Blower vacs on test

Au­tumn is prime time for gar­den tidy­ing. Rosie yeo­mans tests and rates 11 leaf blower vacs so you can find one to suit your needs

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

Make clear­ing leaves a blast

If you’re look­ing for ways to make light work of the au­tumn clear-up, you might be tempted by a blower vac. With leaf-fall sea­son upon us, we’ve tested com­bi­na­tion gar­den blow­ers, with vac­uum and shred­ding fa­cil­i­ties, to help you make the best choice. Th­ese ma­chines blow leaves, grass and light hedge clip­pings into a heap, which they then vac­uum up and shred into a hold­ing bag. The prod­ucts we tested are pow­ered ei­ther by petrol en­gine or elec­tric cable and our com­par­i­son test showed that weight and noise lev­els var­ied be­tween in­di­vid­ual ma­chines, the loud­est ones rat­ing at a sim­i­lar level to a mo­tor­bike for noise. If your gar­den is large, then the cable-free flex­i­bil­ity of petrol-driven mod­els, with pow­er­ful mo­tors that clear leaves quickly, make them a sen­si­ble choice. Ca­bled, elec­tric ma­chines are lighter, a bit qui­eter, less ex­pen­sive and less pow­er­ful, mak­ing them the prac­ti­cal choice for smaller gar­dens and lower bud­gets. You can buy a cord­less blower but cord­less com­bi­na­tion ma­chines for the gar­den are not cur­rently avail­able at a do­mes­tic pri­ce­point. All ma­chines needed some assem­bly when taken out of the box and, once in use, most needed a change of at­tach­ments when mov­ing from blower to vac­uum mode – which adds time to the task. We’ve grouped the elec­tric ma­chines into ‘sin­gle-use assem­bly’ for those that need chang­ing, while the ones that switch func­tions with­out the at­tach­ments be­ing changed are la­belled ‘com­bined assem­bly’. Testers found it eas­ier and there­fore en­joyed us­ing the ma­chines that had both modes avail­able with­out a need to switch at­tach­ments, how­ever, th­ese did not al­ways achieve the best re­sults for per­for­mance.

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