Why You’re the Worst Person In the World If You Use a Leaf Blower

Want to be a lousy neighbor? Have we got the device for you!


Eric Hoffer was a distinguished philosopher, author, and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. So he can be trusted when he says, “It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.” It’s true, especially if that neighbor is using a leaf blower. The Atlantic calls these evil machines “The Devil’s hair dryer,” and for good reason. They’re a loud, noisy, stinky, upright middle finger to the entire neighborhood. The stuff of nightmares, an assault on our senses. I say gather the villagers and their rakes and let’s storm the homes of the usurpers! And should anyone ask why, share with them these indictments.

There Aren’t Ear Plugs Big Enough
A gas leaf blower can … WHAT? … I said, a gas leaf blower can … WHAT? … I said … oh, what the, turn off that leaf blower for a minute! Thank you. I was saying, a gas leaf blower can exceed 70 to 75 decibels for people in the nearby area, and a whopping 100 decibels for the user. How bad is that? OSHA requires hearing protection at 85 decibels. The music world is full of musicians who have gone deaf standing too close to their amps (Pete Townshend, Neil Young, Eric Clapton). At least they’re making art. What are you making? I’ll tell you—me crazy with that racket!


“Running a leaf blower for 30 minutes creates more emissions than driving a F-150 pickup truck 3,800 miles,” Edmunds.com reported. In this day and age, do we really need to take a Pollution 101 course? (If so, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Pollution bad, clean air good.) If you simply cannot be bothered to pick up a rake or mulch your leaves, the least you could do to lower your carbon footprint is to throw the leaves in the back of your F-150 and drive them away.

Though They Be But Little, They Are Fierce

Leaf blowers can blast air at up to 185 mph, which is greater than a category five hurricane. Okay, you’re not going to lose the roof of your house because of your neighbor’s leaf blower. But those little machines whip up a lot of hazardous particles and contaminants from the ground, sending them hither and yon, not to mention into your lungs. If you don’t mind sucking in hydrocarbons from gasoline, animal droppings, spores, fungi, pollens, pesticides and herbicides, fertilizers, brake-lining dust and tire residue and heavy metals—all of which can lead to respiratory illnesses like lung disease and/or heart attacks—then you’ll be fine.

LIMBY: Leaves In My Backyard

Funny, I cut down all the trees on my property so that I wouldn’t have to rake. How did all these leaves get on my lawn? Hmm, let me examine them more closely. Hey, these look like Larry’s leaves! That’s right, every time you blow your leaves off your property guess where they land. Onto my property!! Which means I have to rake, since I don’t own a leaf blower because I’m not a jerk. If you avoid my home then the leaves go on the streets, which means my tax dollars go to picking up your leaves.

I get it—raking isn’t fun. So here’s a thought. Rather than remove the leaves from your lawn why not mulch them until they become the size of confetti, then leave them on your grass? Mother Nature Network (who knew she has her own network?) states, “As the shredded leaves decompose, they will act as a natural fertilizer and weed control agent.”

It’s cheap, clean, and your neighbors will love you for it. Sounds like a win-win for everyone.

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.