Allowing leaves to accumulate on the lawn will smother and kill the grass or invite diseases and insects. The best tool for the job may be the mulching mower.
Two or three passes with a mulching mower will chop leaves into small enough pieces that they can be left on the lawn. A couple of passes with the mower still takes less time than raking, vacuuming or bagging leaves. As the bits of leaves decompose, they improve the quality of the soil and add a small amount of nitrogen.
Another alternative is to put chopped or shredded leaves in your compost pile. This is where a leaf shredder or a mower with a bagger comes in handy. This equipment also can be used to create an instant soil amendment or mulch. The chopped leaves make a rich, organic matter that can be worked into new flowerbeds or used as mulch around plants.