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Guide to Garden Leaf Blowers and Vacuum

Autumn bring beautiful colours on the trees and then loads of leaves on your garden or drive. Clearing these leaves is made easier with a good leaf blowers, it will reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to remove all the leaves and can also be used to clear small twigs and cut grass.

Some machines allow the user to blow the leaves into a single area and then vacuum them into the collection bag so you can then put these into your compost pile.  Switching from blower to vacuum will either be a switch on the machine or requires changing the tubes but this is straight forward.

Should I clear fallen leaves from my lawn?

It all depends on how many leaves are falling on your grass, if it’s only a sparse handful then it isn’t an issue but if it’s a layer of leaves then you need to consider that grass needs air, water and sunlight to grow.  If the leaves are blocking any of these then you could end up with issues with your grass as in it hasn't been able to grow or you have brown patches on your lawn.

Also collecting the leaves from your grass will allow you to add them to your composting bin and can be used next year as a valuable source of nutrients for your plants.

How often should I clear the leaves from my lawn?

Depending on a few factors, mainly the amount of leaves falling onto your grass and how wet the leaves are.  If leaves get heavily wet then you should remove them as they will start to smother your grass, also if there are a lot of leaves on your grass then not only will your grass be smothered but the leaves at the bottom will start to turn.  As a general rule of thumb once a week should be enough to ensure your grass remains healthy.  

An idea

If your lawnmower has a mulching setting (or you can use it without the collection box) then running the mower over the leaves on your grass and finely shredding them will allow them to rest amongst the blades of grass and act a good fertiliser for the soil.

What is mulching?

This refers to the shredding of the leaves as they are vacuumed up.  Within the machine there will be a plastic or metal blade which chops the leaves as they are passed into the collection bag.  This allows more leaves to be collected and provides a great source of material for your compost bin.

The higher the mulching ratio to finer the leaves are chopped.

Can I use a leaf blower on wet leaves?

Leaf blowers are great removing dry leaves but when it comes to wet leaves it depends on how wet the leaves are and how powerful the leaf blower is.  If they are very wet then use the blower to gather the leaves into small piles and then you can pick them up. Some leaf blower comes with variable speed setting which will allow you to increase the blow speed to help when it comes to wet leaves.

What are the different power types of leaf blower?

When it comes to power types there are 3 different options:

Cordless Leaf Blower

This is a smart choice especially with the continual advancement in battery technology.  These are getting more powerful and can move similar volume of leaves as the electric options.  In addition to being a more environmentally friendly option, they are easier to maintain and have lower noise levels than the petrol options.

The main thing to consider is the length of run time on the battery and it may be that if you have larger area then you need a break to recharge your battery.  Alternatively you can purchase more than 1 battery especially if you have several garden tools from the same manufacturer.

Electric Leaf Blower (Corded)

These are very similar to the Battery blowers while slightly more powerful they guarantee continual run time.  As with the battery option these are easier to maintain and have a lower noise level than the petrol option.

They come with the inconvenience of needing to be plugged in, so you will have to ensure you extension lead is long enough to allow you to go all over your garden or drive.

Petrol Leaf Blower

These are the more powerful option and allow you to cover a bigger area without being limited to the battery run time or an extension cable.

While noisier than the others you should always wear ear protection with any blower these blowers generally weigh more than the others and have higher levels of vibration.

To view our range of leaf blowers click here.

What are the different types of leaf blower?

There are 3 main types of blowers, all of which will do a great job.

Handheld

Generally speaking, a handheld blower is more convenient and easier to use and is perfect for most homeowners. 

These weigh a lot less than backpack or walk-behind blowers, and will still make short work of leaves and debris on gardens and driveways. Some offer various attachments and can also be used as a garden vacuum.

They may not be as powerful as other types of blowers, yet this doesn’t keep them from being popular choices with homeowners.

Backpack

Ideal if you have a bigger garden or a large amount of leaves to move, these are powerful, comfortable and make quick work of cleaning leaves. 

Although they weigh more than a handheld blower the straps mean they can comfortably be placed on your back.  These are also designed to run longer to clear larger areas and are generally petrol powered.

Walk-Behind

Walk-behind blowers are on wheels just like a lawnmower and their main advantage is the sheer amount of air they can blow and velocity at which they do so. These are good if you have acres of leaves to clear, run a commercial business, or have a physical injury that makes the others difficult to use.

On the downside, they are all petrol units so they are loud and emit fumes when they’re running.

To view our range of leaf blowers click here.

What should I consider when looking for a blower?

There are many things you can consider, but the main things are:

Size of Area – Each type of blower has its drawbacks, but generally speaking cordless blowers will allow you to clear most household gardens.  Obviously the bigger the area the run time of a battery or the length of a cord will need to be taken into consideration.

Speed - Km/H – This will tell you how fast the air will travel out of the blower, and how quickly the blower will work. Higher Km/h will allow you to move heavier items or even wet leaves, but you also need to consider the Cubic Mtr/Min.

Blow Strength - Mtr/Min – tells what volume of air is moving through the tube in a minute which equates to the blow strength. A unit that has a Mtr/Min of 10 means it will move 10 cubic metres in every minute. The higher the Mtr/Min then the move leaves you can move.

When reviewing the blower options you will need to consider both the Km/h and Mtr/Min to select a product that will get the job done efficiently and quickly. The Km/h needs to be high enough to do more than move the leaves around on the ground and the Mtr/Min needs to be large enough to move the amount of leaves you have to move.

Size of the nozzle(s) – obviously the smaller the nozzle on the blower then the more focused the blow strength, some blowers come with attachments.

Vacuum Function – Some blowers have also got a combined vacuum function which will allow you to gather up the leaves instead of just blowing them into a pile.  Most vacuum also mulch the leaves allowing them to be added to a compost pile or placed directly onto soil to act as a fertiliser.

How to use leaf blowers safely?

The blowing of leaves, debris and sticks can get into the eyes and ears, and exposing your ears continuously to the noise can affect your hearing. You will need appropriate eye and ear protection.

If you want to use your leaf blower in a safe way and to provide a longer life for your machine, use it on dry days, and if you are clearing large areas, then it is a good idea to divide the area into sections so that blowing them to the destination will be easier and less damaging to your equipment.

Always follow the manufacturer guidelines when using your blower/vacuum.

To view our range of leaf blowers click here.

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