When spring delivers its bounty of fruitfulness, it also sends us a mountain of leaves and the need for leaf blowers and the quick work of the best lawn mowers to tidy up the mound. While many have fabulous colourful tints and look magnificent carpeting the ground, even these turn into a stodgy mess in time.
Not only do lots of decomposing leaves look unattractive, but also, they encourage plants to start rotting, too – including the lawn grass underneath them.
They can be a slip hazard on paths and other hard surfaces and make a cosy hiding place for slugs and their progeny. So, once your foliage display is over and you're ready to get the lawn mower out of the shed, it’s best to clear them away to a leaf mould bin where, in time, they’ll turn into a useful soil improver.
Best leaf blower at a glance:
• Best value leaf blower: Bosch Cordless Leaf Blower - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best leaf blower for power: EGO LB5800E Power+ 56V Cordless Leaf Blower - Buy now on Just Lawnmowers
• Best leaf blower for hard surfaces: Kärcher LBL 2 Cordless Battery Leaf Blower with Battery - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Top Pick: Mountfield MBL 50LI Cordless Blower - Buy now on Just Lawnmowers
• Best quiet leaf blower: Stihl BGA 57 Leaf Blower Set with AK 20 Battery and AL 101 Charger Orange - Buy now on Amazon UK
Even in reasonably small gardens, raking is a time-consuming chore, which is where a leaf blower or garden vacuum can be a godsend. In this guide, we've rounded up the best leaf blowers on the market, from battery powered to corded blowers that will need to be plugged in to a power source.
The best leaf blowers
Battery/electric-powered leaf blowers
Best value leaf blower
A lightweight, fast and efficient leaf blower with a 17-minute run time that will round up those
- Start-up safety feature
- Bosch Power for all battery compatible
- Battery performance, not powerful enough for larger gardens
Best leaf blower for power
This EGO Power+ leaf blower is stiff competition for popular brands like Ryobi and Stihl, it has
- Variable power helps the battery perform better
- Long-lasting batteries
- Not as powerful as Ryobi, turbo button consumes energy faster
Best compact leaf blower
At under £50 and with a battery and charger, this is the cheapest leaf blower on our list. It has
- Good battery life
- Spare battery not sold separately
- Some switch issues
Best leaf blower for hard surfaces
This lightweight leaf blower has an ergonomic design that sits comfortably in your hand for
- LCD display monitor battery usage
- Battery compatible across Karcher products
- Limited power
Best overall leaf blower
Just as powerful as a petrol-operated machine, the cordless Mountfield blower is extremely energy
- Long battery life
- Running time
- Universal battery
- Adjustable speed
Best quiet leaf blower
The key thing to note about this Stihl BGA 57 leaf blower is that it is extremely quiet, so quiet
- Two batteries
- Adjustable blower tube
- Battery can be stiff to remove
Best corded leaf blower
The only corded option on our list, the Stihl BGE 71 is considerably cheaper than bigger brand
- Can buy an additional vacuum bag
- Great for medium size garden
- Only one speed option
- Extension lead needed for over 5 metre
Two-in-one leaf blowers and garden vacuum
Best leaf blower and vacuum with wheels
This Ryobi blower vac can be used as a blower only, vacuum only or both at once with two tubes on
- PowerMulching heavy duty heavy metal blade offers 16:1 mulching ratio for better composting
- Shoulder strap provides maximum comfort
- Variable speed
- Customer report prone to clogging, tricky with wet leaves
Best budget leaf blower and vacuum
This may be a corded option but with an extra long 10m cable it reduces the need for an extension
- Also has a shredder/mulcher option
- Wheels and shoulder strap come in handy
- Clunky to use
Best leaf blower vacuum for artificial lawn
This highly rated garden vacuum from VonHaus is lightweight, affordable and powerful. With a 3000W
- Easy to handle
- Long cord
- Bag can get heavy
- Low power suction
What is the difference between a leaf blower and a garden vacuum?
On a surface level, both gardening power tools seem to have a similar purpose. However, there are slight variations in modes and features - such as if your primary goal is to remove leaves in an average-sized garden, then a garden vacuum would be more suitable. However, a leaf blower would be more fitting if you have a larger garden as it can cover an area much quicker than a vacuum.
We've put two big hitters from Worx to the test to answer this very question, in our Leafjet vs WG583E 3-in-1 blower/vacuum review.
Leaf blowers blow the leaves off surfaces and into piles, for collecting and bagging.
Pros: It will not get blocked or damaged from sucking up stones and debris and is usually easier to use than a vacuum.
Cons: It cannot pick up leaves, only blow them into a pile.
Garden vacuums are more versatile. As well as a blow mode, their vacuum mode sucks up the leaves too.
Pros: It is a multi-purpose tool that acts as a leaf blower, garden vacuum, shredder all-in-one. It is less time consuming, and you will not need to pick up leaves manually with a rake. It is also simple to switch between settings and modes.
Cons: Debris and pebbles can get stuck and damage the vacuum.
Most also shred the leaves as they suck, so they take up less space in the collector bag and you won’t have to empty it so often. They’ll also rot down quicker, so you won’t have to wait as long for your leaf mould. Their main downside is that they’re heavier and more cumbersome to move around than blowers.
A vacuum will store the leaves in a bag, making it a more straightforward job overall; however, a leaf blower is better to 'blow' all the leaves to one area, making it easier to clear up afterwards.
What to look for when buying a leaf blower
Adjustable tube length Adjust this to suit your height. This avoids losing suction/blowing power when the device is held too far off the ground
Variable airspeed/control Multiple speeds allow you to increase the force for moving stubborn leaves or decrease it around fragile plants. Some machines refer to this as a turbo or power boost
Nozzle shape Round nozzles are good for moving bulky leaves quickly; flatter ones suit harder-to-move items, such as stuck-on leaves
Shredding ratio This measures how much the original leaf volume is reduced when it passes through the internal shredding impellors
Vac collection bag Larger bags need emptying less, but become heavier on the shoulder as they fill. Zipped bags are easier to empty
Vac tube support wheel Reduces carrying weight and holds nozzle at right height for max suction
Leaf blowers: Power v weight
Petrol-driven machines are generally the most powerful and allow you to roam free, unrestricted by power cables, but they’re not necessary in a small garden. They can be noisy, create polluting emissions and the engine needs regular maintenance. Those powered by mains electricity don’t offer the same walk-around freedom, but are more economical to buy and run, don’t produce emissions, tend to be quieter, need less maintenance and are lighter to carry.
Battery-powered machines are similar in many respects, without the trailing cable trip hazard. Lithium-ion batteries provide great performance, which doesn’t diminish and suffer as the battery loses its charge. Remember that a battery may need frequent recharging if you use the machine a lot, or you could buy a second battery to swap with, while recharging. The Ah (ampere/hour) rating shows how much energy it stores – the larger the number, the longer it runs.
Many manufacturers make batteries that can be interchanged with other powered tools in their range, so you may be able to buy the machine on its own or as a kit that includes the battery and charger. The former cuts the cost, as you only need one battery and one charger to power different tools.
What is the best motor output for leaf blowers?
The larger the motor’s output the higher its number and the better able it is to blow or suck. Electric motors are measured in kilowatts (kW) and battery power in volts (V). Two other numbers are quoted for power output: volume flow rate (measured in cubic metres/hour) and airflow speed (measured in kilometres/hour or kph).
Volume flow rate measures the volume of air that exits the tube. The higher the figure, the more air moves through the machine, which means more leaves moved. But the volume of air is meaningless if it isn’t moving fast enough, which is why airflow speed is also important. The higher the rating, the better the machine is equipped to remove wet leaves, heavier debris and twigs or leaves stuck to a surface.
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