Raking leaves in the fall can be fun and it’s a great workout, but depending on the size of yard, great exercise can soon turn into drudgery. This is when a powerful leaf blower/vacuum can be a huge help. This handy tools do it all. Use the blower function to gather leaves into piles then switch to vacuum mode to suck them up. Many units also feature a mulching mode, so you can turn your leaves and trimmings into rich mulch for your garden. With all of the different models to choose from, it’s hard to decide which leaf blower/vacuum is the right choice. Here are three handy tips that will make finding the perfect model simple and easy.

Gas or Electric

This 3-in-one blower/vacuum/mulcher can grind up to 16 bags of mulch down to one and it weighs just 8.1 pounds. Black + Decker

Leaf blower/vacuums come in two styles—electric and gasoline powered models. Gas-powered models are generally more powerful and are the way to go if you need to move larger volumes of leaves and debris—particularly if they’re wet after a rain or snow. Electric models are usually quieter, however, and you’ll never have to worry about running out of gas. Corded models are fine, but you will be restricted to how far out into the yard you can venture by the length of your extension cord. This is why many homeowners opt for cordless models that give you total mobility.

The Mulcher Option

This gas-powered model generates up to 230 mph of air flow and has a 16: 01 mulch ratio. Poulan Pro

Having the ability to vacuum up leaves is great, but then what do you do with them? Having a leaf-blower/vacuum that also has a built-in mulching feature will turn any leaves or grass clipping you vacuum up into nutrient-rich mulch that can go right onto your flower beds to keep weeds down and hold moisture in so that you water less. And all of those leaves you used to have to bag up won’t be going into a landfill somewhere.

The Noise Factor

This cordless blower/vacuum weighs just two pounds and is perfect for blowing leaves, but the vacuum capability is also great for cleaning hard-to-reach places in your car or shop. Kimo

Noise levels are an important consideration when you’re choosing between various leaf blower/vacuums and neighbors that work nights and need to sleep during the day will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Check the decibel levels of the models you’re considering. And make it a point to always wear hearing protection when operating your blower/vacuum.