Power Blowers

FRESNO, Calif.

No question power blowers are noisy. To find out just how much noise your neighbors experience, consumer reports tested 32 blowers at a distance of 50 feet.

Gas blowers are the loudest. The electrics are nowhere near as noisy. And electric blowers cost a lot less, too. But gas blowers are generally more powerful clearing up the yard.

By contrast, tests show some of the electric blowers - like the $30 Homelite Blower that was tested - proved pretty wimpy.

But Peter Sawchuk found some electrics from Toro that were almost as good at clearing leaves and debris as the best gas blowers.

"I like this Toro. It's powerful. It's lightweight, and the noise is easy on the neighbors," Sawchuk said.

It's the Toro Ultra Blower Vac and at $70, it's a consumer reports top-rated electric blower.

"A big drawback of all electric power blowers is that you need an available outlet. And you're limited to the length of the power cord, which is about 100 feet," Sawchuk said.

If you have a bigger yard, you'll have to go with a gas-powered blower. Consumer reports says a good choice is this $140 Stihl. It does a great job cleaning up, and it isn't as noisy as some of the other gas blowers.

Consumer reports says with just about any blower even an electric one you need to wear hearing protection when you use it so you don't damage your hearing.

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