Picking The Best Leaf Vacuum for 2018

So you are looking for an easier way to clean up your yard without having to rank, bag and pile up your leaves.

Leaf blower vacuums are on the front line of clearing up debris.  The first recorded use was in Japan sometime during the 19th century when gardeners employed bellows to clean mossy ground.  Echo introduced a backpack engine-powered duster and sprayer in the 1950's. People began to dismantle this machine to get to the powerful blower. Echo manufactured the first gas-powered handheld blower in 1978. Electrolux introduced an electric variable-speed leaf blower in 2003. By the late 2000s, cordless battery blowers took advantage of powerful lithium-ion and NiCad batteries.

Today's models are very versatile blower vacuums that can gather and mulch leaves before bagging them, which allows the user to both avoid the chore of collecting and also aid in the process of composting.

Top Leaf Blower Vacuums & Mulchers

Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum, Variable-Speed (up to 250 mph) with Metal Impeller, 12 amp
4628 Reviews
Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum, Variable-Speed (up to 250 mph) with Metal Impeller, 12 amp
  • Superior blowing and mulching proven by controlled laboratory testing
  • Powerful up to 250 mph degree. 350 CFM blow mode and 410 CFM Vac mode
  • Vacuum tube, bottom-zip bag, cord storage hook, shred-all shred ring and time-saving oscillating...
  • Variable speed control for better control in both blower and vac mode
Sale
BLACK+DECKER BV5600 High Performance Blower/Vac/Mulcher
1370 Reviews
BLACK+DECKER BV5600 High Performance Blower/Vac/Mulcher
  • The 12 amp motor operates a 3-in-1 blower, vacuum and mulcher all in one
  • 250 mph blower with 2 Speed selections
  • Can grind up to 16 bags of mulch down to one
  • Easy-change between vacuum and blower, Decibel : 68 dBA
Sale
Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vacuum, 4.0 AH Battery Included 24322
827 Reviews
Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vacuum, 4.0 AH Battery Included 24322
  • Brushless motor provides your tool with longer run-time, more torque and more power.  This leads to...
  • Variable speed offers up to 185 mph to make clean up of major debris easy and efficient.No-Load...
  • Blower/Vac capability provides a versatile use to get your yard work done without the need for...
  • Powerful enough to handle wet and dry leaves

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Model

MPH

Type

Mulching

Our Rating

Toro 51621 UltraPlus

250 MPH

Corded

10:1

5 out of 5

BLACK+DECKER BV5600

250 MPH

Corded

16:1

4.5 out of 5

GreenWorks 24322

185 MPH

Battery

N/A

4.5 out of 5

Toro 51618

225 MPH

Corded

10:1

4 out of 5

Black & Decker BV6000

250 MPH

Corded

16:1

3.5 out of 5

Leaf Vacuums Average Rating: 4.4 Based on 5 Reviews

Leaf Vacuum Reviews

Pros

  • plus
    Has variable speed control for superior control in both vac mode and blower mode
  • plus
    Effective and powerful up to 250 MPH
  • plus
    Corded blower comes with a cord storage hook and a bottom-zip vacuum bag

Cons

  • minus
    Emits a high pitched sound
  • minus
    Doesn't handle small twigs well

The Toro Ultraplus Blower/Vac is one of the finest machines on the market today. It features a Shredz-All Shred Ring which, when combined with the tough metal impeller can reduce 96% of mulched leave to less than .5 inches (total mulching capacity of 10:1). It has a main blower tube, power insert for heavier wet leaves, and a concentrator for use in crevices and corners, plus an oscillating nozzle kit. We rated this machine 5 out of 5 stars.


Pros

  • plus
    Comfortable to use and makes minimal dust
  • plus
    Lightweight, inexpensive, and very powerful
  • plus
    Corded high-velocity blower and wiggling nozzle head makes leaf blowing fun

Cons

  • minus
    Leaves occasionally get stuck inside the suction tube
  • minus
    Assembly instructions are a little convoluted

The Black & Decker BV5600 blows through debris and leaves easily with its 250 MPH blower. It has a high-impact fan which prevents clogging during mulching and can grind 16 bags of mulch down to one bag. It is 50% quieter than other similar models and has two speed selections (1 for matted leaves and 1 for flower beds). We rated this machine 4.5 out of 5 stars.


Pros

  • plus
    Instant electric start, more torque, and a G-Max battery that can provide 60 minutes of run time on one single charge
  • plus
    Zero emissions, 340 CFM, and 185 MPH wind speed
  • plus
    Cover gate on the blower bottom protects user from coming into contact with the spinning impeller

Cons

  • minus
    A few users had a hard time emptying the bag
  • minus
    Doesn't handle large debris well

The Greenworks 40V Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vac is a powerful tool with a DigiPro Brushless Motor and a 40V G-MAX Li-Ion system that provides greater performance, a longer run time, less noise, more efficiency, and longer motor life. We rated this machine 4.5 out of 5 stars.


Pros

  • plus
    Corded vac has a quick-release latch which converts blower into vacuum in a matter of seconds
  • plus
    Unique fan design improves vacuum flow rate and reduces clogging
  • plus
    Has multiple tubes and inserts for specialized uses like moving debris out of edging and cracks

Cons

  • minus
    Machine is on the heavy side and the leaf collection bag is cumbersome
  • minus
    Vac needs a flat surface somewhere on it so it can be set down

The Toro 51618 has a 2-speed motor, an air stream with a maximum of 225 MPH, and is a match for all leaves large and small, sticks, and other debris. Its leaf reduction percentage is 10:1. We rated this machine 4 out of 5 stars.


Pros

  • plus
    Disposable leaf-bag system accompanies mulcher that converts 16 full bags of mulch into 1 bag
  • plus
    Corded 3-in-1 vac/blower/mulcher work together to clean your lawn in no time at all
  • plus
    Lightweight multi-tasker provides a simple change between blower and vacuum

Cons

  • minus
    Curvature of zipper makes the bag difficult to empty
  • minus
    Runs a little slow and you'll have to constantly be emptying the mulch bag

This 12 amp blower, mulcher, and vacuum can reach a wind speed of 250 MPH for rapid yard clean-up. It has been newly redesigned to provide 50% less noise and is perfect for blowing yard debris and leaves, vacuuming grass, pine needles, and leaves, and finely mulching leaves up for compost. We rated this machine 3.5 out of 5 stars.

HOW WE RATED THE LEAF BLOWER VACUUMS

We conducted extensive research to provide you with reviews of the superior leaf blower vacuums available on the market today. We read and compared hundreds of online reviews, and the particular merits of each model were taken into consideration.

  • What are the pros and cons of each leaf vacuum/blower/mulcher?
  • Which machine is more reliable or has a better warranty?
  • Does the leaf vac have any unique features worth mentioning?
  • Does it have a good instruction manual?
  • Finally, what is the cost of each leaf vac and does its performance and features warrant its higher price tag?

Read on to find out the relative pros and cons of leaf vacuums that are highly rated. We utilize a star system for our ratings, with 5 stars being the highest possible rating given. Hopefully, our analysis of each leaf vacuum/blower/mulcher will be helpful in steering you toward a well-informed purchase decision.

RELIABILITY (WARRANTY)

A variety of warranties are available for the 5 models of leaf vacuums covered today. Black & Decker provides a two-year limited warranty on their high-performance blower/vacuum/mulcher. Toro offers a two-year full-coverage warranty. Greenworks provides a limited 4-year warranty.

POWER (MPH & CFM)

Both MPH (Miles Per Hour) and CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) affect the output of your leaf vacuum. MPH tells you how fast the blower air is moving (useful when you're moving heavy debris). CFM tells you what volume of air is moving through the blower. It's usually the case that if a blower has a higher MPH, then its price tag will also be higher. However, we suggest that a leaf blower that has higher CFM and a lower MPH might be the better buy. Faster air speed doesn't equate to better blowing. The CFM pushing power determines the real power of the blower with its capacity to push debris and leaves out of the way.

MULCHING (REDUCTION)

Vacuum mulching can save you a great deal of work over the years. Instead of raking, bagging, and a trip to the landfill or a compost pile, a mulcher can help to simplify those chores. Mulching reduces approximately 10 bags of leaves into just 1 bag of mulch. Mulched leaves are also more prepared for composting because the overall size and surface area of each piece are decreased, and that makes it simpler for microorganisms and beneficial bacteria to digest them.

BAGGING

Bagging has improved dramatically over the years, and now many machines come with a reusable empty leaf bag that is lined with disposable bags that are a snap to tie up and throw away. Some of these 3-in-1 machines can mulch 16 leaf bags into only one bag!

Bagging leaves and debris is an eco-friendly way to handle your lawn debris. You'll never have to blow your excess leaves out into the street or rake them into large piles ever again. Of course, the best thing you should do with your leaves is to mulch them. Studies show that mulching your grass and leaves for 3 years will result in a large decrease in crabgrass and dandelions in your yard.

EASE OF USE

Instead of using a multitude of different garden equipment - a mower, rake, separate mulcher, etc., why not turn to the most time-saving equipment available - a leafer / vacuum / mulcher? These super convenient machines change from one function to another with a simple nozzle switch or lever.

Here's a checklist for ease of use that you can follow when purchasing a leaf vacuum:

  • Make sure you have easy access to a fan area so you can clear blockages simply
  • Test your machine in the store to make sure it doesn't vibrate too much
  • Your vacuum/mulcher should have comfortable handles
  • You'll need a blower vac with a trigger lock that will allow you to operate the machine without having to hold down the trigger constantly

WHY BUY A LEAF VACUUM & MULCHER?

Leaf blower vacuums are very useful for removing small quantities of leaves and debris from tight spots, in any location where it would be difficult to use a leaf rake. They are great for cleaning up your driveway and sidewalk in addition to cleaning your yard. A high-quality blower is an essential machine, but why buy 3 machines instead of 1 when there are now excellent combination blower/vacuum/mulchers available for a very reasonable price?

New leaf vac combos let you switch quickly between vacuuming, blowing, and mulching. A mulching blower can rapidly convert a huge pile of leaves and debris into a much smaller bag of mulch that is compost-ready that you can either spread in the garden or take to a nearby waste facility.

Shredding leaves can typically reduce the volume of waste by a 16 to 1 ratio, which means that you'll be able to clean up a large yard filled with leaves and end up with only one bag to dispose.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A LEAF BLOWER VAC

If you are looking for a leaf blower vac that is relatively quiet and does not emit fumes, stay clear of gas-powered models.

Choose a battery leaf blower if you have a larger area to cover. You will enjoy excellent range and mobility since there won't be a cable to hold you back. Battery powered vacs are less noisy. They will be a little heavier because of the battery pack, and they'll have to be frequently recharged. Just remember that a rechargeable battery has a runtime limit of one hour tops and you'll have some downtime waiting for the battery to recharge.

Choose a corded electric blower if you want one-handed use, inexpensive cost, zero exhaust emissions and push-button starting. Their power approaches that of gas blowers, so if you have a smaller yard and a power outlet that's within 100 ft. of your work area then a corded model can be ideal for you.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEAP AND EXPENSIVE MODELS

There is a perfect leaf vac out there for all tastes and every budget. On the less expensive side are smaller blowers. The Black & Decker High-Performance Vac/Blower/ Mulcher (BV5600) offers excellent value for your money, for under $100. It features a 2-speed control and a steel mulcher but comes in at a heavier weight of 14.3 pounds. This weight alone will make it hard for some people to operate.

On the slightly more expensive side, there are very powerful blower, vacuum, and mulcher combinations. Our most expensive leaf vac is the Greenworks 24322. Its higher cost is because this machine is the only leaf vacuum in this list that is battery-powered. Batteries are more expensive than a machine that plugs its cord into an electric socket. You will have a lot more mobility using a machine with a battery than with a corded model. In addition, battery powered tools are more comfortable to use and very quiet.

BEST SELLING & TOP RATED BRANDS

  • Toro​​​​
  • BLACK+DECKER
  • GreenWords
  • WORX
  • Sun Joe
  • Poulan Pro

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY?

The leaf vacuums that we are reviewing here today range in price from $50 to $150, with a median price of $82. Do you have a smaller yard doesn't need all the bells and whistles? A corded model will cost less than a battery powered model. If you don't need a mulcher, a less expensive option is to buy a leaf blower or a leaf vacuum instead. A light, compact unit might have less power than a larger model and should be cheaper.

CONCLUSION

After a comprehensive study of leaf vacuum/blower/mulchers in the marketplace today, we highly recommend the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum & Variable-Speed with Metal Impeller. This all-around tool is extremely powerful, works reliably, and has a relatively lightweight (8.8 pounds) space-saving design. It can comfortably be used with either one or two hands. Its variable speed knob allows you to adjust airflow from barely a trickle up to 250 MPH. There are 3 additional nozzles for enhanced versatility. Its mulching capacity is excellent, increased by its solid metal impeller, and it can reduce your total volume of leaves by 96%, depending on the condition and type of material that you are mulching. Finally, it has a comfortable fitting leaf collection bag and stores easily.

About the author

Mark Kelly

Hi, I'm Mark the owner of Yard Care Gurus. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Thanks for stopping by!

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