I have an electric hand held leaf blower, which I purchased the year I moved to current house but it's pretty annoying to carry it around outside the house with constraint from the electrical wires...
Last year, we hired a lawn contractor to clean out the leaves that have been collected for several years in our back yard. They had a powerful gas blowers so they were able to freely walk around and blow away the leaves, even in our hills.
This year, I finally decided to purchase a gas-powered backpack leaf blower.
After doing some research on the internet and asking a church friend, who owns $500 commercial leaf blower, I decided to purchase Echo from Home Depot.
It's actually a commercial grade leaf blower. Commercial grades are usually built better and has longer warranty (this one has 5 years warranty).
When looking to buy a leaf blower, there are couple of things you should consider:
- Gas powered vs. Electric
Obviously, there's big difference in price but also in convenience. If you have a decent size yard, don't even think twice about buying an electric. If you have a back yard AND a front yard with lots of trees then it's no-brainer.
- 2 cycle vs. 4 cycle motor (aka 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke engine)
4 cycle motor has a separate tank for oil and gas so you can simply pour the gas to the gas tank but 2 cycle has only 1 tank and you have to mix the oil and gas in specific proportion. It's usually 2 to 1 ratio. 4 cycle is obviously more convenient but 2 cycle motor is usually more powerful.
Obviously, more the horse power, more the cylinder displacement (cc), and more the air flow and air speed, the more powerful the blower is. I would recommend getting at least 50cc engine so you can easily move large amount of leaves as well as wet leaves, sticks, and pine cones.
I used the Echo backpack gas blower the day I purchased. Mixing the oil and gas was pretty straight forward (make sure to buy a separate smaller gas container for mixing).
When I put it on my back, I was surprised how light it felt due to the comfort of the straps and cushion on the back.
I felt like Megatron from the Transformers
You definitely need an earmuff or earplugs because it gets pretty loud.
Check out all the leaves I was able to gather in just my backyard. Most of them were wet from rain.
When I was done, it ended up with 7 bags worth of leaves. I highly recommend this blower and if you want more powerful one then look into Stihl brand but it will cost you more. RedMax is also well known commercial grade leaf blower.