Which yard vacuum is right for you? We look at some wonderful models worth your hard-earned money.
If you’re a homeowner with a yard, then you know the frustration that comes every season when the leaves fall. Cleaning up the litter and leaves can be a real chore, but it is essential in keeping up your lawn. Typically, most people would go for the regular rake to get rid of the leaves. This may be fine for a small yard, but it can wreak havoc on your back if you have a large area to rake up.
Some tend to purchase leaf blowers, which is much more efficient than raking. The problem with blowers is that they don’t eliminate the leaves; they just push them away and a gust of wind could carry them right back into your yard. Another option from the conventional rake and the leaf blower is a leaf vacuum (also referred to as a yard vacuum). So is the yard vacuum worth buying?
Benefits of Owning a Yard Vacuum
A leaf vacuum can offer many benefits over the conventional rake or leaf blower. Also known as a leaf vacuum mulcher, this tool helps to keep your yard clean and neat by completely eradicating the leaves. Unlike the leaf blower, the yard vacuum is equipped with a sucking nozzle which pulls in the leaves. It gets all of the leaves, unlike a rake that can leave some behind. That said, here are some additional benefits of a leaf vacuum that are worth noting;
- It saves time and effort
- Lightweight and portable (some models)
- Excellent performance gets the job done
- It saves on trash bags
With the leaf vacuum all you need to do is pass it over the leaves and they will be sucked into the bag, much like a regular vacuum you would use to clean your carpets. If you were using a rake or a leaf blower, you would have to gather them to one location. You would additionally have to dispose of the leaves by scooping them into the trash bag, which is tiresome. Everything is managed easily with the leaf vacuum as the leaves are collected directly into the bag attachment.
Additionally, a yard vacuum could cut down on yard maintenance costs as you will not need to purchase garbage bags to dispose of the leaves. The leaf vacuum stores the collected leaves in the bag attachment, which can be emptied and reused over and over again. This also translates to less waste. The yard vacuum can also help you save money on fertilizer as you can simply reuse the sliced leaves as mulch or fertilizers in your yard.
Some leaf vacuums come in a lightweight handheld model that you can work with easily as you move around the yard. These are great if you have smaller areas you want to clear leaves such as a driveway or fairly small to medium sized yard. Then there are push-models, generally gas-powered, that are heavy-duty and operate like a lawn mower. These are suitable for larger yards and consist of larger capacity collection bags for big jobs.
Troy-Bilt TB2BV EC | 27cc Gas Yard Vacuum/Blower
High-quality 27cc gas 2-cycle full-crank engine capable of creating air speeds up to 150 mph for cleaning yard debris around your yard. JumpStart-capable engine eliminates the need to pull the cord, but you have to purchase the Engine starter separately.
Why Should You Eliminate Yard Waste?
What is the benefit to vacuuming yard waste? Isn’t it just a normal part of the seasons changing to have a yard full of leaves? The truth is, leaving yard waste including dead leaves and debris could be detrimental to your lawn, and even for your own safety! While a light coverage of leaves (10-20%) to your lawn isn’t a concern, you certainly don’t want to let the leaves and debris pile up to cover the majority of your lawn’s surface. Here are a few reasons why:
- Inhibits lawn growth
- Contributes to mold
- Increases the likelihood of pests in your yard
When you have an excessive collection of leaf matter to your lawn that isn’t cleared up before winter hits you could be causing damage to your lawn. Layers of leaves, especially matted down leaves and debris, will smother your lawn and inhibits growth during the spring. Furthermore, the longer the leaves stay on the ground it’s highly likely that snow mold diseases can develop. Even if you don’t experience snow, the cool, wet conditions that affect your lawn during the winter months can contribute to the development of the fungus in grass that is covered by heavy leaf matter.
If lawn care isn’t of that much importance to you, you may reconsider if you don’t want to welcome pests and potentially dangerous nuisances in your yard. Thick piles of leaves and debris that sit over a period of time are ideal places for an insect infestation. Additionally, rodents and snakes like to hide in such conditions that are dense as they find these places ideal for burrowing. This could make walking through your yard risky, especially if you have small children.
Gas vs. Electric Yard Vacuums
There are two basic types of yard vacuums. They run on a motor that is powered either by gasoline or electricity and some models are even battery-operated. The electric vacuum and gas vacuum both have their positive and negative sides. It is important to compare the two types of vacuums so as to get the right model for the job at hand.
If you need a vacuum to use for your lawn, deck, or patio, an electric vacuum can serve you well for lighter jobs, especially around delicate areas such as flower beds. These are generally lighter, handheld models that can be easily portable and take up less space for storing. However, a larger area or yard with compacted piles of leaves will require a stronger vacuum with greater range and power. For jobs such as these, a gas leaf vacuum would likely be the best option.
- They are more powerful and can run for longer periods without breaking down as easily.
- They can get larger jobs done more efficiently.
- They are not corded which enhances their flexibility and ease of use without the need for an electricity source.
- They can pollute the environment due to the exhaust fumes. If not well maintained, they can be extra smoky.
- They are noisier than electric vacuums.
- They can be heavy due to the gas engines and take up more storage space.
Billy Goat KV600 | Yard Vacuum
- Large 5-blade impeller with serrated edges.
- Variable height adjustment.
- Integral dust skirt.
- Optional hose kit.
- Zipperless bag for simple bag handling.
- Honda or Briggs power, self-propelled option.
If you have a lot of trees around your property chances are you often find yourself faced with a large job of clearing leaves, twigs, and other debris they can add to your lawn. The Billy Goat KV600 is a decent model that is suitable for residential use as well businesses or parking lots. It is equipped with a 5-blade impeller to optimize the suction and significantly reduce debris. The 27-inch wide vacuum features multiple height adjustments for use on hard surfaces like decks and sidewalks to turf areas (lawns). There is a hose kit that can be purchased additionally to get in tight areas such as flower beds or underneath decks.
Specs (Billy Goat KV600):
- Engine: 190 cc Briggs
- Bag Volume: 40 gal.
- Bag: Mesh w/dust skirt
- CFM: 1700
Patriot Products CVB-2455H | Yard Vacuum
Convenient and reliable walk Behind 3-In-1 Leaf Vacuum/Chipper/Blower.
Here’s a gas-powered yard vacuum that pulls triple duty as a leaf vacuum, blower and chipper all in one. The vacuum can clear a 24-inch wide path and easily converts to a blower by simply flipping the handle. It is powered by a CARB-Compliant 5.5-horse power Honda engine that is efficient and delivers smooth performance. The chipper is used to chip up sticks and twigs that are up to 2 inches in diameter into small pieces when fed through the cone on the deck of the unit.
I wish Patriot would update their videos for the 21st century. Although, it’s fuzzy it still gives you an idea of what this product is capable of.
Electric Yard Vacuums
- They are lighter than the gas vacuums, usually handheld.
- They are easy to maintain.
- They are quieter in comparison to gas models
- They are much more friendly to the environment
- Usually, more economical than gas
- They depend on electricity to work. This means you might be limited to the area you can clear.
- They don’t have the power capability of a gas model
Black and Decker BV5600 | Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher
- 12 amp electric motor. 3-in-1 blower, vacuum, and mulcher.
- 250 MPH air speed. Designed to clear leaves and yard debris.
- Relatively quiet at 68 dB.
- High Impact Metal Fan prevents clogging when mulching.
- Mulch ratio: 16:1 — 16 bags of leaves down to one.
- 2 Speed selections for flower beds and high-speed for packed leaves.
- Pivoting turbo nozzle loosens leaves and debris quickly.
- Easily switch between vacuum and blower. No tools required.
- Built-in cord retainer keeps the extension cord in place.
View or download the MANUAL for the BV5600.
If you are looking for an electric yard vacuum with versatility, this one’s got it with a 3-in-1 operation as a blower, vacuum, and mulcher! The blower mode has two speeds: one that is suitable for flower beds and a more powerful option up to 250mph for thick, matted down leaves. It is constructed with a high impact metal fan for mulching up leaves and debris to prevent clogging the motor and grinds up to the equivalency of 16 bags of mulch into one.
It features an easy-to-use operation with tool-free interchangeability between vacuum and blower modes. For added convenience, this unit also features a cord retainer for uninterrupted performance.
WORX WG509 | TriVac | Blower/Mulcher/Vacuum
- All-in-one design: blower, mulcher & vacuum
- Quickly converts from blower to vacuum mode with the flip of a switch
- Two-stage metal impeller with shredder blade provides an 18:1 mulch ratio
- Electronic variable speed control for corners and heavy debris
- Quick-release button makes cleaning debris as easy as ever
View or download the MANUAL for the WORX WG509.
Another great 3-in-1 option is this WORX Electric TriVac that operates as a blower/vacuum/mulcher system. A flip switch conveniently converts to different modes as you need. It is equipped with a metal impeller with an added shredder blade to mulch at a ratio** of 18:1. The suction tube has a unique angled design with a curved tip that allows you to reach areas such as under decks without the need of an additional attachment.
Video from WORX | WG509 TriVac
The corded-electric model operates using a 12-amp motor that serves as a great alternative to gas-powered models. It also has electronic speed control which you can adjust accordingly to your specific needs with an air flow speed from 75pmh to 210mph!
Battery-Powered Yard Vacuum
There are many advantages to buying a battery powered yard vacuum. For me, the most important thing is that they are quiet and do not emit fumes. Sure, they aren’t as powerful but if you have a small yard a battery-powered yard vacuum is perfect.
On the other hand, if you have a large area to cover and you tend to get involved with large projects then you’re better off purchasing a gas model like the Billy Goat KV600 or an electric yard vacuum like the WORX WG509 for light-duty yard cleaning.
Black & Decker LSWV36 | 40V Sweeper/Yard Vacuum
- 120 MPH sweeper vac easily clears debris from hard surfaces like driveways, decks, and garages.
- Easily converts to vacuum mode for quick and easy vacuuming of debris from hard surfaces without the hassle of a cord.
- High Performance 40V MAX* Lithium Ion Battery provides long runtime and state of charge indicator to show battery charge level
- POWERCOMMAND controls speed for maximum run-time or maximum power
- Lightweight at just 5.4 pounds for quick and easy blowing of debris; 6.9 pounds in vacuum mode
- Mulching fan reduces up to 6 bags of leaves down to 1 bag while vacuuming.
- Low noise design allows for quiet operation
- Blow tube has built-in scraper allows users to loosen matted leaves and stuck-on debris.
- Soft grip handle provides added comfort during use.
- *Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 40V. Nominal voltage is 36.
This battery-powered unit offers similar advantages of electric but in a cordless model that gives you better flexibility. The sweeper/vacuum has two modes: one for ‘sweeping’ or blowing and one for vacuuming up leaves and debris from hard surfaces like decks and driveways. The blower tube features a scraper that can loosen stuck-on debris or matted leaves for easier clearing.
The sweeper/vacuum easily switches in between modes and also has a Power Command feature that controls speed. The unit weighs just over 5 pounds for a really lightweight model that is easy to use by anyone. Best of all, the 40-volt lithium battery that powers this model is interchangeable with other Black and Decker power tools that use the same battery system. It comes with a charger that will recharge the battery for approximately 1 hour and then it’s ready for use and will maintain its charge much longer than other battery types.
Merry Mac VCB1100M | Walk-Behind Chipper/Vacuum
This walk-behind chipper/vacuum is a force of nature. Built with a hefty 249cc Briggs & Stratton engine to plow through all of your yard debris.
- Briggs & Stratton 249cc Powerbuilt OHV Engine
- Cast iron sleeve / solid state ignition.
- Self-Propelled 25″ Wide 160 MPH Vacuum.
- 3 forward speeds plus reverse.
- Chipper can handle branches as thick as 2 7/8″
- Two-stage cutting.
- Waste Reduction Ratio: 8:1 — 8 bags of lawn debris to 1 bag.
- Dual-zipper opening empties without taking the bag off machine.
- 6 different height settings.
- Semi-Pneumatic Rear Wheels.
- 10-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ easily take on varied terrain.
- 8″ x 1 3/4″ front wheels never need inflating.
- Heavy Gauge Steel Housing.
What Features to Consider…
Other than the power mechanism of a yard vacuum, you should also consider some additional attributes that many models have to offer. This will help you find a vacuum that will serve you perfectly, based on your needs. Here are some features you might want to keep in mind when looking for the perfect leaf vacuum to buy.
Speed variations – the leaf vacuum that you choose must have adjustable speeds. This will let you switch to the perfect speed for the specific section of your yard. For areas with tough grasses, you can adjust the speed to suck in the leaves and debris that are stuck in the grass. If you have delicate flowers, you can then adjust the speed to be gentle on the flowers and only suck in the scattered leaves.
Motor specification – When going through the specification of the leaf vacuum, you must ensure that the motor power is at least 12amps. However, a 10-amp motor power can also deliver a sufficient job. Steer clear from any vacuum with a motor power listed as less than 10-amps. Such a tool might not offer enough speed and power for your needs unless you have a small area to cover.
Easy to switch (Modes) – Most of the new leaf vacuums are designed with an integrated vacuum and leaf blower.Some models require different attachments for each of these functions. Models that feature easy switching in between different modes allow you to choose the desired mode for the job with a single switch or lever that alters the modes. This will save you time and hassle of having to switch out or attach different parts.
**Reduction ratio – This is the ratio (as mentioned in the description for the WORX TriVac) in which the original volume of the leaves in reduced when it gets into the bag attachment. In other words, the vacuum should be able to compress the leaves as much as possible. These are typically mentioned with models that shred or mulch leaves in addition to vacuuming. With this feature, you can collect a lot of leaves that will be reduced to a small pile in the bag attachment. Ideally, choose a leaf vacuum that has a reduction ratio of 16:1, or even more.
Nozzle design – This feature might seem petty, but it is equally important. It is also called the tube or the pipe and is mostly featured on handheld models. It should be designed to get through spaces comfortably and with ease such as under patio furniture, for instance. You could go for the wide tube that is curved. This can deliver a sufficient job that will not cause too much dust in your yard or on you while operating.
An additional consideration when buying a yard vacuum or blower is to check with your local community regarding restrictions. Some communities may prohibit the operation of certain types of tools for various reasons. The last thing you want is to get a complaint from a neighbor about being in violation of a ban against the particular type of model you are using only to have to return it. At the very least, you may want to hold onto your receipt and check the return policy of the retailer it was purchased from. Also check the manufacturer’s warranty on the model and what it covers.
What’s an Alternative to Yard Vacuums?
If you aren’t too sure on a powered yard vacuum or if it’s not permitted within the community you reside, what’s known as a lawn sweeper may do the job just fine. It’s basically the manual equivalent of a yard vacuum. Lawn sweepers are typically ideal only for loose leaves and lawn clippings that are dry and not matted down or compressed. It’s a great tool to have to stay on track of your yard cleanup when you have frequent falling leaves or use during the spring and summer for moderate debris pick up. As a word of advice- you may find it easier to ‘sweep’ your lawn right after it’s been freshly mowed to pick up the broken down leaves and clippings.
Of course, a good old fashioned rake is always the most economical choice among all of these, but with its share of drawbacks. If you have a very small patch of yard that requires occasional cleanup then a rake would suffice. However, raking doesn’t usually get all of the leaves and debris and smaller leaf types can pass through the rake, rendering your efforts useless. You also can’t really use a rake on a hard surface such as a patio or deck. Still, it’s always an option if nothing else.
Agri-Fab 45-0218 | Push Lawn Sweeper — 26″
- Lightweight easy to push.
- Light enough to hang for storage.
- Hopper bag disconnects to empty.
- Push lawn sweeper with adjustable height settings.
- Easy way to pick up lawn clippings and leaves off lawn.
- Durable, lightweight poly construction.
- Includes 1 sweeper and bag.
- 25 pounds; 7-cubic-foot capacity; 26 inches wide; 3-year warranty.
This lawn sweeper offers a more efficient option to raking up leaves, lawn clippings, and moderate debris for easier clean up in a lightweight, user-friendly model. It folds up compactly and is lightweight enough that it can even be stored hanging up on the wall of a shed. It has multiple height adjustment options to pick up and collect loose leaves and debris in the 7-cubic foot vinyl bag. The bag can detach for easy dumping.
When choosing the right yard vacuum, ensure that you weigh all of the relevant features based on the size and composition of your yard. It isn’t all about finding a cheap yard vacuum; it’s about getting the right tool for the job and there are many options to choose from. One of the primary advantages of owning a yard vacuum is the convenience and efficiency it offers over raking. Simply put, the purpose is to make the job easier on you and as such the model you choose should be one that is easy to operate and manage.