A powerful leaf blower is ideal for blasting thick blankets of leaves from your yard, whereas a leaf vacuum is more concerned with the finishing touches. Any of the top picks on this list will quickly suck up smaller piles of leaves and debris from beneath bushes, around foundation walls, and even from your gutters. Consider it the perfectionist’s outdoor power tool, a must-have for homeowners who like to leave no stone unturned when it comes to routine yard cleaning.
The good news from the Good Housekeeping Institute’s latest review of leaf vacuums is as follows. Many of the best models combine vacuuming and blowing into a single device, eliminating the need to buy, store, and maintain separate tools. Our experts considered both vacuuming and blowing power when compiling this list of winners (as well as mulching, when applicable). The following picks perform well in all modes and are also well-built and simple to use.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Leaf Vacuum
Most leaf vacuums are leaf blowers that can do double duty, as anyone in the know will tell you. When the airflow on these machines, also known as leaf blower vacs, is changed, they begin drawing leaves in rather than pushing them away.
You might be surprised to learn that leaf vacuums are more effective than lawnmowers at removing leaves from hard surfaces. They are particularly effective at removing leaves from concrete, pavers, flagstone, brick, and asphalt. They work on decks to some extent, but you’ll find that blowing off leaves and debris stuck between deck boards is easier than trying to pull the material out.
Worx Trivac 12-Amp Electric 3-in-1 Leaf Vacuum
This Worx model is by far the easiest to convert from a blower to a vacuum. Its tube remains in place. To rotate the motor 90 degrees, simply turn a dial on the machine’s side. Simply press the vacuum collection bag’s small spring-loaded collar into place over the impeller and release when it’s seated. It took us less than 20 seconds to complete. It’s an amazing feat of engineering. And when it comes to scooping up dried leaves, this Worx is no slouch. Its 12-amp motor is powerful enough for the job. Still, it can’t compete with gas-engine machines, especially when dealing with damp debris or loads of twigs.
Husqvarna 125BVX Leaf Vacuum
The Husqvarna 125BVX is extremely well-built, starts quickly (with one pull), and handles dry leaves with aplomb. However, it clogged when collecting damp mixed debris such as oak leaves and pine needles. More vexing was its bag attachment, which is secured by a heavy-duty spring sewn into the bag’s collar. Its grip on the discharge tube is so strong that the bag cannot be easily removed once attached. You end up carrying the filled bag as well as the machine to dump the shredded contents. That’s inconvenient, given that a bag of shredded debris weighs anywhere from 5 to 12 pounds (according to our tests).
Worx WG509 12 Amp TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower
With the flip of a switch, the Worx WG509 switches between its three modes. It is not necessary to change the tube or use tools to transition from blowing to vacuuming. When the vacuum mulcher mode is activated, a metal impeller reduces leaves in a 16:1 ratio (16 bags to 1 bag). A shoulder strap is included with the 1-bushel collection bag to reduce fatigue.
This could be one of the best leaf blower/vac designs for the fall season. It is the only unit we tested that can switch from blower to vacuum without completely reconfiguring the tubes, making it extremely easy to use. It also produced power comparable to models costing twice as much. It did get clogged up on some coarse debris, but it still worked well.
Black+Decker 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower
Why lurch sideways while carrying a loaded bag of leaves when you can carry them in a backpack and walk normally? By distributing the weight evenly across both shoulders, this Black & Decker three-in-one electric leaf blower makes the job less awkward and more comfortable for larger jobs. This backpack leaf vacuum/12A blower’s motor pushes 400 cfm of air up to 250 mph, and the blower unit weighs 11.1 pounds.
EGO Power+ LB6003 600 CFM Variable-Speed 56-Volt Cordless Leaf Blower
The EGO POWER+ 600 CFM Backpack Blower has a 260 CFM or 600 CFM setting and an airflow speed of up to 145 MPH, making it ideal for a variety of tasks. However, if you have a smaller yard, you may find that splurging on this range of power is unnecessary. It comes in two pieces and includes a backpack component. We found the backpack to be lightweight and comfortable, and it was easy to move around while wearing it. This model, too, has an adjustable tube, and our tester liked how “the wand was flexible and moved easily.
Toro Power Sweep 160 MPH 155 CFM 7 Amp Electric Leaf Blower
The Toro Power Sweep Electric Leaf Blower is small and light, measuring 11.5 inches tall, 28 inches long, and weighing 4.7 pounds. There are two-speed settings available, with the highest mode providing a 155 CFM airflow capacity and a 160 MPH airflow speed. It provides “a lot of power with little kickback,” according to our tester. The unit is only two pieces long, and the assembly process took less than a minute. It is a corded model with a cord lock to help secure the plug. We like how it manages to store a lot of power in such a simple, easy-to-maneuver, and easy-to-manage design.
Einhell GP-LB36/210 Li Turbo Blower
This well-thought-out blower was named a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for features. It has six speeds to choose from, as well as a Turbo boost, making it simple to adjust the power of the blast based on what and where you’re blowing. The tough nozzle has a metal end for scraping debris that the blower can’t shift on its own and adjusts to three different lengths with a twist so that no matter your height, you can get the nozzle to the perfect length for you. They have a run time of 92 minutes on the lowest setting and are powered by two 18V batteries that charge in just 60 minutes.
Worx WG543E LeafJet
This lightweight, powerful leaf blower was named a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for best value blower, and it’s simple to use and ready to use right out of the box. The 20V battery charges in 60 minutes and has a run time of 23 minutes. It also has a handy battery level indicator so you can see how much time you have left while working. The blower has two nozzle lengths that can be easily adjusted by flicking a button and sliding the nozzle up and down the tube, as well as two speeds for gentle or more powerful blowing – it performed admirably in our test blasting damp leaves off paths and pathing.