6 Simple Steps to Choose a Garden Vacuum Cleaner

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Are you looking for a garden vacuum but aren’t sure which to choose? With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the right model. In this article, I’ll take you through six steps to finding the perfect garden vac for your requirements.

Garden vacuums can make quick work of clearing fallen leaves in your garden. If you’re tired of raking up piles of leaves – only to need to repeat the task in a few days – they could be the perfect solution.

The problem is there are hundreds of garden vacs, each with different features and prices. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to choose a garden vacuum cleaner you can be sure is up to the job. Let’s get started!

1. Set a Budget

Before you start looking for a garden vac, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend. This type of vacuum can range from less than $100 up to $1000+ for commercial models, so it’s essential to know your budget.
Basic leaf blowers are usually cheaper than full-blown vacuum cleaners. Bigger and more powerful models also tend to be more expensive, so if you have a large garden make sure you keep this in mind.

2. Determine Your Requirements

The most important step when choosing a garden vac is working out what you need it for. Here are some questions to point you in the right direction:

  • How big is your garden and what will you be clearing? If you’re only going to be clearing your patio, you don’t need a big and expensive model. If, on the other hand, you need to move a large amount of leaves, a more powerful option can save you time.
  • Where do you want to use the vacuum? Some models can be damaged by harder objects such as gravel, while others can handle almost anything.
  • Are you experienced handling large and powerful garden tools? If not, you may want to consider a battery or mains-powered vacuum rather than a petrol model.
  • How heavy can the vacuum be for you to comfortably carry it? This is an often-overlooked factor when choosing a garden vac, but can make a big difference – especially if you’re going to be using it a lot.
  • What is the maximum size vacuum you can store? For smaller storage spaces, you may want to look for a vacuum with a collapsible tube.
  • Do you need a garden vacuum or will a leaf blower do the job? (more on this in the next section)

3. Decide on the Right Type

Once you know what you need from a garden vacuum, the next step is to choose the right type. This is an important step, as it narrows down your options considerably. Here’s an overview of the most common types.

  • Corded leaf blowers. If you just need to move leaves into a smaller area so you can pick them up manually, a corded leaf blower is the best choice. These are the cheapest type – and aren’t technically vacuums – but can still save plenty of time.
  • Corded garden vacuums. Most home owners tend to go for a corded garden vacuum, as they are cheap, convenient and able to blow leaves and suck them into a container. Many also come with a built-in mulching function. They aren’t as convenient as cordless models though.
  • Cordless leaf blowers. These models tend to be a bit more expensive, but are great for getting rid of small amounts of leaves without worrying about a cord. They aren’t as powerful as corded models, but make up for this in convenience and speed. If you have a small garden with plenty of tight spaces to clear, a cordless leaf blower can be a great choice. The fact that they are battery-powered makes them unsuited for large jobs though.
  • Petrol garden vacs. For clearing large gardens, nothing beats the power and manoeuvrability of a petrol garden vacuum. These are more expensive than cordless options and tend to be heavy – not to mention noisy! They are great for tougher jobs, however, such as clearing damp leaves.


4. Choose Your Desired Features

By this point, you should know the type of vacuum that’s best suited to your requirements. The next step is to narrow down your options further by choosing the features that are essential. This step can be tricky, as it’s not always easy to know what features you need. Here are some tips:

  • For blowing lots of leaves into a pile, I recommend looking for a model with a thin nozzle, as these provide more control.
  • If you buy a model with built-in mulching, make sure the blades can be easily cleaned as they are likely to get clogged.
  • If you’re buying a cordless model, one of the most important features is battery run-time. Unless you’re willing to wait for the vacuum to recharge during clearing, it should last long enough to clean a significant portion of your garden.

Other features include shoulder straps, an ergonomic design, lightweight engine, the size of the mulching bag and whether the machine comes with a waterproof bag.

5. Find Vacuums That Match Your Requirements

The next step is to find garden vacuums that meet your requirements. This can be time-consuming, but by narrowing down your options using the steps above you’ll have a much better idea of what to look for.
Aside from the vacuum itself, make sure you’re buying from a high-quality brand. While buying from a known brand might cost you more money, the best manufacturers offer a long warranty and are more likely to produce a reliable machine.

6. Make Sure You’re Buying a Great Model

At this stage, you should have a shortlist of 3-5 garden vacuums that match all your requirements, including type, budget and features. All you need to do now is work out which provides the best value for money.

As you probably know, one of the best ways to judge the quality of a vacuum is to read reviews. While buyer reviews are often great sources of product information, I recommend reading expert garden vacuum reviews for a fairer and accurate representation.


Choosing a garden vacuum doesn’t need to be stressful. By following the six steps in this article, you’ll be much more likely to choose a model that meets all your requirements yet is within your budget.

Jonathan E. Bass

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. I am currently a gardener. I have a small garden behind my house. I love it.

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