CFM Vs MPH- The meaning and importance of these metrics

If you have ever purchased a leaf blower or read about its specifications online, you must have come across two things very often i.e., CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) and MPH (Miles Per Hour).

Most people don’t understand it correctly and use it interchangeably. Therefore, we have created this comprehensive guide to explain the nitty-gritty of CFM vs. MPH leaf blower. We will also mention why these two metrics are one of the most important to consider when making the purchasing decision.

Leaf Blower CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)

In simple terms, CFM measures how much air is coming out of the leaf blower in one minute (per minute).

Still unclear about what is CFM? Let’s explore this metric in detail.

CFM measures the strength of a leaf blower. If more air is coming out of the machine in one minute, that means higher strength.
Let’s suppose a leaf blower has a CFM of 350. It means the blower is gushing 350 cubic feet of air in one minute and can push the same amount of leaves in a minute. Compare this to a CFM of 600, which will push out more air and hence will be more powerful.

Leaf Blower CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)

What is a good CFM?

There is no definitive answer. It all depends upon how much space you have on where to use the leaf blower.
If you have a small backyard or a lawn, a leaf blower CFM of 200 to 450 should suffice. These are small-sized and lightweight blowers and, as such, can be carried easily. For medium-sized areas, you may use CFM in excess of 450. On the other hand, if you have a large area to be covered, there are leaf blowers that come with CFMs of 2000 and even higher. You can choose as per your requirement.


CFM of different types of leaf blowers

Backpack leaf blower CFM

These are mostly gas-powered and have a CFM of 400 to 900. Despite a huge CFM, they are not very bulky, and you can easily carry them on the back. They are also a bit noisy but bearable enough for most (not all) people.

Handheld leaf blower CFM

Since the leaf blower is handheld, they have CFM, which falls in between 200 and 400. Consequently, these leaf blowers are ideal for dry leaves and other types of miniature debris.

In handheld blowers, you will find electric (corded), gas, and battery (uncorded electric blower) versions, and all have CFM in the above-mentioned range. They are quieter compared to backpack blowers.

Walk-behind leaf blower CFM

These are massive leaf blowers that have CFM that can go up to 3000 (and even more). This means you can move even large (not so large) rocks.

These types of leaf blowers are mainly used for commercial purposes. They make a lot of noise due to high CFM. Therefore, we recommend using it only when you have a really large area to cover. Or else, a backpack blower will do the job in most cases.

CFM of different types of leaf blowers

Leaf Blower MPH (Miles Per Minute)

MPH is very easy to understand as this metric is used for measurement of speed. For example, you must have seen in the speedometer (for cars).
MPH measures how fast air comes out of the leaf blower at a constant speed. For example, if MPH is 200, it means, at a constant speed, the air would travel at 200 miles per hour.

Difference between MPH and CFM

At first thought, CFM Vs. MPH might not seem a relevant debate as both things look similar. However, there is a fine line between the two. MPH depends upon the size/diameter of the nozzle. The larger the diameter, the greater would be the MPH.
On the other hand, CMH has no such relation. It depends upon the engine or motor of the leaf blower—the heavier the motor, the higher horsepower, and better CFM.


CFM vs. MPH- Which one should you choose?

A quick answer is both. This is because a leaf blower with a considerable difference between CFM and MPH would not be an ideal choice. You need to balance both aspects.
In some blowers, you might not find one of them mentioned. This is a red flag. It is better to look for some other blower with a clear indication of CFM and MPH.

If you are purchasing a leaf blower for the first time, it is common to get confused between the two metrics. Therefore, we have included “CFM for different types of leaf blower” sections to make your decision process easier.

Furthermore, below we present a different combination of CFM and MPH and the idea usage of each combination. This information will further aid you in your decision-making process.

CFM vs. MPH- Which one should you choose?

1st combination: HIGH CFM/LOW MPH

This combination means that the leaf blower doesn’t have a very high speed (low MPH). Therefore, it is best to blow dry leaves and cleaning a small amount of debris.

2nd combination: LOW CFM/HIGH MPH

A slow CFM is no use in blowing leaves. You may use this type of leaf blower for blowing away dirt or clearing walkways, among other similar uses.

3rd combination: HIGH CFM/HIGH MPH

This is the best of all combinations and the one you should go for. These types of blowers usually have a high price compared to other types of blowers, but the performance is worth the money.

So this was all about the CFM Vs. MPH debate. As you read, both these metrics are important when you are choosing a leaf blower. We not only mentioned key differences between the two metrics but also under what circumstances each metric works well.

In short, it all depends upon your requirement, which one to opt for. However, remember a golden rule of thumb. If there is a massive difference between CFM and MPH of a leaf blower, something is fishy.


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