Fall is here, which means your backyard will soon be blanketed in a back-breaking layer of dead foliage. Getting rid of leaves can be tough work, but by reaching for a rake you’re only making it tougher. If you want to get your yard work done in a flash, reach for something loud, something powerful. I’m talking about leaf blowers. But there are leaf blowers and then there are leaf blowers.
We cover some of the most souped-up, high-powered lawn care tools on the market so that you don’t have to waste your weekend hauling leaves this fall.
If there were a major league of leaf cleaning, this is what the pros would use. Featuring a 75.6cc engine, the Makita BBX7600 ($430) is a commercial-grade blower that packs double the power of an ordinary leaf blower. With a top wind speed of nearly 200 mph and delivering 720 cubic feet of air per minute, the Makita is about as much power as you can strap to your back without getting blown away yourself.
If the Makita just isn’t enough power for you, you’re going to have to turn to a wheelbarrow-style leaf blower. Capable of producing 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute and 150 mph wind speeds, the Troy-Bilt Jet Sweep ($400) is like a typhoon on wheels. With a 208cc engine, this 78-pound monster won’t just clear your yard of leaves, it’ll blow them clear over to the next county.
Leaf blowers are fine and dandy, but they merely push debris around; they won’t bag leaves and haul them to the curb for you.
If you’re looking for something that can truly make short work of an entire backyard’s worth of leaves, turn to the Cyclone Rake Z-10 ($1,945), a behemoth mower-mounted lawn vacuum. Sporting a 10 horse power Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine and a 415-gallon capacity, this lawn vacuum will have your lawn leaf-free in less time than it takes you to even start up a regular leaf blower. Sure, it’s overkill for most yards, and yeah, it isn’t exactly the most environmentally friendly option, but if you can’t spare an extra second scooping leaves this fall, this is the machine to get.
While gathering leaves is one of the season’s biggest chores, fall is also the perfect time to prune overgrown branches or shrubs before the winter frost sets in.
To quickly get a handle on your overgrown greenery, turn to Black & Decker’s Alligator Loppers ($95), which combines the power of a chainsaw with the chomping action of of pruning shears. These mechanical jaws will power through tree branches as big as 4 inches, enough to handle most of the jobs around the yard.
For trimming jobs that are just out of reach, grab the Husqvarna Pole Saw ($600). This pole-mounted chainsaw puts 13 feet of cutting power in your palms. Sporting a 24.5cc, 1.2 horsepower engine, the Husqvarna is well-built and tough enough to handle any branch that steps out of line.
Once you’ve taken down a pile of branches, you’re going to want to turn that waste into useful and nutritious mulch for your lawn garden.
Echo Bear Cat’s wood chipper is capable of gobbling up branches as big as 3 inches in diameter. The Bear Cat’s 342cc beastly engine will take care of your overgrowth in no time. At $1,700, it’s a pretty price to pay for a wood chipper. But for those trying to keep the great outdoors in line, can you really put a price on the ability to quickly reduce nature to a pile of dust? I didn’t think so.