Do you really need a leaf blower, or will a rake do the job? Here I look at all the pros and cons of both to help you decide before spending your hard-earned cash, as I discuss the much-debated… leaf blower vs rake argument.
In some cases, having both is obviously best, after all, you will find that most professional landscapers will blow first and rake any stragglers up after.
But in this article, my aim is to make the decision of whether blowing leaves or raking leaves is the answer to your Autumn leaf build-up.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
Leaf Blower Vs Rake: Main Differences Compared
The main difference between a leaf blower and a rake is the speed that it gets the job done. Leaf blowers are best suited for larger gardens or lawns, and rakes are best suited for smaller areas.
But.. there’s more you need to consider when choosing a leaf blower.
Knowing the pros and cons of both doesn’t immediately settle the discussion of rake vs. leaf blower which is better. When making your decision as to which is better, you need to think about your OWN personal circumstances.
Let’s compare these two tools more closely and the type of garden work they were designed for. This will help you in choosing a leaf blower or finding the right rake.
When it comes to speed, undoubtedly, an electric or petrol-powered leaf blower is capable of moving more leaves in less time. And, unlike raking, leaf blowers do not require a lot of physical work (other than carrying the weight of them of course, you can expect an average cordless leaf blower to weight around 5kg, or 10lbs).
In recent years many manufacturers have designed models that are multi-purpose and can be used to both blow and suck leaves up, such as the FlyMo PowerVac.
By using a leaf vacuum you will not only gather the leaves but also mulch them as you go. Once you have mulched your leaves they are not only great for the compost pile, but mulch is also beneficial when used in flower beds as a feed or insulation for the soil during harsh UK winters.
However, there is a downside. These machines are powerful and knowing how to use a leaf blower efficiently and safely is essential.
It is difficult to compare designs when they are such different tools. Both rakes and leaf blowers have an ergonomic design to suit the needs of the user and the task.
If you have a lot of surrounding trees that leave you with large numbers of fallen leaves. Then the leafblowers design is such that it is the easiest and fastest solution. At the same time, a rake is ideal for a smaller garden with less leaf debris.
Not only that, but modern leaf blowers, especially cordless models have extremely ergonomic designs to make them as comfortable as possible to use, with minimal weight.
At the end of the day, a rake is a rake, but they do come in many shapes and sizes. Choosing one that suits you personally is important.
For example, raking with a large rake will get the job done faster, but if you are of small stature and not overly strong, then it will become extremely hard work after a short while.
Look up leaf blower tips and you’ll find different uses for a leaf blower along with a variety of designs, from cordless leaf blowers to backpack leaf blowers which you can’t say about rakes. The main downfall of a blower is that it will struggle if you have wet leaves.
Obviously, leaf rakes are far more affordable and cost very little to maintain, you can pick up a good quality leaf rake for anywhere between £12-£25. Whereas, leaf blowers are an investment and will need to be maintained properly (mainly petrol-powered versions) for you to get your money’s worth.
One of the major complaints about petrol models is the noise. Therefore, if you are concerned about bothering the neighbors or waking the kids, a rake wins hands down.
Because of this petrol-powered leaf blowers are actually banned in some states in the US, and there’s a lot of uproar (both due to noise and pollution) regarding petrol-powered leaf blowers in the UK at the moment, so it might be worth checking with your local government council before spending the money.
Here’s some further reading on petrol vs electric leaf blowers and what you can expect when it comes to the amount of noise they make.
Although we are not talking about a fortune to maintain a leaf blower, it does depend on the type you own. All small engines need to be serviced and you will have to spend a few dollars a year replacing fuel and oil in petrol models.
If you have a cordless design then a new battery may be required every few years. Compared to a rake, these are costs that need to be factored into your budget.
Whenever you are working with power tools, you have to be mindful of the safety precautions. In the case of both petrol and electric blowers, you need to avoid getting them wet, especially the electric models. You will also ensure that you wear the right safety gear.
Pros & Cons of Using a Rake
The humble leaf rake has obviously been around for far longer (since 1874 in fact) than electric or petrol-powered blowers, and they do certainly get the job done. The question is, which one is best for you, and is investing in a powerful machine really going to be the best way to clean up leaves in your garden?
Let’s consider the pros and cons of using a rake vs a leaf blower.
- More affordable
- No maintenance required
- Raking will remove moss and dead grass from your lawn
- Gentler on flower beds and young grass
- They are quiet and eco-friendly as they emit no pollution
- More time consuming
- Requires more physical effort
- Can cause back pain
- Less efficient
Interest video: Watch a professional landscaper use his trusty rake to challenge a man with a leaf blower at speed clearing
Pros & Cons of Using a Leaf Blower
Because leaf blowers have blowing power you are able to move a much larger pile in less time. However, it isn’t a miracle tool, either, and can often result in creating more mess when you don’t know what you’re doing. This can be especially true between the different types of leaf blowers available.
These are the pros and cons of using a leaf blower vs a rake.
- Can reduce bending and physical exertion
- Versatile (can blow snow, dirt and other debris)
- Can clear gutters and higher-up places (i.e car roof & patio furniture)
- Powerful enough for other debris such as grass cuttings
- Multipurpose models available (blow, suck, and mulch)
- Option of a backpack blower available for large properties
- It’s a loud petrol-powered machine so neighbours won’t like it
- Not suitable for wet leaves or wet weather
- Petrol-powered models cause air pollution
- Petrol blowers are banned in some US states with ongoing discussions in the UK as well
So In Conclusion…
Because they serve such different purposes, when making comparisons between leaf blowers and leaf rakes, the real question isn’t which one is better, but which is better for your garden design, size, and environment.
Will a leaf blower create more mess in your small backyard? Will it annoy the neighbours? These are all things to take into consideration.
You will find that most homeowners that have a leaf blower, will also use a rake to finish the job neatly.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Ready to make a choice between a wire rake vs a leaf blower for the Autumn leaves in your garden? Consider these last few factors before hitting the purchase button.
Are leaf blowers worth it?
Leaf blowers are worth the money and great for leaf removal in larger gardens, especially during the Autumn. Be sure to choose a trustworthy brand and a durable design and they can serve you well for years.
Do leaf blowers save time?
When used correctly, leaf blowers save a lot of time in collecting leaves. They can speed up leaf removal even more if you opt for a blower/vacuum that both collects and mulches the leaves as you go.
Is it better to rake or leave leaves?
When the layer of dead leaves is too thick, it can smother your lawn and attract unwanted pests. On the other hand, leaving a thin layer in the winter can help protect plants and bushes from the cold. They will also put nutrients back into the soil as they decompose.