When I think about the first time I had to use a leaf blower with an extension cord, I remember how much I disliked that part of yard work. I remember tripping over the cord, running out of length, and having to position myself to blow the leaves in the right direction but being wrapped up by the cord. I’ve since graduated from a corded version and have a backpack blower now. Which one is best for removing leaves off driveways and yards? I’ll take a deep dive and show you why the Husqvarna 350BT is the best backpack leaf blower.
Overview of the Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Leaf Blower
The commercial lineup from Husqvarna improves upon their residential line by providing an upgraded fan and more powerful engine for increased airflow and leaf blowing power. By using a commercial air filter, the commercial line extends the life of the engine.
The 350BT utilizes a two-stroke engine system that requires you to mix oil with gas before filling the tank. While not a new system, two-stroke engines have come a long way and perform as well as four-stroke engines in regards to maintenance, starting, and usability. Husqvarna recommends their own two-stroke oil in a 1:50 ratio.
If you’re looking to upgrade your corded blower, just moved in to a new house with a large yard, or are in the market for a backpack leaf blower, the 350BT will meet and exceed your requirements.
Features and Benefits of the Husqvarna 350BT
- 50cc engine size
- 494 CFM tube airflow
- 180 MPH air speed
- 22.5 LBS weight
- 96 dB sound level
- Offset handle for reduce arm strain
- Adjustable handle
- Engine dampeners to reduce vibration
- Hip belt and padding for comfort
- Hold setting for throttle speed
X-Torq Engine Technology. Stratification charge technology enables an internal combustion engine to produce more torque on a leaner mixture of air and fuel by injecting fuel on the compression stroke rather than the intake stroke. This technology means that manufacturers can make engines that run more fuel efficient without sacrificing power.
Easy to Start. Pump the primer bulb a few times to clear out air from the carburetor, give it a few pulls, and the engine starts right up without hesitation. The Air purge nozzle primes the carburetor by removing air and making sure there’s fuel readily available to start quicker.
Comfort. Take the weight off your shoulders and distribute it using the hip belt. You can also adjust the shoulder straps so they both evenly share the weight on your shoulders.
Reduced engine vibration. In 1969 Husqvarna developed a vibration dampening feature in their chainsaws to reduce long term hand injuries to forestry workers. The LowVib feature dampens engine vibration and reduces it from reaching your body.
Drawbacks for the Husqvarna 350BT
Reduced throttle over time. One point of criticism from reviewers is that the blower won’t throttle over 50% after a few weeks of use. This could be due to old or bad fuel, or improper mixing ratios. Other possibilities can include a dirty air filter or restricted spark arrestor. Check the fuel, air filter, and spark plug gap (between 0.6 mm to 0.7 mm with a gap tool).
Video of Husqvarna X-Torq technology
What is a Good CFM for a leaf blower?
We measure the volume of airflow in CFM (cubic feet per minute). We also measure the speed of airflow in MPH (miles per hour). They’re different because one measures how much air is moved and the other measures how fast the air is moving.
Both measurements are important when evaluating leaf blowers, not one over the other. For example, a ceiling fan can move a lot of air (high CFM) but does it at relatively low speeds (low MPH). However, an air gun attachment on an air compressor may move air at high speeds (high mph) but not a lot of volume (low CFM). When applying this concept to a tube that’s 3″-6″ in diameter, both measurements are important.
If I want to move a large pile of leaves that have fallen from the many oak and maple trees on my property, I need a product that moves high volumes of air at high velocities. That pile of leaves may also include sticks, small branches, sweet gum balls, and pine cones. The debris may also be wet which adds weight too. The higher each measurement, the better I can move the debris off my driveway and yard.
My advice is to look for a backpack leaf blower that moves over 400 CFM of air at velocities greater than 150 MPH. Manufacturers measure airflow in two places on a leaf blower: in the housing and in the tube. Make sure you’re getting the measurement from the tube.
What should I look for when buying a leaf blower?
The first step is to evaluate your application. What type of work will you be doing with your leaf blower? Is it a 1/4 acre yard with one small tree or 1 full acre with lots of hardwood trees? Will you have a lot of leaves in the fall? Once identified, go with a corded or battery powered option for smaller areas and under 20 minutes of use. For larger areas and longer run times, look at a gas powered backpack leaf blower.
CFM and MPH rating. For a backpack blower, you’ll want over 400 CFM and over 150 MPH tube speed. One measurement is not better than the other, they are both applicable when choosing a leaf blower.
Noise level. Look for under 95 dB sound pressure level at the operator’s ear for a backpack leaf blower. Any more than that and it will start getting loud. Always use ear protection when operating a leaf blower for long periods of time.
Husqvarna Company Profile
Husqvarna’s history started in 1689 when the Swedish King Karl XI built a factory along side the Huskvarna river to build rifles and weapons. The company incorporated in 1867 as Husqvarna AB and held a contract making rifles for the Swedish state. After their contract with the state ended, they branched out to start making sewing machines, stoves, typewriters, and other products. Husqvarna eventually started making motorcycles, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other combustion engine products.
Longtime forestry workers often developed a ‘vibration white finger syndrome’ which is a form of Raynaud’s disease that comes from long term exposure to vibrations form chainsaws. Husqvarna developed the first anti-vibration feature on a chainsaw in 1969 to aid in prevention of the syndrome.
Do you remember the outdoor power equipment company called Poulan? Husqvarna purchased them in the 80’s and expanded into the US market. Today, they operate worldwide with over 14,000 employees in 40 countries
Reviews of the Husqvarna 350BT
It’s always important to take a look at what other customers say about a product to get a good feel for all the positives and negatives. We’ve curated reviews about the Husqvarna 350BT to show feedback from other users and independent sites.
Independent Reviews and Feedeback on the Husqvarna 350BT
One reviewer at Consumer Reports has had their 350BT for over 4.5 years with no problems. They empty the gas tank at the end of the season and start the season with premium fuel and synthetic oil.Read more at Consumer Reports
A reviewer directly on the Husqvarna site uses his blower to move wood chips from his chainsaw and clean up after storms. When he first received it, he replaced the spark plug with an NGK for better revving and throttle response. His pros include ease of use and high quality build construction.Read more at Husqvarna.com
What Amazon Customers Say about the Husqvarna 350BT Backpack Leaf Blower
With over 845 reviews with 4.3 stars, this leaf blower has over 70% 5 star reviews on Amazon and is highly recommended.
One verified purchaser bought his backpack leaf blower back in 2012 and still uses it today. He says it easily produces enough volume of air to move piles of dry leaves up to 3 feet in height. He also says that he uses it for up to two hours at a time and the comfort is tolerable. He recommends it due to how reliable it is and the value it presents.
Another verified purchaser uses the blower on paved areas and grass up to 1 acre. He says it’s well made and doesn’t feel many vibrations when using it. He doesn’t small any exhaust fumes and says it’s very comfortable and solid. He likes the power, quality, and comfort overall.
Another reviewer upgraded from a corded blower and enjoys not having a cord. Without a cord, he had to change his plan of attack blowing leaves, but he’s gotten used to it now. He likes how easy it is to start, build quality, weight, and quietness. He wishes he would have bought it sooner.
Wrapping it Up
If you’re looking to upgrade from an electric leaf blower to a backpack version, I recommend the Husqvarna 350BT as the best backpack leaf blower to buy. It’s features, comfort, build quality, technology, and innovation set it apart from others on the market.
X-Torq gives the same power using less fuel. The hip belt removes the weight off your shoulders. The high CFM and MPH will move most debris and leaves from your yard quicker than a corded or battery powered version
This is the right tool for the job if you’ve got a large lot or driveway with lots of trees that drop leaves in the fall. A corded leaf blower just won’t do what’s required. The 350BT is the right way to go.