In the autumn months it’s glorious to see the leaves turn from green through to golden brown but once they start to fall and cover our gardens, it’s a different matter. While those that settle on bare ground in the veg patch and in beds can be left to rot down to act as a mulch, piles of leaves on lawns, borders, paths and patios are best cleared away to prevent them becoming a hotbed for pests and diseases or creating a dangerously slippery surface once the wet weather arrives.
Depending on the size of your garden and amount of leaf fall, a rake or broom could do the job well and keep you fit as you clear, but for larger spaces and where leaves have collected in awkward corners and around pots or furniture, leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums help make the job quicker and easier.
And leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums aren't just for autumn, they come into their own at other times of the year too, making light work of tidying up after pruning or lifting unsightly debris that gathers on paths and in corners.Whatever the season, stay safe and wear protective glasses and ear defenders while using them.
If you're lumbered with lots of leaves, check out our test of the best gardening gloves to collect them in comfort, and why not learn how to make leaf mould – a super compost and soil conditioner – as well as how to make your own leaf mould bin.

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Our expert testers trial hundreds of garden tools to work out which will do the job well and offer the best value, comfort and quality. We’ve tested essentials like the best garden spades and best hoes as well as more specific kit like the best hedge trimmers, the best garden shredders, the best pressure washers and the best trimmers.


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Best Buy leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums at a glance


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Our expertise

We've tested a range of cordless and corded leaf blowers and leaf blower vacs to help you find the right one for your garden. We clearde lawns and borders and paths and patios, blowing and vacuuming both wet and dry leaves.

Each one has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to ease of use, handling, performance and value for money. Every blower and blower vac in our round up below has scored a minimum of three out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.

In every review we award the outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums below:

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Best leaf blowers in 2024

Worx WG543E LeafJet

RRP: £179.99

Our rating: 5/5

Worx WG543E LeafJet leaf blower review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Worx WG543E LeafJet leaf blower review BBC Gardeners' World magazine

Pros

  • No assembly
  • Simple and powerful
  • Lightest on test
  • Choice of speeds
  • Blasts wet leaves
  • Part of Worx 20-V Power Share system

This light, powerful leaf blower won a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award for best value blower and it’s easy to use and ready to go straight from the box. The 20V battery takes just 60 minutes to charge and has a 23 minute run time plus, it has a handy battery level indicator so you can check how much time you have left while you work. The blower offers the choice of two nozzle lengths, which are easily adjusted by flicking a button and sliding the nozzle up and down the tube, and two speeds for gentle or more powerful blowing – it coped brilliantly blasting damp leaves off paths and pathing in our test. It has a hard wearing, brushless motor and for its power and features we think it’s excellent value, plus it comes with a two year warranty. It's ideal for medium to small gardens and the LeafJet is also part of the Worx 20-V Power Share cordless battery system, which means you can use the battery and charge in other Worx tools, saving you money if you invest in the future.


Husqvarna Aspire B8X-P4A

RRP: £229 (including battery and charger) £129 bare tool

Our rating: 4.8/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Husqvarna Aspire B8X-P4A leaf blower
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Husqvarna Aspire B8X-P4A leaf blower

Pros

  • Well thought out design
  • Easy to use and store
  • Comfortable and well balanced
  • Clearly visible battery charge on handle
  • Choice of speeds

Cons

  • Heavy than most blower in our test
  • No speed indicator

Awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for ease of use, the Aspire leaf blower is very easy to put together – there’s no struggling to attach the nozzle with this blower, it simply clips in with the push of a button and breaks down just as easily for storage. Plus, it comes with its own storage hanging hook. It only has the one nozzle but this is a good size for blasting away on large areas like lawns, but also works reasonably well when you need more focus in beds and borders or when blowing leaves into piles, although it wasn’t the best at this in our test. It has a clearly visible battery charge indicator situated in the handle and offers the choice of three speeds, which are also controlled via buttons on the handle. However, there’s no indication which speed you’re in at the time and we also found we had to stop blowing to change speed.
Thanks to the weather at the time of testing, the blower handled primarily wet leaves very well and although it didn’t blow them into as neat piles as some it cleared paths, beds and lawns well. It feels powerful yet controlled and is ideal for clearing large areas quickly. The blower is quiet and has a comfortable easy grip handle and feels well balanced, and although this is a heavy blower once the battery is loaded, it’s not the heaviest in our test.
The 18V battery took the longest to charge in our test at well over an hour, but it lasted the longest too, blowing wet leaves on full power for over 12 minutes. The battery is also part of the Power For All Alliance, which means it’s compatible with other 18V tools in the Flymo, Gardena, and Bosch tool ranges as well as the Husqvarna Aspire range, saving you money if you invest in them in the future. The Aspire blower came in all cardboard packaging and has a two year warranty.

Buy the Husqvarna Aspire B8X-P4A leaf blower from Husqvarna


Makita DUB186Z 18V cordless leaf blower

RRP: £179.99

Our rating: 4.8/5

2048-1365_Makita_DUB186z
Makita DUB186Z cordless leaf blower

Pros

  • Long narrow nozzle for directional blasts
  • Three speed settings
  • Fasr charge time
  • Compact, comfortable and lightweight
  • Compatible with over 40 other Makita cordless 18V tools
  • Three year warranty

Cons

  • No charge level indicator on battery

A BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award winner for performance, this cordless leaf blower is light, compact and easy to use. It has one of the narrowest nozzles in the range we tested, which means it delivers a powerful but focused blast of air that tackles wet and dry fallen leaves very effectively, particularly on paths and in awkward corners. Generating an impressive air speed of 68m/s, we also like the three speed settings – low, medium and high – that allow you to increase and decrease the power according to need. This gives you plenty of control to manage wet and dry leaves and we found it even shifted compacted debris in between paving, and compressed wet leaves that had been trodden into the pavement. While you must hold the pressure trigger to operate, it’s in an accessible position so it doesn't feel tiring, even with smaller hands. The soft-grip handle, together with the position of the battery, which slots in at the base, helps balance the leaf blower in a downward direction, making it comfortable to use for longer periods of time. It has a run time of up to 80 minutes (on the low setting – 12 minutes on high) and a relatively short charge time of 45 minutes, so you can use this in larger gardens with lots of leaves to clear. It’s part of the Makita LXT 18V cordless tool system so the 5Ah battery and charger are compatible across the range, and it comes with a three year warranty.

Read the full Makita DUB186Z leaf blower vacuum review


Einhell GP-LB36/210 Li Turbo blower

RRP: £219.90 (including battery and charger starter kit)

Our rating: 4.8/5

Einhell GP-LB36/210 Li Turbo leaf blower review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Einhell GP-LB36/210 Li Turbo leaf blower review BBC Gardeners' World magazine

Pros

  • Well balanced
  • Turbo setting
  • Choice of nozzle lengths and speeds
  • Long run time
  • Wall hook and carry strap
  • Part of the Einhell Power X-Change system

Cons

  • Battery and charger sold separately

Awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for features, this well thought out blower is packed with them. It has a whopping six speeds to choose from, plus a Turbo boost, so it’s easy to adjust the power of the blast according to what and where you’re blowing. The tough nozzle has a metal end for scraping debris the blower cant shift on its own and it adjusts with a twist to three different lengths so no matter your height you can get the nozzle to the perfect length to suit you. Powered by two 18V batteries, which take just 60 minutes to charge, they have a run time of 92 minutes on the lowest setting. However, the batteries and charger are not included with the blower and do need to be bought as a kit separately, but, once bought they can be used with any of the tools in the Einhell Power X-Change system, saving you money if you invest in these in the future. The blower is well balanced and feels comfortable, but it also comes with a carry strap so if you’re blowing for a while, this will help balance the load. The nozzle and tube breaks down for storage and there’s a handy hanging hook to keep the blowers stored up and out of the way. It has a brushless motor and comes with a two year warranty.


Bosch Advanced 36V - 750 blower

RRP: £126.95 (bare tool)

Our rating: 4.5/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Bosch Advanced 36V-750
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Bosch Advanced 36V-750

Pros

  • Easy assembly and storage
  • Powerful
  • Good control of different speeds
  • Quiet
  • Quick charge time

Cons

  • Heavy and lacks shoulder strap
  • Short run time on full power

This leaf blower is simple to put together, just twist and click in the tube and you’re ready to go. It’s therefore equally easy to store as the tube comes off quickly and it takes up little room on a shelf. There’s only one wide nozzle but this is very effective at both the powerful blasting of wet leaves and more focussed blowing in borders and into piles. You feel in control when using this blower and can direct leaves to go wherever you want them too. It has a variable speed control, delivering 100 to 200km/h, that’s easily adjusted with a dial on the handle and is simple to scroll up or down as you work. It has a comfortable handle and is well balanced but it does feel heavy, noticeably so compared to others in the test, and we felt it would really benefit from a shoulder strap if you’re blowing for a prolonged periods.
However, the battery run time is quite short on full power. Despite having a run time on a low setting of 35 minutes, on full power the battery only lasted 7 minutes, compared to 12 minutes with the Husqvarna Aspire, which was the shortest in our test. It does charge quickly though, taking just 65 mins to get you up and running again. The 36V battery has a charge level indicator on the end to help you see how much charge is left as you work and it's also compatible with all 36V tools in the Bosch cordless range. This leaf blower is ideal for the fast clearing of lawns with lots of leaves and we awarded it a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for performance. It has a long lasting brushless motor and feels sturdy and well-made. The Bosch Advanced blower came in cardboard packaging with just a little plastic wrapping and comes with a generous three year warranty.


Yard Force LG B18 40V blower

RRP: £219.99

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • Buy the Yard Force LG B18 40V blower from Yard Force
Yard Force LB G18 leaf blower review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Yard Force LB G18 leaf blower review BBC Gardeners' World magazine

Pros

  • Two nozzle choice
  • Three speeds plus Boost
  • Cruise lock lever
  • Part of Yard Force GR40 battery system

Cons

  • Bulky for storage
  • Loud

Winner of a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award for ease of use this powerful blower comes with a large 40V battery and charger. It takes just 60 minutes to charge and the battery has a 30 minute run time making it ideal for medium size gardens. It also has a battery level indicator so you can check how much charge you have on the battery as you work.
The blower is balanced and comfortable and well thought out with the choice of three speeds, plus a Boost button to give an extra powerful blast when you need it. A cruise control button allows you to set the speed without having to constantly hold the trigger down, making it easy to use this blower for longer periods of time. It has a brushless motor and it also comes with an extra flat end nozzle for concentrated power. However, this blower is quite large and doesn’t compact down so it will take up room in storage and we also found it comparatively loud, although it’s still nothing like the volume you would get with a petrol blower. Part of the Yard Force GR40 battery system it comes with a two year warranty.


Vonhaus G-series cordless leaf blower

RRP: £64.99

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

Vonhaus G-series Cordless Leaf Blower
Vonhaus G Series cordless leaf blower

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Cheap
  • Compact for storage

Cons

  • Handle vibrates
  • 12 minute runtime
  • Single speed

A BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award winner for best budget cordless blower, this simple, compact leaf blower packs a punch. Despite coming in at just 1.7 kg, it’s very powerful, and made short work of both wet and dry leaves on paving, shrub beds, and gravel, though it struggled a little with dry and wet leaves on grass. Thanks to its lightweight construction and narrow nozzle, it’s easy to manoeuvre around the garden and put leaves exactly where you want them. This blower is ideal for nipping around a small patio, terrace or front drive. It’s a reasonable price, and great value as its G-Series battery is also compatible with the Vonhaus hedge trimmer, pole trimmer, and grass trimmer. However, although the grip on the handle is soft, the handle vibrates a lot in use, which gets uncomfortable. Its 12 minute runtime is also short, but it takes just an hour to charge.

Buy the Vonhaus G-series Cordless Leaf Blower from Vonhaus


Best Buy review video - the Vonhaus G-series cordless leaf blower


Best leaf blower vacuums in 2024

Bosch UniversalGardenTidy 3000

RRP: £86.95

Our rating: 4.5/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Bosch UniversalGardenTidy 3000
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Bosch UniversalGardenTidy 3000

Pros

  • Simple assembly
  • Powerful at both sucking and blowing
  • Good value for money

Cons.

  • Doesn’t break down easily for storage
  • No on/off switch
  • Heavy, particularly when vacuum bag full

This leaf blower vacuum is ideal for clearing up large areas of leaves quickly. The blower is powerful, if a little heavy and great at blasting leaves, with a narrow nozzle that helps you funnel and direct them into piles and out of tight corners and the vacuum mode has good suction with a well-shaped nozzle and a large collection bag. Initial assembly is simple, with clear instructions and all that’s required is attaching the handle and building the vacuum nozzle, which comes in three parts. For blowing, the nozzle simply slots into place and when you need to swap into vacuum mode, no tools are required. However, the vacuum tube is large and once built it's difficult to break down so it does take up a reasonable amount of room in storage. It blows and sucks at variable speed via a dial that sits under the handle and this dial is also the on/off switch. This does mean you have to scroll round the dial to turn the blower off, which is not fast if you’re in the highest setting and so from a safety point of view this could be a problem. It also requires the use of two hands.
It has a 10m long cable and is reasonably noisy but not jarringly so, but it is heavy, and in vacuum mode feels quite unbalanced, especially once the bag starts filling up. There’s a padded shoulder strap, which helps take some of the strain but is in the wrong place to completely take the weight. However, this is a powerful, well-made machine that performs well and is great for the general clearing of gardens. It’s also great value and comes with a three-year warranty. We gave it a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine award for the Best all rounder.


Ryobi RBV 3000W corded electric leaf blower vacuum

RRP: £99.99

Our rating: 4.5/5

2048-1365_Ryobi_3000W
Ryobi RBV 3000W corded electric leaf blower vacuum

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Robust
  • Well balanced

Cons

  • Slow to change vacuum attachment
  • Short cable

Winner of a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for ease of use this blower vac is easy to use and set up. Mains powered, with a 10m cable, it has three modes of use: blowing leaves, grass and light hedge clippings and you can use it just as a leaf blower or as a vacuum or with both assembled together and quickly swap between the two jobs. It vacuums debris and shreds it into a large holding bag and has a shredding ratio of 16:1 that produces a consistent output, suitable for use as compost, leaf mould and mulch. Robust and well designed, a shoulder strap makes working easier and more comfortable and a 3000W motor provides plenty of power. The adjustable speeds are easy to change via a dial but it is noisy on full power. Ideal for small to medium gardens, this mid-priced blower vac performs well and only the assembly lets it down. It comes with a three year warranty.

Read the full Ryobi 3000W leaf blower vacuum review


Stihl SHE 71 electric corded leaf blower vacuum

RRP: £170

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365_Stihl_corded_vacuum
Stihl SHE71 corded electric leaf blower vacuum

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Good vacuum power
  • Robust

Cons

  • One power speed
  • No shoulder strap

A BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for best small leaf blower vacuum, this mains powered electric model comes with a 10m cable, is easy to put together and surprisingly powerful. Blowing leaves, grass and light hedge clippings, it also vacuums them up and shreds them into a large 45-litre collecting bag. It has extra tubes to attach for each job and you can also buy a flat nozzle for more focussed blowing if you need it. The tubes come apart for storage and you can adjust their length according to your height and the job. While it doesn’t come with a shoulder strap, the two handles are well positioned and comfortable to use, plus the machine is very light at just 4.1kg. It has a comparatively small engine of 1100 watts but it feels powerful in both modes and it’s quieter than other larger machines we tested. The Stihl SHE 71 leaf blower vacuum has only one power setting so you need to move further back from whatever you’re blowing to reduce the power or switch aperture on the tube. Quiet, light and simple to use, it’s ideal for gardeners of all abilities, but lacks variable speed settings and is comparatively expensive. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Buy the Stihl SHE 71 electric corded leaf blower vacuum from Amazon


The best of the rest

Although some models didn’t quite achieve a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have great features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.


Flymo powervac 3000

RRP: £89.99

Our rating: 4/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Flymo Powervac 3000
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Flymo Powervac 3000

Pros

  • Powerful blower
  • Excellent shredding
  • Good size collection bag

Cons

  • Doesn’t break down easily for storage
  • Unbalanced
  • Vacuum nozzle too wide
  • Awkward handle shape

This large blower vac is reasonably easy to assemble and no tools are required but the instruction diagrams are very small so it takes a little time. Once the suction tube is put together it’s almost impossible to break down again, which makes the Powervac bulky for storage. To change modes you also need to take it apart so it’s less simpler than the Bosch GardenTidy. It’s heavy as both a blower and a vac and the handle design feels a little over fussy and doesn’t help with the balance of the machine, especially in vac mode. It has a carry strap to help lighten the load but this feels like it's in the wrong place. Thankfully, the collection bag is smaller than some, which makes it easier to use.
It has a variable speed dial on the handle, although we didn’t notice too much difference between these but the blower is powerful and great for blasting leaves across large lawns. Unfortunately, the vac is far less efficient with a nozzle shape that's too wide to suck up leaves well. However, once it’s got the leaves the shredding power of the Powervac is excellent, with a ratio of 16: 1 that reduces a bag full of leaves down to a tiny pile.
The Powervac has a 10m cable and feels well made and built to last and comes with a two year warranty. For blowing and clearing leaves in a small garden it’s good value for money but the vac performance doesn't match the blower's.


Stiga BL 100e cordless leaf blower

RRP: £109

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365_Sab100AE_Stiga
Stiga SAB 100AE cordless leaf blower

Pros

  • Removable tubes for easy storage
  • 30 minutes run time at normal speed
  • Battery level indicator
  • Ideal for long leaf blowing sessions
  • Part of the Stiga 100 Series with other compatible cordless tools
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • Large nozzle so air flow isn’t focused
  • Only two settings
  • Less effective with compacted, wet leaves

Easy to use, this cordless leaf blower operates at two settings and delivers a maximum air flow speed of 32m/s, to cope well with general jobs like blowing wet and dry leaves off the lawn and gravel paths. However, the tube, which comes in two, easy-to-attach parts, has a significantly wider aperture than the Makita DUB186Z leaf blower we tested, and as a result lacks the focused jet blast to shift more stubborn, compacted leaf matter and debris from corners and awkward spaces. It weighs the same as the Makita leaf blower but the battery slots in at the back end of the body as opposed to under the handle, which balances it in such a way that it feels heavier to use. The 20V battery takes 140 minutes to charge and has a run time of 30 minutes on normal speed and 20 minutes on boosted speed, making it ideal for small to medium-sized gardens and we like the charge indicator on the battery that helps you gauge how much time you have left to finish the job. Unlike many of the other models we tested, you don’t have to hold down a trigger to operate this leaf blower, which makes it more comfortable to use if you're blowing for a while. It also has a soft-grip handle, although this would benefit from a bit more cushioning. The battery and charger are compatible with other cordless power tools in the Stiga 100 series and it comes with a two-year warranty.


Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V Whisper series cordless leaf blower

RRP: £101.99 (bare tool)

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365_Ryobi_Whisper
Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V Whisper series cordless leaf blower

Pros

  • Removable tube for easy storage
  • 15 to 20 minutes run time at normal speed
  • Battery level indicator
  • Compatible with over 150 tools in the Ryobi 18V ONE+ System
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Squeeze trigger only - no fixed variable speed settings
  • Larger nozzle so less effective with compacted, wet leaves

This cordless leaf blower weighs 3.2kg, so feels sturdy and robust, although it is one of the heaviest models we tested. Like the Stiga SAB 100AE, the 4Ah 18V lithium battery slots in at the back end of the body, which we found affects the balance and makes it feel heftier to use – we prefer the battery position on the Makita DUB186Z. This large leaf blower also has a wide tube, which is easy-to-attach and useful for blowing across lawns and patios but means the 49m/s air flow isn’t as focused as others we tested it easily blows wet and dry leaves off grass, gravel and patio slabs, but isn’t as effective when it comes to shifting compacted leaf matter and debris that gather in corners and awkward spaces. It has a run time of 15 to 20 minutes, which means it can clear up to 800m2, and takes 160 minutes to charge and we like the battery indicator, which helps you gauge how much time you have left to finish the job. However, despite being part of Ryobi’s Whisper series, we didn’t find it noticeably quieter than the other leaf blowers in our test. The battery and charger are compatible with over 150 tools in the Ryobi ONE+ System and it comes with a three-year warranty.

Buy the Ryobi ONE+ HP leaf blower from Ryobi

Read the full Ryobi ONE+ HP leaf blower review


WORX WG547E 20V turbine cordless leaf blower

RRP: £119.99

Our rating: 4/5

Worx WG547E Leaf Blower
Worx WG547E Leaf Blower

Pros

  • 20 minute run time
  • Fast 1 hour charge
  • Nozzle detaches from the main body
  • Compatible with other 20V and 40V (2x20V) tools in WORXS’ PowerShare battery system
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • No charge level indicator on battery
  • The nozzle can’t be separated for better storage
  • Absence of a soft-grip handle

This cordless leaf blower feels a little cumbersome to use around the garden and the wide nozzle means it’s harder to reach into smaller spaces or awkward corners. However, it corrals leaves as you would hope and with a fast one hour charge and a 2o minute run time, the 2AH 20V battery delivers enough power to cope with both dry and wet leaves. It has two speeds - the lowest setting generates a moderate airflow useful for a general tidy up, while the higher speed provides enough power to shift stubborn, compacted wet leaves. Surprisingly for WORX tools, it doesn’t have a soft-grip handle, in fact there is a seam in the plastic on the underside of the grip, which we found uncomfortable after using the blower for a while. The nozzle can be removed from the body, but the two sections can’t be separated for more efficient storage, which is frustrating as the nozzle is double the length of the body. Part of the WORX PowerShare cordless tools, the battery and charger are compatible with their other tools saving you money if you invest on bare tools in the future.

Read the full WORX WG547E 20V turbine cordless leaf blower review


Flymo 18V Easiclear

RRP: £129.99

Our rating: 3.5/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Flymo EasiClear 100 leaf blower
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review Flymo EasiClear 100 leaf blower

Pros

  • Light and easy to use
  • Variable speed
  • Long battery run time
  • Visible battery charge

Cons

  • Lacks power and the lowest speed is very weak
  • Hard to break down for storage
  • Long charge time

The quiet 18v Easiclear 100 is available to buy as a bare tool or as a kit with an 18V 2.5Ah battery and charger. These are both part of the Power for All Alliance so if you already have other Bosch , Flymo, Gardena or Husqvarna cordless tools or plan to, it will save you the money when you invest in these. The blower comes with one nozzle tube, which is reasonably easy to put together but once built is hard to take apart for storage. It’s a good length and width and has a ridged end which helps lift stubborn material. This is particularly handy as this is not a very powerful blower. It offers variable speed, adjusted by a dial on the handle, but the lowest setting is very weak.
The 18v battery has a 13-23 minute run time depending on speed and it takes a lengthy 154 minutes to charge. Unlike the other leaf blowers in our recent test, the Easiclear has a battery charge display on the handle of the blower which is very useful. This simple blower comes with a two year warranty and is best for gentle blowing in small gardens.


The Handy 300w garden blower, vacuum, mulcher shredder

RRP: £64.99

Our rating: 3.5/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review The Handy corded leaf blower, vac and shredder
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review The Handy corded leaf blower, vac and shredder

Pros

  • Simple to change between modes
  • Light
  • Wheels for use on smooth surfaces
  • Good value

Cons

  • Takes up room in storage
  • Long assembly
  • Uncomfortable angle of use
  • Handle vibrates

You need a screwdriver to put together the Handy and compared to others it’s a long process, taking over 15 minutes, but it comes with clear instructions and once the machine is built it’s done. There’s no need to take things apart to switch modes with the Handy, you simply swap from blower to vacuum with the flick of a switch, although this does mean it takes up a lot room in storage as it doesn’t break down at all. It comes with a hanging hook though, to make this easier. The Handy is very light and has a carry strap and wheels beneath the tube which help to support it and lighten the weight, however the angle of the tube when using the wheels feels quite awkward and our testers found themselves stooping at times, which was uncomfortable.
It has a 10m cable, a variable speed dial on the handle and a 45L collection bag and the blower is powerful. The narrow tube is great for focussed blowing and for getting leaves out of corners and between plants in beds and borders, but it's also quite noisy and the handle noticeably vibrates after a while. The narrow tube does mean that the vacuum suction is weak compared to others in the test. However, it shreds well, if at 10:1 its not quite to the same ratio as the Flymo. This is a solid machine with a two year warranty, which is useful for gardeners who want to switch between blowing and vacuuming with ease.


Greenworks 24V Axial blower

RRP: 144.99

Our rating: 3/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine leaf blower review Greenworks 24V Axial blower
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine leaf blower review Greenworks 24V Axial blower

Pros

  • Very light
  • Quick to charge
  • Focussed blowing with good power

Cons

  • Noisy and shrill
  • One speed unless controlled by hand with the trigger
  • Trigger uncomfortable after a short time
  • Short run time

This Greenworks cordless blower is available as a bare tool or with a 24V 2Ah lithium ion battery and charger, which are interchangeable with any of the Greenworks 24V range of tools. It comes with one nozzle, which like most blower nozzles of this design, is tricky to put together and once built is very hard to break down for storage. However, it’s an effective tapered shape and provides powerful focussed blowing, ideal for small gardens and for clearing through beds and borders. It’s particularly good at blasting damp leaves stuck to paths and patios. Instructions for use are clear and it’s simple to get blowing. The blower is very light and well balanced and it’s easy to hold and control with one hand – speed is adjusted via the power trigger, although holding this down continually in use does start to feel uncomfortable after a while. When in use the blower is also noisy. With the 2Ah battery, run time is only 9 minutes, although you could buy an additional 4Ah Greenworks battery which lasts for 18 minutes. The 2Ah battery takes 45 minutes to recharge which was comparatively fast in our latest test. It comes with a 3 year warranty.


What's the difference between a leaf blower and a leaf blower vacuum?

Quite simply, a leaf blower will lift wet and dry leaves from paths, grass, borders and pavements. The wind speed it generates blows leaves into a pile, which you can either leave as a habitat for wildlife, or collect and put on the compost, in your green waste recycling, or store in bags to make leaf mould.
A leaf blower vacuum, not only lifts wet and dry leaves, but sucks them up too, passing them through a blade, which cuts and mulches them and then deposits them into the bag that attaches to the machine. You can dispose of them the same way but they have the added advantage of being shredded so they decompose more quickly when added to the compost or used to make leaf mould. However, leaf blower vacuums can get blocked-up, may need more maintenance, and also tend to be expensive, but they are more efficient when it comes to keeping your garden leaf-free.

Before you decide which of these you need, think about how many leaves you have to collect - if you can manage blowing leaves and debris into a pile to gather up by hand, then a blower will do the job and is a cheaper option. However, for larger gardens with more trees and shrubs, being able to suck up leaves will save time, especially if you go for models with a mulching option.


How to choose the best leaf blower and leaf blower vacuum

There are three types of leaf blower and leaf blower vacuums available, each with their own pros and cons:

Cordless leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums: There are lots of pros with this type of blower – in addition to being lightweight, quiet and environmentally friendly, they don’t need messy petrol or a restricting power cable. However, they can be more expensive if you’re buying batteries and chargers as extras to the cost of the tool and you’ll need to check the run time if you have a larger garden.

Electric leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums: Often at the budget end, these are low maintenance and, like cordless types, also lightweight. However, the power supply cable can be limiting as well as potentially hazardous.

Petrol leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums: These deliver plenty of power and, just like cordless types, can be used anywhere, but their environmental impact is a consideration, as is the hassle of buying and storing petrol. They’re often heavy and noisy and will need more in the way of maintenance too.

Think about the following features before you buy -

  • Variable speed controls - air speed, measured by metres per second or kilometers per hour), and airflow (measured by cubic meters per hour). Dry leaves are light and easy to shift, but wet, compacted leaves and other debris will need more power. Variable speed control is a useful feature as it allows you to change the speed and power depending on where you’re working – you’ll want to be gentle around plants whereas more oomph will help on lawns.
  • Nozzle size – in general, the narrower the better, as the air flow is more concentrated, giving more control when it comes to corralling the leaves into a pile.
  • Mulching blades - Metal blades are tougher than plastic, as well as more durable, so are the preferable choice.
  • Collection bag - While not essential, a waterproof collection bag makes things a lot more comfortable if you’re working in wet weather, as it prevents moisture from soggy leaves dripping through the bag and onto your legs.
  • Comfort features - Soft-grip handles and a padded shoulder strap will help make it more comfortable to use the leaf blower or leaf blower vacuum for any length of time.

Buyer's Guide to budget leaf blowers - video

Buyer's Guide to leaf blower vacs - video

Many thanks to Sue Fisher and Rosie Yeomans for their help in making these videos. Thanks also to Sparsholt College for their generous assistance.


Are leaf blowers bad for wildlife?

Leaf blowers and vacuums can accidentally suck up or blast away insect pollinators, and their noise can disturb and distress small animals like birds or bats. It’s best not to use leaf blowers indiscriminately, and to consider wildlife and neighbours. Leaves on lawns and paths are easily best raked or swept out of the way, but other tasks, like getting leaves out of gravel paths or in well stocked beds and borders, need the power and precision of a good leaf blower, but always make sure you check for wildlife before starting work.


How we tested leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums

The BBC Gardeners' World Magazine reviews team tested different leaf blowers and leaf vacuums across a range of garden situations – removing leaves from lawns, in borders and on gravel paths and paving, in both dry and wet weather. Before we started, we checked for any wildlife in the leaf matter and were cautious around plants to avoid disturbing insects and other creatures. The following criteria were used to calculate the scores, with equal weight given to each:

  • Ease of use: Looked at the assembly needed, ease and clarity of instructions, any storage features and, where relevant, the battery charge time.
  • Handling: Assessed ease of use, weight, noise levels, comfort and safety features.
  • Performance: Focussed on the power and air flow control, plus run and charge time (where applicable).
  • Value for money: Considered all of the above, plus quality and design, the RRP including battery and charger, (where applicable) and the length of warranty.

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This review was last updated in January 2024. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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