Fred's Guide to Leaf Collecting Tools

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 16th May 2022


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


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Old School Raking verses

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 20 years that I have been testing products for Fredshed.

This Wolf plastic rake is the best as it is so light and effective and is widely used by professional gardeners, who like the durability of German made tools.

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 25 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 LCM Multi-Change Small Sweep

Wolf Garten ZM140 Handle

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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.


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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 my old metal one that was made in 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.

The Spear & Jackson model shown below has wider jaws and is cheaper than the Darlac model too.


Spear & Jackson Plastic Leaf Grabber

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

Whitefurze Leaf Grabber (Set of 2)


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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!


Artificial Grass Vacuum / Garden Leaf Shredder, 45-litre Collection Bag,1800 Watts





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)

Sadly the original Golden Gark has died but there is a similar tool on the link below.

 UPP 3-in-1  Multifunctional Garden Tool



Best Electric Garden Vacuum

Bosch ALS 2500 Blower Vac

Bosch UniversalGardenTidy

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

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

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

Bosch launched a new model in 2019 called the Universal Garden Tidy which is  smaller, lighter and quieter. I hope to test one soon.



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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  Ground Sheet 2 x 2 m

Von Haus make a similar model with very good reviews.

VonHaus Cordless Leaf Blower - 20V Li-ion


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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 like the Stihl blower above.

If you want to suck up large areas of wet leaves then you will need something more specialised like these leaf vacuums on wheels.

I have not tested these 2 products and the Garden Gear one appears to have a poor quality bag.

Garden Gear 3 in 1 Artificial Grass Vacuum Lightweight Blower Vac Garden Leaf Shredder, 45-litre Collection Bag,1800 Watts.

 Billy Goat KV600 6hp 4-stroke Petrol Lawn Vacuum

As I mainly research cordless equipment I don't have much time to study the petrol powered products.

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 blower/vac combined you may struggle to get replacement parts.

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

The Makita BHX2501 Leaf Bloweris well priced and uses a 4 stroke engine which is unusual and less hassle than a 2 stroke.

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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.

A great tool for aerating compost is this spiker with fold out arms supplied by my old friends at Darlac.

And if you have a lot of compost to dig out or move then the bent tine fork from Bulldog will save you some back ache.

 Darlac DP788 Compost Aerator

 Bulldog 4 Prong Metal Handle Manure Fork


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, expensive 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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If you found my advice helpful and would like to support my work, please return to this page and use my links when purchasing your tools.

Also any other products bought from Amazon at the same time will produce a small commission that helps cover my hosting costs.


Or if you prefer, you can make a small donation using the PayPal button below.

Thanks - Fred





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