Even in a small garden, clearing leaves can be a big job, and not a particularly pleasant one as the furry fellow above is finding out. Having a good leaf blower can make the job a lot easier – and shorter – but it can be difficult to know which is the best machine. We’ve found five of the best models on the market and compared them by price, weight and size of job. We’ve also indicated what type of machine it is: cordless or corded, leaf blower or blower vac (i.e. with two functions – blowing and vacuuming).
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Toro 51593 Super Electric Leaf Blower Vacuum

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Type: Corded electric blower vac
Weight: 3.3kg
Price: £92.99

With two speeds for more control, and a maximum airspeed of 325 km per hour, this is powerful blower vac, especially considering that it doesn’t weigh very much. On the down side, it isn’t the cheapest model on the market, but the 12 metre cable length means that it can be used in most medium-sized gardens.

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Black & Decker GW3000 Blower Vacuum 3000w 2 speed

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Type: Corded electric blower vac
Weight: 3.3kg
Price: £59.95

Cheaper than the Toro, and just as powerful, there are clear advantages to this garden vac. One negative point is that it can be a little tricky to switch from vacuuming to blowing functions as you have to change the nozzles and remove the bag.

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STIHL BGA 85 Cordless Leaf-Blower

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Type: Cordless blower
Weight: 4.8kg
Price: £229.00

A bigger price for a more serious machine. This cordless leaf blower was rated as a ‘Best Buy’ by Which? in their review of leaf blowers. At 4.8kg it’s not exactly lightweight, but it has been designed for the very heaviest of leaf blowing jobs. Its battery life is an impressive 13 minutes and if you have to clean a large area of with a lot of leaves, and on a regular basis, this could be the best leaf blower for you.

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Ryobi 18V Cordless Blower OBL 1802

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Type: Cordless blower
Weight: 1.9kg
Price: £109.99

The Ryobi 18V is another highly-regarded leaf blower. At only 1.9kg it’s a much lighter machine than the Stihl, and with a significantly lighter price tag to go with it. Its battery life is only 8 minutes, but for most small to medium sized gardens that should be plenty of time.

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Bosch ALB 18 LI Cordless Li-Ion Leaf Blower

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Type: Cordless blower
Weight: 1.8kg
Price: £82.96

Also rated as a ‘Best Buy’ by Which? magazine, like the Ryobi, this is a lightweight and effective leaf blower that will do an excellent job in a small to medium-sized space. The big difference between the two machines is in the battery life: the Bosch can last for 12 minutes, almost as long as the Stihl, which is designed for much larger jobs.

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Our advice

When it comes to which one of these leaf blowers is the best, it depends on a number of factors, including the size of the area which needs to be cleaned and whether or not you are looking for a vacuum function as well as a blower. On balance, we would choose a dedicated blower instead of vac, as it isn’t that tough a job to pick up a pile of leaves. When it comes to which blower, assuming you are looking to clean a domestic garden or driveway, the best option has to be the cordless Bosch ALB 18 Li. Lightweight, reasonably-priced and with 12 minutes of battery life, it looks a good bet to get the job done efficiently.