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What Is a Backpack Leaf Blower?

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  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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A backpack leaf blower is a type of cleanup equipment that is used to remove fallen leaves by blowing a strong stream of air out through a narrow nozzle. The blower is worn on the user’s back in the manner of a backpack, making it extremely portable and easy to carry. Typically, this type of yard equipment is used to clear a sidewalk, yard, or driveway of fallen leaves without the need for raking or sweeping.

Most often gardeners or business owners with a large area to clear use a backpack leaf blower, though in some cases homeowners with big lawns, large patios, or long sections of sidewalk may also use them. Usually the smaller, less expensive, handheld leaf blowers are more than adequate for non-commercial use, and working with a backpack leaf blower is left to those who must clear a lot of space on a regular basis. Homeowners may also prefer to use an electric leaf blower, usually a much lighter and quieter piece of equipment and not so disruptive in a neighborhood setting.

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Normally the backpack leaf blower operates with a gas-powered engine as its power source, eliminating the need for electrical cords and allowing the blower to be used wherever it is needed. It can get fairly noisy, so it is common for the operator to use hearing protection, especially because its position on the operator’s back places the equipment in close proximity to the ears. In some areas the operator must obey noise laws and cannot operate the backpack leaf blower before or after certain times of the day.

When working with the backpack leaf blower, the user typically starts at one side of the area to be cleared and blows the debris towards the far side of the area, or towards a specific spot. The leaves may be blown into a pile and then shoveled up, or they may be blown off the sidewalk and into the street or another area where they are no longer in the way. There may be city ordinances that dictate if and where leaves can be left; alternatively, they may need to be removed and taken to a yard waste site.

The backpack leaf blower is available in many different sizes and strengths, and models are made for both home and commercial use. Home systems tend to be smaller, lighter, and quieter, while the commercial equipment is usually heavier and is designed to be able to clear an area very quickly. Someone who is considering purchasing a backpack leaf blower should evaluate the size of the machine and the volume of air it can move as well as the speed of the air as it leaves the nozzle before making a final decision.

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