Leaf blowers work great for clearing a sidewalk of dry leaves or grass clippings but what about wet leaves or even snow? Is it possible to use this fair-weather yard tool for some off-season cleanup? I’ve done a little studying on this and here’s what I’ve found.
Can a leaf blower blow wet leaves or move snow? Most gas-powered leaf blowers are able to move wet leaves and snow that has fallen recently. The real factor is the power offered by your specific device. A powerful CFM and MPH are required to effectively blow wet leaves and snow.
When you have a powerful machine like a leaf blower, you want to make the most use of it. However, wet leaves and snow are heavier than traditional, dry leaves, meaning you need more power from your leaf blower to move them easily.
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Now, here in Texas we don’t get much snow and when we do it’s usually pretty light. And so, I had to reach out to a friend in Michigan for some insight. As for the wet leaves, well, those we deal with plenty.
To help you better understand which leaf blowers will work for these needs, I will break down the various types and factors you must consider.
Removing Wet Leaves from Your Yard
As mentioned, wet leaves are significantly heavier than dry leaves when it comes to your leaf blower’s ability to move them effectively. While you can easily remove dry leaves, it may not budge certain wet leaves. Depending on how wet they are, they can stick to the sidewalk with a stubborn resistance!
If you do not have a heavy-duty leaf blower, it can make moving wet leaves practically impossible.
If you do have a powerful enough machine, it can still take some basic maneuvering to move wet leaves quickly and effectively. You should direct a small jet of air to the pile of wet leaves so that it can be lifted off the ground and collected easily.
If you have noticed that some leaves are moving decently well, but others are not budging, it may be necessary for you to pick up some larger clumps and move them yourself. Another solution is to use the blower end to scrape the leaves loose. Once they are unstuck, they’ll usually comply.
Almost no device can move a large stack of wet leaves quickly or without a little help.
Using Your Leaf Blower on Snow
Just like with wet leaves, moving snow requires a powerful blower.
While many brands and models of leaf blowers are able to take on snow, you need to make sure that yours has the ability to blow away the snow around your home easily. Although I’m growing more and more fond of battery-powered yard tools I’ll say that for snow you are probably better off with a more powerful gas model.
You should also keep in mind that this is why there are snow blowers on the market today. If you live in an area where snow is abundant, this may be beneficial to you.
That being said, it is possible. Here’s a video demonstration from YouTube of removing snow from a sidewalk using a leave blower:
There are a few key benefits of using a leaf blower to remove the snow around your home and clear walkways, driveways, stairs, etc. Some benefits that you can count on when using your leaf blower for this are:
- They are easier to operate and store than most snowblowers for some homeowners.
- Leaf blowers are often more effective and easier physically on homeowners than trying to shovel the snow from around their homes.
- They are highly effective at removing small layers of snow and should be used before the snow begins to stack up. Heavy layers of snow cannot be moved by most leaf blowers.
And in the end, you have the benefit of using one tool for different seasons. That’s probably the biggest benefit of all.
Some Things to Keep in Mind
While leaf blowers can remove snow fairly easily and effectively, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to remain safe while using them. These devices are best when used on dry, light snow that is not overly heavy. If the snow in your area is several inches deep or extremely wet, your leaf blower simply will not work.
In addition to this, some basic things to keep in mind when attempting to use your leaf blower on snow are:
- Do not use the leaf blower for extended times – These devices are not designed to be used regularly in these conditions, and extended use can potentially cause damage. If you notice the blower is not working effectively, it is best to turn it off for a bit and take a break while it cools down.
- Do not use electric leaf blowers – This is pretty common sense but using an electric leaf blower around snow could be dangerous. Besides, it is unlikely that it’ll pack the power needed for the job.
Types of Leaf Blowers Available
As mentioned, if you want to remove snow or wet leaves quickly and easily, you need to find a leaf blower that has enough power to do it.
There are several different types of leaf blowers on the market today that you can choose from and comparing these options is key. Most of these leaf blowers come with either a two-stroke engine or a four-stroke engine.
There are three main types of leaf blowers that you can find available today:
- Handheld leaf blowers – These are the common type that most homeowners purchase and are known for their maneuverability, versatility, and overall lightweight design. These are perfect for small lawns and lower levels of work, which is what most homes need. However, these often do not have the power to move heavy debris but can work for light snow, dry or moist leaves, dust, weeds, and other debris without bogging down.
The Craftsman B215 has a powerful 25cc 2-stroke engine and is designed for heavy-duty jobs. Click here for latest pricing (Link to Amazon).
- Backpack leaf blowers – These are a great option for those who do yardwork commercially and need more power for an extended period of time. If you have a larger yard or want a more versatile machine, the backpack leaf blowers are often the best choice. These can easily blow away any wet leaves, twigs, snow, and more.
Husqvarna’s 350BT Backpack Blower has a powerful x torque engine with an impressive 50.2cc engine. Click here for the latest pricing (Link to Amazon)
- Walk-behind leaf blowers – These are the biggest and strongest of the machines available today. Of course, these machines are designed more so for professional use and come at a much higher price tag than the other options. These leaf blowers will easily remove heavier items like snow and wet leaves.
The Landworks Super Duty Leaf Blower is a walk-behind model designed for serious work. With a 7HP, 212cc 4-stroke engine and up to 2000 CFM (see more on CFMs below), this is the type of equipment that’s meant to make short work of heavy-duty jobs. Click here to learn more (Link to Amazon).
Choosing Your Type of Power
When it comes to choosing a leaf blower, the power offered from the device is a huge factor and something you will want to consider before making any purchases. The things you will want to look at are the CFM (or cubic feet per minute) and the MPH (or miles per hour) offered from the device.
The thing you want to look for is that the device you are considering has a high CFM and MPH as these need to work together to remove the debris easily.
A high MPH means that the air will be coming out of the barrel of the leaf blower faster but this does not always equate to effectiveness. Higher speed doesn’t mean that wet leaves or snow can be moved.
However, CFM is the volume of air that flows out of the blower per minute, which means you will have more air moving the leaves. But again, this is only part of the equation. Just being able to push a lot of air does not mean the device will move leaves easily or effectively.
Ideally, the device you are choosing will have both a high CFM and MPH, leading to a higher volume of air at a quicker speed.
Moving wet leaves or recently fallen snow with a leaf blower is feasible assuming you are using a powerful gas-powered model.
Extremely wet and matted leaves may be difficult to move and compacted snow will require more extreme measures but a leaf blower can have a place in your foul-weather yard keeping. Just be realistic in your expectations.