A leaf blower can be a great addition to your toolkit. A neat and tidy garden is essential for any proud homeowner, and a leaf blower is just what you need to keep things looking spick and span. But with so many different models to choose from, knowing which one is going to do the best job for you can be tough. Not to worry though, we’ve got everything you need to know about buying a leaf blower right here. Plus, we’ll recommend some great models too.
What a Leaf Blower Can Do For You
Your very first consideration, of course, is whether or not you need a leaf blower at all. A leaf blower is designed to clean your property of stray leaves, and possibly even litter and small branches (depending on the kind of model you go for). This means that even if you only have paving on your property, a leaf blower can still be a good buy.
Who is a leaf blower good for? Pretty much anyone with an outside property that needs maintaining. They really are useful gadgets to have around, saving you plenty of time and energy. Who wants to rake or sweep leaves and litter when you could have a machine do it for you?!
The 9 Best Leaf Blowers Currently on the UK Market
|Product||Price||Weight||Type||Power Score||Vacuum Function|
|VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower, Garden Vacuum & Mulcher||£||3.5kg||Electric, Corded||3/5||Yes|
|Bosch ALB18 Li||££||2.72kg||Electric, Cordless||4/5||No|
|ParkerBrand 65cc Petrol Backpack Leaf Blower||£££||12kg||Petrol, Backpack||5/5||No|
|Handy Eco Vac THEV2600||£||4.7kg||Electric, Corded||2/5||Yes|
|Dewalt DCV100-XJ 18v Li-Ion XR||££||2.02kg||Electric, Cordless||4/5||No|
|McCulloch GB 355 BP||£££||9.16kg||Petrol, Backpack||5/5||No|
|Worx WG501E 3000W Blower/ Mulcher and Vacuum with 7 Speed Settings||£££||6.4kg||Electric, Corded||5/5||Yes|
|WORX WG505E 3000W Trivac Garden Blower Mulcher and Vacuum||££||4.4kg||Electric, Corded||4/5||Yes|
What Are My Options?
We’re not overstating things when we say that you have a LOT of options here. But we can break things down into three main categories:
A vacuum leaf blower is pretty much what you’d expect it to be. It’s basically a vacuum for your garden that sucks up leaves and litter, storing stuff in a bag that then needs to be emptied, just like a regular household vacuum.
Pros: Vacuum blowers are usually fairly affordable, easy to use, and lightweight as well. All of these are important considerations.
Cons: Vacuum blowers aren’t particularly powerful. It will be difficult to suck up wet leaves, for example, or items larger than leaves. They also require emptying fairly regularly, meaning they’re not great for larger gardens.
Best For: A vacuum blower is a good choice if you have a small area that needs clearing. Anything more than a small front or back garden though is probably going to need something more powerful.
As opposed to a vacuum, a leaf blower actually blows leaves and litter, allowing you to blow everything into one easy to clean up pile. Depending on the strength of the blower you can clear up wet leaves as well as heavier litter.
Pros: Good for cleaning up larger areas (depending on the power source you choose).
Cons: Can get expensive and can be heavy too, making them harder to use.
Best For: Anyone with a garden that’s larger than a few square metres, or anyone that wants to clear leaves that are wet.
Finally, you can have a combination of both of the above. A leaf blower that both blows and sucks, meaning you can get the best of both worlds. No matter the size of your garden or what you want to clear, a combination blower will be able to do the job.
Pros: Can clear any size garden and any kind of leaves/litter (depending on strength).
Cons: Tend to be more expensive than vacuums and simple blowers.
Best For: Pretty much everyone!
What Are My Power Supply Options?
Once you’ve decided which kind of blower you want, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to power it. And again, you’ve got several options here. There are three power supply options for your leaf blower:
A corded leaf blower uses mains power. This means that depending on the size of your garden you may or may not need to use an extension cord. A corded leaf blower is usually in the mid-price range when compared to your other options. And usually, they’re fairly lightweight.
When it comes to hassle though, a corded leaf blower is probably the most convenient option. It won’t need charging or filling with petrol, you just plug it in and go. For this reason, corded leaf blowers tend to be a popular choice.
You also have the option of going cordless. These kinds of leaf blower are battery operated, which of course means that they require charging. Cordless leaf blowers are generally the cheapest option available, but they do tend to be a little heavier than corded blowers since those batteries add weight.
A cordless blower is usually not a great idea if you have a huge property since you’re likely to run out of power before you’re finished. For smaller properties though, they can be ideal, as long as you remember to charge them!
Finally, you have the option of a petrol powered blower. These are usually much more expensive than other kinds, and you have to factor in the price of petrol as well. However, they do also tend to be much more powerful than electric powered blowers. Plus, if you run out of gas you can simply fill up and get back to work, no waiting for a battery to charge.
However, a petrol powered blower is more difficult to use than an electric one. Usually, you can’t just fill it with regular petrol. You will need to mix oil and petrol together to use. The ratio of oil to petrol varies, depending on the manufacturer, so you’ll need to read the instruction manual carefully!
A petrol powered blower is best for very large properties, particularly those that require a lot of clearing. Smaller property owners will probably find that a petrol powered blower is too big of an investment.
One Last Thing: Handheld vs. Backpack
So, you’ve decided what kind of blower you want, and how you want to power it, but you have one last consideration: portability. There are two kinds of commonly available leaf blower types:
A handheld blower is exactly what you think, you hold it and use it. Some types may have a shoulder strap, so you can take a little of the weight that way. Handheld blowers are easier to use since you just pick them up and go. However, you will need to look carefully at the weight. Some kinds, especially heavier petrol models, can be too difficult to hold for long periods of time.
You also have the option of strapping the blower onto your back so that you only need to hold the nozzle. This can make your leaf blower easier to use for long periods of time. However, you will have to ensure that the straps are ergonomic and that there is some kind of protection for your back. But if you have a big property or plan on using the blower for long periods then a backpack blower is probably the best choice for you.
What Do I Need to Think About Before Buying?
Your main considerations before deciding on a model are going to be the size of your garden and what kind of debris you want to move. As we learned above, some models are better for larger areas, and others are stronger and therefore better at moving wet leaves. But there are some other things that you should think about:
- Power: more power means that you can move bigger debris more easily. Leaf blower power is rated in HP (horsepower) just like engines, so if you want something strong, watch for a big HP number.
- Storage: you need to keep that leaf blower somewhere, and if you’re short on space then you want to look for more compact models. Look for models that have collapsible nozzles and the like to make storage even easier.
- Noise: you should be wearing ear protection when using a leaf blower, but you don’t want to annoy the neighbours! Look for blowers with low noise ratings to save your ears and your relationships with the neighbourhood.
- Comfort: you need to be comfortable when working with a leaf blower. Look for ergonomic features like padded straps and back plates on backpack models. On handheld models look for padded handles that reduce vibrations and low weight that’s easier to carry.
- Ease of Use: in all likelihood, you don’t want to mess around with a blower before using it, you want to switch on and go. Look for models that are simple to use (where possible). Models that come with tons of attachments might seem like a great bargain, but you probably won’t use those attachments and you’ll have to spend time figuring out what everything does. Plus, attachments need storing too…
- Shared Power Source: finally, no matter what power source you go with, you might want to think about whether that source is shareable. If you’re going with petrol, do you have other tools that need petrol? Can electric cords and charging cords be shared with some of the other tools you have? These things can make a difference when it comes to convenience, so it’s worth giving them a thought.
What Features Should I Be Looking For?
No matter what kind of leaf blower you’re looking at, there are some features that are more useful than others. Here are a few things that are desirable:
- Nozzles: you want at least one primary nozzle, but you might also need an attachment that’s smaller (useful for getting under shrubs), or even a larger one (for clearing larger areas more quickly). You don’t need tons of attachments, but keep an eye on what’s included because some may be useful.
- Compactness: again, this is a storage issue. Look for models that decrease in size, so collapsible nozzles, tubing that can be coiled and fixed to the body, that sort of thing.
- Mulchers: a mulcher isn’t a necessity, but it could be good to have. Some models (vacuum or combination blowers) also include a mulcher which will chew up leaves and branches as you suck them in. The resulting mulch can then be spread over your garden as fertilizer. If you’re looking at mulchers then make sure that the blades are easily accessible (you will need to clean them), and look for more durable metal blades rather than plastic ones.
- Collection Bin: finally, if you’re going for a vacuum or combination blower you should look at collection bin size. The larger the bin, the less often you need to empty it!
What Are Those Confusing Specs?
Before we get to some model recommendations, let’s talk about some of the specs that you might see when shopping:
- mph: this stands for miles per hour (or you might also see kmph for kilometres per hour) and tells you how fast the air moves as it comes out of the nozzle. The faster the air moves, the more leaves it can move more quickly, and faster blowers can usually move heavier debris.
- dBa: this tells you the decibel level of a blower, or how much noise it makes. Lower numbers are better since they’re quieter!
- cc: cc stands for cubic centimetres, which tells you how to pick an engine is. A larger engine has more power, so a high cc number means your blower will be able to move heavier items.
- rpm: this stands for revolutions per minute and tells you how fast the engine on a blower is. The faster it is, the more powerful it is.
- volts: volts are a measure of electrical power, and you usually see this spec on cordless blowers. More volts equals more power.
- hp: hp stands for horsepower, and again just tells you how powerful a blower is. Higher horsepower means more powerful.
- m3/h or CFM: this tells you the number of cubic metres of air the blower blows per hour, whilst CFM is cubic feet per minute of air. Again, it’s just a measure of power, and higher is better (if you’re looking for power!).
How We Selected Our Top Leafblowers
Before we get to our choices, how did we pick them? Well, we had a few requirements. Firstly, we did want affordable, which means the professional, industrial models were out (they’re not really suitable for home use anyway).
We choose looked for major brands since quality and warranties are important with any appliance. And, of course, we looked for blowers that had good ratings and great customer feedback. Additionally, though we primarily sell wheelie bin storage units, that does mean that we talk to a lot of landscapers and businesses in the gardening area, so we got lots of feedback from people who use these appliances day in and day out.
So, without further ado, here are our top choices if you’re shopping for a leaf blower.
The Top 9 Leaf Blowers for 2018
So now you know what you’re shopping for, which model should you go for? We’ve got a rundown of the best leaf blowers around!
VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower, Garden Vacuum & Mulcher (Combination blower/vacuum, Corded, Handheld)
The VonHaus 3 in 1 is a fantastic buy for the price. It works as a combination vacuum and blower, so you get the best of both worlds and includes a mulcher as well. There are a couple of things that make this a stand out buy.
Firstly, there’s a 35-litre collection bag, which is one of the largest around at this price point. Secondly, that mulcher promises a 10:1 shredding ration, meaning that for every 10 litres of leaves that go in, only 1 litre of mulch remains. So less bag emptying for you! When you do need to empty the bag, a handy zip makes things easy.
A shoulder strap and wheels mean that the VonHaus is easy to use, and at just 3.5 kilos this is a pretty lightweight machine. And a ten-metre power cable means that for smaller gardens this is an ideal gadget. Plus, the VonHaus gets excellent noise ratings as well.
large, easy to empty collection bag
very lightweight and quiet
Not powerful enough for larger gardens
Mulcher blades are plastic
Makita BHX2501 (Combination blower/vacuum, Petrol, Handheld)
If you’re looking for a petrol powered blower, then the Makita is an amazing choice. It’s one of the more affordable petrol blowers around, with a 4 stroke engine that means efficient fuel use. But at 24.5 cc the Makita is powerful enough to blow leaves, litter, and even hedge trimmings around.
The Makita is also fairly lightweight at just 4.4 kilos, one of the lightest petrol blowers we’ve seen. And, this is the big bonus, the Makita does NOT need mixed fuel, you can use regular petrol, so there’s no messing around. A 0.52 litre fuel tank means you get a solid hour of use before you need to refill.
A muffler makes the Makita quiet, and the blower tube comes apart to make storage easier. And electronic ignition means that the Makita is easy to start too.
The only flaws we spotted are fairly small ones. The Makita is a little fiddly to put together, and if you decide to go for the optional extra vacuum attachment that too can be a pain to fit properly. Other than that though, this is a fantastic petrol blower option that won’t break the bank.
Doesn’t need mixed fuel
Very quiet and lightweight
Powerful enough for a large garden
Fiddly to put together
Vacuum attachment costs extra
Bosch ALB18 Li (Blower, Cordless, Handheld)
For smaller garden owners that are looking for something cordless, the Bosch ALB18 Li is a fantastic choice. Affordable, lightweight (just 1.8 kilos) with great speed (210 kmh), this is one powerful little blower.
You’ll get twelve minutes of battery life, which should be fine for a smaller area, and charge time is around 1.5 hours, so not too bad. And the battery and charger will work with all other Bosch gadgets. But the Bosch wins out on a couple of factors. Firstly, it’s exceptionally quiet. Secondly, the blower tube design. The Bosch ALB18 has a long, narrow nozzle that makes it ideal for reaching under things and into corners.
The Bosch isn’t going to work out if you’ve got a larger property. But for small garden owners this is the ideal, compact, lightweight blower.
Light and easy to use
Easy to store
Long, narrow nozzle means it’s great at getting to hard to reach places
12 minute battery life won’t be enough for larger areas
Not as much power as more expensive units
ParkerBrand 65cc Petrol Backpack Leaf Blower (Blower, Petrol, Backpack)
Okay, not the cheapest blower on our list, but the ParkerBrand is exceptionally powerful. A mark II engine and 65 cc engine capacity manage to give the ParkerBrand 3.8 HP of power and 210 mph of air flow. In short, this blower will move anything in its way.
This is a backpack blower, and at around 12 kilos that’s a good thing. But the straps and back plate are both padded for comfort, so using this in the long term should be fine. There’s a special vibration dampening mechanism too, so you shouldn’t feel too much shaking. In fact, this is one of the most comfortable backpack blowers around.
Our only real sticking point here is that you do need to mix fuel to power the ParkerBrand, which can be a fiddly job. But once filled you’ll get a solid hour or more of work out of it!
Backpack is comfortable to wear and vibrations are low
Fairly light for a petrol backpack blower
Great for even large properties
Fuel mixture can be fiddly
Handy Eco Vac THEV2600 (Combination blower/vacuum, Corded, Handheld)
The Handy Eco Vac is one of the most powerful corded blowers around. A 2600 watt motor means that you get a whopping 270 kph of airspeed. If you’re looking for corded power this is the best you’re going to get.
There’s a vacuum included too, as well as a mulcher which gets a 10:1 ratio, so you won’t be emptying that bag too soon. Oh, and the bag is a nice 35 litres too, so plenty of room. The addition of a shoulder strap means that even at 4.2 kilos this is a comfortable blower to use.
The only cons we have here are relatively small ones. The power cable is only 6 metres, which means you’ll certainly need an extension cord. And bag emptying isn’t quite as simple as it should be. But it’s power that really sells the Handy Eco Vac, this thing can blow away anything!
Large collection bag
10:1 mulch ration means less bag emptying
Bag emptying is fiddly
Power cord is really too short
Dewalt DCV100-XJ 18v Li-Ion XR (Blower, Cordless, Handheld)
Cordless blowers often lack the juice necessary for long duration use. But that’s not the case with the Dewalt. In fact, this is the best lasting cordless blower around. The blower does NOT come with batteries included, however. It’s compatible with any Dewalt XE slide pack battery, and opt for the largest 4 Ahr battery and you’ll get an incredible 45 minutes of blowing time.
On top of that, the Dewalt is pretty powerful too, an 18,000 rpm fan speed giving you around 80 metres per second of air. Not bad for a cordless blower. The nozzle is long and narrow, meaning it’s great at getting into nooks and crannies. Plus, the shoulder strap makes this easily portable, though the Dewalt weighs a mere 1.3 kilos. Finally, a lock switch means that you can set it and forget it, all you need to do is move the nozzle.
Our only concern here is that the nozzle can be fiddly to take off and put on. Except for that though, this is as good as it gets for cordless blowing.
Long battery life
Powerful for a cordless blower
Great nozzle design
Nozzle can be tough to fit
Not as powerful as a corded or petrol blower
McCulloch GB 355 BP (Blower, Petrol, Backpack)
It doesn’t come cheap, but the McCulloch GB is the ultimate in leaf blowing power. It really doesn’t get more powerful than this. 46 cc engine capacity and 355 kph air speed make this a truly professional leaf blower.
Yes, it requires fuel mixing, which isn’t terribly convenient. But a huge 2.2 litre tank means you’ll get a whole afternoon of work out of the McCulloch before refilling. At 9.16 kilos it’s not light, but padded adjustable shoulder straps make this blower a dream to wear.
You get adjustable engine speed too, as well as an adjustable trigger control so that you can comfortably use the blower without straining your arms. This is real pro equipment suitable for even the largest of properties.
Other than fuel mixing, our only other concern here is price. The McCulloch isn’t a cheap gadget, but if you’re looking for pro equipment you’ll have to pay the price.
Huge fuel tank
Comfortable backpack design
Requires fuel mixing
Worx WG501E 3000W Blower/Mulcher and Vacuum (Combination, corded, handheld)
Leaf blowers don’t come much simpler than this. The Worx three-in-one blower is perfect if you’re in a hurry. Just blow your leaves into a pile, flip a switch, and vacuum them up into the mulcher. How easy is that?
You’re getting loads of power with a 210 mph blower, and a 63 litre per minute vacuum. And that mulcher has a 10:1 ratio, so everything will be nicely compacted. The nozzle is angled, making it easy to get everywhere you need to go. Oh, and even though this is a lightweight model (coming in under 6 kilos), it has a handy shoulder strap too.
Finally, noise levels are a mere 70 decibels, so you won’t annoy the neighbours, and the air flow is adjustable so you can be more gentle around sensitive plants. The only real flaw we have here is that the collection bag isn’t waterproofed, so if you’re sucking up wet leaves you might find it leaks a little.
Easy to use, 3-in-1 design
Powerful for its size
Short power lead means an extension cord will be necessary
Collection bag isn’t waterproofed
Whilst light, it’s not the lightest handheld around
Worx WG505E 3000W Trivac Blower, Mulcher & Vacuum (Combination, Corded, Handheld)
This Worx WG505E model gives you everything you need in one 5 kilo package. It blows leaves at a whopping 210 mph, then switch to vacuum mode and you’ll suck those leaves up at 63 litres per minute. Oh, and it mulches too, getting a massive 16:1 ratio of leaves to mulch, making this the most efficient mulcher on our list.
We love that it’s compact and light, though there’s a shoulder strap included to make one-handed use even easier. We also love that it has a metal impeller, making this one robust little blower. And we definitely love the seven-speed settings that mean you can safely use this on low settings around sensitive plants.
As awesome as this blower is, we do have a couple of flaws though. Firstly, that 12-metre power lead isn’t long enough, you’ll definitely need an extension cord for larger areas. Secondly, there have been problems reported with the collection bag. The bag itself is not as robust as the rest of the appliance, so you’ll need to be careful when emptying it. Having said that, Worx seems to work quickly with customers to find a solution to their problems.
3-in-1 design is easy to use, and 7 power settings are ideal
Lightweight and quiet too
Amazing mulcher capability with 16:1 ratio
Power cord a little short for large gardens
The collection bag isn’t as robust as it could be
The Bottom Line
Tracking down the very best leaf blower for your garden and usage requirements isn't an easy task but we've shortlisted the top models for this year right here. From tidying our own show garden with the Makita to speaking with landscapers, homeowners and commercial gardeners all who have different needs our top 9 covers all bases. Depending on what you pick there will always be a couple of compromises. We recommend prioritising from the following criteria and making your selection: Power, ease of use, run-time and freedom from cords.
For those whose are wanting to quickly clear a driveway or patio, extra power or run time might not be all that important so we'd go with the Dewalt or the Von Haus. But if it's a larger area to tackle then the Worx WG501E is our pick.
Any questions? Leave them below and we'll be happy to answer.