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15 Nov 2019

Cordless leaf blowers: what's the trade-off?

If you've slipped on a pile of wet leaves on your driveway one too many times this autumn, it may be time to invest in a leaf blower. But while a cordless model has its advantages, is this really the right type for you?

Cordless leaf blowers are becoming more popular, and it's not hard to see why. Cordless appliances bring ease and convenience into your gardening jobs, as you're not restricted by having to top up petrol or stay close to a power socket while you work.

Every leaf blower we tested in 2019 is a battery-powered cordless model - and, amazingly, every one scored the full five stars in our convenience test. They also weigh an average of 2.4kg, almost half the weight of the average corded electric or petrol leaf blower, so your arms shouldn't get too tired even if you have a huge garden to cover.

There are some downsides, though. Read on for the full picture, or go straight to our leaf blower reviews to compare all the models we've tested.

Cordless leaf blowers are more expensive

Unfortunately, convenience is a luxury you'll have to pay for.

The average price of all the cordless leaf blowers we've tested is £139, whereas for corded and electric models it's £113.

Our priciest cordless model costs more than £400, although we have tested a few options costing less than £100. You'll have to skimp on a few features at this price, such as buttons to control the speed of the air jet, but it could be worth it if you're after a convenient cordless blower on a budget.

You could also save money on the battery. Most cordless leaf blowers have a battery included in the price, but if you have other cordless garden tools from the same brand, you can use one battery for all your products and just swap between them.

Less likely to have a vacuum function

If you want to collect your leaves to make compost, or mulch for your beds or borders, or if you just want a neat solution to pesky fallen foliage, then you should look for a leaf blower with a vacuum function. Instead of just blowing them away, these models suck leaves up into a collection bag.

This is a convenient option, but you'll likely have to sacrifice the benefits of a cordless leaf blower to get it. Most of the leaf blower vacuums we've tested are corded electric models, but we have tried out one cordless model (although it sits at the pricier end of the scale).

Read our review of the Wolf Garten 72V leaf blower to see if it's worth bringing home.

Not as powerful

There are always exceptions, but in general cordless leaf blowers just aren't as powerful as other types.

If you've got mounds of damp leaves to deal with, or you want to get your gardening jobs done in super-quick time, you'll need a model with a fair bit of power.

Cordless models often sacrifice a powerful air stream for portability. However, our testing has found models that combine convenience with performance, so you do have options if you're not prepared to compromise.

See our round-up of the best leaf blowers for the cordless and corded models that excelled in our tough tests.