In the fall, when your yard is covered in leaves, leaf blowers can save you so much time and effort. However, for the biggest jobs, even a backpack blower might not be sufficient. In this case, the alternative is to turn to a Walk Behind version.
There are many to choose from, but all offer you superior power and performance when clearing large quantities of leaves – so if you are on the lookout for the best Walk Behind leaf blower, here are our top picks.
Let’s look quickly at the advantages of choosing a Walk Behind leaf blower over a handheld or backpack model. Then we can think about some of the main points you should be looking at when you choose.
Why opt for a Walk Behind blower?
When faced with piles of leaves in the fall, a leaf blower can save you lots of time and effort. For smaller jobs, a handheld version will be fine, while backpack versions are more suited to medium-scale operations
However, when it comes to the heaviest-duty leaf clearing work, a walk behind leaf blower can be a better choice.
Because they are on wheels, they can incorporate heavier engines than you would be able to carry in your hand or on your back – and this means more power.
For this reason, they are the ideal choice for those with large areas or big volumes of leaves to clear on extensive properties. They are also a popular choice with professional landscapers.
However, if you don’t need all this power because you only have a small yard, you might be better off choosing a handheld or backpack version – walk behind blowers don’t come cheap, and you will be spending a lot of money unnecessarily if you don’t really need it.
How to Choose the best Walk Behind leaf blower?
If you are sure you need a Walk Behind blower, here are some of the things you should be looking at.
1. Engine size and brand
Although not the be-all-and-end-all, the size of the engine – measured in ccs – will give you a good idea of the blower’s power. They generally range from the low 100s to 500ccs or more.
Also, since the manufacturer of the blower probably doesn’t make the engine, look at the engine’s brand. Companies like Honda and Briggs & Stratton are well-established names.
2. Air speed and displacement
Engine size is not everything – to understand how powerful a blower is, you need to look at the air speed (measured in mph) and air displacement (measured in Cubic Feet per Minute) capacities.
This tells you how much air can be moved and how fast it can be moved. One without the other isn’t enough, so look for a blower with high ratings for both.
3. 2-cycle or 4-cycle?
Practically all Walk Behind blowers are gas-powered, but some have 2-cycle engines while others have 4-cycle versions.
2-cycle engines are more powerful but are also louder. They are simpler and so less likely to break down, but you need to make a gas and oil mixture to run them on. Using pure gasoline will seriously damage the engine.
4-cycle engines are more efficient, quieter and also run on pure gas, so there’s no need to mix it with oil. However, they are often more expensive and don’t give the same raw power as a 2-cycle engine of a comparable size.
Both types are acceptable – you just need to decide which characteristics are more important to you.
Weight is obviously an important consideration since you will have to push the thing around your yard. However, if you need more power, you will have to choose a bigger model. You should try to find the right balance between enough power and a manageable weight.
One answer to machines that are too heavy to push comfortably is to choose a self-propelled one. With these, the machine advances on its own, and all you need to do is guide it. If you need to buy a really big blower, a self-propelled version is a good option.
6. Air direction
Many blowers allow you to choose the angle or direction of the wind to give you more flexibility in how you work. This is another point worth bearing in mind when you choose a leaf blower.
The Best Walk Behind Leaf Blower on the Market 2019
1. (OUR TOP PICK) Southland SWB163150E Walk Behind Leaf Blower, OHV Engine
If you are trying out a Walk Behind leaf blower for the first time having previously used handheld models or backpack blowers, you will find this a real beast. The amount of wind power this generates is levels above other types of blower you may be used to.
It gives you a wind speed of 150mph but coupled with 1,200CFM, this will blast piles of leaves from your lawn in short order. It achieves this with a 163cc 2-stroke engine that is simple to fire up thanks to the manual recoil easy start fuel delivery system.
It is constructed with strong and durable materials, including a steel fan housing, all of which ensures it is built to last.
We like the big 12” wheels coupled with a smaller, swiveling front wheel that increase mobility. Along with the adjustable angle chute and front angle attachment, this allows you to deal with almost any kind of leaf clearing tasks with ease.
On the downside, the front grille protecting the fan can sometimes become blocked – you may need to stop to clear it or you will notice the power begins to drop. The wheels will also struggle on uneven, muddy or gravelly surfaces.
Overall, an excellent machine that will give you plenty of extra power to deal with the yearly blanket of leaves. However, if you don’t need to take care of heavier-duty jobs, a handheld or backpack model might be a wiser pick.
- Easy to start – features manual recoil easy start fuel delivery system
- Big wind force – 1,200CFM, up to 4 times more powerful than a backpack blower
- Good maneuverability – 12” back wheels and swiveling front wheel for control
- Built to last – constructed of highly durable materials
- Adjustable chute and front flow capability – offers maximum versatility
- Front grille can get blocked up – you need to keep it free of leaves
- Can struggle on uneven surfaces – the wheels are designed for lawn or hard surfaces
2. (RUNNER UP) Little Wonder 99170-03-01 C5 Walk Behind Leaf Blower
This Walk Behind leaf blower from Little Wonder is indeed a little wonder. It is a high-quality piece of equipment that packs in plenty of useful features and provides high levels of power and impressive leaf blowing performance.
It is powered by a 170cc Subaru SP170 engine and can give you wind speeds of up to 200mph with an air displacement of 1,150CFM – that’s some serious power and will allow you to clear even the largest piles of leaves with no effort.
We like the Aim Rite adjustable nozzle that also allows you to select the angle and direction of the air. You can also change the height when working on more uneven ground, making it a highly versatile machine that can deal with a range of yard clearing tasks.
There are some good adaptations for comfort, too. We appreciate the extra thick padded handle that is designed to reduce vibrations, making it a pleasure to use.
The obvious drawback is the price – this is a blower that might be priced above what many people are willing to pay for a leaf blower – although high-quality equipment always comes with a corresponding price tag.
Overall, this would be the ideal pick for someone looking for a top-end powerful leaf blower and who doesn’t mind paying for it. If you are on a budget, you might prefer to check out some less expensive options.
- High-quality 170cc engine – made by Subaru
- Aim Rite adjustable nozzle – allows you to choose the direction of the air
- Designed for comfort – thick padded handle to reduce vibration
- Plenty of power – can deliver up to 200mph wind speed and 1,150CFM displacement
- Folds for storage – makes it more practical to put away when not in use
- Not cheap – but you need to pay the price for top quality
- Consumes a lot of gas – unsurprisingly, such a powerful unit is a bit of a gas-guzzler
3. (BEST 4-STROKE ENGINE) Little Wonder Optimax Walk Behind Leaf Blower
This is another top-quality piece of equipment from Little Wonder that features much of the same build quality and attention to detail as the model reviewed above.
The big difference here is that this machine incorporates a 160cc Honda 4-stroke engine rather than the 2-stroke engine from Subaru. This means it can deliver a comparable amount of power but that it uses pure gas and runs more quietly than the 2-stroke model.
In terms of power, it delivers wind speeds of 153mph as well as a highly impressive air displacement of 1,397CFM. This will be enough for any heavy-duty leaf or debris clearing jobs you might need it for.
It is built to last, too. For example, it incorporates a 17” seven-blade impeller that is cut from a single piece of steel – this is a machine you will be using for many years to come.
It also incorporates many of the comfort features of the other Little Wonder blower, including the ergonomic thick padded handle that serves to reduce vibration.
Unfortunately, this is another expensive machine that many people might find out of reach – although if you can afford it, it still represents good value, considering the quality of the components.
It is also big and powerful, so if you only have smaller areas to clear, you can save yourself some cash by choosing something more suitable for smaller yards.
We love the quality and power of this unit. If it is within your price range and you need this much power, it is a machine that you will be able to turn to year after year. Highly recommended.
- Split stream deflector – helps keep debris under control
- Powerful 4-stroke Honda engine – quieter than 2-cycle versions
- Produces excellent levels of power – gives you up to 153mph and 1,397CFM
- 17” 7-blade impeller – stamped from a single piece of 10-gauge steel
- Anti-vibration ergonomic grip – designed for convenience and comfort
- Expensive unit – many people will find this out of their price range
- Too big for small yards – a handheld or backpack version might be better
4. (BEST UPGRADE PICK) Billy Goat F902H Walk Behind Force Blower
If you want to take the step up into the world of truly commercial-grade leaf blowers, this powerful unit from Billy Goat could be worth checking out.
It is powered by a large 262cc 4-stroke Honda engine that delivers superior levels of performance. It can give you just under 200mph wind speeds while displacing 1,700CFM. If you are looking to shift serious amounts of leaves and debris, this machine will be up to the task.
It is also very easy to start – it incorporates an automatic mechanical decompression system that will see it fire up on only the first or second pull.
One great feature is the highly practical Aim N Shoot nozzle system – this is something we really appreciate as it gives you much greater flexibility in the direction you blow leaves and debris as you work.
It is also self-propelled, making it ideal for people who don’t have the strength or energy to push a heavy blower or for those with very large properties to clear.
The major downside here is the cost. With the step up in power comes a step up in price, although this is to be expected. It is also a big, heavy machine, so there’s no point in buying one of these unless you have large areas of land that need to be cleared.
This would be an ideal pick for someone who owns a large amount of land and would also be ideal for medium-level contractors. If you need this much power and you can afford it, it’s well worth considering.
- Step up in air power – gives you almost 200mph and 1,700CFM
- High-quality, high performance 17” fan – with 16 blades
- Self-propelled – reduces fatigue and helps you get more done
- 262cc 4-stroke Honda engine – plenty of power but quieter than 2-stroke engines
- Aim N Shoot nozzle – gives you greater flexibility over your work
- Step up in power also means a step up in price – although this is understandable
- Large machine – although since it is self-propelled, it is easy to operate
5. (BEST FOR MAXIMUM POWER) Billy Goat F1802SPV Self-Propelled Force Blower
For the biggest jobs, you need the ultimate in leaf blowing power, and there are few machines that can give you more kick than this monster from Billy Goat.
It incorporates a huge 570cc 4-stroke engine made by Briggs & Stratton that delivers wind speeds of just under 200mph coupled with air displacement of a whopping 2,900CFM. This is around seven times the power of most backpack leaf blowers.
At 183lbs, it is a bulky, heavy machine – but since it is self-propelled, it will be no problem for anyone to push or work with.
It also includes the same high-quality 17” 16-blade fan as the model above and boasts a large 6” discharge vent to help shift even the largest volumes of leaves.
This is a machine designed for professionals or those with very large properties – if you don’t fall into those categories, buying one of these would probably not be money well spent.
Given the high price tag, you would be better off looking at something smaller if you don’t really require this much power.
However, for those who need – and can afford – a machine of this size, power and caliber, it is a top-end model that will do everything you require. It offers the ultimate in leaf blowing capability, and there are few other options available that can come close to matching it.
- Large 570cc engine – made by Briggs & Stratton
- Exceptional power levels – nearly 200mph and 2,900CFM
- Self-propelled – helps safe energy and lets you deal with larger areas
- Relatively low noise levels – 97dB is loud, but not for a machine this big
- Incorporates a 17” 16-blade fan – helps deliver premium-level performance
- Far too big for taking care of a small yard – you simply won’t need this much power
- High price point – only necessary for professionals or those with extensive properties
6. (BEST ALL-ROUNDER) Merry Mac LB800M Walk Behind Leaf And Debris Blower
If you don’t need the extreme levels of power provided by blowers such as the Billy Goat machines or are unwilling to meet the high price point, there are many smaller, less expensive options that also do a good job, and this Merry Mac blower falls into that category.
It has a powerful and reliable engine that is built by Briggs & Stratton. It gives you air speed of up to 160mph and a very acceptable 1,600CFM, still far more than almost any backpack blower you are likely to find.
We like the inclusion of the deflector plate that allows you to switch the angle of the air between high or low, giving you more control over the direction of the leaves.
Another positive we like is the relatively low sound level with this blower. While you can’t really call it “quiet”, compared to some other blowers, it makes a lot less noise – although you should still count on wearing ear protection when using it.
There are not many things we don’t like about this machine. One slight gripe might be that it is harder to push in longer grass – it prefers short grass or flat, hard surfaces. The front wheel is also fixed – we thought that perhaps a swivel wheel might have given it more maneuverability on uneven surfaces.
Overall, a great option for anyone who needs the convenience of a Walk Behind blower but who doesn’t quite need one of the most powerful models. A highly recommended all-round option.
- Powerful 205cc engine – built by Briggs & Stratton
- Highly respectable blowing capacity – 160mph and 1,600CFM
- Relatively quiet unit – 71db is quieter than many other similar blowers
- Deflector plate – allows you to select high or low angle for the air
- Can also choose wind direction – blows to the side or front as required
- May struggle to roll in long grass – performs better on short grass or hard surfaces
- Front wheel is fixed – a swivel wheel would be better on uneven surfaces
7. (BEST MID-RANGE BLOWER) Merry Mac LB1350ICEZM Walk Behind Leaf & Debris Blower
For some people, the 205cc Merry Mac blower might not be enough, while the biggest machines available may be unnecessarily large – for anyone looking for a mid-range machine somewhere in between, this blower could be the perfect solution.
It runs on a slightly larger 305cc version of the Briggs and Stratton engine than the first Merry Mac, giving it a maximum power rating of 200mph and 2,000CFM. This should give you the extra kick you need to deal with larger, tougher leaf clearing jobs in a larger yard.
We like the fact that even though this unit has a larger engine, the noise level rating is still 71dB, the same as the smaller model. At only 115lbs, it is also a lightweight machine that will be suitable for most people to operate.
As with the smaller model, there is little wrong with this machine. It sells at a higher price point, but if you need the extra power, it will be money well spent. However, it also lacks the power required for the very biggest jobs, so think carefully about what you need it for before you buy.
This is another blower we like a lot. It is very similar to the Merry Mac we looked at above and has all the same positive features – the only difference is that this one would be a better pick for someone who needs just that little bit of extra wind power for slightly tougher jobs.
- 305cc Briggs and Stratton engine – for slightly more leaf clearing capacity
- Good air speed and displacement ratings – 200mph and 2,000CFM respectively
- Low noise level – only 71dB despite the larger, more powerful engine
- Lighter than bigger blowers – at 115lbs, easier for most people to push
- Reliable piece of equipment – will take all the hassle out of clearing your yard
- Lacks the power for the biggest jobs – but great for most large-sized yards
- More expensive than the smaller model – but still good value
Highly practical tools and a wide range of options
These blowers are highly practical tools, and many options exist with a range of different power capacities. They can be expensive, so it is important you choose the best Walk Behind leaf blower for the work you need to use it for. Think about how much power you really require – and from there, any of the models in our review would be a great place to start.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.