The best CFM for a leaf blower is going to depend on the area that needs to be cleared and the type of debris that needs to be moved. A small yard in a city or suburb may only need two hundred to four hundred CFM. An estate sitting on an acre or so of land will need more; a leaf blower with four hundred to seven hundred CFM.
Commercial areas, such as huge parking lots, will need more power. The type of debris is unlikely to be just leaves and dirt. People often leave paper and plastic debris behind that the maintenance person has to clean up. These areas typically need around three thousand CFM.
What Is CFM And Why Is It Important?
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. This indicates the power of the blower, as it is the volume of air being moved by it. This air is what forces the debris to be removed from the area. It is also somewhat indicative of the noise level. A small electric leaf blower is nowhere near as noisy as the commercial size that moves three thousand cubic feet per minute.
However, the importance of choosing the right CFM leaf blower is in knowing what is going to be moved. In some areas, the debris is likely to be grass clippings, leaves, and other lightweight materials. On an estate, the debris may weigh more and/or be wet. A higher rate of CFM will be needed. Aluminum cans, empty (or partially filled) coffee cups and other detritus of modern life will need something even bigger.
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CFM vs MPH
There can be a big difference between cubic feet per minute and miles per hour. While MPH makes a car or other vehicle go faster, it may not increase the cubic feet per minute. High MPH doesn’t do much good without high CFM. That doesn’t mean that MPH is unimportant. It is because it is the speed the air is moving. What it does mean is that any product should have proper levels of both. The best CFM leaf blower will balance these two.
CFM Leaf Blower Types
There are three types of leaf blowers. To choose the best CFM leaf blower, understanding these three types is important. It is also important to check the area for which it is to be used and to understand the weather. Heavy snow is not going to be moved by a light leaf blower, nor will soggy paper or wet leaves.
Handheld Leaf Blower
The first type is handheld. Because it is smaller, it has a lower CFM. These are usually electric and can handle several different types of things. If there is a porch, stoop or driveway, the CFM and MPH are sufficient to get the most debris up. It can even move light snow and sawdust. There are no fumes to worry about as it runs off of a battery. They are also not very heavy. The maneuverability of these machines makes up for the lack of CFM.
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Backpack Leaf Blower
The second type of leaf blower is a backpack version. Many gardeners and landscape professionals use these as they are efficient and can handle heavier debris. These leaf blowers can be either gas-operated or battery operated. They weigh more than the handheld variety, but they can move more.
If the area that needs to be cleared is a field, the run time will last longer, especially if it’s gas-powered. They are strong enough to move twigs, pebbles, and heavier grasses. The electric models don’t produce fumes and have similar CFM to the gas-powered. This version can move a slightly larger amount of snow.
Walk-behind Leaf Blower
The third type is a walk-behind leaf blower. This is the most powerful CFM leaf blower on the market and can move up to three thousand cubic feet of air per minute. These leaf blowers don’t come battery operated; they are strictly gas-operated.
These blowers work on things like cardboard boxes, small rocks, bags with fast food or other trash in them and things of that nature. Most of these leaf blowers are used in commercial facilities and large parking lots. Construction debris, such as metal or small pieces of wood can also be moved with these.
What CFM is needed?
To determine the CFM leaf blower needed, first look at what is going to be blown. Here are some questions to ask. Is the area likely to have wet weather, either snow or rain? A handheld leaf blower may not be adequate for this. Is there a lot of areas to be covered? Again, if the answer is yes, a handheld leaf blower probably won’t work. The first instance is because it doesn’t have enough CFM, the second is because the battery will run out.
It’s also important to consider how much it will be run. Someone who does lawn care for a living needs to have something that will be able to run for six to eight hours. A gas-powered backpack leaf blower is ideal for this. Once these issues are decided, the CFM can be settled.
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Leaf blowers have become popular because they are less labor-intensive than a rake or other manual device. However, when choosing the blower, keep all aspects of it in mind. Noise can be as important as CFM and MPH.