Woman dispersing with leaf blower

Get blown away by leaf blowers and garden vacuums with this buyer's guide

Published 28th December 2022
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Leaf blowers and garden vacuums are an essential tool for anyone with a garden. Whether you’re a professional gardener or just looking to spruce up your backyard, these machines can blow away piles of leaves in seconds. They're much faster than using a garden rake on its own, and they can be used for other chores, like blowing snow off of a driveway or pushing dirt off the top of a car roof.

But with so many different types of leaf blowers and garden vacuums available on the market today, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on the different types of leaf blowers and garden vacuums so you can make an informed decision when buying.

Types of leaf blowers

There are three main types of leaf blowers: corded electric, cordless electric and petrol powered.

Corded electric leaf blowers

Electric leaf blowers are ideal for average-sized gardens. They can tackle large areas and they're relatively quiet, making them a good choice for residential areas where noise is a concern. They also typically cost less than other types of blowers, making them a great choice for budget-conscious shoppers.

The downside to this type of leaf blower is that it always needs to be plugged into an electrical mains. This can make it hard to reach all areas of a large garden. But you can extend their range with an outdoor extension lead.

Cordless leaf blowers

Cordless leaf blowers are becoming very popular due to their convenience and portability. Because they're powered from rechargeable power tool batteries, they're much easier to use in tight spaces or around obstacles like trees and fences.

Cordless leaf blowers are often the quietest type of leaf blower around. However, they typically don’t have as much power as electric or gas models, so they may not be effective at blowing away heavier debris like stones or snow. The other issue is that a cordless model will run for only 15 minutes on average from a full charge. They're best for small gardens and patios and are not suited to big gardens or professional use.

Petrol leaf blowers

Petrol powered leaf blowers are often the most powerful leaf blowers on the market. They're powered by a small two-stroke petrol engine like the ones found in a petrol powered lawn mower. They usually come with larger air volume ratings which makes them better suited for moving heavier debris over longer distances. For this reason they're one of the best types of leaf blowers for professionals.

However, petrol powered leaf blowers also tend to be louder than other types of leaf blowers and produce exhaust fumes, which might upset your neighbours. You definitely should wear ear protection when using this type of leaf blower.

Additionally, these models usually require more maintenance than electric or battery powered models as their motors need to be cleaned. And because of the more complicated moving parts they tend to be the most expensive kind of leaf blower (as well as being quite heavy). They're great for professional but might be overkill for smaller gardens.

Garden vacuums

A garden vacuum is exactly what it sounds like - a vacuum cleaner for your garden! They have large hoses and big bags to suck up piles of leaves and other garden debris for composting or throwing away.

Since a garden vacuum cleaner is basically a leaf blower in reverse, many leaf blowers have a garden vacuum mode. At the flip of a switch your machine goes from blowing to sucking, making it even easier to clean your garden. This feature is most common in corded electric vacuum cleaners.

Best leaf blower brands

Once you know what kind of leaf blower is best for your garden, it's time to choose your brand. Many of the big DIY and garden power tools brands make their own leaf blowers. Here's a selection of some of the most popular:

How to use your leaf blower

Once you’ve chosen the right type of leaf blower, it’s time to get to work! It's important to familiarise yourself with the safety instructions before beginning: Read the owner’s manual and make sure you understand how to safely operate the machine.

Wearing protective gear is highly recommended. Most leaf blowers are loud enough to require ear protection to guard your hearing. They can also blow up grit, twigs and dust at high speed along with leaves, so it's a good idea to wear safety goggles and dust masks when operating yours.

Before starting the engine or turning on the power switch, check that all parts are securely in place to ensure safe operation. This includes checking that all nuts and bolts are tight, that all moving parts are lubricated properly, and that there is no visible damage or wear on any parts.

When ready to begin work, start by setting up your work area properly. Make sure all cords are clear of pathways and anything else that could be damaged by blowing debris or by the exhaust fumes from the engine or motor.

Now you’re ready to begin work with your leaf blower! Start from one end of your work area and slowly move forward in an overlapping pattern so that no area is missed during the blowing process. Aiming too close to surfaces can cause damage from blowing debris so keep a distance of at least two feet away from any surface when possible during operation.

When finished using your leaf blower for the day, always turn off the engine or power switch first before unplugging it or storing it away in its designated spot. Be sure to clean out any debris collected within the air intake filter regularly as well as empty any collection bags attached to it - otherwise your leaf blower won't work as well next time!

Leaf blower FAQs

Are leaf blowers and garden vacuums safe to use?

Yes, as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions and wear proper protective equipment, leaf blowers are safe to use.

Can I use a leaf blower or garden vacuum indoors indoors?

No, it is not recommended that you use either of these devices indoors due to safety reasons.

What kind of debris can I pick up with a garden vacuum cleaner?

Garden vacuums are designed for collecting leaves, grass clippings, twigs and other small pieces of debris from your lawn or garden area. Picking up stones or gravel with a garden vacuum cleaner is not recommended, as they can damage the internal components.

Does my leaf blower come with attachments?

Some leaf blower models may come with attachments for special tasks like mulching leaves or cleaning gutters. Before buying you can check the product description to see if these are included. You may be able to buy leaf blower attachments and other parts separately, depending on the model.

Can I use my leaf blower or garden vacuum in wet weather?

No, you should not use your leaf blower while it is raining, as most models are not waterproof and may be damaged if exposed to rain. Also, garden vacuums may be damaged by sucking up wet leaves, so it's best to allow leaves to dry before vacuuming them.

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