Best Leaf Vacuums

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
253 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best leaf vacuums

Last Updated September 2019

People love the shade and beauty of trees in the spring and summer. But in the autumn, you may start cursing those trees on your property. When the leaves fall to the ground, your beautiful trees suddenly become a lot of work. Raking leaves by hand can be a challenge, and a power leaf blower still requires someone to pick up the piles (although you may be tempted to just blow your leaves into your neighbor’s lawn when he’s at work).

The best solution is a leaf vacuum, which looks like a leaf blower, except that it sucks the leaves into a collection bag for disposal or recycling. Many leaf vacuums even allow you to switch between blowing and vacuuming functions, making this a versatile outdoor power tool.

To learn more about how a leaf vacuum can make your autumn more enjoyable, check out our guide, which is full of information and tips on what to consider before you shop. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at one of our top recommendations.

When operating a leaf vacuum, don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry around it. Tie back long hair, too. These items could become entangled in the machine.

Key considerations

Size and style

  • A handheld leaf vacuum is a common style for many homeowners. It has a handle to make it easy to carry and aim. Oftentimes, the collection bag will fit over your shoulder.
  • A backpack leaf vacuum is another option, which allows you to carry the heavy part of the unit over your back. These usually are a little bigger than handheld models.

  • Large vacuums look almost like a walk-behind lawn mower, sucking leaves quickly into a large bag. Very few homeowners will use this type of device, as it’s made for large properties or commercial use.

Electric vs. two-cycle leaf vacuums

Some leaf vacuums will use a two-cycle motor. This means you’ll mix gasoline and oil to fuel the motor. These are loud units, but they deliver significant power.

Other leaf vacuums will run on electricity. A corded leaf vacuum must be plugged into a wall outlet while you use it. You’ll want a long extension cord for this style of leaf vacuum for better freedom of movement. Some electrical units may use a rechargeable battery, giving you even more freedom.

Electric leaf vacuums are easier to maintain and use than two-cycle units. They also weigh less. But they don’t have as much power as the two-cycle leaf vacuums.

Extra-large collection bag

The TACKLIFE leaf vacuum is a convenient model to use. It has a collection bag with a shoulder strap and a bottom zipper, making it easy to empty. The vacuum has enough power to pick up pine needles, but not enough to disturb rocks. This is a lightweight machine, allowing you to carry it for long periods of time without tiring.

Features

Versatility

Oftentimes, leaf vacuums will also have the ability to work as a leaf blower or leaf mulcher. It’s nice to have some versatility in this type of machine, as having a three-in-one unit is convenient for conserving storage space.

Accessories

Certain models of leaf vacuums will give you the option of adding accessories for extra features. These accessories can help you complete certain jobs faster. Accessories include kits for blowing leaves out of gutters, disposable leaf bags, extension tubes, and shoulder-strap collection bags.

Vacuum tube size

Larger diameter and longer vacuum tubes will suck up more debris in less time. This allows you to complete your jobs faster.

EXPERT TIP

Because leaf vacuums tend to generate high levels of vibration, it’s important to check all bolts and screws in the unit occasionally. The vibration may cause these bolts to come loose over time.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

For a gas/oil, two-cycle leaf vacuum, always use fresh fuel in the tank. If the unit has been idle for several months, you may need to remove the old fuel and add fresh fuel before using it.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Maintain a clean air filter in the leaf vacuum to provide a high level of airflow. A clogged air filter causes the leaf vacuum to struggle to move air.


Staff  | BestReviews

Leaf vacuum prices

Inexpensive: Basic handheld leaf vacuums will cost roughly $40 to $100. Typically, these units will run on electricity. They don’t provide a lot of power compared to more expensive models. They’re good for clearing sidewalks and small patio or lawn areas.

Mid-range: For $100 to $250, you can find leaf vacuums that may be either handheld or backpack-style units. Both two-cycle and electric-powered leaf vacuums will be available in this price range, and they work nicely for an average-sized yard.

Expensive: Large walk-behind leaf vacuums can cost $250 and up. Commercial units may cost as much as a few thousand dollars. These units do require some maintenance to keep running, but they’ll speed up a big leaf-removal job.

Tackles many jobs

It’s nice to find such a versatile outdoor power tool at a low price in this BLACK + DECKER leaf vacuum. This model provides blowing, vacuuming, and mulching capabilities, so it can do a lot of different jobs for you. It has a convenient collection bag with a zipper, simplifying the process of removing the debris after collection.

Tips

  • Hold the vacuum close to the ground for greater suction power. But be careful: if you place the tube directly on the ground, you may pick up sticks and other debris in addition to leaves. This extra debris could damage or clog the machine.

  • Some leaf vacuums will allow you to use a setting that mulches the leaves while they’re vacuumed. If you mulch as you vacuum, you’ll be able to fit more yard waste into the collection bag, perhaps up to three or four times as much.

  • Because you’ll often have to stop vacuuming to empty the collection bag, this job can take a long time. For extremely large yards with multiple trees, you’ll want a large-capacity leaf vacuum or a large collection bag to finish the job more quickly.

  • You can use a smaller leaf vacuum more efficiently if you blow or rake the majority of the leaves in the yard first. Then, you can use the leaf vacuum to quickly suck up the leftover leaves, finishing the job.

Other products we considered

For a cordless electric model, we like the Greenworks 40V Cordless Blower Vacuum. However, you will have to purchase a battery separately, so it’s a little pricey. When you want a good amount of power for the price, the Toro Super Leaf Blower Vac is a great choice. It delivers an air speed of up to 225 miles per hour at a reasonable price. The Husqvarna Two-Cycle Leaf Blower/Vacuum is pricier than some others, but it has a ton of power in a gas/oil-powered model. Another gas/oil-powered leaf blower that’s worth considering is the Remington 2-Cycle Leaf Blower With Vacuum Accessory. It’s primarily designed as a leaf blower, but it has plenty of power to work as a vacuum, too.

If using an electric-powered leaf vacuum with an extension cord, only use a cord that’s rated for outdoor use.

FAQ

Q. What safety equipment should I use with a leaf vacuum?

A. Manufacturers may have specific safety recommendations, so always read the user manual for your model. At a minimum, you should wear safety goggles to protect eyes from flying debris, such as sticks. Wear ear protection, as these machines will generate excessive noise. Some people will want a dust mask if the leaves are especially dry.

Q. Are leaf vacuums really noisy enough that I need ear protection?

A. These are extremely loud outdoor power tools. Repeated or extended exposure to these machines could lead to hearing damage. They’re loud enough that some neighborhood associations ban their use during certain hours of the day. Some areas have banned the use of leaf vacuums and blowers entirely.

Q. How does a leaf vacuum work?

A. A leaf vacuum will work similarly to the vacuum you use in your home. Just aim the vacuum tube of the leaf vacuum at the leaves and tiny debris you want to collect, and the unit does the rest. The leaves and debris will be pulled into a collection bag. Once it’s full, you’ll empty the bag and start working again.

Q. What are some downsides to using a leaf vacuum?

A. The primary drawback to a leaf vacuum is the noise it generates. Additionally, if you have a model with a tiny collection bag, you might become frustrated with how often you must empty it. However, larger collection bags make the leaf vacuum more difficult to carry over your shoulder. Take care when working around rocks or large sticks. With a powerful leaf vacuum, some of these items may be sucked into the unit, which may cause damage or create dangerous flying debris.

The team that worked on this review
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    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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