Leaf Blowers & Garden Vacuums: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Autumn leaves on lawn
Autumn leaves. Photo: Getty Images/Elenathewise

With autumn fast approaching, the chance of waking up to find your lawn buried under a thick carpet of caramel-coloured leaves is growing day by day and a great many of us will eventually find ourselves battling a mountain of them.

It can be tempting to let autumn leaves sit where they fall – particularly if you’ve got to rake them up by hand – but leaves can do a lot of damage to your lawn. They create an impenetrable layer of dead matter that stops light reaching the individual blades of grass; stifling winter growth, and forcing your lawn to burn through its stockpiles of extra energy.

Worse, they trap moisture, and create the perfect environment for mould, diseases and fungi to flourish. Articles published on The Spruce and the Nutri-Lawn blog show that leaving leaves piled on your lawn is one of the worst things you can do, and there’s every chance that ignoring drifts of autumn leaves will force you to reseed come spring.

Powered blowers and vacuums may not be cheap but are a huge time saver but choosing one isn’t always straightforward.

There are a lot of different options, and many of the more expensive blowers boast a plethora of special features that can be a little overwhelming at first glance.

We’ve put together this in-depth guide to highlight the pros and cons of each type, the different kinds of garden they’re suitable for and give our top picks and recommendations for each type of device.

Blowers or Vacuums?
Both types of machine are designed for the same purpose; namely removing leaves, lawn trimmings or rubbish from your garden.

The only difference is that some machines are just designed to blow leaves into a large pile, while others (namely, the vacuums) can also do the reverse: sucking leaves into a large bag attachment, which can be emptied wherever is most convenient for you.

Blowers aren’t necessarily the lesser option: They still produce a nice, neat pile of leaves that you can bag up, or run over with a mulching lawn mower.

That said, vacuums are slightly more convenient for the average gardener, and they do take a bit of leg-work out of lawn clearance. They do tend to have a shorter run time (if you’re looking at battery-powered machines) or increased fuel consumption, but they are the most efficient option, and they can be worth paying slightly more for if time is a factor in your decision.

Ultimately, the choice between blower or vacuum will depend on your priorities as a gardener.

Handheld Blowers and Vacuums
These lightweight devices are designed for those with smaller gardens. They’re the most affordable option, and they’re a great pick if you:

• Struggle with heavier machines
• Just want to keep paths and other small areas leaf-free
• Have a restricted budget
• Want something that’s easy to maintain

They do lack staying power though, so you might want to look at backpack or wheeled machines if you’ve got a larger lawn.

Cordless or Electric Handheld Blowers and Vacuums
Electric or cordless/ battery powered handheld blowers are the lightest option. Some models weigh as little as 8kg, making them an ideal choice for anyone that’s put off by the thought of lugging a heavy machine about.

Cordless or electric blowers are the most neighbour-friendly option too. They still make a fair amount of noise, but they’re decibels quieter than the bigger, petrol machines which makes them a great choice if you’re trying to keep noise to a minimum, or want to clear up leaf piles early in the morning.
And then there’s the environmental impact too: Because they’re less powerful, they use a lot less energy, and produce a lot less carbon. If you’re eco-minded, handheld, electric blowers and vacuums are the best possible machines to use – particularly if you pick a device with an energy saving, lithium ion battery.

The only downside – aside from their lack of ‘oomph’ – is the fact that you’re restricted by the amount of charge their batteries can hold. This varies according to the model, but it’s rarely more than enough for an hour of continuous use. If you have a medium sized lawn to clear, this might mean that you have to wait for the device to recharge in order to get the job done.

Corded, electric blower/vacs are a better option for those in need of a longer run time.


Cobra BV2600
Cobra BV2600

Cobra’s BV2600 is probably the best-possible handheld electric blower for people with small gardens. It packs a lot of punch for a handheld model, it functions as both vac and blower, and it’s even got a built-in impeller for shredding leaves.

This model boasts a long, 10m cord too, which does help to mitigate some of the challenges associated with normal electric blowers.

EGO Power Plus Cordless Leaf Blower
EGO Power Plus Cordless Leaf Blower

For those of us that really don’t want to deal with a cord, the EGO Power Plus Cordless Leaf Blower is a great alternative. Using one of EGO’s own 2Ah lithium ion batteries, it’ll run for 75 minutes on a single charge and it’s still got a fairly impressive 440m/h average airspeed.


Petrol hand-held leaf blowers and vacuums
Petrol powered, handheld leaf blowers and vacuums tend to pack a bit more punch and they can generally clear an identical space in about 2/3rds of the time.

They can still be lightweight – particularly when you compare them to the wheeled or backpack options – but they do have a much longer base run time than cordless and they also mitigate the need for extension cables or cord management.

There are some downsides though: They’re a lot noisier than electric/cordless options, and they do produce a bit of pollution, which might be a concern if you’re very eco-minded.

They also require refuelling. This isn’t a major concern, but it is worth considering the logistics as you’ll need somewhere to store backup fuel.

As with all petrol vs. electric/cordless machine comparisons, it should also be noted that petrol machines do require a little bit more maintenance.

Although more of a commitment they are also more effective, and it’d be remiss of us to neglect the fact that petrol-powered, handheld blowers and vacuums:

• Get the job done faster than their electric counterparts
• Can cover a larger area
• Allow for more aggressive leaf clearance

If they’re well maintained, petrol powered blowers/vacs do tend to have a slightly longer lifetime than their electric cousins

Mitox 280BVX
Mitox 280BVX

The Mitox 280BVX is a very good blower vac. Perhaps a bit pricier than the average handheld blower we think it’s worth the investment. Its 25.4cc motor packs a lot of punch, and it also incorporates some really nifty technologies, such as a built-in mulching blade, and anti-vibration technology for added comfort. It is a particularly reliable blower/vac. If you’ve got a small-medium sized garden and you’re hunting for a true workhorse, this is worth considering.

Backpack Leaf Blowers and Vacuums
Exchanging a bit of mobility for a bigger engine (or motor); greater power reserves and a significant increase in ‘oomph’, backpack blowers and vacuums are the tier above handheld machines in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

These products are ideally suited to people with medium-sized lawns (0.5 acres and above). They’re also a great choice for people trying to clear up leaves on uneven terrain, which can be difficult for wheeled blowers or vacuums.

Are backpack blowers harder to use?
Often, people make the mistake of thinking this type of blower or vacuum is for commercial users but this is not the case – they are easy to use, and there’s certainly no need for special training before you strap one on.

The choice here is between petrol-powered or cordless backpack leaf blowers/vacuums.

Cordless Backpack Leaf Blowers and Vacuums
Freedom from cords provides the machines in this range with much more flexibility and allows them to be carried far from buildings or outhouses.

With many of the same advantages associated with their handheld cousins, they are slightly quieter than their petrol counterparts, and they tend to be lighter too.

This makes them a good compromise for people that don’t want to carry heavy machinery on their backs, but do need to clear more space than a handheld blower/vacuum could reasonably be expected to cope with.

They also require a good deal less maintenance than their petrol counterparts, and they are also eco-friendly.

Thanks to recent advances in battery and electric motor technology, the modern machines in this range can push a huge amount of air per-second, and some of the high-end options will give the average petrol powered, backpack vacuum or blower a good run for its money.

EGO Cordless Backpack Garden Leaf Blower
EGO Cordless Backpack Garden Leaf Blower

Our top pick in this category is definitely EGO’s cordless backpack blower. This product does not double up as a vacuum, but it is incredibly light, very comfortable, and easy to use. It’s no slouch in the power department either. In fact, it has a max air speed of 192 km/h, which is more than enough to whip up a veritable tornado of air.

Petrol-Powered, Backpack Leaf Blowers and Vacuums
A good petrol powered, backpack blower/vacuum can clear a medium-sized lawn in around half an hour, and they’re a great choice for people who are trying to keep a bigger space clear.

They’re also the go-to device for people with a lot of deciduous trees. If you’re sick of clearing your lawn once or twice a week in the autumn months, these powerful devices are the best possible option.

There’s no mistaking the distinctive roar of a petrol-powered, backpack leaf blower. They make a lot of noise, and they are guaranteed to wake your neighbours if you start running them in the early hours of the morning, but they do also move a lot of leaves!

Modern advances in engine technology have made most petrol-powered blowers and vacs relatively efficient and most options tend to be quite cheap to run. They do require a little more maintenance though.

In terms of usability, it’s worth noting that petrol powered machines are often heavier than their electric/cordless counterparts. That said, the weight difference is normally just a couple of kilograms, and if you’re comfortable lugging a cordless backpack blower around, the petrol options won’t feel all that different.

Petrol powered, backpack leaf blowers and vacuums are also the best all-rounders, and they are probably the most popular choice for people with medium sized lawns.

Mitox 760BPX Premium Backpack Blower
Mitox 760BPX Premium Backpack Blower

The Mitox 760BPX is definitely our top recommended petrol-powered, backpack blower. Like all Mitox products, this particular machine is very reliable, and it’s also fitted with a 75.6cc engine producing a max air speed of approximately 205 mph.

It might not have vacuum functionality, but it does pack a real punch, and it will blast the leaves right off your lawn.

Wheeled Leaf Blowers and Lawn Vacuums
These devices are the go-to option for those with a couple of acres to maintain.

Most wheeled leaf blowers and vacuums are designed for commercial use, but they’re also very straightforward for homeowner use.

Due to the need for large amounts of air displacement, the overwhelming majority of wheeled leaf blowers and vacuums are also petrol driven.

The two main types of machine in this range are wheeled leaf blowers, and wheeled lawn vacuums. We’ve explored the pros and cons of each below:

Wheeled Lawn Vacuums
As the name suggests, these machines are designed to be pushed across your lawn; hoovering up leaves in much the same way that your vacuum cleaner sucks up dust and debris from around the house.

Wheeled lawn vacuums tend to pack a lot more punch though. The majority boast 150cc motors, which gives them enough power to suck up huge drifts of autumnal leaves in a matter of seconds.

They’re also relentless; running for hours at a time, and demanding little more than a guiding hand to direct their progress.

These machines can look intimidating but are actually very user friendly, are easy to fuel and also to maintain.

These devices are built to last as well. Most come with 2+ years of warranty, and the engines are designed with heavy use in mind.

If you have a lot of space to keep clear, there really isn’t a better option. They have huge, high-capacity bags that can cope with lots of excess leaf matter, and they will leave your lawn gleaming after a single pass, which makes them a very efficient choice.

Little Billy Goat Petrol Wheeled Lawn Leaf Vacuum
Little Billy Goat Petrol Wheeled Lawn Leaf Vacuum

If you’re looking for a good garden vacuum, we highly recommend Billy Goat’s “Little Billy Goat” . This machine is fitted with a 158cc engine, which gives it plenty of staying power. It’s lighter than some other lawn vacuums though, which means that it’s nice and easy to manoeuvre. It’s a popular choice for both homeowner and commercial user.

Wheeled Leaf Blowers
These devices are slightly harder to use properly. At heart, they’re really just a large (and very powerful) fan strapped to a motorbike-sized motor. They’re meant to blow huge drifts of leaves into nice, neat piles, and when they’re employed correctly, they’re incredibly effective.

They can make a bit of a mess though – particularly if you’ve never used one before.

That said, if you’ve got too much leaf matter for a wheeled vacuum and you need to keep a big space nice and clear, these machines are exactly what you’ll want in your corner. They move a tremendous amount of air, and they can clear an acre or so of space in around half an hour.

The only things you’ll need to watch are the tremendous amount of noise that they make and the risk of accidentally scattering a leaf pile across your lawn if they’re turned towards a pile edge-on.

Billy Goat F902S Petrol Push Wheeled Force Blower
Billy Goat F902S Petrol Push Wheeled Force Blower

The Billy Goat F902S Petrol Leaf Blower is the stand out option in this product category. It’s a self-propelled machine, which makes it nice and easy to use. It also houses a hefty 265cc motor, and a huge, 16-blade fan that, combined, allow it to move around twice as much air as most wheeled blowers.

It’s an incredibly reliable product too. It’s well built, and the motor comes with a 5-year warranty as standard, which should tell you something about the manufacturer’s confidence.

Hopefully, reading this guide has helped you to work out whether you need a blower or a vacuum, and helped you to identify the type of machine most suits to your needs.

If you’d like some obligation-free advice on picking the right leaf blower or vacuum, give us a call or drop us a message using the contact form on the site, so that a member of our team can get in touch.

Hedgetrimmers – a useful guide

HedgetrimmerLooking after your hedges, bushes and shrubs can often be an overlooked task in the garden. It is easy for these to spread rapidly and if neglected can result in an untidy looking garden even if your well-manicured lawn looks great!  However, if you’ve ever tried cutting a hedge manually with shears, you’ll know what hard work it can be and it’s hard to get a neat looking finish to the hedge this way. This might be all you need for a small hedge of course but if you have several hedges to cut then a powered hedgetrimmer makes the task a lot easier. Choosing the right hedgetrimmer depends on a number of things:

  • What type of hedge do you have – thin branches or thick branches?
  • What height are your hedges?
  • Consider where your hedges are. A corded hedge trimmer may not be an option if too far from a power source
  • How formal/informal do you want your hedges to be?
  • Who will be the person using the hedgetrimmer – need to consider the weight they can carry, ease of use, comfort etc.

Hedgetrimmers are available as electric, petrol and cordless battery powered.

Electric Hedgetrimmers

Cobra LRH40E 39cm 15in Electric Long Reach Hedgetrimmer
Cobra LRH40E 39cm 15in Electric Long Reach Hedgetrimmer

As these require a mains connection and are limited by the length of cable they are best suited to a smaller garden. If bushes and shrubs are relatively small this may be all that is needed to keep them neat. Electric hedgetrimmers tend to be cheaper and more lightweight (no fuel to carry or battery). They are also better for the environment and quieter than the petrol alternative. Another benefit is that they are cheaper to run as there are no regular servicing costs. However, you will need to consider the type of bushes you need to trim – thicker, woodier branches might require more power.  The Cobra LRH40E 39cm 15in Electric Long Reach Hedgetrimmer is a lightweight and powerful hedgetrimmer with a 10m cable and priced under £100.

View our full range of Electric Hedge Trimmers

Petrol Hedgetrimmers

Mitox Premium Petrol Hedgetrimmer 750DX / 23cc / 75cm
Mitox Premium Petrol Hedgetrimmer 750DX / 23cc / 75cm

Petrol hedge trimmers can be a better choice for cutting large hedges and especially one’s with tougher cutting requirements. Being unrestricted in their use and with much more power available these tend to be the choice in larger gardens and/or for professional hedge maintenance. However, they are more expensive, tend to be heavier, are noisier and will require servicing.  If you are considering a petrol hedgetrimmer, we recommend the Mitox Premium Petrol Hedgetrimmer 750DX / 23cc / 75cm– this is a premium quality hedge trimmer, powerful, lightweight, affordable and offering great value at only £229.

Or take a look at our range of petrol hedge trimmers

Cordless Battery Powered Hedgetrimmers

More people are turning to cordless these days for their garden tools and hedge trimmers are no exception. Lithium-ion batteries offer all the power of petrol and yet are convenient, quieter and cleaner for the environment.  They are ideally suited to most domestic hedge maintenance tasks, providing the manoeuvrability around the garden and many have excellent cutting performance. The only thing to consider will be the battery runtime of the machine.

EGO Power+ HT1500E Cordless Hedgetrimmer
EGO Power+ HT1500E Cordless Hedgetrimmer

The EGO Power+ HT1500E Cordless Hedgetrimmer offers a well-balanced design for more comfortable operation. A two-speed selector lets you choose the right speed for every task and the large cutting capacity means you can get to work on larger hedges with thicker branches and stems.

Take a look at our range of Cordless Battery Powered Hedgetrimmers

Long Reach Hedgetrimmers

Long Reach Hedgetrimmers
Long Reach Hedgetrimmers

If you have higher hedges then a long-reach, extendable hedge trimmer is a good option and depending on height you should be able to reach the top from standing safely on the ground. Different lengths can be obtained by adjusting the long shaft and the blade on the end can be rotated to cut the hedge at different angles.  Long Reach Hedgetrimmers are available in electric, petrol or cordless models. Many of the petrol and cordless models can be bought as a multi-tool – often being sold with a main power head with different extensions such as chainsaw, brushcutter and pruner.

See our range of Long Reach Hedgetrimmers

Single Sided & Double Sided Hedgetrimmers

Generally, the average domestic user will need a double-sided hedgetrimmer. These are easier to use as the blade tends to be shorter and allows the user more manoeuvrability when trimming bushes and shrubs.  Single sided hedgetrimmers have longer blades and tend to be used mainly for commercial applications. They are better suited to cutting long extensive lines of hedgerows on large estates and park land.

For advice on choosing a hedgetrimmer, please call Nigel or Sam on 01380 828867.

Choosing A Walk Behind Lawn Mower

Choosing a walk behind lawnmower can be quite confusing when it comes to the different types of mower, your requirements, your type of garden and of course your budget. There are many types of mower available: rear-roller rotary, four-wheel rotary, hover mower, cylinder mower, and then the question of whether to choose petrol, electric or cordless.

For some people, the priority is to find the very best quality mower available for their garden and for others they will have a set budget and want to find the best value lawnmower for their money. All of these points are relevant when choosing a mower. This is a broad guide to the sort of questions you should consider when buying your lawn mower.

Size of Garden.

Probably the first place to start is considering the size of your garden as generally speaking, the bigger your garden the bigger the lawnmower. However, what constitutes a small, medium, or large garden? A rule of thumb is to think of your garden in terms of the size of a tennis court – so up to ½ a tennis court would be considered small; a tennis court size would be medium and any bigger than that would be considered large.

Small Garden
For a small garden, you might consider a small petrol mower, electric mower or cordless mower. The decision here can be down to several factors such as budget, access to the garden (consider steps), acceptable noise levels, and storage as a petrol mower will take up more space. Electric and Cordless mowers are lighter in weight than petrol mowers and of course, they need less servicing.


For a small garden, a good electric mower that we would recommend is the ATCO 15E 1600W Electric Lawnmower.

If you are considering a petrol four-wheel rotary mower for a small garden with a general-use lawn then one with a 16in/41cm cutting width will do the job well and really there is no need to go for a wider cut as it will simply cost more.

Hayter Spirit 619
Hayter Spirit 619

If you have a flat even lawn and want to have stripes then you will need a mower with a rear roller so could look at either a Petrol or Electric Rear Roller Mower. The Hayter Spirit 619 is an ideal choice with a 16in/41cm cut and offering a good combination of reliability and performance.

Cobra RM40SPCE 16 inch Rear Roller Petrol Lawnmower
Cobra RM40SPCE 16 inch Rear Roller Petrol Lawnmower

Cobra produces a range of electric and petrol lawnmowers which offer style and exceptional performance at a very good price. The Cobra RM40SPCE 16 inch Rear Roller Petrol Lawnmower is a very reasonably priced, reliable petrol mower with great performance and has been one of our best-selling lawnmowers.

Medium Garden
If your garden is the size of a tennis court then your choices are similar to that for a small garden but probably excluding the electric option due to cable length.

If you require a more formal lawn then you will want to look at either a cylinder mower or rear roller rotary mower (for formal short grass) but if you are looking to cut a general use lawn, then you will very likely be considering a petrol four-wheel lawnmower.

Ego Cordless Battery Mowers
Ego Cordless Battery Mowers

These days some of the cordless lawnmowers with Lithium-ion batteries rival the power of petrol and can be worth considering as well. They are lighter than petrol mowers to handle and are better for the environment as they emit no polluting fumes. The downside can be battery life although this can be overcome by having 2 batteries. If considering a cordless lawnmower, the EGO range of cordless lawn mowers is worth looking at.

Large garden


For large gardens over the size of a tennis court, the width of cut is important and you will need to look at large walk-behind lawnmowers with a cutting width over 50cm/20in. These are big mowers and will necessarily be self-propelled. If you have flowerbeds and obstacles in your garden to go around then opt for one with speed control so that you can easily slow down in the appropriate areas. For a more formal lawn (with stripes) if relatively free of obstacles you could consider a large rear roller lawnmower. For large gardens with obstacles and/or a less formal lawn a large 4 wheel rotary lawnmower would be a good choice.

Both Toro and ATCO produce quality large petrol lawnmowers. In particular,  we think the Toro Steel Deck 55cm/22in AWD Self Propelled Recycler Lawnmower is a very good value lawnmower with exceptional performance.

And for an excellent cylinder lawnmower have a look at the Allett Buckingham 20H Cylinder Lawnmower 51cm / 20in



Choosing the type of lawnmower to buy

Buy a cylinder lawn mower if you want…

  • short fine grass and/or stripes for your lawn
  • a lawnmower where you can change the cutting widths / heights
  • a neat looking finish to your lawn as cylinder mowers can cut the grass at low height
  • to attach a collection box for the grass
  • to buy an electric, petrol or hand push cylinder mower

Buy a rotary lawn mower if you want…

  • a lawnmower where you can change the heights
  • a lawnmower where you can attach a collection box for the grass
  • to buy an electric, petrol or cordless lawn mower
  • a self-propelled lawnmower for ease of pushing – better if you have a heavier lawnmower and also for large grass areas
  • a lawn mower for many lawn types as the blade rotates horizontally and can tackle longer grass

Buy a hover lawn mower if you want…

  • a lawn mower that is ideal for small lawns and easy to use
  • a lightweight mower that can mow the grass, uneven areas and slopes
  • a lawn mower where the finish of the cut is not so important to you and you are looking for something that will do the job effectively
  • some larger hover mowers can tackle larger grassed areas and also come with grass collection bags

Buy a cordless lawn mower if you want…

  • a lawn mower that has the power to rival that of a petrol mower
  • a lighter lawn mower than that of a petrol mower of the same power
  • an easy to start lawn mower
  • a lawn mower with the benefits of petrol and the ease of an electric mower
  • a quieter lawn mower that also offers an environmentally friendly option to petrol
  • to use other garden tools with the battery

Other points to consider when buying a lawnmower

Cutting width
The wider the cut of the lawnmower clearly the more grass it will cut each time you run up and down the lawn. Consider the time you are happy to spend cutting the grass. A wider width of mower will cost more.

Length of Cable
If you are considering an electric lawnmower then make sure that the cord is long enough to reach across your garden.

Adjustable heights
Most lawnmowers have height adjustments so check the settings on any mower you buy to ensure that the height settings are suitable for your requirements.

Adjustable handle
Make sure that you can adjust the handle to the right height to ensure that you are comfortable with the mowing position. Also, see whether the handle folds for ease of storage and space saving.

Battery life
If you are considering cordless then make sure that the battery life is sufficient for the job in hand. Alternatively, buy a spare battery so that one can always be on charge.

Bag volume
Consider a mower that can have a sufficient grass collection bag attached so as to minimise emptying.

If you require any advice at all when choosing your lawnmower then please give Nigel or Sam a call on 01380 828867.