Gardens are a source of pride for many – some might say that there’s chlorophyll in their bloodstream, instead of being simply green-fingered. Cultivating a beautiful garden can be with the purpose of attracting wildlife, for growing fruit and veg, or as the complement to an equally well-kept house. Naturally, then, keeping gardens tidy is a must, and with a wealth of tools and equipment out there for that very purpose it’s never been easier.
Fallen leaves and other such detritus are what usually do the most to clutter lawns, and traditionally that might have just called for a rake and a long afternoon’s hard work – but less so nowadays. Far from being a luxury, leaf vacuums are no longer things reserved only for professional gardeners. Instead, there is a multitude available for the everyday gardener to make the whole process a breeze – as most units will both blow and vacuum, pun intended? Regardless, take a look at our round-up of the 9 best garden vacuums.
|Vonhaus 3 in 1||3000W|
|Q Garden QGBV2500||2500W|
|Surreal 2500W 3 in 1||2500W|
|Garden Gear 3 in 1||3000W|
|McCulloch GBV345 Petrol||25cc|
|Bosch ALS 2500||2500W|
|Toro Ultra Plus||0.7 AHP|
|Handy THEV 3000||3000W|
|Flymo 9676581-01 PowerVac 3000||3000W|
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VonHaus’ foray into this corner of the garden tool world comes in the form of their 3 in 1 leaf blower, vacuum and mulcher. An excellent option that won’t break the bank, its lightweight and sleek design with some neat touches make it an accessible piece of equipment.
Using a powerful 3000W motor, it’s an efficient machine with a strong vacuum action. Also featuring a 10:1 shredding ration for the mulching side of things, all garden waste is broken down to a tenth of its original volume, meaning that the fairly generous 35L collection bag should handle a solid amount of debris. The 10m cable ensures accessibility around most gardens.
Also utilising a comfortable shoulder strap paired with a handy pair of wheels at the end of the vacuum tube for easy manoeuvring, switching between the three settings is also via a simple dial for ease of use.
The QGBV2500 by Q Garden represents a good bit of kit for a pretty low investment. Packing the 3 features of vacuum, blowing and shredding/mulching into the unit, it is a solid and relatively light piece of equipment that should do everything you need it to.
As the name suggests, it has a 2500W motor for a decent amount of power behind the vacuum/blower, which can be alternated between at the simple flick of a switch. A generously sized 45L collecting bag combined with a mulching ration of 10:1 ensures that garden waste will be dealt with efficiently, and with fewer needs to empty the bag.
A 10m cable and shoulder strap ensure comfortable usage around moderately large gardens, and it is able to handle more difficult things like wet leaves with relative ease.
Surreal by name but not by nature, this 3 in 1 vacuum-blower-mulcher is a great low-budget option that hits above its weight. A compact option with a fairly low weight it would make an ideal companion for those smaller gardens on account of the 6m accompanying cable.
Utilising a 2500W motor to make sure it has plenty of oomph, the 30L collection bag benefits from a 10:1 mulching ration to capably handle a decent amount of garden waste. The attached shoulder strap and wheels at the end of the vacuum tube also help with easy manoeuvrability, combining with the light weight to make an easy to use package.
Garden Gear’s 3 in 1 is a machine that looks like it means business but comes in at a lower price point and weight than you might expect. Vacuuming, blowing and mulching is all controlled via a simple lever on the side of the unit, it has all the bases covered in one straightforward piece of kit.
The motor comes in at 3000W, but interestingly has variable power level, giving you an extra bit of control when in use. It also benefits from a large 45-litre collection bag, with a 10:1 mulching ratio taking care of whatever large volumes of stuff are thrown at it. A harness system together with a pair of wheels at the tube’s end allow a high level of usability, with the 10m cable enough for up to medium-sized gardens.
Coming in as the only petrol model on our list, McCulloch’s GBV345 is where things start to get serious. A more premium price does, here, get you a more premium piece of equipment – however, this is not to say that it’s for the professionals only, as it packs in a number of features that make it highly accessible.
The motor produces 25cc of power, which itself comes with an adjustable ‘cruise control’ function to adjust the fan speed, as well as a starter cord to give you greater control. Switching between the different settings requires a quick and easy change of the main tube, and it mulches with a massive 16:1 ratio into its 45-litre bag, which is also neatly integrated into the unit. The comfort-designed handle also adds a nice level of anti-vibration technology to enhance its ease of use.
Its 2500W motor with variable speed gives you a higher level of control over the unit, with the useful design features of an adjustable carry handle and padded shoulder strap making it really simple to use comfortably. The collection bag is also thoughtfully designed – coming in at 45 litres connected to a 10:1 shredding ratio, it can collect a large amount of foliage with no problems. Emptying the bag is super simple via a zipper at the bottom of the unit, and the 10m cable ensures decent reach for all but the largest gardens. It also packs down compactly, and is designed for simple storing/swapping of parts to change functions.
The Ultra Plus by Toro may occupy a higher end of the price spectrum, but it more than earns its place there with a host of premium-quality features. A sleek design houses a lot of power in a surprisingly streamlined body.
Despite boasting a high-powered motor, the Toro prides itself on being remarkably quiet compared to similar models. It does also feature variable power control, so you don’t have to worry about it being overwhelming. One of its most useful features is the metal impeller that mulches waste – as well as having a roughly 16:1 ratio, the metal blades are tough enough to handle a lot more heavy-duty debris.
A final note is that the cable attached to the unit is very short, at around 30cm, and comes with a European 2-pin plug, so purchase of an extension lead is a necessity.
The aim of the THEV 3000 is clearly to be Handy by both name and nature. Surprisingly inexpensive for what is a very sturdy piece of gardening equipment, it makes the most of a set of features designed to cover all bases.
The 3000W motor provides more than enough power, although this speed is variable to allow for that extra bit of control. The 45-litre bag also provides more than enough volume to pick up your garden waste, which is mulched at a 10:1 ratio. Wheels at the end of the vacuum tube and a shoulder strap provide good ergonomics and ease of use, and you should find this particular tool more than capable of handling even larger bits of garden debris.
As the name indicates, this holds a 3000W motor which also counts on a variable speed switch for greater control. A comfortable handle and balanced build mean that this is comfortably wielded one-handed, meaning that it’s still straightforward to use even when the 45-litre bag is filled. It also mulches into said bag at a 16:1 ratio, meaning there should be plenty of room for foliage.
One of the neatest features is the tool-free system that allows you to change from vacuum to blower in moments, giving great versatility to the unit. Flymo also offer a wide range of spare parts.
Which Product to Go for?
Best quality & features – The Bosch ALS 2500 ticks all the boxes as a consummate all-rounder, with fantastic quality, a reasonable price and excellent design that warrant the good review. Powerful motor with adjustable speed, ergonomically minded handle and strap and fairly low weight, and a well-designed collection bag that’s both easy to empty and has its own handle. Add to that Bosch’s reputable build quality, and you’re on to a winner.
On a budget – It’s hard to look beyond the Surreal 2500 3 in 1 for a tool like this on a budget. When some options on test are over £100, the Surreal comes in at less than £30. Maybe that’s where the brand name comes from – prices so good it’s actually a little weird? But considering you still get plenty of well thought-out features and good build quality, it stands as an exception to ‘you get what you pay for’.
The lightest option – The Garden Gear 3 in 1 is much lighter than it looks, weighing in at only around the 3kg mark despite being a normal-sized machine. The lightweight plastic body is nonetheless sturdy but will take less of a toll on your back as you go around the garden. An adjustable harness helps with this too.
For the casual gardener – The Flymo 9676581-01 PowerVac 3000 is a really solid all-round performer for those who want a good power tool without a lot of fuss. What highlights it the most is the distinctive tool-free system to allow for rapid changing between vacuum and blower. This user-friendly design is ideally suited to the casual weekend gardener.
Most powerful option – Undoubtedly the McCulloch GBV345 Petrol takes the cake for the most powerful vacuum on test. The 2-stroke petrol motor’s (or is it an engine at this point?) adjustable speed settings and ‘cruise control’ option allow for fine-tuning on the fly, and it has more than enough power to handle significant amounts of debris in bigger gardens.
Best at handling tricky debris – The Toro Ultra Plus stands out as the best for dealing with tough clumps of garden waste, thanks to its powerful motor, but additionally the metal impeller. Tough enough to withstand even the odd bit of gravel that might work its way in, the metal fan’s benefits are twofold – with metal being a better heat conductor, it’s better at dissipating heat build-up from the motor having to work harder to get through the tough stuff.
Garden Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
In terms of what actually makes for a good garden vacuum, it’s not as simple as just being able to suck up leaves and other debris. All of the options in our list have at least the dual function of vacuuming and blowing, with the conventional approach being that you can blow everything into one big pile, before switching to a vacuum setting and clearing it up with ease. Many also come with a third setting which shreds what it collects, providing a finely cut mulch to then put back on the garden.
When looking for the garden vacuum that’s right for you, it’s important to consider that you’re buying the right tool that matches what you’re looking for in terms of power, usability and general practicality, which is where our buying guide comes in to make sure you’re as informed as can be.
If you have a large garden, or intend to use the vacuum over prolonged periods, consider the power of the motor, which usually ranges from 2500 to 3000 Watts. Simply, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the tool, and therefore the quicker you’ll be able to work.
Collection bag size
Collection bags are an essential component when considering garden vacuums. The larger the collection bag, the more debris you’ll be able to collect. However, the obvious trade-off is that if you have a bigger bag, it’ll get significantly heavier as you collect more and more garden waste. Bear this in mind, and try and get the right balance for your needs.
Shoulder straps and adjustable handles can make a vacuum more comfortable to work with, so these features as well as the product’s weight can make a significant impact on your choice. Wheels at the end of the vacuum/blower tube can also make it easier to move your vacuum around as you work, and the length of the cable (in corded electric models) is a key consideration in relation to the size of your garden.
Corded electric models are an ideal choice for regular garden maintenance – simply plug and go. Often more lightweight, the cable reach keeps them best suited to smaller spaces. It’s therefore often important to ensure you’ve got a safe outdoor power supply, or a weather-proof extension lead.
If you’d rather not worry about trailing cables, cordless options are available too. Cordless models offer some freedom to work in a larger areas without a power supply. The best power option, however, for the largest gardens (especially those with more vegetation) are petrol models. Powered by 2-stroke, a petrol/oil mix, they typically make short work of bigger quantities of debris so can be more efficient to use. If you opt for petrol, be aware that they’ll need careful maintenance and there will be an ongoing fuel cost.
The arrival of autumn is heralded by leaves turning various gorgeous shades of orange, gold and brown. This is lovely, until you realise they’ve made a bit of a mess of your pristine lawn. Now, however, you’re well-equipped to deal with this issue, no matter your budget or gardening ambitions. Now, get out there and green up those fingers!
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