A lawn is an asset that you want to maintain—it does great things not just on the aesthetic properties of your house, but also to its financial value in the market.
But maintaining a lawn is easier said than done. In the past, I have reviewed several manual and robotic lawn mowers. Today, what I want to talk about is the best leaf mulchers.
We will discuss:
- What is a leaf mulcher?
- Why do you need a leaf mulcher?
- Things to look for in a leaf mulcher
- How to care for your leaf mulcher
- The best leaf mulchers you to consider
Here’s a quick list of tools we are going to take a closer look at in this article
Let us get started!
What Is A Leaf Mulcher?
A leaf mulcher is a tool that shred leaves. The shredded leaves are then disposed of, but you can use them for your compost.
If you have a lawn, it is likely that you have a tree. This tree is going to shed leaves. One of the biggest problems you can have with leaves on your garden is that your robotic lawn mower can get stuck. Mowers are designed to cut grass that is rooted in the ground.
Too many leaves will cause your robotic mower to stop working, and if you just sweep the leaves aside, the wind will carry the leaves back to your lawn.
A leaf shredder takes several forms and designs. But at the core, they have the same components. You place leaves in the container bin of a leaf mulcher, and the mulching blades inside it rotate to cut the leaves into smaller pieces. The shredded leaves drop in a bin below the mulcher.
Some mulchers do not use blades. Some use tight strings. The metal strings spin and the leaves are cut into small pieces before deposited in the bin.
Why Do You Need A Leaf Mulcher?
This is a good question; why should you buy a mulcher?
Not everyone should have a mulcher at home. If you do not have trees, it makes no sense to get one.
You should get a leaf mulcher if:
- You do regular composting
- You do not want a mulching blade on your lawn mower
- You do not want your robotic lawn mower to get damaged
You can use shredded leaves in your garden beds. Leaves are also great to spread around plants to prevent weed from growing. They release nutrients slowly that will feed the soil as the leaves decompose.
You do not need a leaf mulcher if you have no trees. But if you have a garden and you can get leaves from other people, a leaf mulcher is one investment that you can make today to help you grow your plants and flowers.
Things to look for in a leaf mulcher
Before you buy a leaf mulcher for shredding leaves, I want to give you some tips, so you buy with the right mindset. If you do not know what you are looking for, you may buy the wrong one—bad experience and a waste of time, really.
Electric or Gas?
There are electric mulchers that you have to plug in a power source. These mulchers are quiet, and you never have to worry about fuel. The only issue is that you may need a long extension cord to get them to work in your yard.
The other type of mulcher you can use is a combo. These ones are primarily leaf blowers. However, they have a reverse switch that turns them into a vacuum. If you use this, the leaves get sucked, and the motor crushes them, and then they finally get deposited into a bag.
There are also gas-powered mulchers if this is what you like. These things, however, are heavier and noisier than their electric counterpart. Gas-powered mulchers are more powerful and are typically used for heavy-duty grinding. They can even grind small branches.
Plastic or Metal Blades?
Not all mulchers use metal blades, as one would expect. There are heavy-duty plastic blades nowadays that can crush leaves. However, these blades should never be used to cut branches, or they are going to break.
The blade of the mulcher is called the impeller. Plastic blades are generally less expensive, so it is easier to replace them should they break. On the other hand, metal blades last longer, and they can grind small branches.
How about the size?
The next important consideration is the size of the mulcher. If you have a storage or a barn, then you should get a stand-alone mulcher. Most of these are no bigger than a typical barbecue grill. While they are compact, they are also heavy and are difficult to move.
Your other option is hand-held mulchers. They are lightweight, compact, and can be operated with one hand. However, most of these are electric, so you really cannot expect a lot of power in them.
While many models are relatively compact, many gas models need bigger spaces for storage. Many of them have wheels, so it is easy to push them around. If you know a woodworker or a metalworker, you can ask him to build you a stand with wheels—makes it easier to push the leaf mulcher around.
How to care for your leaf mulcher
Once you have made our purchase, you need to do proper care for your mulcher. The maintenance depends on the kind of mulcher you bought, and you can find this in the product manual.
Generally speaking, here are some tips on how to care for your leaf mulcher.
- Check the bolts and screws – always make sure that these things are tight. A loose one can cause an accident. Unplug the mulcher from the socket before adjusting the screws and replace them if necessary.
- Blade Replacement – plastic and metal blades have to be replaced. Obviously, your clue is the cutting capability of the blade.
- Fuel System – gas-powered mulchers have engines. Make sure you read the manual for their proper care. Some may have self-oiling systems, and some won’t.
If you are unsure what to do, read your mulcher’s manual. It has all the instructions you need. If you prefer to have the maintenance done by a professional, you could take the mulcher to a maintenance shop.
The best leaf mulchers for you to consider
Now, here are the leaf mulchers that I have tried. I can attest that these are the best ones for your lawn. I have owned some of them, while others I borrowed from some friends and family members.
1. Husqvarna 125BVx
- High air volume
- High velocity
- Powerful motor
- Attaching the vacuum bag is a hassle
This is a hand-held electric mulcher that allows you to tug it along. It has a bag that you attach to the end where the grounded leaves are deposited. It also has a sling that you throw over your shoulder so you can support its weight.
The powerful motor can deliver 170 miles per hour of velocity, and you can use it as a blower and as a vacuum. The mulching ratio is 16:1. It has an easy start engine through a push-button starter. This mulcher also has variable speed throttle with cruise control.
Even if this is gas-powered, it is a lot quieter compared to other hand-held mulchers. People who have owned it attest that it lasts for more than two years.
2. Earthwise LM71313
- 13-amp motor
- 19-inch funnel
- Can mulch 55 gallons per minute
- You need to push the leaves in the shredder with a plastic tool
This electric mulcher looks like a bin. It has no vacuum, so it stays in one place, and you dump the leaves in it. The motor has 13-amp so it can deliver power that a typical gas-powered mulcher can.
One thing I like to mention is that it has three mulching settings. It also comes with a bag that you can wrap around it, with an elastic band and clips that you can attach to the base. The mulcher has wheels, and you will find it easy to move it around and store it in your tool shed.
One gripe that some customers have is that they have to push the leaves in the shredder. The hole is not big enough to drop the leaves. This should not come as a surprise since the mulcher is not a vacuum.
3. Sun Joe CJ603E
- 15-amp motor
- Can shred branches
- Blades rotate too slowly to shred
SunJoe is an electric mulcher on wheels. It has a powerful 15-amp motor that is capable of cutting branches that are no more than two inches thick. As far as safety is concerned, this one has a hopper and locking knob. This mechanism prevents that motor from operating when the top is opened.
With 7-inch wheels, moving it around is not a problem. It can stand on its own, and it is easy to stow. One thing you will love about it is that it comes with a warranty for two years. Just call the hotline, and you will get a refund. Overall, I strongly recommend this if you do not want to shred leaves but also twigs and brushes.
4. BLACK+DECKER (BV6600)
- 12-amp motor
- 250 mph blower
- Sometimes the bag would stick and not drop
This is an electric vacuum, blower, and mulcher that runs on a 12-amp motor. It has a powerful blower, and it has variable speed options. It comes with a disposable leaf bag system, which you can buy from Black and Decker supply stores.
The mulcher is a hand-carry, but it is light enough to lug around. Many customers are happy with this product. Those who have big yards have completed blowing and mulching with this tool in as short as 8 hours for a job that would have taken them several days to complete.
The most common complaint is that the bag cannot contain a lot of leaves. You have to carry several bags with you as you go along. The bag also sometimes get stuck, even if you press the button that is supposed to let it go.
5. Toro 51621 UltraPlus
- Superior blower
- 250 mph blower
- Has a vacuum
- Has a zip bag
- Leaf collection bags are smaller than its previous models
Toro is one popular brand when it comes to blowers and mulchers. You can use this tool in two ways—vacuuming and blowing. The tool has a zip-bag where leaves are deposited. The package comes with a cord storage hook, but the extension cord is sold separately.
As far as speed is concerned, it has a variable speed control. Many customers attest to the power of this blower, and I can back up their claim when they say that this is better than a gas-powered mulcher.
One complaint that I often see is that it is heavy. Despite this, the handle is designed in such a way that it allows you to handle it in various positions. I can also say that the mulch it creates is really small.
6. WORX WG509 Trivac
- 3-in-one device
- 350 cubic feet per minute of airpower
- Wide mouth tube
Worx is one of those companies that have carved a niche in yard work. This model makes it easy for you to clean up your yard. It has one knob that allows you to change between blowing and vacuuming. It has a wide tube that passes a lot of airpower so you can clear your yard in less time.
The mulcher is metal, and its shredder blades use a 2-stage cutting process. It can chop leaves at a 18:1 ratio. What this means is that 16 bags of leaves will be shredded to a small size that it will fit in just one bag.
This model has a detachable bag. Just turn on the knob and the motor will release it, then you can dump the leaves in your compost.
It also has two speeds. You can go slow as you approach corners, and then use the full power in open lawns. The air it blows can hit up to 210 miles per hour. The product is only eleven pounds, so you can blow and vacuum leaves with only one hand.
7. SuperHandy Shredder
- Electric and corded
- Durable body
- Silent mulcher
- Bin may arrive cracked
This is a powerful mulcher, and when I first saw it, I thought it was a meat grinder. Sitting on two wheels, this mulcher has a plastic container bin at the bottom. The bin is big enough to accommodate 40 liters of mulch. The top of the mulcher is a big square opening where you drop the leaves.
What I like about this mulcher is that it has a 15-amp power with a capacity of 1800 watts. It is powerful enough to compete toe to toe with gas-powered mulchers but without that noise.
The company has room to improve on the quality of its shipment. There are customers who complained about the bin being cracked during shipment. If you take this problem away, the mulcher is a powerful tool that can help you save so much time cleaning up your yard.
From my experience, the machine really pays for itself. It is a lot better than buying bags. The motor is powerful enough to do the job, and my friend told me that telephone support is superb.
8. TACKLIFE Leaf Vacuum
- 5-variable speed
- Collection bag
- Durable metal impeller
This is a hand-held blower and vacuum. What’s great about this, in my opinion, is that it has five adjustable speeds variations It has a high capacity for air suction (up to 496 CFM), making it ideal for vacuuming your lawn.
I tried this before, and I can say that it is lightweight enough—less fatigue for the user. The impeller is made of metal, which makes it durable. And because it is made of metal, there is no other way to go for the leaf but to get inside the bag. The metal impeller also prevents the leaves from clogging the device if it is on vacuum mode.
I also like that you have two pipe options. One is a typical vacuum pipe, and the other one is a long one with wheels. You can push the wheeled pipe, so you do not have to carry the full load of the mulcher. And yes, the tubes are easily interchangeable. You do not need special tools to disassemble the tubes.
A leaf mulcher does not cost that much. Many models will not set you back any more than $100. But if you want the best quality, I strongly recommend that you buy from Worx. This should be a good companion to your Worx Landroid if you have one.
Use a leaf vacuum if you have trees in your yard. If you have none and you do not maintain a garden, there is no need for you to buy one. But if you have a garden, a leaf mulcher is a handy tool that helps you make compost to give your soil more nutrients.