8 Best Leaf Mulchers to Make Your Garden Pristine in No Time
Making your yard look clean and tidy doesn’t have to be a chore, not when you’ve got the best leaf mulcher on the market. This powerful machine takes care of all your leaf-cleaning needs in no time, leaving you with a pristine garden perfect for entertaining or simply relaxing.
We reviewed the best leaf mulchers so that you don’t have to waste time testing unsatisfactory tools. Make sure also to check out our buying guide tips below.
Gardeners and homeowners dread the fall season. Whether you have a few leafy trees in your yard or street, the surface disappears under a thick carpet of leaves. Collecting those leaves is one thing, but knowing what to do with them is different.
That’s where a leaf mulcher comes in. It lets you shred those bulky leaves to about 1/10th of their original size, even pine straw mulch. So it’s an efficient tool for waste management, except that those leaves are not going to waste since you can use them for mulching or composting.
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Since leaf mulchers come in different shapes and sizes, selecting the right one for you can be a daunting task. So we put together this list of the best leaf mulcher machines and our reviews to give you a better idea.
It makes it easier to collect leaves, stack them up in bags, and shred them without changing the tool.
With a proprietary design, the WG512 comes with a powerful 600 CFM motor, allowing you to clear up your yard in a short time.
It’s also handy for bagging the leaves you just collected. And when all bags are ready, it’s time to do the real mulching work.
WG512’s blades cut the leaves in two stages, where the double-action of the impellers cuts leaves to 16:1. So if you have 16 bags of leaves, you can reduce them to one.
The Worx WG512 was designed for convenience since you can operate it with one hand. Plus, the bag is easy to detach.
However, it falls short on two accounts: a short feeding tube and the machine’s weight. If you’re more than 6 feet tall, you have to lean over or stoop to reach the ground leaves. On top of that, it weighs 12 pounds with the battery installed, which you’ll shortly notice pulling at your back muscles.
3-in-1 machine: mulcher, blower, and vacuum
600 CFM airspeed gets the job done fast
16:1 mulching ratio
Can be used with just one hand
Weighs 12 pounds with the battery
The tube is too short for persons above 6 feet tall
It’s another 3-in-1 tool that blows, collects, and shreds the leaves with little fuss. What’s more, the Toro 51621 has an airspeed of 250 MPH, enough to stir a storm in the garden.
The metal impeller pulverizes the debris, including leaves and small twigs, reducing about 88% to tiny bits no bigger than 1/2 inch.
Meanwhile, the ergonomic handle gives you complete control over the device and allows you to operate it with just one hand. So you can use your free hand to adjust settings, change the tool’s speed, or release the latch to toggle blowing and vacuuming mode.
We also liked the bag with a zipper, which you can seal to transport the shredded leaves to the storage bag. And, since this mulcher is corded, it comes with a lock so that you can safely operate it.
On the downside, we had problems with twigs clogging the tube and impeller, which had to be removed manually. The vacuum tube is also prone to clogging. Furthermore, the Toro is ineffective at shredding wet leaves.
Metal impeller reduces 88% of debris to 1/2-inch bits
Black+Decker is a reliable brand in the gardening niche. So when we saw this leaf mulcher, we knew we had to give it a test run to see if it lives up to its name.
And we’re happy to say that the BLACK+DECKER BV6000 Leaf Mulcher doesn’t disappoint. It’s a 3-in-1 tool powered by a 12-AMP motor that pushes out air at 250 MPH and airflow around 400 CFM.
Moreover, BV6000 fixes the usual clogging problem using a high-power fan, preventing twigs and leaves from obstructing the impeller. As such, you don’t have to interrupt your work or have too much downtime.
Another cool feature is the low noise output. We’ve noticed that the BV6000 is about 50% quieter than other leaf mulchers of the same caliber. It produces 68 dBA, which is astonishingly quiet for this electric device.
Since the BV6000 is corded, it requires a nearby power source. But since it only weighs 8.1 pounds, it’s relatively easy to operate it with one hand and get the job done before your arm and shoulders start to complain. You should also know that the included bag can hold up to 1.5 bushels before emptying it.
In addition to requiring a power outlet, the BV6000 needs to do things at its own pace. For instance, the tube and impeller could get clogged if you try to gobble up leaves too fast, despite the high-power fan that should stop this from happening.
12-AMP electric motor
400 CFM and 250 MPH airspeed
68 dBA low noise
1.5 bushels bag included
Weighs 8.1 pounds
Corded device requires a nearby power outlet nearby
It’s a straightforward leaf mulcher with a singular purpose, which doesn’t try to cram a blower and vacuum into the same device.
Ignited by a 15-AMP motor, the Sun Joe accepts everything from leaves to twigs and small branches. It produces 1.73-inch-thick pieces, which translates into a 21:1 reduction ratio.
And since safety is the primary concern with power tools, the Sun Joe has a built-in safety hopper with a locking knob; it automatically turns off if you try to open the lid.
As for portability, the Sun Joe comes equipped with 7-inch easy-glide wheels. So you can cross any terrain with dry or wet leaves or grass without slipping or skidding. We also like how easy it is to get it up and running in less than 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, the Sun Joe can easily get clogged with pine needles and acorns, although it does a fine job chipping and shredding everything from brambles to leaves. While clogging is a common issue with leaf shredders, this machine struggles with fibrous vines and branches.
With a 7-HP motor that runs on gas, this machine can handle limbs and branches that no other tool on this list can deal with. So it’s safe to say that it’s geared toward professional landscapers and not average homeowners.
Nevertheless, if you’re a homeowner with a large yard and plenty of trees that require a powerful gardening tool, you can trust the SuperHandy – it can pulverize 3-inch-thick branches and reduce them at a 15:1 ratio.
If you’re worried about the impeller getting jammed, know that the SuperHandy deals with this issue by slanting the impeller and top hopper. It puts branches and twigs at the right angle to shred them and make them pass through the impeller.
As for portability, the 120-pound SuperHandy has two large wheels that make it easy to move it around. You can use it on any surface with wood, debris, and leaves to shred, such as a lawn, garden, backyard, or entire forest.
However, the SuperHandy has its fair share of problems. For example, it produces a lot of exhaust since it has a gas motor, so it’s not eco-friendly. Also, the noise level is troubling since the wood chipper roars instead of purrs; it’s a trade-off between power and noise.
It’s an electric-powered all-purpose tool that can shred leaves and chip wood while keeping the decibels at minimum levels.
The 14-AMP motor has a 4,300 RPM speed when the hopper is empty. So you can expect it to go through branches and leaves like a hot knife through butter. And it chips 1.5-inch-thick branches with an impressive 16:1 reduction ratio.
Moreover, CJ601E has a safety knob that automatically switches off the motor if the hopper’s top lid is lifted during operations.
Another feature we like is the reset button. If the chipper gets overloaded or gobbles a branch thicker than 1.5 inches, just press a button to reset the shredder and clear anything jamming the impeller.
The standalone Sun Joe weighs a hefty 25.4 pounds when unloaded. But that doesn’t mean you can’t move it around since the two 6-inch wheels allow the shredder to traverse most terrains easily.
Despite these cool features, we found some disconcerting drawbacks. For instance, if a twig or branch is thinner than ⅛ inch, it will pass through unscathed. Also, the machine can’t handle too many materials simultaneously, so you need to pace yourself and rely on the reset button.
14-AMP motor produces 4,300 RPM
Shreds branches up to 1.5-inch thick
16:1 reduction ratio
Two 6-inch wheels to move around easily
Low noise output
Safety knob to disable the motor if the hopper lid is lifted
Doesn’t shred branches and twigs thinner than ⅛ inch
It’s a 3-in-1 power tool that blows, vacuums, and shreds leaves on the fly. But the most interesting feature are the front wheels.
The blow tube doubles as a vacuum tube and hopper, while the machine rests on two small wheels so that you can move it in any direction.
In fact, these wheels are quite useful since the BVM23014S weighs 10 pounds unloaded; the bag and tube chock full of leaves and debris easily bring it to 15 to 20 pounds.
Powered by a 14-AMP motor, the BVM23014S has two speeds and a dial to switch between the three main functionalities. Plus, a turbo option increases the airspeed to 200 MPH, producing 410-CFM airflow. If that’s too much for you to handle, you can select the default setting to generate 110-MPH airspeed and 310-CFM airflow.
The ergonomic handle gives you full control over the tool, thanks to the nearby switches and buttons. So you can adjust the settings with the same hand operating the BVM23014S.
On the other hand, the biggest problem we have is with its height; it seems that the BVM23014S doesn’t favor short people. Since the blowing tube has wheels at the end, it’s impossible to adjust its length. So people shorter than 6 feet will find the tool unwieldy and hard to manage.
Turbo feature produces 200-MPH airspeed and 410-CFM airflow
Two front wheels attached to the blowing tube
Weighs 10 pounds
Tube length is fixed and cannot be adjusted for short people
Last but not least, we have the Landworks Leaf Mulcher Shredder Electric. It’s a standalone electric leaf mulcher powered by a 15-AMP electric belt-driven motor, which can shred 1/2-inch-thick small branches and twigs.
The 11-inch steel blades with 4,100 RPM can go through leaves, twigs, and debris with great speed.
Durability is the name of the game for the Landworks since the blades and housing are made of steel. So you won’t have to worry about stubborn branches denting the frame or breaking the blades as in the case of plastic impellers.
The drawback is that steel adds to the weight of the Landworks, which comes to 55 pounds empty. It would’ve been challenging to move it around the yard if it weren’t for the two wheels. However, you need to avoid muddy or soft terrains where the heavy shredder might get stuck.
The collection bag is 30-inch tall, 17.5-inch wide, and made of PP fabric with PE coating for extra durability. But the airspeed is so high that it often stirs too much dust, blowing out of the bag like a cloud.
15-AMP belt-driven motor
11-inch steel blades
Steel housing for durability
Two wheels for portability
Collection bag made of PP fabric with PE coating
Weighs 55 pounds when empty and gets stuck in soft terrains
To put everything into perspective, the following buying guide walks you through the main features to look for in a leaf mulcher. We also included some safety tips.
How the Leaf Mulcher Works
A leaf mulcher shreds bulky leaves and reduces them to a fraction of their size, using blades at 11:1 to 30:1 ratios.
Based on the mulcher type, you can use a standalone mulcher that does all the work since you just have to feed it leaves. It collects the shredded leaves in a bag, readying them for mulching or composting.
With heavy-duty mulchers, you can reduce 30 bags of leaves to just one, which helps you manage garden waste and convert dry leaves into mulch or compost fodder.
Portable mulchers are easier to operate and carry around. However, they have a limited capacity of a 15:1 shredding ratio. You also need to provide the bag for collecting the shredded leaves, in addition to other attachments.
Handheld mulchers are suitable for most yards and gardens unless you have many deciduous trees in your neighborhood. They’re also cheaper than standalone mulchers.
Types of the Leaf Mulcher
Leaf mulchers come in different types, based on the power source, where each type has advantages and drawbacks:
Battery. It’s the most convenient type since it’s portable and doesn’t require a nearby power outlet, so you don’t have to worry about tripping on cords. The drawback is the limited capacity, usually with a 15:1 shredding ratio. Plus, it takes time to charge the battery.
Gas. It’s ready to run as soon as you fill up the tank and has more power than battery-powered types. Besides, you don’t have to spend hours waiting for a battery to charge. However, it’s usually noisier and produces exhaust, polluting the environment.
Corded. It’s ready to go as soon as you plug it into a power outlet, but you need a nearby power source to operate it. On the plus side, it has a larger capacity than battery or gas leaf mulchers, and it can give up to a 30:1 ratio of shredding.
Safety with the Leaf Mulcher
You need to feed the leaf mulcher with leaves and push them toward the blades rotating at high speed. So taking precautions should always be your top priority.
Remove debris from the yard before you start. Make sure you only have leaves in the pile and not gravel or pebbles that could turn into dangerous shrapnels when they come in contact with the blades.
Don’t mulch or shred the leaves on windy days; they will go everywhere except into the mouth of the shredder.
Wear protective gear when operating the shredder; this includes gloves, eyewear, and shoes. Long sleeves and pants are also important to protect against accidents.
Don’t put your hands inside the shredder when it’s running. Even when it’s not running, avoid touching the sharp blades with your bare hands.
Keep an eye out for children or pets that get inquisitive while you’re shredding the leaves.
Always have the leaves ready in a pile before you start shredding them.
Don’t leave the shredder unattended and go do something else; always turn it off before you leave the area.
Leaf Mulcher Key Features
Not all features advertised on the leaf mulcher are relevant. You should keep an eye out on the following:
By far, it’s the most essential feature of a leaf mulcher. The mulching ratio tells you how powerful the mulcher is and how much space you’ll save after shredding the leaves.
The mulching ratio starts from 10:1 for portable mulchers and goes all the way up to 30:1 with stand-alone mulchers. The more leaves you have to shred, the higher the mulching ratio you demand out of your leaf mulcher.
The capacity and power of the motor vary, depending on whether you use a handheld or standalone leaf mulcher. Expect modest power from portable mulchers since the motor power ranges from 12 to 15 AMP.
On the other hand, standalone mulchers go all the way out, generating between 15 to 20 AMP – the higher the number, the higher the motor’s mulching ratio.
The blades do all the heavy work when it comes to shredding leaves. Some are made of metal for better efficiency and higher mulching ratios. Others come with plastic blades, which are less durable and produce a lower mulching ratio.
The turbo mode increases the power and speed of the rotating blades to reduce the time needed to get a large job done. It’s often a standard feature of standalone mulchers, although you can find it on some handheld machines, too.
Some mulchers serve as vacuums and leaf blowers at the same time – you just have to select the mode of operation by pressing a button or turning a dial. This allows you to use the device in any mode on the fly.
Shredded leaves must be collected in a bag. So, the higher the bag capacity, the better. Otherwise, you will have to regularly empty the bag to make room for new leaves. So be sure to look for a leaf mulcher model with a 50-gallon or larger bag capacity.
Discover more useful information about leaf mulchers:
How to maintain a leaf mulcher?
After using the mulcher, wipe the body and inner parts using a rag soaked in soapy water. Rinse it with clean water and dry it with a clean rag.
Plus, you have to oil the steel blades before storing the mulcher; this protects them from rust and erosion.
For battery-powered models, make sure to charge the battery after using the mulcher.
Is it OK to mulch wet leaves?
No, you shouldn’t mulch wet leaves since they cause the motor to work overtime. Wet leaves also get stuck between the blades, which can be hard to clean up. Plus, moisture can lead to rust.
So it’s better to let the leaves dry in the sun before shredding them; this ensures that the leaves won’t rot in the collection bag after shredding them.
I have more mulch than I can handle, what to do with it?
Don’t get rid of the rest of the leaves. Simply add them to the compost heap and enjoy free and organic mulch all year round.
The Last Word
Choosing the winner of these leaf mulchers isn’t easy. But WORX WG512 12 Amp TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Mulcher takes our top spot because it shines where it matters. It’s a quiet electric leaf mulcher that doesn’t pollute the environment, has a good 16:1 reduction rate and can be operated with just one hand. Its powerful 600-CFM airflow gets the job done in a short time.
The next spot is occupied by Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum, a 3-in-1 tool with an airspeed of up to 250-MPH, which can reduce 88% of materials to 1/2-inch-thick bits. It has an affordable price, and the collection bag has a zipper to secure the shredded leaves.
We also liked the BLACK+DECKER BV6000 Leaf Mulcher. Despite its 400-CFM airflow and 250-MPH airspeed, it generates noise at about 68 dBA, making it a quiet power tool. It comes with a 1.5-bushel bag and weighs 8.1 pounds, making it easier to carry and operate with just one hand.
So, which leaf mulcher did you end up purchasing? Share your thoughts and leave us your own reviews in the comments below.