Are Leaf Blowers “Loud, Ugly and Dangerous”? The Real Truth About Modern Leaf Blowers
Leaf blowers get a lot of bad press. Take, for example, an op-ed piece that ran on October 18 of this year in the Wall Street Journal. The article begins by saying, “Fumes, pollution and ruined Sunday mornings make leaf blowers a nuisance.”
This article, titled “Leaf Blowers Are Loud, Ugly and Dangerous,” is not an isolated case. There's a large number of communities and individuals calling for leaf blower bans and complaining about how noisy and dangerous they are. But are their arguments based on facts?
Not so much. Most of the complaints against leaf blowers are based on out-dated information. Today's leaf blowers are pretty quiet, they're not ugly, and they're much safer for the environment and for people.
Modern Leaf Blowers: Quieter And Safer
Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), wrote a response correcting misinformation contained in the WSJ op-ed. Kiser writes, “author Adrienne Bernhard attacks leaf blowers in a sweeping indictment and is clearly working with old data, old narratives, and old stereotypes of these valuable tools without any understanding of the current marketplace reality and progress of modern outdoor power equipment.”
Modern leaf blowers (even the gasoline versions) are about 75% quieter than those manufactured a decade ago. The Echo's PB-760LN, for example, is quieter than the sound of a baby crying. On gasoline models, manufacturers have reduced emissions by as much as 80%. Plus, there are battery-powered models available that don't produce engine emissions at all.
Why We Need Leaf Blowers
If leaf blowers didn't work we wouldn't keep using them. Leaf blowers are a valuable tool and banning their use does nothing except place a burden on lawn and landscape professionals, as well as homeowners.
Blowers save huge amounts of time compared to sweeping the pavement with a broom or using a rake on the lawn and garden. They can also be safer to use than your hands or a rake, such as when you need to get leaves out of a bush with thorns.
It's also not a good idea to ban gasoline-powered blowers and only let people use electric models. Battery-powered blowers can be a good option in some situations, but they're still not as powerful as gasoline blowers. Also, recharging them isn't as easy as refilling a gas tank. We need both types of blowers, and equipment manufacturers are responding to that need with quieter, more efficient gasoline models.
Solving The Problem
The solution to the “problem” of leaf blowers isn't banning them. Nor is it a good idea to get rid of “leafy trees and green lawns” as the author of the WSJ op-ed article suggests. There's nothing environmentally friendly or healthy about getting rid of green spaces. And with modern advances making leaf blowers even more useful and safe than they were before, there's no need to stop using them to maintain greener, healthier communities.
Here at Richarson Saw & Lawnmower, we carry modern leaf blowers from top manufacturers. Echo and Stihl, for example, offer efficient gasoline powered-models as well as cutting-edge battery-powered blowers. Just stop by and see us and we'll help you find a blower that will work for you.