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Backpack Leaf Blower Vs. Handheld-Which is Best to Use

The differences between a backpack leaf blower Vs. handheld one may seem straightforward. However, knowing when it’s best to use a backpack blower or a handheld leaf blower is not so apparent. Generally, backpack leaf blowers are suited to clearing leaves from large yards or for professional gardeners. On the other hand, handheld models are better for leaf clearing from residential front or backyards.

leaf blower handheld vs backpack

When it comes to buying a new leaf blower, it’s vital to know which type of model to buy. Handheld leaf blowers are lighter and are not as expensive. However, you will struggle to clear large areas because of extension cord length restrictions or lack of battery power.

First, it’s vital to know that both types of leaf blower—handheld and backpack—have advantages and disadvantages. Much depends on the yard size, the volume of leaves, and your gardening requirements. Therefore, it’s good to understand how to use each type of leaf blower to make an informed decision.

This article examines how a backpack leaf blower differs from a handheld one.

Differences Between a Backpack Leaf Blower vs. Handheld

The most apparent difference between the two types of leaf blowers is that one is harnessed to your back, and you carry the other in your hand. However, the real differences between a handheld leaf blower and a backpack model go further.

Backpack Leaf Blower Design

A backpack leaf blower looks like a large rucksack with a long nozzle extending from it. The backpack has a harness with padded shoulder straps to make carrying it comfortable. The only piece of equipment the user holds is a lightweight tube-mounted nozzle. This also contains the throttle to power the unit.

Handheld Leaf Blower Design

A handheld leaf blower is a much smaller unit with the electric motor, handle, and nozzle in one compact unit. The motor is at the same end as the handle, making the blower easy to handle. However, a handheld model may result in arm fatigue after extended use compared to a backpack leaf blower.

Leaf Blower Power Source

Generally, leaf blower backpack models are gas-powered. In contrast, handheld models are electric—either plugged into a power outlet or using a rechargeable battery. However, there are also gas-powered handheld models for sale.

Gas-powered backpack leaf blowers vs. handheld gas blowers: Backpack leaf blowers have a larger gas tank and engine compared to their handled counterparts. This means they blow air at more miles per hour (MPH) and expel a higher volume of air—cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Corded electric handheld leaf blowers vs. battery-powered models: Compared to other leaf blowers, corded blowers are typically the lightest and cheapest. However, the range of operation is restricted by the power cord length. Battery-powered blowers have the flexibility of a gas model. However, battery life is typically between 10 and 30 minutes of continuous operation on high power.

Gas-Powered Backpack Blower vs. Handheld Blower Power

Backpack leaf blowers are typically more powerful than their handheld counterparts. This is because they have larger motors and can blow more air at a higher speed and volume. Therefore, a backpack blower is usually better for larger properties with many trees. However, a handheld unit will get the job done for smaller residential properties.

Handheld leaf blower power ratings range from 150 to 300 MPH with an air volume of 300 to 500 CFM. Backpack blowers are more powerful. They can blow air at up to 300 but have an impressive 300 CFM to 900 CFM.

In general, gas blowers are more powerful than electric models. And backpack blowers generate more power and air volume than handheld ones.

Size of a Leaf Blower

Size is one of the most apparent differences between a backpack leaf blower and a handheld unit. A handheld blower is small enough to be stored on a shelf without taking up too much room. This fact makes them ideal for the average homeowner.

A backpack leaf blower is considerably larger than a handheld model. The unit contains a fuel tank, large engine, long flexible tube, and harness.

Price — Handheld Blower vs. Backpack Model

Price is usually the most significant determining factor when buying a leaf blower—handheld or backpack. Because of their smaller, compact size, a handheld blower is always cheaper than its backpack equivalent.

It is possible to buy a good quality corded handheld blower for under $100. However, a battery-powered model will cost more. A gas-powered backpack leaf blower can cost in the region of $300 to $1,000.

Backpack Leaf Blower — Pros and Cons

Backpack leaf blower vs. handheld

A backpack leaf blower’s two most significant advantages are its power and maneuverability. You can walk anywhere without restrictions of a cord or battery charge. However, these models are large and bulky, and their higher noise ratings aren’t suitable for all neighborhoods.


  • Ideal for clearing leaves from large yards, parks, or open spaces
  • More power to move a large pile of wet leaves
  • Less muscle fatigue in hands and arm due to the ergonomic harness
  • Larger fuel tank than gas-powered handheld models


  • Heavier than handheld leaf blowers
  • You must take the backpack off to restart it when it stalls
  • Bulky and requires a lot of storage space
  • Not recommended for people with back pain
  • They emit toxic fumes

Handheld Leaf Blower — Pros and Cons

A handheld leaf blower has the advantages of being lightweight, easy to store, and suitable for most front or backyards. The main disadvantage of handheld models is their lack of power compared to backpack ones.


  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Ideal for small jobs like clearing leaves, light garden debris, and snow
  • More maneuverable for small spaces and tight corners
  • Electric handheld models are the quietest blowers
  • Better price point than backpack blowers
  • Quiet operation, especially electric leaf blowers
  • Easy to store


  • Lacks the power of larger backpack leaf blowers
  • Despite being lightweight, they can feel heavy when used for an extended period
  • Takes longer to clear leaves from large areas

Is a Handheld or Backpack Blower Better

backpack blower vs handheld

The decision on whether to buy a backpack or handheld blower depends on several factors. A backpack is better for professionals who work for extended periods. A gas-powered backpack is ideal for clearing leaves from large parks, sidewalks, and parking lots.

If you’re an average homeowner with a small to medium-sized yard, a handheld leaf blower is probably your “go-to” choice. The handheld model is easy to store in a garage or outbuilding. In addition, it will save you a lot of time clearing leaves and snow in the fall and winter compared to doing it by hand.

Generally, a handheld model is the best choice if you plan to use a leaf blower for 30 minutes or less. Then, you will only need to decide whether to buy a corded leaf blower or a battery-powered model.

Do I Really Need a Backpack Blower

A backpack leaf blower is a good choice of garden power tool if your property is more than an acre with several deciduous trees. A powerful gas blower will make short work of clearing garden debris, grass clippings, wet leaves, and light snow from extensive properties.

You don’t need a backpack blower for a typical house in a suburban area. In addition to restrictions on noisy garden power tools, a backpack blower is usually too big and bulky for clearing average-size front and backyards. Therefore, it’s best to look for a good quality handheld blower to help take care of your yard.

Backpack Leaf Blower vs. Handheld Which one Should I Choose

When considering the type of leaf blower to buy, you can ask yourself several questions to decide on the right one.

For example, how large is your property? A backpack model may be the best choice if it’s larger than an acre. Are there many trees surrounding your property? If so, it may be best to opt for a powerful handheld leaf blower—providing your property isn’t too large.

Who Is the Backpack Leaf Blower Best For

You should buy a backpack leaf blower if you must regularly clear lots of heavy, wet leaves from a large area. Typically, backpack leaf blowers are for professional gardeners, landscaping technicians, and homeowners with many trees on a property, one acre or larger.

Who Is the Handheld Blower Best Suited For

You should buy a corded model or cordless leaf blower if you have a small to medium-sized property. Handheld blowers are perfect for occasional use in fall to clear wet leaves. You can also use the blower to clear light snow and yard debris during other seasons.

Conclusion-Backpack Leaf Blower Vs. Handheld

The answer to the question, which is best—a backpack leaf blower vs handheld depends on your property’s yard size. A handheld leaf blower is usually the best choice for most homeowners. Compared to a backpack blower, the model is lighter, cheaper, takes up less room, and is easier to handle. In addition, the best handheld blowers can be just as powerful as entry-level backpack models.