We all know what it’s like when the days begin to shorten and the fall rolls in again – it means it’s time to get out the rake and start bagging up the leaves that are beginning to carpet the ground.
It’s a chore that most people don’t look forward to, but if you own a leaf blower and vacuum combo, it’s a job that will take a fraction of the time. If this sounds like the perfect solution, here are our top picks for best leaf vacuum.
If you are thinking of buying a leaf vacuum to help you take care of your yard and keep it under control in the fall, you’ll probably have a lot of questions about choosing one. What do leaf vacuums do? What are the features to look for? And do you need one for your yard?
Here, we’ll have a look at the most important aspects to help you choose the right model for you.
What Is A Leaf Vacuum?
The easy answer to this question is, it’s just like a vacuum cleaner for inside your house – but it’s designed for use outside to pick up leaves and other debris instead of cleaning the dust and dirt in your home.
However, there’s more to it than just that. Almost all leaf vacuums are also leaf blowers – or rather, they are leaf blowers that can be reversed to suck instead of blow.
This means that if you are looking for a leaf vacuum, what you are actually looking for is a leaf blower with vacuuming capability rather than just a vacuum alone.
The other point to bear in mind is that most – although not all – leaf vacuums shred leaves into mulch as you suck them up. This means you can then spread the mulch directly onto your garden or add it to your compost pile, whichever you prefer.
Which Tyle of leaf vacuum right for you?
Probably the most important thing you need to think about is whether you want a gas-powered vacuum, a corded electric one or a battery-powered version. Each type has associated advantages and disadvantages, so let’s look at each in turn.
Gas-powered tools are generally the most heavy-duty and offer the highest power ratings. Professional-grade vacuums or blowers are usually gas-powered, and these are the ones to look at if you want professional-level performance.
Gas-powered vacuums allow you to work wherever you want without the restriction of a cord. They also allow you to work for as long as you need – if they run out of fuel, you just top them up.
However, they are usually the noisiest types of tool and they give off harmful emissions and pollution. They are also the heaviest type and are more difficult to use, especially for longer periods.
A gas-powered vacuum would be best if you need extra power. However, for home use, battery-powered or corded vacuums would be better – and all the models we’ve chosen here are battery-powered or corded.
2. Corded electric
Corded electric leaf vacuums are free of most of the disadvantages associated with gas-powered ones – namely, they are quieter and less polluting as well as being lighter and easier to manage. They might not have quite the same power, but some of them can come close.
The major downside is the cord itself, which limits mobility and range. You can increase the range by using an extension, but you are still restricted to being able to work in proximity to a power outlet.
The cord can also get in the way, making it awkward to work, and you need to make sure it is wound up so you don’t end up tripping over it.
Battery-powered vacuums run quietly, don’t release harmful emissions and are lightweight and easy to use. They also don’t depend on a power outlet, which means they are more mobile than corded versions.
However, battery-operated units are often the least powerful of the three types, and batteries also run out and need recharging – although you can double the length of time you can work by buying a spare.
If you decide to opt for a battery-powered model, pay attention to the battery life per charge and whether this will be enough for you to finish the work you need to do. This is one of the most important considerations when choosing a battery-operated vacuum.
What Should You Look For When Choosing A Leaf Vacuum?
There are many different features and variables you need to look at when buying a leaf vacuum. Here are some of the most important.
a). Brushless Motor
The best vacuums and blowers incorporate brushless motors.
These motors deliver higher levels of power and efficiency while also prolonging the working life of the tool.
If you have the choice, always choose a brushless motor.
b). 2-In-1 Or 3-In-1?
As we have already mentioned, almost all leaf vacuums are dual vacuum and blower machines, and you will often see them sold as “2-in-1” or “3-in-1” models.
In theory, a 2-in-1 is a tool that can be used as a leaf vacuum and as a blower while a 3-in-1 also has mulching capability.
However, some machines that are sold as 3-in-1 can only blow or mulch – they can’t suck up whole leaves without mulching. With this in mind, look carefully at what a machine can do to make sure it has all the functionality you require.
c). Variable Speed
Most blowers have a variable speed function. This means you can change the force of wind that the machine delivers.
This can be especially useful when tidying up more delicate areas like flower beds – you don’t want to use the maximum setting and destroy all your flowers!
Most machines will quote a top speed of up to 250mph, and this is an important point to note. Also, pay attention to whether a machine is dual-speed or if it offers more than just two speed settings.
Finally, some models also allow you to change the force of the vacuum as well as the blower. If you think this might be useful, it’s another thing to look out for.
d). Mulching Ratio
The mulching ratio refers to how much the mulcher can compact the leaves.
For example, a ratio of 10:1 means it can reduce what would fill ten bags to the volume of only one bag when mulched.
Models in our review range from 10:1 to 18:1.
The best leaf vacuum on the market 2019
1. Black & Decker BV3100 12-Amp Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher (Best for the money)
This electrical corded 3-in-1 blower, vacuum and mulcher from well-known brand Black+Decker is designed to help with all aspects of cleaning the leaves from your yard.
It is multifunctional and has plenty of useful features that will make it a welcome addition to your collection of garden tools.
This machine is not just designed to vacuum leaves – it can also blow them or suck them up and reduce them to mulch. This gives you maximum flexibility over how you deal with the piles of dead leaves each fall.
In blower mode, it includes two different power settings, allowing you to choose between 220mph or 150mp. This is especially useful if you have more delicate areas of your yard that you don’t want to subject to the blower’s full power.
For example, when cleaning up dead leaves from around your flower gardens, you can switch to the gentler mode to avoid destroying your flowers while you clear away the debris.
In vacuum mode, the 12amp engine also gives you plenty of power to suck up dead leaves without any trouble. You can also easily switch between the different modes without the need to use any tools, making operation as practical and easy as possible.
One great feature is the mulch mode – when you switch to this setting, the vacuum chops up the leaves, reducing what would be 10 bags of regular leaves to just one bag of mulch. This can then be added to your compost pile or spread directly onto your garden as you require.
Another useful addition is the Anti-Clog Vortex Impellor, which ensures the machine doesn’t become clogged when sucking up dead leaves.
Finally, at only around 8lbs, this unit is lightweight and easy to manage. It also features a cord retainer to ensure the cord doesn’t get in the way while you are working, making it even more trouble-free to operate.
And now to throw in a couple of negatives. First, this tool is a little on the heavy side. It weighs quite a bit as it is, but once you start sucking up some leaves, some people might find it too weighty.
Also, the bag it comes with seems to be of inferior quality – it should last for a while, but you may end up having to replace it eventually.
Overall, this is an excellent garden tool that has several different functions, all of which are designed to make clearing your yard of leaves quick and easy. If you have had enough of endless raking each year, this machine could be worth checking out.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
2. BLACK+DECKER BV6600 High Performance Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher
If you like the sound of everything the Black+Decker BV3100 above can do but you feel you need just a bit more of everything, the BV6600 is a possible alternative. It is designed to do everything the smaller model can do but just better and more powerfully.
It features the same 12amp motor but can deliver speeds of between 140mph and 250mph. This extra kick will help you clear leaves lying in extra-thick patches, making it more suitable for larger yards or gardens with heavier coverings of leaves.
Another area where this machine out-performs its smaller brother is in its capability to reduce the volume of the leaves it sucks up.
While the smaller model has a ratio of 10:1, this machine can reduce the leaves at a ratio of 16:1 – this means that 16 bags of leaves can be reduced to only one bag of mulch, helping you clear the leaves from your yard in a highly efficient manner.
The collection bag that comes with this unit is also bigger, allowing you to collect up to 1.5 bushels of leaves (compared with one bushel with the previous model).
Otherwise, this blower and vacuum shares many of the useful features of the smaller model. It is a 3-in-1 tool, meaning you can use it to clean up leaves by blowing, by vacuuming or mulching.
It also incorporates a high-impact metal fan that is designed to prevent the tool from becoming clogged, and at just over 8lbs, it doesn’t weigh significantly more than the smaller unit either.
Like the smaller version, it also offers two different speed settings – however, with this unit, it can reach 250mph rather than 220mph on the less powerful unit.
The negatives with this unit are also similar to those of the smaller version. It is a bit on the heavy side, and when filled with leaves, you may get tired using it. Also, it suffers from the same issue of the lower quality leaf bag and you will probably end up having to replace it.
If you need a tool that will help clean the leaves from your yard with a minimum of fuss, but you require something more powerful than the BV3100, this blower, vacuum and mulcher should be of interest. Another high-quality tool from a well-established brand.
What We Like
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3. Toro 51619 Ultra Electric Blower Vacuum (Our Top Recommended)
If you’re looking for an efficient and effective combined leaf blower and vacuum, this model from Toro could be worth investigating. It is one of the most powerful models available and delivers enough air or suction to deal with any yard-clearing tasks you set it to.
It features variable speed in both blowing and vacuum modes. You can set it to full power when you need to clear large amounts of leaves or debris, but you can also slow it down when you need to clean around more delicate areas. Maximum speed is an impressive 250mph.
This machine also includes several different attachments, giving you extra flexibility to clear large areas or tight and inaccessible corners as required.
Another advantage this machine offers is its highly-effective mulching capability. In mulching mode, it can reduce 88% of leaves and debris to under ½” in size, allowing you to compact everything down ready for spreading directly on your garden or putting on your compost pile.
The large metal compeller also ensures the leaves and debris don’t clog the machine up as you work.
One thing we like is that this vacuum and blower is still very lightweight, despite its power. At only 8.5lbs, it is light enough for almost anybody to use, even for extended periods, allowing you to blast through even the toughest of jobs.
It also includes a large bag with a bottom opening designed to make emptying easier. The bag also doubles up for storage – when you aren’t using it, you can put everything inside the bag and hang it up conveniently out of the way until you need it again.
On the downside, the quality of the shoulder strap seems to be a little lacking. It looks like it might eventually fall off after a season or two of use. Also, this unit doesn’t perform quite so well in either mode with damp leaves – although this is normal.
This powerful corded dual-use leaf vacuum and blower is a great option that will simplify looking after your yard and keeping it free of leaves and debris. If you need something powerful and effective yet light and manageable, this could be just the option you’re after.
What We Like
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4. Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum
This leaf blower and vacuum from Toro is very similar to the model above – but this is also an upgrade version that includes extra attachments as well as featuring improved mulching capability, making this the best pick for someone looking for advanced performance.
While the Ultra model above can reduce 88% of debris to ½” or less, with this UltraPlus model, the figure is a very impressive 97%. This means practically everything that goes into it will be reduced to highly compact mulch ready for spreading on your garden or composting.
It also includes extra attachments including an oscillating nozzle and a shredding ring, which are designed to improve the unit’s mulching performance.
Other than these improvements, this machine has all the same features that make the Ultra model such a handy tool to have at your disposal.
It includes variable speeds, with a maximum speed of 250mph, both in vacuum mode and in blowing mode. This allows you to adapt the amount of suction or blowing power the tool delivers according to the conditions you need to work in.
It also has a large metal impeller to generate this power while also working to prevent the machine from becoming clogged.
It includes a large collection bag that will catch all the mulched leaves or other debris as you work, and it also features bottom opening to make it easy to empty when it becomes full.
This vacuum and blower is also relatively lightweight too. Although it is slightly heavier than the Ultra model, at only 8.9lbs, it is still light enough for anybody to use, even for extended periods.
Having said that, the lack of a shoulder strap is a problem since if it had one, it would be more comfortable to use. Also, there is a question mark over this unit’s long-term durability since many of the parts are made of light-gauge plastic.
Overall, this is a high-performance leaf blower and vacuum that will help you keep your yard under control with the minimum of effort.
With its enhanced mulching capabilities as well as the extra attachments, this could be ideal for those who demand an extra level of performance from their tools.
What We Like
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5. Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vacuum
If you prefer the freedom and mobility of a cordless blower and vacuum but you don’t like the noise, harmful emissions or bulky weight of a gas-powered unit, this model from Greenworks could be the perfect option.
It features a brushless motor that delivers plenty of power to blast through piles of dead leaves when used in blower mode. When switched to vacuum and mulching mode, it will make short work of any debris, leaving you with bags of useful mulch.
It has six different speed settings, with a maximum speed of 185mph, operated by a simple dial. This allows you to modify the output according to the conditions so you don’t end up destroying more delicate plants and flowers.
It also has a turbo button for any really tough jobs.
This is a battery-operated machine. Greenworks’ tools are designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and this machine doesn’t give off any harmful emissions at all, unlike gas-powered blowers. Since it’s battery-powered, it’s also very quiet too.
The battery itself lasts a very respectable 60 minutes on a single charge, giving you plenty of time to take care of most day-to-day cleaning jobs.
If you have a larger yard, you can simply buy two batteries to double the operating time. The 40v battery is also compatible with over 25 other tools in the Greenworks range, giving you extra versatility. You may even already have one or more of these batteries at home.
Something we love about this machine is how light it is. At only 5.6lbs, anybody can use it – you can even have your kids clean the yard if you prefer!
And now for the negatives. We found that while this unit performs well in blower mode, it is slightly lacking in power when used as a vacuum and may not pick everything up. Also, there is a strange quirk where you have to wait to start it up again after turning it off, which can be irritating.
Greenworks’ tools are known for being a quieter, more environmentally-friendly alternative to noisy, polluting gas-powered tools.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, this high-quality yet affordable blower and vac could be well worth a look – this is an ideal option for use in yards of up to around half an acre in size.
What We Like
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6. Worx WG509 TRIVAC 3-In-1 Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vacuum
This powerful blower, vacuum and mulcher is designed to compete with bigger gas-powered leaf blowers while offering a whole lot of extra advantages that a gas blower can’t provide.
The 12amp motor delivers power that is comparable with a gas-powered machine, but this model makes a lot less noise than a gas-powered blower while also having zero harmful emissions. At under 10lbs, it is also a lot lighter than most heavy gas-powered versions.
In fact, this machine is so light and comfortable to hold that you can operate it with just one hand. With the bag strap on your shoulder and the blower in your hand, you will be able to work comfortably for as long as you need to clear all the leaves and debris from your yard.
It is easy to start, and it is also very simple to switch between blowing and vacuum modes – you simply flip a single switch.
It also features an angled nose that is designed to make it easier and more convenient to reach awkward places in your yard like under tables or in tight corners and has a quick-release tube that makes it easy to empty.
It incorporates a powerful metal compeller that is very efficient at reducing leaves – it has an impressive mulching ratio of 18;1, meaning it can reduce what would be 18 bags of leaves to just a single bag of mulch. This is among the best-performing mulchers currently available.
If you need to clean more delicate areas such as flower beds or vegetable gardens, this tool also has variable speed capability, which allows you to turn down the force of the air so you don’t destroy your more fragile plants.
One of the issues we found with this unit is that the nozzle is a little short. It’s fine for the blowing mode, but if you want to use it for vacuuming, taller people may have to stoop for it to work effectively.
Also, it can be a little heavy to use for longer periods, especially when using it one-handed.
All in all, this is a highly practical machine that offers you plenty of functionality as well as a high level of performance. It is lightweight, easy to use and comes with a very reasonable price tag.
If you are looking for a leaf blower and vacuum that will take all the hard work out of keeping your yard tidy, especially in the fall, this machine is one that should be high on your list of possibilities.
What We Like
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7. Toolman Corded Electric Leaf Sweeper Vacuum Blower
If you are looking for a 2-in-1 vacuum and blower tool at a very affordable price point but you don’t want to compromise on quality or performance, this corded electric model from Toolman might be just what you’re looking for.
It features six-speed operation with a maximum capacity of 215mph, plenty to deal with even the heaviest covering of leaves and debris. If you need to clean around more fragile areas of your yard, you can also choose one of the lower settings using the intuitive dial.
We like the fact that this model is very lightweight. At only 6.25lbs, it is light enough for anyone to use one-handed. Since it is a corded version, it also runs quietly and doesn’t give off any harmful emissions, making it perfect for more ecologically-minded gardeners.
Of course, the cord does limit your mobility slightly, but if you have a decent extension, this shouldn’t be an issue.
As an electric model, it also benefits from a simple switch system to turn it on rather than the cord-pull you find on gas versions. You can operate it by holding the switch down – or if you prefer, there’s a switch lock so you don’t need to hold the switch all the time.
It’s a 2-in-1 model, and it’s really simple to change between blowing mode and vacuum mode.
There is a control located where the nozzle meets the body of the tool, and to select blowing mode, you just turn it to the left. If you want to use it in vacuum mode, you simply turn it to the right.
It comes supplied with a large bag with a rugged zipper that is easy to open, empty and clean. Another great feature is the double-insulation covering designed for extra safety – this tool is covered by full ETL safety certification.
On the downside, this is not supposed to be a heavy-duty unit and will not be able to cope if you have very large piles of leaves to suck up or blow. Also, it is not the highest quality tool available – it is designed rather as a budget-friendly option.
If you are looking for a simple yet powerful device that can both blow leaves and vacuum them, then this model is worth a look.
It doesn’t have the mulching capabilities of more expensive machines, but at this price point, this is a great tool to help you keep your yard tidy.
What We Like
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Lots of choice for a useful and practical garden tool
When the leaves start to fall from the trees and it’s time to start preparing for winter, having the best leaf vacuum can help you power through the task in no time. If you’re thinking of buying one, any of the picks on our list would be the perfect place to start.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.