Fred's Guide to Leaf Collecting Tools

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 19th January 2018

 

On This Page

Lightweight Plastic Leaf Rakes

Wire Rakes for Leaves and Moss

Rubber Rakes for Gravel Areas

Leaf Grabbers

Main Powered Leaf Blower/vacs

Cordless Leaf Blowers

Petrol Leaf Blowers

Shredding Leaves and Composting

Old School Raking

Modern Cordless Blowers and Vacuums

Clearing Leaves from a Lawn

Traditional Lawn Rakes verses Blowers and Garden Vacs

 
 

Clearing Leaves from a Lawn

Best Lawn/Leaf Rake

Wolf Garten UIMC Multi-Change Leaf Rake

I have tried dozens of rakes over the last 17 years that I have been testing products for Fredshed.

This Wolf plastic rake is one of the best as it is so light and effective and is widely used by professional gardeners.

It is part of the Multi change system so you can save space and have many tools to fit on one handle.

It is great for collecting the leaves and debris but will not be as good as removing moss as a wire rake.

You can also buy a wire rake head for the same handle too.

To cover a plethora of jobs in the garden I like to have a system of tools that fits different handles. This saves space in your shed and you can transport lots of tools easily in your car if you are working away from home. Rakes are especially annoying if you don't have much storage space so the Wolf system can be the answer

The Wolf Multi-Change System has been around the longest and is superb quality. Some of my multi change tools are over 20 years old. There is also a small wire rake ideal for in between plants on borders and 2 large wire rakes.

 Wolf Garten UIMC Multi-Change Leaf Rake

 Wolf Garten ZM140 Handle

click here for more Wolf Multichange tools

click here to buy other wolf Multichange handles

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Traditional Lawn Rakes verses Blowers and Garden Vacs

Wire Lawn Rake With Wooden Handle

Best Traditional Lawn Rake - Bulldog Premier Springbok Lawn Rake

This is the finest example of a leaf rake available. The Bulldog Springbok rake is a classic that has been used by professionals for many years.

It is the best rake for use on grass, for raking out moss, collecting leaves, cut grass or any other debris.

Springbok leaf rake has a 48 inch wooden handle made from specially selected Ash.

The reason that so many professionals use this rake is that it will outlast most other rakes and still keep its shape and flexibility.

 Bulldog Premier Springbok Lawn Rake

 Bulldog Plastic Lawn & Leaf Rake

The best tool for grass, leaves and debris.

Made 100% in Wigan UK.

New Rake and Lift Head for Wolf Multi change Range

 WOLF-Garten DRM3IN1 Multi Change All Purpose Rake 

This innovative all purpose rake head can rake and then be used to lift the leaves too!

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The best leaf rake - for concrete and gravel

Bulldog Merlin Rubber Rake

 Bulldog Merlin Rubber Rake

The unique Merlin rake has 16 rubber tines that act like sensitive little fingers when raking leaves and other debris.

The Bulldog rubber rakes are a favourite of professional gardeners who love to use them on gravel drives and in herbaceous borders.

 

Bulldog Wizard Rubber Leaf Rake

The Merlin is ideal for border work and its big brother the Wizard with 32 tines is best on gravel and lawns.

Replacement tines are available for both rakes and these tools are still made in Wigan.

Remember when ordering that the Merlin is a small Wizard!

Please use the links below to help this site when making your purchase.

 

Bulldog Premier Wizard Rake

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Long Handled Leaf Grabbers

Best tool to pick up leaves without bending

Darlac DP556 Grab-N-Lift - does what it says on the tin.

Once you have your leaves or debris raked into a pile the best way to pick it up is with a long handled tool like the Darlac grab-n-lift.

This tool is actually a modern copy of an old metal one made near Birmingham decades ago.

This debris grabber is very popular with my test team as it saves them bending and is a joy to use.  It is also very lightweight.

If you don't mind bending then the simple Whitefurze hand grabbers are good too.

 Whitefurze G25LG1 Leaf Grabber Set - Forest Green (Set of 2) 

 2 x New Builders Garden Jumbo 1 ton tonne Waste Sacks

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Great Tip To Save Time

Use your mower to collect the leaves off the lawn.

Just set the blade on its highest setting!

Even if the lawn does not need cutting the mower will collect the leaves, beats raking any day!

 2 x New FIBC Bulk Builders Garden Jumbo 1 ton tonne Bag Waste Sacks Bags Sack

 

Breaking News

Bosch have recognised the benefit of using mowers to collect leaves and have designed a special blade for improved chopping and collecting for their larger Rotak mowers.

 Bosch Rotak 40 Ergoflex Electric Rotary Lawnmower

Bosch F016800367 Sharpened Blade for Rotak 40 Lawnmower

 

If you have a really large lawn or garden with lots of trees then the best tool to collect tonnes of leaves is a

Petrol Powered Billy Goat

 

MORE TOOLS FOR LEAF COLLECTING

 

 
 

The Golden Gark

A rake and shovel in one

It works well as a very light leaf rake

Turn it over to scoop up debris

This truly ingenious tool is very popular with all of my test team as it is so light and easy to use.

Despite the lightweight it is strong enough to be used on a variety of materials and not just leaves.

The ergonomically shaped shaft is made from aluminium while the rake tines and body are polypropylene

This is one of those tools you would sniff at in a garden centre but once you have tried it or seen it being used you will love it.

It works well as a rake and then as a pick up shovel for leaves and garden debris. Although it is a good leaf rake it is not as good as the leaf rakes already featured on this page. Multipurpose tools never are as good as single purpose tools but they can be good space savers. (said the worlds worst salesman)

I have no idea why it is called a Golden Gark but the inventor is Dutch.

Wolf make a smaller "all purpose" rake head for their Multi change range.

 WOLF-Garten DRM3IN1 Multi Change All Purpose Rake 

 Wolf Garten ZM140 3944142 Eschenstiel Multi-Star

 

 
 

Best Electric Garden Vacuum

Bosch ALS 2500 Blower Vac

 Bosch ALS 2500 Electric Garden Blower/ Vacuum

The Bosch ALS 2500 was the most effective and reliable of the electric garden shredder vacs that I tried.

It has been in production for several years and spare parts are always available. This is not the case with similar Chinese made machines.

The Bosch has a safety cut out on the motor that protects it in case you suck up something nasty or it clogs with wet leaves.

Early models had the cut out set too cautiously so some users complained of it stopping.

Bosch assure me that this has been improved and the 2015 model I am testing performs very well in 2018 and does not cut out in normal use.

 

 2 x New Builders Garden Jumbo 1 ton tonne Waste Sacks

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Cordless Leaf Blowers tested and reviewed

 Bosch ALB 18 LI Cordless Leaf Blower with 18 V 2.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery

Some years back I tested the Black & Decker 18v cordless leaf blower and was very disappointed. The idea was good but the product was a bit ahead of its time and let down by a poor quality NiCad battery.

Luckily technology has moved on and companies like Bosch have an amazingly small but powerful leaf blower using its latest 18v Lithium-ion battery with a respectable 2.5 amp hour capacity.

Initial tests show a run time of about 20 minutes compared to about 5 from the old B&D GW180.

This vast improvement in performance comes at a price, but the same battery and charger can be used in many other garden and DIY powertools.

 These can be purchased naked, - without battery and charger so that you save money and space! 

 Bosch ALB 18 LI Cordless Leaf Blower with 18 V 2.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery

Bosch 18V Battery

Use a tarpaulin to collect the leaves and save time clearing up

 Silverline 633784 Ground Sheet 2 x 2 m

Von Haus make a similar model with very good reviews.

 VonHaus Cordless Leaf Blower - 20V Li-ion

 

ALSO UNDER TESTING - 36V CORDLESS BLOWER VAC

 BLACK+DECKER GWC3600L20-GB 36V Blower Vac

 BLACK+DECKER BL2036-XJ 36V 2.0Ah Battery

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Petrol Leaf Blowers

These are a similar weight to electric versions but have way more power. If you are confident with starting and maintaining 2 stroke engines and have a large area then I would rather recommend a petrol machine. As with electric models they work better on blow than suck.

In fact I am coming to the conclusion that trying to suck up wet leaves with anything other than a Petrol Powered Billy Goat is a waste of time.

However as I mainly research cordless equipment nowadays I don't have much time to study the petrol market much.

Also compared to cordless battery products petrol machinery has many downsides.

Petrol engines do not like long periods of storage and need regular maintenance and parts like filters and seals

If you buy a cheap Chinese garden powertool you may struggle to get any spare parts for it.

Just like the electric ones the budget versions mostly use a second tube that has to be switched over for the vacuuming function.

The McCulloch GBV345  Blower and Vacuum is well priced and have encouraging reader reviews, or use the link below to check out the Cobra 26cc machine that has been made for the UK market and is supported with parts and service from a reputable company

Click to compare prices of blowers and garden vacs

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What should I do with piles of autumn leaves?

    

Put them in a heap or in Jute Sacks

Jute leaf sacks pack of 10

If you have large borders or hidden corners then the easiest thing is to sweep the fallen leaves there and let nature do the work.

Decomposing leaves are natures way of enriching and building soils so this will do no harm.

If you don't have this space or you want to use the leaves to make a mulch or compost then I recommend using Jute leaf sacks.

These fantastic sacks are made in India from a material called Jute which is a type of grass.

As it is natural the sack and the leaves will rot down together.

After a year or two you will have superb compost.

Shredding Leaves in a Garden Shredder

(basically - don't do it! )

Many people ask which shredder is best for shredding fallen leaves and the answer is a big one with a large hopper.

However, shovelling in piles of leaves is one of the best ways to kill any shredder as so often stones and other debris sneak in and damage the blades or  worse.

Also the type of shredders that can cope with leaves are usually petrol driven, heavy and expensive. To have a wide opening and meet safety regulations means the distance from top to blade must be longer than the longest arm, hence these machine are massive the top is often out of shovel reach anyway.

I personally think that shredding leaves is a waste of time and a better way of managing them is to let them rot down in a dedicated heap, container , or in bio-degradable jute sacks. Fallen leaves are one of natures best composts and provide the fertility for the forest floor and trees.

Leaves can take a couple of years to rot properly but then can be spread out to form a fantastic fertile, and weed suppressing carpet.

Well rotted leaf mulch smells nice and is clean to handle.

A better way to shred leaves is to put them in a large plastic barrel and stir madly with a powerful grass trimmer like the one below.

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Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

 

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