Buyers Guide to Garden Vacuums and Leaf Blowers

Keeping your lawn and surrounding property clear of leaves and debris can be a struggle, especially in the autumn when the leaves from the trees fall and make your garden look untidy.

Fallen leaves are not only be a slip hazard and, but if they fall on the lawn in large numbers, they can prevent sunlight from reaching the lawn - which is essential for healthy grass growth.

Removing leaves and debris from your property can often be done easily by using a lawn rake, however if you have a large number of leaves it can become quite a physically demanding and time consuming task.

This is why many people are turning to leaf blowers and garden vacuums. Not only do they help speed up the process of collecting fallen leaves and debris, but they also help to reduce the physical effects of collecting leaves, such as a sore back from repeatedly bending over.

Blower vac

What to consider when buying a garden vacuum / blower

There are a couple of key questions you should ask yourself to help find the best leaf blower or garden vacuum for you.

1. How big is the area you want to clear?

If you have a large garden or area of land to tidy, then a cordless leaf blower or garden vac might be the best solution. Typically, cordless models are either petrol or battery powered. The advantage of these are that there are no power cables or extension leads to get wrapped around bushes or trees, which would restrict your movement. It also ensures you can reach every corner of your lawn.

2. Power source

While petrol blower vacs may offer unrestricted movement around the garden, they have some disadvantages. They are generally more expensive, nosier and require much more maintenance than an electric blower. An electric blower vac can typically be purchased cheaper than a petrol model, plus they are much quieter and don’t emit any fumes. For a smaller garden, an electric leaf vacuum or blower is probably the best solution for your collection needs.

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What to look for in a Garden Vacuum

Due to their nature, garden vacuums tend to be heavier than leaf blowers as they have more parts –such as collection bags. However, these do reduce the need to bend over and pick up the leaves reducing back strain for the user.

Garden vacuums can become quite heavy as the collection bag fills up but, many garden vacs now include a wheel, or one can be purchased as an accessory, allowing you to guide the vac around the lawn with ease. The Flymo Scirocco 3000 is one example of a wheeled garden vacuum, while the Flymo GardenVac 2700 has a separate wheel accessory available to purchase.

The best garden vacuums will shred the leaves or garden material as it enters the vacuums collection bag. This allows more material to be collected, limiting the number of times you have to stop and empty the collection bag – plus, the contents are pre-cut, ready for your compost heap! One of the key features you should look for is the shredding ratio – which is sometimes referred to as the mulching ratio. A vacuum with a higher shredding ratio will result in the debris being shredded fine, allowing more material to be collected. For example – if the ratio is 10:1 then the leaves will be cut to a tenth of their original size.

Most garden vacs are now multi-purpose and also include a blower function. These are called blower-vacs, however cheap leaf blowers will not include this function. If you’re buying a blower vac to collect fallen leaves from your property, then you may need to switch between blow and suction modes to collect debris more efficiently.

One key thing to look at is the speed at which you can switch between these modes. A blower vac that can switch between modes by sliding a lever or pressing a button like the Flymo GardenVac 2700 or Scirocco 3000 are ideal, as they are quick and easy to use.

Other blower vacs that require you to remove and add parts to the leaf blower like collection chutes, add additional time to the job of collecting leaves. They also require you to store extra items in your garage and shed.

gardenvac switch

What to look for in a leaf blower

There are some specifics you should look out for when shopping for a new leaf blower. The best ones have a high air flow from the nozzle, and the higher the air speed - the more force the blower has to move the leaves.

If the leaf blower has a small nozzle then the air will be concentrated, which is good for moving stubborn objects. It’s not so good if you have a large area to clear, as the airflow will move fewer leaves in one pass. This is where you need to find a balance between time and power. Some leaf blowers come with a boost or jet function to help give an air strong burst of air to move denser or tougher objects.

If you choose to buy a battery leaf blower, ensure the run time of the battery is enough to clear your lawn. If not you may need to purchase an additional battery or wait until the battery you have is recharged.

Flymo Scirocco 3000 Leaf
Scirocco
Air speed 55 m/s
Mulch ratio 10:1
Weight 6 kg
Flymo GardenVac 2700
Garden Vac 2500
Air speed 59 m/s
Mulch ratio 3:1
Weight 5.1 kg
Flymo PowerVac 3000
PowerVac 3000
Air speed 86.11 m/s
Mulch ratio 16:1
Weight 5.2 kg