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.

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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.


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 pressure washers and the best strimmers.


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.


Best Buy leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums at a glance


Our expertise

We tested a range of corded and cordless leaf blowers and vacuums, using them in different areas of the garden and in both dry and wet weather, to help you find the right one for your garden. Each 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 leaf blower and vacuum in our round up has scored a minimum of four out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.

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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:


Best leaf blowers in 2022

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.


Makita DUB186Z 18V cordless leaf blower

RRP: £179.99

Our rating: 4.8/5

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.


Yard Force LG B18 40V blower

RRP: £199.99

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: £48.99

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 2022

Ryobi RBV 3000W corded electric leaf blower vacuum

RRP: £99.99

Our rating: 4.5/5

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 SHE71 electric corded leaf blower vacuum

RRP: £155

Our rating: 4.3/5

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 SHE71 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.


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.


Stiga SAB 100AE cordless leaf blower

RRP: £109

Our rating: 4.3/5

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.

More like this

Buy the Stiga SAB 100 AE cordless leaf blower from Just Lawnmowers


Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V Whisper series cordless leaf blower

RRP: £119.99

Our rating: 4.3/5

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: £109.99

Our rating: 4/5

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


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.

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 October 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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