Leaf Blower CFM vs MPH – What To Look For?

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Before you step out to buy a leaf blower, there are a few things that need to be considered. You would not just go to the store and ask for the cheapest leaf blower available and bring it home. You will need to understand some terms that will help you decide the specifications that your leaf blower must have. An important debate is CFM vs MPH- what to look for? In this blog, you will find everything that will help you make a wise choice while buying a leaf blower!

CFM-Cubic Feet per Minute is the volume of air expelled out of the nozzle of a leaf blower in one minute. CFM represents how much area of the ground covered with leaves can be cleared in a minute. MPH-Miles per Hour is the speed of the air when it comes out of the blower. It shows how fast and forcefully the leaf blowers will blow the leaves and to what distance. To buy an efficient leaf blower, both ratings should be considered.

How is Leaf Blower Power measured?

There are many ways in which the power of a leaf blower is measured. For example, the voltage in battery-powered leaf blowers and capacity of the engine in CCs for gas-powered leaf blowers. However, two other factors also determine the efficiency of a leaf blower; MPH and CFM.

What is an MPH?

As many of you already know, MPH stands for Miles Per Hour. MPH is generally used to measure the velocity (speed) of some substance or object such as a vehicle. It tells how many miles can be covered if the objects keep moving at a constant speed.

In terms of the leaf blower, it refers to the speed of the air when it leaves the nozzle. MPH is a way to tell how fast will the leaf blower clear the debris and leaves from the ground. Higher the MPH, the leaf blower would clean the area faster. However, this is not always the case as there are some other factors as well that influence the efficiency of a leaf blower.

What is CFM?

CFM might sound unfamiliar to you but it is not so difficult to understand. CFM is short for Cubic Feet per Minute. It refers to the volume of air that is expelled from the nozzle within a minute. Here’s a background to it that will help you understand this concept better:

An impeller is attached in a leaf blower that creates a vacuum effect and draws air towards it and releases it through the nozzle. The features of the blades (length, angle, and speed of rotation) determines the volume of air that the impeller would pull and release. This capacity is expressed in MPH. So for example, if you have a 100 CFM leaf blower, it would release 100 cubic feet of air from the nozzle in one minute. So, higher the CFM, greater would be the force exerted by the leaf blower to blow the leaves.

What is a good CFM for your yard depends on the area of your yard. Find more about CFM.


So far we have established that CFM relates to the power of the leaf blower while MPH is related to the speed of the blower. Now the important question is: which one should be considered more important while buying a leaf blower? So here is something that will help you decide.

Consider that your leaf blower has a velocity of 300 MPH, but the size of the nozzle is only as wide as a narrow pipe. It is obvious that the volume of the air coming out of the nozzle is enough to take years to clean your yard full of rotten dropping leaves.

Now consider that you have a leaf blower that is as wide as 650 CFM, but the air that comes out of the nozzle is so weak and slow that it barely moves a leaf to an inch.

It means that a leaf blower with higher MPH will blow the leaves farther but the number of the leaves would be less. However, a leaf blower with higher CFM will clean a bigger pile of leaves in one go but it would not blow the leaves to a greater distance.

What do we conclude from these two examples? They suggest that high CFM or high MPH alone is not enough to make an efficient leaf blower. It requires a good combination of MPH and CFM to blow the leaves easily and to a greater distance. An overall powerful airflow requires a higher number of both the CFM and MPH.

Which rating of CFM and MPH to choose?

What combination of CFM and MPH constitutes a good leaf blower depends on the type of leaf blower you choose as well.

Though some of the Battery-powered leaf blowers provide extra power for a limited time, they are generally not very powerful.

For a regular-sized yard, a leaf blower with 120 MPH and 400 CFM will provide enough power to clear up the area.

You may find a higher rating for both in corded electric leaf blowers. The speed of 250 MPH and an air displacement of 600 CFM would make an efficient corded leaf blower. However, you can rarely find a higher rating of both.

While gas-powered leaf blowers give you the most power, backpack leaf blowers provide a greater power as compared to the handheld models.

What not to choose?

As it has already been established that a good combination of CFM and MPH is necessary for an efficient leaf blower, do not compromise if one rating is significantly lower than the other. You need to be aware that brands often prominently display any of the two ratings that are higher while hiding the other. It is obvious that if the company is hiding a rating, it is not worth-displaying. Take the hint and put this leaf blower back in its place.

Here is an interesting buying guide:

Concluding Note

Before you buy something, make sure to research enough that you do not regret investing in it. Buying a leaf blower can be tricky when it comes to the numbers and ratings. It becomes more difficult if you do not have any prior experience of using or buying a leaf blower. A tip for such a case is to compare the devices based on multiple metrics.

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