The Best Lawn Sweeper for Quick and Easy Leaf Cleanup

Autumn can be an extremely frustrating time for those of us who put in the long hours required to maintain a manicured lawn. It starts slowly, with a few leaves appearing on your perfect lawn. At first, it doesn’t even seem like much of a problem.

Then, before you know it, your entire lawn is covered in leaves. And you don’t only have to deal with leaves from your own trees. Dead leaves are extremely light in weight, and just a little bit of wind can blow them very long distances. So, you actually end up with leaves from all over the whole neighborhood deposited right on your own lawn. And as we all know, dead leaves are a haven for snails and slugs that will eat your grass and garden plants.

Traditionally, gardeners and homeowners spent countless hours each autumn, out on their lawns with rakes and disposal bags. The task lasted for several weeks – and by the end of it many people could not even believe how many leaves had accumulated on their pristine lawns.

Figure 1 - Photo credit: Joe Barnas via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Thankfully, things have gotten better as the years have passed. New tools and equipment have made the work faster. And many municipalities have started collecting piles of leaves from the curb side without requiring the homeowner to bag the leaves first.

But still, the problem persists. Even if your city government does pick up leaves from the curb side – the task of collecting all of the leaves and moving them to the street still falls to you. But don’t worry, there is help. And finding the best lawn sweeper to speed this task up is a great first step for you to take.

Product

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Agri-Fab 45-0218

A

$$

Yardwise 23630-YW

A-

$

Mid West Products B-369

A

$$$

Grizzly T10042

B+

$

Sun Joe SJSW26M

B+

$$

**Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon.

Different Types of Lawn Sweepers

Many different types of machines can be labeled as “lawn sweepers.” These range from the behemoth machines used by municipal governments all the way down to rudimentary tools that are really nothing more than a large broom with an oversized dust pan.

Before we start examining the best lawn sweeper for you, let’s take a quick look at the other solutions that you’ll find in today’s marketplace.

Powered Yard Tractor Vacuums

The biggest machines available for cleaning up leaves are towable vacuums that are designed to be pulled around by yard tractors and utility vehicles. These machines are a smaller version of the municipal machinery used by city governments. They employ gas- or diesel-powered engines to suck the leaves into a shredder, and then deposit them in a huge collection bag. Some of the bigger units can hold up to 650 pounds.

Via Amazon.com

Machines like this require a serious investment, and you’ll find that they range in price from about $1,000 up to about $5,000. You’ll likely see this type of equipment operating on golf courses, resorts, and large city parks. Needless to say, these machines are overkill for the average homeowner. This kind of investment probably only makes sense for someone who maintains many acres of heavily wooded land.

Tow-Behind Yard Tractor Attachments

The common solution is the tow-behind leaf sweeper attachment for yard tractors. Like the powered vacuums, these are also pulled by yard tractors or other similar utility vehicles. However, no fuel is used as there is no motor present. Rather than using a vacuum, these machines use a set of rotating brushes to physically lift leaves from the ground and deposit them in a collection bag for easy bagging or relocation.

Although there is no powered leaf-shredder in use, the capacity of tow-behind sweepers is still pretty impressive. You will find products on the market that range from about 10 cubic feet all the way up to about 20 cubic feet… and more.

Machines like this range in price from about $200 up to about $1,000. And, of course, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of a yard tractor if you don’t already own one.

Combination Blower/Vacuums

These machines are relatively new on the market, and they’re a great tool for cleaning out those areas of your lawn and garden that are hard to reach with a leaf sweeper. But they are definitely not as easy to use, and all of them require a power source of one kind or another.

In blower mode, these operate exactly like a traditional leaf blower, generating a high-powered gust of air that can blow up to about 250 miles-per-hour. In vacuum mode, the same motor generates a vacuum to suck leaves into a shredder and blows them out into an attached collection bag.

Via Amazon.com

Electric blower/vacuum combinations typically weigh about 10 pounds and cost anywhere from about $50 to about $100. Gas-powered blower/vacuum combinations weigh more and cost more – ranging up to $200 and higher. You also need to factor in the weight of a fully loaded collection bag, which can be quite heavy. If your strength is limited for any reason, these might not be a good choice for you.

Walk-Behind Push Lawn Sweepers

Finally, we have walk-behind push lawn sweepers. As you push the sweeper across your lawn, the circular motion of the wheels powers a series of rotating brushes that physically lift leaves from the lawn and deposit them into a collection bin above. This technology has been around for a long time, and many small improvements have greatly improved their effectiveness over the years.

All of the products I’ve reviewed below fit into this category.

Push lawn sweepers are great for clearing leaves and debris from wide open areas like turf-grass lawns. But they are not effective for cleaning leaves from areas that are overgrown with creeping vines like ivy and jasmine.

They are easy to operate and require minimal strength and effort from the user. Because they don’t require any externally-powered motors there is no limit to the area you can work – as there is when you’re tethered by an extension cord. And there is no limit to the amount of time you can spend working – as there is when you have to stop repeatedly to fill a small gas tank.

Pro Tip – Collect Your Leaves When They Are Dry

Any leaf collection tool will work best when the leaves are crisp and dry. Wet leaves weigh much more than dry leaves, and they tend to clump together – making collection more difficult.

Water your lawn early in the day and allow leaves to dry out before you attempt to sweep them up. If it has rained recently, it’s probably better to wait and let things dry out before you start collecting leaves.

What You Should Look for in a New Lawn Sweeper

There are several different factors you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for a new sweeper. Keep in mind that the technology has improved over the years, so the sweepers you find at your local mom and pop shop might not have some of the newer features.

Use these criteria to make your selection, and you can be sure that you’ll get the best lawn sweeper for your money.

Width of Sweeper

You’ll find that there is a difference in the width of coverage for different lawn sweepers. While 5 or 6 inches might not seem like a big difference at first, when you factor in the number of passes across your lawn and include some overlap on each pass – it really starts to add up quickly.

If you compare the largest sweeper on the market against the smallest one, you will likely find that it takes you about twice as many passes across your lawn to collect all of the leaves. Consider the size of your lawn and make sure that you choose a sweeper you’ll be happy with every time you use it.

Size of Hopper Bag

The hopper bags on lawn sweepers are rated by volume using either gallons or cubic feet. There is a huge difference across different models, with some products in the same price range actually having twice the capacity of others.

The reason this is an important factor to consider when you’re shopping is your time. Each time the hopper bag is full, you will need to stop work to empty it – either into bags, into a compost pile, or into a pile at your curb side. Factor in the amount of time it takes to walk back and forth each time the bag is full, and the time required can put a big dent in your productivity.

Depending on the model you choose, you might need to stop work to empty the bag twice as often. Try to find a sweeper that is large enough to manage the leaves on your lawn with minimal stops to empty the bag.

Adjustable Brush Heights

Depending on the type of trees you have, you will get the most effectiveness and efficiency at different brush heights. Large leaves like burr oak, sycamore, and catalpa require a high brush height. Smaller leaves like elms and ash are easier to collect with a brush that runs right up against the ground below.

For maximum speed and efficiency, pick a sweeper that allows you to adjust on the fly to make quick work of whichever leaves are on the ground in front of you.

Wheel Material and Construction

Almost all of the push lawn sweepers available today use solid plastic wheels. This is actually a good quality for a sweeper to have, as it means there is no added maintenance to fill or repair pneumatic wheels. The down-side is that when a wheel breaks, there is probably no possibility of repairing it.

While all of the wheels you find will be plastic, the design and construction of the wheels are actually very important factors to take into account. Smaller wheels mean slower work. Larger wheels are not only faster, but are also better for navigating difficult areas like ditches and depressions in your yard.

Finally, consider the design of the wheel treads. A good design will use a cross-wise pattern to maximize the friction created by the wheels turning – which will increase the power and effectiveness of the brushes that lift the leaves into the collection bin. Wheels that use in-line treads, which run in the same direction as the surface of the wheel, are more prone to slipping and sliding and will generate less friction to power the collection brushes.

Warranty

Today’s lawn sweepers incorporate a lot of moving parts. Brushes, gears, wheels, etc. While most of the products in this category do not come with a manufacturer’s guarantee or warranty – there are a few that do. And I’ve included a few of these in my product reviews below.

You would be wise to select a sweeper that includes a warranty – especially if your lawn is full of divots and holes. Basically, if you have broken many tools in your lawn and garden, you should pick a sweeper that comes with a warranty.

Product Reviews – The Best Lawn Sweeper

Product

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Agri-Fab 45-0218

A

$$

Yardwise 23630-YW

A-

$

Mid West Products B-369

A

$$$

Grizzly T10042

B+

$

Sun Joe SJSW26M

B+

$$

1.Agri-Fab 45-0218

Via Amazon.com

Agri-Fab’s sweeper is right in the middle of the road on most of the important criteria like size, weight, and capacity. Where it stands out is its quality. This model squeezes maximum durability and reliability into a relatively light-weight design. And its quality is made evident by the 3-year warranty that Agri-Fab provides against any defects in materials or workmanship. You won’t find a comparable warranty on any other product in this marketplace.

Most of the parts and pieces are made with a durable, lightweight poly material. The handle, frame, and stand are constructed with lightweight zinc-plated steel tubing. It uses solid plastic wheels that are 9.75 inches in diameter, with an alternating cross-wise tread pattern for maximum traction while rolling.

The effective sweeping area is 26 inches wide. The brushes are fully adjustable so that you can find the “sweet spot” that is most effective for picking up the leaves on your lawn.

The hopper bag can hold a volume of 7 cubic feet (52.36 gallons). The bag is made of vinyl for flexible longevity, and replacement bags are available from the manufacturer if yours wears out over time. It hooks and unhooksfrom the frame quickly for easy emptying and orderly storage.

This sweeper weighs in at 25 pounds even. That’s about average when compared to its competition. The weight is heavy enough to generate a lot of friction on the wheels, which translates in to brush power. But it is light enough for most people to lift to hang for easy storage in a shed or garage.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable brush heights – adjust on the fly for maximum efficiency
  • 26-inch sweeper width
  • 7-gallon hopper volume
  • Large and well-treaded wheels for maximum friction and brush power
  • 3-year manufacturer warranty is the best-in-class

Cons

  • At 25 pounds, it can be strenuous for people with limited strength

2.Yardwise 23630-YW

Via Amazon.com

The Yardwise 23630-YW is a compact option that is great for people with limited strength, or small yards, who prefer a smaller and lighter tool. It includes many of the fancier options that larger sweepers have. But it packs them into a small frame that is only about half as large, and less than half as heavy, as larger models.

The moving parts and the stand are made of a lightweight and durable poly material. The frame is constructed of lightweight metal tubing. The hopper bag is made of vinyl, with a heavy-gauge wire frame for rigidity. The wheels are solid plastic. They do have some cross-wise treading, but the treading is thin and this is an area where Yardwise could really improve the design.

The effective sweeping area for this sweeper is 21 inches, which means it covers the least ground per pass of any sweeper on this list. It’s small. And, as you would expect, the hopper bag also has a smaller capacity than those on larger sweepers. This hopper bag is rated for a volume of up to 26 gallons (3.47 cubic feet). The bag separates from the frame easily for quick emptying.

The height of the collection brushes is fully adjustable by using a screw-turn knob on the front of the sweeper.

The handle folds over easily for efficient storage in small spaces. And because this sweeper only weighs 12 pounds – almost anyone can lift it with ease to hang off the ground in a shed or garage.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable brush heights via the front-mounted control knob
  • 26-gallon hopper volume is small – this can be a bonus for those with limited strength but a drawback for those with larger lawns

Cons

  • Thin wheel treads reduce friction and brush power
  • 21-inch sweeper width – may require many passes on larger lawns
  • No warranty is provided

3.Mid West Products B-369

Via Amazon.com

Mid West’s B-369 uses a simple design to create a sweeper that is large, with maximum capacity, in an extremely lightweight package. The standard model has an effective sweeping area of 26 inches, which is fairly standard. And it is also available in an extra-large model with a 31-inch brush size, which is the largest brush I’ve seen in a product like this.

The brush height is adjustable on the go, using an easy one-handed squeeze control that is located right on the handle.

The front assembly, handle, and frame are all constructed of an extremely lightweight metal. The moving parts and wheels are plastic. The wheels lack any cross-wise tread pattern, which makes them prone to slipping and sliding, especially when the brush is set to a low height. A set of rear casters help to make up for this by evenly distributing the weight and improving maneuverability.

The hopper bag on Mid West’s sweeper is exceptionally large at 8.1 cubic feet (60.59 gallons). This means fewer stops to unload, but it also means that you’re pushing a heavier load by the time the hopper is filled. The rear casters help to make the heavier load more manageable.

The handle folds over for easy storage in small spaces, and the sweeper is easy for anyone to lift at only 6.9 pounds.

Mid West Products provides a 1-year limited parts guarantee against any material defects.


Pros

  • Fully adjustable brush heights – adjust on the fly for maximum efficiency
  • Extra-large hopper bag at 8.1 cubic feet
  • 26-inch sweeper width
  • 1-year limited guarantee on material defects

Cons

  • Lack of cross-wise wheel treads reduces friction and brush power

4. Grizzly T10042

Via Amazon.com

Grizzly’s T10042 is a heavy-weight contender with a powdered metal front assembly, metal handle and frame, and solid plastic wheels. Fully assembled, this sweeper weighs in at 37 pounds which makes it a tie for the heaviest sweeper on this list.

The effective sweeping area is 26 inches, which is standard for its product class. The oversized plastic wheels are 10.5 inches in diameter, with rugged cross-hatched treads to ensure a smooth ride with maximum friction and brush power.

Brush height is adjustable, although you’ll have to stop work to adjust the brushes because the control is located on the front of the sweeper.

The hopper bag can hold 7 cubic feet (52.36 gallons) of debris, and it easily detaches from the frame using simple hooks.


Pros

  • Fully adjustable brush heights via the front-mounted control knob
  • 26-inch sweeper width
  • 7-gallon hopper volume
  • Large and well-treaded wheels for maximum friction and brush power

Cons

  • At 37 pounds, it ties for the heaviest sweeper on this list
  • No warranty is provided

​5. Sun Joe SJSW26M

Via Amazon.com

Sun Joe’s SJSW26M has all of the standard features, with standard size and capacity, and a weight that is a little bit heavy. It ties for the heaviest sweeper I’ve reviewed at 37 pounds even.

The front assembly is powder-coated steel, with a lightweight steel tubing handle and frame. The wheels are made of solid plastic and guarantee plenty of traction and brush power with their robust tread pattern.

It’s effective sweeping area is 26 inches, and the hopper bag holds 52.3 gallons (7 cubic feet) – both standard in this marketplace. The handle folds for easy storage when the sweeper is not in use. At 37 pounds, it will be hard for those with limited strength to lift this sweeper for hanging storage.


Pros

  • Solid steel construction
  • Fully adjustable brush heights via the front-mounted control knob
  • 52.3-gallon hopper volume
  • Robustly-treaded wheels for maximum friction and brush power

Cons

  • At 37 pounds, it ties for the heaviest sweeper on this list
  • No warranty is provided

Choosing the Best Lawn Sweeper for Your Yard

If you’re looking for the best lawn sweeper that will last for many years, and your strength is not limited in any way, then I would definitely recommend the Agri-Fab 45-0218. This model gets you the same sweeping area and hopper capacity in a lighter-weight design than any of its competition. And you just can’t beat Agri-Fab’s 3-year warranty.

If you have limited strength for any reason, or you just have a small yard, then check out the Yardwise 23630-YW. This small sweeper has all of the bells and whistles you get in a larger design, but in a much smaller package that is easy for anyone to move and operate.

I hope you’ll be able to make quick work of your leaf cleanup this season by using the best lawn sweeper for your yard and garden. If you have experience using any of the products on this list – or if you have a favorite sweeper that I’ve neglected to mention – leave me a comment down below to share your thoughts.

James G. Craig
 

James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

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