Traditional rakes hold a prominent position in most hardware stores, but manufacturers continually develop new tools to help homeowners gather and pick up leaves. Leaf pickup tools include modified leaf rakes, portable power tools and heavy-duty equipment. While some tools simply gather leaves, others collect and store leaves or automatically mulch them. Learning the capabilities of common leaf pickup tools can help you choose tools suited to your property.
The traditional rake's thin, flexible tines most commonly are made of plastic, metal or bamboo. Modifications to the traditional rake include the pivot-head rake and scooping rake. A pivot-head rake eases back strain by reducing the amount of bending and turning required to gather leaves into piles. A shovel or second rake attached to the handle of a scooping rake allows the raker to gather and scoop leaves in a single motion. Handheld leaf grabbers work like rakes without handles to help pick up piled leaves for bagging.
Leaf Blowers and Vacuums
Electric or gas-powered motors generate powerful gusts or suction on leaf blowers and vacuums. Blowers push leaves into piles to be picked up by hand or with a shovel and rake. Leaf vacuums suck up and store leaves in a detachable bag. Leaf blowers and vacuums direct air through hose-like attachments. While standard units combine motor and hose attachments into handheld machines, heavy-duty models feature backpack-mounted motors. Blower-vacuums are handy for tight corners and shrubbery that traps accumulating leaves.
Mulching collectors grind leaves into a fine mulch. Like leaf vacuums, mulching collectors use suction to gather leaves. However, rather than storing leaves in a bag, mulching collectors pass them through a series of mulching blades. Some mulching collectors store these ground leaves in an attached bag. Other models simply spit the yard waste out of the ground, where it serves as organic mulch. Mulching collectors may be handheld tools or equipment that is pushed or ridden.
Industrial Leaf Collectors
Industrial leaf collectors often resemble riding mowers. The machine's internal combustion engine powers the machine's motion and a bottom-mounted suction system. The collector sucks up surface materials including wet and dry leaves, straw and grass clippings. Unlike standard leaf vacuums and mulchers, an industrial leaf collector transfers waste into a rigid plastic container. Mounted on the rear of the machine, the container opens and tilts to empty its contents. Renting or investing in an industrial leaf collector may be appropriate for a sizable property or if leaves have been allowed to accumulate over time.