Best Lawn Vacuum of 2018 & Buying Guide
It’s going to be autumn soon, and with the end of summer comes a yard full of fallen leaves. Even when it’s not the prime season for ‘spring cleaning,’ there’s always more yard work that can be done. One of the best tools for making yard work easier is a lawn vacuum – but buying a good lawn vacuum is a pretty daunting task.
There are several different varieties of lawn vacuums and they each have different functions. Among these, there are many different brands and models, each with different individual features. We’ve put together a buying guide so you know how to buy a good lawn vacuum and which one will be best for you.
Merry Mac Walk-Behind
Troy-Bilt TB2BV EC 27cc
Billy Goat KV600
So how do I choose a good lawn vacuum?
When you’re buying a lawn vacuum you might be thinking of a very different thing than your next door neighbor does when they think of lawn vacuums. There are three main types of machine that are all considered lawn vacuums. These are:
- Typical lawn vacuums. A lawn vacuum, despite the name, isn’t actually that great at cleaning up your entire lawn. They’re best suited for cleaning up leaves and mulch, and stronger ones can be used to clean small branches if you use caution. Since these vacuums can’t handle bigger debris and sometimes can’t actually many things itself, lawn vacuums are generally the cheapest, starting at just a few hundred bucks.
- Litter vacuums are good for cleaning up the whole lawn. They can be used to clean up bigger debris, they can suck up leaves and branches. Just about everything – except for mulching. Some of them can even pick up big debris like old cans, and they usually have huge bags to contain lots of stuff. These vacuums are typically quite a bit more expensive than lawn vacuums. If you want a vacuum that can mulch, you’ll need a
- Chipper vacuum. A chipper vacuum is great because they can take leaves and bark and branches and mulch them into a much finer material that you can dispose of easier. They’re around the same price as lawn vacuums.
- Leaf vacuums are sometimes known as leaf blowers. There are two types. Leaf blowers, well, these aren’t really vacuums in the traditional sense, mostly because they blow instead of suck. These are great for getting leaves and debris off your lawn, out of your garden, or off your driveway. Most of the vacuums we review and talk about today won’t be leaf vacuums.
True leaf vacuums actually suck the leaves up and can shoot them back out the other end. They’re recommended to be used with a leaf collection system. They’re a lot more powerful than rakes or leave blowers.
Of these varieties, there are still different models that you can choose from.
- Walk-behind or push vacuums. These are the most common variety and are good for smaller-scale operations. They work like they’re described – you walk behind them, using your weight to push them, or if they’re motorized, use your weight to guide them in the direction you need.
- Tow-behind vacuums are for more heavy duty lawn cleaning and are more suited for cleaning up some major acreage, such as if you need to clean up on a farm. These vacuums can be attached to your tractor or other motorized mini-vehicle and towed behind you; they’re generally much stronger than push vacuums so they can suck up and mulch pretty much anything standing in their way.
What sort of features should I look for in a lawn vacuum?
Once you’ve figured out the main type of model you’re looking for, which should really be quite simple – it’s mostly a matter of the size of your yard and the density of debris you’re picking up – then you can start considering the individual features that you want in your lawn vacuum.
- Self-propulsion. Some vacuums can move via the use of motors. These are great options for people who don’t want to use a lot of energy, particularly the elderly. Self-propelled vacuums are likely to rely on a fuel source like gasoline so you’re going to not only pay more for the ability to move, but for the fuel that you’re going to need to use. Still, for larger properties, some people consider self-propelled vacuums to be mandatory.
- Detachable hoses are one of the most useful things you can get on a lawn vacuum. These hoses are, of course, much larger than those you’d find on a house vacuum. It functions in a similar way though, by redirecting the suction through a long, movable hose that you can use to get into tight places like behind your shed or under bushes.
- Leaf or litter collection systems. These are best used for handheld leaf vacuums. You can attach a hose to the leaf collection system and reroute it to your handheld yard vacuum. Then the stuff that you suck into the vacuum will be shot through the hose and into the collection system so you can empty it at a later time.
So what are the best lawn vacuums?
Now that you know about the different types of vacuums you can get for your lawn, it’s time for you to make a decision based on your property and your personal preferences. We’ve reviewed what we think are the best vacuums from each different type, and we hope you can make a good decision based on our research.
1. Troy-Bilt TB2BV EC 27cc 2-Cycle Gas Leaf Blower/Vac with JumpStart Technology
The first unit we’ll look at today is a traditional leaf blower/leaf vacuum unit. It’s not a very expensive model, coming in around a hundred and fifty bucks, but it definitely gets the job done.
It’s got a powerful engine that uses a 2-cycle system and holds 27cc. It’s a crank engine so you can pull a cord to start it, and it’s powerful enough to generate wind that goes up to 150 mph for blasting leaves out into the stratosphere. It’s jumpstart capable, as well, so you can buy a separate engine starting unit so you don’t have to crank the cord every time you start it. Even without the jump start unit, the vacuum uses Spring Assist to help you easily pull the cord.
This vacuum is great for cleaning all different areas in your yard as well as concrete surfaces like driveways. The 2-in-1 leaf blower and vacuum make it great for sucking leaves out of fragile areas, like gardens, where you don’t want to damage plants.
It’s got a big vacuum bag and boasts 10-to-1 debris reduction so you can hold quite a bit of unwanted stuff in the unit without having to change it. The nozzle of the unit is longer than the average leaf vacuum so you don’t have to bend or strain yourself as much as you would when using a similar unit.
The handle on this unit is comfortable and makes it easy to move the unit around. It`s easy to turn as well so you can maneuver easily throughout your yard.
- Long nozzle minimizes the amount of bending you have to do
- Uses a powerful engine that can generate 150 mph wind
- Good for use all over your property
- Combination of leaf blower and vacuum
- 10-to-1 debris reduction
- Has a big vacuum bag
- Comfortable handle makes it easy to move
- The vacuum is not very powerful
- Can be a bother to switch between vacuum and blower
2. Billy Goat KV600 Lawn and Litter Vacuum
This is a great vacuum that’s easy to use. It’s a push behind unit that’s capable of sucking up very large amounts of debris. The debris, once sucked, passes through a rapid spinning 5-bladed unit that chops it up and makes it much easier to compact.
The height of the base unit can be adjusted so you can use it in different areas such as on concrete or on your patio. There’s a dust skirt on the unit to prevent unpleasant dusty air being blown in your face.The bag clasps onto the unit very simply, without having to use zippers. This makes it a breeze to unclip and empty.
The bag clasps onto the unit very simply, without having to use zippers. This makes it a breeze to unclip and empty.
The unit is not self-propelled but it moves quite easily, though you might find yourself running low on energy since you’re pushing a big vacuum.
- Huge bag for holding lots of debris
- Anything sucked up passes through a spinning 5-blade debris chopper
- Easy to use
- Has a dust skirt to prevent air from catching dust
- Height can be easily adjusted
- Bags are easy to change and have no zippers
- Not self propelled
3. Merry Mac Walk-Behind Chipper/Vacuum
This is the best chipper vacuum we’ve found, and it’s a heck of a powerful unit. It`s powered by a 249cc engine that ensures it can suck some pretty dense things off the ground. The sleeve`is made of cast iron which would normally be a problem but since it`s self-propelled it doesn’t really matter.
The unit can be adjusted between three different speeds depending on the area you’re cleaning. Slower speed will more reliably pick up smaller debris, faster speed can be used in areas that aren’t in too much need of thorough cleaning.
The chipper can chip branches that are almost as big as 3 inches in diameter, which is pretty decent. Anything bigger than that you wouldn’t expect a chipper to handle anyways. The ratio of debris reduction is 8 to 1, meaning you can fit 8 standard-size bags of unchipped debris into one bag once it’s been passed through the chipper.
The bags use two zippers so you can open them and empty them while they’re still attached to the unit. This is very convenient and also shows that you don’t need to buy more bags.
The unit has six height settings that you can choose between which make it great for cleaning all sorts of surfaces. You can take it beyond the lawn and onto your driveway no matter how long or bumpy it may be.
- Extremely powerful 249cc engine can overtake many things
- Has various speed adjustments for different areas
- Has a cast iron sleeve
- Self-propelled unit that doesn’t require your effort
- Can chip branches almost 3 inches in diameter
- 8 to 1 debris reduction
- Bags can be emptied without having to detach them
- You can adjust the height to various settings
- The engine, while being entry level, is not really suited for a vacuum this price
4. Agri-Fab 45-0218 26-Inch Push Lawn Sweeper
This is the model for people who are looking for a lawn vacuum on a budget. It’s not automated, so you’re going to have to push the thing yourself. In that sense, it’s not a traditional lawn vac – those are all powered by engines that use motorized power to suck in leaves and debris. This thing functions more similarly to the old push-lawnmowers.
There’s a big bin on the bag that holds all the leaves and debris that are sucked through the mechanized sweeping unit. It can hold up to 7 cubic feet of stuff.
The whole unit is lightweight for a lawn vac at only 25 pounds. The height settings can be easily adjusted for cleaning different areas of the lawn. This unit is better suited for residential use as opposed to industrial or commercial.
- Good storage for debris
- No bags to be emptied
- 3 year warranty
- Not powered by a motor
- Can be hard to get debris out of the container
So which one’s the best?
Considering we’ve reviewed four completely different types of vacuums here, we can’t pick one that’s better than the rest. Each vacuum we reviewed was the best of its specific type, but to compare them beyond that would make no difference. If you need a chipper vac, the Merry Mac Chipper Vac that we reviewed is probably your best bet. If you want a Litter Vac, get the Billy Goat. All 4 of these vacuums are the best of their kind.