In this file we deal with a tool that is both a blower and a vacuum. There are tools sold that are exclusively blowers, and they work just fine. We feel they are appropriate for professionals who will use a blower device exclusively. In the home landscape, we need both features – blowing and vacuuming. Therefore, it is our modest view that if you are going to spend the money for such a tool, it is wise to spend the little extra to get the two functions, a blower and a vacuum. You will probably discover that you use the vacuum feature more often than you use the blower function. The one exception to this recommendation is the smaller versions of blowers that are hand-held corded electric tools and are known as electric brooms and have no vacuuming capability. These tools are inexpensive and can be handy for keeping leaves off the patio or the deck.
Portable Blower/Vacuum vs. Back Pack
We feel that in normal home landscape use, the back pack gasoline blower/vac is more machine than is needed for the jobs around the house. Therefore we’ll focus on the portable hand-held machines. These handy electric or gasoline-powered tools can make quick work of fallen leaves and small twigs around the yard while turning that debris into useful mulch for garden and landscape beds.
The blower/vac combination means the machine is capable of either blowing leaves or vacuuming them up and shredding them into a smaller volume of organic material that is then collected in an attached bag—similar to an indoor vacuum cleaner. Regardless of the brand or style of machine, some adjustment to the equipment set-up is required to switch from blower to vacuum mode. Most require no tools to perform this switch.
Electric vs. Gasoline
The top quality electric blower/vacs today perform the blowing and vacuuming function pretty much as well as do the gasoline tools. There big difference of course is that you are limited to how far out into the yard you can go by the length of your electric cord. If you have two acres and need to move a good distance from the electric source, a gasoline machine is in order. Otherwise, we recommend the electric machines because they are cheaper and tend to be lighter to carry. Electric blower/vacs are going to cost between $70 and $150 in 2003 prices. The gasoline versions run from $150 to $200.