Although is it is often called a vacuum, in fact its work consists mainly of blowing. You use the machine to blow the fallen leaves into a pile before reversing its course and letting it to vacuum the pile into the attached bag.
You can find electric models as well as gas models in a wide range of prices on the market. Although the gas ones are heavier (over 4 kg/8 pounds) and more expensive, you are not limited with an electric cable when using them; it is a considerable advantage if you have a large garden.
- The Performance
The performance of a blower is typically described by the air velocity. The basic models have around 200 km/hour (less power is useless), while the top machines show up to 380 km/h.
- Two Systems
Most of the cheap blowers have a bicameral nozzle. The bigger nozzle is designed for vacuuming and the smaller one for blowing. You can switch between them easily from your position of the operator.
It is an advantage if the tube can be attached to wheels, which maintain the suction tube at a constant distance from the ground when vacuuming so ensuring a consistent performance.
The large machines usually have a different system. The fan is the centre and you can (according to the function) attach the wide tube on the suction opening or the close one on the exhaust opening.
The system of switching on the petrol machines (in the “hobby” category, which applies to most brands) is a little bit more complicated. However according to internet forums, most users are willing to tolerate the little disadvantage in comparison with the ability to work on large areas without an electric cable. In addition to it, the blower mode is used most of the time while the vacuum mode is used only in the end to pick up the leaves.
- The Structure
When choosing the machine, be careful about the details, such as the quality of the plastics and the perfect alignment of the parts. They are marks of a quality machine.
It is worth to “touch” the machine before buying it and avoid shopping only by the images in a catalogue. It is the only way to know, if the machine balanced well and comfortable to work with.
When shopping, ask about the material of the fan. The fan blades of the higher class machines are made of metal. Because both the leaves and small stones get through the fan blades into the bag while vacuuming, the blades are less likely to get damaged.
In most cases, the blades are shaped so that they can grind the leaves which are passing through them. This function reduces the mass of the material up to a tenth of the original amount and you do not need to empty the bag so frequently.
- The Power Control
If you have a petrol machine, you can adjust the blowing intensity by increasing the throttle. However, the engine speed of electric machines is constant. Therefore, it is ideal if the machine is equipped with the power control. It is useful e.g. when you blow a small pile close to a big pile of leaves. It is advisable to reduce the power a bit, so that you do not blow the accumulated leaves over your garden again. There are also situations when you need a finer work, e.g. when you are disposing the leaves from your rock garden and you do not want to damage the plants there.
- Useful In Winter Too
In winter, the blower is also useful for quick cleaning of terraces and walkways around the house from a minor snowfall. The light snow can be blown away much faster than by sweeping with a broom or by shovelling.
The machine is also helpful for maintenance of the walkways during a long continuous snowfall. The snow removal is ultimately easier than if you waited until 30 cm of snow accumulate, and only then starting to remove it.