Which leaf vacuum is best?

Most people use leaf blowers to get the leaves off their property wherever they can. A more responsible citizen uses them to organize leaves into piles for disposal. But once they’re in a pile, how do you get them in a bag? You can use a leaf vacuum. In fact, many leaf blowers also double as a vacuum.

The best leaf vacuum is the Craftsman Leaf Blower/Leaf Vacuum And Mulcher. This all-in-one machine handles every step of the lawn care process at an affordable cost.

What to know before you buy a leaf vacuum

Leaf vacuum style

There are three styles of leaf vacuums: handheld, backpack and towing.

  • Handheld vacuums are the most common. They can be powered by any source and are light enough for comfortable extended use. However, they’re among the weaker models and their leaf bags are the smallest.
  • Backpack vacuums are simply bigger and heavier, enough to necessitate wearing them on your back to comfortably use them for any length of time. They can potentially be more powerful and use larger bags, but not as a rule.
  • Towing vacuums are intended for commercial use. They can be hooked to various vehicles and rapidly ingest even the largest piles of leaves.

Power source

Leaf vacuums are powered via cords, batteries or gasoline.

  • Corded vacuums are the simplest to use but have the lowest range. Their cords are only a few feet long, requiring an extension cord to function; large yards may require the use of multiple extension cords.
  • Battery-powered vacuums have all the range in the world, but their usage time is rarely longer than one hour. For some high-powered models, usage time could be as little as 20 minutes.
  • Gas-powered vacuums are more likely to be more powerful, plus they have unlimited range and long use times before refilling is needed. However, their engines require a mixture of gas and oil as fuel, and they’re among the heaviest options.

What to look for in a quality leaf vacuum

Tube size

Typically, the larger the tube size, the faster you can suck in leaves. Most vacuums balance their tube size with the power of their motor. Those that don’t have worse inhalation rates than models with slim tubes.

Multifunction 

Most leaf vacuums are built to swap between blowing and vacuuming modes. Cheaper models only have vacuuming modes, while mid-range or better models might also include a mulching option.

Accessories

There are a few accessories that can be included or purchased separately to make vacuuming easier. Most include leaf bags, whether reusable or disposable. Other common inclusions are shoulder straps to make carrying easier and alternate tube sizes.

How much you can expect to spend on a leaf vacuum

Simple leaf vacuums can cost as little as $50, but won’t be able to handle much ground. Beefier, multifunction models cost $100-$200. Those that cost $250 or more are models meant for commercial use.

Leaf vacuum FAQ

How do I safely use a leaf vacuum?

A. Leaf vacuums require several safety precautions for use. The most important is to wear earplugs or muffs. Prolonged, unprotected exposure to the high noise levels of a leaf vacuum can cause lasting hearing loss. You should wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from lacerations caused by flying leaf bits. These bits can cut or irritate any other unprotected skin, so long-sleeve shirts, pants and gloves are also recommended.

What are the pros and cons of using a leaf vacuum?

A. The main benefit of using a leaf vacuum is simply the time and energy it saves you compared to manually collecting leaves. The negatives are more pronounced. Their noise levels are potentially damaging and can frustrate your neighbors. They can suck up hard objects like stones and sticks, possibly breaking your vacuum. Finally, some vacuums use small leaf bags that can make the time savings negligible.

What are the best leaf vacuums to buy?

Top leaf vacuum

Craftsman Leaf Blower/Leaf Vacuum And Mulcher

Craftsman Leaf Blower/Leaf Vacuum And Mulcher

What you need to know: This all-in-one model is suitable for the average consumer.

What you’ll love: This package includes the motor, blower and vacuum tubes, concentrator nozzle and a leaf collection bag. The collection bag can be worn as a backpack with included straps. Its 12-amp motor can blow out at up to 260 miles per hour.

What you should consider: This model is loud. Some users were unhappy with the force of both its blowing and vacuuming modes. It’s on the heavy side at 11.27 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top leaf vacuum for the money

Black+Decker Leaf Blower & Leaf Vacuum

Black+Decker Leaf Blower & Leaf Vacuum

What you need to know: This model has a few extra features that up its value.

What you’ll love: It can adjust its speed up to a maximum blow speed of 250 mph. A metal fan mulches 16 bags’ worth of leaves down to one bag’s worth. It’s light at only 8.1 pounds. It uses a disposable bag system for easy processing.

What you should consider: The vacuum mode struggles on damp leaves. Large leaf piles require several rounds of filling and dispensing the bags to process. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Husqvarna Handheld Leaf Blower/Vacuum

Husqvarna Handheld Leaf Blower/Vacuum

What you need to know: This gas-powered model is a good pick for those without nearby access to electricity.

What you’ll love: It includes a mulching mode that can cut 16 bags’ worth of leaves down to one. Its vacuum bag includes a shoulder strap for easy carrying. It’s light at 9.6 pounds. A smart start and auto return stop switch make starting and stopping the engine a breeze.

What you should consider: Switching between vacuum and blower modes takes time. Its top blow speed is only 170 mph. Gasoline must be carefully mixed with oil or the engine could break.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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