Despite using high quality machinery for removing the dust from our homes, many of us still bend our backs to remove leaves manually during the fall season. Alternatively, some of us remove the leaves using standard vacuum cleaners, which result in clogging of the tubes. This new year, you can choose to continue with the outdated methods, or shift to a leaf vacuum mulcher. A close cousin of the leaf blower and vacuum cleaner, the mulcher nevertheless has some vital differences which make it important to gather sufficient information on the category in general and also the best products in the market today. To save you the hassle of going through endless product descriptions that promise the moon and sifting the truth from the marketing claims, we’ve provided below vital information about mulchers, buying tips from experts and reviews of top mulchers available in 2018.
Compare the Best Leaf Vacuum Mulcher – Leaf Blower Reviews 2018
|BLACK+DECKER LSWV36 ||See It||6.9||120||4.0|
|Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp||See It||10||235||4.5|
|GreenWorks Pro GBL80300||See It||8.9||125||4.5|
Black and Decker LSWV36 40V Lithium Ion Sweeper/Vac
Breaking away from the tradition of vacuum mulchers with battery support that demands a massive price, this Black and Decker product comes with a 40w Lithium battery, which allows the product to charge faster and work longer. The available battery power can be used in two modes – maximum power and maximum run-time – so you can modify the mode according to priorities set by you. Coupled with the ability to blow leaves if needed and the ability to switch between vacuum and blowing modes easily, this product offers enough muscle to clear out the average lawn with ease.
Interestingly, this muscle is coupled with sufficient design speciality for the product to be used in odd shaped regions. This design includes a built-in scraper in the blow pipe, which allows the user to clear out leaf mats that have been crated due to rain, etc.
Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller
Matching the WORX product closely, this offering from Toro comes with a powerful motor that can create air speed of up between 112 and 235 mph. Coupled with a bag capacity of 390 cfm and a number of variable speed levels, this allows the product to offer mulching and blowing options without compromising on overall versatility or quality.
Where Toro really shines though is in the hardware – there is a special metal impeller blade in this mulcher too, and for good measure, it has been coated with magnesium. Furthermore, depending on the speed being used, there are two inserts – power insert and concentration insert, which decide the type and speed of leaf mulching/blowing. When added to the “Ultra” blower mechanism and the range of speed options, it becomes clear how this product can achieve a 16:1 leaf volume reduction ratio in a short span of time.
GreenWorks Pro GBL80300 Leaf Blower
Among the few cordless units to lay claim to being a true gas-blower replacement, this GreenWorks Pro unit backs up its boast with a motor capable of achieving up to 500CFM clearance. With blow speeds reaching an admirable 125mph, the Pro managed to remove everything from autumn leaves in the garden to water on the patio.
Such work, however, was achieved without any strenuous effort given that the entire unit (battery included) weighs in at less than 8.2lbs. This is all the more remarkable when you realize that the battery packs 80V, charges in less than half an hour and can provide over an hour of service at top speeds. Consider these with the all-too-evident lack of a trailing power cord, and you have a unit that packs a punch without straining the back!
Best Leaf Vacuum Mulcher – Leaf Blower Review Video
Top Rated Leaf Blower 2018 comparison chart
|DEWALT DCBL720B||See It||7.59||90||4.5|
|Greenworks 24012||See It||4.5||160||4.5|
|WORX WG518||See It||10.8||250||4.5|
|WORX WG520||See It||11||115||4.0|
Top rated leaf blower Review 2018
DEWALT DCBL720B 20V MAX Lithium Ion XR Brushless Blower
Among the most popular of the brushless blowers in the market today, this Dewalt offering manages to clear a marvellous 400CFM courtesy of a superior axial fan design and a number of electrical innovations. Combine this with 90mph top speeds and you have a blower that can handle even the toughest of yards.
At the same time, this Lithium Ion monster is easy on the muscles, weighing in at just 7.1lbs. This allows its maximum capacity of 20V battery to be utilised without ending up with muscle cramps. Throw in a variable trigger and speed lock, and it becomes clear that this blower is the ideal solution for all except the largest of yards.
Greenworks 24012 Single Speed Electric Blower
For those seeking a lightweight no-frills solution for their lawns/backyards, this Greenworks device comes with a healthy 7amp motor that can be bumped up to 9amps for some added power. At either rating, the motor ensures excellent clearing, going up to 530CFM and speeds of up to 160mph.
All of this is packed into an ergonomic design that doesn’t exceed 20 inches, nor demands that you carry more than 4.8lbs. With no gas or cord hassles to deal with along the way, these features combine with the safety lock mechanism to ensure that small to medium homeowners get their best bang for the buck.
WORX WG518 Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vac, 12Amp
One of the most versatile multipurpose garden tools from WORX, the WG518 offers two speeds for those who prefer greater adaptability. Given that the powerful motor translates this into 250mph and 400CFM at full capacity, the adaptability is hardly a trade-off for sheer power. Add to that the 16:1 mulching ratio and you have a powerful all-rounder.
Of course, this all-rounder can also brag about a total weight of 10.8lbs, which is remarkable considering this is a multipurpose unit and not simply a blower. Equally remarkable is the blower’s ability to provide decent recharge cycles by virtue of its efficient 12amp motor. Add to these convenience features such as the one-touch blower to mulcher conversion and safety lock mechanisms, and you have a great option for the suburban homeowner seeking more than the average blower.
WORX TURBINE 12 Amp Corded Leaf Blower with 110 MPH and 600 CFM Output and Variable Speed Control – WG520
If achieving high CFMs in the range of 450-600CFM is your goal, the Turbine is your ideal companion. Having been fitted with a top-end motor and WORX’s trademark Turbine fan technology, this beast pumps out 60-110mph without stretching the engineering.
On the power front, the Turbine uses the more traditional corded power supply but amply compensates for the reduced mobility this causes, courtesy of the efficient 12amp motor and a weight not exceeding 6.4lbs. Add variable speed control and decent safety features to the mix and the Turbine appears as one of the best corded offerings, even for homeowners with comparatively large lawns/backyards.
What is Leaf Mulcher ?
Leaf vacuum mulcher, as the name suggests, uses vacuum to remove leaves from lawns, patios and other areas. Unlike the ordinary vacuum cleaner that you use to remove debris from your lawn, the mulcher has special blades that slice and dice the leaves into small pieces. These can, depending on the type of leaf mulcher (discussed below), be removed or restored to the lawn to act as fertilizer.
Mulching leaves every fall is vital because of a number of reasons –
- Helps uncover grasses and flower beds, thereby allowing them access to sunlight and pollen.
- Ensures snow/rain during winter falls on the flower beds directly. If snow falls on leaves lying above flower beds, they can suffocate the plants underneath.
- Prevents leaves from turning into a soggy mat come spring rain.
- Prevents growth of crabgrass and dandelions, according to research by MS University.
- If left as mulch in open areas, they decompose and act as mulch.
- Ensure that an unsightly mess of leaves is not created in the lawn.
Despite recognizing the importance of removing leaves and/or mulching them, some garden-owners consider mulchers to be a professional-only appliance. They instead prefer normal vacuum cleaners or leaf blowers without mulching facility. Doing so is tantamount to doing a disservice to your lawn because –
- Ordinary vacuum cleaners cannot remove the leaves because of their typically larger size and presence of hard leaf stems. Using a vacuum cleaner will not only clog the tubing, but can cause worms and bugs to enter the cleaner along with the leaves. This can create a headache later when using the cleaner for cleaning the interior of the house.
- Leaf blowers without mulching attachments/options are usually meant for moving the leaves from one place to another without breaking them down. You will still have to remove the leaves separately, unless you want to be criticized for leaving heaps of leaves around. Further, such removal prevents the lawn from benefiting from the mulch being mowed into the lawn as fertilizer.
Types of Leaf Mulchers
Since leaf mulchers evolved from various other gardening tools, they do not have a standard classification of their own. However, you need to know some broad classifications that set one mulcher apart from another –
Bag or without bag
Standard leaf mulchers – come with a bag or basket in which the mulched leaves are collected, to be thrown away or returned to the soil as the need may be. The bags themselves are carried on the shoulder, or pulled/pushed along with the mulcher itself by means of an extra wheel.
Mulchers without bags – are somewhat cheaper, but they tend to throw the mulched leaves back onto the ground. This is acceptable as long as you begin mulching from the edges of the garden and intend to return the leaves back into the ground, but in other circumstances, it is best to collect the leaf residue together in a bag for easy disposal/dispersal.
Gas or electric
Gas Mulchers – Belonging to the older generation of leaf vacuum mulchers, these products use gas to run the mulcher. The obvious benefit of this is that the mulcher can be carried around regardless of the electric supply situation. Indeed, if you are planning on opening a garden cleaning service and/or have to work in large areas (like orchards), a gas powered leaf vacuum mulcher is a good idea.
The problem however is that the gas mulchers are extremely heavy, and cannot be used in areas of extreme heat. Further, gas mulchers are extremely noisy and can produce smoke if proper maintenance is not carried out.
Electric-supply only Mulchers – Some products need an electric supply instead of gas to work, and this allows them to be quieter and cleaner than gas mulchers. Further, since gas tanks are not needed, the products are lighter and can be moved quickly and stored without fear of gas leaks.
The flipside of these mulchers is that they can only work in the area serviced by the power cord and/or generator
Battery powered mulchers – The most advanced mulchers available, these products come with a small but powerful battery that can be used when the mulcher is out of power cord range. At other times, electric power allows the product to run and the battery to charge simultaneously.
The problem with these mulchers is that they typically come with a high price tag, though with improvement in technology, the prices have come down vis-à-vis the other mulcher categories. Indeed, many of the best blower vac mulcher today are those that come with both electricity-only and battery powered hybrid functional modes.
Tips for Choosing the Best Leaf Vacuum Mulcher
Each person has his/her own garden size, tree composition and time schedule, and these area vital to deciding what type of product will be the Best Leaf Vac Mulcher for him/her. However, as general pointers when going shopping for a mulcher, you should keep in mind –
- Motor specifics – While the best products mentioned above never go below 12 amp motor power, the threshold for acceptable products is 10 amp. Below this speed, it is impossible to obtain a thorough mulching regardless of the overall capacity of the machine to handle leaves.
- Reduction ratio – Reduction ratio refers to the ratio in which the original leaf volume is reduced when passed through the mulcher. Good ratios are in excess of 16:1 , and can go up to 18:1 for top products.
- Speed variations – All of us have garden sections that are filled with nothing but tough grasses, and also parts having delicate plants. Using the leaf vacuum mulcher at full speed in the former makes sense, but can damage the plants in the latter. Variable speeds, which can save these plants from damage is therefore a vital feature of any product. Aim for products with at least 2 genuinely different speed variations.
- Easy mode switching capability – Most modern mulchers also come with leaf blower and vacuum integrated, so it makes sense to be able to shift from one mode to another at short notice. The best products come with a single lever or switch for making this transition.
- Powerful impellers – Though it is not necessary for impellers to be made of metal, it is important for them to be present and be capable of taking high leaf debris impact while chopping the leaves into fine pieces.
- Nozzle/pipe design – The nozzle or pipe (also called tube) of the product should be designed to fit into small spaces without creating a vortex of dust and residue that increases your work. A curved nozzle and a wide tube are the best solutions for the average garden mulcher, though more specialized attachments are always useful.
Mulchers are a varied and somewhat specialized branch of the large family of vacuums and blowing appliances, and as we have seen, their position cannot be supplanted by other products of the family, regardless of the minor similarities that may exist. Given how important proper mulching is for the health of your garden, it is wise not to experiment with anything short of the top lawn mulchers in the market. Our guide has tried to explain in brief the basic tenets of buying a good mulcher, and then how the top products fit into these categories. It is earnestly hoped that this information, when combined with the special circumstances of your garden, can help produce a clean, fertile and flourishing garden through the purchase of the ideal leaf vacuum mulcher.