These handheld devices require minimal effort and can totally change the look of your garden from soiled and messy to clean and tidy in the space of a few minutes.
So, what actually are they? Garden vacuums and blowers both do the same job, albeit in a parallel way. Leaf blowers propel air outwards, to physically blow leaves into a pile in your garden. A vacuum will suck the leaves into a collection bag, which will need to be emptied intermittently.
Vacuums tend to be a little more convenient, given they collect the waste into a collection bag that can be emptied into your green bin or compost pile. But really it depends on your specific requirements – and nowadays, most units will do both.
Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
When looking for a model suited to your outdoor space it’s important to consider a number of factors. The most important elements we’ve considered in this guide are: the size of the motor (how powerful is the unit?), the size of the collection bag (how often does it need emptying?), the weight of the product (will my arm drop off when using it?), and of course the cost.
Our best pick garden vacuum with a powerful 3000W motor
Our best yard vacuum is the Handy 3000W machine, a mid-priced but surprisingly powerful unit for leaves, grass, pine needles – anything! The power is variable, so you’ll always have full control depending on your needs.
This unit triples up as a blower, vacuum and shredder – with a simple flick-switch mechanism to move between the different capabilities.
It has 10 metres of cable, a convenient shoulder strap and weighing in at just under 5kg, this machine is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre around your garden. For huge spaces, you might need an extension cable, but small to medium gardens can be handled with ease.
There’s also a built-in wheel system to support the nozzle on flat, hard surfaces, should you need it. It’s usually recommended you use this when operating the unit at its maximum settings.
It has to be said that the shredding function used in conjunction with the vacuum is pretty ineffective, so you might want to make plans for shredding leaves separately if this is an important function for you.
All in all – a top garden unit at a reasonable price-point!
- Suction is incredibly powerful (almost too good!) on the higher settings, though it can still be easily controlled.
- Can be easily assembled in less than 10 minutes.
- Removing the collection bag can be fiddly at times – and the zip opening could definitely be larger.
- It’s best to only use this unit during dry weather. Wet spells are not conducive to peak performance!
A simple (but effective) low-cost unit for those with very basic requirements
The Q Garden 2500 is a dependable unit that is ideal for simple applications, like blowing or collecting leaves in small-sized gardens. It is not the go-to unit if you have more complex requirements – in which case you should opt for something a little more durable.
At 2500W it still packs a punch despite its comparatively low price tag. Like our top pick, the user can switch between vacuum and blower by using the simple flick mechanism towards the head of the machine.
At 45L, the collection bag is as large – if not larger – than most other options on the market. Meaning you’ll need to empty this unit less frequently than others. The 10M cable is par for the course with any garden equipment and should be more than adequate for most uses.
In terms of the negatives, we definitely felt that the nozzle on the vacuum could be longer. It’s probably not great if you suffer from a bad back and taller users will need to arch their back to get the most out of the unit. It’s also surprisingly noisy, so best not to use it first thing on a morning or too late at night. But for the price, we really can’t complain too much!
- Comes with a powerful 2500W motor.
- Low-cost and dependable despite the price.
- The mulcher that works with the vacuum is very effective at reducing a high quantity of leaves into a compact space.
- Not the most durable and not suited for intensive applications.
- The nozzle should be a little longer or come with an extension – beware ‘bad-back’ users!
- We know it’s only aesthetics but the green and black unit doesn’t look as stylish as some of the other products available.
- It’s surprisingly noisy!
Variable settings – ideal for any application on large gardens, lawns, patios & driveways
Any user who knows their gardening equipment will know that the Bosch brand is a signal of quality and durability. Their signature garden blower and vacuum is befitting of that label and is manufactured to a very high standard.
The blowing and sucking speeds are variable, meaning this machine is ideal if you have multiple requirements from your unit. The high-force blowing speed of up to 300km/hr means this model can even be used under wet conditions with fantastic results.
The ALS 2500 includes a shredding and mulching capability – as well as 45L capacity – so this is the ideal unit if you plan on making use of your garden foliage on a compost heap. Leaves will be reduced down in size at a ratio of 10:1, meaning you can hoover plenty before needing to empty the
At just 3.2kg (in blower mode) this is the lightest unit we’ve come across and perfect if you’re less mobile around the garden than you used to be! There is a padded shoulder strap and adjustable handle included too, making this by far the best garden vacuum for manoeuvrability.
The unit can be taken apart for easy storage and assembling after purchase is incredibly straight-forward. Bear in mind that use during wetter days can cause the tube to become blocked, so we’d advise using during dry conditions where possible.
- Incredibly lightweight and easy to carry.
- Highly effective mulching tool reduces leaves at a ratio of 10:1.
- Can be used during wet conditions, albeit with reduced effectiveness.
- It’s durable – with a longer lifespan than some of the cheaper options on the market.
- As it is so lightweight, it can feel a little flimsy – and you must be careful to store it safely so it doesn’t become damaged.
- One of the more expensive models in the UK.
High power and low cost – definitely one to consider
The first thing we noticed with this machine was at 3000W, the VonHaus has an incredibly powerful motor at a surprisingly low cost. As with the other units in our list, this hybrid blower/vacuum comes with a built-in mulching function, so you’re effectively gaining three devices in one.
The unit usually arrives in a surprisingly compact box, with three main pieces that will need assembling. This can be more tedious than it looks but should take no longer than 5 minutes to get yourself up and running.
It has front-wheels attached to the head of the blower, but at just 3.5kg you probably won’t need these unless the collection bag is full to capacity. Speaking of the collection bag, this is one of the more disappointing features of the VonHaus – at just 35L it is fairly underwhelming, but no reason not to opt for this unit depending on your needs.
The built-in mulcher is not always that effective and will usually struggle with tougher leaves. This can sometimes lead to blockages which can be frustrating when you’re on a roll.
Aside from that, we feel that this is an impressive addition to your garden equipment – and one that won’t break the bank! The 2-year warranty as standard is a welcome bonus to safeguard against any future issues.
- The high-performance motor is amongst the most powerful available.
- Low cost but still includes all of the core features you’d look for in a garden vacuum.
- A padded strap and wheels fixed to the front of the unit allow for ease of use.
- Includes a 2-year product warranty.
- The mulcher is fairly ineffective and as such, the collection bag fills quickly.
- At only 35L, the collection bag is paltry in size. Prepare to empty this regularly.
Best if you’re looking for a garden vacuum with powerful mulching capabilities, but it has low suction speeds
Flymo offers a range of leaf blowing units, but this is by far the most powerful. With a blow speed of 310km/hour, it’s nearly 100km/hour faster than their next best unit.
With that being said, the suction capacity leaves a lot to be desired – and you might be best looking elsewhere if this is going to be the primary application of your new unit.
The main feature of this unit is its ferocious shredding capabilities. A powerful 16:1 shredding ratio can help to compact a huge amount of garden debris into the smallest of areas. With 45 litres of capacity in the collection bag, this unit is ideal for larger gardens where you don’t want to have to empty the unit every 2 minutes.
The 12M cable length is more than ample and useful if your garden is on the larger side, though the unit is a few kilograms heavier than we might have liked.
The Power Vac 3000 can be purchased with protective glasses which we would strongly recommend if you don’t already have any – debris can easily get into your eyes when blown around at such ferocious speeds.
As with all garden vacuums, we’d advise to only use the vacuuming function on this machine in dry conditions!
- Probably the best mulching capabilities of all the units we’ve rated.
- Excellent blowing speeds – will not struggle with any debris, even in wet conditions.
- This is a durable product and though more expensive than some lesser known brands, sometimes it pays off to buy a brand you recognise.
- 45L collection bag is just the right amount to avoid the unit getting too heavy.
- Easy to assemble and take apart when finished.
- Slow suction capacity can be frustrating – we’d advise looking elsewhere if you intend on using this mainly to vacuum.
How To Use A Garden Vacuum Effectively
The easiest way to use a garden vacuum is to treat it in the same way as you would an indoor vacuum. By moving meticulously round your garden – from front to back – covering all areas as you go.
Just like an indoor vac, you’ll want to avoid the bigger items in your garden that risk blocking the machine. This includes larger branches and rocks, which the in-built mulcher will find difficult to break down.
For those lucky enough to have a compost pile at home, get yourself a vacuum with a decent mulcher and two will work hand-in-hand like yin and yang.
Of course, you might not care to pick up all the debris in your garden – in which case you’d be better off using the blower function. This will allow you to move garden waste into the street or adjoining fields without needing to meticulously suck up every last leaf.
It’s easy to become obsessed with clearing every little bit of debris from your garden, so it’s important to remember that your garden is always in flux and an ever-changing landscape. Clearing the garden today will probably mean it’s covered again tomorrow (especially in Autumn) so try not to take it too seriously.
If you are using a blower, use protective glasses as tiny bits of debris can be blown into your eye. It’s painful, dangerous and simply not worth the risk.