I used to feel back pains with fatigued muscles as a result of the traditional manual rake when clearing and cleaning falling autumn leaves my yard.
My house is surrounded by lots of trees which fill the yard with leaves and debris. That makes make my yard unattractive.
Because I couldn’t leave my yard full of leaves especially during fall, I had to look for the best leaf vacuum.
While searching for leaf vacuums, I was confused by the plethora of models and brands on the market. This could be daunting to you as well. To help you make an informed purchase, I have compiled this comprehensive review of the.
Different Types of Leaf Vacuums
The first thing to consider when purchasing the best leaf vacuum is to understand the different types and then choose according to your needs.
These types of power tools appeal to different situations and sizes of jobs and yards. Once you know the various models, you will be able to make an informed purchase.
There are basically 3 types of leaf vacuums, viz. gasoline-powered, cordless electric and corded electric vacuums. Others are a combination of functionalities such as leaf blower + leaf mulcher + leaf vacuum.
The common ones are the combination of blowers and vacuums. Let’s go through the different types of leaf vacuums below:
- Gasoline-powered Leaf Vacuums
- Corded Electric Leaf Vacuums
- Cordless Electric Leaf Vacuums (Battery-powered)
- Mulcher Leaf Vacuums
Best Leaf Vacuums 2018 Reviewed[table id=32 /]
Gasoline-powered Leaf Vacuums
Gas-powered leaf vacuums basically use combustion engines, and these are available as the 2-stroke technology and the 4-stroke engines.
These vacuums are cordless because of the built-in powerful engines which power the impellers to blow and suck the leaves and debris. There’s no external source required.
These models are, however, not eco-friendly because of the noxious fumes they emit as well as the noise they make when operating.
There are noise regulations in the United States you should be familiar with to avoid any conflict with your neighbors. In a meantime, be prepared to be shouted at by the neighbor because of the noise the tools have.
For your safety, do not forget the ear protection aid. The Noise Reduction and Hearing Protection Earplugs could be your best choice to protect against the loud gas vacuums.[wpmfc_cab_sw]In comparison, the 2-stroke is the least effective and emits much of the fumes mainly due to the pre-mix of oil and fuel. In a 4-stroke engine you do not have to worry about mixing fuel and oil before it can operate.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
Instead, the oil has its own compartment, and what you will have to do is to keep refilling the relevant fuel.
Gasoline-powered leaf vacuums are rated high in terms of energy efficiency more than the cordless and corded counterparts. Despite their heavyweight, they are actually versatile and more suited for big yards because you can move freely to any corner to clear the debris.
Gas-powered vacuums are not restricted by cord length. As long as you refill them, they can continue vacuuming leaves.
These gas leaf vacuums can be costly too, and they require regular maintenance. The 4-stroke engine might get easy on your bank with maintenance costs because of its advanced technology.
Unique Features & Benefits
Gas-powered leaf vacuums feature internal combustion engines to blow and suck leaves, pine needles and debris in your driveway, yard or garden. The tools do not rely on external power source, so you are sorted with mobility.
The benefit of petrol leaf vacuum is that it does not confine you to a specific place as long as you have enough gasoline.
If all you are looking is a powerful leaf vacuum with a disregard of the environment, then gasoline power tools could be your best fit. I like how portable, mobile and versatile these vacuums are.
For heavy jobs in either residential or commercial usage, I would like to recommend these tools especially the 4-stroke engine. But you will have to frequent the filling station.
Our Top Pick – Makita BHX2500CA 24.5cc Blower
Our top pick in this category goes to the Makita BHX2500CA 24.5cc Blower.
Although this is marketed as the leaf blower, it gives you the option to attach the leaf vacuum unit sold by Makita.
The combo can produce good results of clearing and cleaning wet and heavy leaves using a modern 4-stroke engine.
The vacuum unit comes with a large capacity bag which can hold large piles of leaves before emptying.[wpmfc_cab_ss]The leaf blower/vacuum has a fuel tank capacity of 17.7 ounces that’s powerful enough to provide air speed of 145 mph and air volume of 356 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute).[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Its noise level is rated at 67 decibels which I found not to be too noisy to wake you neighbors.
Apart from the inescapable emission of fumes, though not compared to a 2-stroke engine, I couldn’t find a potential deal breaker with this product hence we refer to it as our top pick.
The engine starts well using the mechanical automatic engine decompression feature. Also, the tool is lightweight at 9.8 pounds, meaning it shouldn’t be cumbersome cleaning a big yard or garden.
Corded Electric Leaf Vacuums
Corded electric leaf vacuums rely on the external power source, which can be your wall socket, gasoline or solar-powered generator.
Generally, the tools are lightweight compared with the aforementioned gasoline-powered vacuums.
All you need is a cable to connect to the power source and then press the button to start cleaning your yard.
The positive side you’d like with these power tools is their quieter operation without any harmful environmental impacts caused by their gas vacuum counterparts. They can perform well in clearing large piles of leave during fall.[wpmfc_cab_sw]However, they confine you within a short distance equivalent to the length of the cable.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
Other models do not come with cables, so you can buy longer cables.
Unique Features & Benefits
Corded electric leaf vacuums have an unlimited power supply so they can work for prolonged times. They often come as combos with leaf blower and leaf vacuum in one tool. Switching from one to the other becomes easy.
Corded electric leaf vacuums can be a great addition to your garden tools. Provided you have the power source near the garden, these tools can do a good job in clearing debris and leaves. What you need is a large vacuum bag.
The tools are quieter with no Carbon Dioxide emissions and are also lightweight. So I would recommend these vacuums for small gardens or yards.
If you want to move around, you may consider connecting to the gasoline generator or the solar-powered generator.
Our Top Pick – Worx TriVac WG500
In this category, I think you would love the Worx TriVac WG500 which appears to be an all-in-one power tool.
It combines leaf blower, mulcher and vacuum functionality in a single tool.
And switching from one mode to the next is a breeze in a matter of seconds.
This Work leaf vacuum has an ergonomic design which makes it portable in your duties. With an angled tube, it makes it easy to access inconvenient places such as clearing leaves under a big rock.
Overall features of this product are impressive hence we chose it as the top pick.[wpmfc_cab_ss]The tool runs on a 12 amp motor with maximum speed of 210 mph. This vacuum can suck 14 gallons of leaves per minute in a few seconds.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Cordless Electric Leaf Vacuums (Battery-powered)
Cordless electric leaf vacuums basically operate on powerful lithium batteries to blow and suck debris and leaves.
They do not limit your movements unless, of course, the battery has been depleted.
The tools are characterized by a quieter and clean operation compared to the gas-powered vacuums.
If your garden is far from your mains outlet, the cordless leaf vacuums could come to your rescue. But they are not suited for big yards or gardens as the battery could be depleted before you finish.
For these tools I reckon you purchase extra replacement batteries to charge others while still busy vacuuming leaves. Most of these tools operate on a 40 volt battery.[wpmfc_cab_ss]The modern high voltage batteries could actually match the power of 2-stroke gas-powered vacuums. With cordless vacuums there is no maintenance of fuels and oils, and there are no emissions.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Unique Features & Benefits
These tools are lightweight when you compare them to the gasoline vacuums, but heavier compared to corded vacuums. But this can depend from one brand to another.
If you want flexibility when cleaning your yards and gardens, the cordless (battery) leaf vacuums are the most convenient. But, they are not suited for big jobs that could drain the battery quickly.
The tools are powered by brushless motors and portable lithium batteries.
Our Top Pick – Greenworks 40V 185MPH
My top pick here goes to the Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vacuum.
This vacuum is powered by a powerful 4AH battery which is included with your purchase.
The battery enables the vacuum to run for a long-time removing wet and dry leaves.
It provides variable speeds up to 185 mph with more power and torque.
The vacuum can collect 4.5 bags of leaves in a single charge. With the brushless motor featured, you can enjoy more power versus less vibration when operating this leaf vacuum.[wpmfc_cab_ss]The air flow is rated at 340 CFM, which is enough to tackle damp debris.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Mulcher Leaf Vacuums
Although other types of leaf vacuums can integrate internal shredders to turn debris and leaves into mulch, I saw it a need to discuss the topic separately.
Mulcher leaf vacuums are the devices that feature internal blades to crush leaves into tiny pieces.
After that process, you can compost the yard or your garden and use the mulch as the fertilizer. If not, then you can dispose of the mulch.[wpmfc_cab_ss]This actually makes it easy for the vacuum bag to suck plenty of debris and leaves by creating more spaces in the bag.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Unique Features & Benefits
Mulcher vacuums have internal blades which cut leaves and debris into tiny pieces that can be disposed of or used as mulch to fertilize your garden or yard.
They run on powerful motors too with variable speed selections. The above top pick characterizes this range of products.
There is standalone mulcher equipment on the market, but I recommend purchasing a multifunctional tool that features the vacuum and the blower as well.
To avoid blowing leaves into piles or vacuuming leaves just to dispose them, you can have the mulcher which can turn your debris and leaves into useable raw products.
They can fertilize your garden to cut you costs of purchasing fertilizers in a local garden store. I recommend looking for a 3-in-1 leaf vacuum like the one I have reviewed above.
Our Top Pick – Black + Decker BV5600
Black + Decker BV5600 is a suitable top pick in this category.
The tool is actually a 3-in-1 where it combines the mulcher, blower and the vacuum.
It operates at maximum speeds of 250 mph and gives you the option to select variable speeds.
With this tool you can mulch up to 16 bags to one (16:1). It’s an effective tool operating at low noise levels rated at 68 dBA and running with a 12 amp motor.
Compared with others we reviewed above, this tool is heavy. You would understand because it is a high end mulcher featuring the blower and the vacuum functionality. And switching from one mode to the other is an effortless task.[wpmfc_cab_ss]In your package there is the blow tube, concentrator, leaf blaster nozzle, the motor head, and the vacuum tube and bag.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Top Brands of Leaf Vacuums
Purchasing leaf vacuums from top brands gives an assurance that they are high-quality power tools. Top brands in the industry have a wealth of experience in engineering effective tools tested for many years. They also offer good warranties.
I have selected the most popular multinational brands below to help you in your purchases.
Bosch is a multinational company renowned for its wide range of power tool accessories.
The company made sales of 4 billion euros in 2012 in its power tools. This proves how popular the products are.
The company introduces hundreds of products almost each year into the market. Leaf vacuums from Bosch are one of the powerful garden tools in the world.
Worx is also a multinational company known for its broad range of high-performance, powerful and innovative leaf vacuums.
The company uses high technology to make unique products. So, buying leaf vacuums from Worx is worth an investment.
Black + Decker
Black + Decker Company was established in 1917, and since then has been a pioneer of industrial tools.
The company has opened its first manufacturing site in Maryland, a town in Baltimore.
Today the brand is popular among homeowners as the provider of high-quality garden tools.
GreenWorks Company is headquartered in China and has regional offices in the USA, Canada, Middle East, and Europe.
The company is an innovation-driven manufacturer of a broad range of DIY tools for greener solutions.
The main objective of the company is to advocate for greener products in your garden.
TORO is also a leading brand in the manufacturing of power tools across the world. It is present in more than 125 countries.
Leaf vacuums from this brand are one of the respected in the world because of their supreme features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How a leaf vacuum works?
Leaf vacuums work by sucking leaves into the vacuum bag. There is a compartment in the vacuum which houses a high-speed fan (impellers). These impellers are linked to the exhaust pipes.
There is a vacuum bag attached where the leaves are taken into. If the vacuum features the mulcher with built-in shredders, the blades will cut the leaves into tiny pieces.
How to use a leaf vacuum
How to switch leaf vacuum to blower?
You do not need a special tool to do that with advanced models. There is a switch that helps you change within seconds from one mode to the other. In some models you may need manual operation where you have to detach the vacuum bag.
In models that require manual operation, make sure you disconnect them from the power source before detaching the vacuum bag. There could be a tab that holds the bag in place you need to push it to remove the bag.
In other tools you may have to twist the tube anti-clockwise. After removing the vacuum bag, you have to close that portion for your safety and that of the blower.
Depending on the model, you can put the blower tube where you removed the vacuum hose. Like I said, every model differs. Check with your user manual on how to change from vacuum to blower.
How to use a pool leaf vacuum?
Our pools are also victims of leaves and debris falling into them. A pool leaf vacuum might be the best solution in that case. To use this vacuum, attach the end of the vacuum pipe to the head and insert the vacuum head into the pool.
The other end of the vacuum hose must be outside. Then you can start suctioning debris and leaves out of your pool. Don’t forget to read the user instructions provided by the model you bought because they can differ.
Leaf vacuum vs leaf blower
Leaf vacuum works with a suction bag to extract leaves into the bag instead of blowing. The leaf blower, on the other hand, blows the leaves into piles at high speeds. You will have to manually remove the piled leaves after you are done working.
You need a leaf vacuum if you want to shred the leaves into a mulch or you want to dispose them of easily. The leaf blower works best in a huge yard to quickly blow the leaves into piles and then put them into bags or use the leaf vacuum.[wpmfc_cab_ss]If you are purchasing a combo (a leaf vacuum + leaf blower), then you are sorted because you have all the functions.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Leaf vacuum vs lawn mower
Lawn mower is also an effective tool to mulch leaves. But, lawn mowers are large tools so they are more suited for large projects of clearing and cleaning yards.
It’s easy to convert the mower into a leaf vacuum and reduce the times you would take to mold leaves into a pile before putting them in bags.
The positive side of the lawn mower as a mulcher is that it has a large capacity vacuum bag for a prolonged operation before disposing of the dirt.
So, if you are tasked to clean and clear a huge yard, a lawn mower can be the best option, whereas the leaf vacuum would be best suited for a small project.
But bear in mind there are high-end leaf vacuums which you can push or pull. Check the picture below for a high-end leaf vacuum suitable for huge yards as well.
Leaf vacuum vs cyclone rake
A cyclone rake is a large and powerful leaf vacuum that is often attached to the riding mower to remove the dirt from the lawn.
These tools can be suitable for large projects where you would normally take the whole day with the normal portable leaf vacuum.
If you’re prepared to spend lots of money, then go for the cyclone rake. The choice between a cyclone rake and a leaf vacuum will be determined by how huge your garden or lawn is.
Cyclone rakes are predominantly used on lawns. The picture below gives a clue of how big a cyclone rake is.
Leaf vacuum gas vs electric
Leaf vacuum gas and electric are the common power tools used in household gardens to clear leaves. The gas-powered vacuums are the most powerful with high torque and power to remove wet leaves.
They come in different engines, viz. 2-stroke and 4-stroke where the 4-stroke is the modern technology with fewer noises, less maintenance and less emissions.
In the 2-stroke engine you have to mix oil and fuel whereas in the 4-stroke there is a separate compartment for oil and fuel. You need a gas leaf vacuum if you need a high performing tool without restricting your movements in the garden.
The electric leaf vacuum works well if you have a convenient mains outlet to connect to. If you want a quiet tool then the electric vacuum could be your best bet.
On the other hand, the electric leaf vacuum needs an extension cord to connect to an external power source. These offer a continuous operation without worrying about the depletion of the electricity unless, of course, you ran out of grid power.
However, the electric-powered leaf vacuums are restricted by the cables to reach out to many places.
Apart from the difference in the power source, the gas-powered and electric-powered leaf vacuums operate in the same way. The other uses internal combustion engines while the other uses electricity or solar to suck leaves into the vacuum bag.
Can you use a leaf vacuum on gravel?
I don’t advise you to use a leaf vacuum on gravel because the gravel can damage the impellers.[wpmfc_cab_sd]When vacuuming leaves, the vacuum would fill within seconds of operation. The stones can get in and damage the rotating fan which might cause you regular maintenance.[/wpmfc_cab_sd]
Instead, I would reckon you use the blow option to blow the debris or leaves to a pavement or lawn and then suck them into the vacuum bag.
Useful accessories for a leaf vacuum
A leaf vacuum works properly with a set of accessories. The addition of specific accessories depends on the type of the leaf vacuum.
Because these power tools popularly use the 40 volt, I would recommend the Energup 40 Volt MAX 2.0Ah Replacement Battery.
For the best extension cord I would recommend the AmazonBasics 16/3 Vinyl Extension Cord – 50 Feet which is a 16 gauge and 3-wire cable enough to reach your many corners of your yard.
The Coleman’s 100 feet 16 gauge outdoor extension cord is also the best for bigger yards or gardens.
The internal blades of leaf vacuums may need to be changed to optimize the performance. If your vacuum has plastic blades then you will have to replace them regularly.
For battery-powered vacuums you also need a battery charger if none is included.
The link I provided above under battery charger presents you a variety of battery charger for different companies.
Also, consider the vacuum replacement bags are necessary to consider. These replacements bags you can buy per the model of the leaf vacuum.
What to look for when purchasing the best leaf vacuum?
There are many factors you need to take into account when buying these tools. As I have already highlighted, there are basically three types, viz. electric corded, gasoline and cordless electric leaf vacuums.
You have to consider the pros and cons of each category before making a purchase because they differ in capacities and applications.[wpmfc_cab_sw]Among others, you should consider the speed of the vacuum tool, capacity, specifications, the ease of switching from one mode to the other, and the quality of the blades.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
Speed – this refers to the speed of the air measured in miles per hour (MPH). Combined with the speed is the air flow measured in cubic feet per minute.
Other leaf vacuums feature nozzles that enhance the speed of the air to blow and vacuum the leaves. However, the increased air speed affects the air flow rate.
Depending on the capacity, the leaf vacuum can help you clean bigger yards. This capacity refers to the power available to the tool.
For cordless (battery) leaf vacuums, the duration of operation is subject to the capacity of the battery measured in Watts and their power output in Watts per hour.
If the battery is powerful enough, then the tool can clean bigger spaces. Lithium batteries are the preferable in this case. And you must look for high voltage ones.
For gas-powered leaf vacuums, look for high cubic centimeters as measures of the engine volumes. A higher volume that is fuel-efficient will enable you clean bigger yards before replenishing the fuel.
Moreover, there is a choice between the 2-stroke and 4-stroke.[wpmfc_cab_sd]The 2-stroke is notorious of more noxious fumes and a louder noise.[/wpmfc_cab_sd]
I would therefore recommend the modern 4-stroke with reduced emissions.
Ease of switching from one mode to the other
Look for leaf vacuums that feature the leaf blower option too. Also, they have to provide the ease of switching without requiring special tools. This will make your work simple.
The weight is also worth considering when buying these tools. Generally, gas-powered tools are heavier than the electric and battery-powered counterparts.
Remember you need the portable hand-operated tools to move freely while cleaning without causing muscle fatigues.
Other models may, however, be heavy because of the relative power output they have. It would be better to consider the shoulder straps and backpack options. Other leaf-vacuums are walk-behind or pull designs. That could negate the weight factor.
Best leaf vacuums are indispensable power tools for homeowners. These tools can help clean your yard without causing back pains or muscle fatigues the way traditional rakes do.
I have discussed the most common leaf vacuums which include the corded electric, cordless electric and the gasoline vacuums. I have also stressed the importance of the mulcher in addition to the vacuums.
I went further to wrap up with the buyer’s guide where I help you make an informed purchase.