Best leaf blowers – the best power tools to tidy up your garden

Find the best leaf blower for a tidy garden and clear paths. We've reviewed the top models
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  • If you’re still using a rake to clear up leaves in your garden, you’re about to make a discovery that’ll blow you away – you and those pesky leaves. A leaf blower is a more modern way to round up that tree detritus to leave your garden neat and tidy.

    Want to see some more expert reviews? Check out our buying guides

    The leaf blower to the rake is like the vacuum cleaner is to a broom – it’s time to upgrade. Talking of vacuums, some of these machines suck leaves up, too.

    Many of these leaf blowers have the ability to shred those leaves, making your life even easier. But more on that later. For now you need to decide if you want to spend a bit to get a gadget that can make moving leaves about easier than a rake.

    The result will be a clean and tidy garden and path area. If you have a lot of leaves during those autumnal months then this could be well worth the investment.

    Best leaf blowers

    1. Stihl BGA 56 – best overall leaf blower


    Stihl has been making leaf blowers since the early days. As a result it has highly refined the process and adapted it to offer battery powered units. The BGA 56 leaf blower is lightweight at 2kg but offers plenty of power with a maximum 750 m3/h power output – to rival even petrol and mains units. Thanks to Stihl design and experience you also get a well balanced and weighted unit which means gyroscopic effect is kept to a minimum.

    You can hold this one handed and there won’t be side to side blowing of your hand as the power is delivered directly forward. Since the blower tube is also length-adjustable you have comfortable height for long periods of use without bending over. Battery life varies but ranges from 10 to 30 minutes depending on which battery you opt for. You can see what life is left at a touch. A comfy grip, low noise level and hanging hook all add to the perfection of this ultimate leaf blower. Shame the price reflects how good it is.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Stihl BGA 56 £199, Stihl

    2. Ryobi OBL1820S – best leaf blower with battery-compatible power tools


    If you’re already a Ryobi ONE+ battery owner this is a great way to get a leaf blower without paying more for a new battery thanks to that swap-out function. The leaf blower itself isn’t quite as powerful as the competition, with an output of 156 m3/h. As a result this is more for dry leaves being moved off hard surfaces like decking or a path.

    This blower will move leaves off a lawn but any wet leaves are going to fight against it. You’ll find yourself focusing on sections that are more work. The long nozzle and flattened end does help to focus that power for more effectively though.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Ryobi OBL1820S £59, Amazon

    3. Bosch ALB 36 LI  – best handling leaf blower


    For power the Bosch ALB 36 LI is very similar to the Ryobi unit, which means you will struggle with wet leaves. However, the included battery does keep going for a decent 25 minutes on a charge so it can handle larger areas. That Bosch design is apparent from the start with a quiet running and very low vibration feedback.

    While these make it comfortable it’s the balanced weight that’s a real winner, making all 25 minutes of that battery life use very smooth going. The nozzle is fluted enough to make the power more useful. It’s also long enough to make sure even taller users won’t need to worry about bending over to use this.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Bosch ALB 36 LI, £209.99, Amazon

    4. Black + Decker LSWV36 – best leaf blower for mulching

    best-leaf-blowers2-Black + Decker LSWV36

    Another battery powered unit, this beast is more than a simple blower, it vacuums and mulches leaves too. The catch? This isn’t powerful enough for use on the garden area but is more aimed at patios and decking spaces where leaves are sat on hard surfaces. The collection bag is big enough to hold a full charge worth of leaves as it mulches six bags worth down into one compact space.

    You do need to swap out the nozzle between vacuum and blower mode. However, both are light with an overall weight similar to the blower only units at 2.6kg. There is also a speed control mode on this beast. In reality you’re probably always going to want maximum power even if that does reduce the battery life a little.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    5. Hitachi RB24EAP – best leaf blower for power

    best-leaf-blowers-Hitachi RB24EAP

    If noise, fuel and vibrations aren’t things that bother you too much and you want to make a solid purchase, this Hitachi leaf blower is great for pure power. This two stroke powered blower comes with an impressive seven year warranty so you can use it with peace of mind.

    This might be petrol-powered but it is able to blow leaves really far. 18 metres far, in fact, thanks to a 170mph blast of air that is fired out of the long nozzle. This might be slightly heavier than the other models, plus it’s loud and lacks cushioning on the handle . But for pure power it’s really got what it takes.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    6. Stihl BR200 – best leaf blower for power

    best-leaf-blowers-Stihl BR200Just when you thought there could be no way to get more powerful, Stihl offers its backpack blowers. While these can be seriously expensive units, we’ve opted for the most affordable. The BR200 leaf blower still offers more power than most other blowers out there. The catch is you need to wear the weighty motor part of the system on your back. This looks cumbersome but is actually really comfortable.

    Since all the fuel and motor parts are sat on your back it feels relatively light and means the nozzle in your hand isn’t vibrating and can be moved comfortably without any weight on your wrist.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Stihl BR200, £400, Still

    7. Ryobi 3000W Electric Blower Vac –best leaf blower with vacuum

    best-leag-blowers-Ryobi 3000W Electric Blower Vac

    As the name suggests, this is a high-powered, mains run leaf blower which doubles as a vacuum. Unlike others, where you need to swap out the nozzles to switch between blow and vacuum, this has both built-in for easy change over. On top of that you get mulching to compress all those leaves into the bag with an impressive 16:1 ratio.

    When it comes to power you can push this right up there for 375km/h speeds, plus there is a quiet mode which helps to take the edge off that motor noise. A 960 m3/h air volume makes this one of the most powerful blowers while still remaining lightweight. That extra nozzle is actually barely noticeable and the comfy handle makes use even for long periods of time a doddle.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Ryobi 3000W Electric Blower Vac, £93.29, Amazon

    How to buy the best leaf blower for you


    Image credit: Stihl

    When considering buying a leaf blower it’s s important to think about the job in hand and how best to get it done. The first and most obvious point to ponder is the amount of leaves you need to clear away. If you have a large garden or path area then going for a battery powered leaf blower might not make sense compared to a mains or petrol-powered model.

    With the latter you can get the job done in one without stopping. On the flip side you might have an awkward area where an extension cord is no good, or you might not be a fan of running noisy and smelly fuel-powered machinery. These are the different types of leaf blower to consider:

    Battery powered blowers

    These generally offer a rechargeable battery that can keep running for under half an hour at a time. They offer a little less power than the other options here but are lighter and more manoeuvrable.

    Mains powered blowers

    Mains powered leaf blowers will require an extension cord, generally. However, that means no fuel or charging worries and plenty of eco-friendly power. Petrol powered blowers: these might be smelly and noisy but for pure power and freedom to move about these are the best option.

    Why do I need a leaf blower?

    best-leaf-blowers-Black + Decker LSWV36

    Image credit: Black + Decker

    The obvious answer to this question? You need a leaf blower to clear away leaves. But your clear up job might also involve rubbish and larger twigs. So you need to consider if a leaf blower is best for the task in hand. Consider that if you’re going for a blower you may still need to collect the leaves to dispose of them. You might opt for a vacuum model that also sucks up those leaves for easy disposal.

    What other key questions do I need to ask?

    best-leaf-blowers-Bosch ALB 36 LI LIFE

    Image credit: Bosch

    Do I need a leaf blower or a garden vacuum too?

    While a leaf blower is powerful and can generally take care of leaves both wet and dry, a vacuum isn’t as pervasive. For dry leaves, in smaller quantities, a vacuum can be a useful way to avoid the bagging up stage of leaf clearance. If the vac has a shredder built in this can be even better as you’re left with a nice fine mix that uses the bag space efficiently for minimal changes – plus it’s a great consistency for compost.

    However, for wet leaves or anything larger like rubbish or twigs, these vacuums do struggle. They also often require changing of parts and can be a fiddly experience anyway – it’s often easier to just bag up the leaf pile you’ve blown together.

    How much noise does a leaf blower make?

    Noise is another factor to take into account. If you don’t want to cause a fuss with the neighbours you might want to avoid the loud petrol powered blowers and opt for something a bit more people friendly. Another plus for those with sensitive ears too.

    Are leaf blowers uncomfortably heavy?

    Vibration and weight are also factors for those wanting comfort. The corded blowers are generally lightest and offer very little vibration. The battery units can be a little heavier again. The fuel powered blowers can weigh a lot and cause a lot of vibration which may numb the hands and wrists after use. This is generally a factor only for those with larger gardens that are going to take longer than half an hour to clear.

    How much should I pay for a leaf blower?

    Price is a big factor but generally the more you spend the more power and ease of use you get. So if you want it all – lightweight, quiet, powerful, easy to use, long life and comfortable – you’ll need to pay more. If you can sacrifice some of those factors you can save money on your new blower.

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