Do Leaf Blowers Also Vacuum?

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Leaf blowers are used to, well, blow and clear leaves. But what if you want to collect the leaves instead for mulch? Being able to blow leaves and gather them in a bag sounds great, and that is where leaf blower vacuums come in. The idea of combining these two functions is not new, but are there blowers with this function? And how good are they?

Some leaf blowers let you choose between a blower and vacuum mode, while others have an attachment or conversion kit available. The vacuum function is most commonly found in corded leaf blowers and includes a bag to store the debris.

A leaf blower uses air to blow leaves so you can collect them into small groups or clusters. A vacuum sucks these groups of leaves and stores them in a bag. There are other differences between the two but in a nutshell that is what sets a blower and vacuum apart.

Can a Leaf Blower be Used as a Vacuum?

Not all leaf blowers have a vacuum function. It is usually found in corded blowers, either as an attachment or another mode. Gas and battery leaf blowers rarely have vacuum capabilities. But as demand for this feature increases, more models may adapt it.

Note: if you are in a hurry and looking for a leaf blower with vacuum capability, we suggest the Makita XBU04PTV 36V LXT. It is a brushless blower with a vacuum attachment kit. If you want to know more first, you can keep reading.

Just how effective are leaf blower vacuums?

The idea is sound: blow up leaves and collect them in a bag using just one tool. Blower vacuums can do this but only in small quantities. Leaf blower vacuums can only work on small amounts of leaves. If you have to mulch with a large volume, a separate vacuum is ideal.

Leaf blower vacuums can also mulch leaves, but the ratio varies widely. High quality blower vacuums can mulch to a 12:1 ratio. Others crush leaves at a ratio of 3:1.

Whether the blower has a vacuum mode or not, it probably won’t do much to reduce the noise. A leaf blower vacuum is only for dry leaves. Wet leaves, twigs, stones, sticks and broken branches will cause blockages. Wet leaves are heavy and would put the tool under strain.

A leaf blower vacuum is going to work with a small pile. After mulching the leaves will be placed in a bag, which is convenient enough. But if you have a large yard and leaves are scattered everywhere, the mulching ratio and bag size are probably not sufficient.

So to answer the question: yes, some leaf blowers can be used as a vacuum. It may come in the form of an attachment or switching to another mode. Whichever the case, these blower vacuums work like a regular one. But the capacity is limited. If you are fine with that, then these leaf blowers are worth it.

How to Convert a Leaf Blower into a Vacuum

Manufacturers offer different ways to turn leaf blowers into vacuums. Some have a vacuum option built in while others have a special attachment or conversion kit. The following steps walk you through the process. There might be some variations but in general this is how it works with most leaf blowers.


  • Leaf blower with vacuum capabilities
  • Vacuum attachment
  • Vacuum bag

The attachment and bag might be included with the blower, or you might have to purchase them as a conversion kit. Check your manual or go to the manufacturer website to verify if your blower can be converted into a vacuum.

Vacuum attachments for leaf blowers are available in all major online stores. They should work with most of the popular blower brands, but it is best to check first. Remember, vacuum functions are typically for corded blowers only.

Step 1

Before you turn the blower into a vacuum, gather the leaves in one pile. This should be easy to do with any blower. It is easier to vacuum when the leaves are as clustered as close as possible. Once you have done that, you can switch to vacuum mode.

Turn the leaf blower off. Unplug the cord from the power source.

Step 2

Look for a vacuum mode in the settings or configuration. Usually there is casing on the vacuum while you are in blower mode. Take the casing off.

Step 3

Take the blower nozzle off. Set this aside as it will not be needed. Just put this back on if you want to switch to blower mode again.

Step 4

Take vacuum attachment and put it where you took the vacuum casing cover off. There should be an opening or connector for the vacuum attachment. Secure the attachment and add the extension.

Step 5

Connect the vacuum bag where the blower nozzle was. Zip the bag. Plug the cord back into a power source and turn the blower on.

You can now use the blower as a vacuum. Before you start, make sure there are no rocks, metal objects, coins, small toys or sticks in the area. These will clog the vacuum and may cause permanent damage. If this happens the air and fuel filters will get clogged and require cleaning or replacement.

When you are done, turn the vacuum off and empty the bag. Do not leave the contents in the bag for long especially if they are wet. Those materials could stick to the bag and leave a foul smell.

Do You Need a Leaf Blower Vacuum?

If you have to gather a small pile of leaves, a leaf blower vacuum is ideal. But for a large pile in a large garden, a leaf blower vacuum may not be enough.

If you have a small yard then a leaf blower vacuum like the Black + Decker 3 in 1 (blower, vacuum, mulcher) is going to help. You can use the vacuum to clear up flower beds and shrubs. Unlike a blower, the vacuum will not break up the soil or damage plants.

A leaf blower vacuum also removes dust, dirt and foliage from decks, driveways and shrubs. If you have a small yard, the cord length will not be a problem.

Vacuum bags come in different sizes. The options available for your blower will depend on the manufacturer. Usually, vacuum bags and attachments from third party companies are compatible with the major brands. But this will only work with blowers that have built-in vacuum functionality.

Should You Buy a Leaf Blower or Leaf Blower Vacuum?

There are a lot of factors that have to be considered and it comes down to your specific needs. While we have mentioned some factors already, here are other things that should influence your decision.

A leaf blower is for you if:

You have to clear up a large area and a lot of leaves. Vacuum attachments cannot handle large quantities of them. You are better off getting a dedicated vacuum tool for the job instead.

You already have a separate vacuum cleaner. This one does not need a long explanation. If you already have a vacuum cleaner, there is no need to use a separate attachment.

Freedom of movement is essential. Because vacuum attachments are mainly available for corded blowers, your movement is limited by the cord. If you have to clear a wide area quickly, a gas or battery blower is better.

A leaf blower vacuum is for you if:

You want to gather leaves for mulching. A typical blower blows leaves, which makes mulching hard. With a vacuum attachment, you can shred the leaves and get them in the bag quickly. Vacuuming leaves will make this task easier.

There is a need to clear tight areas. A leaf blower vacuum is gentler than a blower. It can pick up debris around plants and flower beds without damaging them. You can also use to remove dirt in other areas of your home.

You only have to clean a small area. A blower vacuum works best with a small property. You can get things done quickly and efficiently. By switching modes you can blow and vacuum without having to use another tool.