The Best Leaf Vacuums for Tidying Your Yard and Garden
To rid your yard of autumn leaves without picking up a rake, take a stroll through this guide to find the best leaf vacuum for you.
Unlike leaf blowers, which disperse organic debris, leaf vacuums suck fallen foliage through a tube and into a bag attached to the end for manual disposal. These devices, which vary widely in cost, are exceptionally handy for tidying up small yards and banishing leaf buildup beneath hedges and flowerbeds. Keep reading to learn the most important considerations to bear in mind when shopping for leaf vacuums, and to find out more about the options we’ve identified as best for most renters and homeowners.
- BEST CORDED LEAF VACUUM: Toro UltraPlus Leaf Vacuum
- BEST LEAF VACUUM FOR MULCHING: Husqvarna 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Vacuum
- BEST BATTERY-POWERED LEAF VACUUM: Greenworks Variable Speed Cordless Leaf Vacuum
- BEST GAS-POWERED LEAF VACUUM: Remington 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Vacuum
Key Considerations for Choosing a Leaf Vacuum
Pick a power source.
Like lawnmowers, leaf vacuums are available in gas- and electric-powered versions; plus, there are also rechargeable battery models on the market. Gas may offer greater power and the ability to cover lots of ground in one go, but these models can run loud, emit fumes, and require you to maintain the right gas-to-oil ratio.
While electric leaf vacuums are quieter and easier to maintain, they’re best suited to modest-sized outdoor spaces, as many models must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
Leaf vacuums powered by rechargeable batteries give you room to roam, and they are compact enough to be easily stored, but they typically don’t match the power of other leaf vacuums and can only be used for relatively brief periods of time between charges.
Consider suction speed and power.
Check a leaf vacuum’s product descriptions for two numbers: the MPH and the CFM. MPH stands for miles per hour—in this case referring to how quickly air is suctioned into the unit and through the tube. Most run between 110 and 180 MPH, although some may reach extremes of 250 MPH or so.
Somewhat more important than airspeed, however, is CFM, or cubic feet per minute. This tells how much air moves through the vacuum in the span of 60 seconds, indicating how powerful the unit is. While MPH gives you an idea of how quickly leaves can go through the tube, CFM tells you how much can go through at once. CFM rankings for leaf vacuums range from around 150 to 600. A less expensive unit with a CFM under 200 may be all you need to clean up an apartment balcony or a small yard, but, for larger areas, you may wish to invest in a higher-CFM unit.
Factor in the extras.
Some leaf vacuums offer bells and whistles beyond simple suction. In fact, most vacuums these days are actually leaf blowers with a vacuum function, which gives you the choice of, say, simply clearing a walkway with a blower or completely removing leaves from your patio area with a vacuum. Vacuums are best suited for smaller outdoor spaces, like those surrounding apartments and duplexes. Some models also offer a mulching option, great for repurposing those leaves into healthy plant beds.
Our Top Picks
We found that the best leaf vacuums can do double-duty as leaf blowers, which comes in handy if you don’t need to collect and bag the leaves. See the multitaskers ahead! Keeping your yard, garage, or flowerbed free from fallen leaves will be a snap with our five favorites—one is certain to meet your needs.
1. BEST CORDED LEAF VACUUM: Toro UltraPlus Leaf Vacuum
Make quick work of sweeping up a light to medium accumulation of fallen leaves with the Toro UltraPlus Leaf Vacuum. This handy vacuum features air speeds up to 250 mph and an airflow volume of 350 (CFM) as well as two power settings: high power for piles of dry leaves and low power for vacuuming around the bases of plants without damaging them. While you work, its patented Shredz-All Shred Ring tears dry leaves into half-inch pieces or smaller so they don’t take up as much room in the snap-on leaf collection bag. The vacuum weighs in at 8.9 pounds and should be connected to either a 16-gauge, 50-foot cord or a 14-gauge, 100-foot exterior extension cord to cover your yard.
2. BEST LEAF VACUUM FOR MULCHING: Husqvarna 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Vacuum
For large gardens and heavy leaf accumulation, it’s hard to beat the Husqvarna 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Vacuum, which draws in air at speeds of up to 170 mph and features an air volume of 470 CFM. This vacuum also features mulching knives that grind up natural debris so that you can fit up to 16 bags’ worth of dry leaves into the single collection bag! Fuel-powered, this leaf vacuum requires a standard mixture of 50-parts gasoline to 1-part of 2-stroke engine oil. Though it weighs in at 9.4 pounds, the leaf bag comes with a shoulder strap that will help support the vacuum to reduce arm fatigue as you work. Its easy-crank engine enables quick starting and its anti-vibration technology diminishes hand stress while using this powerful landscaping tool.
3. BEST BATTERY-POWERED LEAF VACUUM: Greenworks Variable Speed Cordless Leaf Vacuum
If your property is too large for a corded leaf vacuum but you’re not thrilled about mixing the fuel necessary to operate a gas model, check out this battery-powered option from Greenworks. Its 40-volt lithium-ion battery (included, along with the charger) powers the vacuum to run up to 60 minutes on a single charge. The vacuum draws in air at six speed options, up to 185 mph, with an impressive airflow volume of 340 CFM, suitable for light to moderate leaf accumulation. Plus, at just 5.6 pounds, the Greenworks won’t weigh you down.
4. BEST GAS-POWERED LEAF VACUUM: Remington 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Vacuum
Clear moderate to heavy leaf accumulation from any size yard in record time with the Remington 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Vacuum. This gas-powered vacuum features a high-velocity engine that draws in air at speeds up to 205 mph with a hefty CFM of 450. Change suction as needed using a variable speed trigger, or use a “cruise control” that allows the user to lock-in on just the right air speed for the job. Plus, the leaf vacuum mulches as it collects leaves to reduce the volume of debris in the collection bag so you won’t have to empty the bag as often. The unit weighs in at 12.58 pounds and is partially supported by a shoulder strap on the collection bag. Because this is a gas-powered leaf vacuum, you’ll need to mix its fuel at a ratio of 50-parts gasoline to 1-part of 2-stroke engine oil (included).