Top Leaf Blowers, Vacuums, Mulching Lawn Mowers, Wood Chipper

Reviews of Some Staples of Leaf-Removal Equipment, Yard Clean-Up Tools

Fall leaves are nice, but not when you have to rake them or remove them with leaf blower-vacuums. These reviews on leaf-removal equipment give options for fall cleanup. Compare features before purchasing equipment. Each of the options has its pros and cons.

Which option you choose could depend on your physical capabilities, your property layout, or your environmental concerns. Even your personality plays a role: leaf blowers, e.g., are noisy, so quiet types may prefer to rake.

  • 01 of 05
    Photo of Craftsman 4-cycle gas leaf blower vacuum.
    Photo of Craftsman 4-cycle gas leaf blower/vacuum. David Beaulieu

    Gas leaf blowers cost more, weigh more and pollute more than electric leaf blowers. So are they worth it? Click the link to see what I have to say about a 4-cycle Craftsman model. My review will help you make up your mind if gas leaf blowers, broadly speaking, are best-suited to your needs. I review a model with a horsepower of 200 as an example. The Amazon product I have linked to here has a horsepower of 210.

  • 02 of 05
    My photo is of the BV6000, a Black & Decker product. It's in leaf blower mode.
    Photo: the BV6000 in leaf blower mode. David Beaulieu

    Electric leaf blowers have distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to gas-powered models. Leaf blowers / vacs are often the first leaf-removal option people try when they are tired of raking leaves. Leaf blowers and vacuums are cheaper than some of the options presented below, but are also more work.

    The earliest model of these leaf blowers from Black & Decker that I reviewed was the Leaf Hog BV2500. Black & Decker has since upgraded these leaf blowers to the BV4000, BV4500,...MORE BV5600, etc. My reviews of the older models are still worth reading, since they serve not only as product reviews but also as introductions to buying and using leaf blowers.

    The newest model I have reviewed so far is the BV6000 Leaf Blower, which is shown in my photo.

  • 03 of 05
    Picture of the Stihl RMA 370 lawn mower. This mower runs on a battery.
    Picture of Stihl's battery-powered mower. David Beaulieu

    This lawn equipment option obviates leaf removal altogether. Instead of using leaf blowers, simply shred up leaf debris into smaller pieces with a mulching lawn mower and leave them where they fall. The shredded leaves are allowed to return to the lawn as mulch, rather than being removed.

    Alternatively, use a bag attachment and dump the leaves in a compost bin or use them as mulch in a garden bed. The specific equipment I review here is battery-powered, giving it advantages under some conditions,...MORE but disadvantages under others. The best battery-powered lawn mower I've reviewed so far is a Stihl product, which is what I show in my picture. In my review of the Stihl mower, I reveal the trick to making battery-run models easy to use.

  • 04 of 05
    Shop Sweep Shop-Vac picture.
    Shop Sweep Shop-Vac picture. David Beaulieu

     Anyone who has taken on the task of leaf removal knows that the job does not truly end even when you have dealt with the last leaf. For example, using a leaf blower blows more than leaves around -- it blows a lot of dirt around, too. When that dirt gets all over your driveway, patio, walkway, etc., you may want suitable equipment to clean it up. Enter the Shop Sweep vacuum, which I review here.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Durability and power head the list of desirable features for wood chippers. This Troy-Bilt wood chipper / shredder has both. It has tough steel blades to grind up all that coarse debris, and it is powered by a 10 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine. Feel confident feeding branches up to 3 inches thick into the hopper or chipper chute. This wood chipper is also good for shredding leaves that you have raked up. Sometimes only 5.5 / 6.5 horsepower models are available.