Last updated: August 5, 2021

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The golden autumn is very beautiful and colourful to look at. What follows are annoying, stubborn leaves in the garden and on the street. In some cases, such garden debris can even become a dangerous slippery slope. To avoid these scenarios, more and more people are deciding to remove the leaves with leaf vacuums.

Leaf vacuums are usually available in combination with leaf blowers and suck the garden waste through a pipe. The leaves are then shredded in the built-in shredder and collected in the catch bag. Finally, the mixture can be composted perfectly.




Summary

  • Leaf vacuums are usually only available in combination with a shredder and a collecting bag. They can be converted into leaf blowers in no time at all.
  • There are various models on the market: choose the right drive and construction.
  • Time regulations on use should be obtained from the relevant local authority. Nationwide bans apply, but there are exceptions. Pay attention to self-protection, environmental protection and animal welfare when using leaf vacuums.

The Best Leaf Vacuum Cleaner: Our Choices

Buying and rating criteria for leaf vacuums

Leaf vacuums are usually available in combination with leaf blowers, shredders and collecting bags. There are a few things you should pay special attention to when buying a leaf vacuum. Some models are more or less suitable depending on the area of use and what you want to do.

We have listed the most important criteria below.

Drive

The most popular leaf vacuums for domestic use are either connected to the mains, equipped with rechargeable batteries or run on petrol.

  • Electric leaf vacuum cleaners: They are connected to the mains by a long cable. Of course, the radius is limited and the cable can become a tripping hazard. However, the noise level is comparatively low and the power of the electric leaf vacuum is very high.
  • Battery leaf vacuum: Battery leaf vacuums are particularly handy and flexible. Their performance is rather low in comparison. However, it is sufficient for dry leaves. The batteries can often be used in other garden tools from the manufacturer. They need to be recharged regularly and last about 3 hours under full load, depending on the battery. Their volume and power are usually lower compared to otherwise powered tools.
  • Petrol leaf vacuum: Petrol-powered leaf vacuums are the most powerful. However, they require regular oil changes and fuel replenishment. They are also noisier than the other two options. Their power output is higher than other drives.

The drive is the main difference between the various models of leaf vacuum cleaners. That is why you should give some thought to this decision. The area of use and the geographical conditions play a major role.

Power

The power of a leaf vacuum cleaner is enormously important, because depending on how stubborn and large the garden waste and leaves are, you need a greater suction power or a higher speed. The decisive speed results from the power. If you choose too little power, you may have to use a rake. For example, a leaf vacuum cleaner with a power of 2500 watts has an air velocity of 300 km/h.

The air velocity of a leaf vacuum cleaner is 300 km/h. Furthermore, a leaf vacuum cleaner with 3000 watts can achieve a speed or suction power of up to 418 km/h. Basically, it can be said that petrol engines with fewer watts deliver the same high performance as electric leaf vacuum cleaners.

Area of application

Terrace, front garden, balcony and smaller areas with few leaves and dirt can be cleaned well with a smaller leaf vacuum. For electrically powered devices, a socket must be in the immediate vicinity or an extension cord must be attached.

Entire walkways, large lawns and lots of stubborn leaves are best removed with larger and very powerful equipment. Here, too, you should think about the drive and the power connection.

Additional functions

There is no such thing as a leaf vacuum without additional functions. The machines usually come in combination with a shredder that shreds the vacuumed material, which then ends up in the collection bag. Many manufacturers also offer the option of converting the leaf vacuum into a leaf blower with little effort.

Quick-click systems are offered and switch buttons that make it easier to switch between the suction and blowing functions. Basically, the more functions a leaf vacuum has, the more power it needs to function properly. This is because, for example, the shredder and leaf vacuum work simultaneously.

Type of construction

In addition, there are many different types of leaf vacuum cleaners available. There are smaller devices that are very handy and flexible to use. They are simply held in the hands and can therefore also be used in particularly awkward places.

However, these devices can become heavy over longer periods of use. Similar is a model that is equipped with two castors. This means you don't have to carry the whole weight. A good and ergonomically valuable option is to carry the catcher bag on your back with an integrated backpack.

Another option is the lawnmower-style leaf vacuum with four tyres and a drive that makes pushing easier and assists. This makes it a little more difficult to manoeuvre, but good for larger areas. Depending on the nature and size of the area of use, ergonomics and physical condition, a choice should be made here.

Capacity of the catcher bag

The fact is, the larger the collection bag, the less often it has to be emptied. Standard catcher bags range from 30 litres to over 90 litres. It is important to consider the ratio in which the shredder function shreds leaves and garden waste. With a higher ratio, the space in the collection bag is used more efficiently.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about leaf vacuum cleaners answered in detail

The following section answers questions about leaf vacuums, their functions and types. After that, you should be ready to decide on a suitable model. You will also know how, when and where to best use the leaf vacuum.

What is a leaf vacuum?

A leaf vacuum can be used to vacuum up fallen leaves, garden waste and lawn debris, chop them up and collect them in a bag. This frees the lawn, driveway, patio and garden paths from leaves and dirt. Leaf vacuums are also used to vacuum up and shred hedge debris.

Laubsauger

A leaf vacuum can be used to remove fallen leaves as well as lawn and hedge debris and other garden rubbish. (Image source: Kelly Lacy/ pexels)

Powerful leaf vacuums can also be used to suck up and shred larger tree fruits such as acorns and chestnuts.

What types of leaf vacuum cleaners are there?

Leaf vacuums are usually only available in combination with a shredder and a leaf blower. These can be distinguished, among other things, by their type of drive. These are shown in the table below.

Type of drive advantage disadvantage
Electric no charging or refilling necessary, relatively quiet, no exhaust fumes, relatively high suction/blowing power limited radius due to cable
Battery no cable, unlimited radius, batteries can also be used for other garden tools, no exhaust fumes, relatively quiet Battery life limited, lower suction/blowing power, higher purchase costs
Petrol unlimited radius, no cable, higher suction/blowing power awkward starting with starter rope, relatively loud, exhaust fumes, oil and petrol must be refilled

When deciding which type of leaf vacuum is best suited to your use, you should take into account your location and area of use. If you have a small, winding area, a small, battery-powered version is more suitable. However, if you want to remove leaves from a large lawn, it is worthwhile to buy a petrol-powered leaf vacuum.

How much does a leaf vacuum cost?

In this table, the available leaf vacuums are divided into three different price categories. This will give you an idea of how much money you should spend on your leaf vacuum, depending on the area of use and your personal preferences.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (30 - 300 €) Mostly for everyday use in the garden
Medium-priced (300 - 1000 €) Efficient, durable machines for any purpose
High-priced (1000 € and more) Mostly for industry, craft and professional use

Leaf vacuums are available in the low budget range as well as in the professional high-end range. Depending on the frequency of use and the size of the area, a larger investment is worthwhile.

What can I vacuum with a leaf vacuum?

As leaf vacuums are usually available in combination with a shredder, a leaf blower and a leaf bag, the range of applications is very versatile. Among other things, leaf vacuums are used to remove leaves, garden waste, grass and hedge cuttings.

Highly absorbent devices can also suck up and shred acorns, chestnuts and the like. The leaf vacuum sucks up the garden waste. An integrated shredder shreds what has been sucked in.

The contents of the collection bag can then be emptied and composted. A leaf vacuum cleaner is particularly efficient on terraces for vacuuming and removing leaves and foliage.

At what times are leaf vacuums allowed?

The Federal Immission Control Ordinance states that the use of leaf blowers and vacuum cleaners is only permitted at certain times. The ordinance applies in all German federal states. Some cities and municipalities provide for exceptions.

It is important to find out about these and violations are punishable by fines of up to €50,000. The use of leaf blowers and leaf vacuums is regulated.

How loud are leaf vacuums?

It is not uncommon for leaf vacuums and leaf blowers to exceed a noise level of 85 decibels. Battery and electric leaf vacuums are generally quieter than petrol-driven leaf vacuums. These can also reach 115 decibels.

Are leaf vacuums prohibited?

Leaf vacuums and leaf blowers are banned on Sundays and public holidays to protect residents and passers-by. This ban also applies on weekdays between 5 and 9 pm and between 1 and 3 pm. Some cities and municipalities provide for exceptions. Therefore, it is worthwhile to make an individual enquiry with the responsible authority.

Conclusion

Leaf vacuums and leaf blowers are extremely controversial gardening tools. If you decide to buy one anyway, you should pay attention to a few criteria in order to make the right choice. It is best to think about the area of application for which you need the leaf vacuum and which drive is best suited for it.

The performance and the additional functions should not be neglected in order to be satisfied with your device in the long term. Leaf vacuums and leaf blowers are usually available in combination and are very noisy depending on the drive.

The local authorities can provide information on this. Furthermore, self-protection is extremely important and the wearing of hearing protection is essential.

Photo source: Stitch Dias/ pexels

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