Leaf Blower vs Vacuum – Which One Should You Buy?

Gone are the days when people rake leaves off their gardens. You know you need a fast and reliable tool to take on this tedious chore of clearing fallen leaves in your garden. When considering between a leaf blower vs vacuum, it is wise to read up on customer reviews and buyer’s guides like this one.

Remember, a leaf blower or a leaf vacuum is a pricey investment. So, knowing which one best fits your gardening needs will save you from buyer’s remorse.

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Leaf Blower vs Leaf Vacuum: What Are They For?

Autumn leaves alongside a road

Both the leaf blower and leaf vacuum are designed to help in the clearing of garden debris that can affect the health of your lawn.

Keep in mind that this gardening equipment should not be used to blow or vacuum stones, twigs, and other hard and sharp debris. You may need a combination of garden equipment when dealing with pebble driveways so you can blow the debris on grass before vacuuming.

Questions to ask yourself before buying

When it comes to choosing which gardening equipment is best to use for clearing leaves in your garden, you first have to consider the following:

  • The size of your garden: How big is it?
  • The person clearing your garden: How much weight can he or she handle?
  • The capacity of the equipment: What kind of garden debris will you be clearing?
  • Features of the equipment: How much noise and power can you handle?
  • Leaf blower vs vacuum: Do you need a piece of equipment that can do both blowing and vacuuming?

Your Garden Size Matters!

Whether a garden vacuum or a leaf blower is better for your garden depends on the area of coverage.

For Small Gardens

A lightweight or handheld blower or vacuum suits you best. If possible, you may want to choose electric or cordless gardening equipment to make it easier for you to work in a small garden.

Should you choose an electric blower or vacuum, don’t forget to consider the length of the cable and if it can easily reach the electric source. Cordless vacuum or blower may be more costly, but it is easier to maneuver in gardens that are far from a power supply.

For Big Gardens

In larger areas, you may opt for powerful gardening equipment like a petrol leaf blower which uses gas rather than an electric source. This boosts the power of your gardening tool. You may also opt for a good backpack leaf blower, though this can put a lot of strain on your back. If so, choose one with padded straps.

Another solid choice is the wheeled or push-type leaf blower or vacuum. This type of equipment has huge collection bags, sometimes up to 90 gallons. A towable lawn sweeper is also one to consider for clearing dry leaves, but not for fine grass cuttings.

Things to Look Out For

Autumn leaves on ground

When choosing between a leaf blower vs leaf vacuum, you also need to know that some equipment is just not designed to take on some tasks. So, knowing just what your equipment can and can’t do is a must before you buy.

Disposal Issues

When you use a leaf blower, it tends to create a large pile of leaves that you need to find a way to dispose of. Meanwhile, yard vacuums, especially toothed ones, can shred leaves as they are sucked.

Speed

A leaf blower is much faster at clearing up a yard full of leaves. Meanwhile, leaf vacuums collect the leaves which slows down the clearing up process. Furthermore, when the vacuum collection bag is filled up, you have to stop and empty it before continuing the clearing-up process.

Brushless Motor

Some of the disadvantages and problems you may encounter with a leaf blower vs vacuum can be alleviated with a brushless motor.

With the presence of synchronous DC or electronically commutated motors, you get a higher power-to-weight ratio. So, you can have more compact and less bulky equipment without sacrificing power.

Moreover, there is a low noise-to-power ratio when you use a brushless motor. This translates to low vibrations and lower noise levels or quiet operation. If you are looking for such type of leaf blower, I encourage you to read more our detailed guide of the best commercial leaf blower-vacuum combo.

Garden Debris and Dust

While a good leaf blower is best at moving leaves, it can also blow sticks and gravel, and sometimes even dust in dry conditions. Flying dust and garden debris can be a nuisance to a passerby.

In contrast, a leaf vacuum moves air into the equipment itself. Thus, it will not create the same problem of flying sticks and clouds of dust.

To prevent this problem, watch this helpful video about how to use a leaf blower and still get along with your neighbors:

Pros and Cons of Leaf Blower vs Leaf Vacuum

Now let us dig further into the advantages of owning a leaf blower vs vacuum.

The Pros

First, the advantages of a leaf blower include:

  • Time-saving: Like a rake, the leaf blower brings leaves to one specific area of your garden, a collection point. However, it does so at a much faster speed than a rake, or even a leaf vacuum can handle.
  • Many uses: Leaf blowers are not just for blowing leaves. It can also be used to blow the grass clippings after you mow your lawn. In wintertime, you can also use your leaf blower to blow light snow from your driveway.

In comparison, a leaf vacuum also has some good points such as the following:

  • Mulching: There are leaf blowers that shred the leaves as it sucks them into the equipment. This creates mulch that you can use for your garden. Also, you won’t need to worry about disposing of the leaves as it collects them in a bag or container.
  • Powerful: Leaf vacuums that use electric sources are the most powerful. It is not easily damaged and efficient to use.

The Cons

Now, what are the disadvantages of owning a leaf blower vs vacuum?

  • Debris: You blow leaves to a certain area in your garden and the leaves come flying back after a strong wind. This is a cause to worry when you use a leaf blower since it does not come with a collection bag. However, with a leaf vacuum, the bag can fill up quickly, depending on its capacity.
  • Noise: Noise pollution can also be a problem. With gas-powered leaf blowers and vacuums, the power means there will also be a loud sound.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining a leaf blower to ensure optimal performance can be costly. This will include replacing the spark plug and cleaning filters.
  • Respiratory issues: If you have respiratory problems or allergies, using a leaf blower can be a problem since it can blow dust, dirt, and pollen too. However, a leaf vacuum may create the same problem as the mulch collected produces dust.

Summary

When choosing between a leaf blower vs vacuum, you should consider the size of your garden, disposal, noise levels, and even allergies or respiratory problems.

There is a combination of gardening equipment that can both blow and vacuum leaves and garden debris like sticks. This creates a solution for those who can’t pick between both. In this case, a brushless leaf blower and vacuum combo may be the one you need.

About the Author: Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.