Alternatives to the gas powered leaf blower…….. Read it and sweep.

By January 18, 2013Sustainable Landscaping

I’m going to think out loud here which I promise won’t be anywhere near as loud as a gas leaf blower in use. I’m thinking of alternatives to that particular piece of landscape equipment we love to hate. And while this may seem like I am just blowing hot air do keep an ear out for viable alternatives to the aptly named ‘Polluting Noise Bazookas’. Maybe there is a new idea here that I should run out and file a patent for because they are so good at collecting debris. A clean hardscape seems to be an obsession of ours. So let’s take a look at some of the alternative options to gas leaf blowers.

Some of these ideas may seem old fashioned, arcane or even silly yet we need to look at all options. The hope? … of finding a better way to get the job done than this…

Exhibit number 1:  The old stand-by is the broom made with broomcom. The broom has an impressive list of benefits, it is:

  • smaller than a blower
  • light weight
  • not a target of theft as a gas leaf blower is
  • cheaper
  • fossil fuel free and runs on orange juice and toast
  • exhaust free
  • very quiet
  • possible to be made from sustainable materials

Not bad for a piece of wood and some broomcorn bristles  🙂

Consider the Grandmother Proves Rake and Broom as Fast as Leaf Blowers story.


Can’t forget the rake ( number 1.5) as a partner sometimes in preparation for sweeping with a broom.


Number 2 and 3 are variations on the broom, so they have all the same benefits but can be home made and free. I’ve been known to make an impromptu broom out of a palm frond. These two examples are whisk type brooms that can be made from a variety of plant materials .




The sweeper on wheels (number 4) has some potential for quiet efficient sweeping.



Number 5 is just a piece of fabric like a common 8′ x 8′ burlap landscape tote that can be used with a whisking action to clean a sidewalk.


Number 6. Here’ s my big idea, built a better billow! we’re talking a giant light weight billow that can be used to blow leaves. Patent time?





Number 7 is my personal favorite. Owen Dell’s hilarious blower alternative,

a modified bag pipe.

For small debris just use your lungs, no patent required, number 8.


There is a variety of trucks that vacuum or sweep, (number 9 ).
Big parking lots that require sweeping can use these. It is an alternative to a leaf blower yet it has it’s own downsides. At least it’s not blowing dust around.

Hosing off the driveway is an old practice that is wasteful of water. Number 10. There are however advances in equipment like this water broom, (number 11) that uses a fraction of the water of a hose for a quick clean sweep.




The equipment manufacturer Stihl makes a Lithium Ion battery operated blower. Then if you had some solar panels you could have a solar powered blower. kind of like organic heroin maybe? There are also propane powered blowers available.

The leaf Blower Pollutuion Task Force Santa Cruz will be looking at alternatives to gas powered

leaf blowers. Some of these options might be of interest to them.

The Leaf Blower Pollution Task Force Santa Cruz Facebook page .

Learn more about the down sides of gas leaf blowers.

Which alternative is your favorite? Do tell.




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