It is autumn and now its time to look at leaf blowers, we know they can be a little noisy however they do serve a purpose, we review a few different types, and if you choose the right one, they are easy to start and use.
We have never been really big fans of leaf blowers, noisy and we thought a little ‘pointless’, the way that we see many people using them, just blowing the leafs from one place to the next. However we have succumbed, due to what what we call, necessity.
We started of with an electric model, with a long cord, OK it blew and it also sucked, it was a Blower Vac / mulcher. Now while it may have been suitable for a small yard, or courtyard, frankly the lead was a hassle.
We recently had a larger gravel area put in to allow for the cars of various offspring to be parked off the street (as I said we have a big garden) and of course this was surrounded by deciduous trees, raking leaves off gravel is not fun we decided fairly quickly. So a new leaf blower or a longer lead was need, we decided the longer lead would be ridiculous, and we wanted a lighter leaf blower. Hear is the story and the review.
Requirements for our Leaf Blower
- Not to noisy
- Long running time
- Lighter than the old electric leaf blower / vac
- Easy to start
- A vacuum / mulch function
We tried a few models at our friendly mower store, Stihl, Honda and Echo.
In terms of noise we thought the Honda, being a four stroke might be a little quieter, but really not a lot of difference and the Stihl was actually seemed pretty much the same as the Honda when it was running at full revs. All were actually quieter than the old electric one, but that comes with 5 years development.
All would be pretty much the same in terms of running time, and anyway unlike a battery type, you can just ‘fill them up’ no waiting for recharging.
Weight depended on the attachments you have on it, as a leaf blower, all seemed about the same, once you add the vac, and vac bag the weight seems to climb a little. However as a blower the Stihl was easy to operate with one hand and we liked that.
You can also buy special attachmnets for cleaning gutters, these we have not tried. It is a long ‘snorkle attachment’ that blows the leaves out of the gutters. We use gutter guard instead, works just fine for us.
In the end we went with the Stihl, and we do not have anything against Honda, our Honda mower is just fantastic, easy to start, great catcher, we love it. But for a leaf blower we thought the Stihl would suit us better than the Echo, it felt easier to operate and we wanted the blower vac system that the Stihl had..
So now that we have it, what about the Leaf Blower Review?
Electric Leaf blowers
If you have a small yard, or a courtyard these are an excellent solution, most come with a vacuum option and you can just plug them in and ‘suck up’ the leaves. We have a Ryobi and although we do not use it as much as our petrol model, it serves a purpose. Excellent on the patio and in our small enclosed courtyard where the petrol model tends to fill it with fumes.
We have found Ryobi to be good value for money for an electric Leaf Blower
Petrol Leaf Blowers
If you have a large garden, lots of leaves and you want a quicker method than raking then a petrol model is for you. We tend not to use the vacuum function that much as the bag fills quickly and we have to stop to empty it. You will also find that with damp leaves the vacuum function can actually block up, you have to stop and clear it.
We find it easier and quicker to blow the leaves into a big pile and then rake them onto a tarpaulin where we can then drag the leaves to a special position where we make leaf mould. (no, we usually do not compost the leaves, and we never burn them)
We have used a few including a Stihl and a Honda, and both of these are excellent.
To our mind they are a not as noisy as other brands, are easier to start, particularly the Honda and are both are well made.
What did we buy? We ended up buying the Stihl, mainly because it had a vacuum function that we thought we would use, however we do not use it that often.
A few cheaper brands are available from the big boxes, however with both the Stihl and the Honda we have a good service centre nearby. And talking of service, we have had the Stihl for 3 years, it has never missed a beat, we would think Honda would be the same.
Summary of what to look for in a leaf blower.
- electric for small courtyards
- petrol for larger areas
- vacuum is useful, but not always used in large areas
- noise is a factor – 4 stroke are generally less noisy than 2 stroke.
- lightweight is essential
- choose a reputable brand with a service centre nearby
- you get waht you pay for
So choose the functions you want, and you should not go wrong with either Stihl or Honda for a petrol model, for electric we like Ryobi.
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