Autumn leaves might look pretty, but they can be a nightmare to clear up. We review the best garden vacuums and leaf blowers to make tidying leaves less tedious (updated for 2023.)
#1 Pick: Bosch UniversalGardenTidy
Clearing leaves with a rake can be a laborious chore. That’s why garden vacuums and leaf blowers have become increasingly popular.
It’s important to know the difference between these tools though. A garden vacuum cleaner is great for picking up leaves and small objects. Leaf blowers, on the other hand, can blow leaves into a pile, but you need to pick them up by hand.
The good news is that some of the best models have both functions: leaf blowing and vacuuming. Many of the best garden leaf vacuums for small gardens are also available for less than £100, so they aren’t just for professionals.
To help you choose, we’ve reviewed our top five garden vacs and leaf blowers below. Each has been highly rated by buyers, provides excellent value for money and, most importantly, makes getting rid of autumn leaves quick and easy.
Note: Need to clear out your pond? Check out our list of the best pond vacuums.
Our Garden & Leaf Vacuum Selection Process
There are a number of factors that affect the quality of a garden leaf blower or vacuum, but three of the most important are power, ease-of-use and value for money.
The best garden vacuum cleaners provide ample power for almost any garden cleaning job. They are also easy to use and available for a reasonable price. We’ve selected our top picks with this criteria in mind.
Which is the Best Garden Vacuum and Leaf Blower?
We believe the five garden vacs below are all excellent options. They have also been highly rated by buyers, which is an important metric when judging the quality and value of any household appliance or tool.
We’ve tried to select tools for a range of different jobs and budgets. For this reason, the list includes leaf blowers, combination machines and even a sweeper.
|Image||Product Name||Power Source||Type||Learn More|
|Bosch UniversalGardenTidy||Corded/Electric||Vacuum & Blower||View Price|
|VonHaus 2500105 Blower & Vacuum||Corded/Electric||Vacuum & Blower||View Price|
|Black + Decker GW2500||Corded/Electric||Vacuum & Blower||View Price|
|Karcher S650||Manual||Sweeper||View Price|
|Bosch ALB 36 LI||Cordless||Blower Only||View Price|
|McCulloch GBV 322 VX||Petrol||Vacuum & Blower||View Price|
1. Bosch UniversalGardenTidy Electric Leaf Blower and Garden Vacuum
The first model on our list is the excellent Bosch UniversalGardenTidy, which is a versatile electric garden vacuum and blower. With powerful output and easy to use design, it’s great in small or medium-size gardens.
As you would expect, the UniversalGardenTidy has strong blowing speed due to the 1800W motor – up to 285 km/hour when required. This isn’t the most powerful on the market, but is enough to dislodge wet leaves that less powerful machines would struggle with. There’s also a variable speed function when you need less power, while the motor is more energy efficient than previous Bosch models.
Switching between the blower and vacuum modes is quick and easy, as it only requires you to change tubes. When vacuuming leaves the machine has a shredder function. This allows it to fit much more debris and mulched leaves into the already large 45 litre bag, allowing you to vacuum for up to ten times longer before needing to empty it.
To give you an idea of how it works, here’s a video of its predecessor, the ALS 2500:
Considering this is a blower, garden vac and shredder in one, the relatively low price tag is surprising. The RRP is £109.99, which we think provides outstanding value, but the machine is often available for even less than this from online shopping sites.
In summary, the UniversalGardenTidy is a powerful electric garden leaf blower that provides great value. It’s perfect for quickly getting rid of leaves and other debris in small gardens. While it isn’t as convenient as cordless models, and it’s relatively heavy when in vacuum mode, it makes up for this in power and effectiveness.
Note: This model replaces Bosch’s previous garden vacuum, which was the ALS 2500. The ALS 2500 was slightly cheaper and lighter, but was less energy efficient and noisier.
- Versatile garden vac
- Outstanding value for money
- Blower, vacuum and shredder in one
- Weight: 4.7kg (3.4kg with leaf blower)
- Max Speed: 285 km/hour
- Price Range: £
- Bag Size: 45 litres
2. VonHaus 2500105 Leaf Blower, Mulcher and Garden Vacuum
The VonHaus 2500105 is another 3-in-1 garden blower vac. It can blow, mulch and vacuum leaves, while remaining relatively compact. It also has a lightweight design for a corded leaf blower, at 3.5kg, and a 3000W motor for a strong flow rate.
With features for blowing and vacuuming, the 2500105 is great for keeping your garden tidy. Unlike many other models, you can switch modes with a single dial – you don’t need to worry about changing nozzles – due to the parallel blowing and vacuuming modes.
The mulching ratio reduces leaves by a ratio of 10:1, which isn’t the highest we’ve seen (some Worx and Flymo models have a 16:1 ratio, for example.) Even so, the mulching feature means you can fit ten times as much into the provided bag, making it perfect for cleaning larger areas of garden.
Most importantly, the VonHaus 2500105 does a great job of blowing and vacuuming leaves. The 35 litre bag is a welcome feature, as it reduces the number of times you’ll need to empty it, and it has enough suction power to pick up both wet and dry leaves.
Other features include a 10 metre cable, wheels, and a shoulder strap. This latter inclusion is important, as it makes the vacuum more ergonomic to hold for long periods.
There aren’t many downsides to this garden vac, especially considering the low price. If we had a complaint, it’s that the vacuum can’t match pricier models for clearing wet leaves, although it still does a decent job. Harder debris, such as bark chippings or sticks, can also clog the machine.
Even so, we think the VonHaus 2500105 provides exceptional value for money. It’s powerful, has a variety of features and comes with a 10:1 mulching ratio, making it suitable for leaves on almost any surface.
- Corded garden vacuum
- Very reasonable price
- Shredding at 10:1 ratio
- Weight: 3.5kg
- Price Range: £
- Bag Size: 35 litres
3. Black + Decker GW2500 Corded Garden Vac & Leaf Blower
Another machine that combines leaf blowing and vacuuming is the Black + Decker GW2500. It’s a corded machine that provides powerful output and blowing speeds of up to 310 km/hour. The machine also has a shredder to help compact any material it sucks up.
Let’s start with the GW2500’s powerful performance. The motor is 2500W (as the name suggests), which provides ample suction for cleaning up wet leaves. Despite this power, it’s a relatively light model at just 3.2kg.
The GW2500’s shredder fan is capable of reducing debris in size at a ratio of 10 to 1. This is in-line with the other shredders on this list, but can dramatically reduce the need to empty the machine while in use. The 40 litre capacity isn’t as large as the Worx, but still provides enough space for most garden cleaning tasks.
Other features include a carry strap, easy-to-hold design and a sound rating of 105dB. This is loud compared to indoor vacuums, but relatively quiet for such a powerful garden machine.
With an RRP of just over £80, the GW2500 is very reasonably priced. This makes it an excellent option for home gardens, although for larger properties you might want something with a bit more power and size.
If you need a garden blower and vacuum for a small or medium-size garden, then the Black + Decker GW2500 could be an excellent choice. It’s powerful, allowing it to deal with almost any task your garden can throw at it, while providing shredding and a large bag.
- Powerful leaf blower vacuum
- 10:1 shredding debris reduction
- 40 litre bag capacity
- Weight: 3.2kg
- Max Speed: 310 km/hour
- Price Range: £
- Bag Size: 40 litres
4. Karcher S650 Push Floor Sweeper
The Karcher S650 is completely different to the others on this list. In fact, it’s not a garden vacuum at all – it’s a garden sweeper – and you certainly wouldn’t use it on damp leaves or large debris.
But where the S650 does excel is at cleaning dirt and other small debris from pathways, driveways and other hard surfaces.
It’s a push garden sweeper that has a cleaning width of 65cm and side brushes to help with cleaning edges. As it moves, dirt is collected in a bin which means you don’t need to worry about sweeping muck into dustpans. It also doesn’t require a battery or cord, as the power comes from being pushed.
There are downsides though. Firstly, it can’t cope with cleaning wet leaves. In fact, it quickly becomes clogged if used in damp conditions regardless of what you’re cleaning. It’s also difficult to use on uneven ground, but this is to be expected as it’s not really made for this type of terrain.
So it’s clear that the S650 isn’t the best garden vacuum – but it serves a similar purpose if you have a large driveway or similar area in your garden. Karcher claims that it cleans up to five times faster than a regular broom and the dust container makes it easier to remove debris rather than just pushing it around. The lack of a power cord also makes it simple to use.
In summary, the Karcher S650 is only worth buying for a single specific job: if you have a large, flat outdoor surface that needs to be regularly cleaned of dirt, dust and other small debris. This makes it perfect for regularly cleaning paths and driveways – but if you want to clean leaves or other types of terrain then one of the other options on this list is required.
- Sweeper rather than a vacuum
- Powered by push (no battery or cord)
- Great for cleaning dirt from large driveways (but no good for getting rid of leaves or larger debris)
- Weight: 11kg
- Price Range: ££
- Bag Size: 16 litres
5. Bosch ALB 36 LI Cordless Garden Leaf Blower
The Bosch ALB 36 LI is a cordless leaf blower that’s designed for speed and convenience. While it can’t match corded models for blowing power, the lack of a cord makes it more manoeuvrable.
One of the great features of this model is the variable speed control, which allows you to adjust output between 170-250 km/hour. This lets you adjust the air output speed depending on the volume and type of leaves.
The ALB 36 is designed to be powered by one of Bosch’s 36V batteries. These are built with lithium-ion technology, which Bosch claims can power the machine for 20-25 minutes without needing to be recharged.
Other features include an ergonomic design and removable tube for easy storage. The grip handle is also soft to make it more comfortable to use.
Note: The Bosch ALB 36 LI is sometimes sold “baretool” which means it doesn’t come with a battery pack or charger. Make sure you check whether a battery is included when you buy, otherwise you’ll need to get a separate battery. This can cost over £100 so adds significantly to the cost of buying the machine – although the same battery can be used on other Bosch machines if you own them.
The Bosch ALB 36 LI is a surprisingly effective and powerful leaf blower – despite its lightweight design. It’s great for small gardens, although the cordless design makes it unsuitable for larger jobs. It is, however, relatively expensive unless you have other Bosch machines that use the same battery. Even so, we think it’s one of the best cordless leaf blowers in its price range.
- Cordless design
- Soft grip handle
- Adjust output between 170-250 km/hour
- Weight: 4.5kg
- Max Speed: 250 km/hour
- Price Range: ££
- Run-Time: Up to 25 minutes
6. McCulloch GBV 322 VX Petrol Leaf Blower and Garden Vacuum
If you need more power for a large garden, then the McCulloch GBV 322 VX petrol vacuum is a great choice. It has a huge top speed of 370 km/h, meaning it handles most wet leaves on lawns and patios with ease. The McCulloch also has a variable speed option and an upgraded VX nozzle for more efficient performance.
Along with its excellent power output, the GBV 322 VX is lightweight, comes with a 45-litre collection bag, and has a 16:1 mulching ration. There’s also a “cruise control” option to reduce hand strain during longer sessions.
There are a few drawbacks though. Petrol garden vacs are less convenient than corded models, as refilling can be a hassle. We also wish that McCulloch had come up with an easier way to convert between vacuum and blower modes, as the process of detaching the various tubes is cumbersome.
Even so, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty garden vacuum and don’t mind a petrol model, then it’s one of the best around.
Note: This is a loud machine, so make sure you wear ear protection when using it.
- Powerful petrol garden vac
- 16:1 mulching ratio
- Output speeds up to 370 km/hour
- Weight: 4.5kg
- Max Speed: 370 km/hour
- Price Range: ££
How to Choose the Best Garden Vacuum or Leaf Blower (Buying Guide)
If the thought of clearing leaves in your garden has you shuddering, a garden vacuum or leaf blower could be the perfect solution. The garden tools listed above are all excellent, but if you want more information about how to choose here’s a brief overview of the most important factors.
Do You Need a Garden Vacuum or Leaf Blower?
We mentioned this earlier in the article, but the type of garden vac is one of the most important decisions.
Leaf blowers are great for moving leaves and other debris around, but don’t have a vacuum function to pick it up. Traditional garden vacuums are the opposite – they can pick up leaves but can’t blow them.
The best models often combine the two – and these are the ones we usually recommend – but the right option depends on your personal requirements and the size of your garden. It also depends on the type of garden debris you’re going to clear.
How Much Capacity is Required?
The size of collection bag is another factor that’s linked to the size of your garden.
If you’re going to be clearing up a lot of leaves in a larger garden, it’s probably worth buying a big leaf vacuum so you don’t need to empty it as often. The downside is that larger bags mean that the vacuum is heavier and there’s often more chance of wet leaves getting caught at the bottom.
How easy the bag is to empty also affects the overall convenience of the machine. Most garden vacuums have a basic storage bag to hold leaves, with a zipper to empty when full. Low-quality garden vacs often have small crevices in the bag where leaves can get stuck, which can be annoying when emptying.
- Power. The power (and therefore airflow) of garden vacuum cleaners is directly related to how effectively they can move leaves or suck them up. Be careful though – a more powerful motor doesn’t always equate to better performance. If possible, look for models that allow you to adjust the power output and airspeed, as this can be useful for controlling leaves.
- Power Supply. There are broadly three types of power supply for a garden vac or leaf collector: petrol, electric (mains-powered) and battery. Most of the models on this list are either corded or battery-powered, as we believe these are the most convenient for small home gardens. But if you need more power with the convenience of cordless – and don’t mind paying extra or filling up regularly – then a petrol garden vacuum is probably the best option. In general, however, we only recommend petrol vacuums for heavy-duty jobs or if you have a garden with a large amount of leaves.
- Run-Time (Battery Models Only). If you opt for a battery garden vacuum, it’s vital to check the run-time before you buy. Some models last as little as 10 minutes before needing to be recharged, which may not be enough depending on the size of the garden and quantity of leaves.
- Quantity of Leaves. An obvious yet often overlooked question is how many leaves you need to clear. For small gardens, or those that aren’t surrounded by many trees, a low-power leaf collector can probably do the job. If you have a large area, a petrol leaf blower or vacuum might be required – or at least a model with more power and capacity.
- Comfort. Features like a padded shoulder strap, lightweight design, and variable airflow can all make a leaf vac more comfortable to use.
While these factors are all essential considerations when choosing a garden vac or leaf blower, they are far from the only factors. Other things to consider include the reliability of the machine, whether the brand offers a warranty or guarantee, the shredding ratio, how easy the machine is to hold and its weight.
Do Lawn Vacuums Really Work?
Yes, lawn vacuums can make quick work of removing leaves from grass. If you want to speed up the process of collecting leaves, they are a handy tool to add to your collection.
Keep in mind that lawn vacs won’t aerate your lawn. You’ll also still need a rake to remove stubborn debris and leaves that the vac can’t suck up on the first pass.
Do I Need Ear Protection?
It’s recommended that you wear ear protection when using a garden vacuum. These machines can be very noisy, particularly larger petrol models, so it’s important to protect your hearing.
Summary and Our Top Garden Vacuum
The best garden vacuum cleaners can make short work of leaves and other debris, making clearing up much faster and less stressful. While there are some excellent models on the market, it’s important to consider a variety of factors – such as the type, power, run-time and power supply – before making a final decision on which to buy.
In this article, we reviewed our six top recommendations for garden vacuums. While the type and specialisation of each model varies, they all provide excellent value for money and have proven to be efficient at clearing gardens.
Out of these five models, our favourite is the Bosch UniversalGardenTidy. It’s a highly versatile model that provides outstanding value along with both vacuuming and blowing functions. It’s also powerful and easy to use – which is why it’s our top recommendation in this category.
Do you have any questions about garden vacs or leaf blowers? Or do you have feedback about any of the models in the list? Let us know in the comments!