Leaf blowers are a great tool to add to your yard-care arsenal. They’ll make fall clean-ups much easier, they’re great for blowing out leaf-clogged gutters, and they work well on those mornings when you have a light dusting of snow that you want to clear off of sidewalks and steps. Finding the right leaf blower, however, requires careful consideration of a number of factors including what power source you want to use (electric or gasoline), the volume of leaves you’ll need to deal with, and the noise level of the machine itself. Here are three tips that will help you weigh all the options to find the perfect leaf blower for your needs.

All The Options

This corded model is perfect for blowing off patios and sidewalks. A built-in cord retainer reduces the chances of the cord coming unplugged. Black + Decker

There are lots of leaf-blower models available. The size of your yard and the volume of leaves you’ll need to deal will ultimately drive your decision, but here’s how the basic models breakdown.

Handheld blowers are great for doing quick clean-ups on dry leaves. They’re light enough for one-handed operation and ideal for blowing off patios and sidewalks. They may not be powerful enough, however, if you have to deal with lots of heavy, rain-soaked leaves or want to also blow small twigs and larger debris off your lawn.

Backpack blowers weigh more and they’re gas-powered, but they definitely offer a lot more blowing power for moving larger volumes of leaves (wet or dry) and debris around your yard.

Walk behind blowers are for those giant jobs when you need to move mountains of leaves. These wheeled versions are the most powerful leaf blowers and are generally sought after by yard-care pros, though they’re something to consider if you have a large yard with acres of leaves to contend with.

Electric or Gas

This backpack model generates 200 mph of blowing power. The harness is specially designed for superior comfort. Poulan Pro

You’ll need to weigh your options carefully here as both types have plusses and minuses.

Electric leaf blowers are definitely more portable and you’ll never need to buy gas for them. However, models that require a power cord will limit your range to the length of your extension cord. A good alternative is to consider a cordless model, which can be used anywhere.

Gas-powered blowers are heavier and generally noisier than electric models, but they are definitely more powerful for handling bigger leaf-blowing chores.

Noise Levels

The 6-amp motor on this corded model generates up to 155 mph of air speed and it weighs just 3.9 pounds. Sun Joe

Many towns have statutes dictating noise levels or certain months when using leaf blowers are banned. If you live in such an area, you’ll definitely want to consider how much noise your leaf blower will make. Your neighbors will thank you for considering their ears as well. This is where electric models shine as they are generally much quieter than gas-powered blowers, but check the decibel levels in the spec sheets for the models you’re interested in before you buy. Regardless of which model you purchase, wearing hearing protection is always recommended.