Any leaf blower worth its salt has a CFM (cubic feet of air blown per minute) that can start around 200 and go up to as much as 400. But, this is for a typical lawn. Larger properties with at least an acre or more should have a leaf blower ranging between 400 and 700 CFM.
A good leaf blower can save hours of raking, clearing leaves in mere moments. But leaf blower options are available by the thousands. So, knowing the ins and outs of what makes up a decent one is essential to getting the right kind of blower for your lawn.
What Do CFMs Refer to in Regards to a Leaf Blower?
Leaf blower performance comes in two varying numbers: MPH and CFM. Most people understand that MPH means “miles per hour.” But, CFM means “cubic feet per minute.” It’s easy to confuse these while shopping for a leaf blower.
CFM refers to the power of air volume that pumps out within a minute. MPH involves the speed at which the air pumps out within an hour. CFM therefore indicates a smaller amount of time in regards to power whereas MPH incorporates a greater amount of time in relationship to speed.
CFM will be more important in a leaf blower than MPH. This is because the number indicates air volume output with higher numbers translating to how powerful it is.
What Are the Various CFM Ranges?
Depending on the size of your yard or area you want to clear of leaves, keep the following in mind while shopping for a leaf blower:
- Small Yard – 200 to 400 CFM
- Acre or More – 400 to 700 CFM
- Sizeable Parking Lot – up to 3,000 CFM
How Do You Know How Many CFM to Get in a Leaf Blower?
There are a handful of things you should consider when determining which CFM range will be best for your purposes. The most important of these will be the total coverage area you wish to clear of leaves. As indicated above, larger areas need a lot more CFM than a small, typical backyard.
Additional factors include things like the type and style of leaf blower. These will influence the CFM capacity of any given device. This will go back to the size of the yard from where you’re clearing leaves and understanding the various types of leaf blowers available.
How Do Different Types of Leaf Blowers Influence CFMs?
There are several types of leaf blowers that come in a wide variety of CFMs for a myriad of purposes. There are cordless leaf blowers and then there are ones powered by gas. Consider the details of the following two types:
- Cordless: Great for small yards, patios, driveways and walkways, cordless models usually have around 200 to 400 CFM. Ones with a greater amount of CFMs are very powerful and noisy. But, they can handle wet leaves and other debris that come in a backpack style or push model.
- Gas-Powered: A little overkill for small yards, gas-powered leaf blowers are great for a little more acreage and they’re handy in light, dusty snow. These can be handheld models or come as a push-style type, like a lawn mower. Gas-powered can have a CFM up to 3,000 and are often much more powerful than a cordless.
Is a Cordless or Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Better?
Depending on your climate, the size of your yard and how much leaf fall occurs every autumn, either a cordless or a gas-powered leaf blower will be ideal. But, if you don’t get the right kind of leaf blower, it will work against your purposes and what you need.
Gas-Powered versus Cordless
For instance, a gas-powered leaf blower is very powerful and often come in much more than 400 CFM. If you have a small yard or you simply want to clear a one-stall driveway, a gas-powered leaf blower will be too much. In this case, a cordless one will be best.
Likewise, if you have a sizable parking lot you have to clear because you own a store or some such establishment; a cordless will hardly cut it. You’ll be clearing leaves from morning till night. You will need a high number of CFMs to get the job done right.
Leaf Blowers to Clear Snow
However, if you have a smaller yard but want a leaf blower to double as a snow blower, then getting one that powers with gas will be most ideal because the CFMs will be higher. However, these are only good for blowing away light, dusty snow. If you get considerable snow fall or a heavy amount of snow in winter, then you want to get a snow thrower.
Will a Higher CFM Always Be Better?
Just because a leaf blower has a high CFM doesn’t mean it will be better. It will be more powerful, certainly. But that doesn’t translate to being better for what you need. You want the right number of CFMs to cover the area sufficiently but not so powerful that it’s going to be noisy.
Therefore, the more CFMs you have, the better off you will be to get the job done. It’s a delicate balance between having too many CFMs and too little.
As an example, if you have a small backyard and live close to other neighbors, your leaf blower will push/throw the leaves into your neighbor’s yards. That’s no good. You simply want to create a pile of leaves in the center of your yard so you can pick them up and put them in a yard-sized trash bag.
How Important is CFM When Shopping for a Good Leaf Blower?
CFMs are the one most important thing to consider when shopping around for a leaf blower. You absolutely cannot ignore, overlook or rationalize it out of the equation. It tells you how much debris you can push with the leaf blower and how much coverage area you can conquer within a specified amount of time.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.