Exhausted from using a hand rake or brush to clear up the leaves? Leaf blowers can do the job in a fraction of the time, with leaf blower vacs also sucking up the leaves into a holding bag. Cordless ones, which are petrol or battery powered, tend to be the most pricey, but if you have a big garden they can be a godsend. Meanwhile, corded ones are great if you’re on a budget or have a smaller outside space. Corded machines tend to be easier to use too, as well as lighter, usually enabling you to hold it with just one hand.
Make sure you pick one that’s comfortable and easy to start. Also think about whether you need just a blower, a blower vac or finally one that does both these things along with mulching up the debris as well. If you go for the dual or triple purpose ones, it should be easy to change modes and have an easy to empty collection bag. We tried a range of machines on the very wet leaves in our garden to bring you the most efficient for the job.
1. Flymo GardenVac 2700: £59.95, amazon.co.uk
As well as blowing and vacuuming, this versatile corded machine will shred leaves. Remove the blades to suck up other debris, like pinecones without blockages.
2. Qualcast 2800W Garden Blower and Vacuum: £49.99, homebase.co.uk
This good-value corded blower, vacuum and mulcher is one of Homebase’s best-sellers. You get a well-balanced machine with a shoulder strap and wheels for easy movability and there’s a quick-change leaver from blow to vacuum.
3. Makita BHX2501 4-Stroke Hand Held Blower: £185.62, makitauk.com
For a powerful option that suits large gardens, this machine is quiet. It runs for 60 minutes on unleaded petrol and with attachments (sold separately) it converts to a vacuum.
4. Ego Power Plus: £129, egopowerplus.co.uk
We were surprised to find this rechargeable machine had more oomph than some petrol-powered blowers. It’ll run for 20 minutes on the impressive ‘turbo boost’ setting
5. Bosch ALB 18 LI Cordless Leaf Blower: £83.69, bosch-garden.com
This is only 1.6kg but it’s so powerful, the 12-minute battery life is sufficient to clear most gardens. We found the long nozzle useful for shorter gardeners. Compatible with other Bosch garden tools.
6. Cobra BV26C Blower/Vac: £119.99, cobragarden.co.uk
Here’s a lightweight (5kg), well-balanced machine ideal for big spaces. The controls are comfortable to use for long periods of time (there were no achy thumbs) and it’s idiot-proof to change functions.
7. Black & Decker BW2500: £53.71, amazon.co.uk
This corded, lightweight blower and vacuum picks up stubborn wet leaves super-efficiently. There’s a generous 40-litre capacity bag and it comes with a shredder that shrinks its volume tenfold.
8. Draper 2500w 230v Garden Vacuum/Blower/Mulcher: £53.99, mackay.co.uk
This corded bit of kit with a handy shoulder strap blows, vacuums and mulches. The 2500W motor and air flow are good for smaller leaves and it easily switches from one function to another.
9. Stihl Cordless Blower BHA85: £216 (battery sold separately), briantsltd.stihl-dealer.co.uk
For anyone with heavy leaf-clearing duties, this hefty machine is exceptional in its ease of use, battery life and sheer power. It made light work of the seriously wet stuff in our garden.
10. Ryobi OBL1802: £44.95, amazon.co.uk
This lightweight machine is easy to store thanks to the detachable blower tube. We found the the power level spot-on, but you’ll need to work quickly as the lithium battery lasts around eight minutes
11. Draper Backpack Petrol Blower BP33: £176.99, bamfordtrading.com
This is a great option for people who don’t like cords getting in the way of their leaf tidying tasks. Using a powerful petrol engine, it is surprisingly lightweight, weighing just 6.5kg and the shoulder strap is both padded and adjustable. Be careful it doesn’t suck up the stones when you’re working on gravel. Excellent durability.
12. Makita DUB362Z Twin 18v Brushless Blower: £228.95, axminster.co.uk
This is costly, but it works like a dream, with a huge amount of power from the engine, as well as being very comfortable to hold and use. You never have to change the brush and although the battery isn’t included in the price, if you have a Makita battery powered product already, you can simply use that.
The Bosch ALB 18 is an incredibly powerful little machine that’s hard to fault and comes at a reasonable price, when you consider its durability and compatibility with other Bosch garden tools. If you’ve got a lot of leaves and a bit more money, we also love the Makita BHX2501 4-Stroke Hand Held Blower. Your neighbours will be pleased with that option too as it’s nice and quiet.
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