells you the speed of the blow. If the MPH is too low, a blower will have trouble moving leaves. If the CFM is too low, a blower won’t be able to clear a large area quickly. Both metrics are important for the performance of a leaf blower.

Do you want to buy a new leaf blower? Don’t know what CFM and MPH mean or which is more important

You are not the only one! A lot of people get confused by CFM and MPH, especially when buying a leaf blower for the first time. 

Luckily, you are in the right place! I will explain the terminology and settle the leaf blower CFM vs MPH debate once and for all! 

Keep on reading! You can find all the answers below! 

Leaf Blower CFM Vs MPH: The Full Breakdown

What Is CFM? 

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It is a measurement of air volume. CFM tells you how many cubic feet of air comes out of the blower’s nozzle every minute

For example, a powerful backpack leaf blower with 920 CFM pushes out 920 cubic feet of air through the tube per minute. This leaf blower produces enough air to fill a cube 10 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 10 feet high in only 1 minute. 

The CFM will give you an idea of how much material a blower can move or how large of an area it can clear in a certain time frame. Leaf blowers with higher CFM produce more air and can clear bigger yards in less time. If you have a large property, you will need a leaf blower with high CFM.  

Generally speaking, leaf blowers with larger and stronger engines have higher CFM and MPH. The impeller, which creates a blow, also dictates CFM and MPH. The length, speed, and angle of rotation influence the volume and speed of air.  

CFM does not depend on the diameter of the tube, like MPH. The tube, however, restricts the traveling air. That’s why many manufacturers up their CFM by measuring it without the tube. This can deceive a buyer into thinking a blower has an exceptional CFM.  

What Is MPH?

An image of a speedometer gauge

MPH stands for miles per hour. It is a measurement for speed. It is used for measuring the speed of vehicles, wind, and other moving things. That’s why it’s easier for people to understand MPH compared to CFM.

MPH in a leaf blower tells you how fast the air is moving when it comes out of the nozzle. The Echo PB-580T leaf blower pushes out a burst of air at the speed of 215 miles per hour. It creates a blow that would travel 215 miles in an hour if it could maintain this speed

MPH tells you how forcefully and quickly a leaf blower blows leaves away from you. The higher the MPH, the faster the material can be blown away. Having a blower with a higher speed comes in handy when moving wet leaves, sticks, and other heavier objects

One thing I should mention is that the MPH can be easily manipulated by changing the diameter of the nozzle. When you decrease the diameter you boost the MPH.

Manufacturers often put narrow nozzles on their blowers to increase the MPH. But don’t get fooled by this marketing ploy! Stay away from blowers that have an excellent MPH but suspiciously low CFM

CFM Vs MPH: Which Is More Important?

Which should you get? A backpack leaf blower vs handheld? One with higher CFM or higher MPH? 

Let’s see what you will get if you buy a leaf blower with:

  1. High MPH and low CFM 
  2. High CFM and low MPH
  3. High CFM and high MPH

High MPH – Low CFM

A man blowing fallen leaves with a handheld leaf blower

Generally speaking, leaf blowers with higher MPH are stronger. Air that moves at a higher speed can move heavier things than slow-moving air. They can blow leaves further away too! 

Let’s say you buy a leaf blower with exceptional MPH but very low CFM. Using it, you will successfully move all kinds of yard debris, including wet leaves, acorns, pine cones, sticks, and rocks. You can even use it for snow removal

But you will also create a big mess in your yard, especially when clearing dry leaves. You will blow leaves far away from you, maybe even onto your neighbor’s yard. Collecting leaves onto a pile will be difficult because you will lose control over the operation. 

A unit with a high MPH but low CFM will have a narrow nozzle. A narrow nozzle will give you precision during work, but it will also be very useless on large areas. It will take you much longer to clear your yard than if you used a blower with better CFM.  

High CFM – Low MPH 

A man working with a heavy duty backpack leaf blower

On the flip side, leaf blowers with higher CFM can move more leaves at a time. They can cover large areas faster, which means you will be finished cleaning your yard quicker. 

With a low MPH, you won’t be able to move wet leaves, sticks, and rocks. You may even have trouble blowing dry stuff away from you. 

The minimum MPH for leaf blower should be 190. Too low MPH won’t get you anywhere. Pick too high, and you will lose control over the leaves.

High CFM – High MPH

A man blowing off autumn leaves in the garden with a leaf blower

Now you can see that your blower needs both – a good CFM and a good MPH. If the blower is lacking in one of these areas, it immediately shows in its efficiency.

The best way to ensure you get an all-around good performance is to find a blower with high CFM and high MPH. This is the optimal choice for your yard, but not so much for your wallet. Leaf blowers that have high metrics are also more expensive

If you are on a budget, you may have to pick between CFM and MPH. In this case, it is better to pick a model with a higher CFM. Want to know what’s good CFM for a leaf blower? Click here to find out! 

I also recommend you buy a leaf blower based on the size of your yard and the yard debris you will be blowing. 

If you want to move heavier things and have the ability to blow leaves far, pick a blower with higher MPH. If you want a blower that can move more leaves at the time and clear a large area faster, opt for higher CFM

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Is CFM or MPH more important in a leaf blower?

CFM is more important in a leaf blower, but without a sufficient MPH, it won’t do you any good. With a higher CFM, you can cover large areas and move more leaves at a time. If the MPH is too low, you won’t be able to move leaves very far. 

What does MPH mean on a leaf blower?

MPH on a leaf blower means miles per hour. It tells you the speed of the air exiting the blower’s tube. Blowers with high MPH can blow leaves further away. They can blow wet leaves, sticks, and rocks much easier too!

What is CFM in leaf blower compared to MPH?

CFM in a leaf blower is a measurement of air volume compared to MPH, which is a measurement of air speed. CFM lets you know how many cubic feet of air the blower produces per minute. The MPH tells you how many miles per hour the air travels.

CFM Vs MPH: Both Are Important

What’s more important, leaf blower CFM vs MPH? They both are! A leaf blower can’t perform efficiently without a good CFM or MPH. A blower with a high CFM but low MPH will have trouble moving leaves. On the other hand, a unit with too much MPH but hardly any CFM won’t have good area coverage.

It is important that you find a leaf blower that works for you. Prioritize one metric based on the size and bio waste of your yard. If you own a big property that needs regular maintenance, pick CFM over MPH. But if you plan on moving wet leaves and sticks, look for higher MPH. 

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to ask questions. I would love to hear from you!

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About The Author

Brett Jones

Brett's the kind of guy you'd never peg as having such an amazing yard. He's shy and private, avoiding social media and the spotlight. By day, Brett works quietly as an electrician technician, helping folks with wiring and repairs. But get Brett home to his place in Raleigh, where Nadya's always dreaming up new landscaping ideas, and you see another side of him. Brett happily rolls up his sleeves to transform their modest backyard into a lush, cozy oasis. The yard's really a labor of love for them, a place to unwind on weekends, entertain friends, and make cherished memories together. Nadya might come up with all the creative concepts, but Brett's the one ensuring each vision comes to stunning life. They make a great team, even if Brett's content to operate behind the scenes. At heart, Brett's a simple man who finds purpose and joy in small things. Puttering in their garden under the sun or cooking out back in the evenings - these are the things that fulfill him. Brett cares deeply for crafting a space ideal for intimacy, nurturing a life well-lived away from fanfare. Follow him on Twitter.

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