Archie Rich/DIY Works
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Unlike leaf blowers that simply blow leaves and other debris into a pile, a garden vacuum saves the strain of having to pick it all up manually. A few years back, they used to be seen as a luxury tool but they have since dropped significantly in price and these days, you can usually pick up a feature-packed garden vacuum at a relatively affordable price.
To assist you in selecting a garden vacuum, our handpicked selection lists top-performing models, chosen based on our first-hand experience using multiple vacuums that are electric, battery and petrol-powered. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.
Best Value: VonHaus Electric Leaf Vacuum & Blower
Best All-Rounder: Flymo PowerVac 3000 3-in-1
Best Cordless: Greenworks GD40BVK2X Leaf Vac
Best Petrol: Stihl SH 56 Vacuum Shredder
Best Budget Cordless: Einhell Power X-Change VENTURRO
Best Budget Petrol: McCulloch GBV 322 VX
How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates Garden Vacuums
After using a garden vacuum for the first time many years ago, I have never looked back since and always tend to use the machine where possible. Although using a garden rake will do the job, it requires more hassle and it takes much longer too.
Therefore, as we maintain several gardens of properties that we manage (Airbnb’s and rentals), we’ve had the pleasure of trying and testing multiple garden vacuums.
Whether we are vacuuming a pile of dead leaves or we’ve been using a hedge trimmer to cut down a conifer, they can be used in several applications.
Archie Rich/DIY Works
As you can see in the photo above of the Stihl machine that we have been testing, the mulching functionality is a great benefit of many modern machines. This is because it allows you to store more in the collection bag and it also makes it easier to compost or empty it into garden waste bags.
During our ongoing testing, we analyse the machine’s performance, build quality, usability and its ability to vacuum, blow and mulch.
To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest garden vacuums (for this article), we are continually testing the latest machines from top brands in the UK. This means that when we notice a brand has released a new and improved model, we will attempt to buy it and put it to the test where applicable.
Archie Rich/DIY Works
Archie Rich/DIY Works
As well as our testing and experience using multiple machines, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the machine’s functionality (blowing, vacuuming and mulching), performance, build quality, usability, shredding ratio, speed settings, vacuum bag, supplied accessories, warranty and value.
Garden Vacuum Buying Guide
Fallen leaves that are left untouched not only look untidy but also make paths or drives slippery and even make lawns become waterlogged.
However, the problem is that tidying your garden manually with traditional gardening tools can be a difficult task. Luckily, the use of a garden vacuum with a blower and mulching function makes clearing up any garden debris far easier. Simply blow away the leaves and debris into one pile, suck it up with the vacuum and let the shredder cut it into tiny pieces ready for composting or emptying into a garden waste bin.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding garden vacuums.
Due to technological advancements, most motors can power up the blowing, vacuuming and shredding functionality. We highly recommend opting for a garden vacuum that does each function as it will allow you to tidy up far more efficiently. It is rare to find a garden vacuum that only acts as a vacuum as the majority include the blower and shredder functionality.
Types of Vacuums
As with most gardening tools that feature a motor, you have the choice of an electric or petrol-powered motor.
The electric models are the best option for most people as they simply plug in and go. They are also far lighter and easier to use but do have the drawback of requiring a power supply. If you have a medium to large-sized garden, you will want to ensure the cable length is long enough and that you have an outdoor extension lead available.
Petrol power vacuums are less common and more suited towards professional gardeners and large gardens. They have the added benefit of additional power and can easily suck up large volumes of leaves and debris. However, the main drawback is that it will require maintenance over the years and the initial cost is far greater.
To help dispose of the leaves and debris that you have vacuumed, most will shred them into tiny pieces. However, some garden vacuums perform better than others as they can shred the debris into even smaller pieces. This means less emptying of the collection bag and less room required within the waste/compost bins.
Most manufacturers will state a shredding ratio with many ranging from 10:1 to 16:1. Smaller shredded debris will take up less room in the collection bag, which means less emptying.
An essential component of any garden vacuum is the collection bag. The majority range from 30 to 50 litres in size and simply collect all the debris that has been sucked up by the vacuum. The larger the bag, the longer you can carry on clearing debris without emptying but it does make it slightly heavier.
Debris To Avoid
Powerful garden vacuums can pick up far more than just leaves or cut grass and should be used with caution. For example, if you were to suck up small stones or pebbles, this may break the shredding system.
Depending upon the vacuum you purchase, you may not even be able to suck up wet leaves or other debris. This is because it may clog up the shredder or tube.
Purchasing the best garden vacuum you can get your hands on can make a huge difference to your garden maintenance. Clearing wet leaves, cut grass and other debris can be fairly difficult with traditional tools but luckily, the price of garden vacuums has dropped significantly, thus making them more affordable.
All of the recommendations above are suitable for a range of budgets and all feature a blower, vacuum and shredder. Once you have used a garden vacuum once, you’ll never look to go back to manually picking up debris again.
If you require further information regarding our garden vacuum recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.