The fall months come with a lot of perks: cooler temperatures, cozy nights in, and beautiful changing colors in the treetops. However, autumn also brings with it a bunch of fallen leaves in the yard which, if left in large quantities, can damage your lawn and inhibit grass growth next spring. Instead of getting out a rake and putting in hours of work to manage the leaves in your yard, we recommend buying a durable and lightweight leaf vacuum.
The best leaf vacuums typically work as both a leaf blower and a vacuum, so you can use them to push leaves around your yard or suck them away entirely.
“When considering a leaf vacuum, look for one with dual purpose blower and vacuum capability so the leaves can be blown into a large pile before being vacuumed and mulched,” says Dan Vessell, product manager at Husqvarna. He also recommends opting for a large vacuum bag size to spend less time unloading leaves.
Our top pick of the best leaf vacuums is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Blower Vacuum and Leaf Collection System. This model has a flexible, extendable hose that expands to a length of 16 feet, so you can get into those hard-to-reach areas of the yard more easily.
Here are the best leaf vacuums.
Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum
Why You Should Get It: It’s a blower, vacuum, and mulcher all in one machine.
Keep in Mind: This device is very loud and shrill when operating.
With all the appliances on the market to care for your lawn and garden, it’s always convenient to find a product that can tackle several tasks and save space in your storage shed. That’s one of many reasons why we chose the Toro UltraPlus Blower Vacuum and Leaf Collection System as the best overall leaf vacuum. Its multipurpose design allows it to function as a leaf blower, vacuum, and mulcher in one convenient machine.
It sports an eight-foot hose that expands to double its size, enabling you to reach into tough-to-access corners of your yard and like your garden, under the deck, and more. It’s a corded model, so there’s no running against the clock to finish your chores before the battery dies. If you have a long extension cord, you’ll be able to use it to clean even large outdoor areas with ease.
At just 8.9 pounds, this tool won’t weigh you down or be a burden to operate when carrying or cleaning up. It comes with a bottom-zip bag that attaches and detaches to the machine, so you can easily transition it from a leaf vacuum to a blower whenever you’d like. If you want to provide extra nutrition to your lawn or flower beds, you can use this leaf blower as a mulcher, too.
Like most leaf vacuums, this model is quite loud when operating. We recommend wearing earplugs when operating this device to avoid potentially damaging your hearing.
Price at time of publish: $144
- Weight: 8.9 pounds
- Power Source: Corded electric
- Maximum Air Volume: 410 CFM
- Maximum Air Speed: 250 mph
- Runtime: N/A
Greenworks 12-Amp Two-Speed Blower/Vacuum
Why You Should Get It: It can turn 10 bags’ worth of leaves into one bag of mulch.
Keep in Mind: It has a very short cord, so you’ll have to buy an extension cord to use it.
Homeowners who have a small yard or don’t plan to use a leaf vacuum often may not want to splurge for a top-of-the-line model that won’t get frequent use. When this is the case, we recommend the Greenworks 12-Amp Two-Speed Blower/Vacuum.
In addition to blowing leaves and vacuuming up lawn debris, this model can mulch leaves too, making it a versatile option that eliminates the need to buy multiple yard tools. It can turn 10 bags of leaves into one single jam-packed bag of mulch, and with a CFM of 375 cubic feet per minute, it’s powerful enough to quickly move or vacuum up debris.
The machine comes with a leaf bag with a convenient zipper for easy leaf removal once you’re done vacuuming. It effortlessly converts from blower to vacuum without having to use extra tools, and there are two speeds to choose from for better control over debris. This lightweight tool weighs just a little over nine pounds and offers almost no vibration, so it’s comfortable to use without any fatigue. Plus, the company also offers a four-year warranty on this product.
This corded electric model is the best leaf vacuum for anyone on a budget. However, you’ll need to buy a good outdoor extension cord to use with it, so keep that in mind when calculating overall costs.
Price at time of publish: $70
- Weight: 9.26 pounds
- Power Source: Corded electric
- Maximum Air Volume: 375 CFM
- Maximum Air Speed: 230 MPH
- Runtime: N/A
Billy Goat Self-Propelled KV Lawn and Litter Vacuum
Why You Should Get It: It’s capable of picking up leaves and litter in your yard including cans, bottles, and trash.
Keep in Mind: It’s quite heavy if you need to lift it into a trunk.
If your yard is covered in sticks, dense leaf cover, and other debris that needs removal, the Billy Goat Self-propelled KV Lawn and Litter Lawn Vacuum is perfect for tackling large jobs. This walk-behind machine is the best leaf vacuum for anyone undertaking a garden overhaul or renovation thanks to its powerful operation and large 40-bushel leaf collection bag.
The vacuum can propel itself forward at a speed of 2.7 mph, and it works similar to a lawn mower, so there’s no heavy lifting involved in keeping your yard clean. However, if you need to transport this leaf vacuum to a different location, it’ll be quite heavy to lift into the bed of a truck or back of a car.
In addition to tackling organic debris, the Billy Goat Self-Propelled KV Lawn and Litter Vacuum can effortlessly suck up trash like cans, bottles, and more. This is because it features a five-blade serrated impeller to break down everything it sucks up, making it easy to dispose of litter of any kind in your yard.
The engine provides a powerful suction of up to 1700 CFM at 3550 RPM, and its gas engine means that you won’t have to worry about staying near an electrical outlet or running out of battery.
Price at time of publish: $1,549
- Weight: 131.7 pounds
- Power Source: Gas
- Maximum Air Volume: 1,700 CFM
- Maximum Air Speed: N/A
- Runtime: N/A
Stihl SH 86 C-E Gas Handheld Blower/Mulcher/Vac
Why You Should Get It: It has an ergonomic design and anti-vibration technology for smooth and comfortable operation.
Keep in Mind: Gas tools have more maintenance demands and costs in the long term
The best gas leaf blowers offer a more powerful operation, higher CFM, and longer runtime than electric or battery-powered models. The Stihl SH 86 C-E Gas Handheld Blower/Mulcher/Vac combo is a very efficient tool for keeping your yard spotless, thanks to its airspeed of 169 miles per hour and CFM of 444 cubic feet per minute. It comes with everything you need to clean up leaves, small twigs, and other trash from your garden, including a leaf collection bag and a shredder.
It easily converts from a blower to a vacuum to a mulcher, so you won’t have to buy separate machines to keep your yard clean or spend a lot of time switching out parts. To make yard work as comfortable as possible, this machine has ergonomic soft-grip handles and anti-vibration technology for less user fatigue.
Everything this leaf vacuum collects goes into a zip bag that’s easy to open, remove, and re-attach, and there’s also a shoulder strap making it even easier to hold and carry this machine around. A stop switch is attached to the handle so if you need to pause for a moment, you won’t need to re-throttle. It also has a reusable and washable air filter.
As is the case with most gas-powered yard tools, the Stihl SH 86 C-E Gas Handheld Blower/Mulcher/Vac combo is quite loud compared to an electric leaf vacuum. It will also require more maintenance than an electric model, and you’ll need to buy gas to power it.
Price at time of publish: $330
- Weight: 12.3 pounds
- Power Source: Gas
- Maximum Air Volume (CFM): 444 CFM
- Maximum Air Speed (mph): 170 MPH
- Runtime: Unlimited
Greenworks 40V 185 MPH Variable Speed Cordless Blower Vacuum
Why You Should Get It: It has six different air speeds and lightweight design for powerful yet comfortable operation.
Keep in Mind: The battery only lasts 21 minutes, so a backup battery is advised for larger yards.
At only 5.6 pounds, the Greenworks 40V Brushless Cordless Blower/Vacuum is ideal for whizzing around the garden picking up leaves and debris with ease. With a CFM of 340 and air speed of 185 miles per hour, it’s strong enough to make quick work of your yard work while remaining easy to control.
Its 21-minute battery life is perfect for tackling most small to medium-sized yards, but if you want to use it for longer than that, you can buy an extra battery pack to swap out halfway through your yard work. All batteries in the Greenworks 40V line are interchangeable, so if you already have any cordless Greenworks tools, you’re good to go.
Features include a seamless and easy transition between blowing and vacuuming modes, and a soft grip handle that make this tool comfortable to use. We also like its variable speed dial with six speed settings, which makes it easy to control where the leaves end up when using it as a leaf blower. It also has a long-life brushless motor that’ll last through multiple seasons.
The tool comes with the vacuum bag, one 40V battery, and its charger, and there’s a three year tool and battery warranty to boot. Just keep in mind that its shorter battery life makes it less suitable for large yards since you will need to swap out the batteries or recharge frequently.
Price at time of publish: $244
- Weight: 5.6 pounds
- Power Source: Battery powered
- Maximum Air Volume: 340 CFM
- Maximum Air Speed: 185 MPH
- Runtime: 21 minutes
BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 VACPACK Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum and Mulcher
Why You Should Get It: The leaf collection bag has backpack straps for easy carrying.
Keep in Mind: It’s quite loud and can feel heavy after using it for long periods of time.
The Black + Decker Power Boost Blower/Vacuum Leaf Collection System is a must for those with smaller yards. Its power boost button amps up the suction for collecting wet leaves and heavier debris with ease. We like that the leaf bag has backpack straps, which helps distribute the weight across your back for easier carrying as it fills up and gets heavier. What’s more, this unit comes with mulching capabilities and an extra-long hose for more control.
The tool requires very little assembly and is really easy to use. Its flexible tube makes it a breeze to get into the corners of your yard and other hard-to-reach areas like under the porch or into garden beds. The leaf bag—which simply rolls and clips into place when not in use—has a wide opening for easy emptying.
At 16 pounds, this leaf vacuum is a bit heavy, so you may notice your arms starting to fatigue if you have to use it for long periods of time. It’s also a little on the loud side at 75 decibels on its lowest setting.
Price at time of publish: $89
- Weight: 16.05 pounds
- Power Source: Corded electric
- Maximum Air Volume: 400 CFM
- Maximum Air Speed: 250 MPH
- Runtime: Unlimited
Husqvarna 125BVX 28-cc 2-Cycle Gas Handheld Leaf Blower
Why You Should Get It: It can turn 16 bags of leaves into just one bag of mulch.
Keep in Mind: You need a screwdriver to switch attachments out.
Whether you want to add mulch to your lawn as fertilizer or you need to minimize the number of leaf bags you go through, the best leaf vacuums will have mulching capabilities to lend a hand. The Husqvarna Handheld Leaf Blower/Vacuum has a 16-to-one mulching ratio, meaning it transforms 16 bags’ worth of leaves into just one, saving you space and trips to the trash can.
With both vacuuming and leaf-blowing capabilities, the Husqvarna Handheld Blower/Vacuum has a maximum air speed of 170 miles per hour and a CFM of 425, meaning it’s powerful enough to tackle regular yard maintenance and big tasks alike. The machine’s collection bag has an adjustable strap that can be worn over your shoulder, alleviating the weight of heavy garden debris from your arms. This enables you to use it for a longer amount of time.
We also like that this machine has a smart stop and start button, resets the switch every time you turn it off for easier start-ups next time. It features cruise control and variable speed settings, so you can increase or decrease the power for better precision over where leaves end up.
Switching between attachments isn’t the easiest on this device, and you’ll need to have a screwdriver on hand to do so. If you plan on swapping out attachments frequently, keep this in mind.
Price at time of publish: $229
- Weight: 9.6 pounds
- Power Source: Gas powered
- Maximum Air Volume (CFM): 425
- Maximum Air Speed (mph): 170
- Runtime: Unlimited
Ryobi 40V Vac Attack Cordless Leaf Vacuum/Mulcher
Why You Should Get It: It has handy wheels at the bottom that allow you to push it along the ground instead of carrying it.
Keep in Mind: It doesn’t work as a leaf blower.
The Ryobi 40-Volt Vac Attack Cordless Leaf Vacuum/Mulcher is one of the most user-friendly leaf vacuums on the market. With mulching and vacuuming capabilities, variable speed settings, and adjustable front wheels, you’ll be able to quickly clean up your yard with minimal hassle.
It has a 16 to one mulching ratio, which reduces 16 bags of full-sized leaves into one bag of mulch. However, our favorite features are the two wheels at the hose’s base, which make it easy to roll the machine along the ground and suck up leaves. This means that very little weight is left for you to carry.
Despite its lightweight design, you won’t sacrifice vacuuming power; the Ryobi 40V Vac Attack has a CFM of 300 and an air speed of 75 miles per hour. This machine has a rugged metal impeller that can shred up leaves and small twigs, and it collects them in the included heavy-duty bag. It’s also battery powered, meaning you won’t need to find a nearby outlet to get to work.
To empty, simply unzip the vacuum bag and dispose of the clippings, or spread them around the lawn as fertilizer. Once you’re finished cleaning up, the vacuum simply folds up into a compact size for easy storage.
Keep in mind that this machine doesn’t have leaf blowing capabilities, so you will need to buy a separate appliance if that’s an important feature to you.
Price at time of publish: $195
- Weight: 12.7 pounds
- Power Source: Battery powered
- Maximum Air Volume (CFM): 300
- Maximum Air Speed (mph): 75
- Runtime: 23 minutes
The Bottom Line
At just 8.9 pounds, the lightweight Toro UltraPlus Blower Vacuum and Leaf Collection System is our top pick out of all the best leaf vacuums. It has powerful blower and suction settings, and its extendable hose can stretch to 16 feet which allows you to reach even the trickiest areas of your yard. Plus, it comes with a removable leaf collection bag that is simple to empty and reattach.
What to Know About Leaf Vacuums Before Shopping
When shopping for the best leaf vacuums, you will want to consider how large your yard is before selecting the most ideal model. If you have a small yard, you may not need the power (and heftiness) of a large gas-powered model, while someone with a big backyard probably won’t benefit from a device with a short battery life.
“Corded leaf vacuums are great for small yards and townhomes where cord length and gauge requirement are not an issue,” Baker says. “[If your yard is] one-quarter to one-third of an acre, that is when the cordless units come into play…[which offer] ultimate versatility and low noise without the smell of gas.”
Bigger yards or those with a lot of tree cover will likely need a more powerful leaf vacuum, such as a gas-powered model. Vessell adds that leaf vacuums with mulching capabilities are great for yards with a lot of trees. “Mulching reduces the size of the leaves and more will fit into the vac bag,” Vessell says.
The best leaf vacuums can weigh anywhere from five to 30 pounds, and walk-behind leaf vacuums can sometimes weigh over 120 pounds. Opting for a lighter model will help the user stay comfortable while carrying it around for a longer amount of time. The heaviest handheld model on our list of the best leaf vacuums is just 16 pounds, which allows you to suck up leaves or mulch debris without fatiguing.
“Keep weight in mind when making a decision, since the product weight will increase when leaves are added to the bag,” Vessell says. “A harness can help reduce the added weight.”
The best leaf vacuums are available in several different power sources including gas-powered, electric, and battery-operated models. Cordless battery powered leaf vacuums are often considered the best leaf vacuums for homeowners with medium-sized gardens. This is because they offer decent air speed without the gas fumes, and you aren’t limited by a power cord.
“The power source really depends on the consumer preference,” Vessell says, “but cordless is the preferred option due to the increase mobility versus a corded option.”
Owners with larger yards would likely be better suited to a gas option, since the runtime of a battery-powered model might not be enough to get the job done in one go.
Maximum Air Volume (CFM)
The maximum air volume of a leaf blower/vacuum is measured in cubic feet per minute and refers to the air volume that is expelled or sucked from the leaf blower’s nozzle in 60 seconds. A leaf blower/vacuum with an 100 CFM rating will expel/suck up 100 cubic feet of air in one minute.
Simply put, the higher the CFM a tool has, the stronger it is. In general, the best leaf vacuums will have a CFM of somewhere around 300 to 500, with the more powerful models being better suited for large yards and lots of leaves. “CFM is the key measurement in vacuum mode, as this is the area of debris it can vacuum up per minute,” Baker says.
Maximum Air Speed (mph)
According to Baker, it’s important to have a high CFM and maximum airspeed in order to quickly deal with leaves and debris in the yard. The maximum air speed of a leaf vacuum refers to the rate at which air goes through the tool’s nozzle. We recommend shopping for models that have an air speed rating of around 150 to 190 miles per hour for residential use.
A corded leaf vacuum can provide unlimited runtime. If you like the flexibility this can provide but have a smaller garden, a good outdoor extension cord will be necessary. Gas-powered leaf vacuums, similarly, can run as long as the gas has been topped up. Many can go for around an hour without needing more fuel.
Cordless battery powered leaf blowers typically only have around a 20- to 30-minute runtime. Having a spare battery on hand allows you to swap one out when the battery dies, allowing you extra time to complete your yard chores.
The best leaf vacuums will make it easy to deal with multiple types of yard chores so you only have to keep one appliance in your garage instead of several. Most leaf vacuums are also leaf blowers, meaning you will have a two-in-one tool that can suck up the leaves and blow them out of gutters, pavement cracks, or flower beds. We also recommend considering a leaf vacuum with mulching capabilities.
“A mulching function will increase the leaf capacity of the vac bag,” Vessell says. Baker adds that the mulch ratio is also an important factor, as this is the amount of leaves the unit can mulch and reduce the volume of debris.
Vessell also recommends looking for a few important features that will make your leaf vacuum even easier to use:
“Cruise control is also handy so that the user doesn’t have to hold the throttle while performing the task,” Vessell says. He suggests looking for adjustable tube length to adapt to the user’s height for comfort and to reduce fatigue, and a harness to reduce the weight while using the vacuum function.
Your Questions, Answered
Are leaf vacuums worth it?
The best leaf vacuums make it easy to keep your yard tidy and your lawn looking healthy by providing a variety of helpful functions. Most commonly used in the fall, these devices will often work as a blower for making leaf piles, a vacuum for sucking up and disposing of leaves, and as a mulcher to shred debris.
While leaf vacuums can be expensive, depending on your yard size, you may not need to splurge for the highest-powered model on the market. If you only need a leaf vacuum a few times a year, we recommend shopping the Greenworks 12-Amp Two-Speed Leaf Blower/Vacuum, which is a budget-friendly device that doesn’t sacrifice power.
How do you clean out a leaf vacuum?
Before you begin to clean out leaf vacuum, make sure the device is not plugged in or running. Then, remove the vacuum tube and hold open the impeller door to remove any leftover debris from the impeller, checking the mulching blades for damage. If they are damaged, you will need to replace them.
After that, check the vacuum tube for debris and remove if present. Ensure that all debris is removed from the vacuum bag, and use the blower function to clean off any residual dust. It’s also good to check for any rips or tears in the bag and to make sure the zipper is working properly.
“If the zipper becomes hard to use,” Vessell says, “it may have built up debris between the teeth, so adding lubrication will clean the zipper and correct the usability.”
Are leaf vacuums loud?
Using a leaf blower can be quite noisy, but it depends on the model you choose. Gas powered leaf vacuums tend to be the loudest, with cordless and corded electric models running much more quietly. However, in both cases we recommend using hearing protection to avoid damaging your hearing.
Who We Are
This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over ten years of commerce writing experience. Kat is also the commerce editor-at-large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, Kat reviewed the best leaf vacuums and researched important features such as the product’s power source, runtime, noise level, weight, maximum air volume, and speed. She also spoke to Dan Vessell, the Product Manager at Husqvarna, and Stephen Baker, the Senior Category Manager at Greenworks.