6 best leaf blowers for autumn 2018: cordless, vacuum and backpack

Clearing up leaves shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. Make garden tidying easy and purchase a leaf blower this autumn

While some may argue that autumn is one of the most beautiful and colourful times of the year, those who happen to live near trees (so, all of us) may find it hard to take delight from a carpet of damp leaves over grass that is already suffering from darker, wetter days, now being suffocated further by fallen leaves, leaving it susceptible to the clutches of moss and other winter-thriving weeds. 

To ensure your garden has the best chances of growing back lush and green as the weather becomes warmer, keeping it free of leaves and the subsequent moss and weeds throughout the autumn and winter seasons is essential. Using a rake can sometimes feel like you’re fighting a losing battle, especially when you happen to take out clumps of the already delicate grass in the process. This predicament brings us neatly onto leaf blowers – the solution when your grass, patio and flowerbeds become inundated with fallen leaves. 

What to consider when buying a leaf blower

Leaf blowers come in all shapes and sizes. There are smaller ones for those with little outdoor space and large ones for clearing acres of land. For smaller plots, battery powered leaf blowers are easier and more convenient to use, although wired models can offer more suction power. Petrol-run leaf blowers will give you long lasting power, but they can be heavy, noisy and smelly. 

Some leaf blowers allow you to blow leaves into one large pile; others will suck up the leaves too so that you can easily deposit them into your compost. These, however, can become heavy to use over long periods of use, and it can be fiddly to transition between sucking and blowing modes. 

From the top of the range to pocket friendly, we’ve scoured our favourite retailers for the best leaf blowers. 

Leaf blower

1. Dewalt DCM572 Flexvolt Blower

A top of the range blower for efficient leaf carpet clearance

Specifications
Best for: Efficiency
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 3.33kg
Maximum speed: 195 km/h
Reasons to buy
+Fairly lightweight+Interchangeable batteries
Reasons to avoid
-Run time is only 15 minutes 

This Dewalt offering is more than good enough for those with an average sized back garden and, depending on how efficient your leaf blowing skills are, those with bigger gardens too. It runs on powerful batteries that are interchangeable with other smaller power tools in the Dewalt range, and the 195 km/h speed motor should enable you to do some ample leaf shifting in a short space of time. One of the lighter weight models on our list, it should be easy on the arms, and thanks to the electric motor, shouldn’t be too strenuous on the ears, either. 

2. McCulloch GB 355 BP Petrol Backpack Blower

Extensive outdoor spaces will benefit from this leaf blower; just wear some ear muffs

Specifications
Best for: Performance
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 9.16kg
Maximum speed: 355 km/h
Reasons to buy
+Backpack design for comfort+Variable engine speed
Reasons to avoid
- Heavy

If your back garden extends across several acres, rather than several metres, this petrol leaf blower from McCulloch could be a better option. With its petrol engine, you can use it for extensive periods of time, and with the ability to reach blowing speeds of up to 355 km/h, it’ll make quick work of excessive leaf coverage. Although heavy, its backpack design allows you to distribute the weight of it around your body, rather than it being focussed in the arms and wrists, which means you can wear it for longer without feeling like your arms are going to drop off. Result!

BLACK & DECKER GW303OBP

(Image: © BLACK & DECKER )

3. BLACK & DECKER GW303OBP

A blower come leaf and debris vacuum for efficient tidying

Specifications
Best for: Shredding
Cordless: No
Weight: 4.8kg
Maximum speed: 418 km/h
Reasons to buy
+Most powerful performance+Vacuums up and shreds leaves
Reasons to avoid
-Noisy

While the 2m long cord may be annoying, it does allow this Black + Decker leaf blower to emit the largest blow speed of the lot, which should make super easy work of your back garden, providing you have a decent extension cable. You can also make your life that little bit easier by switching between blower and vacuum modes, eliminating the need to tackle a huge pile of leaves with a pair of gardening gloves once you’re done. On vacuum mode, leaves and small debris will be shredded and stored it in the bag, which can then be zipped open and emptied once full. And, as with our second pick, it does feature a backpack to distribute weight, but users find the quality of it slightly lacking. 

Leaf blower

4. Bosch ALS 2500 Electric Garden Blower and Vacuum

Can’t quite justify the Black + Decker? Try this one as a cheaper alternative

Specifications
Best for: Lightweight vacuum
Cordless: No
Weight: 3.2kg
Maximum speed: 300km/h
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight +3-in-1 settings
Reasons to avoid
-Can clog up in vacuum mode

Not as heavy duty as our Black + Decker pick, this lightweight leaf blower is handheld and has three interchangeable settings for efficient use. Whether you require the blower or vacuum mode, Bosch promise that you can quickly interchange between the two settings to make quick work out of clearing your garden of leaves. While not as powerful as others, it does feature an efficient internal shredder which will mulch the leaves and garden debris into the attached bag for you to conveniently place on your compost pile.

Leaf blowers

5. Draper 81567 Garden Vacuum and Blower

Another leaf blower/vacuum combo for consideration

Specifications
Best for: Shoulder strap vacuum
Cordless: No
Weight: 6.08kg
Maximum speed: 310km/h
Reasons to buy
+Shoulder strap to support weight+Easily transition between blower and vacuum
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy

While heavier than the Bosch, this leaf blower does provide an extra 10km/h of speed and an additional 100 watts of power. To support the additional weight, there is the option to use the shoulder strap, although some people may find that the pressure becomes too much over an extensive period of time. Featuring both blowing and vacuum functions, Draper suggest that it’s easy to transition between the two settings to make clearing your garden quick and easy. You can also conveniently empty the bag from all the mulch by opening the zip once its 45ltr capacity becomes full. 

Leaf blowers

6. Ryobi OBL1820S Cordless Bare Leaf Blower

A great budget buy for those who already have the right batteries

Specifications
Best for: Budget buy
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 2.21kg
Maximum speed: 241km/h
Reasons to buy
+Cordless+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-No batteries included

The ideal buy for those that already have the compatible interchangeable batteries as you'll be able to cut out any unnecessary expenses, this leaf blower is super lightweight, so there’s no need for a backpack or a shoulder strap. This one is just a leaf blower, so would be ideal for those with smaller gardens who won't be using it for a long amount of time. You will, however, need a decent pair of gardening gloves to pick up the pile of leaves once you’re done. While it doesn’t have the fastest blow speed, it’s certainly quicker than our top battery powered leaf blower. However, there’s no suggested charge time, as it’ll completely depend on the batteries that you have.

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