Handheld vs Backpack Leaf Blower

With the right leaf blower, getting rid of the leaves in your backyard can be quick and easy. Although, knowing which one to buy can be a confusing task.

The difference between handheld and backpack leaf blowers or whether MPH is more important than CFM can be confusing to a beginner. But with this guide by your side, picking out the perfect leaf blower will be a cinch.

Why Use A Leaf Blower?

It’s only natural that we want to keep our gardens looking pristine and well maintained. A leaf blower can keep our yards clean and picture-perfect.

Aside from making our yards mucky, leaves can also foster harmful diseases. When left alone, they can infect plants and cause our grass to grow back patchy. If left long enough, the leaves can also become soggy and make our backyards slippery and unsafe to walk through.

You don’t need to worry about any of this, though, if you have a leaf blower. When you have a solid leaf blower that matches your needs, clearing your yard and keeping it in top condition becomes as easy as pie.

Difference Between Handheld and Backpack Leaf Blowers

Backpack Leaf Blower vs Handheld
The two types of leaf blowers that you’re most likely to come across are handheld and backpack leaf blowers, but what exactly is the difference between them?

As the name indicates, handheld leaf blowers are held in one hand while the nozzle that blows the leaves is held in the other and must be held continuously. Both hands must be used when working with a handheld leaf blower.

Conversely, backpack leaf blowers are worn like a backpack while the nozzle is held in one hand. This leaves your other hand free and more comfortable.

Both types have their pros and cons and are great options, but the one you pick depends on your specific needs.

Backpack Leaf Blower Pros and Cons


The choice of many professionals is backpack leaf blowers because of their usefulness in clearing large areas. This usefulness can be attributed to backpack leaf blowers typically being more powerful than handheld leaf blowers. However, this increased power also means that backpack leaf blowers are heavier as the engine size is larger.

You might think this makes handheld leaf blowers lighter to carry, but the longer you hold a handheld blower, the heavier it will feel over time. On the other hand, backpack models evenly distribute the weight of the blower across your shoulders and back, which can make them easier to hold over long periods.
Cordless Backpack Leaf Blower
The greater power of backpack leaf blowers also means that bigger jobs can be completed faster with them.


While this all sounds great, I’m sure you’re wondering but what’s the catch?

The drawback of backpack blowers is that they can be more difficult to store away due to their size. Anytime it stalls, you’ll have to take it off to restart it, which can end up feeling tedious.

Handheld Blower Pros and Cons


Most homeowners use handheld leaf blowers.

Backpack leaf blowers excel with larger jobs, but handheld blowers are perfect for jobs that are under 10 minutes.
For small short jobs, handheld leaf blowers are a much lighter and more convenient option. They’re also great for cleaning narrow areas that would be hard for a backpack blower to access.

Some of the hand held models work as 2-in-1 leaf blowers with suction. You can use this to vacuum your car seats, sofa, computer etc. If you get a powerful model, you can use your leaf blower for blowing snow from car windshield, widows etc.

Additionally, they’re easy to store, so if storage space is an issue for you, the handheld is the way to go.

Lightweight Handheld Leaf Blower
Above: WORX 20V Lightweight Leaf Blower – See Price Here

If you have a smaller yard, then a handheld unit will be powerful enough for your needs and last you years. Still, if you plan on using one for bigger jobs and areas for over 10 minutes, then you’ll want to consider backpack leaf blowers.

What’s More Important in A Leaf Blower: MPH or CFM?

Something else you may want to consider is the MPH and CFM of your leaf blower. To get you up to speed, here’s what MPH and CFM stand for:

  • MPH = Miles Per Hour
  • CFM = Cubic Feet Per Minute

MPH is a measurement of the speed of air generated while CFM is a measurement of the volume of air produced.

A higher MPH means that the air is faster, which can make it more powerful, but this isn’t always true. A low MPH doesn’t always equal a weaker unit. Models with a low MPH and a high CFM can also be very powerful at clearing more leaves. If you’re looking for a powerful unit, then a higher CFM will come in more handy for you than a high MPH.

While both measurements are important to consider, it’s especially crucial to pay attention to the CFM. You should make sure to pick a suitable level for your needs.

Models with a higher CFM carry a heavier motor. The advantage of this is that you can clear more leaves more swiftly, but carrying them will also make you feel exhausted faster. If you value comfort, then a lower CFM may suit you, but if speed is a priority and weight doesn’t bother you, then a higher CFM is ideal.

Are Backpack Blowers Better Than Handheld?

Some might argue that backpack models are better as most professionals use them but consider this. An Olympic figure skater might need professional ice skates, but that doesn’t mean we all do.

The right model for you depends on your needs.

For example, one factor you might need to consider is the size of your yard. A backpack blower with a high CFM would suit your needs for a gigantic yard. However, if you have a small yard or are unable to carry heavy objects, a handheld blower will suit you.

Backpack blowers and handheld blowers are both undoubtedly brilliant options. After reading our guide, which one do you think would be better for your needs?