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What Is a Good CFM for a Leaf Blower?

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Lawn maintenance requires a lot of work as any home or business owner knows.

The old days of having to remove leaves and debris from lawns using rakes are gone thanks to modern technology and leaf blowers.

When shopping for a leaf blower, you may get confused about which one to choose.  If you are looking for a new blower, my buying guide may help.

  • What does it all mean?
  • What is CFM?
  • How much CFM should you look for before buying?
  • Which leaf blower is best?

Leaf blowers come with two numbers that measure performance: cubic feet per minute (CFM) and miles per hour (MPH). Both metrics are equally as important.

What is CFM?

CFM reflects the power of the air volume as it is expelled through the machine in the span of one minute. The MPH measures the speed of the air as it exits the machine in one hour.

For example, a leaf blower with a CFM of 120 can theoretically push 120 cubic feet of leaves and debris in one minute.

The CFM measurement measures the force of the air. You can have a high speed, but if there is a low air volume the blower will not be as effective and vice versa.

You want the force (and speed) to be with you 🙂

Here is a really cool video that I found on YouTube that shows CFM in action.  I can’t say that I recommend any of the blowers in the video, but it’s more for a visual representation of CFM.

Check it out below:

So what CFM do you need?

That depends on several factors. One factor is the size of your property and the size of the job. For most homeowners who just want to clean up their driveways or patios, an electric leaf blower might be a good choice.

Generally, electric leaf blowers have a CFM falling somewhere from just under 200 to 400.

If your property is an acre or more, you will probably want a leaf blower with a CFM between 400 to 700. These machines are noisier and obviously more powerful with the ability to handle both wet and dry debris.

The most powerful leaf blowers are the push behind models. Push blowers can give you CFMs up to 3,000 and are good for moving both wet and dry leaves as well as dirt and even rocks from properties.

They are gas powered for ease of mobility around large areas and suitable for commercial complexes such as parking lots. You should be forewarned: they are very noisy so, again, you may want to check with any noise ordinances in populated areas.

These are general guidelines when it comes to choosing a leaf blower based on CFM, but make sure you take other factors (MPH, ease of use, weight, price) into account before making your final decision.


Author: Matt Hagens

Matt Hagens

Hi, I’m Matt the owner of Yard Care Life. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Learn more about me and find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

13 thoughts on “What Is a Good CFM for a Leaf Blower?”

  1. Considering that the entire job of a leaf blower is to blow leaves it is easy to understand why the CFM measurement is so important. Depending on how many leaves typically fall on your property during Autumn then you might need one with a bit more power. If you’re still not sure, it might help to ask a technician or whoever is selling the leaf blowers what they think.

    • my blower 200 cfm 100 mph does not blow heavy pine needles. do I want a blower with higher mph seeing that it does blow needles , will not turn them over

  2. I disagree. Your home fan delivers high CFM, but it doesn’t have the power to move leaves, particularly when they are wet. Most important feature is speed, as in Black and Decker BV 6000, which delivers a speed of 250mph. Of course you need sufficient CFM as well, but if your speed is low, you are not going to get the job done.

    • Thanks for the comment, David. MPH can be misleading as well. If you are shooting air throw a pinhole, you can have a high MPH, but there won’t be any power behind it. CFM is a better overall measurement in my opinion.

  3. Looking at catalog from stoneberry. New to them but live with lots of trees. The leaves are wet. I dont know what CFM TO MPH MEAN. From one to another. Is brand better as numbers go up or down???

  4. You’re wrong. Neither is “more important”. MPH and CFM are literally equally important. One without the other is meaningless.

  5. Husqvarna Hand Held Blower/Vac has a CFM of 425 @ pipe and 130 mph @ round nozzle and is very popular with our clients. It is handheld has a blower.

  6. you can respectfully disagree but duke’s got it right. Neither is more important and you need both numbers to make any sense of it. 1000cfm at 1mph will do the same as 1cfm at 1000mph. You should check your facts before spreading misinformation (as is so common on the internet). It’s momentum change that’s doing the work. Google how a jet engine works as that is effectively what the blower does. If you want to compare blowers, take cfm and multiply by velocity. There’s some conversion factors in there but essentially that’s how you get thrust (force). T = mass flow x velocity. Problem is that almost everyone rates their velocities and max air flows based on some BS so you’ll get a bunch that seem like they’re the same when really there’s a big difference between them. 230 mph is going to be the fastest you’re going to see. That’s because it’s about 0.3 Mach and above that you start getting compressibility effects. Anyone rating 250+ mph is using scam test procedures to inflat their numbers. That last part is my opinion.

    • Rethinking this and doing adding research, I have changed my mindset and agree with you and Duke that both numbers are equally important. Thanks to both of you for the feedback and added education 🙂 As I have stated in my bio, I am a homeowner and don’t profess to be an expert, so I am learning as well. It’s great to have an active community where we can all learn from each other.

      FYI, I have updated my post as well.

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