Best Leaf Blower

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Backpack or Handheld Blower?

Over the past 23 years we have used several different leaf blowers in our landscape maintenance business. Our first blower was an Echo handheld gas powered unit. It was a great machine and because we were just starting out, it lasted quite a while.

More and more maintenance contracts were coming in, so we decided to move up to an Echo backpack style blower. The backpack models are definitely more powerful than the handheld units, but with that power also came more noise, 75 dB. We never had anybody complain, but we also didn’t arrive too early in the morning or stay too late in the evening. Another advantage of the backpack over the handheld is that there is less bending over.

Echo Brand Blowers

This Echo was a great machine, but we used it hard and it only lasted about a year before needing an overhaul.  When it finally died, we bought another one just like it. The price tag on the Echo wasn’t too bad, compared to the Stihl brand and since it’s predecessor had been a good machine we gave Echo another chance. The new machine lasted about a year, just like the first one and died.  Price was definitely a deciding factor in all of our purchasing decisions and the thought of buying a new backpack blower every year was not something we desired to do.

Stihl Brand Blowers

My Dad had always sworn by the Stihl brand and even though the price was a bit higher, we acquired a Stihl backpack blower. This blower lived up to it’s name and gave us several years of great service, but eventually it wore out like all the others. We really liked the Stihl and although it was a little more expensive than the Echo, we did not wish to spend that kind of money anymore. Since we actually needed more than one blower, buying two Stihl backpacks wasn’t going to happen, so we purchased two handheld BG 85 Stihl’s. They were less expensive than the backpack model, less noisy, only 70 dB and the work got done.

One of the small cool things we liked about the BG 85 was the rubber foot/base. Our previous blowers just had hard plastic feet or stands, so if you set the running blower down on a cement patio, it would vibrate all over the place. The rubber base on the BG 85 stopped that, which was a small thing, but a really big convenience.

My Recommendation

My suggestion would be that if you are just starting out in a landscape maintenance business or if you are a homeowner needing a good reliable leaf blower, the handheld Stihl is your best choice. They last for years, have plenty of power and are half the price of a backpack model. The Echo is a great machine, but if you want a quality machine that will last a long time the Stihl is worth the extra money.

What to do when your new blower won’t start

If you have only used your blower a few times and now it won’t start or it does not have the power it used to, check out my article on Quick & Easy Trimmer and Blower Repair.

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