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TO THE TEST: Leaf blowers; TRICKS of the TRADE.

Byline: Adrienne Wild

YOU could just use a rake, but getting rid of all those leaves can be backbreaking work for weeks on end throughout the autumn.

So why not invest in a garden vac? Look for models that blow as well as vacuum to remove debris from all corners of the garden - if it shreds them too, you'll be able to compost them quickly to make a FREE source of mulch and soil conditioner.

Tested by Gardening Editor ADRIENNE WILD

Blow Vac, B&Q, pounds 28.98 (0845 609 6688, www.diy.com)

FIRST choice for value, this machine has all the features of the more expensive models and does an admirable job of clearing leaves and debris around the garden. The plastic moulding on the handle is a little rough but can be sanded down for extra comfort. The collection bag fills up very quickly and is made from cheap material, which may rot over time.

2600w Blower Vac Black & Decker, pounds 69.99 (01753 511 234, www.blackanddecker.co.uk)

THIS super-powerful machine with blowing and vacuuming attachments makes light work of clearing leaves around the garden. It's especially effective over gravel, lifting debris without dislodging the stones. Although extremely lightweight, you do need strong hands to hold the machine comfortably for any length of time.

Garden Vac 2500w Turbo, pounds 62.50, Flymo (0870 609 1901, www.flymo.com)

THE unique jet action of this blow and vac machine means that it moves the most stubborn leaves from lawns and paths. It shreds leaves without clogging and best of all will clean up cans and litter without you having to change the nozzle. It's especially well balanced, so no back pain, and the functions are simple to switch over.

2220w Electric Blower Vac, pounds 54, Ryobi (0800 783 2202, www.qualitygardentools.com)

THE wheeled patio nozzle on this lightweight machine is great for sucking all the dirt from grooves on decking. Its powerful blowing action dislodges leaves stuck between plants in borders, and the large collection bag holds 45 litres so you can whiz around a small garden.

CAPTION(S):

7/10; 8/10; 10/10; 9/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 28, 2007
Words:362
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