Will a Lawn Sweeper Pick Up Walnuts, Acorns, or Pine Needles?

A rake is usually the first line of defense when it comes to yard clean-up. We’ve all earned blisters after hours of clean up with a rake. It’s hard, slow work!

If you don’t want to use a plastic leaf rake to clean up your yard, what are your options? If you have a lot of trees, you may be wondering if a lawn sweeper or lawn vacuum is worth the investment.

What’s the Difference Between a Lawn Sweeper and a Leaf Vacuum?

Lawn Sweepers

A lawn sweeper moves across a surface (usually a lawn, as the name suggests). It uses a rotating brush to pick up leaves, pine needles, or other debris. The debris is then deposited into a hopper.

Push Lawn Sweepers

There are two types of lawn sweepers.

A push lawn sweeper, or manual lawn sweeper, looks a lot like a mower. It works kind of like one, too. The user manually pushes the sweeper around the yard. The brushes pick up any debris.

Push lawn sweepers are ideal for small yards or yards with a lot of hills and bumps. They’re small, lightweight, and easy to maneuver. They require a little more effort to use since they rely on your push power to keep them going!

Tow Behind Lawn Sweepers

A tow behind yard sweeper is typically a lot larger. It is hitched to a riding lawn mower or tractor and is towed around the yard. These are great for a large yard!

Tow behind sweepers typically have a larger hopper, as well, so you won’t need to empty it as often. This sweeper requires a tractor or riding mower to pull it and is less maneuverable than a push sweeper.

Leaf Vacuums

Picture a vacuum cleaner for your lawn. These tools can be gas-powered, battery-powered, or use an extension cord. The debris from your yard is sucked into a receptacle. Leaf vacuums can get into narrow spaces easily.

Will a Lawn Sweeper Pick Up Acorns?

Why Pick Up Acorns?

If you are the lucky owner of a sweeping oak tree, you know all too well the debris it can leave behind!  Acorns can be a hazard to you and your lawn.

  • If acorns are caught in the mower, they can be launched out at high speed. This can be dangerous to anyone nearby!
  • Acorns can sprout into seedlings, giving you one more yard task to deal with.
  • Acorns can attract squirrels and other pests to your yard.

Lawn Sweepers & Acorns

A lawn sweeper is very effective at picking up acorns, sticks, and other debris out of your lawn. The acorns will be deposited into a hopper that will need to be emptied as it fills up.

Lawn Vacuums & Acorns

A heavy-duty lawn vacuum will also pick up acorns. However, not all lawn vacuums are created equal. If you want to use a lawn vacuum to pick up acorns, make sure the motor is up for the task first!

Will a Lawn Sweeper Pick Up Walnuts?

Walnuts can make a big mess in your yard!

Don’t wait to pick them up. Once the husks start to disintegrate, the walnuts become a black, sticky mess. Picking up an entire yard full of walnuts may seem like a daunting task.

Lawn Sweepers & Walnuts

Most lawn sweepers won’t pick up larger nuts like walnuts. Unfortunately, walnuts are too large and heavy for the brushes to collect.

Lawn Vacuums & Walnuts

A lawn vacuum is no match for walnuts either! These machines are designed to pick up leaves, twigs, and small debris.

How Do I Pick Up Walnuts?

A straightforward rake is always an option! Rake the walnuts into a pile, then scoop the pile of nuts up with the rake or a shovel. Wear gloves while handling black walnuts! They can be messy.

A small, manual nut gatherer like this is a simple, inexpensive, yet effective tool in the fight against walnuts. It may take a while to gather all the nuts, but it will be easier to handle than a rake!

The Bag-A-Nut nut gatherer works to pick up objects that are ⅝” to 1 ½” in diameter. This is a good solution for a large yard with a lot of walnut trees! The small, rubbery tines pick the nuts out of the grass, then deposit them into a hopper.

This is an expensive option, however!

Will a Lawn Sweeper Pick Up Pine Needles?

Pine trees are a beautiful way to have shade and privacy year-round! However, all those needles do eventually drop when new needles are ready to grow. Then what? Leaving pine needles on your grass can smother and kill your lawn.

Pine needles are notoriously difficult to pick up with a traditional rake. Since they are so small and fine, they do not rake up as easily as leaves or twigs. A rubber rake may help grab the needles.

Lawn Sweepers & Pine Needles

A lawn sweeper is an ideal tool to pick up pine needles. You don’t even need a large, tow-behind model because pine needles are usually contained in the immediate area around the pine tree. Since the needles are small and light, even a small lawn sweeper does a great job picking them up.

There will still probably be a few needles left if you have bumps or depressions in your yard.

Lawn Vacuums & Pine Needles

A lawn vacuum will also pick up those pesky needles! It is important to choose the right model for the job. You will need a turf vacuum with a wide nozzle and a large-capacity collection bag. Even then, you may need to go over the area several times to get all the needles.

Use caution when vacuuming pine needles! They may be hiding rocks or other debris that could damage your lawn vacuum. Avoid delicate plants or flowers, as well.

Should I Get a Lawn Sweeper or a Leaf Vacuum?


A lawn vacuum is more complicated than a simple, manual-powered lawn sweeper. Therefore, the cost will be much higher.

Even if you need a tow-behind lawn sweeper, the cost still isn’t very high. You do have to supply the tractor, though!

Environmental Concerns

A lawn vacuum is powered by gas or electricity. There will be some emissions and noise when you use any lawn tool with a motor.

A push lawn sweeper is manual and does not require any motor! If you use a tow-behind lawn sweeper, you will need a tractor or riding mower to tow it.


Whether you choose a lawn vacuum, a push lawn sweeper or a tow-behind sweeper depends on your lawn care needs. A larger area requires a larger machine. You will also want to evaluate your time limitations when it comes to lawn care.

A lawn vacuum with a detachable nozzle will allow you to reach all the nooks and crannies of your yard! It may not be able to lift some of the heavier debris, however.

A push lawn sweeper is very lightweight and maneuverable. It is excellent for reaching every corner of your lawn!  If your property is very large, a tow-behind lawn sweeper will cover a large area with little effort.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have a large yard, or a small one, a lot of clean-up, or just a little, there is a lawn tool for every job.