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Blower vacs review

These garden tools are quicker than using a rake or broom, but also noisier and dirtier.
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01.Introduction

Blower-vacs

Test results for 15 blower vacs with built-in mulcher from $60 to $508

We tested eight petrol models and seven of the corded electric models for:

  • Speed of cleaning
  • Ease of use
  • Noise level and vibration

Findings:

  • Most of the tested models make quick work of clearing up leaves, but they are noisy and dirty.
  • Some models are more uncomfortable to use than others.
  • All the tested models turn the leaves into nice fine mulch.

See our other tests on garden tools in our backyard tools category. CHOICE tests are different. We buy the products we test — no freebies from manufacturers. Companies can't buy ads on our site and our work is funded by people like you.

Brands tested

Electric

Black & Decker GW270-XE (A)
Homelite GBV2400 (A)
Ozito BVP-2400 with Patio Head (A)
Ozito OZBLV2400WA
Ryobi RBV2400VP (A)
Ryobi RBV3000VP (A)
Stihl SHE81

Petrol

Gardeners Choice GCV260 (A)
Homelite HBL26BVN (A)
Husqvarna 125BX (required purchase of vacuum kit) (A)
McCulloch M325 (A)
Morrison EBV 260 (A)
MTD BV3100
Ryobi RBV26 (A)
Sanli SLBV260

(A) Discontinued, but may still be available in some stores.

How we test?

Our tester, James Thomson, scatters 5 kg of dried leaves over 10m by 10m of paved ground. He times how long it takes to blow all the leaves into a pile, convert from blower to vacuum mode, and vacuum up the pile of leaves.

A time of seven minutes got a score of 90%, and 42 minutes a score of 20%. For comparison, it takes 42 minutes to clean the same area using just a broom.

James also checks how easy each model is to use. This includes converting it from blower to vacuum mode, using its controls, emptying the bag, and how comfortable it is to hold and operate.

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