A Better (Quieter) Leaf Blower

The world has a lot of problems, especially when you look at the big picture. War. Hunger. I could go on.

But when you look at the micro level, down on the ground where you and your family live their lives, I believe we can all agree that leaf blowers are a blight on human existence! They’re loud, stupid, ridiculous, and those who operate them for money don’t seem to give a rats patootie who they’re annoying.

Around here, Friday is the worst for leaf blowers. I simply forget about trying to record voice-overs for the hour or so that the landscapers – hired by neighbours – are walking around making their rrrr, rrrr, rrrr bursts of noise. I even did a little video about it a few weeks ago.

Engineering students at Johns Hopkins University claim to have solved this menace to society. They started out using a battery-powered leaf blower which is already quieter than gas powered ones. Then they figured out a way to build a suppressor that works like a gun silencer. It separates the powerful air flow into different channels without losing its strength, knocking the level of sound down almost 40%.

A lot of science went into this development. Students needed to determine the frequencies of sound and which ones had to go. The sound wave covered the spectrum, like hitting a bunch of piano keys at once. Leaf blowers aren’t just loud. A bird singing loudly can be beautiful! But if that bird hit a particular note, or all the notes, it wouldn’t be as pleasant.

One of the major issues with leaf blowers is the whine. That high pitched, dentist-drill screech they give off. With the silencer, the sound becomes pure airflow at a deeper, less annoying tone. Listen for yourself. I’ve isolated the video to the before and after demonstration.

Stanley Black and Decker sponsored the students as they created and rejected about 40 prototypes before making one that kept the blowing strength but dramatically cut down on noise. The company expects to have the easy-to-attach suppressors on store shelves within two years. Speaking for humans everywhere – we can hardly wait!

2 thoughts on “A Better (Quieter) Leaf Blower”

  1. Leaf blowers quieter? Great, next on the list should be Line Trimmers but they’re not nearly as annoying. I at one time owned a leaf spreader, a lab who loved to jump into the pile of leaves you had just blown into a pile and spread them around. Great fun!

    1. Those trimmers are pretty annoying, too! One thing at a time. I can just picture your dog jumping into a leaf pile!

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