Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley
Are electric leaf blowers quieter than gas leaf blowers? We have all heard the sound of a gas leaf blower buzzing away in the middle of the fall. It is a particular and unmistakable noise, a 2cycle engine screaming at the top of its lungs as it tries its hardest to move the leaves in your yard. If you are like me, you aren’t fond of that screaming engine and want something a little different, a little quieter.
Table of Contents
- 1 How loud is a leaf blower?
- 2 Why Are Leaf Blowers So Loud?
- 3 Are noise levels different for different leaf blowers?
- 4 Are there any electric leaf blowers that are quiet?
- 5 Can a leaf blower be powerful and quiet?
- 6 Don’t annoy the neighbors when using your leaf blower.
- 7 Can I use a leaf blower where I live?
- 8 So are electric leaf blowers quieter?
How loud is a leaf blower?
Well, the answer to that question depends on which type of leaf blower you are using and how old it is. There are basically three types of leaf blowers: gas powered, electric, and battery powered leaf blowers.
It seems government agencies like the EPA and consumer groups like Consumer Reports tend to measure the noise level of leaf blowers at around 50 feet. That seems to be the average range at which a bystander might be to a user operating a leaf blower.
2 cycle leaf blowers are the most common type of leaf blower, and on average operating ranges, around 50ft away from a bystander, are around 80 – 90 decibels (dB). On average corded electric and battery-powered blowers tend to be just a hair quieter, around 65 -70 dB. However, there are new “quiet” gas models on the market that can get down to 65 dB, but those tend to be high-end commercial models.
Why Are Leaf Blowers So Loud?
There are a few main reasons why leaf blowers are loud.
There is a sound of air rushing out at high speeds from the blower nozzle. The sound is like a blast of air when you drive.
The engine causes the second source of the noise; this is really for gas powered leaf blowers and not for electric or battery powered leaf blowers.
The fuel combustion process combined with the movement of the engine cylinders on the crankshaft cause noise. While is the gas engine is operating; the entire unit is constantly vibrating.
The combination of the rushing air and vibrating engine cause the dreaded leaf blower high pitch whine.
Are noise levels different for different leaf blowers?
There are differences in noise levels from leaf blower to leaf blower. In general, all outdoor power equipment generates higher levels of noise. There are also differences in noise levels based on the type of leaf blower.
Handheld leaf blowers are quieter than backpack leaf blowers. For example, a gas leaf backpack leaf blower is the loudest category of all the different types of leaf blowers. Some backpack blowers can generate enough noise to risk hearing damage in as little as 2 hours.
When I used gas equipment in the old days, I might have spent 2hrs using a backpack blower in the height of leaf season.
Are there any electric leaf blowers that are quiet?
Well, quiet is a relative term. Most leaf blowers are considered loud, but there are several models by popular manufacturers that meet the 50-foot recommendation by Consumer reports and other governmental groups.
There are several models from Toro, RYOBI, Sun Joe, and Worx that meet those recommendations. One thing to note is the handheld models were all quieter than the backpack models. In general, electric or battery-powered blowers are quieter than gas blowers.
Some manufacturers continue to work on making handheld gas leaf blowers and backpack blowers to produce noise around 65 dB. The average electric blower produces noise at about 65 dB(A). Compare that to the average noise ratings of common gas backpack blowers.
Can a leaf blower be powerful and quiet?
In the case of electric leaf blowers, the answer is yes. You don’t need to sacrifice power not to lose your hearing. Many electric and battery-powered leaf blowers are as powerful as their gas cousins. Manufactures such as RYOBI, Sun Joe, and Worx create powerful models that can get the job done just as well as a gas model.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are using an electric or battery-powered blower, you don’t have to deal with all the other hassles related to gas blowers. You don’t have to maintain the gas/oil mixture, changing spark plugs, fuel, and air filters. The bonus is you get a leaf blower that is a little easier on the ears for you and the people around you.
Don’t annoy the neighbors when using your leaf blower.
So there are a few things to keep in mind when using any leaf blower.
- Try not to use your blower when people are not awake. Even though electric and battery-powered leaf blowers are quieter than gas, you don’t want to use the blower as an alarm clock.
- Turn the blower off when not in use. This is more for you gas folks because electric, and battery blowers turn off when you aren’t using the throttle.
- Try to stay at least 50 ft away from people around you.
- Don’t use the wide-open throttle when it isn’t needed. For you battery-powered leaf blower users, this will help conserve battery power too.
Can I use a leaf blower where I live?
One of the biggest complaints about leaf blowers is that they are noisy. Over 400 cities in the U.S. have either banned or regulated leaf blower use.
The reputation of leaf blowers as loud machines has led the outdoor power equipment industry to reexamine how they are built and used.
Where are leaf blowers not allowed to go?
Existing noise laws in most US cities don’t deal with leaf blower noise, so they aren’t enforceable.
The time of day you can use leaf blowers is restricted by many others. The loudest gas powered models are the ones that are targeted. Some of the restrictions only apply to residential areas.
Quiet communities want to minimize noise pollution, so they have these rules in place. Some large cities passed these laws to keep the peace.
Among the states that regulate leaf blower use are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
So are electric leaf blowers quieter?
Yes, electric leaf blowers are quieter than gas models, but not by much. In many communities around the US, leaf blowers are either banned or restricted because of their noise levels. These restrictions often make it a policy to have a leaf blower that is 65 decibels or less when running. This is great for electric and battery-powered leaf blower lovers because that is the sweet spot for average noise levels produced by electric and battery-powered leaf blowers.
I guess the big takeaway here is regardless of what type of blower you use, to be courteous to your neighbors, even if you have a quieter model. Also, always wear hearing protection when using your leaf blower or any outdoor power equipment because it doesn’t take long to affect your hearing permanently.
So get out there and clean up those leaves.