It’s that time of year again: hayrides, hot apple cider, trips to the pumpkin patch, and lots of beautiful, colorful leaves. But as those leaves fall off the trees and drift down to your yard, they start to add up quickly—and you’re probably wondering about the best way to get rid of them.
The choice seems simple: rake or leaf blower? But your decision might not be so easy when thinking about the pros and cons of each, because a compelling case can be made for both depending on your situation. The key is being thoughtful and honest about what you need, and making your decision based on a few important factors. These include:
The first thing you need to figure out is how much money you’re willing to fork over to get those leaves out of your yard. Even the best rakes are cheaper than inexpensive leaf blowers, with most costing between $10 and $30 depending on size and materials. On the other hand, leaf blowers can range from $50 all the way up to nearly $1000, depending on the model you choose.
It goes without saying that leaf blowers are great for maximizing efficiency. In their man-versus-machine rake-off, Consumer Reports found that a handheld blower was roughly twice as fast as a rake when it came to gathering leaves. Additionally, it’s worth noting that a leaf blower can help you get between plants and bushes, and in other areas where rakes might have trouble.
With chilly weather on the way, there’s no better time to get outside for exercise. And believe it or not, raking is a great way to get some physical activity. In fact, you’re likely to burn at least twice as many calories doing it as compared with leaf blowing.
Even though it’s an excellent way to get moving, the repetitive raking motion may not be good for some people. Especially if you’re doing a lot of raking, you may risk injuring your back or neck. This is one of the main reasons landscaping professionals often use leaf blowers.
The sound created by a leaf blower isn’t exactly peaceful. While some models focus on lowering the noise (especially electric varieties), most are still quite loud and can be distracting. In fact, according to the American Council on Science and Health, the noise generated from a leaf blower can even damage hearing depending on your proximity to the machine. This is why we recommend ear plugs if you decide to go with a leaf blower. If you think the noise might be an issue for you, go with a rake.
Even the best leaf blowers need to be cleaned from time to time—typically at least once a year. You may also need to occasionally replace parts or bring it to a small engine repair place for service. On the other hand, a rake requires little to no maintenance and cleaning, which might save you time and stress in the long run. However, a well-maintained leaf blower should last for many years.
Last but not least, it’s worth noting that a leaf blower can be used for other outdoor chores, including snow removal. If you’re being careful and can get on your roof, you might even be able to use it to clean out your gutters. Just remember that regardless of how you’re using your leaf blower, you can make unintended messes and cause damage by stirring up rocks and other debris.
As you can probably tell, there can be a lot that goes into the decision between getting a rake or leaf blower. Just keep in mind all the factors above, and also think about the size of your yard and the amount of leaves you need to clean up. By being thoughtful with your decision, you’ll probably save yourself a lot of hassle for years to come!