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What is a Good CFM for a Leaf Blower?

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CFM is the acronym for cubic feet per minute. It is used to measure the rate of speed at which the air moves into and out of a given space. It is mainly used to be in a volumetric capacity. CFM does not depend on density but on pressure. It can be used to determine the area in a given unit, such as feet, which can be caused to move per minute. It is used in many instances, such as in relation to data centers and in an air-cooling system.

A leaf blower, on the other hand, is a piece of equipment most notably used in the yard or garden to remove things such as leaves by air coming out of the blower’s nozzle. They can also be used in driveways, patios, and walkways. They help in keeping these areas clean as it removes all leaves, whether dried, fresh, or dead. They usually do their work quite fast and efficiently. Leaf blower’s cost (see How Much Does a Leaf Blower Cost) is commonly related to specific metrics such as CFM or MPH.

Ventilation systemThe term CFM is most commonly used among computer technicians or other users due to its relation to the system by which the machine is cooled. This can best be understood most simply, just as defined above, as the unit for measurement of the coolant in this system. This is also more often used in industries relating to ventilation procedures and structures. When measured in unit liters per second, 1 unit of the CFM is equated to up to about 0.47 liters per second. When measured in relation to horsepower, more of the CFM up to 233.91 makes up one horsepower. This can be used interchangeably, although the horsepower mechanical.

The CFM or one atmospheric cubic foot per one minute can be converted to 0.72 in terms of kW, which is a unit that is used to measure electric power. The unit can be converted to several various units besides the units of measuring air pressure.

How Leaf Blowers Work

The introduction of leaf blowers into the gardening world reduced the need for using rakes, which were slow and tiresome. These blowers could either be powered by gas or electricity. The electric ones are ideal for small area gardens. Leaf blowers work (see how do leaf blowers work for more information) by using centrifugal force to create wind at varying velocities, largely dependent on the type/model of blower. The leaf blower’s casing contains a fan and motor. The fan is bladed. The fan will immediately spin once the motor runs when the engine is switched on. During the fan’s spinning, it is also able to spin and draw the air coming from outside to come in. The air that has been spun will move out through a tube that has an opening and has been attached to the leaf blower. The centrifugal force causes the built-up air to move out through the tube at high speeds.


CFM, in relation to a leaf blower, can be said to be the amount of air that flows out of the tube of the leaf blower in one minute. Therefore, CFM can be said to be the machines blowing power. However, the leaf blower has other ways of measuring airflow, for example, MPH (miles per hour). Unlike CFM, MPH measures the speed of the moving air as opposed to the amount of air that is moved. When CFM and MPH are combined, they can create the optimal force needed to move the leaves. Finding the right leaf blower often requires looking at both CFM and MPH to determine the blower’s capabilities. Higher CFM and MPH leaf blowers can blow more leaves further than the machines with low CFM and low MPH. If you’re interested, take a look at our pick for the best battery-powered leaf blowers to get the most out of these handy little devices.

Guidelines for a Good CFM

Girl standing in blowing leavesGenerally, smaller areas such as patios or driveways require less blowing power than large yards that require blowing leaves across tall grass. Small, battery powered leaf blowers with 400 CFM or less work well in situations such as light blowing around the home. Some models, such as “sweepers” offer very little CFM (i.e. less than 100). These types of blowers are used as very efficient brooms for hard surfaces such as garages or driveways. For more strenuous jobs, such as blowing wet leaves across grass, more power will probably be required. Blowers that offer between 400 – 700 CFM are commonly used in situations such as these. Industrial level blowers can emit up to 3000 CFM to take care of those difficult jobs that cover large areas quickly and efficiently.

Further Considerations

As mentioned earlier, one must check their area’s noise limitations; this is because the leaf blowers with a high CFM will often produce a more significant volume of sound as compared to leaf blowers with low CFM. The good thing about leaf blowers with higher CFM, besides being powerful, is their ability to handle wet and dry leaves or grass trimmings. Unfortunately, as more air is moved through the tube, the more powerful motors often produce significantly more noise than their less powerful cousins. This is especially true for some of the industrial blowers, such as a walk behind gas-powered blower.