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Keeping a tidy garden is not as easy as it may seem. If you have been handling this arduous task, you know that taking a rake to it may not always work.
Not only is it repetitive work, but raking is not always as effective as you would like. So, it makes sense that in recent years, more gardeners have leaned on using garden vacuums.
But should you be clearing your garden? Why, yes! Leaving debris on your lawn is untidy and paves the way for an unhealthy lawn.
With little light getting to the lawn and the debris creating the ideal environment for disease-causing organisms, a lot can go wrong.
The idea of raking your yard every day might not be the most welcome. Therefore, it might be time you turn in your manual implements for a portable and battery-operated garden vacuum.
What to Look for to Find the Best Cordless Garden Vacuum
Mode of Operation
People have moved away from corded garden vacuums over the years. On the upside, these tools did not require recharging and could work for hours on end.
However, their mobility was not the best. You either had to buy an extension cord or use the vacuum close to the power source.
With wires running around the yard, anything could happen. So, a cordless garden vacuum came into the picture.
You have two options when going cordless: battery-powered and gas-powered. Let us start with gas-powered machines. They come with the advantage of high power and long operation hours.
However, you will notice that most people shy away from them. Why? They are noisy, and if you decide to vacuum your lawn on a Saturday morning, your neighbors will probably not be happy about it.
Secondly, they have many emissions, which does not do the environment any good. Most importantly, they are harder to maintain and are pretty hefty. Using these machines only makes sense in a few circumstances.
The other option is battery-powered machines. Like gas-powered options, they also boast mobility and have exceptional performance.
In most cases, the vacuum can operate for a good hour before you need to recharge it. Plus, they do not have emissions like gas-powered machines, need very little maintenance and are not noisy.
For these and more reasons, these machines have earned their rightful popularity.
While all cordless garden vacuums work on the premise of portability, not all of them will be easy to handle. First, you must consider how much weight you can comfortably handle.
Keep in mind that you will probably lug the machine around for at least an hour. While some people may handle a good three pounds, you may need to work with two pounds.
Also, the machine gets heavier over time as you move around and your hand tires. That is not to mention the mulching bag effect! Secondly, you must think about the storage.
Is the vacuum small enough to fit into your garden shed or another storage area?
The suction power in garden vacuums, cordless or otherwise, comes down to cubic feet per minute (CFM). It measures how much debris the vacuum can suck each minute.
The higher it is, the less time you spend clearing the yard. However, you do not always need the highest CFM in the market.
Again, you must think about the size of your yard and the debris you will likely collect. Otherwise, you can end up paying for a high CFM that you will not fully utilize.
Many of the garden vacuums in the market are only effective in collecting dry leaves.
That means that when it rains, you are back to square one and must once again use manual implements to get the work done.
Attempting to vacuum wet leaves with a dry leaf garden vacuum will only damage the machine. So, what is the best option? – Getting a vacuum that can handle both!
If you are into composting, it is advisable to get a vacuum that can also mulch the debris. So, as the debris moves down into the mulching bag, the machine breaks it down.
The result is small pieces that work perfectly with your compost waste. If you go down this road, you need to understand the mulching ratio that measures how much of the waste a vacuum can turn into mulch.
The higher the ratio, the more mulch you can get, and the less debris goes to waste. For example, a ratio of 16:1 implies that the vacuum can reduce the debris size by 16 times!
The Bag Size
As the garden vacuum works, it directs the waste into a bag. Now, this is one of the reasons you must look at how heavy the vacuum is.
On the one hand, you will be dealing with a hefty machine. But, on the other hand, the debris will collect into a bag secured on your back. So, you will have to balance these two weights for quite a while.
Should you go with the biggest bag? In most cases, no. A big bag can weigh you down, reduce your stability and even make the vacuuming a bit messy.
Instead, choose a bag that can comfortably hold enough debris based on the amount you think you will collect. Go one size bigger to account for any extra debris you may collect over time.
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Do Garden Vacuums Work?
Garden vacuums are excellent in clearing light garden debris, and fallen leaves, much like a rake would do. The only difference is their speed and efficiency.
With a garden vacuum, you can be in and out of your garden within minutes. You no longer need to spend hours in the sweltering heat raking your debris into a pile.
Plus, the wind does not work against you and scatter the debris all over the garden again each time you are about to finish raking. If you have raked before, you know how annoying this can be.
Most garden vacuums come with blowing and vacuuming functions, killing two birds with one stone. Some even have shredding capabilities that turn your debris into compost material.
However, garden vacuums have some downsides. For one, they cannot pick up stones and twigs. Of course, if you direct them to sections with such items, they will readily pick them up.
But these items will end up clogging and damaging the machine and sending you back to the shop. So, before you bid the idea of a garden vacuum goodbye, here is a highlight.
While they may not work in stony areas, garden vacuums combined with blowers serve two purposes. First, you can use the blower to direct the light debris away from the stones and twigs.
Then, you can use the vacuum to suck up the light debris. Thus, you get to save the machine and enjoy a tidy yard!
To be sure you are getting the right cordless garden vacuum for your yard, you must consider:
- The debris in your yard: Are you dealing with stones and twigs? A combined garden vacuum and blower would be best.
- The size of the yard: For bigger yards, choose a vacuum with a higher CFM to cover big areas fast.
Top 3 Best Cordless Garden Vacuum
1) Greenworks 40V Brushless Cordless Blower / Vacuum
It works on both wet and dry leaves and boasts a 340 CM and a 16:1 mulch ratio.
It takes two hours to charge and is ideal for small to moderate yards. The machine feels relatively light on the hands, and you can quickly move through the yard without feeling the weight.
Moreover, the blower mode enables you to work through delicate plants by blowing rather than vacuuming the area.
Once you have the debris in a nice pile, you can use the vacuuming option and clear the yard. With bigger yards, getting an extra battery may be necessary.
2) RYOBI 40-Volt Cordless Leaf Vacuum Mulcher
Also, it is pretty heavy and is not ideal for people who cannot handle large loads for long. With these downsides, you may wonder why this would be a good deal.
Well, its beauty lies in its CFM (340), runtime (average 45-55 minutes) and mulch ratio (16:1). Plus, it comes with a large bag that can hold tons of mulch before you ever need to empty it.
For example, suppose you are working on one large yard; the CFM is enough to clear the whole yard without filling the bag.
3) KIMO 20V Cordless Leaf Vacuum/Blower
Plus, it weighs a meagre 2.2 pounds, which should be easy to lag around even in large yards. Its CFM is high enough to collect both wet and dry leaves.
However, this vacuum does not have a mulching option, and composters may want to consider the RYOBI and Greenworks options for this role.
It is easy to start gauging cordless garden vacuums based on their prices. However, a high price tag does not always translate to good value.
Most times, you are better off reading customer reviews and getting a picture of what you can expect.
Also, when choosing a vacuum, please consider the noise level. Battery-powered machines will generally be way less noisy than gas-powered machines. However, checking the decibel levels is always a good measure.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our article on are corded leaf blowers worth it?