6 Best Leaf Mulcher and Shredders: Our Favorite 3 in 1 Leaf Tools

Best Leaf Mulcher and Shredders: Reviews of Our Favorite 3 in 1 Leaf Collection Machines

We help you find the best electric leaf mulchers and shredders to clean up your yard fast. If you haven’t come across this cool garden tool, you’ll definitely want to check these out. It’s a pretty handy way to dramatically reduce the number of leaves you need to put out at the curb or haul away.

Editor’s Note: Our writer’s research and recommend the best products for your home, farm, and garden. Links to these products are included in this article where you can learn more about each product. We may receive commissions on purchases made through these links.

What Is A Leaf Mulcher & How Do They Work?

A leaf mulcher will transform the bulky nature of fallen leaves on your property into a fine mulch. This reduces the amount of bags you need to carry to the curb or off to the recycling center. Or if you have a garden the shredded leaves can be added to your compost pile or sprinkled directly into your garden beds.

There are two basic types of leaf mulching machines.

Handheld 3 Tools in 1: Leaf Blower, Vacuum, and Shredders

Clearing a path of leaves with the Toro 51621 UltraPlus
Pictured above is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus

These are sometimes referred to as 3 in 1 machines or a Trivac. You get a leaf blower, vacuum, and mulcher all in one handheld tool that you carry with you as you walk around your yard; basically is it a shredding on-demand system. It works by sucking the leaves with the vacuum into a metal impeller chamber that shreds the leaves into a fine mulch. The shredded leaves are stored in the attached collection bag.

You use the blower to move large quantities of leaves into one corner of your year where you can then turn on the mulcher shredder. Or you can mulch the leaves as you go which works really well in garden areas or on sidewalks.

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Stationary Leaf Shredders

Sun Joe SDJ616 Shredder
Turn piles of leaves into usable mulch in minutes.

Stationary leaf shredders are another great tool to create mulched leaves except that you don’t need to carry the tool around with you in the yard. Instead, you collect the leaves first by raking or blowing them into one area, then you place them in the leaf shredder.

There will be a large opening at the top where you push the leaves down into a leaf grinder at the bottom. A collection bag is placed under the system to collect the mulch. We will review the stationary leaf shredders in a separate article.

Note: If you want this primarily for leaves, I wouldn’t recommend using some of the smaller chippers/shredders with a narrow opening. They take forever to mulch a tiny amount of leaves & are better suited for chopping up branches and twigs. You need the ones with a wide mouth to get any amount of shredding done in a reasonable amount of time.

Which Type is Better?

The type of product you choose will be based on the style of yardwork you prefer. A leaf vacuum shredder is faster since they vacuum and shred the leaves all in one fell swoop.

I’m a big fan of the 3 in 1 blower/mulcher/shredders since they get the job done faster. And I like having the option to just clear the yard quickly, then come back later for my mulching tasks.

falling leaves in the backyard
No matter which style you choose, a mulcher is a great way to repurpose all those fallen leaves!

However, since you need to carry it around the yard it can be too strenuous for some folks if they are not used to manual labor. If you prefer a more laid back & less strenuous style of yard work, a stationary leaf mulcher shredder may be your best bet.

The Best Electric Leaf Mulchers and Shredders

In our leaf mulcher reviews, we’ve decided to only take a look at the electric-powered models. Why? The gas-powered leaf mulcher may have a bit more power, but they can be noisy, hard to start and require storing and mixing fuel & oil.

Gas-powered machines are also raising a problem in the environment. There are even a few pending laws that could limit the use of gas-powered machinery in our neighborhoods. So, for now, we’ll stick with the corded electric variety.

Manufacturer/Model Best Uses Jump to Section
1 Black + Decker (BV6600) Our Top ChoiceSee Our Review
2BLACK+DECKER BV3100Lightest on our listSee Our Review
3Sun Joe SBJ606E-GA-RED Great for bad backsSee Our Review
4 Toro 51621 UltraPlus Creates the finest leaf mulchSee Our Review
5 Toro 51619 Ultra Mid-Range Price PointSee Our Review
6 WORX WG518 Powerful, lightweight & affordableSee Our Review

1. BLACK+DECKER (BV6600) 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum, Mulcher

Black & Decker BV6600 Vacuum/Blower/Mulcher shown on white background

Features

  • 250 mph Air Speed
  • 16:1 Mulching Rate:
  • 12 Amp Electric
  • Variable Speed Settings
  • 8.1 Pounds
  • Included Features: Blow Tube, Collection & ConcentratorTube & Reusable Leaf Collection Bag

Our choice for the best leaf shredder & mulcher.

The Black & Decker BV 6600 is at the top of our list with a powerful motor capable of hitting an airspeed of 250 miles per hour. It also has a concentrator tube for extra power in small spaces and a high-impact metal fan to prevent the mulcher from clogging.

The variable speed adjustment is a great feature that allows you to adjust the vacuum to the amount of power you need depending on the dampness of the leaves or area of the yard you are working in. Some other products only have 2 speeds – high or low.

The extra power on this model is well suited for vacuuming up not only leaves, but also pine needles, grass clippings, and other yard waste to keep your lawn looking neat all season. Witch a mulching rate of 16:1 (that’s about a 94% reduction), variable speed settings and really great feedback from homeowners, this electric leaf mulcher is our favorite tool in the leaf cleanup category.


2. BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower & Mulcher with Leaf Vacuum Kit

Black & Decker BV3100 parts and accessories on a white background

Features

  • Model: BV3100
  • 210 mph Air Speed
  • 10:1 Mulching Rate:
  • 2 speeds
  • 7 pounds
  • Included Features: Blow tube, Collection Tube & Leaf Collection Bag

Lightest on our list, great for occasional use

The next Black & Decker leaf blower and mulcher on our list is the Black & Decker BV3100. It has slightly less power with an air-speed reaching up to 210 miles per hour. However, it also only weighs in at 7 pounds which is the lightest one on our list.

With 2 adjustable speeds and a mulching rate of 10:1, the Black & Decker BV3100 is a great product for smaller jobs at a reasonable price point.


3. Sun Joe 4-in-1 Electric Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher/Gutter Cleaner

SunJoe 4in1 shown with wheels attached to the end of the lawn vacuum

Features

  • 250MPH
  • 14 Amp
  • 16:1 Mulching Ratio (94% reduction)
  • 16 variable speeds
  • Weight 8.6 pounds
  • Included Features: 2 leaf bags & a gutter attachment kit
  • Model: SBJ606E-GA-RED

Best budget leaf shredder; also great for anyone that has back-problems

The Sun Joe has two standout features that all the other models do not

  • A gutter attachment kit – made from PVC pipe that extends up to 15 inches to blow the leaves out of your gutter and prevent clogs that can damage your roof.
  • Wheels that attach to the leaf vacuum – this really takes the pressure off your arms and back when cleaning up the yard.

The slogan for the Sun Joe is

Back-breaking lawn and leaf cleanups are a thing of the past.

At 14 Amps this is a powerful mulcher that reduces your leaves at a ratio of 16:1, an 18-gallon reusable bag, and 16 variable speeds, the SunJoe 4 in 1 leaf mulching machine has a lot to offer! It also comes at a very reasonable price point.


4. Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum & Mulcher

Toro 51621 UltraPlus on white background

Features

  • 250 mph degree; 350 CFM blow mode; 410 CFM Vac mode
  • 97% Mulching Ratio
  • 12 Amp Electric
  • Included Features: Leaf Collection Bag, 3 tube connections; Shredding Ring, Oscillator
  • Weight: 8.9

Best Use: Homeowners who want a finely shredded leaf mulch to add directly to the garden.

Next up in our list of leaf shredders is the Toro UltraPlus 3 in 1 machine with leaf blowing, vacuuming and shredding capabilities. It has variable speed adjustments, a bottom zip leaf bag, an oscillating tube, and a shredding ring. Let’s talk about what each of these features means.

Multiple tube blower tubes are included each designed for a specific job.

  • Main Blower: Works great for dry leaves.
  • Power Insert: Better suited for moving heavier wet leaves.
  • Concentrator: Use to get into those corners and crevices of your yard.

A unique feature of the Toro 51621 is the oscillating tube attachment that connects to the end of the blower when you need to clear a wider path. This works great for blowing a large area while decreasing the amount of time it takes to get the job done.

Finally, this model has the highest leaf to mulch shredding ratio of 97%; largely due to the shredding ring that pulverizes the leaves into a fine leaf mulch. The finer the shredded leaves, the quicker they will break down in your garden providing your plants with the organic matter they love.


5. Toro 51619 Ultra Electric Blower Vac

Toro 51619 included parts and accessories on a white background

Features

  • 250 mph degree; 350 CFM blow mode; 410 CFM Vac mode
  • 88% Mulching Ratio
  • 12 Amp Electric
  • Weight: 8.5
  • Included Features: Leaf Collection Bag, 3 tube connections

The Toro 51619 has many of the same features as the previous model we reviewed. It has variable speed adjustments, a quick-release latch to easily convert from blower to vacuum plus the additional power & concentrator inserts that make Toro of the best makers of leaf shredders in our reviews.

The main difference is this model has a slightly lower mulching ratio & shreds your leaves to 88% of their original size vs 97% and it does not come with the oscillating ring and nozzle.

If you like all the features of the first Toro we reviewed, but don’t need quite the same finely ground mulch, this might be a good choice for your yard.


6. WORX WG518 12 Amp 2-Speed Leaf Blower, Mulcher & Vacuum

Work WG518 - Photo of product and accessories on white background

Features

  • 250 mph Air Speed
  • 400 CFM Air Volume
  • 16:1 Mulching Ratio (94% reduction)
  • 2 speeds
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Included Features: Concentrator Nozzle, Leaf Collection Bag

Best features: Powerful, lightweight & affordable

While the Worx 3 in 1 shredder doesn’t have a few of the bells and whistles as some of the other models on our list, the Worx is a well-known company that has a reputation for making really great yard tools.

The Worx leaf mulcher made our list for a few reasons. The power is about the same as the Toro at 250 mph with an air volume of 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM), however, it comes at a lower price point, at least at the time of this review. The mulching ratio is solid at 16:1 and it includes a concentrator nozzle to get into tight spaces.

One thing of note is the weight – the manufacturer’s website lists it at only 7.5 pounds which is about a pound less than the Toro mulchers.

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How to Choose the Best Leaf Mulcher For Your Yard

When reading our electric leaf shredder reviews, here are some of the important features to consider: power, speed, design, and ease of use are all good features to compare.

Power

One of the most importable variables when selecting a leaf machine is the amount of power. After all, what good is a machine that won’t pick up leaves easily? Almost all the products on our list are equal in terms of 250 mph, but there are a few different AMP levels.

Number of Speed Adjustments

In our list of the best leaf shredders, you will see 2 types of adjustments: variable and 2 speed. A lower speed is generally preferred when using it to suck up leaves in a flower bed so you don’t also pull in any mulch or plants. When you are using it on the lawn, a much higher speed is fine.

The adjustable speed also means it will be quieter on the lower levels in case you want to keep the noise down for your neighbors. The 2-speed models mean you have only 2 options – low and high. With the adjustable speed units, you can raise it just to the level needed without going full power (and full noise!) when it’s not absolutely needed.

Nozzle Design

The design of the nozzle is important for both blowing & vacuuming leaves. When vacuuming leaves a wider nozzle seems like it would be a good idea, however, it can cause too many to enter the tube and jam in the machine. An evenly sized tube is actually better. For blowing leaves a smaller nozzle will give you better control when aiming at the pile of leaves you are trying to move.

Having different tube attachments are also a great feature. A few on our list have a special concentrated nozzle for getting into corners and a separate vacuum & blower tubes.

Ease of Use

Of course, the best leaf shredder needs to be easy to use. Some features to consider here include:

  • Shut off valve: This is an important safety feature and should be easy to turn off quickly.
  • Leaf Bag Attachment: The bag should be easy to carry and empty.
  • Low maintenance: The design should be easy to store and not prone to clogging.

Tricks & Tips

How Do I Make the Cleanup Quicker?

When you have a big yard to clean up, it is more efficient to blow all the leaves into one section of the yard first. Then switch out the attachment to use the vacuum and mulcher. This does a few things:

  • It prevents you from walking with the heavy bag dragging on the ground. This can damage the bag & get really tiring after a while.
  • It is also quicker to vacuum & shred the leaves in one place.
  • Prevent constant walking back & forth to empty the leaf bags.
  • Your yard will look nice almost immediately since it doesn’t take that long to blow the leaves.
Black & Decker model BV3100 vacuuming up a pile of leaves to make mulch
Demonstrating this in action is the Black & Decker BV3100

Will a wood chipper shred my leaves?

Yes, it will, but it is typically not the best tool for the job. As mentioned earlier the smaller leaf and twig shredders take too long & the larger ones may be overkill and not give you as fine of a mulch. But they will do the job in a pinch and shred leaves to a much smaller volume.

Can I vacuum and mulch the acorns in my yard?

Yes, within reason. If you have a large number of acorns or nut in your yard consider raking them into a separate area. Either leave them as a feast for the squirrels or place them into the yard waste bins separately. While some of the more powerful models can pick up acorns, they can get heavy & damage the bags and/or the impeller blades.

A few should be fine, but if you have 100s every season consider cleaning them up separately.

a red squirrel eating a nut in a bed of dry leaves
If you have lots of acorn in your yard, why not set them aside for the squirrels?

Which is the Best Electric Leaf Mulcher and Shredder On Our List?

Here is a quick summary of our favorite 4 depending on your use.

  1. Best Mulcher Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum – Makes the Finest Shredded Mulch.
  2. Best for Your Back: Sun Joe SBJ606E-GA-RED 14 Amp 250MPH 4-in-1 Electric Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher/Gutter Cleaner. The Wheels on this model make it easy on the back.
  3. Best All-Around Choice: BLACK+DECKER (BV6600) 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum, Mulcher. This was our overall winner for the best electric leaf mulcher to buy in 2020.
  4. Good for Smaller Jobs: BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 BV3100 Electric Leaf Blower, Leaf Vacuum, Mulcher. The lightest model on our list.

For more ways to finish your garden chores a little faster, visit us at www.TheImpatientFarmer.com.

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