Leaf blower advise.....

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mustash29

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2012
701
SE CT
I had this place build in '96. I have a 1/2 acre of lawn in the middle of 2 acres of mostly oaks, with some maples, birches & pines. Most of the year I use a blower to blow out the garage and to dust off the tractor, sidewalk and driveway after mowing the lawn, but leaf season is a BIG chore for us.

I have a '96 vintage Black & Decker electric rated at 195 mph / 480 cfm. It works well, has enough power to blow wet mulch out of the flower beds and move 3/4" gravel, but fighting 50-125' of power cord frustrates us BAD. She likes it (easy to use) but we're sick of fighting with the power cords.

I inherited an Echo PB-1000 with owners manual from my GF's mother. It's roughly a '95 vintage unit of decent quality with a 22 cc motor but I can not find any info on mph or cfm ratings for it for comparison purposes. I cleaned the stale dry sludge out of the fuel tank and carb, installed a new fuel system rebuild kit (fuel cap, fuel filter, fuel lines, primer bulb, carb cleaning + rebuild kit, spark plug and cleaned the muffler / spark arrestor. I got it to fire, warm up, tuned / tweaked and running nicely on bottled pre-mix....but it seems very lethargic in overall power compared to the old electric.

I have a Craftsman Pro / Agri-Fab (205 cc / 9.0 torque) leaf sucker / mulcher wagon that I pull behind the tractor to clean up the lawn, but I am wanting a more powerful handheld to do around the house and perimeter and don't feel the need to go to a backpack unit.

Ryobi seems to have good reviews on their 25 cc "jet fan" unit which is rated for 160mph / 520 cfm. Those specs "blow away" what Stihl and Husky are advertising for their best handhelds, which are 2x the price of the Ryobi. My work just bought a decent Husky gas handheld. It seemed lethargic to me. I can beer p!ss better than it blows leaves and grass clippings.


Yeah, we're comparing "sh1t" to gold, but are the mph & cfm rating reliable enough to use?

The Ryobi has a rear suction, it sucks air across the engine and exhaust and blows it our the front. Everybody else sucks from one side and blows exhaust from somewhere, so as you swap hands while cleaning leaves you are constantly getting your pants sucked into the blower intake or having hot exhaust blown against your legs. Ryobi seems to have made an 18v, 40v and 25 gas unit that eliminates these problems.....but is is worth a chit for a buck 30.....?.....
 

GadDummit

Feeling the Heat
May 27, 2017
265
Oklahoma
*THE* leaf blower to own, especially for acorns and larger leaf areas, and when you don't want to pony up for the 400$ models, is the husqvarna 125b. It'll blow the socks off the neighbor's cat and then dry the bloody stumps to jerky to make a tasty snack.

Pop Mech voted them most powerful a few months back. 170 mph, 470 cfm. I own one and it's my fav out of all my blowers. Yes, all of them!
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,869
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I have a Husky 580BFS...it's the most powerful one made and it works great. Basically the same as the Redmax EBZ8550.

 
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xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,442
Lackawaxen PA
If your doing yards you need a backpack blower. Just like chain saws buy the best quality you can afford. Look at what the landscapers use. Years ago around here they all used Red Max, which I have. Stihl was trying to compete with them. I see quite a few of them being used now.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
I just checked out what the guys mowing nextdoor were using when I went for a walk and they were on a lunch break. Red Max.

I have a Stihl BG 85 I bought in 2003 or so. Been great. I put on the shredding blade from the SH models. Have the vacuum kit. Also have the gutter cleaning kit. Works great!
 

ColdNorCal

Feeling the Heat
Mar 6, 2018
331
Newcastle, Ca.
Ego 56 volt 530 cfm 110 mph. Live in 5 acres but just use it to keep things clear around the house and to clean gutters. Home Depot recently had a deal for blower, weed trimmer, charger and battery for $200 - $20 coupon. imo - For some things gas powered is not worth the hassel anymore..
 

computeruser

Feeling the Heat
Jan 16, 2007
375
East Lansing, MI
I'm still running a Stihl BG85 (handheld) and BR420 (backpack). Both are simple and reliable, and the '85 lets me run the gutter cleaning tubes. I bought both used back in 2005 and had maybe $225 in the two of them at that time, and only some air filters and carb kits since then. Still running fine now.

Dragging a power cord is BS. Battery might well be an option, and maybe if you were starting from zero and building out a kit it would make sense to standardize around one battery type for your tools. I don't know. Not smelling like two-stroke exhaust after blowing leaves would be nice. But being able to run more or less indefinitely so long as I have more mixed gas is also nice, so it depends on your priorities.

MPH and CFM specs are all bull. You don't get something for nothing, so keep that in mind with the off-brand budget specials. More displacement and HP, in the case of gas-powered, very likely means a stronger blower.
 

ColdNorCal

Feeling the Heat
Mar 6, 2018
331
Newcastle, Ca.
I'm still running a Stihl BG85 (handheld) and BR420 (backpack). Both are simple and reliable, and the '85 lets me run the gutter cleaning tubes. I bought both used back in 2005 and had maybe $225 in the two of them at that time, and only some air filters and carb kits since then. Still running fine now.

Dragging a power cord is BS. Battery might well be an option, and maybe if you were starting from zero and building out a kit it would make sense to standardize around one battery type for your tools. I don't know. Not smelling like two-stroke exhaust after blowing leaves would be nice. But being able to run more or less indefinitely so long as I have more mixed gas is also nice, so it depends on your priorities.

MPH and CFM specs are all bull. You don't get something for nothing, so keep that in mind with the off-brand budget specials. More displacement and HP, in the case of gas-powered, very likely means a stronger blower.


Dont know the specs of my neighbors gas powered stihl blower but I do know that my Ego battery powered delivers more air and at a faster rate. But, refilling the gas tank is faster then waiting for a battery to charge ;)
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,136
Marshall NC
I also have the Lowes 80v Kobalt. An electric hurricane. Love it.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
... the '85 lets me run the gutter cleaning tubes ...

I just did most of my gutters yesterday as most of the leaves are down. Will do the gutters again when the large oaks in the backyard are done dropping leaves. Great attachment for the blower. :)
 

mustash29

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2012
701
SE CT
We use a lot of Milwaukee 18 V stuff at work (grinders, impacts, drills). A few years ago we got a 56 V Echo trimmer. While batteries are awesome for portability and quick jobs, the battery life for extended run times just doesn't tickle my fancy & replacement battery costs SUCK.. I need 30 min + of constant run time at full power and 30 sec refills so it had to be gas.

I have a bunch of vintage early 2000's Ryobi 18 V stuff and recently upgraded to lithium batteries but knew their 18 V blower would be too wimpy for my needs.

Not interested in a bunch of miss-matched battery equipment.

All of my gutters are 1.5 or 2 story. I installed gutter guards 20 years ago and have not had to clean leaves out of them since. Well worth the 100 bucks it cost to buy the guards.

So far, I'm really liking the Ryobi jet fan.

Day 1 - Filled it with pre-mix, popped on pull #2 and ran on pull #3. Way more powerful than the old Echo PB-1000, and significantly better than the electric Black & Decker. Did my normal deck, under deck, around foundation & parking areas in record time and never touched a cord. :) Jumped on the tractor and pulled the sucker cart while she took over blower duties in her flower beds. We were both quite impressed for the $129 investment.

Ran it several times since. Starts easy, takes a few min to warm up and get to full rpm but it blows hard. Really like the rear suction thing. As you swap hands, it never bakes your leg with hot exhaust or sucks your pant leg, plus it blows the exhaust out the front. After cleaning a 22x28 garage out, it does not smell like 2 stroke fumes, bonus.

Good balance. No vibrations. Doesn't torque your wrist like the Echo did. A little heavy at 11+ lbs. but I swap hands every few minutes as I'm doing my normal cleaning routine so it's not a big deal. I'm used to swapping hands a lot anyway but now I don't have to worry about getting my feet tangled up on a stinking cord. :):)

Thirsty gas hog. 20 min of full throttle and it will suck down 1/2 a tank . Not really sure how much that is but it's the same size as a typical weed whacker tank. May have to run gas/oil mix for leaf season and then use pre-mix for off season / occasional use.

Longevity? Only time will tell.
 

ColdNorCal

Feeling the Heat
Mar 6, 2018
331
Newcastle, Ca.
We use a lot of Milwaukee 18 V stuff at work (grinders, impacts, drills). A few years ago we got a 56 V Echo trimmer. While batteries are awesome for portability and quick jobs, the battery life for extended run times just doesn't tickle my fancy & replacement battery costs SUCK.. I need 30 min + of constant run time at full power and 30 sec refills so it had to be gas.

I have a bunch of vintage early 2000's Ryobi 18 V stuff and recently upgraded to lithium batteries but knew their 18 V blower would be too wimpy for my needs.

Not interested in a bunch of miss-matched battery equipment.

All of my gutters are 1.5 or 2 story. I installed gutter guards 20 years ago and have not had to clean leaves out of them since. Well worth the 100 bucks it cost to buy the guards.

So far, I'm really liking the Ryobi jet fan.

Day 1 - Filled it with pre-mix, popped on pull #2 and ran on pull #3. Way more powerful than the old Echo PB-1000, and significantly better than the electric Black & Decker. Did my normal deck, under deck, around foundation & parking areas in record time and never touched a cord. :) Jumped on the tractor and pulled the sucker cart while she took over blower duties in her flower beds. We were both quite impressed for the $129 investment.

Ran it several times since. Starts easy, takes a few min to warm up and get to full rpm but it blows hard. Really like the rear suction thing. As you swap hands, it never bakes your leg with hot exhaust or sucks your pant leg, plus it blows the exhaust out the front. After cleaning a 22x28 garage out, it does not smell like 2 stroke fumes, bonus.

Good balance. No vibrations. Doesn't torque your wrist like the Echo did. A little heavy at 11+ lbs. but I swap hands every few minutes as I'm doing my normal cleaning routine so it's not a big deal. I'm used to swapping hands a lot anyway but now I don't have to worry about getting my feet tangled up on a stinking cord. :):)

Thirsty gas hog. 20 min of full throttle and it will suck down 1/2 a tank . Not really sure how much that is but it's the same size as a typical weed whacker tank. May have to run gas/oil mix for leaf season and then use pre-mix for off season / occasional use.

Longevity? Only time will tell.

The best thing about battery tools is the wife uses them ;) Not gonna happen with gas tools...
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,136
Marshall NC
Yes! I got the girlfriend out mowing the lawn with the electric. She couldn't start the gas mower.
Now, I drink a beer in the afternoon and watch Shirley mow the lawn, makes me feel good.

As for battery strength, we got the Lowes 80v Kobalt mower and leaf blower. The batteries interchange, but the lawnmower battery is bigger and carries more juice. I have run that leaf blower for an hour with that big battery and it still had over 1/3 of a charge.
 

ColdNorCal

Feeling the Heat
Mar 6, 2018
331
Newcastle, Ca.
Perfect! We live on 5.5 acres, always lots to do. She does 90% of the weed whacking, hedging the bushes and blowing leaves. We have Ego trimmer, hedger and blower. 2 batteries and 2 chargers. Its enough to keep "her" busy. :) :)
 

NvrDwn

New Member
Nov 15, 2020
14
Virginia
I have 3 large oaks, a very large maple tree and a medium size maple tree. I recently bought a husqvarna 570bts and love it. I wouldn't say moving a ton of leaves is easy, but I've never had any other blower to compare it too.
 

BIGChrisNH

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2015
569
New Hampshire
My Stihl BR700 will blow the siding off my house if I'm not careful. It's heavy and not that good on gas in my opinion, but I cleared my 3/4 open yard in about an hour yesterday.
 

TradEddie

Minister of Fire
Jan 24, 2012
954
SE PA
The previous owner of my home advised me to buy the biggest, best backpack blower I could find. I ignored that advice and bought a cheap Sears handheld 25cc blower. Before the second leaf season started, I accepted my error and bought a 50cc Husqvarna backpack blower. 17 years later, the Husqvarna is going strong, in all that time, it's had two new plugs, new fuel lines and one new air filter (it's a cleanable filter). The Sears blower is long gone, but I bought a Toro handheld electric blower for small jobs and love that too.

I recommend duct taping an old tin can with both ends removed to the outlet of the blower, tin cans hold up far better than plastic when dragged against blacktop and concrete.

TE
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,353
Whitmore lake, MI
We use stihl br600’s. I also have a billy goat leaf loader. Works great for making leaves disappear.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Me, I don't care what it iis, so long as it will suck the fly ash outta my vent pipes, mid winter. Never used a leaf blower for it's intended use.. I don't blow leaves across the yard, I let the wind do that. Where they go I don't know and where the land, I don't care either.