Looking to ditch the rake and make your life easier with the best leaf vacuum mulcher in 2018-2019?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
In an effort to save you time, effort, and money, we put over two dozen models to the test to find the best of the best.
Leaf vacuum mulchers have improved substantially since their humble beginnings, and they keep getting better each and every year.
Best Leaf Vacuum Mulchers 2018-2019
|Model||Amperage (amps)||Air speed (mph)||Weight (lbs)||Power Source||Leaf Shredding Reduction|
|Toro 51621 UltraPlus|
|12||250||8.9||Corded-Electric||up to 97% of mulched debris to less than 1/2 inch|
|Black & Decker BV6000||12||180/250||8.1||Corded-electric||16:1|
|Sun Joe SBJ605E||14||250||8.6||Corded-electric||16:1|
|Sun Joe iONBV||-||200||11.6||Battery-powered||17:1|
1. Toro 51621 UltraPlus – Best Garden Vacuum Mulcher
The Toro 51621 UltraPlus is Toro’s most powerful leaf vacuum mulcher to date and provides superior blowing and mulching capabilities. Its 12-amp motor blows air up to 250 mph, putting it on par with some of the best electric blower vacs in the industry.
Despite its noticeable performance, the Toro 51621 UltraPlus really shines in its smart design and ease of use. Featuring an easy-to-carry oversized handle, variable speed control, quick-release latch, oscillating nozzle kit, built-in cord lock, bottom dump zipper and cold storage hook, it’s a terrific option for anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and an eye for detail.
The Toro 51621 UltraPlus is simply one of the best leaf vacuum mulchers in the business. Not only does it have plenty of power to adequately clear leaves and debris from gardens and average-size yards, but it’s smartly designed, well-made and easy to use as well.
While it would be nice for taller users if the blower and vacuum attachments were a bit longer, the Toro’s lightweight and compact design make up for this minor flaw. Otherwise, it checks all of the boxes and has earned its spot at the top of this list and in your garage.
2. Black & Decker BV6000 – Best Budget Leaf Vacuum
The Black & Decker BV6000 also features a powerful 250 mph blower that makes blowing leaves and debris a breeze. While being up to 50 percent quieter than other electric Black & Decker models, according to EN ISO 3744 sound test procedures, its two-speed 12-amp motor has plenty of power to blow, vacuum, mulch and keep most yards neat and clean.
Switching from blower to vacuum and vice versa is also incredibly easy with the Black & Decker BV6000. In fact, you can quickly convert it without tools in just a few seconds. It’s an ideal multi-use tool suitable for clearing gardens, flower beds, lawns, driveways and more.
The Black & Decker BV6000 is a great option for anyone in need of a high-performance leaf vacuum mulcher for a reasonable price. It has plenty of power to make short work of gardens, flowerbeds and smaller yards, plus all of the bells and whistles you would expect from the famous Black & Decker brand.
Although you do have to finagle an extension cord and carry a few extra pounds due to the BV6000’s slightly heavier design, its features and reusable leaf bag system make up for these minor shortcomings.
All things considered, it’s by far one of the best values on the market today. With an affordable price tag and a full two-year warranty, the BV6000 gives you nothing to lose and a neat, debris-free lawn to gain.
3. Sun Joe SBJ605E – Powerful and Lightweight Leaf Shredder
A favorite among those in the know, the Sun Joe SBJ605E features a powerful 14-amp motor for even more mulching power. When combined with its high-impact, aluminum alloy impeller, it easily sucks up leaves and shreds them into mulch in no time at all.
Powerful yet lightweight, this Sun Joe is fun and easy to use. Featuring a simple and proven interchangeable tube design, the compact 3-in-1 can transform from a powerful 250 mph leaf blower into a voracious vacuum and mulcher with nothing more than a twist.
Unlike other leaf vacuum mulchers, especially in this price range, the Sun Joe SBJ605E has not one or two but six different power levels. Plus, there are half levels in between. This makes it more than capable of tackling the largest of leaf piles.
If you’re looking for a powerful electric leaf vacuum mulcher to help clear your yard of leaves and debris in record time — well almost — then the Sun Joe SBJ605E may be for you. With 14 amps of mulching power and 250 mph of blowing power, it’s an ideal choice for any homeowner with a yard full of leaves and an outdoor extension cord or two. It not only gets the job done, it gets it done well.
4. WORX WG518 – Best Leaves Vacuum Mulcher for Small Lawns
Whether your budget is a little tight or you just want the best bang for your buck, the WORX WG518 Leaf Vacuum Mulcher may be for you. This mighty 3-in-1 is one of the most inexpensive leaf vacuum mulchers available, yet it provides the power and ease of use of models costing twice as much.
Meanwhile, its dual-speed adjustments provide extra control or power when needed. While it’s corded and not exactly practical for large yards, it’s an excellent option for clearing driveways, decks, patios and smaller lawns.
The WORX WG518 is one of the least expensive leaf vacuum mulchers being made today. However, it screams quality and will work as advertised for years, making it one of the best values around. With great blowing power, sufficient vacuum power, and a great mulching blade and bag system, it works just as well, if not better, than many 3-in-1 machines costing $40 more. It proves value and performance can, in fact, go hand-in-hand.
5. Sun Joe iONBV – Best Cordless Leaf Vacuum For the Yard
Electric leaf vacuum mulchers are famous for their ability to clear yards with no emissions and minimal cleanup. However, sometimes a cord can be a hassle to deal with. The Sun Joe iONBV solves this dilemma.
The cordless leaf vacuum mulcher is powered by a rechargeable 40-volt lithium ion battery capable of going up to 45 minutes between charges. With no need to worry about electrical outlets, it can be used virtually anywhere. With a simple press of a button, users can clear leaves without the constraints of corded operation.
Featuring an easy-to-use interchangeable tube design, impact-resistant metal impeller, sturdy 16-gallon collection bag and a 17:1 reduction ratio, switching from blower to vacuum and turning piles of leaves into tidy bags of mulch is truly a breeze.
Like all Sun Joe models, the iONBV comes with a handy wheel accessory as well. It’s just another example of the brand’s commitment to innovation and ease of use.
Do you love innovation, loathe extension cords and detest a messy yard? If so, the Sun Joe iONBV deserves some serious consideration. Powered by a 40-volt lithium ion battery and featuring an easy-to-use 3-in-1 design, it can be used to blow, vacuum and mulch leaves and debris absolutely anywhere.
While more and more companies are offering cordless models as well, this Sun Joe is still at the head of the pack. It may require a couple of batteries for serious leaf removal, but its ease of use and smart design are hard to beat.
Leaf Vacuum Mulchers Buyer’s Guide
What is a Leaf Vacuum Mulcher?
As its name suggests, a leaf vacuum mulcher uses a vacuum to suck up leaves and remove them from lawns, driveways, porches, patios, decks and other areas. In addition to simply vacuuming up leaves, a leaf vacuum mulcher also has an impeller with special blades for chopping up leaves and other debris into small, easy-to-dispose particles. With collection bags included as well, these leaf particles can be easily bagged or spread on the lawn as fertilizer.
Most leaf vacuum mulchers are actually 3-in-1 devices with the ability to blow leaves and debris into tidy piles for easy vacuuming as well. This makes them one of the most versatile lawn and garden tools being made today and a must-have item for every homeowner.
Benefits of Mulching
There are a number of benefits for mulching the leaves that litter your yard each fall. In fact, mulching has been proven to:
- Fertilize lawns and flower beds, promoting healthy growth each spring.
- Help lawns and flower beds receive access to sunlight.
- Prevent leaves from soaking up snow and rain, and turning into a soggy mat atop your lawn.
- Ensure the even dispersion of rainwater to lawns and flower beds.
- Prevent the growth of dandelions and crabgrass.
Types of Leaf Vacuum Mulchers
Like most lawn and garden tools, leaf vacuum mulchers evolved from gasoline models. Today, however, they’re designed to utilize additional power sources to suit a wide variety of uses. In fact, there are several different types of leaf vacuum mulchers for modern homeowners to choose from, including:
Leaf vacuum mulchers of yesteryear were powered by gasoline, making them very heavy and noisy to operate. They could also not be used in extreme heat and required constant maintenance. While many of today’s homeowners now opt for electric models for these very reasons, gas leaf vacuum mulchers are still commonly used by professional landscapers and lawn maintenance services for their ability to perform quickly and efficiently in large areas.
Instead of gas, electric leaf vacuum mulchers utilize electric motors to blow, vacuum and mulch leaves just like their gasoline-powered cousins. Although they’re not quite as powerful and must be plugged into an electrical outlet, electric leaf vacuum mulchers are much quieter, lighter and can be stored anywhere. Due to constant advances in lawn and garden equipment technology, more and more homeowners are choosing electric leaf vacuum mulchers for their leaf-clearing needs.
Cordless vacuum leaf mulchers are the most advanced mulchers on the market and becoming an increasingly popular option for their portability and ease of use. Rather than having to fumble around with electric cords, they provide users with the benefits of lithium ion technology and the ability to mulch anywhere for up to 40 minutes or more. Although they’re a little more limited in terms of power and performance, cordless leaf vacuum mulchers are getting better by the minute and suiting the needs of more of today’s homeowners.
In addition to these three basic types of leaf vacuum mulchers, you must also decide on whether to get a model with or without a collection bag.
Standard leaf vacuum mulchers come equipped with special bags to collect the mulched leaves and debris for disposal or to be reused on the lawn for fertilizer. Most bags are designed for durability and can hold up to 10 standard bags of pre-mulched leaves. They connect directly to the mulcher and some even feature wheels for easier use.
Leaf vacuum mulchers without bags are far less common. While they’re typically less expensive than mulchers with bags, they’re primarily designed to shoot mulched material right back onto the ground. This may be fine if your yard isn’t littered with leaves and you simply want to add some natural fertilizer before spring. However, if you’re planning on tossing the mulch from your yard like most homeowners, a leaf vacuum mulcher with a bag is definitely the way to go.
Tips on Choosing the Best Leaf Vacuum Mulcher
Everyone has yards and gardens of different sizes with trees ranging from Magnolias to Aspens and everything in between, so no single leaf vacuum mulcher is going to be right for everyone. However, it’s important to think about the factors above and a few other things when shopping for the best leaf vacuum mulcher for you, such as:
It may seem obvious, but your budget is an important consideration when searching for the perfect leaf vacuum mulcher for you and your yard. After all, you can’t spend more than you’ve budgeted, right? Lucky for you, the most expensive leaf vacuum mulchers aren’t always the best. As you can see from the five great options above, there are quality models for every budget.
Although the best leaf vacuum mulchers have 12-amp motors and higher, some homeowners choose to go with less expensive 10-amp models just to save a few extra bucks. Unfortunately, there’s definitely a noticeable power difference with these weaker mulchers, and they simply can’t mulch at anything close to the same speed.
On the topic of power, not all mulchers operate via the same power source. As you already know, some are powered by gas and others are electric or battery-operated. The choice of which type ultimately is yours to make. However, make sure you account for the size of your yard or garden and think about which option will be the most convenient for you.
Most lawns and gardens are filled with both tough grasses and delicate plants and flowers. Using a leaf vacuum mulcher at top speed may be fine for grass and weeds, but it could certainly do damage to other plants you may have planted. Variable speeds, on the other hand, allow you to mulch according to the materials and are a vital aspect of any quality leaf vacuum mulcher. Most good models worth mentioning have at least two speeds, and some have even more.
While some mulchers feature plastic impellers, any quality mulcher should have durable metal impellers capable of taking high impacts and slicing debris into ultra-fine pieces. Any high-quality steel or aluminum impeller will work just fine as long has it has enough power behind it.
The reduction ratio of a leaf vacuum mulcher is an important consideration, especially if you have a larger yard with lots of trees and leaves. The ratio is listed in the specs of most mulchers and refers to how small it breaks down leaves and debris. A mulcher with a 12:1 reduction ratio is able to transform 12 bags of leaf material into one bag of mulch. So, the higher the reduction ratio, the less bag emptying you’ll have to do. Most quality mulchers, like the ones reviewed above, have a reduction ratio of 16:1. Keep this in mind when picking the best leaf vacuum mulcher for you and your yard.
Aside from power, weight and ease of use are the most important considerations to think about when choosing a mulcher. The lighter a mulcher is the more comfortable and easy it will be to use. If you have a large yard, a heavy machine will make the job seem 10 times as tough. Thanks to advances in electric and cordless technology, you don’t need a big heavy mulcher to get the job done.
The nozzle or collection tube of a leaf vacuum mulcher should be large enough to suck up material without getting clogged yet able to fit into tight spaces to get leaves and debris out of cracks in decks, porches, patios, driveways and so on. In addition to featuring nozzle designs that are proven to work, many quality mulchers also come with specialized attachments to make any job easier.
Most of today’s leaf vacuum mulchers also serve as blowers and have the ability to move air up to 250 mph. Therefore, you should be able to switch from blower to vacuum and vice versa as easy as possible. The best leaf vacuum mulchers have a switch or lever to make the transition a piece of cake.
Leaf vacuum mulchers are truly one-of-a-kind lawn and garden tools that deserve a spot in any garage, workshop or garden shed. With the ability to perform not one or two but three critical aspects of lawn and garden care, they’re the epitome of versatility in every regard. Given the importance of mulching for the health of your lawn and garden, especially come spring, it’s best to invest in a quality leaf vacuum mulcher that won’t let you or your yard down.
In addition to highlighting five of the best vacuum mulchers on the market today, our guide has provided you with plenty of tips and need-to-know basics to pick the very best option for your budget, yard and lifestyle. So, consider your needs and pick out the perfect one to help your yard flourish this spring!