Tools Used to Gather and Pick Up Leaves

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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.

Leaf rake leaning against tree over pile of leaves.
Leaf rake leaning against tree over pile of leaves. (Image: schulzie/iStock/Getty Images)

Modified Rakes

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.

Traditional rake lying on top of leaf pile.
Traditional rake lying on top of leaf pile. (Image: dmfoss/iStock/Getty Images)

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.

Leaf blower lying beside leaf pile.
Leaf blower lying beside leaf pile. (Image: Mitja Mladkovic/iStock/Getty Images)

Mulching Collectors

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.

Mulching collector running on grass.
Mulching collector running on grass. (Image: Mirko_Rosenau/iStock/Getty Images)

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.

Close-up of pile of leaves
Close-up of pile of leaves (Image: chuyu/iStock/Getty Images)

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