Best Yard Vacuum of 2018 & Buying Guide
Buying a yard vacuum is a little bit different than buying a regular vacuum for cleaning up the inside of your house. yard vacuums are a lot bigger, a lot more expensive, and serve a completely different purpose than the vacuums that people purchase for cleaning the insides of their houses.
Still, though, there are differences between different yard vacuums. You might not be sure what kind you need to purchase for your lawn. There are lots of different types, each with their own features and purposes, so we’ve put together this buying guide so you know what kind of yard vacuum you should buy.
Patriot Products CBV-2455H
Billy Goat KV600
Merry Mac Walk-Behind
So what’s the difference between yard vacuums?
Well, first off, there are several different types of yard vacuums. You can’t just go to the store and say, “give me a yard vacuum,” and expect to get one that will fit your needs. The main different types are:
Regular yard vacuums, also known as yard vacs, are the most basic type of hardware you can purchase for doing a large-scale yard sweep. These vacuums are best for cleaning up leaves or other small debris, but they don’t put out much strength for cleaning up litter, big branches, or other types of debris. They also can’t mulch the debris into a smaller pile for you to clean up easier.
Litter vacs or litter vacuums are good for cleaning up the bigger debris in your yard. These are good for people who own industrial or commercial properties that might have lots of garbage or litter left over. If you get a higher end litter vac, you will be able to clean up things like cans and cardboard boxes without hassle. Unfortunately, these types of vacuums aren’t as good for cleaning up smaller things like leaves, but they can get branches and big yard debris as well as litter. Most of them, it is sad to say, can’t mulch these things (though mulching a tin can wouldn’t turn out very good.)
Chipper Vacs cost you about the same price as a yard vacuum. Despite the similar price tag you might want to consider getting one of these. Chipper vans can pick up leaves as well as branches and small pieces of organic litter. The difference between these and a yard vac? They can mulch the things they pick up. They won’t be able to handle thick litter like plastic or tin, but they can mulch whatever they can pick up.
Leaf vacuums are pretty similar to leaf blowers except they suck leaves in instead of blowing them. Itès typically required that you get a leaf storage unit additionally so you can have somewhere for the vacuumed l eaves to be deposited,
Some leaf vacuums work as combination vacuums and blowers. These are great for blowing leaves out of your driveway or for directing the leaves on your yard into a bigger pile for you to suck up later.
Mechanical sweepers are more similar to the old-school push lawnmowers than an actual vacuum, but are still sometimes classed as vacuums. You push these around by hand and a rotating unit catches litter or debris and sends it into a storage unit attached to the sweeper.
Can I customize my yard vacuum?
Of course! Just because you’re buying a yard vacuum, a chipper vacuum or a litter vacuum doesn’t mean you’re bound to purchase the same thing as the next person. Each individual vacuum has individual features – that’s why they’re made by different brands and sold as different models. Some of the different things that you can buy include:
The ability to self-propel. Some vacuums are imbued with a motor or other mechanized unit that allows the vacuum to move itself. These are great, especially for elderly people or for people who have a massive amount of property to clean. Self-propulsion means that you don’t have to do nearly as much work by yourself.
The ability to change suction. Some yard vacuums are able to change the amount of suction being directed at the ground. This is good because you’re certainly not going to want to be using the same amount of suction in your garden as you would be on your front yard.
Towability. Towable vacuums can be attached to another vehicle, most often a tractor. The tractor or other vehicles will pull the vacuum behind it so you don’t have to use your own energy to vacuum your yard. Towable yard vacuums are great for people who have large amounts of property.
Additional cleaning tools. ‘Cleaning tools’ is a term typically applied to indoor vacuums but can be used in the same sense. The most common cleaning tool for a yard vacuum is a detachable hose, which functions in the same way an extendable hose works on an inside vacuum. It allows you at access otherwise unreachable areas, such as under a tree or under your balcony.
Considering your power source
It’s also pretty important to decide how you’re going to have your yard vacuum powered. The two main options are gas-fueled or electric.
- Gas-fueled yard vacuums can provide a lot more power in terms of sheer suction force as well as movement power. Unfortunately, they’re also heavier – though this isn’t a problem if the unit is self-propelled, most of the time. Gas-powered units also require that you purchase fuel for them to function.
- Electric yard vacuums are most often fueled by a battery that can be charged when you’re not using it. Some are powered by actual cords that must be hooked up to your house when in use, but a lot of the time corded yard vacuums aren’t good for reaching an entire yard.
Lithium-ion rechargeable yard vacuums are a much better choice unless you live in a very small yard. These batteries hold a decent charge, though chances are if you have a lot to clean up you’ll need to charge it before you can finish your job. Consider getting a backup battery or finding a model that comes with one.
So which yard vacuums are the best?
There are many different yard vacuums of which you can purchase. Each one is unique in its own way and it’s important that you understand that. We’ve reviewed some yard vacuums in each category and have concluded what we believe to be the best general purpose yard vacuums that you can buy. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find something that you can use.
1. Billy Goat KV600 (Gas, yard/litter push-vacuum)
This is a great introductory vacuum for someone who hasn’t used a litter or a yard vacuum before, though the price is also gonna seem high for someone who’s never paid for a yard vacuum.
All debris passes through a 5-bladed spinning system that reduces it at a ratio to 10:1, meaning you’ll be able to fit 10x the amount of debris in the storage bag than you would before it was chopped.
The bag itself has a nice dust cover, and it’s breathable so the stuff inside is much less at risk of getting moldy and stinking up your vacuum’s storage space if you don’t want to change it. The bag is attached using a couple clips that make it easy to unhook, instead of using bulky zipper which can be very awkward.
- Gas-powered and fairly powerful
- 5-bladed debris reduction system
- Makes use of clips instead of zippers for easy bag changing
- Good introductory yard vacuum
- Great bag storage space
- The motor is less powerful than you’d expect for the price
2. Toro 51619 Ultra Blower/Vac, Red (Leaf blower/vacuum)
If you weren’t sure how a combination of blower and vacuum would work, here’s a great way to find out. This unit says it can generate wind up to 250 mph, which is absolutely insane (and we’re unsure if they’re telling the truth because I think that would blast a hole in your yard.)
Either way, this is impressive for a handheld unit. The vacuum can actually mulch things that you pick up, which is more than some of the gas or electric powered full-sized vacuums can do. The device has adjustable power so you can change your blowing or sucking speed.
It’s a corded unit and it doesn’t come with an extension cord so you’ll have to buy one, unless your yard is tiny. It does come with a bottom-zip bag though which holds a good amount of debris.
- Extremely powerful unit with adjustable suction
- Most impressive for a handheld vacuum
- Can suck and blow leaves and debris
- Can actually mulch what you pick up
- Requires an extension cord or a small yard
3.Merry Mac Walk-Behind Chipper/Vacuum (Walk-behind chipper)
Now here’s a sheer example of the power you can find in yard vacuums. This beast can decimate branches nearly 3 inches in diameter (and if you’re trying to suck anything bigger than that into a movable vacuum you probably have a problem.)
It’s a self-propelled unit which is good because it’s heavy enough to make it a workout to push manually. The wheels are made in a way that allows this vacuum to easily handle difficult terrain. The sleeve is made of cast iron and won’t be easy to damage. There are six different height settings to choose from.
- Incredible power
- Can chip pretty big branches
- Easily adjusted height settings
- Super heavy
4. Agri-Fab 55188 Mow N Vac (Tow-behind vacuum)
We’re not quite sure why this unit is so beloved by people, but it’s definitely one of the highest-reviewed tow behind vacuums online.
First off, it’s a tow-behind vacuum. The sheer weight this vacuum dictate that it’s much too heavy for you to push around by yourself or even to bother including self-propulsion.
Its steady, reliable motor allows for 80 mph suction. It’s easily attached to over 40 different types of tractors and comes with a 3 year warranty. However, it has no chipper or mulcher and can only really pick up lawn debris or small pieces of litter.
It’s a very reliably constructed model and will last you many years, and doesn’t risk damage from being stored for a long time.
- Very durable material
- Fits on over 40 different types of tractor
- Strong consistent suction power
- Has other attachments and adjustments that can be bought
- Really expensive
- Weak versatility
5. Patriot Products CBV-2455H 24-Inch Honda Gas Powered Walk Behind 3-In-1 Leaf Vacuum/Chipper/Blower (everything)
We’ve saved the best for last. This unit combines pretty much everything from all the previous model and jams it into a small walk-behind unit.
Since it’s powered by a Honda motor you don’t have to worry about obnoxious noise, except when you’re chipping branches. Speaking of branches, you can chip them by feeding them into a cone on the vacuum. Any other yard debris can be sucked up easily, including wet leaves which a lot of other vacuums have difficulty sucking up.
You can switch this unit easily from a sucker to a blower and just push everything out of your way for later cleanup. However, it is a walk-behind unit and it’s not self-propelled so there will be a bit of effort that you have to expend.
- A very versatile model that can suck, blow, and chip
- Powered by a reliable and quiet Honda motor
- Can chip branches up to 2 inches in diameter
- Can handle wet leaves easily
- Can switch between suck and blow modes easily
- Not self-propelled
- No mulcher
So which one’s the best?
Clearly, the Patriot Products 3-in-1 is the best. It combines pretty much everything available in the other vacuums into one unit (except for a mulcher) that you can push by hand. It’s affordable, reliable, and functions with a Honda motor that purrs quietly.
If you’re looking for a lawn vacuum that can get pretty much any job done in your yard, this is probably the best place to start looking. It’ll probably be the last place you look, too.