What Is CFM Measurement for Leaf Blowers?

What is CFM for leaf blowers? It has to do with power and effectiveness. Read about what CFM is and why it matters when buying the best leaf blower.

Leaf Blowers: How to Find the Best By Understanding What CFM Is

You've decided you need a leaf blower. That's great! But like so many products that we're a little unfamiliar with, we come across terms and acronyms that are foreign to us. If you're looking at leaf blowers, you've probably come across CFM.

What is the CFM Measurement?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute (ft3/min). Many of us focus on miles per hour (MPH) when judging the power and speed of something. However, with a product like leaf blowers, the space in which that air travels is critical. Even at 100 MPH, a leaf blower would be useless if it only covered one square foot of space.

How is CFM Measured?

When purchasing a leaf blower, this should all be calculated for you. But if you're curious, CFM is measured by multiplying air velocity by the size of whatever port the air is flowing out of. Think about this: When concerned with speed, you wonder how fast something is going from one place to the next. But with things like air, where you need actual areas covered so the job is done, you need more than speed. You need those areas covered at an adequate rate with adequate speed.

Why does CFM Measurement Matter for leaf blowers?

This is where you have to look at what you're dealing with. Is your backyard an acre large? Or do you live in the city where you're maintaining a sidewalk and some shrubs? Or do you live in suburbia and have a driveway to maintain? Depending on the space of your property, you're going to look at different CFM measurements.

Let's say, for example, you have a front yard that is 10,000 square feet. It's a relatively large size, but nothing unmanageable. You've been using a rake for years but you're tired of being outside in the cold of autumn for long periods of time. You look online or at the hardware store and see some good looking leaf blowers based on the reviews. But you're still a bit lost.

This is where CFM measurement comes in.

What CFM Measurement to Look For in a leaf blower

As mentioned, you're going to have three types of areas to work with: small, medium, large. CFM measurement, thankfully, is calculated in a way that aligns with this need. If you have a small area that needs clearing, your CFM can be on the smaller side. The CFM measurement for smaller equipment tends to be about 200. These leaf blowers are light and easy to carry. Similarly, if you have a huge backyard you're trying to clean up, you're going to want a CFM measurement that is on the higher side, something above 700. These leaf blowers will probably fit on your back as they're much more heavy than their lighter counterparts.

Another aspect to consider is the noise level. Thankfully, this is relatively easy to anticipate. The higher your CFM, the louder the noise generated from the leaf blower. This is another reason to take note of the space you're working in. If you have a small yard and live in close proximity to your neighbors, you're going to want a leaf blower with a lower CFM. You won't have an overpowered device, you won't blow out your eardrums, and you won't bother your neighbors.

If you live in the woods or have a solid amount of space between you and your neighbors, consider a more expensive leaf blower with a higher CFM measurement. Something to note: if you have a leaf blower that you're strapping on your back, you should buy some earbuds or headphones to cancel out the noise. Be courteous: If the noise is too loud for you, it's probably too loud for those living around you.

So Why Does CFM Really Matter for Leaf Blowers?

Before browsing the aisles of your local hardware store or Amazon, be sure to look at your space and be realistic. Again, if you're working with property in a city, you don't have to strain for the largest and strongest. Get something that can be charged and moved around easily. But if you're living in a more rural environment with plenty of property, don't skimp out on a tool that is meant to make your life easier, not harder. Get a leaf blower with a CFM measurement on the higher side, something that can push around not only leaves but also tiny rocks and twigs.

Technology is meant to make your life easier, not harder. By understanding CFM measurement, you can get the right leaf blower for you and your property.

Resources— Air Flow Calculator, The Tool Report