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What are the specs that define the best leaf vacuum? To make quick work of dead leaves in your yard, a great upright or handheld leaf vacuum needs plenty of power and airflow. The top-performing electric models can move over 200 cubic feet per minute of air volume, have a blower mode and vacuum mode, and have ergonomic design touches that make them easy to use.
Additionally, depending on what kind of lawn work and the volume of leaves you need to get rid of, you might want a leaf blower vacuum that can handle wet or dry leaves. Finally, the most capable leaf vacuums on the market usually have adjustable speeds or variable speed control to help pick up different lawn detritus such as grass clippings and pine needles.
Keep reading to learn more about the best leaf vacuums out there and how to choose the best vacuum cleaners for your indoor and outdoor vacuuming needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This corded all-in-one cleaning system has excellent suction power and airflow, enabling users to clean lawns fast. It has a zipper-free bag that offers easy maintenance and hassle-free emptying
The Black+Decker VacPack BEBL7000 leaf vacuum combines the functions of a leaf vacuum, blower, and mulcher in one device. This device features a powerful motor with airspeeds of up to 250 mph and up to 400 cfm airflow. This device comes with a wearable backpack leaf collection system that accommodates large quantities of leaves and seeds. It’s corded, providing a consistent power supply for big projects. However, changing between vacuum cleaning and blowing requires a screwdriver.
This Black+Decker VacPack BEBL7000 leaf vacuum has a PowerBoost button that enables increasing the suction and air flow easily. With a reusable leaf bag, this device offers easy maintenance. The bag is zipper-free, so it’s easy to fill and empty. This vacuum cleaner has a wide blow tube opening, picking up leaves with ease, while the heavy-duty shoulder straps on this model provide durability and comfort. It has a flexi-tube to enhance maneuverability.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuuming device incorporates blowing and mulching options, offering all-around lawn cleaning. The device has a large 14.5-gallon backpack bag, accommodating big quantities of leaves.
The Craftsman CMEBL7000 14.5-Gallon leaf vacuum runs on a powerful 12-amp motor. This device blows, vacuums, and mulches leaves. Featuring a maximum airflow of 450 cfm and a maximum airspeed of 260 mph, this device offers fast cleaning. It has a large 14.5-gallon bag for carrying mulched debris. This device boasts a tool-free process for converting between the blower and vacuum functions. However, it still requires changing tubes to switch functions.
This Craftsman CMEBL7000 14.5-Gallon leaf vacuum has a wide mouth to take in a large number of leaves fast. It has pliable tubing to offer operational flexibility. With a backpack-style bag with straps, this device provides comfort and is suitable for regular use. This vacuum cleaner is corded, so it won’t suffer from the kinds of power-loss issues associated with cordless models. We love its bright red palette that offers visual interest. It has an optional concentrator nozzle to enhance performance.
Award: BEST CORD-FREE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This cord-free model operates without connecting to a power supply, providing incredible mobility. The device has a very low noise rating, so using it is quite comfortable.
The Greenworks DigiPro 9.3-gallon leaf vacuum is a versatile system with both vacuuming and blowing functions. This device uses a removable 4.0Ah 40V battery, providing cordless operation. It comes with a charger for providing power. Both the battery and charger are compatible with a number of other Greenworks power tools for convenience. It features adjustable air speeds of up to 185 miles. However, its runtime of about 21 minutes is a bit low.
This Greenworks DigiPro 9.3-gallon leaf vacuum has a noise rating of just 70 dB, performing quietly. A six-speed control panel enables customizing performance. This device has an intuitive handle with a cushioned grip for comfort. When it mulches, it cuts cutting down the size of collected debris dramatically. Equipped with a brushless motor, this device delivers consistent power. It has a protective cover on the mouth of the vacuum for safety. This machine weighs just 9.3 lbs, so it’s easy to carry.
Award: BEST USER-FRIENDLY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This leaf vacuum has an 18:1 mulcher ratio, so it compresses the collected leaves very well. The device easily switches between vacuuming and blowing modes with the flick of a switch.
The Worx TriVac WG509 leaf vacuum is a three-in-one leaf handling system for vacuuming, blowing, and mulching. This device uses a switch to adjust between the different modes, so it doesn’t require changing tubes. With a mulching ratio of 18:1, this device shreds leaves very well, helping users to reduce the frequency of emptying. It has a two-stage metal impeller that provides durability. However, the shoulder strap on this device is a bit short for big individuals.
This Worx Trivac WG509 leaf vacuum blows at speeds between 80 mph and 210 mph, providing incredible power. The motor generates suction power of up to 350 cfm, taking in leaves and seeds fast. This device weighs just 8.6 pounds when empty, so it’s easy to tote around. It supports one-handed operation in blower mode, simplifying operation. The tube of this system curls up at the lip to allow cleaning under furniture and lawn fixtures.
Award: BEST PORTABLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum weighs just 4.4 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around for long periods of time. It comes with a rechargeable li-ion pack for cable-less operation.
The KIMO 6001-4.0 leaf vacuum is a leaf cleaning system with plenty of power. Weighing just 4.4 pounds, this device is extremely lightweight and can be carried around for long periods of time easily. It comes with a 4.0Ah lithium-ion battery, so it doesn’t need a power cord to function. However, this leaf vacuum is only suitable for light cleaning and it will struggle with heavy workloads.
This KIMO 6001-4.0 leaf vacuum runs for up to 30 minutes on a single charge and has a powerful motor, which operates at speeds of up to 20000 rpm, providing good suction power. This vacuum cleaning system has integrated blower functionality for cleaning up the patio without the need to tote a bag. It is effective with leaves, seeds, and small stones for wide-ranging use. The device comes with a reusable collection bag for carting away debris.
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Award: BEST PETROL-POWERED
WHY WE LIKE IT: This petrol-powered vacuum uses a 1.1 HP engine to provide amazing suction, mulching, and blowing power. The device boasts a cruise control function and smart ignition features for intuitive operation.
The Husqvarna 125BVx leaf vacuum is a gas-powered model that provides the cable-free benefits of cordless electric systems without the low-power issues associated with electric models. This device delivers up to 170 mph of airflow to pick up leaves effectively. It has a 425 cfm blower, which makes easy work of cleaning lawns and paved areas. Equipped with a 16:1 mulcher, this device shreds collected leaves to reduce the number of trips users need to make for emptying. However, this device is relatively noisy.
This Husqvarna 125BVx leaf vacuum has a smart ignition with an auto stop switch to help users save time when starting this cleaning system. It has a variable speed control for convenience. The machine is equipped with a cruise control function, eliminating the need for depressing the trigger continuously in some situations. This device has a low-vibration handle for comfort. It has a length-adjustable tube to optimize performance as needed. Its 28 cc 1.1 HP engine provides consistent power.
Leaf vacuums are powerful outdoor vacuum cleaners designed to suck up lawn trimmings, fallen leaves, and leaf litter. A leaf vacuum often doubles as an electric leaf blower and mulcher. These garden tools combine two or three leaf removal tasks into one.
Leaf and lawn vacuums can sometimes handle wet leaves and dry lawn debris, and some models may be adapted for use as swimming pool leaf vacuums. Most newer commercial vacuums and household lawn vacuums use electric motors, while older commercial gas-powered leaf vacuums are also common in some areas.
Compared to other vacuum cleaners, leaf vacuums have some different features for cleaning up and vacuuming piles of leaves rather than carpet or other indoor surfaces.
As outdoor power tools, leaf vacuums employ more power sources and generally use more energy than indoor vacuum cleaners. Gas-powered models exist alongside cordless leaf vacuums and plug-in electric leaf vacuum models. Noise level and air quality considerations mean most newer household and top commercial leaf vacuums employ electric power. However, a gas model may still be useful for longer jobs and in more rural or remote areas.
Unlike other vacuum cleaners, cordless and corded leaf vacuums often have bags that include a grinder function for mulching leaves. These combination high-end leaf vacuum mulcher machines can compact a large volume of fallen leaves into their leaf bags, helping save time on cleaning up pesky leaves.
Leaf vacuums tend to be much more specialized than other vacuums. Shop vacs and pet-friendly wet dry vacs can work on various surface types and a wide range of messes, while leaf blower vacuums aren’t generally suited for indoor use.
However, gas and electric leaf blower vacuums use motors to generate suction and pull in debris like other vacuums. Also, like other vacuums, lawn and pool leaf vacuums may have different speed selections and vacuum tube options available to suit different types of cleaning.
As with shop vacs and other vacuums, there are both corded electric and cordless models of yard vacuum.
Leaf vacuums use a motor to drive an air pump that creates suction or airflow through the machine, sucking up loose piles of leaves, dry grass clippings, chaff, and lawn detritus into a bag or mulcher.
Some models can then perform an additional step of grinding and compacting the leaves into mulch. Depending on the machine’s mulch ratio, these combination lawn tools can compact as many as 16 to 18 gallons of dry leaves into a gallon-sized leaf bag.
Leaf and yard vacuums can use an electric motor or a gas engine. Electric leaf blower vacuums can use either an AC outlet or a battery as their power source. Corded models might use a 120V or 220V heavy-duty power supply, and they tend to have at least a 12-Amp motor to provide adequate power for drawing in lots of leaves.
A battery-powered model will generally use a brushless motor for greater efficiency. Most cordless leaf blower vacuums use lithium-ion or NiMH rechargeable battery packs that come in modular forms shared with other cordless tools and yard equipment.
Leaf vacuums can be handheld, upright, or backpack-mounted, similar to the typical backpack leaf blowers used in commercial landscape maintenance. Smaller, portable models often employ an ergonomic handle design for improved comfort.
Most leaf vacuum and blower tools offer variable speed settings and different suction power options. Some models use additional valving and filtration to enable picking up damp leaves as well as dry yard debris.
If you have deciduous trees in your yard or live in an area that requires brush clearance, you might find it very useful to have a leaf vacuum on hand for convenient leaf collection and disposal or composting. A good leaf and lawn vacuum can combine multiple yard chores into one, saving time compared to leaf rakes and ordinary handheld leaf blowers.
You might also want to consider a new leaf vacuum if you’re starting a gardening or landscaping project and need to clear away a season’s worth of yard debris. A quality electric or gas-powered leaf vacuum can make short work of leaf litter and dry yard debris. Some units can also compact the equivalent of several bags of leaves into a single 5-10 gallon bag of mulch, saving you work and time on tasks like brush clearance, which may be required for homeowners’ insurance or local regulations.
Compared to older leaf vacuum and blower tools, modern corded and cordless leaf blower vacuums maintain higher suction power and offer reduced noise levels and better air pollution controls.
Older leaf blowers with two-stroke engines can harm local air quality and have more smog-forming emissions than cars and trucks. Newer gas leaf vacuums have more advanced emissions controls and cleaner-burning engines. They may use synthetic pre-mix, allowing for a much higher fuel-to-oil ratio and lower particulate emissions.
Newer electric models offer more power, allowing for more capable performance in a larger yard and when dealing with heavy debris. Newer cordless leaf vacuums have improved battery capacity and battery life.
As with other garden and landscaping equipment such as lawnmowers and traditional backpack leaf blowers, leaf vacuums can last for many years, depending on the type of leaf blower vacuum, the type of use, and the quality of maintenance and storage conditions.
Most professional leaf vacuums have a six-to-ten year expected lifespan, while light-duty and cordless models may have a somewhat shorter average service life. Battery-powered handheld leaf vacuums may require battery replacement after two to three years, depending on the amount of use. Most lithium-ion battery packs last around 1500 charge cycles. Faster charging, deeper discharging, and extreme temperatures can shorten battery life significantly.
Lawn care experts suggest that regular maintenance and cleaning can help leaf vacuums and mower leaf vacuum cleaners last as long as possible. Electric leaf vacuums don’t require as much maintenance as gas-powered leaf vacuum mulchers.
Most leaf vacuums require a periodic filter and vacuum tube cleaning to prevent clogs. Vacuuming wet leaves or damp, matted leaves may require more frequent cleaning. Leaf and mulch bags need changing when full.
On gas-powered models, additional maintenance may include fluid changes, starter cable adjustments, and carburetor adjustments.
Various factors, including the lawn’s size, the type of leaf debris, and how often you want to vacuum, can help you decide on the best leaf vacuums for your lawn and landscaping requirements.
You’ll want to consider what kind of leaf and yard debris you want to clean up. Wet leaves, damp leaves, and matted leaves may require specialized wet-dry leaf vacuum capabilities. Additionally, if you’re going to vacuum leaves from a pool, you might want to look for a wet-dry leaf vacuum with an extra-long vacuum hose.
If your lawn care and outdoor cleaning requirements involve damp leaves, you’ll need to ensure your leaf vacuum has wet-dry capability. These models have plenty of suction power to handle damp leaves, and they have ample capacity for matted leaves and other relatively heavy debris.
If you have a larger yard, you might want to look into a large capacity leaf vacuum or a leaf vacuum mulcher with a high, 15:1 or larger mulching ratio to help keep the large yard tidy. Cordless models offer increased mobility but shorter run time. The choice of a battery-powered leaf blower vacuum may thus depend on the layout and shape of your yard.
Depending on how many yard work tasks you want to combine into one, you might want to use a type of leaf blower vacuum mulcher that can dislodge leaves and pine needles using a blower function and then vacuum and compact the leaves into reasonably-sized bags of mulch for composting.
If you have a yard layout that requires moving far from available power outlets, or if there aren’t any convenient 220V heavy-duty outlets, you might want to look for a cordless leaf blower. Cordless models have a longer reach but are generally heavier than corded models.