Leaf Blower CFM vs MPH: Which Metric is Most Important?

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man using leaf blower

There are two different ways of measuring the power behind your leaf blower. CFM which stands for cubic feet per minute, and MPH which means miles per hour. But which of these two metrics should you look at when choosing a blower? Or should you look at both?

Actually, both numbers are important, and the higher the number, the more power your blower will have. They don’t mean the same thing, though:

CFM / Cubic Feet per Minute

The CFM’s is the first number that you will want to look at. It measures how much air is blowing through the blower in one minute.

Leaf blowers have blades that spin to draw air in. That air is then forced out, through the tube, to move your leaves.

The amount of air that is being pushed out of the unit is what’s used to determine the cubic feet per minute. If the CFM is 350, that means that 350 cubic feet of air is pushed out of the nozzle every minute.

Obviously, the more air that is pushed through, the more leaves you can blow. But the amount of air coming out doesn’t mean anything unless it is blowing fast enough. That is where the miles per hour come in.

man cleaning leaves on the park

MPH / Miles Per Hour

Miles per hour is exactly what you’d guess it is. It measures how many miles the air being expelled would travel in one hour at a constant speed. More speed doesn’t always mean that you have better blowing, though. The airspeed comes into effect when you need to move heavier objects.

Leaves are light and will blow easily unless they are wet, but if you have any tiny stones or mulch mixed in with it, you will need the higher airspeed to get all of it to move. However, if your miles per hour is at an acceptable rate but there is no to no air moving through the blower, the speed does you absolutely no good.

You Should Look at Both Numbers

So which is more important? Though both numbers are significant we would rate CFM as a bit more important than MPH when it comes to measuring the power.

You can have all the speed and blow nothing, or you can have a motor that runs a little bit slower, yet pushes out double the amount of air Which one do you think will make your job go faster?

You’re right. The amount of that that is moving through your nozzle is what will make more leaves blow at one time. Have you ever heard the saying, “slow and steady wins the race?” While leaf blowers are by no means slow, the point is the same. Speed is not more important than volume.

We hope that we have cleared up any questions that you may have had on what the difference is between CFM’s and MPH.

Hopefully, we’ve explained them in a way that you find easy to understand. Though it is our opinion that CFM’s are more important than MPH, remember that it is only our opinion. You may have to try units that are more powerful in each category to make a decision for yourself.

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About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!