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Leaf blower, OT but raking is taking me away from the stove!!

Post in 'The Gear' started by Nokoni, Nov 5, 2006.

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  1. Nokoni

    Nokoni New Member

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    I am thinking of getting a leaf blower. I REALLY hate them mostly because of the noise they make. I want to get a cheap one and perhaps an electric one. I have an electric chain saw and like it. My yard is small (50 ft. x 150 ft.) and I have an long outdoor cord I use with the chain saw. Anyway, does anyone know of a cheap electric one that is not so loud? Are the electric ones less loud than the gas ones? There is one at sears that is 39.99 that I am eyeing. I can't really spend a lot on this but I spent about three hours raking today and I've barely put a dent in it. I have lots of ivy and lots of places the leaves seem to congregate that the rake makes hard work.

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  2. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    I'd recommend getting one with the vacuum attachment if you decide to buy one. It might help with the ivy and areas like that, but if there is much of that type area in your yard, even vacuuming might be time consuming and frustrating.

    I have an electric I bought at HD. I think it is B & D. About what the Sears you mention costs. I rarely used it after the first year. I like the silence of the rake and it is actually faster and more effective if I rake several piles and then rake each pile onto a tarp to drag them into the woods out back.

    I hate the noise of the gas ones, too, but I regret getting the electric one. If I had it to do over, I'd buy a gas one. My yard is about the size of yours and the cord is a real hassle for me. Gas cuts the tether, but is obnoxiously loud to the user and neighbors.

    Where I moved from in CA, leaf blowers (and smoking) had been outlawed in several communities because after a stressful week at work everyone was tired of listening to countless leaf blowers blasting away all day long Saturday and Sunday.

    Now, I only use mine to blow off the deck and to vacuum up a few locations that my newly acquired bagging lawn mower (rider) won't service. I also used it the other day to vacuum out leaves from my currently half-built holz hausen. It was a pretty miserable failure at that, though, and I ended up just picking them out of there with my hands. It took about 1/2 hour. Now I put a tarp over it and will until I finish the top of the holz.

    My conclusion: buy a bagging mower to get the big, flat stuff. Use the electric vacuum feature to get the rest if it's not too extensive. Hope this helps.
  3. Nokoni

    Nokoni New Member

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    yes, this helps. i'm thinking that maybe i was having a moment of weakness after three hours of raking. maybe my shop vac would do the job? i don't know. i hate to buy something that i will use ten times a year, even it is only 40.00. i like the silence of raking as well. i like the exercise too. maybe i need to limit myself to an hour at a time. my mower is a new version of the old gas free mowers. i can have a conversation with someone in the yard while i mow. it really doesn't do a great job and i always say "i'm going out to roll the yard". sometimes it seems like it doesn't cut everything. i like machines that take human energy. thanks for your perspective.
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Are your blades sharp? Most human powered mowers I've used with sharp blades easily cut the grass. With dull blades all it does is push it down.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I hate raking, so having a riding mower is golden to me. I also hate the noise of leaf blowers, but we have lots of trees including a redwood that did a major shed this fall on our gravel paths and patio. So I asked a friend that has a new Stihl (gas) blower to bring it by. Fifteen minutes later I had cleared the patio, around potted plants, garbage cans, walkways, steps and the gravel path. It would have easily taken me hours to clear this manually. And it cleared the gravel path which really couldn't be cleared well with a rake. End of story, I'm looking for a leaf blower. Echo or Stihl.

    BB I can hear you chuckling. This is totally eco-incorrect for me and I admit it. If there is a great electric blower alternative, tell me. In the meantime, I'm going to get the riding mower switched to propane in compensation.
  6. Nokoni

    Nokoni New Member

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    what we really need is a solar powered leaf blower, or some other alternative fuel. does anyone know how much gas these things use? like in an hour would i use one gallon of gas? i'd like to get some idea.
  7. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    I'd guess, based upon my gas-powered string-trimmer/sidewalk-edger tool, that you'll use around a pint of gas in an hour. It depends somewhat on the cc's of the engine, but it certainly won't break the bank even if gas is $4/gallon.

    You will likely need to mix 2-stroke oil with the gas. Mixing a gallon at a time is typical, and that will likely be too much to use in one year if you only have one tool and that tool is a leaf blower. You can probably mix 1/2 gallon at a time and be good for the Fall leaf season, depending on your frequency of usage with your stated yard size. It's best to use mixed gas/oil within a year if you can. A lot of the 2-stroke oil now comes with gas stabilizer and I've used a gallon over 2 summers, but others typically prefer not to use gas/oil mixtures that get over a year old.

    Be-Green's situation with a path, and my situation with flower beds and driveway borders, makes a blower effective there, but it can be hard to justify buying one for special applications. Borrowing is a great option if you know someone.

    Personally, for the bigger portions of my yard (110' x 110' including house, 3-car wide driveway, and a couple huge flower beds) where the grass grows, I find it to be actually faster and less frustrating to rake leaves into piles, then onto a tarp, and drag them out back. I was quite surprised to find it easier, and significantly faster, than the electric blower. This is especially true if you have leaves that work themselves down into your grass and get stuck to the soil. I don't think a gas blower would save much time, but it would untether me from the power cord, which is a big frustration for me with lots of garden obstacles.

    I got lucky and was given a nice Craftsman lawn tractor with bagger attachment for helping someone move where they had no more use for it. This free lawn mower has made my life much easier during its first Fall leaf season. I've even sucked up leaves off the boulevards of both my neighbors twice this Fall to share my new-found lawn tool wealth. Can't beat a rider for sucking up leaves. I'm in leaf heaven.
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