Lawn vacs

Lawn vacs are an easy way to gather dead leaves
Lawn vacs are an easy way to gather dead leaves

Lawn vacs, or lawn vacuums, are machines you typically use to remove dead leaves and grass clippings from your yard. Using a lawn vac is not the same as racking your lawn, but it sure makes the task easier. When you rake your lawn, you remove dead leaves and grass, but you can also remove thatch, moss and various creeping weeds.

Lawn vac models

Lawn vacs come in various shapes and sizes, so you must consider your needs to find the one that’s right for you. Here is an overview of what is available on the market:

  • There are lawn vacs that mulch whatever you pick up. Some can even chip smaller branches and twigs. For more information on this, it may be a good idea to have a look at our page on mulching machines.
  • There are lawn vacs that you carry on your shoulder or back and that suck up dead leaves, break them up and store them in a bag. These can be used in flower beds and almost anywhere.
  • There are models that can be both leaf blowers and lawn vacuums. You should know that leaf blowers have their opponents. Critics say they are noisy and generate air pollution, as they blow particle matter into the air (molds, pollens and various allergens). Many cities have strict bylaws regulating the use of leaf blowers.
  • Then there are lawn vacs that look more or less like walk behind lawn mowers. These may put less strain on your shoulders and back, but they can’t go everywhere like smaller models can. Like lawn mowers, some models are self propelled.

The lawn vac you need

Once again, the question that must tip the balance, when choosing a lawn vac, is what do you need. Here are a few things to consider before you make your final choice:

  • Noise is an issue with lawn vacs as well as with leaf blowers. When comparing models, be sure to check noise levels.
  • Smaller models that you carry around are not as fast as bigger models, so if you have a larger lawn, it may take some time to do the job. Will your shoulders or back put up with this kind of strain? When making the final choice, be sure to consider the machine’s weight. Also consider the fact that what the lawn vac picks up adds to the weight you must carry.
  • Walk behind lawn vacs do make the job easier, but if you have large flower beds, or tight spots around trees or shrubs, they may not be very practical.
  • Some larger models can even pick up litter, such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans. If you do want to pick up such litter, make sure the model you choose can do the job.

Last word of advice

Once you’ve made sure you know what you need, then you must get as much information as possible on potential choices. It is always a good idea to look for additional information on product information sites, such as Consumer Reports or Which, for instance.

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The right plants in the right locations with the right conditions