9 Best Leaf Mulchers | March 2017

9 Best Leaf Mulchers
Best Mid-Range
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Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
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We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. No one enjoys cleaning up the yard, so why not make this chore a lot easier with one of these handy leaf mulchers. We've included light duty shredders, units that double as blowers and vacuums, and some powerful models capable of handling branches up to 3.5 inches thick, so there should be something here for every need. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best leaf mulcher on Amazon.
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If you're tired of having to rake leaves, the Worx WG430 can help. Its robust motor can mulch 53 gallons of leaves per minute, but the string used for cutting gets broken easily on twigs and branches so you have to be careful not to load any into the hopper.
  • easy to assemble
  • comes with 24 replacement lines
  • cannot adjust mulch size
Brand Worx
Model WG430
Weight 26 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
The Black & Decker BV5600 offers a powerful, clog-resistant impeller for effectively grinding 10 bags worth of leaves down to one. It can be converted from a blower to a vacuum in just a few seconds without having to use any tools, too.
  • feels well-balanced
  • poorly placed on-off switch
  • zipper on the storage bag is flimsy
Brand BLACK+DECKER
Model BV3600
Weight 13.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
7
The Toro 51619 Ultra can produce an impressive 250 mph wind when on blower mode; that's more powerful than a category 5 hurricane. Its rugged metal impeller should last through years of leaf mulching, plus it features a helpful integrated cord lock.
  • easy to clear clogs
  • quieter than gas models
  • bag strap is stitched on poorly
Brand Toro
Model 51619
Weight 12.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
The Flowtron LE-900 can be fitted with a bag or mounted directly over a garbage bin for efficient leaf disposal. It can also be tilted at nearly any angle for an ergonomic working position, plus its low cost makes it affordable for nearly any homeowner.
  • shreds and then mulches
  • adjustable shredding size
  • gets hung up on twigs and branches
Brand Flowtron
Model LE900
Weight 21.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
5
The Eco-Shredder ES1600 boasts a powerful 2.5 HP motor that powers through leaves, brush, and branches. It has a 3-cycle shredding and mulching system to provide you with a consistent mulch size, and it comes with extra cutting blade replacements.
  • large hopper on top
  • 3-way feed system
  • automatically turns off if jammed
Brand Eco-Shredder
Model ES1600
Weight 70.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
4
The multifunctional Sun Joe SBJ603E is a 3-in-1 leaf blower, vacuum, and mulcher. It features six adjustable wind speeds, can quickly be disassembled for compact storage, and has a clean-running, quick-starting 13 amp electric motor.
  • collection bag is easy to empty
  • interchangeable tube design
  • budget-friendly price
Brand Snow Joe
Model SBJ603E
Weight 11.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
Those who want to avoid dealing with a messy and hard to start gasoline engine, but still need commercial-quality power from their mulcher will be happy with the Patriot Products CSV-2515. It makes short work of branches up to 2.5" in diameter and has a large hopper.
  • backed by a two-year warranty
  • includes safety goggles
  • a bag attachment port
Brand Patriot
Model CSV-2515
Weight 126 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
2
The Worx Trivac has an angled nose that makes it more efficient at vacuuming and blowing leaves while allowing the user to stand in a more comfortable position. Its sturdy metal impeller offers a 16:1 mulch ratio and breaks down leaves quickly.
  • adjustable air flow from 75-210 mph
  • weighs less than 9lbs
  • comes with a collection bag
Brand Worx
Model WG509
Weight 12.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
The Patriot Products CSV-3090H has a commercial-grade engine and delivers a unique swinging Y-hammer system that is perfect for shredding leaves. Its side discharge port means you can work in one location for long periods without having to worry about moving the machine.
  • can handle 3-inch diameter branches
  • noise reducing muffler
  • large wheels for easy transporting
Brand Patriot
Model CSV-3100B
Weight 181 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Picking The Perfect Leaf Mulcher

There are essentially two categories of leaf mulcher: leaf blowers that can have their airflow direction reversed to suck up leaves, and standing units into which you feed scoops of leaves.

The blower approach has two obvious merits, the first being that these units can be used to gather leaves into a pile in the first place, not to mention blowing pine needles, dust, pollen, and many other materials off of your yard, your patio, walkways, streets, and so forth.

Blowers also offer superb portability; you can easily bring them to the leaf pile no matter where it is in the yard. Their drawbacks come in the form of speed and capacity. A leaf blower used to gather and chop leaves processes them more slowly than a standing leaf mulcher does, and it requires frequent, often messy, emptying of its storage bag.

Standing mulchers are heavier and require more effort to set up initially, but once in place and ready, these units can handle dozens of gallons of leaves per minute, making short work of even the largest leaf piles. A good mulcher can reduce leaf piles by a factor of ten or more, maximizing ease of disposal, or helping you to prepare huge batches of useful leaf mulch.

You can get a decent leaf blower for well under a hundred dollars, or you can spend well over a thousand for a top of the line mulcher/chipper unit. Ultimately, the size of your property and the volume of material you're confronting will be the best way to inform your choice.

Leaf Mulch Vs. Leaf Mold

Simply put, leaf mulch is nothing more than chopped up leaves. It's what you do with your leaf mulch after the initial collection and grinding process that counts. Fallen leaves present the savvy gardener and/or landscaper with a free bounty of versatile material. Leaves can be chopped into mulch useful for myriad tasks, from protecting seeds to fertilizing crops to creating an attractive ground covering used as a design element. If you wish to use leaves as a ground cover, only pass them through your mulcher one time, as you'll want a mixture of material size to create the pleasing look mulch provides.

Keep in mind the fact that you will have to refresh the top layer of your leaf mulch periodically as it breaks down. (And don't use leaf mulch without a layer of fabric or plastic underneath it during the spring or summer if your property is prone to weed growth -- mulch made from leaves can actually enhance weed growth rather than restricting it if given the right circumstances.)

If you wish to put your leaves to work helping ready the next season's soil for new growth, there are a few more steps to take. Leaves are rich in nutrients that can play a huge role in creating superlative compost useful for raising edible foods and brilliantly flowering plants. However, leaves on their own can't create compost; rather, they play a key role in balancing out the green components of compost, such as food scraps and live weeds or trimmed plants. To use leaves in composting, you must first grind them into leaf mulch, and then break them down into leaf mold, a nutrient- and mineral-rich material that is easy to spread about once ready.

Making leaf mold is easy, but requires patience. The simplest way to do it is to make a huge pile of shredded leaves and then wait for a few years. A more feasible approach is to designate an area of your yard in which you can build a pen of sorts large enough to accommodate a few dozen cubic feet of shredded leaves. Dump your chopped up leaf mulch into this pen and plan to keep it moist and, at least once a week, move the material about with a pitchfork, rake, or shovel. Another alternative method is to use a compost tumbler.

If you keep shredded leaves moist and moving, you should have leaf mold within six months. Leaf mold is deep brown in color and will be soft, moist, and delicate, easily crumbling in your fingers.

The Best Way To Use Mulched Leaves

Mulch can be loosely defined as any material spread out on the soil (or in beds or planters and so forth) that is intended to alter the ground environment, be it in aesthetic and/or physical ways. In other words, mulch can help your yard look great and it can help keep the soil and plants within it healthier and more robust.

If you took the time to make a batch of leaf mold, then the shrubs, flowers, and crops you plant or revive in the spring are going to have quite a fine rest of the year thanks to the nutrients this unique material imparts. You should spread leaf mold around perennial plants, shrubs, and vegetables. Make sure never to apply leaf mold in a thickness of more than two inches, and keep the material several inches away from the actual stalk of a plant; leaf mold retains so much moisture it can actually prevent a plant from getting the water it needs if spread too thickly or close to a plant's roots.

If you have thicker, drier leaf mulch you wish to use for decorative purposes, make sure to lay it on thick, as it were. Creating a deep layer of mulched leaves is the best way to prevent weeds from making their way up through the covering, and thick layering will help you achieve a uniformity of appearance, as well. Consider spreading a layer of non-mulched leaves first and then piling a layer of mulched leaves on top; this will further inhibit weed growth and will slow the breakdown of the top layer.



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Last updated on March 21, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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