The Bottom Line
Leaf blowers are a step up from raking. Wheeled leaf shredders/wood chippers/vacuums go an additional step beyond that for ease of maintenance, but their far bigger price tag isn't worth it. They also won't chip up branches as well as true wood chippers. My advice: buy a leaf vacuum instead and put the money you'll save as a result towards the purchase of equipment designed specifically for wood chipping.
These "3-in-1" gadgets try to play too many roles all at once.
- Easy on your arms.
- Costs more than leaf blowers.
- Can't handle the tough branches: Better to get a true wood chipper.
- Unlike blowers, nothing to carry here. This equipment is pushed on wheels, like a lawn mower.
- Touted as "4-in-1" equipment, the 4 tools being as follows:
- 1.The main vacuum nozzle is 24" and cleans a wide swath of lawn, reducing maintenance.
- 2.Secondary nozzle is attached to an onboard vacuum hose, included for those hard-to-reach spots.
- 3.Chipper chute chips up branches as big as 1.5" in diameter.
- 4.Optional blower attachment.
- In addition, 5.5HP EasyStart engine is easy to start, if equipment is maintained regularly.
- 10:1 reduction ratio, meaning 10 bags of whole leaves reduced to 1 bag of shredded leaves.
- 2-bushel rear bag is easy to empty, although too small to hold much debris.
- Height adjusters can be lowered or raised from 3/8" to 4", so you can adjust to ground conditions.
Guide Review - Yard-Man Leaf Shredder/Wood Chipper/Leaf Vacuum
Yard-Man's chipper/shredder/vacuum cleans up all lawn debris -- branches, acorns, maple seeds and pine cones -- not just leaves. Best of all, your work is kept to a minimum. In using leaf blowers for leaf removal, you have to swing the blower's arm back and forth.
But this chipper/shredder/vacuum is pushed on wheels, like a lawn mower. Still, are you willing to pay substantially more money to save yourself this small amount of extra exercise? I'm not. But in case you disagree, here's how the equipment works. The vacuum nozzle (24" wide) cleans the bulk of your lawn debris. The chipper/shredder function grinds up leaves and small-sized tree branches. But it will choke on the bigger branches.
For my money, I'll take a separate leaf vacuum and a real wood chipper. To read a review on a real wood chipper, please see what I have to say about Troy-Bilt wood chippers. If you're still looking for leaf clean-up options, see my review on mulching mowers.