The arrival of fall is one that brings us relief from the summer days. It also gives rise to one of the most picturesque settings with fallen leaves adding a refreshing red tint to our surroundings.
However, after the initial happiness, it soon becomes unruly and untidy, requiring the leaves to be cleaned up. Leaf blowers help blow the leaves into the gutters and thus maintain the lawns efficiently.
I don’t know if you heard it or not, but in many states, leaf blowers are banned, and very few people know the exact reason why are leaf blowers banned? Most of the leaf blowers run on gasoline fuel and have two-stroke engines, that run on high RPMs, creating noise and air pollution. And there are no specific emission laws for small engines, these all factors cause authorities to ban leaf blowers.
In recent times though, cities are not permitting their use. Why have leaf blowers been banned though? Leaf blowers release carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and other hydrocarbons into their surroundings. This is especially true for gas-based leaf blowers, that operate with gasoline as their fuel.
As a result, the quality of the air steadily degrades, further compounding issues due to industrial air pollution. It indirectly contributes to health hazards like smog, making it difficult for people to step out as the surroundings become colder.
And when leaf blowers work it also blows up the dust and other pollutants like ash, and other small pollutants that are settled down on the road and sidewalks, they also mixed with the air and thus making the air more harmful.
This is made worse by the fact that most leaf blowers are air-cooled, which means pretty much all of the by-products are emitted into the atmosphere. Leaf blowers force dust, ash, and other fine particles into the air, making it difficult for people with breathing conditions.
People suffering from asthma and other upper-respiratory conditions will be left vulnerable due to the floating dust particles, causing shortness of breath and other problems. This is because leaf blowers have to force out air powerful enough to lift off the leaves from the ground.
However, lighter particulates get launched and remain suspended in the air for longer, which we eventually inhale. Even if you are in good health, these particles can be a major annoyance when you are outside.
Leaf blowers are very noisy, creating disturbances to the neighborhood. It contributes to sound pollution, which can cause long-term hearing damages to the neighborhood. It can also be very annoying for people looking to enjoy their morning routines peacefully.
Why are Leaf Blowers so Loud?
Leaf blowers have a two-stroke engine and they always run on high RPMs, which rotates a fan that forces large amounts of air out at high pressure, making a lot of noise. While many may find this normal, leaf blowers have a unique problem making them so noticeably loud.
Each fan blade produces a popping sound every time it passes the cutoff point. When you consider multiple fan blades at a high RPM, this can result in an extremely high-frequency noise that is hard to ignore.
It does not help the fact that the human ear is more sensitive to these higher frequencies, making them considerably louder. As a result, we perceive this noise louder even if we are far away, or sitting comfortably.
Older leaf blowers adhered to noise regulations of the past, allowing them to be louder. Noise pollution has been taken up as a serious issue in recent times. While most manufacturers have redesigned their models to adhere to revised regulations, not all the old models have been phased out.
Newer models with better sound muffling are expensive, which many people cannot afford. As a result, they stick to cheaper models, which effectively help you clean the leaves from your lawn, but do not do it quietly at all.
How Loud is a Leaf Blower in Decibels (dB)?
According to a study by the Department of Environmental Conservation, most leaf blowers generate around 65 dB of sound when you are 50 ft apart, but this can go upto 70 dB as well.
While this amount of sound is comparable to a running shower, it is at a much higher frequency than other everyday noises. As a result, our ears are more sensitive to this sound, making it quite a disturbance to people in the near vicinity while the device is being operated.
How about the operator, who does not have the luxury of distance? The operator hears the same sound around 105 dB while using the machine. Any sounds above 85 dB can cause hearing damage, depending on the period of exposure.
The sound emitted by the leaf blower is much higher than this threshold. Anyone using it must have the necessary ear protection. Failing to do so can lead the person to suffer permanent hearing loss after some time.
How can I make my Leaf Blower Quieter?
Newer leaf blowers have made big strides in technology, allowing them to be as powerful while reducing the sound to a large extent. This includes new materials that muffle the sound of the fan blades, quieter engines, and improved designs.
Here are some of the leaf blowers we would suggest for you if you want to be a good neighbor who wants to maintain your lawn efficiently. We have tried these products by ourselves thus recommending them.
The Echo PB-250 Leaf Blower is a gas engine leaf blower that is renowned for being amongst the quietest in the industry in the gas type category. We have listed a few pros and cons to help you understand the good and bad of this product.
- Lightweight and powerful, can push out a high amount of air at speeds of 170 mph
- Engine shielded at the side, prevents accidental sucking in of clothes
- Quiet and neighbor-friendly
- Extender tube keeps falling off, no clear marking for ease of use
- Poorly designed manual regarding instructions and usage
- Does not come with a shoulder strap
For those looking for an environment friendly yet compact blower, the EGO Power+ LB6504 is a great choice. This is battery-based blower has its pros and cons, some of which you should know before purchasing this product.
- Electric brushless motor provides performance similar to gas blowers
- Variable speed motor for adjustable use depending on the requirement, turbo mode for heavy debris removal
- 90 minutes run time on battery
- Multiple reports of a product failure during initial use
- Poor customer service and slow resolving of issues with the product
Last but not least, we have the Greenworks Backpack Leaf Blower that offers great all-around performance for a leaf blower. Here are a few pros and cons about this product that will ensure you know exactly what product it is you are buying.
- Electric brushless motor designed to provide the maximum power output
- Multiple configurations for ease of use
- Variable speed motor and turbo mode to get rid of heavy and wet leaves
- A large battery is inconvenient to move around with
- The lower-powered motor has some difficulty with soggy debris
How polluting are leaf blowers? Leaf blowers are a major source of air and noise pollution. They release toxic chemicals like nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide, as well as hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. This causes the quality of air to deteriorate, leading to environmental concerns like acid rain and smog, which can have an adverse effect on human health.
Leaf blowers are also noisy machines, with even the quietest blowers producing sound levels upward of 65 dB. People using one can experience levels of up to 105 dB, which can cause permanent hearing damage if protective equipment is not used.
Which leaf blower is better, gas or battery type? Battery type or electric blowers are better than gas type blowers. Gas blowers had the earlier advantage of being more powerful than electric motors. However, with the improvement of technology, electric motors have become as powerful as gas blowers.
Electric motors are quieter than the two-stroke engines of the gas type blowers. As a result, they reduce the concerns regarding noise pollution, while doing an equally good job as their gas-based counterparts.
— Also read: How much Electricity does a Leaf Blower Use?
Since technology is electric-based, it does not produce harmful products that cause air pollution either. As a result, electric blowers have been permitted in certain cities and counties, while gas blowers have been completely outlawed by new regulations.