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Expert Shopper Lawn & Garden

How to use a leaf vacuum

How do you use a leaf vacuum?

Autumn’s changing colors and crisp, frosty mornings make for a beautiful transition into winter. Unfortunately, the season also results in a large amount of yard work and leaf cleanup for those with trees on or near their property.

People with smaller yards can usually get by using a rake to gather up and dispose of foliage and small sticks. If your yard is large or heavily wooded, a leaf blower with a vacuum setting can help you spend less time and energy on chores. However, as with any tool, it will only prove valuable if used properly.

Plan ahead

A leaf vacuum’s storage bag fills up quickly and you need to empty it repeatedly to keep the tool running at full strength. Have empty trash bags and containers at the ready so that you can dump your bag and get back to work. 

Work safely

Leaf blowers and vacuums are loud, so always wear earplugs while using one. Because they kick up debris, dust and dirt, eye protection is essential as well. You may also want to wear work or gardening gloves to prevent blisters from holding and moving the machine.

Choose the right time

If you live in a populated area or have close neighbors, plan to work when your leaf vacuum’s noise won't wake people or be a nuisance. Fall mornings tend to be damp, so waiting until the late afternoon or evening also gives your yard time to dry, making leaf pickup much easier. 

Adjust your shoulder strap

Set your leaf vacuum’s shoulder strap to a length that lets the tool’s tube rest just an inch or two off the ground. Before starting, sweep the vacuum from side to side to assess your comfort level and make any adjustments.

Move methodically

For best results, swing your leaf vacuum back and forth in an arc as you walk in a straight line across your yard. Once you reach a stopping point, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Plotting a path through your property and maintaining a tight pattern will keep you working efficiently.

Watch out for gravel and dust

When removing leaves from areas such as gravel driveways that are covered in pebbles and dust, keep the tube of your vacuum a bit higher than you would on grass. Accidentally sucking up stones and sand can damage your machine’s moving parts.

Leaf vacuum FAQ

Are electric leaf vacuums better than gas ones?

A. It depends on your priorities. Electric leaf vacuums are lighter, quieter and less expensive. Gas-powered vacuums are more powerful but require more maintenance.

Do leaf vacuums mulch?

A. Some leaf vacuums have a mulching option that chops up debris before moving it to the tool’s collection bag. Mulching leaves makes them easier to dispose of, but you need to be careful not to damage your vacuum with any thick sticks, nuts or gravel.

Best electric leaf vacuums

Sun Joe Electric Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher

This has three operation modes, making it an all-in-one solution for autumn yard work. Its quiet, instant-start motor makes it an ideal choice if you have close neighbors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worx Trivac Electric Leaf Blower and Vacuum with Mulching System

Weighing in at just over 9 pounds and featuring a 12-amp motor, this leaf blower packs a lot of power in a lightweight package. Its tube is angled to aid in removing leaves from under outdoor furniture or vehicles. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Black and Decker Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum, Mulcher

This leaf blower includes a bag that can be comfortably worn as a backpack, preventing shoulder pain. It also has a Powerboost feature that increases the strength of your tool with the push of a button.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Toro Ultra Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher

You can convert this leaf blower into a vacuum without using any tools and it includes a cord lock that prevents you from accidentally pulling the plug. It powers up with a single button press. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Best cordless leaf vacuums

Ryobi Vac Attack Cordless Leaf Vacuum/Mulcher with Battery and Charger

This has adjustable wheels to help prevent back strain. It comes with a battery and charger and its mulcher option can shred up to 16 bags of leaves down to one.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Greenworks Brushless Cordless Blower and Vacuum

Switch from blower to vacuum mode with the flip of a switch on this battery-powered machine. You can choose from six different power levels to accommodate different tasks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Kimo Cordless Leaf Blower and Vacuum

This compact tool can be used indoors and its battery fully charges in 60 minutes. It's perfect for anyone in need of a blower or vacuum that can be used to clean small yards or vehicle and garage interiors.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best gas-powered leaf vacuums

Craftsman Gas-Powered Leaf Blower with Vacuum Kit

You can quickly start this powerful leaf blower with three simple steps. It includes a generously padded handle to help reduce hand fatigue from motor vibrations and two tube options. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Echo Gas-Powered Leaf Blower, Vacuum and Shredder

An electric ignition and long tube make this easier to use than other gas-powered alternatives. Its variable throttle can be set on cruise control to make using it easier on your wrist.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Husqvarna Gas-Powered Handheld Leaf Blower/Vacuum

This powerful tool lets you adjust the length of its tube. It features a mulcher, a padded handle, cruise control and Husqvarna’s Smart Start technology for hassle-free ignition.   

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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

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