Leaf Blowers vs. Vacuum: What’s Best For You?

Approx Reading Time: 19 minutes

One of the biggest decisions that homesteaders always have to make is choosing between a leaf blower and a leaf vacuum. While both gadgets serve almost similar purposes, slight variations in their features and modifications can make a big difference. You should also note that depending on your experience with either of the yard cleaning tools, each presents a unique set of pros and cons. For a novice, a barrage of questions comes, therefore, to mind. For example, when does a leaf blower fit the bill?  Also, under what circumstances does one need a leaf vacuum? Which features distinguish blowers from leaf vacuums?

Leaf Blowers vs. Vacuum: What’s Best For You?

Both machines are powerful and can be used in different situations. If your goal is to remove the leaves from your garden, and it is not that large, a vacuum can be the best option. For large areas, or locations where you can dump the leaves on the side a leaf blower would be a better solution. In general, we would recommend most home users a leaf vacuum, or even better a machine that can do both.

Leaf Blowers vs. Vacuum: What’s Best For You? 1

When you ask experienced homesteaders for the best advice when it comes to choosing between leaf blowers and vacuums, they would list situations under which each gadget is helpful. From our end of the bargain, we would say, choosing between a leaf blower and a vacuum sometimes depends on the job at hand. Stages involved in the cleaning process also play significance. The first stage is that you need a blower to collect leaves littered on your lawn/yard. The second stage is raking them together into a collection bag. The final stage (if necessary), would be using a vacuum to suck leaves and shred into tiny pieces for easy disposal. However, not everyone would want to follow through long processes, in which case, more questions come to mind.

The caveat, therefore is, what if you straightaway want to use a leaf blower or a leaf vacuum? The truth is that while both tools are powerful, hence ideal for cleaning yards/lawns/driveways, not everyone can own both of them at the same time. When you must make a clear cut decision in choosing between the two, the following questions should, therefore, help homesteaders make the right decision:

  • When should you use a leaf blower?
  • When should you use a leaf vacuum?
  • Which is more effective?
  • How to use a leaf blower and a vacuum?

If you are a homesteader looking for the best answer to the question of which is the best between a blower and a vacuum, this post walks you through everything you need to know. From comparing features of the two gadgets to making the final decision, dive in as we explore everything bit by bit.

Contents

When Should You Use A Leaf Blower?

A leaf blower is powerful, albeit, not the perfect choice if you need something that would clean your backyard with great precision. The following are, therefore, situations under which a blower is the best bet:

● Ideal for Quick Cleaning Task

If you have been keen enough, you must have noticed that landscaping professionals always walk around with leaf blowers. It is a popular sighting, especially during autumn because that is when leaves fall from trees in their millions. With a leaf blower, the process of cleaning backyards and lawns is always fast and easy. It is something you will not realize with leaf vacuums because you must walk slowly for the best cleaning results.

Also taking into consideration the fact that leaf blowers expel a jet of air through their nozzles at very high speed and great precision, they are undoubtedly ideal for clearing leaves quickly. Speed is especially necessary when working on large grounds.  

● Useful When Cleaning Wet Debris

You would not want to risk using a vacuum to clean wet leaves in your backyard lest it gets blocked.  While vacuums can pick up dense debris and leaves, a leaf blower is an ideal tool for such tasks. They eject air forcefully through their nozzles, which is enough to clear dump debris, freshly cut grass and wet leaves on your yard/lawns.

● More Useful When You Have Other Cleaning Equipment

While you can use a leaf blower independently, homesteaders who have shared their experiences with these gadgets speak otherwise. They say a blower is most effective alongside other equipment such as a rake. You will also realize more precision when cleaning your yard when using a blower together with a leaf vacuum.

● Ideal for Cleaning Wide Spaces

Another reason to choose a blower instead of a leaf vacuum is that it does a better job when clearing off leaves in open and wide spaces. You will, however, not realize a perfect cleaning outcome clearing leaves off narrow gutters of your home using a blower. Rather, a vacuum always does the best job. But if you are okay with leaving a little mess behind, you can use blowers in narrows alleys. Some of the open spaces in which a blower fits the bill as the ideal cleaning gadget is inside boats /cars/tracks, workshops and garages.

When Should You Use A Leaf Vacuum?

Leaf vacuums are uniquely different from blowers. They have a collection bag into which debris gets sucked. With the best vacuums in the market, you will not bend when picking leaves from piles on your backyard. These gadgets have a suction power that transcends a tedious process of manually picking leaves.

Whether you choose to buy a walk-in front/pull or posh/tow-behind blower, yard vacuums are handy equipment that turns cleaning routines into a breeze.  With the best models, you can even suck up used cans and waste wrappers with great ease and convenience. When we researched the circumstances under which vacuums are the best cleaning gadgets, we discovered the following:

● Ideal for Cleaning Leaves/Debris in Narrow Spaces

With a leaf vacuum, you wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning narrow spaces. They are very ideal for tasks that involve squeezing through narrow gutters, trenches, and alleys. While you should expect a few leaves to fly off during a cleaning routine, a leaf vacuum does a perfect job when working in between plants, such as in a flower garden. Their nozzles are very effective when picking up leaves, albeit, some leaves many scatter a little too far in the process.

● Vacuums Are Suitable For Delicate Cleaning Tasks

In this context, think about using a leaf blower to clear dead leaves from driveways and your flower garden. You will realize it is not the right thing to do. Leaf blowers release strong jets of air through their nozzles, something that may damage your flowers.  However, with a leaf vacuum, you should confidently work in your flower garden without the risk of damaging flower petals or weak plant stems. Whether you choose to use a push, pull or handheld vacuum, it is easy to control these gadgets when handling delicate cleaning tasks compared to leaf blowers.

● Good for Removing Pests

When pests invade your crops or flowers, worrying is an understatement. It is especially true if you have worked very hard to bring up a beautiful flower garden. But did you know that instead of risking dangers associated with using pesticides and insecticides, a leaf vacuum can do a perfect cleaning job?

Well, the same way vacuums devour leaves and debris in your backyard, they would significantly decimate the pest population in your flower garden and backyard. Thus, if you decide to go this route, professionals recommend using vacuums with wide nozzles to steer clear of damaging plants.

Leaf Blowers vs. Vacuum: What’s Best For You? 2

● Lawn Vacuums Shred Debris to Form Mulch 

Lawn vacuums make for perfect alternatives to mulching lawnmowers. The catch is that inside most vacuums, there is an impeller. While it serves the purpose of circulating air inside the gadget to create suction power, fans of an impeller inside these gadgets are sharp enough to shred sucked up debris into tiny pieces.  Compared to a leaf blower, you do realize by shredding leaves to mulch, using vacuums speed up the decomposition of debris collected from your lawn. Vacuums, therefore, simplify the process of making mulch, which is a great advantage over blowers. To homesteaders that practice composting, these gadgets are, therefore, handier than blowers.

● They Present Users with Great Convenience

The fact that lawn vacuums have a collection bag makes them a top choice among homesteaders who love convenience when it comes to homesteading routines like cleaning lawns. Everything they suck up goes into a collection bag as tiny pieces of mulch for easy disposal.

Comparing the Advantages of Leaf Blowers vs. Advantages of Leaf Vacuums

Apart from comparing these gadgets on the premise of their uses, let’s also look at their pros and cons. This information is important because, in the end, you are not only going to choose one based on the circumstances under which they are useful but also based on their merits and demerits.

● Pros of a Leaf Blower

This yard cleaning gadget comes with advantages such as the following:

– Time-Saving

The main disadvantage with cleaning yards manually is that you will spend hours on end picking leaves. And even if you choose to use a rake, you end up wasting a lot of time. However, with a good leaf blower, you will finish cleaning your yard within the shortest time possible. Regardless of how bad the mess is, all you need to do is turn on the machine and start blowing leaves to a desired location/collection point.

– Easy To Use

Another advantage of leave blowers is their ease of use. Once you have this gadget, you will not only clean your lawn fast but also do it with great ease. These gadgets are one of the easiest to use among the many available homesteading tools.

– Leaf Blowers Come In Variety

Another merit of leaf blowers is that homesteaders can choose from many options. However, it will always depend on your taste and preference. We will walk you through types of blowers later on in this post.

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– Some Are Highly Accessorised

It is also noteworthy that leaf blowers come with additional accessories. But while you can find one that also mulch leaves, it is not a common feature in these gadgets.

– Suited To Different Uses

While most people think blowers are only meant for leaves, it turns out they have other uses. You can use these gadgets to blow grass clippings after mowing your lawn. Something even more surprising is that during winter, a blower helps with removing snow from your lawn and driveway, thanks to their blowing power. You should, however, know that it would be a little difficult blowing thick snow. The weight makes it difficult for the blow to do a clean job.

– Saves you from backache

Raking leaves or picking them manually is often a recipe for backache. It is because you end up spending many hours bending. However, with a leaf blower, there is minimum or no bending. Once you power on your machine, every leaf in your yard gets blown away to the desired collection point for disposal.

● Pros of a Leaf Vacuum

Given that this post compares two of the most versatile tools for cleaning lawns, let’s now look at the advantages of a leaf vacuum. They include:

– Produces Mulch

A yard butler will leave a lot of mess on your lawn but with a leaf vacuum, rest assured of turning the collected mess into useful mulch for your flower garden. A vacuum, therefore, does not only come handy during autumn or summer when cleaning your compound but is also a useful gadget for making mulch.

– Effective Lawn Cleaning Tool

A leaf vacuum has a collection bag, making your work as effective as possible. Thus, instead of using lots of bags to collect dead leaves, a vacuum is enough. As it collects leaves then shreds them into tiny pieces (mulch).

– Powerful and Strong

When using a vacuum to clean your yard, you should not worry about damaging the gadget. It is one of the strongest homesteading tools in the market. They can pick sticks and debris without the risk of damage. It also means you will not spend a lot of money on the maintenance of these tools. Moreover, because most leaf vacuums use electricity (battery) as their source of energy, they are powerful.

● Cons of a Leaf Blower

While leaf blowers come with lots of advantages and most importantly, an upgrade from using rakes, there are a few notable disadvantages every homesteader should know. They include:

– Leaves May Flow Back To the Yard

The main disadvantage of using leaf blowers is that leaves may fly back to your yard. It is especially the case if you don’t collect and dispose of them off appropriately. Thus, when you go out shopping for a blower, remember that most, if not all of them, do not have a collection bag. However, with a leaf vacuum, every leaf goes into a collection bag then becomes shredded mulch.

– Quite Costly

Another demerit is that leaf blowers are not cheap. Compared to rakes, you will spend a few more bucks to acquire a good model. The cheapest blower costs around $30 with most going for hundreds of dollars.

– Quite Noisy

While the level of noise varies depending on whether you have a gasoline-powered or electric blower, these gadgets are generally noisy. Gas-powered variants are the loudest, something that can be a nuisance to your neighbours.

– Maintaining Leaf Blowers Is Costly

If you are planning to upgrade from a rake to a leaf blower, get ready to spend a few more bucks in maintenance cost. It is the only way of ensuring the optimal performance of these gadgets. From occasionally replacing spark plug to cleaning filters, you will spend money beyond the purchase.

– Not Recommend For People With Respiratory Problems/Allergies.

People who suffer from respiratory problems should not use leaf blowers, at least if they can avoid it. When using these gadgets, they also blow dirt and dust, something that is often unpleasant. People with allergic conditions, such as asthma should, therefore, steer clear of using these gadgets.

– Do you Need a Rake after Using a Leaf Blower?

Blowing litters of leaves on your yard is one thing, but ensuring they are collected at one point is another. With a leaf blower, however, you should forget about neatly collecting the mess. In the end, raking leaves will ensure they are neatly placed in one corner of your yard for easy disposal.

– Quite Heavy

While this post is not about rakes, it is noteworthy that a leaf blower comes with extra baggage. They weigh more than rakes, something homesteaders may find inconveniencing.

● Cons of a Leaf Vacuum

When it comes to leaf vacuums, they too come with some demerits such as the following:

– Quite Noisy

Like leaf blowers, vacuums are also noisy hence can be a nuisance to your neighbourhood. 

– Produce a Lot of Dust

While vacuums suck up leaves on your yard with great ease, the second stage of turning them into mulch produces dust. Thus, you should always use a mask as a precautionary measure against inhaling dust.

Types: Vacuums vs. Blowers

The next parameter from which to draw a comparison between leaf vacuums and blowers is the type available in the market.

● Types of Leaf Vacuums

– Light-Duty Vacuums

These are the quietest and most compact of all the vacuums. They are ideal for getting dirt off your deck and driveways. In this category, you find corded and cordless electric variants. Here you can find Leaf Vacuums.

– Heavy-Duty Vacuums

A distinctive feature of heavy-duty vacuums is their horsepower. They are mostly corded, and extension cords that can be as long as 150 feet. Moreover, they are powerful, bringing a lot of convenience to your yard cleaning routine. They also operate quietly. Moreover, you will note that heavy-duty vacuums do not only vacuum your lawns but also turn the mess into useful mulch for your flower garden.

– Backpack Gasoline-Powered Leaf Vacuums

The third type of vacuums is the gasoline-powered variants. They are ideal for use in large areas. However, like with most machines/gadgets that use gasoline, they are noisy.  They can have an engine capacity of up to 40cc. Here you can find backpack gas Leaf Vacuums.

– Handheld Gasoline-Powered Leaf Vacuums

Handheld gas vacuums can have an engine capacity of up to 30cc. And given that they use fuel, you should expect a lot of noise when using these gadgets to clean your yard. Here you can find handheld gas Leaf Vacuums.

– Push Vacuums

We also noted there are push leaf vacuums.  These are the hybrid type, with a 4-cycle engine hence less noisy. If you must own one, we recommend buying a push vacuum with padding to cut down the noise. Also, ensure they have air vents for aeration. These gadgets are uniquely different from most variants given their high engine capacity of up to 40cc. Here you can find push Vacuums.

– Tow-Behind (Pull) Vacuums

If any of the above options does not strike you as the best, tow-behind vacuums may do. They are ideal for heavy-duty cleaning tasks. You can attach them to the deck of a tractor/mower using a hosepipe through which dirt/leaves get sucked. Here you can find Tow-Behind Vacuums.

– Walk-Behind (Push) Vacuums

Walk-behind vacuums are the opposite of tow-behind/pull leaf vacuums. They are arguably the most powerful because they can pick up larger debris such as nuts, bottles, and cans. Here you can find Walk-Behind push Vacuums.

● Types of Leaf Blowers

With many different variants of leaf vacuums available in the market, the next question is what about leaf blowers? Does a homesteader have many or limited choices when it comes to choosing the best one for the money? Well, let’s take a look.

– Electric Cordless Leaf Blowers

These types of leaf blowers are battery-powered. It, therefore, means you can use them in places that do not have access to electricity, provided the battery is fully charged. However, you should always have extra batteries to change after every hour. Electric cordless blowers are rechargeable but quite pricey. You can find cordless electric Leaf Blowers here.

– Electric Corded Leaf Blowers

Another type of leaf blowers is the corded electric variant. While the cord may not be very long, hence very limiting when vacuuming lawns far from a power socket, they are easy to use, simple, lightweight, and affordable. You can find corded electric Leaf Blower here.

– Backpack Gasoline-Powered Leaf Blowers

Weighing about 17 pounds, this is not your average handheld blower. It is quite heavy compared to most gadgets of its kind in the market that usually weigh 7 pounds. They are also costly. You can find gas backpack Leaf Blower here.

– Gasoline-Powered Handheld Blower

The next type of a leaf blower is the handheld gasoline-powered variant. It is cheaper than electric variants and usable anywhere within your homestead. The only disadvantage that comes with this gadget is the loud noise it produces when in use. You can find gas handheld Leaf Blowers here.

– Wheeled Gasoline-Powered Leaf Blowers

This leaf blower has wheels, hence, easy to move from one corner of your homestead to another. They are, however, heavy, weighing 100 pounds or thereabout.  This makes it laborious when pushing around. You should also expect a lot of noise when using wheeled gas-powered blowers, which a major disadvantage. You can find wheeled gas Leaf Blowers here.

Leaf Blowers vs. Vacuum: What’s Best For You? 4

Comparing Features of Leaf Blowers vs. Features of Leaf Vacuums

Features of leaf blowers and vacuums vary, save for a few similarities. When we compared the two gadgets, especially how the features each affect their usefulness, we found out the following:

● Noise Levels

When it comes to shopping for either a leaf blower or a vacuum, the noise level is always a major concern. But here is the catch: What if you need something that will do a better job and the only option a vacuum that produces a lot of noise? Well, we noted that battery-powered (electric) blowers and vacuums do not produce a lot of noise. It means if noise is a consideration when buying these gadgets, it will not make any difference. You can find cordless electric Leaf Blowers here.

● Size of the Hose

Another feature that we looked at is the hose size and whether it makes a difference.  We noted that people who live in wet areas have no option but to go for higher horsepower. More horsepower means attaching your gasoline-powered blower/vacuum to a longer hose.

● Source of Power

Source of power is another vital consideration to make when comparing leaf blowers vs. vacuums. On both sides, homesteaders can choose from gasoline-powered, battery-powered to electric variants.

● Weight  

The weight of a leaf blower or a vacuum also varies depending on the power source, and mode of operation. We noted that handheld gadgets are lightweight compared to push/pull/wheeled/backpack variants. You can always get the right weight measurement in leading eCommerce stores.

● Method of leaf disposal

When it comes to the method of leaf disposal, the difference between blowers and vacuums is clear cut. You will be very lucky to land a leaf blower with a collection bag. If any, they are very few in the market. On the other hand, leaf vacuums have a collection bag. Thus, the best argument is that vacuums present a handier method of waste disposal than blowers. Moreover, they are very efficient in matters of waste management because of blades that shred leaves to form mulch. With blowers, however, you can never be sure of leaving your lawn as clean as desired, especially when working on a windy day.

Final Thoughts

In the end, choosing between a leaf blower and a leaf vacuum boils down to situations under which each would do a good job. But when it comes to answering the question, which one is the best, especially based on comparisons we have made in this post, leaf vacuums take it all.