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Best leaf blower 2021: Rid your lawn of leaves and leave the rake behind

Kate Hilpern Pete Clark
24 Nov 2021

Sick and tired of raking soggy leaves? Check out the best leaf blowers on the market

Clearing up the autumn leaves with a rake is a tedious and time-consuming job. With a leaf blower, you can blow them all into a neat pile in a fraction of the time. You don’t even have to scoop up the leaves afterwards: choose a blower vac and you can simply suck them up like a vacuum cleaner.

Many leaf blowers lack oomph, however, while others are horribly noisy or don’t last. We’ve tested the market leaders for power, noise levels, durability and more. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide too – there’s a lot of variation between leaf blowers so it pays to do a bit of homework before buying.

How to buy the best leaf blower for you

What should I look for in a leaf blower?

Leaf blowers use a powerful engine and fan to blow your leaves into a pile that you can then dispose of. They range from lightweight models you can use one-handed to the kind of heavyweight blowers you’ll see used by council workers and professional gardeners, with the bigger options having more power so they can clear larger areas and shift piles of damp leaves and debris off the ground. For the average-sized garden you won’t need anything that chunky, but buy something too weedy and you might find that it struggles to clear soggy leaves.

As well as single-purpose leaf blowers, you’ll also find garden vacuums which, instead of blowing leaves into a pile, suck them up into a collection bag, along with small hedge clippings and general garden mess. You can also find combo devices that do both jobs, switching between them with a change of nozzles or the flick of a switch – although some require more reconfiguration than others. Some of these machines will even mulch your leaves and clippings for you, cramming more into a bag and making it easier to get rid of your garden waste. With these garden vacuums and convertibles, you need plenty of power to suck the waste in, a solid, leak-proof bag and – ideally – a durable blade that can chomp through your leaves and clippings without taking any damage.

For more on garden vacuums, we have a separate page dedicated to the best garden vacuums.

Which is better – corded or cordless?

Corded blowers tend to be lighter and more powerful, with no battery to carry and fewer constraints on the motor. However, cordless models have improved dramatically over the last few years, thanks to more efficient motors, lighter batteries and streamlined designs, and have a huge advantage in that you can take them anywhere without running out of cable. Instead, your biggest worry will be running out of charge, so make sure the battery life will cover your needs.

Cordless blowers are also more expensive, particularly if you need a battery and charger, too. However, you can easily find models that may work with the batteries and chargers you have for existing garden or power tools. Models from Bosch, Worx or Ryobi, for example, will work with the same batteries that power their cordless grass trimmers, hedge trimmers, lawnmowers and even electric drills and sanders. What’s more, some manufacturers have joined forces around a battery standard, so that if you buy a leaf blower that uses Bosch’s Power 4 All battery, you can share batteries and chargers with compatible equipment from Gardena and Flymo.

For really big gardens, or areas with lots of heavy, stubborn wet leaves and other debris, your best bet is a petrol-powered blower. These come in handheld or backpack models, but they can be heavy, noisy and expensive – and the engine needs regular maintenance.

What else should I look out for?

Never underestimate the importance of good ergonomics. A heavy blower with poor weight distribution won’t be an issue in a small garden, but if you’ve got a big area to clear then it’s going to get tough on your arms, back and shoulders. Look for straps or grips that ease the burden. Similarly, models that vibrate a lot can be uncomfortable to use, and some leaf blowers can be incredibly noisy; you’ll need ear defenders and understanding neighbours.

These aren’t the only practical considerations. Is the blower easy to start and use? How easy is it to store? If it’s a vacuum or convertible, how easy is it to empty the bag or collector? Some models have collapsible tubes and detachable nozzles, which can help if you’re short on shed space, but be warned that these can be a nightmare to get on and off.

READ NEXT: The best electric, cordless and petrol grass trimmers you can buy

The best leaf blowers to buy in 2021

1. Bosch ALB18 Li: The best for smaller gardens

Price: £105 | Buy now from Amazon

This is the lightest leaf blower we’ve tried: you can easily use it one-handed, yet it has plenty of oomph, which means its 12-minute battery life is enough to clear a small garden of all but the most stubborn wet leaves. The long, narrow nozzle is a godsend for hard-to-reach areas and makes it easy to direct the leaves towards your pile, “sweep” the patio and clear out cobwebs. The lithium battery, which can also be used with other cordless Bosch tools, takes around three and a half hours to charge.

For a larger garden you might need a blower with a longer battery life, but if 12 minutes is enough for you then this is a great blower that’s quiet and easy to store – particularly as you can detach the blower tube.

Key specs – Type: Leaf blower; Power source: Battery; Weight including battery: 1.8kg; Blow speed: 210km/h; Battery and charger included: Yes; Battery compatible with other products by the same manufacturer: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

2. Black & Decker GW3031BP: The best electrical option for stubborn leaves

Price: £86 | Buy now from Tooled Up

This has some serious power, leaving nothing in its wake that you don’t want to be there. Whether that’s leaves or cones – or even twigs – it has enough oomph to make your lawn or driveway look pristine without too much elbow grease and with very little noise. And there’s a handy rake attachment for anything that really doesn’t want to shift.

The machine works as a hoover too, saving you the need for a separate leaf vacuum, collecting up to 50l in the sack that goes on your back. It takes a bit of getting used to fitting and emptying the backpack, but once you get the knack it’s much less tricky. It’s surprisingly lightweight too.

Key specs – Type: Leaf vacuum and blower with backpack collection; Power source: Corded; Weight including battery: 3.7kg; Blow speed: 230-418km/h; Battery and charger included: N/A; Battery compatible with other products by the same manufacturer: N/A; Warranty: 2 years

Buy now from Tooled Up

3. Flymo PowerVac 3000: The best value blower and vacuum

Price: £85 | Buy now from Argos

The Flymo PowerVac 3000 has more than enough power to tackle most gardens, with a 3000W motor that can push air through at speeds of 310km/h. It has no problems blasting damp leaves off lawns and driveways, even shifting heavier debris. Get it hoovering, meanwhile, and it’s just as effective, shredding garden waste down to tiny fragments, with a compression ratio of 16:1. Combine that with a 45L bag and you can get a big pile of leaves together and then suck up and shred the whole lot.

It's heavy, at 4kg, and also noisy, dishing out around 83dB at full blast. Still, that’s nothing some ear protectors won’t block out. In fact, the only thing that really counts against it is that converting it from one form to another is a bit of a pain; you have to detach the blower tube and a fan guard then fit the bag and vacuum tube every time you switch.

Key specs – Type: Blower and vacuum; Power source: Mains; Weight: 4kg; Blow speed: 310km/h; Collection capacity: 45l; Cable length: 10m; Warranty: 1 year

4. Bosch UniversalGardenTidy: The best corded blower and vacuum

Price: £85 | Buy now from Amazon

This is another blower/vacuum combo where the transformation gets a little tiresome. You attach the slimline nozzle for leaf-blowing duties, or a larger pipe and bag when you want to start your vacuuming. The process takes a few minutes and involves attaching or detaching a handle, but it’s worth it, as you get a dual-purpose garden tidying machine that actually does both jobs well.

It’s a class act on both counts, too. It’s surprisingly quiet in leaf blower mode, thanks to Bosch’s ProSilence technology, yet it still does a great job of blowing leaves around and lifting any damp ones off the lawn or driveway. As a vacuum, it can then mulch the leaves and twigs to pack more into the 45-litre bag, while repelling dirt and moisture to keep the collected debris reasonably dry. It’s light enough to be used without much aggro to your shoulder, but still fantastically well-built. It hasn’t quite got the convenience of the cordless models or the raw grunt of the Flymo PowerVac, but the UniversalGardenTidy makes clearing leaves easy, and almost fun.

Key specs – Type: Blower and vacuum; Power source: Mains; Weight: 3.4 to 4.7kg; Blow speed: 165-285km/h; Collection capacity: 45l; Cable length: 10m; Warranty: 1 year

5. Worx WG583E: The most powerful cordless combo

Price: £160 (bare unit)/£280 (with batteries and charger) | Buy now from Amazon

The Worx WG683E has a similar design to the Flymo PowerVac and the Bosch UniversalGardenTidy, but with two big differences. First, the conversion from blower to vacuum and back feels easier and, second, there’s no trailing cable. It’s a beefy little beast as well, hurling out huge amounts of air on its highest power setting to send leaves flying across the lawn. Switch to vacuum mode and it’ll suck up great piles of them in seconds, then neatly shred them and compact them so that they barely fill the 35-litre collection bag. Big, damp leaves aren’t a problem, and it even tackled patches of moss thrown down by the local seagulls and conifer clippings from a hedge.

The downside here is battery life. On full power you can practically watch as the indicator runs down, and you can be lucky to get more than ten minutes of vacuuming. Engage Eco mode, however, and you can double that lifespan and still pick up or blow dry leaves. It’s still worth having a spare set of batteries with this one, and it works best when you have some other Worx gear to share them with.

Key specs – Type: Blower and vacuum; Power source: 2x 20v Max batteries; Weight: 2.9 to 3.8kg; Blow speed: 335km/h; Collection capacity: 35l; Cable length: N/A; Warranty: 1 year

6. Makita BHX2501: The best petrol-powered blower

Price: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

If you have a large garden – or just prefer petrol-powered machinery – this blower will suit you perfectly. It runs for an impressive 60 minutes on a tank of unleaded petrol and is surprisingly quiet even on full throttle. The four-stroke engine means it doesn’t guzzle petrol, hardly uses any oil and has low emissions, while the compact body and two-part blower tube mean it’s easier to store away than most petrol machines. What’s more, while many petrol leaf blowers weigh a ton, this one really doesn’t.

There are minor niggles – assembly is a bit tricky, and the “cruise control” button isn’t the easiest to use – but none are deal-breakers. An optional £50 attachment lets you convert it to a vacuum quickly and easily too.

Key specs – Type: Blower and vacuum (vac attachment sold separately); Power source: Petrol; Weight: 4.5kg; Blow speed: 145mph; Collection capacity: 35l; Warranty: 1 year

7. Worx WG543E: The best compact cordless blower

Price: £170 | Buy now from Amazon

This Worx leaf blower is so light and compact that it’s hard to imagine it blowing the skin off a rice pudding; you can easily use it one-handed and, with the nozzle at its least extended, it’s under 80cm long. Yet the clever design uses air amplifier technology to drive more air through the tube than you might expect, at speeds of up to 209km/h. This gives it more than enough puff to separate soggy leaves from a lawn or driveway, and scatter dryer leaves in all directions. In fact, it’s worth switching down to the lower power setting just to give you a better chance of shaping them into some kind of pile. It’s also great for clearing debris off your decking, or even drying off the car post-wash.

Worx sells the WG543E with a 4A PowerShare battery and charger, and this will give you enough charge for a good 20 minutes of blasting, and slightly more at the lower power setting. You can also use other Worx PowerShare batteries, though the most common 2A units will only give you half that lifespan. It might be small, but don’t underestimate it: this compact, convenient blower can get the job done in style.

Key specs – Type: Blower; Power source: 1x 20v Max batteries; Weight: 1.79Kg; Blow speed: 209km/h; Collection capacity: N/A; Cable length: N/A; Warranty: 1 year

8. Ryobi OBL1820S: The best-value leaf blower

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

Lightweight? Tick. Well-balanced? Tick. Comfortable to hold? Tick. Easy to assemble? Tick. High-speed power? Well, perhaps not quite as big a tick as some of the pricier machines, but it’s got reasonable air power to clear leaves, including wet ones, off the lawn and borders, and it’s also very easy to store, thanks to the detachable tube and slimline design.

It’s simple to keep control of the leaves as the blower is light, with a narrow nozzle, but be warned the price tag doesn’t include the battery. You get about 20 minutes running time from the smaller battery, which makes it better for smaller clearing jobs, although you can get larger batteries for bigger jobs.

Key specs – Type: Leaf blower; Power source: Battery; Weight: 2.2kg; Blow speed: 241km/h; Battery and charger included in the price: No; Battery compatible with other products by the same manufacturer: Yes; Warranty: 3 years

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