A hand-held blower is either gas-powered or electric. It is specifically made to blow away leaves, grass cuttings and other debris from a lawn and into a pile for future removal; other uses may include clearing driveways, or cleaning basements, garages, and gutters. Some models feature a vacuum function for sucking leaves and twigs into a bag; known as blower vacs, they may have grinding abilities as well, turning the leaves into reusable mulch. Most handheld units have a fixed plastic nozzle and are easily maneuvered. They are typically the lightest and cheapest models, but also the least powerful.

Gas-powered models are heavier than electric ones, averaging 7 to 12 pounds. While their mobility is unlimited, they will require regular maintenance. Equipped with a 2- or 4-stroke engine, they utilize an oil/gas mixture not unlike chainsaws. A pull-cord starts the engine, which is loud enough to warrant ear protection, and an occasional tuneup is necessary.

An electric blower usually weighs less than 8 pounds. Less noisy, with an easy start button and no emissions, its only limitation is the power cord. In a large area with many obstacles, an electric blower may be impractical; it is best suited for smaller areas where a power source is within 100 feet.
Backpack blowers are worn on the back, gas-powered, and weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. More expensive than handheld units, they have the advantage of greater engine power and a flexible nozzle for versatility. By covering large areas more quickly, backpack models are often favored by commercial landscapers.

Another type of blower is pushed on wheels, much like a lawnmower. With large 4-cycle engines, these gas-powered machines can quickly clear a large area, and the blowing angle can often be adjusted. Wheeled models are expensive and bulky, however, and normally used in professional landscaping.

While leaf blowers have a reputation for being noisy, this is no longer the case. Manufacturers have made adjustments to leaf blower noise levels over the past several years so that they are no longer a noise disturbance. Many people still falsely believe, however, that they still create noise issues until they actually hear them running.

Author is a freelance writer. For more information on chainsaws please visit http://www.echo-usa.com/

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