A lawn sweeper, sometimes called a leaf sweeper, is a lawn and back yard tool used for the removal of debris, such as grass clippings, fallen leaves, pine needles, and twigs, from lawns or paved areas.
A lawn sweeper utilizes a system of rotating brushes to sweep up debris and collect it into a hopper for disposal.
There are several different types of lawn sweepers – tow behind or pull behind models, and push lawn sweepers.
A tow behind unit is towed by an ATV or garden tractor and is meant for larger areas.
A push sweeper is very similar to a manual wheeled lawn mower but is powered by hand. It uses a forward-pushing action in order to transfer power from wheels to a brush mechanism by way of a gearing system, making it rotate, and grass clippings and other debris are gathered and transferred into a hopper or bag that is mounted on the machine.
Finding the best lawn sweeper can be a challenge – hopefully my guide will help you with the buying process.
Summary: Here are the best lawn sweepers in 2019:
- Agri-Fab 45-0492: best overall & highest capacity lawn sweeper
- Brinly STS-427LXH: most popular model for general homeowner use
- Ohio Steel 42SWP22: highest rated economical model
- John Deere STS-42JD: most popular with John Deere tractor owners
- Agri-Fab 45-0218: best push lawn sweeper
What is a Lawn Sweeper Used For?
Letting fallen leaves lie and decay on your yard damages grass, impedes growth, causes bare spots to form on your lawn, and contributes to thatch buildup. Raking is an arduous and exhausting task that has to be frequently repeated throughout the Fall season.
A lawn sweeper simplifies the process of raking to clear away grass clippings, leaves, debris, and even pine cones. Basically, a lawn sweeper is an alternative to the use of garden vacuums, leaf blowers, and rakes. It’s also an alternative to grass baggers or lawn mower baggers which usually have a smaller capacity and are more expensive.
Using a sweeper instead of a rake saves time and energy, and works evenly with durable rotating brushes, so that grass does not get damaged while you clean your lawn. A sweeper can hold approximately two times as much as a bagger can so the contents can be emptied less often. In most cases, the operator can empty the sweeper bag without having to get off the tractor.
How To Use a Lawn Sweeper
Lawn sweepers work like a vacuum cleaner by using brushes underneath to pick up any lawn debris and transfer it into a hopper. You might use a lawn sweeper to clean up debris and fallen leaves or to clean up the grass clippings after you’ve mowed it. It’s easy to use a lawn sweeper if you use the following directions.
- First, pick up all large debris from the area, including rocks, branches, and pinecones (a lawn sweeper will pick up grass clippings, small twigs, and leaves, but not very large items).
- Second, mow the lawn as usual. A yard sweeper will work best on grass that is freshly mown at the same height. Set your lawn sweeper’s brush height equal to the height of the grass with either a handle or a dial.
- Third, start pushing or pulling your lawn sweeper in paths across your lawn. Turn the sweeper around at the path’s end and make sure the tires are placed in the finished path’s track for good overlap coverage.
Finally, when your hopper is full, empty it onto a tarp or in a selected location.
Types of Lawn Sweepers
There are two main types of lawn sweepers – pull behind or tow behind sweepers, and push lawn sweepers. The tow behind lawn sweeper is run by towing it behind a tractor or riding lawn mower. The sweepers are large, don’t need any physical effort to run, and pick up much more debris in a shorter time span. These sweepers are usually more expensive.
A push lawn sweeper works by manually pushing it like a lawn mower over the area that you want to sweep. This machine is eco-friendly (since it doesn’t use any gasoline), quiet, and usually requires less storage space. It is most suitable for smaller lawns since it runs at a lower speed, it’s a smaller size, and it gathers less debris.
A tow behind or pull behind lawn sweeper is usually preferred to a push lawn sweeper since it requires less manual labor and clears lawns faster. They are attached to the back of a riding mower, ATV or lawn tractor and are towed across your property. They are heavier, larger, and more costly than push lawn sweepers, and are best suited for bigger lawns that require regular clean-ups of a large amount of debris.
A push lawn sweeper is not as popular, and not seen as much as tow behind sweepers. They are manually operated and are most often smaller than tow behind sweepers. An operator pushes the sweeper in front of them, exactly like a manual lawn mower. As you walk along and push, the sweeper’s wheels spin several brushes located underneath the sweeper, which will collect the debris, and finally dump it into the collection hopper. Once the hopper’s full, you simply detach it, empty out all the contents, and then re-attach the hopper to continue to sweep what’s left of the lawn.
Push lawn sweepers are great for smaller areas or lawns, or for those people who don’t own a riding mower or lawn tractor. They are very effective for clearing lighter debris such as grass clippings and leaves, and unlike tow-behind lawn sweepers, they don’t cause any pollution. A push lawn sweeper can be the perfect answer for a person that has a smaller lawn and doesn’t mind putting some physical effort into clearing their lawn.
How To Determine The Best Lawn Sweeper To Buy
You love your trees and wouldn’t live in a place without them. But when Autumn comes around and those leaves start falling in droves, it’s time to consider purchasing a leaf sweeper or yard sweeper. You’ll want to purchase a lawn sweeper that will pick up lawn debris and leaves quickly and with ease so that your yard will once again look beautiful and clean without having to use a rake (or break your back :)).
Which sweeper is best for your needs?
First of all, you should make sure that whatever sweeper you buy has a tear resistant hopper, stamped steel or poly housings, and durable brushes. If you own a lawn tractor, ATV, or a zero-turn mower, you should consider purchasing a pull behind lawn sweeper.
Tow behind sweepers come in various widths. If your property is very large, consider a 100″ sweeper. A smaller sized property probably only needs a 21″ sweeper. Smaller yards might need a 12 cubic foot hopper, and larger lawns might need a 26 cubic foot hopper. Choose a hitch depending on what you’re using to tow the sweeper. If you’re uncertain of height requirements, opt for a multi-hitch height sweeper.
Choose a push lawn sweeper if you don’t mind getting a little exercise, if your lawn is relatively small and flat if you only want to pick up lighter debris (grass clippings and leaves), and if you don’t own a tractor, ATV, or riding mower. Push lawn sweepers are less expensive and will save you time vs raking.
How To Maintain Your Lawn Sweeper
You’ve done your research and found the best lawn sweeper for your yard, now make sure you maintain it properly.
- First of all, make sure your machine is properly assembled. Depending on how frequently you use your sweeper, a thorough check should be performed every three months (based on weekly usage). Examine the sweeper from the center outward, and finish up with cleaning and washing the exterior.
- Second, examine the wheels. Make sure they’re inflated correctly and check, clean, and oil the axle joints.
- Third, before each use, you should check the condition of your brushes. Order replacements if they’re starting to look a little worn. If they look good but still aren’t operating correctly, double check that they are tight and in the right position, and that they’re properly oiled.
- Fourth, make sure that you empty your hopper regularly. If you let the contents get too heavy, you are risking ripping and tearing. You might also consider putting some strong tape on the hopper bag’s base so that the fabric that might have contact with the ground is reinforced.
- Fifth, make sure that the chute isn’t clogged every time you start to use the sweeper. A visual check is sufficient.
- Sixth, if possible, clean after each use.
- Finally, winterize your equipment before you put it away for the winter. Clean it thoroughly, fix anything that needs it, order replacement parts, and oil all moving parts. Cover it well with some plastic tarp and hang it up on the wall, using the hitch.
Lawn Sweeper Reviews
1) Agri-Fab 45-0492 Tow Behind Sweeper
- 25 cubic feet mesh back “flow through” hopper reduces the time necessary for emptying because it fills up more completely
- Sweeper tongue counterbalanced in order to sweep and cut in just one pass without the use of tools
- Easy-to-use indicator on pull-button brush height adjustment lever ensures no slippage and optimum height for this sweeper’s best performance
- Bag is lightweight
- Plastic gear-teeth in wheels are breakable
The Agri-Fab 45-0492 44 Inch Lawn Sweeper is my choice for the best lawn sweeper available. This model features an improved dump lever which can be run without ever getting off your tractor seat. It has durable, tough brushes to clean away leaves, grass clippings, pine cones, and an extra large flow-through bag (25 cubic feet) which holds approximately 2-3 times more than a typical two-bin bagger. Brush height adjustment is easily adjustable to alter sweeping height while the machine is in operation. Purchasers appreciate its easy adjustment to the side or center patented offset switch, which permits sweeping and mowing simultaneously. This sweeper can also be collapsed and folded up without the use of tools and will save on storage space.
Other features of this quality tow behind lawn sweeper include easy assembly (only 2 of its nuts and bolts need tools to put together clevis pins that are used elsewhere), an adjustable folding hitch and collapsible hopper, semi-pneumatic 12″ x 3″ wheels, and a small storage footprint. If more versatility is required, you can attach the Agri-Fab de-thatcher up front so you can sweep and detach at the same time. A dethatcher is perfect for clearing away any compacted dead organic matter, and for kicking up pine straw so that the sweeper brushes can collect it for composting or disposal.
The Agri-Fab 44-Inch Lawn Sweeper is a well built and rugged piece of equipment. The sweeper can be offset to either the right or left of your tractor, and the preset height adjustment holes will only adjust the brushes (not the complete housing), so the sweeper-to-tractor orientation remains correct. This yard sweeper also features bronze inserts in its wheels for greater durability.
2) Brinly STS-427LXH Tow Behind Sweeper
- 42-inch sweep and roomy 20 cubic foot hamper allows less emptying and fewer passes over your yard
- Six high-velocity brushes have an indexed brush height adjustment for maximum pick-up of debris
- Patented storage design allows easy, convenient storage with a minimal amount of space required
- Assembly is difficult
- Would prefer to have 1 more lower setting for picking up smaller twigs
The Brinly 20 Cubic Feet STS-427LXH 42-Inch Tow Behind Lawn Sweeper is a high-performance sweeper that sweeps up grass clippings, leaves, pine needles and thatch (old grass) after de-thatching. Its sturdy poly weave fabric hamper can haul and hold 20 cubic feet of lawn material. It has 6 high-velocity brushes that continuously rotate to pick up material, even while the tractor is turning. It has a simple adjustable brush-to-ground contact which provides maximum performance and minimizes skipping. Gathered material can be emptied from your tractor seat simply by using the pull-rope and ergonomic T-handle. When work is completed, this leaf sweeper collapses into an upright position for easy storage.
The Brinly 42-Inch Tow Behind Lawn Sweeper has a 5:1 brush-to-wheel ratio design which allows increased brush-to-ground contact for a cleaner sweep of grass clippings, leaves, pine needles, and assorted yard debris. It features a new twist and lock height adjustment which ensures that the brush height setting stays in place, even if you are driving over very uneven terrain. This machine has a hamper capacity of 16 bushels and a working width of 42 inches. It features 12″ x 3″ wheels, a shipping weight of 80 pounds, and dimensions of 69″ x 53″ x 38″.
3) Ohio Steel 42SWP22 Tow Behind Sweeper Spiral Brush
- 4.5-1 brush-to-wheel turning ratio
- Super wide 9″ chute helps prevent clogging
- Completely removable and collapsible hopper for rapid and compact storage
- Tensioning rods were difficult to assemble
The Ohio Steel 42″ 22 Cubic Feet 42SWP22 Sweeper Spiral Brush is a professional grade lawn sweeper. It features an extra-wide sweeping path of 42″, as well as a 22 cubic foot heavy-duty collector bag which facilitates quick and efficient lawn care. This machine has patented exclusive 11″ spiral brushes which sweep more effectively than other standard sweepers and also puts a lot less stress on gears to encourage a longer life. Its hopper empties easily by pulling the rope while seated on your tractor. Simply reverse to compost or debris area, pull the rope and the job is finished.
The Ohio Steel Sweeper Spiral Brush features sealed ball bearings on its brush axle, a hitch pin, and a five position hitch adjustment which gives a custom fit for all tractor brands. It has a positive lock “no-slip” height adjustment, which ensures that it won’t vibrate out of the correct position. The wider 9″ chute clogs less often, especially if you’re sweeping moist grass clippings that may clump together. The three position hitch adjustment provides effective level operation for any tractor hitch height, without having to use easy-to-lose spacer rings.
This sweeper features 11″ semi-pneumatic wheels, black and gray powder-coat finish, sealed ball-bearings on the brush axle, and includes a hitch pin. This pull behind lawn sweeper weighs 84 pounds, has a working width of 42″, and an approximate capacity of 22 cubic feet. Its bagger volume is 17 1/2 bushels.
4) John Deere Lawn Sweeper: STS-42J
- Works with all riding mowers and lawn tractors that have universal hitches
- Great for picking up pine needles
- Bar for emptying the hopper isn’t reachable from a rear engine tractor’s seat
- Friction between the metal gears and the plastic wheels affects wheel durability
The John Deere Tow-Behind Lawn Sweeper collects grass clippings and leaves with powerful brushes that sweep clean the first time it goes through. One-pass performance is provided by an extra large hamper and a sweeping path of 42 inches. Its 6 11″ diameter brushes have a higher tip velocity which provides extra force to lift objects off the ground and directly into the hamper. It also provides compact storage either standing upright or hanging with an exclusive, patented self-storing feature.
The John Deere Tow Behind Lawn Sweeper has a convenient pull cord which makes unloading while seated a snap (although this didn’t work well for us). Although this lawn sweeper is in the upper price bracket, it is a high-quality build and delivers a strong performance. It works just as well on dried or freshly cut grass as it does on wet lawns, a feature that few other lawn sweepers possess. It is also very efficient at picking up larger pieces of lawn debris.
Another good design feature is the simple to use single-knob adjustment for setting brush height. It is capable of picking up grass clippings, wet and dry leaves, twigs and sticks, pine needles, walnuts, acorns, sticks, stones, burr balls, magnolia tree pods, and more. Its wheels are pneumatically operated, and provide a better grip which prevents continual starting and stopping. Assembly of this lawn sweeper is straightforward.
5) Agri-Fab 45-0218 26-Inch Push Model
- 9.75″ x 2.25″ plastic wheels
- Minimum assembly is required
- Collapsible hopper simply hooks and unhooks, and is collapsible for storage
- Brush assembly doesn’t turn on the low setting
- Only works if you have a totally flat yard without roots or dips
The 26 Inch Agri-Fab 45-0218 Push Lawn Sweeper is an easy-to-push lightweight machine. This push lawn sweeper has adjustable height settings, a lightweight but strong poly construction, and a hopper bag that disconnects to empty. It weighs 25 pounds, is 26″ wide, has a 7 cubic feet capacity, and is light enough to hang for storage easily.
This machine is durable and can quickly pick up leaves, whether they are whole or have been broken down by mowing. It speeds up your yard work and is suited for smaller yards. This lawn sweeper is not suitable for use on wet or matted down leaves, or on pine needles, but is perfect for keeping up with the barrage of dry mid-Autumn leaves. Since it’s manually operated, it produces no gas or noise pollution.
The Agri-Fab 26″ push lawn sweeper has a completely adjustable sweeper level, a zinc-plated steel frame and polypropylene housing, and a replaceable vinyl bag with a capacity of approximately 7 cubic feet. Although its bag is on the small side and fills up quickly, it makes up for it with its easy maneuverability.
After careful consideration of many tow behind and push lawn sweepers, our recommendation is the multifaceted Agri-Fab 45-0492 Lawn Sweeper. This sweeper is well made and functions well as advertised. It comes with clear instructions, and assembly is easy. Any questions can be addressed by looking at some helpful YouTube videos. Online reviewers overwhelmingly gave this model the highest rating possible. They mentioned that it cut their work time in half, it picked up a wide variety of debris (including oak leaves, sweet gum leaves, pinecones, and acorns), and the hopper was large and very efficient. It is highly effective in picking up leaves, grass trimmings, and more.
Watch any instructional videos about your machine and read the owner manual thoroughly. Examine your sweeper for loose parts. If at any point you are unsure of what to do, consult the experts at your local garden store.