Leaf blower recommendation

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nonnie
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Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

I hate leaf blowers. I hate the idea, the hate the noise, I don't like them. That said, however, we and our neighbors have lots of decidious trees and the leaves are already starting to fall. It's nearly impossible to rake them with a layer of mulch underneath and so a leaf blower has been recommended. I like the idea of a battery operated one but they don't seem to get very good reviews. The thought of dragging around a 100 foot cord for an electric one or keeping the gas mixture around for a gas powered one doesn't thrill me. Any recommendations on what has worked best for you?

negative Nonnie :happy
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dhodson
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by dhodson »

Backpack leaf blower is the way to go

Mine is echo if I'm not mistaken
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Toons
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by Toons »

Over the years I have owned electric blowers,cords always a nusiance.
A few months ago I purchased a Black & Decker NSW18 18-Volt NiCad Cordless Sweeper from
Amazon.It is the Lighter weight version of the 2 leaf blowers they sell on their site but I have
been EXTREMELY pleased with the performance :happy

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-NSW1 ... ker+blower
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

Toons wrote:Over the years I have owned electric blowers,cords always a nusiance.
A few months ago I purchased a Black & Decker NSW18 18-Volt NiCad Cordless Sweeper from
Amazon.It is the Lighter weight version of the 2 leaf blowers they sell on their site but I have
been EXTREMELY pleased with the performance :happy

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-NSW1 ... ker+blower
Thanks, this is exactly the kind of info I've been looking for. How long can you go on one charge or before it starts losing power--in minutes or in sq feet? (I guess that'd probably depend on how many leaves?)
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Toons
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by Toons »

nonnie wrote:
Toons wrote:Over the years I have owned electric blowers,cords always a nusiance.
A few months ago I purchased a Black & Decker NSW18 18-Volt NiCad Cordless Sweeper from
Amazon.It is the Lighter weight version of the 2 leaf blowers they sell on their site but I have
been EXTREMELY pleased with the performance :happy

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-NSW1 ... ker+blower
Thanks, this is exactly the kind of info I've been looking for. How long can you go on one charge or before it starts losing power--in minutes or in sq feet? (I guess that'd probably depend on how many leaves?)
Not sure how long it will go on one charge as I use it approx.20-25 minutes(doesn't lose any of its power in that time frame) and then I just plug the battery into the charging unit in the garage.Works great on deck,driveway,patio etc.If you go to the amazon site there is a video review that was submitted that might be helpful
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
TA_Lurker
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by TA_Lurker »

Aren't leaf blowers terrible for your health? Between the exhaust from the engine and the particulates blown into the air I would think about wearing a mask.
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

TA_Lurker wrote:Aren't leaf blowers terrible for your health? Between the exhaust from the engine and the particulates blown into the air I would think about wearing a mask.
Thank you, great reminder-- I've never used one of these things but thinking of the particulates with a rake and mulch ...
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

Toons wrote: Not sure how long it will go on one charge as I use it approx.20-25 minutes(doesn't lose any of its power in that time frame) and then I just plug the battery into the charging unit in the garage.Works great on deck,driveway,patio etc.If you go to the amazon site there is a video review that was submitted that might be helpful
Thanks--good video and I don't want to go longer than 25 minutes me-self! :happy
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thewizzer
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by thewizzer »

I'll caution you against the battery powered leaf blower. It should really be called a battery powered blower, because it doesn't pack near the wallop needed to move a pile of leaves. I own a battery powered (it came in a combo kit with a new battery powered string trimmer). I really like it quite a bit because it's super handy in cleaning the driveway and sidewalk after I mow. HOWEVER, it's extremely underpowered and isn't nearly strong enough to move a pile of wet leaves. Dried grass ->yes. Wet leaves -> heck no.

I also own a corded leaf blower/mulcher. The cord is inconvenient, no doubt. But it's way strong enough to move a mountain of leaves and halfway decent at mulching as well. I never looked into a backpack unit because I'm not a huge fan of maintaining small engines.
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daytona084
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by daytona084 »

Maybe you have too many leaves for this, but... I mulch the leaves with a mulching lawn mower as much as possible. If the volume is just too much, pick up the balance with the bagging attachment to the lawn mower.

If the volume of leaves is just too much for this, consider the Billy Goat... http://www.billygoat.com/
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

wjwhitney wrote:Maybe you have too many leaves for this, but... I mulch the leaves with a mulching lawn mower as much as possible. If the volume is just too much, pick up the balance with the bagging attachment to the lawn mower.

If the volume of leaves is just too much for this, consider the Billy Goat... http://www.billygoat.com/
harumph-- if I'm gonna get a machine like this, I wanna ride on it! Plus, we just took out all our lawn so no need for a mower. But thanks--it's really our neighbor's huge, huge, huge-- did I say 30 feet tall oak tree--that's the culprit. Maybe I need a chain saw :happy
Last edited by nonnie on Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

thewizzer wrote:I'll caution you against the battery powered leaf blower. It should really be called a battery powered blower, because it doesn't pack near the wallop needed to move a pile of leaves. I own a battery powered (it came in a combo kit with a new battery powered string trimmer). I really like it quite a bit because it's super handy in cleaning the driveway and sidewalk after I mow. HOWEVER, it's extremely underpowered and isn't nearly strong enough to move a pile of wet leaves. Dried grass ->yes. Wet leaves -> heck no.

I also own a corded leaf blower/mulcher. The cord is inconvenient, no doubt. But it's way strong enough to move a mountain of leaves and halfway decent at mulching as well. I never looked into a backpack unit because I'm not a huge fan of maintaining small engines.
Thanks-- when I sent the link from a previous post to my partner and he read the Amazon review where a few folks had commented on it being underpowered, that's exactly what he said. And since I don't think I can convince all the leaves to drop before the rains start--although it may actually happen-- I think you're right about wet leaves and since leaves are all we're going to be dealing with ...

Nonnie
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scubadiver
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by scubadiver »

I understand the OP is not particularly interested in the gas leaf blower, but I would encourage some consideration of the Husqvarna 150BT.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_192729-86886-15 ... na%20150bt

This is my third season with the Husqvarna and I can't say enough good things about it. You will have to maintain a separate 50:1 gas:oil mix for it ( :( ), but I also have a husqvarna weed trimmer that requires the same mix so it's not such a big deal. On a typical fall Saturday I'll spend an 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour, maybe more, clearing our yard of leaves so this thing gets a lot of use.

Never had a problems with fumes, dust (and I have rather severe allergies) or noise.

The only down side is the price --- its definitely not one of the cheaper models out there, but if you'll be using it a lot, I think it's well worth it.
ResNullius
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by ResNullius »

dhodson wrote:Backpack leaf blower is the way to go

Mine is echo if I'm not mistaken
I have used the same backpack Echo for 8 years now, although my wife is using it now because I now have a pacemaker and you can't get that close to a running motor without messing up the pacemaker. Anyway, Echo makes blowers that pass the noise restrictions in California, and they are fairly strict. Bottom line: The noise from our Echo isn't sufficient to require hearing protection, but it blows the daylights out of the leaves. Starts right away, no servicing required, just gas it up and blow.
snowx800
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by snowx800 »

Redmax leaf blower 6 years old runs like new. The power is fantastic.
Just buy the small premix bottles of oil and mix to 1 gallon gas
Very easy.
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

Costco has an interesting blower online right now-- leaving aside the fact that it's electric, how important/helpful is it to have the mulching/vacuum function?

http://tinyurl.com/9sp6jmc

Nonnie Novice
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mikem
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by mikem »

ResNullius wrote:
dhodson wrote:Backpack leaf blower is the way to go

Mine is echo if I'm not mistaken
I have used the same backpack Echo for 8 years now, although my wife is using it now because I now have a pacemaker and you can't get that close to a running motor without messing up the pacemaker. Anyway, Echo makes blowers that pass the noise restrictions in California, and they are fairly strict. Bottom line: The noise from our Echo isn't sufficient to require hearing protection, but it blows the daylights out of the leaves. Starts right away, no servicing required, just gas it up and blow.
+3 on the Echo. Commercial backpack runs on 50/1 Stihl oil. 11 yrs old and starts w/ second pull. Dont even bother with electric unless you have a tiny yard. Like any other tool...you get what you pay for.
scb175
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by scb175 »

I work at a golf course where we use the higher end backpack blowers religiously.

If you need any specific model number, don't be afraid to ask. I have used the Echo, Redmax, and Husqvarna, and the best out of the bunch is Redmax.

This is over 12yrs of experience.
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mike143
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by mike143 »

scb175 wrote:I work at a golf course where we use the higher end backpack blowers religiously.

If you need any specific model number, don't be afraid to ask. I have used the Echo, Redmax, and Husqvarna, and the best out of the bunch is Redmax.

This is over 12yrs of experience.
As of 2007 Husqvarna owns Redmax, don't know how this affects their blowers if they are still separate lines or repackaged.

Ethanol gas is the biggest enemy to small engines. Find straight gas or use STA-BIL MARINE, if you are going to store the ethanol gas for more than a week or two.

I only have experience with ECHO so really can't speak of other brands.

Here is a good site if you want to see what those in the lawn arts think: www.lawnsite.com
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dratkinson
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by dratkinson »

I've used a corded Toro leaf blower/bagger on my postage-stamp estate since 2001---advertised as producing *240 (*correction) mph wind stream. The cord was a consideration, but not a deal breaker.

It has an attachment so you can convert it into a leaf vacuum/bagger. The leaves are shredded going through the impeller and compress a little so it does stuff the bag full, but still the bag fills quickly and needs frequent emptying.

I've used a riding bagging mower and a push bagging mower, those two also filled quickly and needed frequent emptying.

I've learned I don't like emptying leaf bags---stopping work, traveling to the dump point, dumping, returning to work---as it seemed most of my time was spent in tending to the bagger. If you "need" a leaf bagger, get a BIG one so you can spend more time working.

I've decided I much prefer just mulching the leaves in-place, or blowing them into a mulch pile to rot over the winter for spring reuse.



A saving grace for the corded electric Toro is that it is both (1) light weight and (2) strong. It does a super fast job of blowing the leaves out of my gutters. (Do this when it has not rained for a week as wet leaves blowing back into your face is no fun. Wear glasses.) I would be a uncomfortable wearing a heavier backpack unit for the same job.



Of course, my leaf problem became much less since my neighbor and I removed five large trashy trees. :)



(Added) Just back from HD and noticed the new Toro electric leaf blower has a serrated metal impeller to better shred leaves. Claims to pack 16 bags of un-shredded leaves into 1 bag of shredded leaves.
Last edited by dratkinson on Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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newprestonpete
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by newprestonpete »

I have used a Stihl BR 550 for the last three years without a single problem. Not the cheapest unit, but it is a quality product.
http://www.stihlusa.com/products/blower ... ers/br550/
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

OK-- my partner refuses electric because of cord problems, his independent research finds battery powered not that effective and independently has decided he wants a backpack (expensive model--guess they all are).

Don't forget, our yard is 100% plants and mulch and from my limited research I don't think we can do anything but *blow* the leaves for collection.

Questions:
#1-I don't see how we can suck/vacuum leaves up without also sucking up the mulch--is this correct?
#2-Regardless of brand and all the top three CR and BH rated--Stihl, Husqvarna and Echo seem to be in the same price range- why a backpack model?

Thanks much for all the input.

Nonnie
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vesalius
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by vesalius »

mike143 wrote:
scb175 wrote:I work at a golf course where we use the higher end backpack blowers religiously.

If you need any specific model number, don't be afraid to ask. I have used the Echo, Redmax, and Husqvarna, and the best out of the bunch is Redmax.

This is over 12yrs of experience.
As of 2007 Husqvarna owns Redmax, don't know how this affects their blowers if they are still separate lines or repackaged.

Ethanol gas is the biggest enemy to small engines. Find straight gas or use STA-BIL MARINE, if you are going to store the ethanol gas for more than a week or two.

I only have experience with ECHO so really can't speak of other brands.

Here is a good site if you want to see what those in the lawn arts think: http://www.lawnsite.com
Agreed on the site. I have used it for the last 3 years to guide lawn equipment purchases.

When looking for a blower, I went with recommendations there stating that the Husqvarna 125b had the most bang for the buck, beating out almost everyone on reliability, power and weight. Several of the lawn services used them over 3-4 years for hours a day, and their reliability was at least on par with all the other commercial brands. The caveat with the Echoes was only that they seemed to suffer from reports of ethanol gas damage more than than the husqvarna and they costed more.

The only hand held blower I know of decisively better is the Maruyama BL3200, with more wind velocity, more power, same weight and a 5 year commercial warranty, but it cost $30-50 more.
likegarden
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by likegarden »

It depends on the size of your lot and the design of your landscape. I have a 1/2 acre lot with perennial and conifer beds. I have a corded electric Black & Decker vacuum /blower, and like it. I use the vacuum/blower to vacuum leaves which accumulated around plantings, discard them or compost them. The cord does not hinder me. I never used it as a blower, my lawnmower is more efficient for it, because it compresses the mass of leaves by shredding them. Some years I rarely used it because leaves were wet, so I raked.
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Bengineer
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by Bengineer »

The optimal blower depends on your yard. Nothing beats a backpack blower for getting leaves wet or dry off your lawn and herding them to the gutter. You can blow every bit of mulch and anything else that isn't bolted down out of your perennial beds with one. :wink:

We've been of the "more beds, less grass" ilk for the last few houses. Getting leaves out of the shrubbery is just a PITA, particularly if you have the great fortune to live under trees with pointy leaves such as sycamores. They cling to those azaleas with amazing tenacity.

I find working the beds with a blower in one hand and a small leaf rake or stick in the other works best for me in getting the leaves out while leaving [most of] the mulch in place. It is a fine art to get the leaves airborne while leaving the mulch. Mulching with large bark nuggets or stone help in this regard.

My perfect blower would be a backpack with fine throttle control. Slight thread hijack: Anyone have a blower with this kind of control? My ancient 2-cycle hand-held is pretty much a two-speed: idle, wide open.
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Aptenodytes
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by Aptenodytes »

When I was a child nobody had leafblowers, and somehow we survived, plus we had the benefit of tranquil fall weekends. Now they are ubiquitous, and the noise pollution is insane. I predict that eventually we will realize how much has been lost and will ban these horrible devices. Some municipalities around here have already done so -- not mine, alas. Technology might make the debate moot by coming up with powerful, quiet alternatives.

I have lots of deciduous trees in my yard, and what I do is mow them in place several times during the leaf season. My mower is electric and reasonably quiet. It doesn't look pristine, but the trade-off is well worth it for me. If I get a very heavy concentration in a short period, I scoop them onto a tarp with a rake and move them -- if I place them near the road the town will take them to a composting facility; if I take them to a remote corner of the yard they slowly decompose there.
scubadiver
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by scubadiver »

Bengineer wrote:My perfect blower would be a backpack with fine throttle control. Slight thread hijack: Anyone have a blower with this kind of control? My ancient 2-cycle hand-held is pretty much a two-speed: idle, wide open.
The husqvarna 150 BT. See my earlier post for a link. In all fairness, I suspect this feature is rather common in newer leaf blowers.
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

Aptenodytes wrote:When I was a child nobody had leafblowers, and somehow we survived, plus we had the benefit of tranquil fall weekends. Now they are ubiquitous, and the noise pollution is insane.
I´m the OP _see my first two sentences at beginning. We tried raking but it is impossible to do without also raking up the bark mulch nuggets. I suppose I could spend several hours or more handpicking them or maybe I could get one of those pointed sticks and stab them all to death.
When I was a kid we didn't have mulch, just lawns, lots of pesticides and chemicals and lots of wasted water. Compromise is the hobgoblin of life!

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Aptenodytes
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by Aptenodytes »

nonnie wrote:
Aptenodytes wrote:When I was a child nobody had leafblowers, and somehow we survived, plus we had the benefit of tranquil fall weekends. Now they are ubiquitous, and the noise pollution is insane.
I´m the OP _see my first two sentences at beginning. We tried raking but it is impossible to do without also raking up the bark mulch nuggets. I suppose I could spend several hours or more handpicking them or maybe I could get one of those pointed sticks and stab them all to death.
When I was a kid we didn't have mulch, just lawns, lots of pesticides and chemicals and lots of wasted water. Compromise is the hobgoblin of life!

Nonnie
I understand that compromise is necessary, and it certainly sounds like you are trying to make a responsible choice given tough constraints. It may not be appropriate in your case, but you might try mowing over the leaves with a mulching mower. At a high setting it might deal with your leaves without disturbing the bark mulch underneath. I only have a few spots of bark mulch in my yard and it works fine there. It definitely won't look the same, and if neat looking mulch is important, this won't be appropriate for you. What I've found is that within a few weeks of warm weather the chopped up leaves decompose to near invisibility. They will be quite prominently visible in the fall and winter, though.
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

Aptenodytes wrote:[I understand that compromise is necessary, and it certainly sounds like you are trying to make a responsible choice given tough constraints. It may not be appropriate in your case, but you might try mowing over the leaves with a mulching mower.
Um, there's no lawn. My entire yard- back and front is plants- spaced anywhere from 6" to 2' apart and then there's the ground cover in some areas which is solid coverage and would be killed. It makes me crazy to even think about trying to maneuver a mower (there are also lots of landscaping rocks, mounds and hills of dirt) around the landscape. I don't know where you live but in CA leaves, even chopped up, do NOT decompose AND they not only change the acid/alkaline balance of the soil they also start molding--a health issue for us. The other issue for us is that the leaves are bright red-- beautiful on the trees, not so nice strewn about and it's a brand new landscape. Perhaps in a couple years, we'll be less fussy-- but then we'll be mid-70s and I'll just hire someone to do it and leave home for the day :-) Thanks for trying to help--did I say we both HATE the sound of leaf blowers. Wonder how much it would cost of hire someone to pick 'em up with a stick-- say a pre-teenager.

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Aptenodytes
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by Aptenodytes »

nonnie wrote:
Aptenodytes wrote:[I understand that compromise is necessary, and it certainly sounds like you are trying to make a responsible choice given tough constraints. It may not be appropriate in your case, but you might try mowing over the leaves with a mulching mower.
Um, there's no lawn. My entire yard- back and front is plants-
So we have totally different circumstances and what I do wouldn't work at all for you. I'm in the suburban NY metro region. The soil is highly acidic even without the leaves, so I'm already applying lime every year. And the leaves do decompose, pretty quickly when chopped up. Sounds like you have no choice but to blow your leaves out or rake them delicately.
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nonnie
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by nonnie »

Aptenodytes wrote: Sounds like you have no choice but to blow your leaves out or rake them delicately.
You don't give up do you :happy. My partner was the one that declared it is impossible to rake. Given your polite, ahem, urging I just want out to see how difficult it is to rake. I don't think raking is that bad although there would be a lot of bending and stooping but then don't you have to do that once you blow the suckers? Told him it wasn't that hard. "Too difficult to get between the plants, he declared." Must be a reason I'm not married to him :P Funny thing is he *used* to hate the noise of leaf blowers more than I did. Oh well, I guess I'll accept his bid to do the job ALL BY HIMSELF.

He's now gone from have to have backpack back to electric and "might be" convinced to go battery operated. I've spent less time than this managing my portfolio!

Nonnie
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PacNorWest
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by PacNorWest »

newprestonpete wrote:I have used a Stihl BR 550 for the last three years without a single problem. Not the cheapest unit, but it is a quality product.
http://www.stihlusa.com/products/blower ... ers/br550/
We're surrounded by trees - several 100-foot big leaf maples and many red alder.
My first leaf blower was an corded electric - it burned out after one season.
The second leaf blower was a Homelite and it lasted a few years - gas powered and worked okay.
After fifteen season I bought the biggest leaf blower I could use and keep two feet on the ground. A Stihl with the maximum CFM rating I could find. It's fast and it really blows. Cost was about $500. It should have been the first leaf blower that I bought. Sorry it wasn't now.
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G12
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Re: Leaf blower recommendation

Post by G12 »

Guess I am about +6 for an Echo backpack blower, going on 8 years with zero trouble. I am pretty sure the one I have was rated at 150 mph air speed at the nozzle. Easy to start, light enough for my wife to use it occasionally, wide range of throttle speeds which would be useful for you given the terrain, and is still effective at blowing small oak leaves out that migrate down through short grass and become very difficult to move off the soil. It would take forever to clear our back/front yards with an electric, or hand held gas blower, given the amount of trees in the .75 acre yard. Probably run 2 gallons of gas/oil mix per year through the blower.
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