There is no doubt that one of the most beautiful sights to feast your eyes upon as fall comes is the natural rusty rug of leaves that cover the ground. This scene has inspired poets and painters from all over the world who describe the beauty of autumn, trying to replicate the stunning golden and brown colors.
But no matter how much we love this view, as garden owners, raking leaves is not always an optional task. As the layer of leaves gets thicker and thicker, the grass underneath it fails to receive the air, water, and light it needs and becomes host to some pretty nasty critters. And since nobody particularly enjoys leaf raking, what are some tips on the best way to do it?
Leaf Blower VS Rake Comparison
|Leaf Blowers||Leaf Rake|
Leaf Blowers 101
People are tempted to think that the leaf blower is the easier and most effortless way to get rid of the leaves that have been piling up in the yard. Are they, though? On a general note, a leaf blower’s main mission is to gather the leaves in a pile so you can easily pick them up and dispose of them to your liking. But just as other garden tools in the world, this gizmo isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, so here the ups and downs of the situation.
One of the biggest reasons why people like leaf blowers is because it helps them save time. The moment you turn it on, the blower can be turned in the direction of your choice and the leaf travel begins.
They are easy to use from a lot of different perspectives. First of all, no actual physical strength is required to operate a leaf blower. Their mechanisms are pretty simple and they basically involve a lot of walking around. Most have a shoulder strap to hang the tool from your body while you aim it with your hands.
They are versatile enough to be used for other chores, such as removing snow. Of course, you would have to do that right after a snowfall, before frost hardens the snow. Whenever you plan on using the leaf blower for snow removal, make sure you avoid windy days and clean the blower after using it.
Leaf blowers can also be used to clean gutters. In fact, there are special gutter cleaning kits that are compatible with several leaf blower models to make your DIY job even easier. The blower cleanses the leaves and other hard to reach debris for you.
Since leaf blowers pretty much automate the yard cleaning process, they are more expensive products compared to a traditional rake. Even if some models cost less than $50, a good leaf blower can cost hundreds of dollars.
Another downside of a leaf blower is the high noise output. Having to stay outside and perform a chore in that noise is disturbing and will make you hate this job even more. Gas leaf blower has an even higher noise level.
Unlike a rake, a leaf blower requires maintenance and repair. It has to be cleaned and in case of something break, replacement parts are needed. These machines have filters that need either cleaning or replacing, plus a spark plug that will require changing ever so often.
When using them, leaf blowers can make quite a lot of mess. Aside from blowing leaves, they will also blow dust and debris and spread them all over the yard. If you’re suffering from any respiratory issues, dust will eventually become a problem.
Since they are heavy, gone were the days when you could make your kids do the yard cleaning for you. Such a device cannot and should be left in the hands of children. They also take up a lot of room in terms of storage.
How to Choose
In case you’re wondering how to pick the right leaf blower for your needs, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. There are three important factors to consider: noise, weight, and budget. The first two go hand-in-hand. Think or how much noise you can take and how much weight you can bear. If you’re suffering from any muscle-related problems or back pains, a heavy leaf blower will take its toll. If you want a blower that makes less noise, choose one that’s battery operated and eco-friendly. But, if you want a blower that’s light-weight, you should opt for an electrically-powered one. In the end, you should also establish a budget and try to stick to it, as leaf blower prices can vary quite a lot.
Leaf Rakes 101
You might be thinking you don’t need any help in deciding if a rake is the best choice for you, but have you reviewed all the pros and cons and uses of this tool in your yard?
Since raking takes a lot of time, it’s better to be properly equipped when raking. You’ll need a good pair of work boots, some gloves and be prepared to get your hands dirty.
Raking takes a toll on your body because you will spend a lot of time bent over and using your arm muscles. There is a good chance you’ll end up feeling exhausted at the end of the day.
Rakes come in all shapes and sizes, which means every family member can use them. And yes, there are leaf rakes designed for kids as well. Long handled, wide-toothed, etc. There’s a rake size and shape for everyone.
Raking leaves is a physically demanding activity and if most of your week implies you sitting on a chair working, this exercise is good for you. In other seasons, maybe you can replace it with something like lawn watering. Whatever gets you off that chair!
They are also a lot less expensive compared to leaf blowers. And since they require almost no maintenance, the costs drop considerably in the long run. Depending on the make and model, a good rake can run from $20-$100.
Rakes requires little maintenance, making them the more eco-friendly choice! They don’t use any electricity and they don’t require any gas.
Because of how they work and are constructed, rakes can break easily, especially if you force them against rocks and debris hidden underneath the rug of leaves. Contrary to leaf-blowers, rakes cannot reach very difficult spots, like corners or underneath rich shrubs.
How to Choose
When choosing a rake, there is another set of three factors to keep in mind: the materials used, the handle length and the head’s width. As mentioned before, people of different height will do a better job if the handle matches their size. The head width is important because it determines how fast you can rake the entire surface of the yard. Wider head covers larger areas, but they are also heavier. Last, but not least, the materials used in the construction of the rake will determine both the comfort of use, as well as the durability. Rakes made with steel handles are the most resistant, but during cold autumn days, they will also cause discomfort to your hands (nothing a good pair of gloves can’t fix).
The best method for getting rid of leaves is the one you feel most comfortable in using. It’s clear that rakes are for the outdoorsy person, the one who likes to put on his headphones, pump up his favorite tunes and spend a nice autumn day doing yard work. Rakes are also great for people who’ve basically been raking their entire lives and don’t want to switch to a more automated method. Oh, and let’s not forget the ecosystem lovers, who want to avoid the use of electricity and gas as much as possible.
Leaf blowers, on the other hand, are great for people who just don’t have the time. A leaf blower is a very fast way to gather the leaves in one place and, if you have an additional helping hand, someone else can gather the piles of leaves and dispose of them.