What you must know before buying a leaf vacuum or blower
A leaf blower is a tool that modern-day gardeners use. It propels the air from the nozzle to move debris. They can be powered by either electricity or by gasoline. Gasoline models generally operated using a two-stroke engine, but the four-stroke was introduced only recently, as a step to reduce the air pollution it caused.
As soon as a tree sheds its leaves, a leaf blower is used to gather the leaves quickly. While some say that leaf blowers are only ever useful during fall, regular users would argue that they can be used throughout the year. Even when there is light snow, and you would like nothing more than to make your walkway neatly windblown, you can use a leaf blower for the task. Apart from traditional leaf-blowers, there are modern versions of the leaf blower, which vary from hand-held and wheeled, to backpack models. Because of the many varieties available, it is not easy to decide the model that will suit you best.
Factors to consider before you can buy a leaf blower
Before you purchase a leaf blower, you should consider a few things. The size of the area that has to be cleared.
- Decide how much you would like to lift, using the leaf blower.
- Figure out if you want a corded or a cordless model. If you have access to a power socket right in your backyard, the corded model works well.
- Decide if you want an encumbered battery or if you would prefer a gas powered model.
- Think about the money that you are ready to invest in a leaf blower.
- Determine how much space you have to store your leaf blower in when you are not using it.
Once these factors are figured out, making the right choice becomes easy. However, keep in mind that these will only help you, by acting as a guideline and should not serve as the decisive factor. To make a well-informed choice, read on to learn more about leaf blowers.
Terminologies You MUST Know
When you start looking up leaf blowers, you are bound to be bombarded with terminology that you do not know anything about. So here is a list of a few basic terms that are good to know.
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- MPH Ratings- This is used to indicate the speed at which the air from the nozzle escapes to the external world. As the nozzle size increases, the MPH rating falls, and with the smaller nozzle, the MPH increases. This measure is used only by products made by companies like Sears and MTD. Companies like ECHO and STIHL and Shindaiwa, however, measure CFM which stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. Based on this, the power of the blower can be evident.
- Nozzle- While the flat nozzle will have a higher MPH and lower CFM ratings, the round nozzle will have higher CFM and lower MPH. Higher CFM rating means that the leaf blower size will be reduced and the price increases as you go for options like a backpack and walk behind.
- Vibration Reduction Features– These are features that improve comfort.
- Speed Settings- They are present to allow the speed at which air volume flows. This subsequently also controls the speed with which debris moves. In some blowers, the speed settings are fixed, and in some, they are variable. In certain other types, it is possible to set a specific speed and lock down the values.
- Reduction Ratio: The reduction ratio is the ratio between the number of bags of debris that was present to the number of bags it was reduced into by mulching capabilities. It is generally denoted by the number of bags that can be reduced to a single bag. The ratios can be 10:1 or 16:1.
- Larger Diameter Tubes: Also known as larger diameter chutes, is the model that is capable of removing debris by vacuuming methods.
- Simplified Choke Operation: It makes starting the blower easy, on a gas powered blower.
- Ratings: The performance and the power output are all measured by the ratings. For a corded blower, the current is rated, in Amperes and in a cordless blower, voltage is rated in volts, in gas-powered blowers, the volume is rated in cc or cubic centimeter.
- Two-Cycle Engine and Four Cycle Engines: With a two-cycle engine, the user can expect to have a balance of power and weight. However, it has to operate on both gasoline and oil. The oil can either be purchased pre-mixed, or they can be mixed before use. In the 4 cycle engine, it uses only gasoline. So, there is no need for mixing the gasoline. It is heavier than a 2-cycle and requires oil change more frequently.
The Best Leaf Vacuum Blowers
Leaf blowers are never so much in demand, as they are during fall. With so many countries and states facing short spells of drought, agriculture was expected to be at an all-time low. Despite all odds, trees continue to grow, bloom, blossom and shed. Thanks to nature, leaf blowers vacuums, and other similar machines continue to hold a place in your outdoor equipment kit. And now that fall season is coming up soon; you will probably want to buy a leaf blower.
This is an era where external appearances mean a lot. It also makes you think, if you want to tarnish the looks of your pristine house with a messy backyard, filled with leaves and even worse, leaves that are raked up in a corner or gathered together using a leaf blower. To make these problems go away, the most practical thing to do is to get a leaf blower that also converts the debris into mulch. With the market booming with variety, we are here to make things easier for you. A list of the best eight leaf vacuum blowers is compiled below.
Black + Decker Lithium-ion Sweeper/Vacuum
Black & Decker has created this flawless cordless mower. It has a design that is not only efficient but is also quick in cleaning up messes and debris. The vacuum also works on hard surfaces like patios and lawns. By switching to the vacuum mode, it can be used to suck up debris and leaves and collect it in the additional bag that is attached. The ideal time to use it is after a backyard birthday party. The blower has a 40V Lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable and will not get caught in cords. With this battery, you will not have to deal with a gas powered motor either. A Scraper is built into the system, which can be used to loosen the debris that has accumulated on the blow tube. By choosing between different speeds, it is possible to maximize power/energy savings. The vacuum is very affordable and comes with a 2-year warranty. While other models come with a range of speed settings, this model has only limited settings, but it still is the best in its price range.
WORX Cordless Gutter Kit
The WORX model is a combo kit. It functions as a sweeper, a blower, and a cleaner. It is powered by a 32 volt Lithium battery and is cordless. The kit comes with 14 cleaning attachments, that when used for different places of the house, have a different purpose. It even clears the gutters. The battery has made it possible to avoid tangled cords and messy gas. Just like other light-weight and compact equipment, it fits just about everywhere. By twisting the tubes to the desired length and adding the appropriate equipment at the end, you can get the job done. There are nine other attachments, such as a long and short tube, dust and detail brush, extension hose and duster, as well as the wand and inflator nozzle. It also has a deflated cover. The kit can be bought at a price that is worth every penny with free shipping. It is relatively expensive but because it is multipurpose and has several functions, just about anything can be done with the same kit. The length can also be reduced when you need to use it indoors. While it does have a range of functions, it may be limited, when it has to be used as a plain old vacuum cleaner.
Toro Ultra Blower/Vacuum electric
This is a powerful unit that is easy to use. Releasing up to 250 mph of air stream, it can blow, as well as vacuum debris like grass clippings into a bag. Without using any tools, it is possible to convert the blower into a vacuum.
The compressed debris is about a half-inch high and is reduced from 88% of the mulched debris. The vacuum bag is also new and improved, which has a bottom-zip. Smaller pieces of debris, like grass clippings, can also fit into the bag. If you want to make sure you get a long enough extension cord, then the built-in cord lock makes it possible to extend the cord of the blower. The cord storage hook and concentrator nozzle are also found in the product packaging. The power switch is a bit wobbly, where the electrical cord could come loose easily. It also has a small mulching capacity. This equipment is affordable and is easy to use. There are also two choices in speed: low and high. The blower is perfect for yards that are sized from small to medium sizes.
Black + Decker BV6600 Electric Leaf Blower and Vacuum
As its second appearance on this list, it is pretty evident that Black and Decker is one of the leading manufacturers in maintenance products and power tools. This 12 Amp leaf blower and a vacuum will provide all your gardening needs. It does blowing, vacuuming, and mulching while being powered by a 230 mph blower. The steady and strong airflow released makes it ideal for use in medium and large yards. It clears leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, and other debris that you would typically find on your lawn. Irrespective of whether you want to sweep across fragile flower beds or matted leaves, this equipment is the one you need; as the speed settings come in handy here. Starting the system is also effortless, as pushing the engine button is all you need to do. The machine has a low noise rating and is also lightweight. It can switch between blowing and vacuuming mode easily and is supported by vacuum bags that save time and effort. While it is very quiet in the low-speed setting, at high speed, it can be pretty loud. The machine is pretty heavy and lacks a shoulder strap, so it might be a bit difficult to handle.
Troy- Bilt TB2BV Leaf Vacuum
This vacuum is used to give a clean sweep across the lawn and hard surfaces. It sweeps just about everything in its path and leaves behind a clean finish. The equipment is big and powerful and does a good job when it is cleaning large areas. The system uses a jump starter technology which helps you turn on the machine by just pressing a button. Because of the powerful air volume that it blows out, the rate at which leaves are picked up is also high. It runs on gas, hence, requires more maintenance. The airflow volume is 150mph which can also be expressed at 450 CFM. By using Spring Assist, JumpStart and Cruise control throttle, it is possible to control this heavy equipment and use it safely and effectively. The box also contains support equipment such as upper and lower blow tubes, upper and lower vac tubes, as well as a collection bag. The engine uses a two-cycle system featuring an engine that is full-crank, which has a capacity of 27cc. Besides functioning as a vacuum, it also functions as a blower and mulcher and can be considered the best leaf blower vacuum mulcher in the market today. With a plastic impeller, the product also vibrates. The warranty extends for 2 years, and the equipment weighs roughly 12 lbs.
TORO UltraPlus Vacuum- Variable Speed
The UltrapPlus 51621 made by Toro is not just a blower but also functions as a vacuum. The technology it uses is the Shredz All Shred Ring Technology. It reduces around 97% of the mulched debris and makes it less than half an inch. The kit has a nozzle kit that oscillates. This feature makes it is possible to create a wider blowing path by sweeping the air back and forth. A latch makes it easy to switch from blower to vacuum quickly. It has excellent mulching and blowing capabilities. Once you are done using it, the components can be stored in a vacuum bag. The machine has variable speed control, which means there is improved control in both modes. Upon purchase, you will get the cord storage kit, the shred ring, bottom zip bag,, and time-saving oscillating tube and vacuum tube. While it could have better mulching capabilities, it works brilliantly as a blower. This blower is reasonably priced so if you want to make a long-term investment on a mid-range blower, this is the way you should go.
Black & Decker BV6000- Blower/Vac/Mulcher
Using switch speeds of up to 250 mph, Black & Decker BV5600 blows leaves and other debris quite effectively. It can also perform a range of tasks such as mulching and vacuuming. This leaf vacuum mulcher model is only half as loud as other leaf blowers, helping you avoid getting all those complaints from your neighbors. The presence of a high impact metal fan makes it possible to prevent clogging when it is used for mulching, and with the use of a two-speed selection, the speed and the intensity can be varied, making it possible to deal with both soft land and hard ground. The tool-free changing operation also makes it possible to switch between modes easily. Irrespective of whether you want to clean the garage or the sidewalk, it is effective and acts as an all-rounder. The BV5600 is capable of converting 16 bags of debris into 1. It produces a mere 68 dB of noise and is really easy to switch between modes. While it can chop and grind the leaves and debris, it is not very effective with twigs. For anyone who wants to remove a large number of leaves, this machine will make that possible. It is ideal for places with plenty of trees, like a boulevard.
GreenWorks Variable Speed Cordless Blower / Vac 24322
This is the best leaf vacuum blower that money can buy in the current market. It does not have any emission and causes less pollution. For clearing and cleaning the debris from your backyard, it offers a versatile solution. It works just as well in the garage, driveway, deck, and patio. By charging it one single time, it is possible to collect debris that occupies four and a half bags of debris. The battery life is 80% longer than a normal vac, and the brushless motors have reduced vibration and noise. With an airspeed of 185 mph and 340 CFM, there is absolutely no doubt about how well it performs. There is a cover or gate that protects the bottom of the blower from its spinning impeller which is instrumental in reducing the risk of an injury. It handles both dry and wet leaves with ease. The 24322 gets the work done quickly and efficiently because it has the capabilities of both vacuum and blower. The brushless amp motor also contributes to its longer motor life. While most customers are happy with the 24322, there are some, who say that it needs to be even more powerful. If you are looking for equipment that is reliable and can do quality work and can also serve as an all-rounder, then look no further; 24322 is the one you have been looking for. Check this blower review here.
Leaf Vacuum types
There are four basic types of leaf blowers namely electric hand-held, gas-powered hand-held, gas-powered backpack, and the self-propelled blower. Blowers use a vacuum and allow it to collect debris, leaves, and twigs in a bag that is attached to the blower for convenience sake. It also makes it easy to dispose of. The conversion type of leaf blower is ideally best suited for landscaping when tidiness and class, determine the quality of the work done. A simple DIY method is to use vacuums and string trimmers together.
WHEN THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION FOUND ON THE BOX SAYS THAT IT IS A ‘BARE TOOL ONLY,’ IT MEANS THAT ONLY THE TOOL IS PRESENT IN THE BOX; THERE IS NO BATTERY IN THE PACKAGING. YOU WILL HAVE TO BUY BOTH A BATTERY AND A CHARGER TO USE THE TOOL.
By using a corded blower, you can expect it to provide consistent electricity, without being held back by the weight of the battery, however, it will restrict mobility; this makes it ideal for clearing small areas and house yards. You will also have to find a compatible cord for a corded blower. The best cordless leaf vacuum blower, however, has high mobility. The batteries that are of higher voltages last longer and provide more time, but they also add weight. The batteries will have to be recharged periodically. Based on the importance of the work you do, make sure you have a spare battery with you, in case of battery failure.
Electric Handheld Blower
It works well in smaller areas and is compact in size, which happens to be their most significant advantage. It is not very noisy and fairly quiet when it starts up. It is generally corded, but battery powered variants also exist. Among the battery-powered types, there are different capacities, and most of them are not as powerful as the gas-powered ones. Before you can purchase this type of leaf blower, make sure you evaluate the area that you need to clear and also decide if the cord will get tangled up in the process. And the most important factor of them all is to see if there is a power source at a convenient place.
IN CORDED EQUIPMENT, THE CORD IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. THE CORD MUST ALMOST ALWAYS BE BOUGHT T SEPARATELY AND IS NOT A PART OF THE TOOL ITSELF. THE CORD NEEDS TO BE CHOSEN APPROPRIATELY AND USED SUITABLY.
Gas Powered Handheld Blower
In cases where the power requirement is more than the power that can be delivered by an electric blower, and when the purpose is purely residential, you can opt for a gas-powered handheld blower. Because there is no cord, it is easier to handle and work with.
The leaf blower, unlike an electric model, is slightly towards the heavier side. Other than that, it can be more expensive and its engine will require regular maintenance. You would also need to mix the fuel to ensure a smooth operation.
Gas Powered Backpack Blower
If you only need to work in a small area, this type of blower is not for you because its main purpose is for commercial use or if you have a humongous residential area. Because of the higher power that they offer and the ease with which they can be maneuvered, this type is widely preferred.
They weigh twice as much as a regular gas-powered handheld leaf blower, which is why the leaf blower is generally carried around in a harness. The backpack leaf blower was originally intended for landscapers, who work commercially.
Lately, there has been an increase in the number of residential customers who have purchased this type of leaf blower, because of how effective it is. With a backpack leaf blower, the time it takes to clear an area has drastically been reduced.
It is advisable to compare the engine size and the weight of this type of leaf blower as well as the CFM output, to the handheld variant. Increasing the CFM reduces the time that you would spend in the yard, cleaning it up.
The self-powered blower, also known as a push blower, is very powerful. It is, in fact, the most powerful type, currently in existence. It works and looks a lot like a lawnmower that can be pushed and blows debris away by using high power and speed. This makes it a good buy if you are looking to clean a large residential area. The wheels, however, make it a bit hard to maneuver.
This blower is the most expensive model today and requires a lot of storage space. It has a high CFM output, and when you have land that is more than one acre in size, this is excellent equipment to blow leaf with.
WHEN YOU HAVE SEVERAL OUTDOOR TYPES OF EQUIPMENT THAT WILL REQUIRE A BATTERY AND A CHARGER, BUY ONE BATTERY AND USE IT FOR ALL PURPOSES. THIS WAY, YOU SPEND LESS AND USE MORE. THE OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT MENTIONED INCLUDES LEAF BLOWER, TRIMMER, MOWER, AND A CHAINSAW.
By understanding the area that would have to be covered and the amount of power you would need to clear the debris as well as the capacity of the user, you can easily pick the leaf blower that would work best for you.
IN A CORDLESS BLOWER, NICAD AND LI-ION BATTERIES ARE THE TWO COMMON TYPES. LI-ION STANDS FOR LITHIUM ION BATTERY, AND IT IS LIGHTER AND SMALLER THAN THE NICAD BATTERY, WHICH STANDS FOR NICKEL CADMIUM, WHICH CANNOT HOLD THE CHARGE FOR MONTHS BETWEEN USES, AS THE LI-ION CAN.
In addition to all the features mentioned, for a handyman who does all the work by himself, a smart move is to also look for equipment that has many capabilities. For instance, rather than looking for a leaf blower that does one task, look for equipment that has optional attachments such as mowers, snow blowers, and pressure washer. Apart from maintaining a smaller storage space, it also reduces the maintenance cost.
There are some safety measures that you should put in place before you start using your leaf blower. They are
- Wearing protective aid on your ears. It does not matter how well your leaf blower scored on the noise tests, always protect your ears.
- Wear dust mask and goggles. This can help you avoid endless problems, especially if you are wearing contact lens.
- The area that you are cleaning needs to be clear from pets and people.
- Do not run your leaf blower really early or very late in the day. This way, you are not a public menace and are just a friendly neighbor.
And the most important thing that you should look into before you buy a leaf blower, is to read a lot of reviews. The leaf-blower is not something you use one day and throw away the next. It is a long-term investment. And the best place to know if you are making the right investment is by knowing what people who had previously bought it, thought of it. And always remember, the more expensive the product, the fewer the buyers and the fewer the reviews.
Consumer Reviews of Best Electric, Gas, & Backpack Leaf Blowers
With summer coming to a close once more, it won’t be long before the leaves are ablaze in crimson and golden hues – a sight to warm the hearts of most, to be sure. That is until those same leaves (millions of them) are deposited upon your lawn, and you are once again reminded why autumn is also called “fall.” If you’re one of the growing numbers of homeowners ready to trade in the leaf rake for a leaf blower, Consumer Reports has published its best buy and most recommended leaf blower models.
Consumer Reports Reviews Four Leaf Blower Types Including Gas Leaf Blowers and Backpack Blowers
Five leaf blowers were rated “Best” by the ConsumerSearch (CS) website in an (author unknown) article titled, “Leaf Blowers: Reviews.” the article web page contains five mini leaf blower reviews with links to CS longer reviews of the same models:
According to the Consumer Reports, testers divided leaf blowers into four types based upon function and intended use, and reported the recommended and best buys in each type after testing more than 30 models:
- Electric Handheld: Recommended for smaller areas
- Gasoline Handheld: Recommended for larger areas requiring more power
- Gasoline Backpack: Recommended for those clearing large areas and wish to shift weight from the arms
- Gasoline Wheeled: Recommended for very large areas and high power
Echo Leaf Blower Consumer Reviews
The Echo PB-251 gas leaf blower was recommended over an electric cord leaf blower if the work area is bigger than “150 feet of an electrical outlet.” The model weighs 9.9 pounds and usually meets noise restriction requirements enforced in some communities. The Echo PB-251 has “rotation-control technology” adding to control and ease of use. The model comes with a 5-year warranty.
The CS longer review of the Echo-PB-251 states the unit has a powerful 145 m.p.h. Airflow. The model comes with two handles, and the top handle has three adjustable positions. Fifteen Echo-PB-251 owner’s rate the model “five stars out of five” on the HomeDepot website. CS lists the Echo “pros:”
- Quiet for its power.
- A rotation control for easier handling.
- The gas tank is see-through.
- Five-year warranty.
CS lists the Echo “cons:”
- Two-cycle gas engines can heavily pollute the air.
- Weighs more than electric leaf blowers.
- The model has no vacuum feature.
Echo Backpack Leaf Blower Review
A backpack leaf blower is best for people who are caring for large lawns or other large areas. The Echo PB-265L backpack blower is more comfortable than handheld blowers. The sound is rated at 65 decibels making the model the quietest blower in its power and price range.
The Echo backpack weighs only 13 pounds and comes with variable speed cruise control. The model’s electric ignition feature provides for an easier start, but the two-cycle gas engine pollutes the air. The model has no vacuum feature.
Corded and Cordless Leaf Blower Reviews
The Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599 is one of the types of leaf vacuums that are corded electric with a 12 amp motor blower and vac. The CS review states it is more powerful than most hands held gas blowers. The model has a variable speed amp motor, and the sound varies from 63 to 67 decibels. The metal blades, made for mulching after vacuuming, are more durable than other models with plastic blades.
The Black & Decker NS118 is an 18-volt cordless model. It comes with a nickel-cadmium rechargeable battery and battery charger. The battery will provide 15 minutes of service before needing recharging. The weight of this model is only five pounds. The NS118 is best for “quick clean up” as opposed to a whole yard job.
The Toro Power Sweep 51585 corded electrical leaf blower is best for surfaces within 150 feet of an electrical outlet. The model weights slightly less than 5 pounds, with has a 63.5 decibel sound maximum. The noise level meets most community noise requirements.
The ConsumerSearch mini reviews provide additional information about each of the five “Best” rated leaf blowers. The leaf blower mini reviews web page provides links to longer CS reviews for each of the same models and provides links to outside sources reviewing the same leaf blowers.
Consumer Reports Review for Most Recommend and Best Buy: Electric Leaf Blowers – Handheld
The number one recommended electric leaf blower (handheld) is the Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599, which is priced reasonably. The Toro Ultra scored high for sweeping, loosening, vacuuming, handling, and ease of use, and noise at 50 feet. The unit scored a fair mark for its noise level “at the ear.” Its overall score is 79.
The best buy electric blower is the Toro Super Blower Vac 51592, which is very affordable and comes with comparable features and functions as the Toro Ultra.
Most Recommend and Best Buy: Gas Leaf Blowers – Handheld
The Husqvarna 125BVX takes most recommended in the Gas Leaf Blower handheld models scoring 80, at a very reasonable price.
The best buy gas blower is the Stihl BG55. It should be noted that this model does not come with a vacuum function. but is priced at a reasonable range.
Best Backpack Blowers – Gasoline
The highest rated/recommended backpack blower is Stihl BR 380D scoring an 83 and is worth every penny that you’re going to spend. This has no vacuum function.
The best buy backpack blower is the Echo PB-500H, scoring a healthy 87 points overall, closely followed by the Husqvarna 150BT, with a score of 86. Both units have a relatively low price but do not come with vacuum functions.
Consumer Reports Reviews Gasoline Wheeled Leaf Blowers
Number one recommended: Little Wonder 9502. It comes in with a score of 85.
The best buy is the Troy-Bilt TB672 at a reasonable cost and received “excellent” ratings for both Sweeping and Loosening.
Consumer Reports Reviews Leaf Blowers in Latest Issue
The Consumer Reports is on newsstands now and details its latest testing results and offers tips on how to choose the right leaf blower. It is well worth the money and if you’re in the market to finally throw away that rake.
Final Review of the Best Leaf Vacuum
This list consists of the best leaf vacuum blowers that are in the market today. They are all exceptional products and can all do the job required of them. These garden vacuums can give you a clean yard that is free of debris like leaves, twigs, dust and plant waste. Deciding which one will do the job for you is up to you. There are several factors that you will have to consider like your budget, the area that you want to cover, the functions that you expect your leaf vacuum blower to perform, and most importantly, the performance that you are expecting from the most powerful leaf vacuum your money can buy.
Hopefully, these can help you decide which one you need to buy. If you have not been able to decide, then check out guides on how to choose the vacuum blower for you. Just remember, whatever product you want to buy, you will have to decide between the pros and the cons. Decide if the pros outweigh the cons and if they do, then go ahead. Just buy it. It is a good investment, and by making the right choice, it will serve you for many years.
So whether you need a gas powered leaf vacuum mulcher, looking for the best leaf blower vacuum electric, or just planning to get the cheapest but the best leaf vacuum you can afford, it’s important to know that it should all boil down to what your preferences are and what you need it for. In most cases, it is not a cheap buy, so it’s best to know exactly what you want and need.