Consumer Reports: Best leaf blowers

Consumer Reports: Best leaf blowers
The leaves and needles and pine cones are coming down and you can hear the leaf blowers in action. If you need a new blower, you need to decide whether to go gas or electric.

"The key thing is whether you'll be able to do the work say within 100 feet of a power outlet, because for most properties a simple, inexpensive handheld electric blower is your best choice," says Consumer Reports yard editor Bob Markovitch.

You says you should also consider the weight, says Markovitch. Gas-powered handheld blowers are heavier.

"Instead of about 6 to 8 pounds, they're very often 10 pound pounds or more. Whereas, say a backpack blower, that's the kind that straps to your back, it really takes all that weight and puts it on your shoulders and takes it off your arms," Markovich says.

A gasoline-powered backpack blower is the most expensive way to go -- $300 or more. Expect to pay between $100 and $190 for a good gasoline handheld. Consumer Reports top-rated electric blowers are much cheaper.

The Toro Ultra Blower Vac model 51599 is a Consumer Reports Best Buy at $70. It was very good at sweeping and extremely easy to use. The Toro Super Blower Vac model 51592 at just $60 is also a CR Best Buy.

For added mobility, gas-powered blowers pack the power without the cord. Consumer Reports recommends the Stihl model BG 55 for $150. It combines impressive leaf blowing and easy handling.

If you have a large piece of property, a backpack blower makes the job much easier. Consumer Reports says if you're thinking about getting a backpack blower, consider spending a little more for the Husqvarna, model 150BT. While it's more expensive at $300, it delivers a lot more oomph and is quieter, too.