Written by Terry Smith
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UK’s best garden vacuums: Top powerful and mini garden vacuum cleaners reviewed and compared
This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 5:49 am
What a struggle Autumn can be without a garden vacuum, especially if you’re fortunate to have a lovely garden with plenty of trees. I gave up with a leaf collector and the wheeled compost bin dragged behind me long ago – well actually once I finally bought myself a garden vacuum. I found a garden vacuum with mulching built in and it cut the amount of time I spent collecting leaves. The best garden vacuums are easy to use, mulch leaves to reduce the number of times you need to visit the compost heap, keep the noise down(as much as a petrol leaf blower can anyway), and clear the garden fast.
Talking of leaf blowers, garden vacuums have the distinct advantage in that they collect leaves. This sounds so ridiculously simple but it’s only when its blowing a gale outside and you realise just how ineffective a leaf blower alone is. The ability to collect leaves and compost them on the fly by simply emptying your collection bag is invaluable. With the way UK weather works, a garden vacuum trumps a leaf blower only all day long. Image the scenario. You’ve just blown all the leaves into a corner to pick them up with some garden gloves and a rake. Along comes a huge gust of wind and disperses said pile right back over the area you just cleared :D. Whilst blower only setups have their place, it is not, in your garden with a continual leaf fall.
Pro tip for garden vacuums: One thing to note if this is your first buy, when you see the blower function you’ll automatically assume the vacuum is going to be equally as powerful. This is not the case at all – the best garden vacuums are considerably more powerful than a standard home hoover but the blow and suck function is not comparable at all!
With that in mind, I have reviewed the best garden vacuums and updated this article ready for autumn 2021 to help save you time finding the best one.
Our top picks for the best garden vacuum – editors pick:
Best garden vacuum overall in the UK: Bosch Home and Garden 06008B1070 UniversalGardenTidy
Best value for money garden vacuum: VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower – 3000W Garden Vacuum, Blower, Mulcher
Most powerful garden vacuum: Parker PBV-2600 26cc 3 in 1 Petrol Leaf Blower, Vacuum, Mulcher & Shredder
Cheapest garden vacuum that actually works well: Handy THEV2600 Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum
Best cordless garden vacuum in the UK: Greenworks Tools GD40BV Cordless Leaf Blower and Vacuum 2-in-1
What you get in this article:
What is the best garden vacuum and how to pick the best one for your garden?
A garden vacuum is a tool specifically designed to hoover up falling leaves and other unwanted debris on your lawns, concrete pathways, patios, decking, and driveways. The best garden vacuums will have a shredder come mulcher function which reduces the leaves capacity allowing for longer periods between emptying and faster composting. So how do you pick the right one for your garden? Much comes down to the size of your garden, how many trees you have or leaves from neighbouring properties and how far from your electric source are said fallen leaves. So for example, let’s assume you have a little garden with minimal leaf fall you’re going to want to choose a cheaper corded electric leaf blower as it’ll reach with a power lead like the Bosch Home and Garden 06008B1070 UniversalGardenTidy If you have the money, you would probably look at a cordless leaf vacuum collector like the Greenworks Tools GD40BV Cordless Leaf Blower and Vacuum 2-in-1. But remember, I can’t stress how ineffective an electric corded version is in wet weather though. Running power cables in damp conditions goes against everything that’s kept me healthy and well to his point 😀 ‘caveat emptor’ as they say.
If you have a big garden with large distances involved then you’re probably going to end up looking for Parker PBV-2600 or if you really can’t afford it a 50m power extension reel and a cheap powerful garden vacuum run off the mains: probably the Handy THEV2600 Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum or the VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower – 3000W Garden Vacuum, Blower, Mulcher.
Why a garden vacuum is better than just a leaf blower?
Leaves falling in the autumn gives an unattractive feel to your home and garden – it’s always damp, dark, and eventually slippery too. The question is what’s the best way of sorting this problem? Leaf blowers aren’t a bad solution, in fact, the best petrol leaf blowers will pile up leaves in no time at all but you still face the problem of bagging up or composting said leaves. And whilst throwing them in your compost bin isn’t really the problem, you have to question why add the extra process when the best garden vacuums in the UK will suck those leaves up, yep, even the ones kinda stuck with the damp, be it on concrete or grass and you then simply empty the bag into your compost instead. Furthermore, some of the best garden vacuums come with a shredder functioning which means when you do empty into your compost, you already have shredded material that’ll rot down quicker still. so when you compare the overall usefulness of a leaf blower vs a garden vacuum, in UK weather conditions it’s not even a contest.
For me that’s not the biggest advantage at all though, I like to compartmentalise my work, so as I methodically go along I can see the work that I’ve completed. Using only a leaf blower really just moves a problem around until you finally get them in the bin. There’s nothing worse than using a leaf blower to only have a huge gust of wind undo all your hard work 😀 For me, that is the absolute reason to pick a garden vacuum over a leaf blower 🙂
So let’s look at the best options for garden vacuums:
The best garden vacuum reviewed in the UK
1. Bosch ALS 2500 Vacuum Blower
Specification: Motor power: 2500W, Variable airflow speed: 280 – 300 km/h, Volume flow rate: 800 l/s, Collection bag: 45 L,
When I first reviewed the Bosch ALS 2500 Vacuum Blower a few years ago it was a top seller and super quality back then – I had one little niggly gripe and that was the time it took me to change between blower and garden vacuum mode.
But when compared in performance, if you wanted a decent trustable brand with plenty of power at cheap money that you could expect some resemblance of customer service then this was the choice for sure. Of course there were unknown brands which have now themselves become trusted and turned into top seller which we will go through and we will bring them in for comparison too this time as they’ve hundreds and thousands of sales.
So what’s different on his model since I last reviewed it? Not a great deal actually. When used as a garden vacuum you’ll need the collection bag attached pretty obviously and this ups the weight to just under 4.5kg. Just so you know, that’s a fair old bit of weight to be carrying around for half an hour whilst you’re continually adjusting your power lead as you go, and making the odd stop at the compost bin. So you definitely want to take advantage of the adjustable strap which is a game changer.
The bag emptying zip is pretty robust, you can catch the odd leaf in it and it’ll still do up with no problem. Unzipping from the back around the side is a nice touch too – the leaves empty easily in their entirety easily rather than getting caught in the sides of the bag with a single zip down the middle when you compare them. Theres nothing worse than putting your hands in that wet slimy bag so invariably you find yourself not quite emptying the bag in its entirety on cheaper models. So yeah, don’t underestimate how good the zip design is on this model…
It has a 45 litre capacity with a 10:1 mulching and shredding ratio which actually gives one full bag a 450 litre leaf capacity! Sounds impressive but what does that actually mean in real practical terms. Well you can clear a small garden in a bag or two that’s for sure.
You’ll need to understand this isn’t the most powerful garden vacuum and as such it isn’t the best at picking up wet leaves but it is good and you can work in the wet to some extent. You’ll also have to clean out the fan if the intention is to be using this in the wet. In short, I like this for a small to mid amount of work as long as you know the limitations. If you’re thinking to use this daily for hours at a time then you’re going to be better off with a petrol or more heavy duty version. That said, with smaller garden size and use this makes for a top pick and overall would be the best garden vacuum in the UK except Bosch have made a much better version which is coming up soon and will retire this model I think! Read on to learn about the newer model, that’s better and uses less electric too ! 🙂
Here’s a look at that performance as it happens:
- Compact and lightweight design
- Longer working hours
- Easy-to-use collection bag
- Dual settings for blower or garden vacuum
- Powerful performance at 2500 watts
- Not the most powerful
2. WORX WG505E Mulcher & Vacuum
Specification: Motor power: 3000W, Blower speed: 128 – 335km/h, Vacuum capacity: 10 m3/min, Collection bag: 45 L,
So the thing about the WORX WG505E Mulcher & Vacuum that I really like is the all round performance. I know we’ve spoke about how a leaf blower isn’t as beneficial as a vacuum if you’re actually trying to clean up but at the right money this is a great little all rounder. Now as you trawl the internet you’ll find mixed reviews on this as a garden vacuum, some swearing by it, some telling you it’s a total waste of money. When you compare it to the other choices for garden vacuum it isn’t bad at all. It’s simply a case of these reviewers not really understanding what they are buying at all, by contrast the positive reviews already have own one and have more realistic expectations of what a garden vacuum can do.
Let me give you an example – one review says it’s great for blowing but useless for hoovering. What’s really going on here is completely standard. The blow function on all vacuums appear way more powerful than the suction. Ten fold even. This is totally standard. What you can really expect is a hoover much better than your home indoor henry for pulling up leaves. It’s not going to create a black hole under the very ground you stand on 😀 but it does pickup leaves pretty well, and its night and day when comparing it to an old fashioned rake, or even a blower and a rake.
If you take a look at the demo video its not a bad rundown of what this can do as a garden vacuum. It is much better on concrete and solid surface than grass in my testing. Also, it’s no where near as good at picking up wet leaves which they fail to show in the demo. When compared to others in this review though, its still pretty good!
- The best control with 7-speed settings
- Associated mulching system
- Lightweight and compact design
- Metal impeller for powerful performance
- Three functions in a single unit
- Not the cheapest non branded
3. Bosch Home and Garden 06008B1070 UniversalGardenTidy
Specification: Motor power: 1800W, Variable airflow speed: 165 – 285 km/h, Volume flow rate: 160 l/s, Collection bag: 45 L,
This model is a direct comparison to the Bosch ALS 2500. The reason being is they are designed the same in look but there are a few really decent improvements on the old. For a start and probably the most important, the Bosch UniversalGardenTidy only uses 1800watts at max rating where the old model uses 2500 watts. Now what I don’t know is why they didn’t call it the ALS1800? I suspect this is because it would sound like a smaller, less model than the ALS 2500 which it most definitely is not.
The weight remains pretty much similar on blower function but a little heavier on vacuum. The suction appears equal if not better too. The one big thing you’re going to notice if you owned the ALS2500 before is the sheer difference in noise. This thing is just so much quieter when you compare the two. It’s quite clear Bosch have been working hard to solve the older problems that almost all garden vacuums have and the result is an absolute best seller…
One thing I used to complain about on the ALS2500 was the switching screws. They’ve improved this considerably and I’d say it cuts the time literally in half when it comes to that time of going from blower to garden vacuum. This is a game changer really because when you compared the two models this was the one thing they had to bring forward…and they did!
One thing I really like on this upgraded model is the fact they didn’t try to get too clever with the adjustable handle. This makes holding at your desired comfort position all the easier – given we are all different they’ve made a good fist of ensuring this model can be used by almost all. You need to be strong enough to carry 5kg on your shoulders basically as a backpack.
So there’s two things to look at closely. The leaf vacuum nozzle is 11.5 x 13.5 cm so you can collect large leaves. You’ll be able to trust in the mulcher function to handle those no problem. That ticks one box for me, the other is the size of the mulch. It pretty much comes out finger clipping size so will decompose in no time at all. Bosch have worked hard on getting ahead of the pack.
Some mentioned the blower to vacuum function was difficult to change. I’d put a little washing up liquid or WD-40 around the connection but you don’t want it looser. Any air gap would significantly reduce the suction power….
With the work Bosch have put in on this model I would definitely give it a solid buy rating and for me of the trusted brands, this is the best garden vacuum in the UK right now.
- Best branded garden leaf vacuum in the UK for the price
- Picks up leaves very well compared to other models in this review
- Smaller motor than the ALS2500 but doesn’t lose performance
- Trusted customer service
- Vonhaus beats it pound for pound if you don’t mind a budget brand
4. VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower - 3000W Garden Vacuum, Blower, Mulcher
Specification: Motor power: 3000W, Voltage: 230V, Frequency: 50Hz, Collection bag: 35 L, Cord length: 10m,
The VonHaus 3 in 1 Leaf Blower has a cracking garden vacuum setting. Vonhaus landed on the scene in a big way a few years ago. They are basically a brand shipping Chinese cheap power tools for the home and garden. Nothing has changed on this front but steadily they’ve been listening to feedback and their tools are improving and benefitting from this! This had a few hundred decent feedback when I first reviewed it. Now there’s nearly ten thousand positives online!
So what I really really like, is the weight. This is only 3.5kg. The best is the Bosch and that’s 4.7kg. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise this is shedding 30% of the weight with more performance when compared. You have to also accept this is burning up 3000 watts compared to the 1800 but as a cheap and cheerful garden vacuum you can’t knock just how good this is! You could even call this a mini garden vacuum if looking at the weight!
The wheels are a personal preference thing. Some love them, some hate them. The one thing that’s for sure, on solid surfaces it does take the load off your shoulders to an extent. The hard thing is getting the strap adjusted to a height that makes the wheels comfortable on your back. Once you crack that then it’s plain sailing from there on in.
What’s not to like about this garden vacuum? It’s pretty hard to give this a negative on anything. I mean you’re always looking for overall delivery and at the price point it’s harsh to come up with anything poor on this. You would probably say the worst thing on these is the build quality. Occasionally you get the odd failure but with a two year warranty on a cheap leaf blower, again it’s a bit harsh… I mean just look at the reviews online, they are by and large, apart from the odd machine failure excellent!
With all this said, no question, this is the best value and cheapest garden vacuum in the UK this year for the power delivery.
- Unrivalled value for money in the UK
- 3000 Watt motor delivers the power for sure
- Leaf shredding ratio of 10:1
- Nylon bag capacity is 35L
- The debris bag comes with a strap for easy holding
- Two year warranty
- Now a trusted brand on Amazon
- Very light for the power
- A few fail quicker than expected – QC needs work
5. Handy THEV2600 Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum
Specification: Motor power: 2600W, Blow Speed: 167mph ,Collection bag: 45 L, Cord length: 6m,
When you compare this garden vacuum with the other picks, the first place to look is the value Vonhaus. They both came out of a factory or used to, not sure about Vonhaus now but it’s still a good gauging point. This model however, retains the low price point, whereas since Vonhaus has since built a reputation, developed their product, and their price point isn’t far off the Bosch which is less powerful but much better recognised.
If you’re looking for the cheapest garden vacuum in the UK that won’t totally disappoint you then I would say the Handy THEV2600 Electric Leaf Blower/Vacuum is well worth a look. What I don’t like about Handy is the authentic British patter in their features list when this garden vacuum came out of a factory. It’s well priced, they offer decent after sales so there’s no reason to veil this product. It is what it is and it works very well for the money. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it if I was looking for a cheap garden vacuum carefully sourced by a decent team…
One other thing worth a mentioned – they also have a 3000 Watt garden vacuum model that is every bit as good as the Vonhaus for a bit more money than this 2600 watt model when you compare them. You can definitely buy in confidence and I think since Vonhaus have gotten that bit more expensive, you will see this go out of stock much more quickly this Autumn.
- Excellent customer service for cheaper garden vacuum
- 10 Metres cable
- 45 Litre collection bag for debris collection with a shoulder strap
- 10:1 mulching ratio
- Shredding, vacuuming and blowing in the same unit
- 2600 Watt Electric motor
- Not as powerful as some models when compared to this review
6. Parker PBV-2600 26cc 3 in 1 Petrol Leaf Blower, Vacuum, Mulcher & Shredder
Specification: Power Output: 1HP / 0.70kW, Engine Speed: 7,000 Km/h, Displacement: 26 cm³, Air Speed: 225 Km/h ,Air Flow: 10 m³/min, Bag Volume: 45 m³/min
I decided to pull the McCulloch from this review and include the super value Parker PBV-2600. You’re probably thinking that’s a bit risky given the known McCulloch reliability when you compare them and you would be right. My problem isn’t with the quality of McCulloch. It’s more to do with just how amazingly well priced the Parker PBV-2600 is when you compare them on performance as well as the fact Parker has been around for years now and has proven customer service care.
For a two stroke it starts well. The mix is 40:1 which is pretty easy to handle too. You get plenty of performance as a garden vacuum, not just a blower. The metal mulcher blade doesn’t like stones – something you need to be careful of considering there is plenty of power to pull stones as well. Talking of the vacuum function. Swapping from blower to vac is easy – just slide on the pipe.
This model never really took off in the early days because of poor quality engines that wouldn’t start. Since then, they’ve really upped the quality control and the reviews are much much higher. In fact, in the last year, taking away the poor reviews right at the start these have been as high rated as the four stroke Makita vacuum set. That is pretty impressive in itself and definitely justifies the inclusion you would have to agree.
The Parker PBV-2600 isn’t without it’s flaws though. Being a two stroke it really is noisy. That’s practically unavoidable. If you’re looking for something a bit quieter you’ll have to go four stroke and then that will literally triple the amount you pay for something decent quality! If you’re worried about the noise because you use it daily I would probably go for a four stroke myself and accept the upfront cost. Otherwise, for typical mid range use this is a cracking little machine and well worth a buy.
- Super value petrol powerful leaf vacuum
- Integrated leaf shredder
- 26 cc two-stroke engine
- Few poor quality units made it past QC
7. Greenworks Tools GD40BV Cordless Leaf Blower and Vacuum 2-in-1
Specification: Rated Voltage: 40V ,Run Time: 2Ah battery / 15 mins, Max Air Flow Speed: 185km/h or 114mph, Air Flow In Pipe: Up to 9.6m³/min , Bag Capacity: 45L
This was very very brave by Greenworks. Generating the kind of power from a battery garden vacuum that actually works was no easy task. If it was, your Makita and other well known brands would already be there. The brave style doesn’t surprise me though. The Greenworks cordless pressure washer proved a flop in the early days. By contrast, I am very pleased to conversely tell you the Greenworks Tools GD40BV Cordless Vacuum is a great bit of kit.
Now you have to understand battery powered hoovers is no easy thing. Remember many electric corded and petrol models have been a bit of a flop over the years but this is quite incredible. It produces 280km/h which is as powerful as most electric corded models when compared in this review! It weighs about the same as the Bosch at 4.8kg and also factor some extra weight on top for the batteries, which understandably makes this the heaviest but absolutely so much easier without a training power cable everywhere you go. At 90dB it’s also pretty quiet too as leaf vacuums go. Some are 108dB! In fact when you compare this to a corded version its chalk and cheese…
To generate the kind of suction that rivals corded power leads has to have some draw back right? Well yes there is, I reckon you get 15 mins tops out of charged batteries and I don’t call this a flaw at all. They’ve made a cordless leaf vacuum to match a corded version – there has to be some give and take. So if you don’t have much work or don’t mind having a charge between the job with a cup of tea then this is a super bit of kit. There’s no way you call this a flaw when the biggest most powerful models are consuming 3000 Watts! Credit where credit is due as an overall when compared this is a super bit of kit.
The number of times I’ve deferred garden work because I couldn’t be bothered to get the power lead out makes this an absolute game changer. I really really like it. If I’m honest, I just hope Makita hurry up and get one made as I have those batteries.
- No power lead is a total game changer
- Very well priced
- Actually genuinely powerful garden vacuum
- Quiet as well!
- Battery life is reduced by the huge power draw which is totally understandable.
Best garden vacuum price comparison table
FAQs when buying the best garden vacuum cleaner
Should you choose a garden vacuum or a leaf blower?
In public gardens with a huge pile-up of leaves and other debris, you might have seen workers using petrol-powered blowers to round up the leaves. Then, they dispose of the pile that has gathered in a single place by hand. It means that when it comes to handling a huge space like a public park, leaf blowers can be the solution. On the other hand, when you will have to handle the leaves and debris in your backyard that is not huge, it is better to go for a device that has both garden vacuum and a leaf blower to suck the leaves back up again.
What does a garden vacuum do?
The answer to this question relies on the type of machine you choose. A typical garden vacuum leaf collector is an excellent option for picking up leaves and other objects. They are helpful for small gardens. However, they lack a blowing function. On the other hand, leaf blowers are efficient enough in blowing leaves into a pile. Nevertheless, you will have to pick the pile by hand. Thanks to the best models that come with both these function these days. Yes, there are models with garden vacuuming and blowing properties. Even, they can act as mulchers. This will permit you to blow the leaves into a smaller area before you can vacuum them into a bag. In short, selecting a model with both functionalities will be a good idea.
What are the factors to consider in shopping for the right garden vacuum?
The right garden vacuum will indeed help you with saving a lot of time and also save your back from a huge hard work of clearing out the lawn from unwanted leaves. Here are some factors to consider in shopping for the right garden vacuum:
- Type: Leaf blowers will help with moving the leaves to a specific place. But, they do not pick up the leaves and this job can be done by the best garden vacuum. So, when it comes to choosing, you can consider a type with both these functionalities
- Power: The power of the unit has a direct impact on the way it functions. It is not that a model with a powerful motor will perform the best. If possible, you can look for a model that will help you with adjusting the power output.
In addition to these factors, you will also have to consider the other factors like mode of power, size of collection bag and quantity of leaves to arrive at the right unit.