The 5 Best Leaf Vacuum Mulchers

A collection of the best leaf vacuum mulchers and best blower vacs.

Yard cleanups are never fun, they’re one of the most tedious yard work tasks you have as a homeowner. Worst of all without the right gear, they can take more than a day to finish.

Even after you rake or blow your leaves into a pile you still have the time-consuming job of bagging them. Fortunately, the best leaf vacuums are designed to speed up your yard cleanup. In this article, we’ll help you find the right one to make leaf and debris removal easy.

Here is a list of the leaf vacuums that I will be reviewing:

Overall Best Leaf Vacuum: Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum
Best Electric Leaf Vacuum: Black & Decker BV6000 3-in-1 Electric Blower & Mulcher
Best Cordless Leaf Vacuum: Greenworks DigiPro Cordless Leaf Blower/Vacuum
Best Gas Leaf Vacuum: Husqvarna 125BVx, 28cc 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Blower/Vacuum
Best for Small Yards and Patios: Black & Decker LSWV36 Lithium Blower/Vacuum

How we Chose the Best Leaf Vacuums

To find the best leaf vacuums for the money, we searched the market and took professional and customer reviews into account. We used specifications like the air volume, airspeed, and the mulch ratio when available to gauge the performance of each model. By evaluating the capability of each product, we were able to find the models that offered the most power and versatility as a blower and vacuum.
 
Beyond performance, we also assessed the ergonomics, durability, ease of use when building our list. The result is a list of machines that are capable of providing the easiest and most efficient yard care.

Reviews of the Top Leaf Blower Vacuums

Toro has an impressive line of leaf blower vacuums. Packing some serious power, the 51621 UltraPlus is the most impressive model in that lineup. Designed for versatility and ease of use, It has enough power to quickly clear leaves and from average-sized yards.

As a blower, the UltraPlus can reach a max airspeed of 260 MPH and an air volume of 340 CFM. That’s some seriously high-performance power, and it performs just as well when vacuuming with air volumes of up to 405 CFM.

A quick-release latch lets you easily convert from blowing mode to vacuum without the need for any extra tools.

Where this blower vac really outpaces any of the competition is with its insane mulching capability. With its metal impeller and shred ring, this beast has a leaf reduction rate of 97%. That kind of mulching rate is unreal and will mean way fewer bags for your yard cleanup. The vacuum bag also features a bottom dump zipper, which saves loads of time since you don’t need to unfasten it to empty.

The UltraPlus is incredibly easy to use thanks to some great design choices, including its oversized handle shape. A variable speed knob makes adjusting airspeed easy in blowing and vacuuming modes. That added control makes it easier to get the exact right amount of power for the task at hand. It also includes many attachments. An oscillating nozzle for example that makes clearing hard surfaces even faster.

Another nice feature is the inclusion of a cord lock system that prevents accidental unplugging during use. Another welcome inclusion is the addition of an extension cord hook to store your cord after use. Also, how the various components can be easily stored in the durable vacuum bag.

Pros:
  • A high-performance leaf blower and powerful leaf vacuum.
  • Incredible mulching capability.
  • The oversized handle and oscillating nozzle reduce strain on the wrist.
  • Very easy to change modes.
Cons:
  • The shoulder strap for the bag runs large, if you’re short and thin you may want to consider a new strap.

A powerful and versatile machine, the Black & Decker BV6000 3-in-1 is a high-performance leaf vacuum mulcher at a reasonable price.

The BV6000 is a powerful leaf blower capable of airspeeds of 250 MPH. This high power performance makes the time-consuming task of gathering leaves, grass clippings, or other debris into a pile fast and easy.

Where this model really shines is its powerful vacuuming and mulching capabilities. When in its vacuum setting, it performs way above its weight class and doesn’t struggle to pick up wet or heavy leaves. It has two different speed selections than can easily be swapped between with a well-placed switch. The lower of these settings is perfect for work around flower beds or any other edges.

This machine will save you plenty of bags with its powerful mulching capabilities. It’s able to reduce up to 16 bags worth of mulch down to one. It’s also won’t clog while mulching thanks to a high impact metal fan. It also features a reusable leaf bag that’s easy to empty, saving you valuable time. A detachable shoulder strap makes it easier to handle the extra weight of the leaf bag.

Changing between vacuum and blower modes is easy to do thanks to a tool-free system. Switching between modes takes only a few seconds.

With a powerful 250 mph blower and impressive vacuum capability, the Black & Decker BV6000 makes dealing with leaves a breeze.

Pros:
  • A high-power blower and vacuum with impressive mulching capability.
  • Shoulder strap adjustable and comfortable.
  • Quick and simple to switch between blowing and vacuuming. 
Cons:
  • A little heavy.
  • Has some trouble with acorns.

Battery-powered cordless blower vacs are some of the most convenient options available. They remove the need to fumble around with extension cords or worry about gas and maintenance. They offer the same freedom of movement and as gas engine tools without the added hassle.

When it comes to cordless tools, Greenworks is one of the best companies out there. The 40V DigiPro Blower/Vac is a good demonstration of why with the high power, performance, versatility, and long run time needed to get the job done. This leaf blower vacuum is one of the most powerful and reliable cordless blower vacs on the market.

Powered by a powerful brushless motor, this blower can reach wind speeds of 185 mph and 340 CFM. With that kind of power, it has the strength to handle wet leaves, no problem making yard cleanups easy.

That brushless motor uses less battery power than a traditional electric motor giving it longer battery life. It also produces less sound or vibration, which makes it more comfortable to use. With fewer moving parts, brushless motors also more durable, experiencing less routine wear and tear.

Switching between the blower and vacuum modes is easily done and doesn’t require any other tools.

This blower vac also features a variable speed dial with six settings. This lets you regulate the wind speed for the best directional control. It also has a turbo button for when you need extra power.

The battery can last up to 60 minutes of use which should be enough to handle most average sized yards on a single charge. For larger yards though, you would have to either invest in an extra battery. Otherwise, you may have to take a break while waiting for the battery to charge.

One thing to note if you own other tools by Greenworks is that this tool uses their 40V G-Max battery. It is not compatible with their older line of 40V batteries.

Pros:
  • A surprisingly powerful high-performance tool.
  • Handles wet leaves and yard debris with ease.
  • Great battery life
  • Durable construction and reliable performance.
Cons:
  • A tad more expensive than other cordless blower vacuums, likely due to its powerful brushless motor.

A gas-engine leaf blower vacuum gives you the kind of freedom of movement that an extension cord doesn’t allow you. Gas engine blowers are also the most powerful. This makes them the most well suited for heavy-duty work in large yards.

The Husqvarna 125BVx is a powerful gas engine blower. It has enough power to handle the most challenging debris and make short work of any yard cleanup. With a 28cc 2-stroke engine, this blower can generate wind speeds up to 170 miles per hour. That’s enough to blow away even the most stubborn yard waste.

When vacuuming it’s mulching knives are able reduces to reduce leaves at an impressive 16:1 mulching ratio. Meaning it can reduce up to 16 bags worth of leaves down to one. That means having to stop less often and using far fewer bags.

At just under 10 lbs, the 125BVx is heavier than any of the electric models on our list. But, it is lightweight for a gas-engine blower vac. It is ergonomically designed to be easy to handle and includes some solid features. One such feature is a smart start design that makes this blower vac easy to start with minimal effort.

The fan housing is designed to keep the air stream in line with the handle. This design is helpful because it reduces the rotational force on your wrist. This helps prevent sore joints during prolonged use.

It also features a variable speed throttle and cruise control setting. This makes it simple to adjust fan speed for easy handling.

Pros:
  • Excellent Ergonomics, including a comfortable harness and straps.
  • A highly responsive variable-speed trigger
  • Large gas tank for extended use
  • Durable construction with a heavy-duty frame and hose.
  • Adjustable hose length.
Cons:
  • Loud
  • Poor directions complicate a simple assembly.
  • It can take a few tries to start.

Another battery-powered leaf vacuum mulcher, the LSWV36 by Black & Decker is an easy to use lightweight option.

Designed for sweeping away and vacuuming debris, this blower is a perfect choice for blowing and vacuuming leaves from hard surfaces. If clearing leaves out of your garage or off of your patio is your primary concern, then this could be the best leaf vacuum for you.

At only 5.4 pounds, this blower is light enough that anyone can use it for extended periods without fatigue. It also features a comfortable soft-grip handle for comfort during use. With the ability to mulch at a 6:1 ratio, it can also substantially reduce the number of bags you need to use.

While more budget-friendly, the LSWV36 does not have the same amount of raw power as the Greenworks DigiPro leaf blower vacuum. It’s best suited for homeowners with small yards or use on hard surfaces like pool decks or patios.

One thing to note here is the fact that this leaf blower might not be the best option for clearing out wet leaves. It has no problem with debris and dry leaves but struggles to deal with wet leaves.

With that said if you have a small yard or a large patio, deck, or garage, then this is one of the best leaf blower vacs around. For more heavy-duty use, you would be better off looking elsewhere.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and comfortable to use means reduced strain and less fatigue.
  • Compact and easy to use.
Cons:
  • Struggles with compact heavy leaves.
  • Weaker blowing power makes is less useful for larger yards.

Buyer’s Guide for Choosing the Best Leaf Vacuum

Features to Consider

When you are picking out a leaf vacuum, there are a few common specifications and features. You should keep these in mind when making a selection.

Power Source

Like most leaf blowers and other home garden tools, a leaf vacuum can run off of a variety of power sources. Most commonly, they are electric, but gas engine leaf vacuums do exist. To discover what kind of the leaf blower mulcher would work best for you, consider the benefits and disadvantages of each:

Gas-Engine Leaf Vacuums

The benefits of a gas engine leaf blower are the increased power that the engine provides. These leaf blower vacuums offer high performance without limiting mobility the way the need for a power cord or battery life can. This makes them the most popular choice among professional landscapers. However, for homeowners, they can easily be more trouble than they are worth.

These leaf vacuum mulchers need constant maintenance to keep their engine functioning. This can become an annoyance if you only actually need the tool for limited use. The gas engine also makes these models of leaf vacuum mulchers much louder than electric models.

Additionally, these tools are also heavier than electric models thanks to the weight of the engine and the added weight of the gas. This makes them more cumbersome to use as well as more quickly leading to fatigue.

Electric Leaf Vacuums

Most of the best leaf vacuum mulchers are powered by electric motors rather than a gas engine. The most powerful of these models are powered by being plugged into an electrical outlet.

The need for an extension cord does limit the distance that they can be used from. For most homeowners, this won’t be a major issue, but it can be a hindrance if you own a large plot of land. Electric leaf vacuum mulchers are also usually less powerful than gas engine models.

Electric leaf vacuum mulchers are the most lightweight option and weigh only a few pounds. This makes them very easy to operate for as long as needed. These models are also much quieter than gas engine blowers and do not give off gas fumes. They are easily stored anywhere without fear of a gas or oil spill or scent.

Cordless Leaf Vacuums

Cordless vacuum leaf mulchers are powered with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. These battery-powered leaf vacuums offer the same freedom of movement that a gas engine does. But, without the disadvantages associated with gas engines.

Like corded models, these cordless leaf vacuums are also much quieter than gas engine models. They also do not need constant maintenance. Without the need to worry about maintenance, gas, or fumbling around with long extension cords, these models are among the most convenient and considered by some to be the best leaf vacuums.

With advances in lithium-ion batteries allowing for longer run time and more powerful motors, these models have become increasingly popular. These blower vacs are only slightly heavier than corded leaf blower vacuums. The extra weight coming from the added weight of their batteries.

The primary drawback that hinders them from being the best leaf vacuum blowers is limited battery life. For this reason, they are often less powerful to allow them to run for longer. But, some more powerful models use advanced brushless motor technology. These motors are able to balance the need for power and battery life.

Comfort

If your leaf vacuum is heavy or otherwise uncomfortable, it can make it difficult or straining to operate for extended periods of time.

Weight

The weight of a leaf vacuum is the most essential factor to consider when it comes to comfort. The heavier a mulcher is the more straining and tiring it will be to operate for an extended time. This is why this is especially important to consider if you have a large property. 

Some of the best leaf vacuum mulchers come with shoulder straps to help reduce arm strain. This makes them more comfortable to operate for longer.

Ergonomics

The best leaf vacuum mulchers are ergonomically designed to prevent fatigue and strain. Features like ergonomically designed handles make them more comfortable to operate.

Other ergonomic features to consider are the placement of and settings adjustments, and how easy they are to reach.

Ease of Changing Modes

Something to consider when choosing your leaf vacuum is how easy it is to switch between vacuuming and blowing. Some need special attachments that you need to swap between to switch from blowing and vacuuming modes.

Others require less effort, only needing a flip of a switch to change modes. If you are going to be swapping modes often, choose one that lets you do so easily. This will help to avoid unnecessary frustration.

Ease of Use

The best leaf vacuum mulchers are designed to be easy to operate. Anyone should be able to learn to use them quickly without much trouble.

Variable Speed Control

Another feature you should look out for is how easily the speed of the tool can be adjusted. This is important to preserve battery life as well as avoiding damaging your garden or sending small debris flying while blowing.

Most of the best leaf vacuum blowers will make it easy to regulate airspeed. Generally, higher speeds will eat battery life or fuel quicker. So, when a lower speed can get the job done just as well, you’re better off saving fuel.

Vacuuming and Blowing Power

One of the first things you’ll want to look at when evaluating a leaf vacuum is its power. Power can be measured both by the vacuuming power and blowing power. You should look at both. Most models also have different airspeeds and volumes when vacuuming and blowing.

As a general rule, the more powerful a leaf vacuum is, the quicker it will be at performing a job. More powerful models are also usually heavier and more expensive. You should consider how large your yard is to get an idea of how powerful the best leaf vacuum for you would be.

Measuring Airspeed and Intake

The power of a leaf vacuum can be determined by looking at a combination of its air intake and speed. Air intake is measured in cubic feet per minute, commonly abbreviated as CFM. Airspeed is measured by MPH or miles per hour. Be aware that the airspeed is likely to be different when changing between vacuuming and blowing.

Mulching Capability and Reduction

Many of the best leaf vacuums have a mulching function that breaks down the materials that you vacuum. This is a great feature to have because it can significantly reduce the number of bags you need to use to finish clearing the leaves out of your yard. And of course, you can also use that material as a mulch.

You can tell how effective a model is able to mulch with a measurement called the mulch reduction ration. This measurement is a ratio that’s supposed to represent how many bags the unit can mulch into one.

For example, a 10:1 ratio would mean the mulcher could reduce up to ten bags of leaves into one. A higher mulch reduction ratio will mean fewer bags used.

Tips for Choosing the Best Leaf Vacuum Mulcher

Consider Your Budget

It goes without saying that the most important thing to consider when making any major purchase is your budget. While setting aside a budget, so you don’t overspend is common sense. It can be just as unwise to spend too little as too much.

A low price can be a sign of low quality, and your new tool may end up breaking sooner than later. No matter what you pay for your leaf blower vacuum, you should be sure it has a good warranty. That will make sure you aren’t left out to dry if anything goes wrong with it.

Terms to know

MPH

Miles Per Hour is the measurement used to gauge the blowing or vacuuming power of a unit. It measures the speed of air intake by the vacuum or the airspeed it blows out.

CFM

Short for Cubic Feet per Minute this is a measurement of air intake used to tell vacuuming power.

Mulch Reduction Ratio

The mulching ratio is a measurement of how effectively the tool mulches material to a reduced size. It’s given in a ratio that’s supposed to represent how many bags the unit can mulch into one. For example, a 10:1 ratio would mean the mulcher could reduce up to ten bags of leaves into one.

How to Use a Leaf Blower Vacuum

Before starting to vacuum your leaves, you should first use your machine in leaf blower mode to form a large pile.

Then, convert your machine from leaf blower mode to leaf vacuum mode. The method to do so will depend on your device. It can be as easy as flipping a switch or switching the tube to the opposite side of the fan.

Use the vacuum to suck up any leaves you may have missed with the blower. This is an excellent way to work around bushes and flower beds. It lets you work without fear of damaging them or kicking up dirt and mulch.

Next, you can vacuum the pile using the mulching feature to break down the leaves to use fewer bags. When finished, you should empty your bag completely. Otherwise, any leaves left inside could break down and start to smell.

Other Uses for a Blower Vac

  • A leaf blower vacuum is excellent for keeping leaves and pollen off of your patio or deck.
  • Some of the best leaf vacuums have attachments for cleaning gutters by sucking or blowing leaves out.
  • In winter, you can use a leaf blower to clear light snowfall from your driveway, sidewalk, or path.

Final Thoughts

A leaf blower vacuum can be a great time saver reducing the stress and strain that accompany a yard cleanup. Our choice for the overall best leaf vacuum blower was the UltraPlus Variable-Speed Leaf Blower Vacuum by Toro.

We were impressed by the marriage of power and ergonomics this machine offered. This blower vac is able to easily handle any leaves or yard debris in no time. It also boasts impressive mulching power reducing leaves by up to 97% of their size.

Its design makes it comfortable and easy to operate with its oversized handle shape. The inclusion of an oscillating nozzle feature is great for reducing strain on the wrist preventing it from becoming sore. A quick-release latch also makes for a fast and easy transition from vacuum to blower and back again.

Do you disagree with our choices? Tell us your opinion in the comments below!

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