Air Tools Explained – Leaf Blower Vs. Air Compressor

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When you’re looking for some tool to push air around, you’ve got several options. The first thing that comes to mind is a fan; however, in this case, we will look at the differences between a leaf blower and an air compressor.

Leaf blowers and air compressors can both blow air rapidly. The significant difference being that leaf blowers have a much larger area of air displacement. Air compressor blower attachments used in small areas are similar to the aerosol air cans used to clean computer keyboards.

Let’s take a look at all of the uses of a leaf blower versus an air compressor and find out which is best for you, maybe both.

What A Leaf Blower Is And It’s Uses

A leaf blower is a sizeable hand-held tool that, just as the name suggests, blows a large amount of air rapidly out of its nozzle. This tool finds use, generally, for the movement of leaves. Think of it as a rake that uses the air as its pronged end.

One may think of leaf blowers of as large garden hair dryers minus the heater. Like a hairdryer, the leaf blower has a nozzle and a fan that rotates at a high-speed, forcing air out of the nozzle rapidly.

Leaf blowers are typically portable and often come in either cordless electric corded electric or gas power.  Some are even ground-based with wheels like a cart.

Typically, leaf blowers only have one use: to blow air rapidly through the often elongated nozzle. Leaf blowers are often employed instead of brooms to clean dust and light debris from patios, walkways, driveways, and similar places outdoors.

Some blowers come with several attachments, some even allowing for use to inflate things like inflatable air mattresses. However, generally speaking, leaf blowers find use to replace rakes and brooms using airpower.

What An Air Compressor Is And It’s Uses

Air compressors differ from the leaf blower because they do not blow air via a fan. Air compressors work by using a pump to compress air into a storage holding tank.

For uses similar to a leaf blower, a blowing nozzle attachment required with the compressor must be purchased separately if not included with the compressor. An air filter and hose will also be required, along with the appropriate fittings.

Unlike leaf blowers, air compressors are not typically portable. It means that the air compressor will need plugging in and a stationary placement somewhere while working to fill the tank. Some air compressors may come with wheels and a handle to allow for portability; however, to move around and maintain its source of power, an extension cord will find it’s required.

Air compressors used to blow with a nozzle attachment are not used over the same spatial scale as a leaf blower finds use. Air blower nozzle attachments used for small-scale applications such as dusting off a workbench or similar smaller area is typical. Compared to a leaf blower, the area with which the air blows is strikingly smaller.

What Is The Difference Between Air Compressor And Air Blower?

Although air compressors and air blowers are both capable of rapidly moving air, there are some significant differences between the two tools. Let’s take a look at what those differences are.

Tool Portability

As mentioned earlier, air compressors are not typically portable. Leaf blowers, on the other hand, are usually always portable. Although you can purchase corded leaf blowers, they are rarer and not of the preferred variety compared to their more powerful gas cousins or more portable cordless types.

Equipment Power Source

Commercial Landscaping applications will use leaf blowers that are usually gas-powered. These carry the bulk of their engines on a backpack assembly, and only a nozzle and hose are held in hand by the operator.

Some leaf blowers come in electric corded versions; however, these are not very popular due to the now lack of portability from having to pull around a cord. The other electric form of a leaf or air blower comes as a battery-operated unit.

The battery-operated leaf blowers can be purchased in a variety of voltages and work very well. The only downside to this form of power source is that the batteries tend to lose power quickly, so that extra batteries may find a requirement.

When it comes to air compressor power sources, there is generally only one type of available, and that is an electric-powered air compressor. Again it is possible to find gas-powered air compressors. Generally, the majority are electric that are available to purchase without paying for custom-built equipment.

Tool Mechanics

The most significant difference between air compressors and a leaf or air blowers is using a pump versus a fan. An air compressor uses a pump to pump air into a storage tank. The air is stored compressed under pressure hence the name air compressor.

As mentioned, the air or leaf blower (often called) uses a rotary fan to push air out the nozzle. The air blower can be thought of as a large hairdryer without the heat. As the method of mechanically pushing the air out of the nozzle is the same.

My Favorite Portable (Cordless) Leaf Blower

EGO Power+ Variable-Speed 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Leaf Blower

Check out the latest price on Amazon simply by clicking the link.

Customer Review Rating: 4.8/5

Many people have made some extraordinary claims about how much they like their EGO power plus variable speed cordless leaf blower. The customer reviews say it all with a 4.8 out of 5 ratings.

This powerful cordless leaf blower has a convenient turbo button, which lets it blast up the power removing those slightly damp leaves that might be sticking to your patio.

According to specifications, the powerful 56-volt power source drives this blower for upwards of an hour to 75 minutes.


  • Variable 225-580 CFM
  • 56-Volt lithium-ion battery powered
  • Includes flat and tapered nozzle attachments
  • Includes (1) 5.0 Ah Battery and 210W Charger

My Favorite Corded Leaf Blower

WORX WG520 Turbine 600 Corded Electric Leaf Blower

The WORX WG520 is cheaper than the EGO and has amazing reviews as well. Check it out here on Amazon.

Customer Review Rating: 4.7/5

The WORX WG520 Turbine 600 is the best and a top-rated corded electric leaf blower on the market for the price. With over 5000 reviews giving it the average rating of 4.7, this leaf blower has been tested and proven itself worthy.


  • 7.2 lbs weight
  • 110 MPH
  • 600 CFM
  • 11 ½” plug with cord retainer

My Favorite Gas Powered Leaf Blower

Husqvarna 350BT – Professional 2-Cycle Gas Backpack Leaf Blower

Check out the latest price here on Amazon.

Customer Review Rating: 4.5/5

The 350BT professional 2-cycle gas backpack leaf blower by Husqvarna is a great and portable, powerful leaf blower. With its vibration dampeners and light 22.5 lb engine weight, the 350BT is easy to use and easy to carry.

With features like an auto-return stop switch and speed throttle cruise control, the Husqvarna professional 2-cycle gas backpack leaf blower is my choice for a professional and powerful gas-powered air blowing tool.


  • 50.2 cc, 2-cycle X-TORQ engine
  • 494 CFM
  • 180 MPH
  • 22.5 pounds

My Favorite (Semi) Small Portable Electric Air Compressor

California Air Tools 8010A Aluminum Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free, 1.0 hp, 8 gal

Check out the California Air Tools 8010A here on Amazon.

Customer Review Rating: 4.7/5

California air tools’ best oil-free semi-portable air compressor is not only really quiet for a cord and air compressor. Still, it comes with some great reviews and ratings as well.

With its convenient handle and wheels, this compressor is easy to move around as needed. With its 110 volt motor, a cord will find a requirement, but once the air tank is full, it could be unplugged and easily moved around.


  • 1 Hp motor
  • 8-gallon air tank
  • 8.5 Amps
  • Oil-free operation
  • Accessories and air hose required

My Favorite Gas Powered Air Compressor

NorthStar Portable Gas Powered Air Compressor

The NorthStar Compressor is fairly expensive but it’s well worth the price and also available here on Amazon.

Customer Review Rating: 4.8/5

The North Star is one of the highest-rated portable gas air compressors. 14 a powerful Honda OHV engine and a 30-gallon air tank, the North Star is a powerful and effective air compressor.

Although it states to be a portable air compressor, this is a heavy unit that would require a vehicle to move it around or perhaps a large wheeled cart of some kind. The claim to portability does not mean this unit can be easily carried around by hand.


  • Honda GX390 OHV engine
  • Electric start/recoil backup
  • Low oil shutdown
  • Cast iron pump with FC35 grade pump head
  • 24.4 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 39-gallon tank


I am always happy to share all my knowledge about how to keep your garden in good condition and make it special.

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