Whether you're a landscaping professional or a homeowner with a large property, you know how heavy even the lightest power tools can feel in your hands after hours of work.
If you'd like to carry the power of a gas engine leaf blower on your back instead, a backpack leaf blower is just the tool you need.
Backpack blowers shift the weight of the blower's engine onto your back, distributing the weight more evenly for comfort.
Which backpack blower is right for you? That depends on the features you find most important.
2-Cycle vs. 4-Cycle Engines
All backpack leaf blowers depend on a small gas engine for power. That means that the engine in your blower may be one of two kinds:
A 2-cycle engine has a high power-to-weight ratio. In fact, some models have the potential to pack about twice the power into the same space as a 4-cycle engine, which makes them an attractive option for anyone looking to do their work quickly.
2-cycle engines also have fewer moving parts than 4-cycle engines. This makes them lighter to carry - an important consideration if you plan to wear your backpack blower for long stretches of time.
Although 2-cycle backpack blowers may be comfortable because of their low weight, 4-cycle backpack blowers may be comfortable because they run cooler. 4-cycle engines are designed for fuel efficiency, which means you'll be able to burn through less fuel to do your work.
4-cycle backpack blowers are also quieter than 2-cycle blowers. This also can affect how comfortable you find your leaf blower to use, even if you're wearing proper hearing protection.
Location of Throttle Controls
Every backpack leaf blower has a throttle that will allow you to control the engine's power output. This is essential for regulating the blower's fuel consumption and saving power to move the heaviest, most stubborn pieces of yard debris.
Different models of backpack leaf blowers have the throttle in different positions:
Mounted to the air flow tube
Attached to an arm that extends from the backpack's frame
Tube-mounted throttle controls have the advantage of being placed on a handle that a user already would be holding in order to point the nozzle. Because they allow for greater control, they are the more common option.
Ergonomic Design and Comfort Features
Ergonomic products are designed to support the movements of the human body so that people who use the products can avoid repetitive stress injuries.
Manufacturers are aware of the amount of time people spend using their backpack leaf blowers. Several of them include features like these on their products, which might assist you with your buying decision:
Padded straps and back panel
Adjustable hip belt
Rubberized or padded handle grip
Additionally, the tube-mounted throttle controls on blowers that have them are often designed to keep users' hands and wrists in natural positions in order to reduce injury and fatigue.
Like regular gas handheld leaf blowers, backpack leaf blowers use small engines that have to meet standards set forth by the†California Air Resource Board (CARB) if the blower is going to be sold in California.
The CARB standards for fuel emissions were designed to help combat the problem of air pollution in the state. Efficient 4-cycle engines are most likely to help you meet these regulations. However, even if you live outside of California, shopping for a CARB-compliant blower will help you reduce your fuel consumption.†