Yard work can be daunting. Without the proper gardening tools, keeping your yard and walkway clear of fallen leaves can become a tiresome (and sometimes frustrating) task. Once you’ve cleared and gathered all those beautiful fall leaves using the best leaf blower for your yard, then comes the tedious chore of getting rid of them.
While leaf vacuums are not designed to tackle big piles of leaves, the best leaf vacuums are designed to make leaf and debris removal easy, so owning a good quality leaf vacuum can help seriously cut down on time spent clearing your yard or walkway. Leaf vacuums are also helpful for keeping porches, patios, and decks tidy as trees shed their last leaves of the season.
Some models (and aftermarket attachments) have curved nozzles specifically designed for blowing or sucking leaves out of your gutters, too. And don’t rush to store your tool at the first sign of winter, either: The blower function can be used to clear a light dusting of snow from decks, patios, and walkways, buying you a little time before you have to break out your snow blower.
Here are the best leaf vacuums on the market, according to Good Housekeeping Institute experts:
What’s the best type of leaf vacuum?
- Convertibility: If you’re looking to purchase an all-in-one tool that’ll help you combat fallen leaves and debris, you may want to consider one of the many engines that can convert between leaf blowing, vacuuming, and mulching.
- Vacuuming power: The power of a leaf vacuum is determined by how much air it is able to take in, which is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and how quickly it does so, which is measured in miles per hour (MPH). The ideal combination of the two measurements depends on the nature of the vacuuming work.
- Blowing power: Like vacuuming power, blowing power is decided by a combination of airflow (CFM) and speed (MPH). The power of a blower is measured by how much air a blower is able to push out and how fast it does so. Convertible engines often have similar vacuuming and blowing power, but it’s important to know both when purchasing a convertible machine.
- Mulcher reduction ratio: This is the ratio between the number of bags of leaves that the vacuum encountered and the number of bags that the leaves were reduced to through mulching. Most mulchers have a reduction ratio of either 10:1 or 16:1.
- Conversion switch vs. different attachments: It’s important to consider the ease of converting between different capabilities when purchasing a convertible tool. Some convertible vacuums/blowers/mulchers are equipped with a switch that allows them to convert from function to function. Other machines come with different tubes or nozzles that you have to attach and detach in order to convert.
Based on the above factors and experience with brands we’ve previously tested, our analysts have determined that these are the best leaf vacuums to buy in 2020:
Best 3-in-1 Leaf Vacuum
Worx Electric Trivac
The Worx Trivac is a powerful 3-in-1 blower, vacuum, and mulcher. It’s equipped with a conversion switch so that you can flip between the functions quickly and without the hassle of separate tubes and attachments. The impeller has a 10:1 reduction ratio and this model comes with a 10-gallon reusable collection bag.
Best Electric Leaf Vacuum
Toro Electric Ultra Blower Vacuum
This Toro vacuum is a powerful but lightweight model with excellent blowing and vacuuming capability. If you have little use for a mulcher, this model is an easy to use and affordable option that can help you gather and remove leaves quickly. The Toro Electric Ultra Blower Vacuum features variable speed control and a new, larger metal impeller.
Best Value Electric Leaf Vacuum
Sun Joe Electric Handheld Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher
This budget-friendly 3-in-1 leaf vacuum, blower, and mulcher is relatively lightweight and adept at cleanup. Our Lab pros say it’s easy to interchange between the mechanisms, and the 14-amp motor blows up to 250 miles per hour with six adjustable speeds you can tailor for any task.
Best Gas Leaf Vacuum
Craftsman 2-Cycle Engine Leaf Blower
Craftsman’s handheld gas engine has good power and is relatively lightweight to make blowing less tiresome. We like this model because it features a translucent fuel tank, cruise control, and Easy Start technology to make pull starts simpler. Keep in mind that while this leaf blower converts to a leaf vacuum, you’ll have to buy the vacuum kit separately.
Best Value Gas Leaf Vacuum
Husqvarna 2-Cycle Gas Blower Vacuum
This Husqvarna gas-powered model has blowing, vacuuming, and mulching capabilities. Its powerful smart design engine starts easily and moves a good amount of air relatively quickly. This blower vacuum is ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and has a variable speed throttle with cruise control.
Best Backpack Leaf Vacuum
Black + Decker Backpack Blower Vacuum
This electric Black + Decker model is also a 3-in-1 leaf blower, vacuum, and mulcher. The blower has two speeds and is capable of moving a good amount of air relatively quickly. This model comes with an easy-to-carry reusable backpack-style collection bag and has a 16:1 reduction ratio; it is lightweight and well suited for smaller yards.
Best Cordless Leaf Vacuum
Greenworks Cordless Blower Vacuum
This cordless Greenworks model can convert between blower and vacuum, and comes with separate tubes for each function. The battery-operated model allows you to clear and remove leaves unrestricted by a cord, and the brushless motor promises a longer runtime, more torque, and greater power, which should reduce strain and extend the vacuum’s lifetime.
Features to Consider While Shopping for Leaf Vacuums
There are also several general factors to consider when deciding which leaf vacuum is best for you. Whether or not the vacuum can convert into a blower or mulcher, you’ll want to pay attention to a vacuum’s fuel type, the size and form of its collection bag, as well as its weight and durability.
Fuel type: Leaf vacuum engines can be cordless, electric, or gas powered. The fuel type that is best for you depends largely on the size of the project.
- Gas-powered engines tend to be more powerful but are also louder and more difficult to start.
- Cordless leaf vacuums have a limited runtime and are best suited for light-duty clearing work.
- Electric engines have a cord which restricts mobility but ensures an unlimited runtime.
Collection bag form and size: Some collection bags can be worn on the user’s back while others are attached directly below the engine. Backpack collection bags may have a greater volume than those that hang directly below a handheld engine. If your vacuum has mulching capabilities, you’ll want to make note of its reduction ratio in order to determine how many shredded leaves can fit inside of the collection bag (for example, a mulcher with a 10:1 ratio can fit 100 gallons of dry leaves in a 10 gallon collection bag). Many collection bags are reusable while others are disposable.
Weight: Most leaf vacuums are handheld and relatively lightweight. If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, like a more powerful leaf blower that also has strong vacuum capabilities, you’ll have to consider that more powerful engines tend to be heavier and possibly more difficult to operate.
Durability: You’ll want to a vacuum that is built to last, so consider the quality of the engine’s components when determining which vacuum to buy.