Compact Cordless Blower BGA 56 Set
The best leaf blowers can clear heavy debris without any hassle, while the worst struggle to pick up damp leaves and are a nightmare to use.
Use our expert advice to help you decide whether you need a blower or a vac, and whether a petrol or cordless model is best for you. Then check our reviews to ensure you don't end up buying a dud.
The main difference between leaf blowers and leaf blower vacuums is that the latter can also suck the leaves up into a collection bag. However, there are pros and cons to both versions. We've listed these below.
It's also worth thinking about whether it might be quicker and easier to gather leaves with a rake or broom instead. It's good exercise, better for the environment and quieter for your neighbours. Leaves on lawns are quick and easy to collect and shred with a lawn mower.
Cordless leaf blowers are typically more expensive, as you're paying for the advantage of not having a power cord.
Perfect for clearing complicated gardens with lots of nooks and crannies, cordless models also tend to be simple to use and easy to store.
The smaller models are great for clearing small patios where you need to blow leaves out from around pots. They're also ideal for borders, as they won't destroy your plants with strong blasts of air, and are excellent at clearing dust from sheds.
However, they aren't super powerful, so if you've got a lot of heavy, damp leaves to clear, they won't be up to the job.
Corded electric models that you plug into the mains are generally the cheapest option. They're ideal for use in smaller gardens, but a bit of a pain if you need to use your blower remotely or around large obstacles such as trees or ponds.
The budget models tend to have parallel blow and vac tubes, and you can change between them with a flick of a switch. This is is very convenient, not least because it means you can clear some blockages by changing from vac to blow mode.
However, in our tests we've found that they lose power when you switch from blowing to vacuuming. They are also less easy to use in blow mode, as the dual tubes make them a bit bulky and heavy.
More expensive options need to be reconfigured to change between blow and vacuum modes. This can be quite complicated and time-consuming, but it means you won't lose power between modes.
Petrol leaf blowers are the most powerful – and the most heavy and noisy – machines, making them perfect for gardeners with a large outdoor space.
Just like cordless models, petrol leaf blowers are also great for working remotely or getting around larger obstacles such as trees, ponds or garden furniture, because they don't have a cord. All you need is a can of petrol and you can work for hours.
You can choose between handheld and backpack models. Although handheld is normally the cheaper option, backpack versions put much less strain on your arms and are easier to handle.
If you pick a petrol model, you'll need to remember to have it serviced regularly to keep it running smoothly.
Which sort of petrol should I use?
It is generally recommended that unleaded fuel used for leaf blowers does not have a higher ethanol content than 10 % - this is because ethanol attracts water which can cause corrosion if fuel is left in the tank for long periods.
E10 fuel is fine to use, but super unleaded with an ethanol content of 5 % is better and what we would recommend.
It's good practice to empty the fuel tank as much as possible – and completely if not in use over winter. Petrol is better stored in a bespoke container rather than in the machine.
Manufacturers often have one or two standard batteries and chargers that are compatible with a wide range of tools. Before you buy, check to see if any of your existing tools has a battery and charger that can be used with the one you're planning to buy, as this could save you a considerable amount of money.
Alternatively, you may see it as a good chance to buy a second battery for your tools. Batteries are sometimes cheaper when bought with a tool, and it’s often useful to have a second one charged and ready to go when you’re carrying out jobs that will take some time to finish.
Using a good leaf blower or vacuum will make dealing with autumn leaves a breeze, but a bad model will struggle to clear them at all. The following features can make all the difference.
Blockages are the most common fault on leaf vacs. Always turn off the power supply before attempting to unblock your machine to reduce the risk of injury.
Before disposing of a leaf blower that's not working, check with the manufacturer if they offer spare parts. More-expensive machines, such as petrol models, check with a local garden-machinery specialist if they can fix your machine.
Below we've listed the key specs and features for some of the most popular leaf blowers.
This petrol leaf blower vacuum from Mitox is on the pricey side. In fact, there are only four we've tested that are more expensive.
Mitox claims that the 280BVX is 'changing the rules in garden tools'. So will the petrol-powered leaf blower vac be a revelation and prove that it's worth the high price?
This model from Stihl is lighter than some we've tested, which is what you'd hope for in a compact cordless. Stihl claims that the rechargeable battery can provide a generous 20 minutes of blowing power – but does it live up to the claims when it came to testing?